I honestly hated the ONE Basquiat exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. The whole thing was a malfunction of the artistic orgasm machine. Their attempt to make a statement with a lack of substance was better as a marketing scheme than an actual exhibition. It was one institution’s attempt to use a ready-made art experience to maintain their position as a discourse producing machine.
The exhibition rehashes fan favorite items of beloved artist Basquiat such as a picture of him in his native old New York frozen in his own time and natural habitat. The image appears to restore something which it is actually designed to destroy– the grimy old New York of our fantasies– by becoming its replacement. We can’t find remnants of his work anywhere on the New York City streets anymore. The sterilization of the city already destroyed them, and absorbed their corpse into fine arts discourse.
The fine arts institution habitually produces ready-mades (masters, art history groupings, thematic groupings) to use as a body for the collections of art-lovers to fuck. Under the watchful eye of museum security who ensure the uniformity of the experience for all, the art and museum space brings art-lovers to a dull and sterile climax. Careful, disciplined lovers are passively thrilled and left exhausted. All the precautions are taken to make sure lovers don’t actually have fun. This exhibition was like going out with someone you think is really fine and you’ve been drooling over for months and then just listening to them talk about boring shit and having boring sex with them anyway because of what you imagine them to be. Basquiat has been made into such a mesmerizing image that the exhibition was an automatic attraction. However, this exhibition lacked the necessary interactions to have a good time consuming art. It left me completely unsatisfied.
The exhibition was just one painting in a huge room, a video projection of Basquiat doing graffiti and a mural size photo of a life sized Basquiat. The one painting, Untitled 1982, was supposedly a piece which marks the beginning of his breakout career which is actually more of a breakout decay into the tombs of the museum. The connection to Brooklyn is also supposed to make this exhibition really special. The whole thing would actually look better in a fan’s bedroom so they could experience the exhibition in its intended masturbatory glory. Basquiat’s work no longer even needs a contextual framework to be meaningful and drive discourse. The institution already made him a consumable object hence killing him for discursive consumption. One could say Basquiat is immortalized because his image no longer depends on the mortality of the artist or their work. What are they going to plan next? One Biggie Song on the anniversary of Ready to Die? Or One Picasso on the anniversary of his first show in Brooklyn? Even when Basquiat was alive, when his work entered the artistic machine the machine killed him to turn him into an image which can be consumed and reproduced. We can’t say the image presented by the artistic discourse machine is simply real because it has acquired its own body which can reproduce on its own. The image is hyper-real, because it has replaced its real source which is Basquiat himself. Just look at the insidious trend of an artist becoming more popular after their death. His work became a part of the fine arts body which plays its role in the production of artistic discourse to maintain its phallic orgasm producing presence. After being run through the artistic discourse processing plant then art is ready to be swallowed and shitted out before the next helping of slop.
In the process of healing my Manipura, I had the most profound and intense crygasm from the recognition of trauma relating to sexuality. The Manipura (third chakra or solar plexus chakra) is our intuition center for the lower chakras and is associated with self confidence. It is also where our fear and anger settles. When it is not balanced, one can feel tight in their guts or another similar discomfort. An unbalanced manipura looks like second guessing oneself, preoccupation with one’s actions, and self-hate among other things. When we repress ourselves, we stuff our self into this energy center. For so long I’ve had stomach pains, digestion problems, a bad appetite and so on. These problems have gotten worse with repression. Doing exercises, breath work, eating healthy foods, and abstaining from drugs and alcohol to release this center has been so transformative in my life. I don’t care what dialectical materialism or marxism has to say about new age spirituality. They can kiss my ass. I’m doing what works for me. That version of dogmatic theory is just another narrative to drown out spontaneous capabilities. To keep us thinking instead of acting. Disciplining and not unleashing.
