Mortal Kombat

Everyone wants to understand art. Why not try to understand the song of a bird?

– Picasso

I feel angry and resentful at myself. I stop and calm down and try to comprehend: How did I become so enamored with the ‘art system’? How did art become a desk job without stability or vacation days? Why am I burning out at 27? Why am I so god-damn thirsty?

Duchamp wanted to introduce time, a linearity, into a static craft. In a hundred years, a bland ‘contemporaneity’ followed. ‘Researching’ your ‘projects’, developing, hoping you were steadily improving while EasyJet flew you to homogenized biennials and you spewed CO2 along with the planes. Inhale, exhale.

Maybe it was an accident. Accelerated doom. You get your BFA, your MFA, your PhD. Papers you can’t afford (9000£ a year). You get to know everyone. You upgrade on production value. Sometimes you despair: is there anything you can accomplish? You feel utterly alone. 33 notes.

When you think that something is about to begin it’s probably peaking. There is no linear development in art. It’s cyclical, wavy. Post Internet was at its best when we were waiting for it to start already.

Art is like farming or doing laundry. You do it and then you get to do it again. It’s like oxygen. It’s invisible and it envelops you. It doesn’t get any better or worse than right now. Don’t worry about it.

Success and failure are both a distraction. I want to let them go. I want to live on an island in Finland and make ceramics and felted hats. I want to be one of those unimpressive regular people you ignore on your way to the club. I’ll be slightly overweight and wearing overalls. I’ll be grounded and smiling while you ignore me.

I realize that I’ve been an extremist.

Duchamp switched art for chess, an infinite game where you can win individual battles but never the war. Art can be a game, by which I mean that it’s an elaborate coreography with elements of choice and varied outcomes. It’s a thrill. It’s not your life.

I’m playing Candy Crush and Zen Bound 2 and 2048. Succeeding in these mobile puzzlers feels kind of like being curated into your awesome non-compensated group show in Seoul or Vienna or Oslo. Gaming comes without the distress, without being addressed, without coolness, without affect, outlook or statement.

I watch Game of Thrones while drawing in my book. The drawings are something to do. They keep the anxiety at bay. They fool me into thinking I’m being productive when I can’t get over the idea that I have to be productive all the time.

I don’t exhibit the drawings because they’re so pure and so emo. When I show them to people I regret it later on. I don’t want to charge them with expectations, with the burden of communication.

It’s a bad habit: you take everything you’ve got, your failures and insecurities. You repurpose, repackage, relaunch and repeat until they are categorized as successes. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.

Watching these Mortal Kombat gameplay videos. Mortal Kombat 9: All Fatalities on Shao Kahn HD. The word Success blinks on top of these carnivalistic, brutal executions. It’s not enough to merely defeat your opponent; you must obliterate and make it funny, distinct, memorable.

Bullies have lower infection rates as adults than those who have been bullied.

Your life is like Gossip Girl except everyone is old and poor.

This is a placeholder for astute observations about capitalism, gender, precarity and ‘post-digital’ culture. I zoom out to reveal how my personal woes and struggles connect to a network. How political this is. How these exact details communicate a universally human experience.

A picture of a Dutch painting. Bosch or Bruegel. A gettyimages tag. A wave filter. The bright blue of a projector with no signal.


Originally published at dawsonscreek.info.