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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XVII

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24 April 2015

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No. 5,057 (cartoon)

Do you ever imagine what it would be like to be dead?

I don’t have to imagine.

25 April 2015

Death and Sex

Freddie told me that he thinks about sex at funerals. That didn’t surprise me: according to popular lore, most men think about sex most of the time. (I couldn’t possibly comment since I’ve never talked with most men.)

Freddie explained that he wasn’t really having any lascivious or erotic thoughts while viewing the embalmed corpse of a loved one. Instead, thinking about sex—as opposed to the decomposing body before him—allowed him to maintain his composure.

I just read that thinking about sex is popular at Chinese funerals too, but for entire different reasons. Well, there’s no sex proper—or improper either!—at the services, just striptease or burlesque dancers. (I think that’s the opposite of erotic, but then I’m not Chinese.)

The practice is apparently related to status: a meager number of funeral mourners indicates that the deceased humiliated her/his family. And what better way is there to earn respect and admiration than hiring a band of funeral strippers? There’s just no substitute for that kind of sophistication and status, at least not in China.

I hate to sound prudish, but I’m not looking forward to sex at my funeral, especially since I won’t be there.

26 April 2015

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Wrong Wrong!

At 66.66 minutes, Server is longer than all of my other films combined. At the risk of giving myself a severe rotator cuff injury, it’s also my most irritating and annoying. With its grating soundtrack of amplified, screeching hard drives, no one will ever watch the whole thing, or at least I certainly won’t.

Don’t ask me why, but this morning I found myself examining the credits screen at the end of the alleged film. I was aghast to discover that the kerning between to one and the three in 2013 was more than an embarrassment; it was a humiliating disgrace. I fixed it, then spent several hours rerendering the film and converting it to playable formats, but it was worth it to replace a mistake that no one will ever see with a correction that no one will ever see.

27 April 2015

No Step at a Time

Evelyn called and said she was immobilized by depression. I didn’t know what to say, so I gave her generic, hackneyed advice: take things one step at a time.

“That’s pretty funny!” she exclaimed.

“What’s so amusing?” I asked.

“It’s like you’re talking to someone who can get out of bed,” she replied.

I’m usually embarrassed by my vast ignorance, but in this case I was glad that I have no idea what it’s like to be crippled by depression. At least I had the presence of mind to talk about the weather.

28 April 2015

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Two Ephemeral Columns

I can’t remember: is conceptual art the first or last refuge of the artistic scoundrel? I made that choice so long ago that I can’t recall.

I do know with certainty, however, that I’m not a pure conceptual artist. A true conceptual artist would finish a piece, leave no documentation, and never tell anyone about it. That’s how contract killers work, but not me.

I was at home alone tonight at the Internet Archive, and I took advantage of the privacy to construct two slender columns from the floor to the ceiling of The Really Really Great Room. I admired them, especially since I was the only person who will ever see them. I photographed Two Ephemeral Columns before I dismantled them, and that was that.

Was it art? Who cares? Not me.

29 April 2015

Six-Inch Pocket Shark

I know very little about writing, as I demonstrate in this notebook on a weakly basis. After almost twenty years of this, I’m fairly comfortable with fabricating piffle and writing it down. But that’s nothing compared to the immeasurably more difficult task of penning satire (as if anyone still wrote with a pen).

The problem with satire is that it’s almost impossible to do well in a world full of news stories that sound like excellent satire. Take the six-inch pocket shark. (Please!) Tulane University researchers discovered the extremely rare little critter in the Gulf of Mexico. The only thing that indicates that it’s a real news story and not a prank concocted by an adolescent boy is that it wasn’t a six-inch one-eyed pocket shark.

And so, I shall leave parodies to the professionals and continue to report on the zany antics of my friends, nonexistent and otherwise.

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©2015 David Glenn Rinehart

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