The only thing I’ve ever been taught about sex is that it is dangerous and only married couples do it or else you are bad. Anyone who was labeled as sexually different was treated badly, considered disgraceful, and condemned to burn in hell by my childhood educators. I was sent to catholic school from public school in the third grade for more discipline, because I got in trouble a lot and loved being bad. Every year the only sex lesson I got was: sex will make you sick, possibly kill you, and also god will punish you if you ever masturbate or have a relationship outside the intentions of marriage. At home I heard, “nobody better knock on that door,” implying if someone shows up pregnant with demands and antagonisms it would basically be the end of my life. And also it has a more sinister implicit meaning that a man has a way of avoiding responsibility for pregnancy if they just avoid the person. I was probably less than 13, and I’ve always looked younger than my age. For my entire childhood and adolescence, all I knew was I could die or get disowned as an only child of a single mother if I ever had this thing “sex.” I grew afraid of myself, terrified of messing up at all, and trapped within the absurd myth of being good. I became more ashamed and afraid of my desire; never able to initiate any slightly sexual interaction out of internalized shame. My negative sexual education also made me act super hetero-normative to compensate for a lack of free expression. When I was very young I would pretend to be a woman with balloons in my shirt to simulate boobs. There were only women in my house. It seemed cool and fun to me. But after a few minutes of playing and laughing, my mom and grandmother would become concerned I was gay. I was maybe around 6 or 8 years old. To not bring up the discussion of sexuality, I stopped playing with gender. I don’t even know why, because I used to meet gay men who were friends with my mom. I didn’t understand how she could be friends with them and be so cruel behind their backs just because they were men and they liked each other.
My whole life I would get crushes on people and rarely do anything. When I did tell someone I liked them, I never did anything else, even if they liked me back, out of this conflict between my desire and shame. Desire can only exist when it is repressed. When desire is on the side of demand it ceases to exist. And hell to the yeah I’ve been so fucking repressed and ashamed which has inflated my desire hard. In high school I would ask my friends for advice and usually they told me: You’re too nice and you should be more of an asshole. “Women love assholes.” Women being expected to submit to the dominating sexuality of authoritative men is a complementary development of abusive masculine sexuality. The advice was thoroughly unhelpful to get to the point I’m at now, and I am so happy I never took it. The main interaction I had with sex as a teenager was pornography, and in secret of course. Porn presented images which always made me feel ashamed of my body and shaped my sexual desire. There were few outlets for me to be feminine. I used to just walk for miles in NYC and cry while fixated on desires with no hope of doing anything about it. I thought I would die without ever experiencing intimacy or love. Building up this self based on desire for love was so dangerous. The desire dragged me through each symbolic representation of love with my first girlfriend and left me destroyed in the end. I can’t ever return to love-the-idea. Now, I prefer to think of love as an emergent reality rather than a fixed entity or idea.
Despite all that confusion and constant conditioning, I am so thankful to critical theory for helping me understand. But actually critical theory more helped me unlearn all the bullshit. It helped me actually love myself, see fun and sex as necessary, and as something I should fight for. It helped me see my life is something I should die for. I am sooooooo angry; enraged with authoritarian society. So fucking done with its bullshit capitalism. So ready to put the target where it belongs. Not on myself but on those who continue fucking us over. Ima put the target on the structural authority which oppressed me, exploited me and turned me into my own worst enemy. Now I’m their worst enemy and I don’t fear a death. I’m looking forward to many deaths.
Contemplating this essay I drifted into fantasy, and experienced its invigorating charms
Instead of trying to retell the story I will fantasize about telling the person about the fantasy:
At first I only saw you
You were smiling and gazing within a darkened back drop
and slowly the scene illuminated
into a luscious and aromatic meadow between hills decorated by trees with monkeys swinging and birds flying among them
the sun– which is like brand new to this part of paradise– makes love to the leaves on the trees
caressing their skin and purifying the air
flowers bloomed in your steps as you walked and the light which radiated from your being shone into my shaded path
The path was covered in dirt, and the earth filled the space between my toes
I scrunched them up from the nervous excitement at the sight of you
Both of us were full of life; there to explore and feel the awesome sensations of the cosmos
I got there a bit late after swimming through bushes, jumping over fallen trees, and hiking around mountains and valleys
It’s the part of you I couldn’t see
But I could sense you had a challenging journey too and were enjoying the peacefulness
I reached the edge of the wild untamed path where the spiders and the snakes and the mice turn up
And saw you walking blissfully on ribbons of grass sprouting in sync with each of your steps
Your clothes flowed in a golden breeze which was humming and giggling
I stumbled before trying to run
you haven’t seen me yet
I ran towards you and called your name
You turned around, smiled and said my name back and then you said “I didn’t expect to see you here.”
and then I said “I didn’t expect it either. How did you get here?”
“I was exploring and experiencing the wonders of the cosmos; letting my curiosity take me to new becomings.”
I said same and smiled and laughed
“Do you want to see how we can explore together?”
“I’d love to”
The energy which formed around us changed into a bluish color and we took a few steps
then we felt an attraction between our vision and connected gazes
our hands touched and we seduced the hills with our motions of exuberance
they became the mirrors of our ecstasy
we laughed and danced for no reason to the melody of the sun setting and the rest of the lovers swirled to their sacred sexual spaces
Our clothes fell from our charged bodies at this point crossed over to orgastic felicity
we found a place to center ourselves
slowly and sensuously we approached one another
with our lips perked and our faces dull with adoration
“You’re so beautiful”
“Do you want to kiss?”
and then I drifted into sleep
What is Fantasy?
Now it’s time for the grounding theoretical work. Do I even really want to do this? No. Because this is hard. I would prefer to live out my fantasies or at-least come up with more, but I’m going to try anyway.
Fantasy can describe desire. Fantasizing is a process of giving desire a physical form and its content can be whatever desire by which one is produced.
Desire plugs into fantasy and comes to life through simulation. A fantasy itself is an experience which needs to be produced through simulation. Or in other words: the fantasy-experience cannot be understood except through a symbolic representation of it which then destroys the real for a recurring fantasy process. Even when you think you’ve made your fantasy real it will not be exactly like what you imagined and even to experience it again you must fantasize again about the fulfillment of the fantasy which is no doubt a simulation. This is a way we play with the virtual. The real doesn’t exist because our conception of it has always been a simulation, but I’ll talk more about that in another essay. Fantasy is a simulation of desire because it tries to represent it but it becomes its own material force and replaces desire. Desire becomes more than just a feeling. It becomes a force of production.
Fantasy is expressed with our imagination and becomes a conscious exchange of symbols and sensation. Symbols are exchanged for sensation. For example: I exchange the sensation of being with someone with the word “you” in order to give life to the fantasy of confessing a fantasy. Or when I describe a kind of energy by using the color blue. These things give the fantasy life.
Fantasies also seduce us and make us in some way. Seduction is meant not in the normative way of arousing someone although it applies there too. I am referring to the way Jean Baudrillard uses it as a detournment of self. And detournment is a word I learned from the Situationist International which describes an act of creation or destruction which transforms a symbol or collection of symbols to reveal a new truth. Memes are an easy example of this concept and how detournment describes something which happens all the time without us calling it that. Seduction as detournment of self means that the object (in this case fantasy) alters a person’s being. Fantasy seduces us in the moment we are charged with sexual energy. It has the capability of altering one’s attitude and if treated with care can help one to orgasm. We may create fantasy, but fantasy recreates us.
When fantasy becomes a material force
At this moment I can’t get into all the manifestations of fantasy.
I’m also not going to talk about the manifestations of fantasy through expression like writing or art. I would like to go into desiring-production and use my own fantasy as one example.
The content of this fantasy is romantic. It draws upon all my romantic symbology to heighten the sensation of love. Sensation becomes love in fantasy. Love in itself can become a material force here when we fall in love in our fantasy. It is a danger of these things; to fall in love in fantasy can lead to some unhealthy behaviors such as obsession which could lead one to violate boundaries. Be conscious of boundaries and consent in fantasies. It is a good way to make boundaries and consent a material force as well, since it is tragically lacking in our society. We can use conscious fantasizing to use our desire to produce healthy behaviors.
Desiring-production is at play in all facets of the fantasy. The production of the images themselves coming from my emotions/ my desire. Symbols from my subconscious filter onto the stage in my third eye producing the scene. Within the fantasy, energy particles flowed freely between molecules, and every input was an output. Mouths both produced sound and absorbed color. Movement both charged us and was charged by us. And the fantasy will have an effect on my actions. Going in as symbols and exiting as excitation/ fulfillment or repression/ failure. I’ll write more about what might occur when we repress our fantasy in another essay.
Fantasy is a natural bodily process connecting our unconscious to our consciousness. When we fulfill our fantasy through some form of catharsis resulting in excitation it completes the desiring production process in a natural biological way which encourages good health and positive relationships between people. It fuels our creativity, self-esteem, and energy centers. We can combine the use of meditation to enhance our fantasies and the desiring-production process. During this fantasy I was actually in a zone of orgastic bliss, a meditative state which made the fantasy much more enjoyable.
The consideration of harmful fantasies threatens to ruin this whole essay though. One could make the argument that fantasy should be feared or repressed for the sake of safety/ goodness, rationality or reason. I think this is a mistake. First, because the distinction between good and bad is arbitrary and is not even helpful in the acquisition of any kind of good. One could say a great deal of evil has been done in the name of this distinction. And second, because fantasy is a natural biological process. Fantasy is a playground for our desires. It is our personal theater. And it always needs to be acted on. We must learn about them and let them inform our actions. And why can’t we just hold individuals completely responsible for their own fantasy? There is no distinction between industry and nature, and none between human and nature, so there is none between human and industry. Therefore humanity’s fantasy is produced by nature-industry from which we are inseparable. When faced with a fantasy which threatens our life or another life for example, it is important to find out the sources of this desire and the unconscious effect which has been produced by our social organization. The individual as an object of institutional deliberation has been abused enough already by those institutions and takes its revenge against them. That is the chaos of our world. Our supposed rational system has created a chaotic effect in the unpredictable rebellion of the object, the objectified individual, which destroys all rationality. In this way our fantasies fight back.
The repression of our sexuality through its replacement with authoritarian sexual morality produces violent and unhealthy sexual behavior the same way that eating toxic food and breathing toxic air could produce cancers and addiction to their remedies, some of which are also toxic. It is often accompanied by deep faith in a divine or metaphysical authority and a need to be pure. Also it is usually accompanied by mystical thinking which is actually a source of repression because of the blocking and redirection of sexual energy*. It is the original lie with which all other lies choreograph themselves.
When we use our fantasy to explore our desire we could find demons lurking in the shadows. The catharsis here may require a change or some therapy**.We might find ourselves there and be able to find some grounding for a way to release ourselves and go through our natural sexual process the same way we need to eat, sleep and take a shit.
For me this fantasy gives me some guidance on why I have a crush on this person right now. It gives me some imagery to bring into the world. And it has brought life and color to my tantric journey as well. I had fun playing and the knowledge I gained will make everyday a bit more exciting.
*Wilhelm Reich gives an example of this phenomenon in his book The Mass Psychology of Fascism when he describes in detail the psychological and biological basis for how religion represses our sexuality. He tells the story of a young girl from Germany in the 1930’s who practiced regular masturbation habits and had no shame for her actions. A young boy learns about this and calls her a slut which made the young girl feel ashamed. She went home and started praying every night instead of masturbating. The ritual of obedience to divine authority replaced orgastic release. Later when someone explained to her that there was nothing shameful about masturbating and that there is no divine authority to watch and punish her, she stopped praying and continued masturbating. After this, she was able to become highly intelligent, creative, happy, and a leader of the revolution. Healthy sexual activity is necessary and the repression of it results in shame, stress, and an irrational core of beliefs in a divine authority figure.
** Therapy is not limited here in the normative sense as in institutional psychiatry. It can also include things like meditation, BDSM, and Tantra. Who doesn’t need some therapy, right? Therapy is good for everyone.
1. Seeing Janil is a common occurrence when I dream. Our interactions are often foggy like they happen in the background of more prominent dream events.
Last night I ran away to Chile, Fiji, and Costa Rica, but wanted to say goodbye to Janil before leaving. I kept remembering Chile is a place she wanted to experience.
Dreaming about Janil tends to make me feel anxious like I am losing a part of myself.
I think of all the people I meet as being important for different reasons, and I usually want to try to grow affinities with them. In my dream I kept meeting new people and forming emotional connections.
I love having mindful, fun, and nurturing relationships. Janil represents a true experience of solidarity, nurturing, and fun which I ruined and will never be able to recover. Dreaming of her represents a part of myself which fell short of my own expectations… but I won’t make the same mistake.
Somehow I have to kick Janil out of my subconscious.
2. Traveling to other countries is a favorite dream of mine. I love to explore and grow, so being in a new place is a source of renewal and adventure. I truly love it.
I also have a tendency to run away when I have overwhelming problems. I don’t think it is a bad thing. I think it has always been a form of survival and has always worked for me. I’m still alive with no plans of stopping.
Latin America is also a source of love and vitality. That’s why visiting Puerto Rico and Mexico felt like going home to me and renewed my spirit.
3. Running from the cops… I can’t tell if it makes me feel empowered to get away or depressed to have to run away. They tend to interrupt my fun. Any action I take in dreamland can be persecuted by the law. This probably rises from my own conception of my activity being constantly anti-state, and also from my anxiety about real-life legal problems. Nothing ruins my mood like seeing a cop. I hate them with everything in me. It is their job to stop me from thriving, but they will not succeed.
—With these reflections I can move forward with projects and ambitions to become what I imagine myself capable of becoming. I feel stronger to form powerful relationships and build a revolutionary ethic capable of destroying all obstacles to freedom.
I will never feel happiness and only smoke will fill my lungs
The air in front of me is crowded with neglect
I feel very grounded in sadness
Calm and comfortable
I am motivated by rage and anger to want to learn, to be a friend, and not give in to happiness
Sadness is the toll of a [war] worth [fighting] just don’t forget to [fight] it
I think happiness (can also scar) would be a happy marriage, two kids … maybe more, a happy wife for whom I would do anything. Don’t forget the dollar signs on the end of that happine$$
If I really hated [marriage/ civilization] so much (and I do), why is that all I can imagine myself loving? Like actually imagine not just theorize
An imagination is very important
What will it take to imagine a me capable of being free to enjoy
I think I’m losing “it.”
I have multiple personalities and desires.
The only one which can exist is the most boring one
I want to kill him
He doesn’t even exist
I just want to run and scream naked through the streets like I reject even standing still
I hate domestication. It is so silly
But you are already so perfect for it
Because in your core all you can do is relive how you submit at every moment
That even sexually you are powerless to actualize your desires to the point that you only desire the end.
*after writing this I cried for a while and then went into my dark living room and began to think more deeply beyond these surface thoughts which cloud my perception.
Similar to the ideas of egoism first described by Max Stirner I thought about rejecting all ideas’ power over my subjectivity. Ideas are the imaginary battlefield on which we fight to keep our sense of self. I am a desiring beast. No construct can limit my potential. I am as real as my actions when I do what I actually want to do.
Last night I had a very powerful encounter with a spirit which made me question my perception. A spirit came to me in what I think was a dream, but could have been entirely real. The experience starts with me sitting in a chair in my living room lamenting my lack of engagement with projects I’ve started. I tend to be in my head way too much which sometimes keeps me from acting on desired intentions. Most weekends I am sleeping heavily, even though I don’t even have a bed. I usually either sleep on the couch or on the floor on a pile of clothes with a thick comforter. This time I was napping on my mom’s bed because she wasn’t home, and I had a specific intention to catch myself in the moment between being awake and dreaming.
The experiment came to mind because I try to make the most out of anything I do. Even something as banal as taking a nap is a chance to learn something new about myself. This time I was thinking about the separation we imagine between our conscious life and unconscious life, and also our time spent awake and sleeping. I reflected upon the experience of dreaming; how amazing it is that in a moment of supposed inactivity our minds are active and going on different adventures. I’ve done a lot of thinking about my dreams and sometimes my dreams put me on to things in my awake life. Babies and non-human lifeforms all dream. We are always active and living even when we are asleep. So I don’t think we actually ever lack consciousness, or at least that is what I was testing. I wanted to try and catch the moment between being awake and dreaming to see what exactly was there in the moment of nothingness.
It took me some time to fall asleep and like usual I spent most of that time thinking about relationships, desires, worries and so on. I didn’t feel overly tired but that was probably better for this experiment that required a lot of mindfulness. Still, I didn’t realize when I slipped into slumber and was soon in the grips of a very deceptive hallucination. I was sitting in a room which I recognized as my own but didn’t resemble any room in my house. It was dark and the only things in the room were a table with a laptop and some books and the couch I was sitting on. Suddenly I hear a noise come from the front door in my dream. I panic slightly and hide under the couch. It was a familiar reaction from when I was a child. If I ever sensed danger like a monster or perhaps a beating from a parental authority figure, I would hide under the covers, under the bed, or in the closet. Sometimes I would hide for hours in a closet just to try and scare someone or freak out my family and make them think I went missing.
The moment of fear passed in the dream and I came out of hiding. This whole time I’m still not conscious of the experience of dreaming. Lucid dreaming isn’t a skill of mine. I am transported somehow to the exact position I was in when I started my nap: in my mom’s bed, covers on, trying to fall asleep. This transition is one of contention in my mind. Did I maybe wake up from a dream and was fully conscious in that moment? Was it just one of those dreams which lines up directly with what I was doing before I fell asleep?
I heard a noise and felt a sudden energy enter the room. I was sure I was not alone. When I tried to move I felt resistance like something was stopping me. Instantly I freaked out and tried everything to snap out of what felt like a spiritual possession. I threw things and they wouldn’t travel their normal distance almost like they bumped into something. My legs floated in the air and I couldn’t move them. I could move my hands with difficulty, because it felt like they were being held. When I tried to yell for help I knew it was futile because no one was around. Still I banged the bed frame against the wall to try and alert anyone to come help me. I thought I was going to die. I pushed as hard as I could and finally got off the bed to try and reach my cell phone which I left in a different room. When I stood up I stumbled and could barely take a step. Fighting I reached for this piece of furniture to pull myself forward but the thing fell on the floor and I was pulled back into the bed. I felt totally powerless. Finally, in one last desperate attempt to save myself I focused on a thought. “Just like you are about to get up from bed for some water. Just calmly get up.”
Right then, I was freed. I was out of breath but in the same exact situation as the hallucination: in bed, under the covers, laying down straight. I got out of bed and stumbled toward the living room and turned on the light. The energy in the room began to normalize, but I was in shock. I felt completely distraught. The whole thing felt completely real. It was an overpowering experience which left me questioning my perception. I questioned my anti-capitalist beliefs. I questioned not believing in god or gods. I questioned my perception of reality. Holding on to the anti-capitalist beliefs which got me this far, I thought about Caliban and the Witch and how in early capitalism it was necessary for the capitalists and the state to wage war on spirits and any so called irrational beliefs. We have been conditioned to reject the spiritual elements of our universe (the so-called supernatural), or at the very least keep them at distance. I stopped thinking about the spirit as something which was trying to hurt me or punish me and started thinking about it as something I simply don’t understand.
There are things which happen every day which I cannot explain or understand. This was one of them. I think I just freaked out because it was such a strange situation and I was not able to control what was happening. I thought about what it is like to not have control over one’s actions and compared it to ideology. The experience reminded me of the way we all do things we don’t want to do everyday to exist in this capitalist discipline. I starting thinking about my project to have total control over my thoughts and actions. I thought about how that might be impossible, and how to reconcile the limits of self-control with the project for total freedom. I am rethinking what total freedom could mean but in no way does this make me resign to the powers that be in our current society. It does not make me want to turn back to religion or capitalist work discipline. Instead the experience empowers me to think we have spiritual/ supernatural aids in our mission and project for liberation. We should not forget about all the life which plays in the universe. We are only a part of the entire situation and we might never be able to comprehend all of it. The care and mindfulness necessary to live in a society where not everything is exposed and we don’t understand things but still coexist peacefully is a challenge. I wasn’t able to embrace the spirit in the hallucination. I fought it the whole time. But I don’t think the spirit minded. The last thing I realized is I spend some of my time contemplating suicide (less than I used to) which I think of as another obstacle towards free engagement with living. In this situation in which I thought I would die, I fought for my life. It is a sign for me to fight harder against that type of thinking, and to trust the natural energy of my body and the energy around me.
This video collage composes of images and videos taken at different times for different purposes put together with sounds and clips from the internet. It reveals the character of the different energies which possess an invisible flow moving in my mind.