Monthly Archives: March 2007

More wandering around the neighborhoood

So even though Roo and I are kind of “joint-challenged” and neither of us has really had very much sleep for the last while due to pain (a few hours a night), we decided to take a walk back to those weird pipes (a few entries down from this one) and climb up and check them in detail. We didn't have a chance to do that because there was an extremely strange guy working there that wouldn't even talk to us. As in literally wouldn't talk — we'd talk to him and it was as if we were ghosts (maybe he was a deaf blind mute, I don't know, but he plays a mean pinball).

We poked around for a while and it seems to be a still functioning Viceroy Rubber factory… It's definitely still doing something, but it's not at all apparent whether weird mute dude works there, or if it's some sort of strange Edward Scissorhands-like fairytale of exile, or if he's just been abandoned like Milton in the basement. He's gonna burn the place down. He even kind of looked like Milton.

Lots of graffiti all over the Viceroy building and pretty much everything of course. We made tons of noise, went places we weren't supposed to, and even the security company vehicles just drove on past… Anyway, it looks like most of the buildings are in use by bizarro-world pack-rats and they're pretty much just full of garbage top to bottom but I'm not so sure. There was a lot full of big truck trailers (in perfect shape, not broken ones), and a few of them were unlocked, and even they were just full of garbage.

On to the graffiti:

We walked a bit further down the tracks and tried to see out if there was an easy way to get into the old concrete towers down the street, but there's no way in except via the basement and I'd rather do that with a flashlight! But it's pretty easy to get into so maybe I'll post some pictures of the inside if anyone's interested in having it scouted out for a guerrilla suspension.

They're building some sort of underground pipeline along the tracks. They were working on it yesterday, but today all of the big CAT stuff was abandoned. I was wondering if I could steal one and knock over a building for fun but that's probably a really terrible idea. In any case, I don't know if it's fiber installations (there was lots of fiber being laid) or what, but we climbed on down anyway. It was kind of odd, because there were CN rail workers watching us, but no one seemed to care, and no one appeared to be doing any work, maybe because of the cold.

They were laying two kinds of pipe (to satisfy that woman)… One was a steel pipe that they seemed to be gluing together (they had a sort of epoxy smell, and there were fans running inside the freshly placed ones). This was then followed by pouring a lot of concrete over them.

They were also putting in regular concrete sewers, so those big tubes were lying all over the place. There was actually tons of crazy stuff to take just thrown away — immense swaths of steel and iron, weird old broken machinery, to say nothing of the completely unprotected new gear…. If I had a studio in this area and a welder I could make some pretty cool stuff with just what's been left as garbage around here.

Well, on a more pleasant note:

Urban bunnies.

Mail call

I seem to be getting more funny/unusual/etc mail than usual lately. I have to admit that I think it's fun getting these, but at the same time it's sort of weird I think? I don't really know. I got high once and wrote a long letter to a blueberry farm, telling them over and over how they had the best blueberries around. I hope they liked the letter.

You may remember a while back I got a flattering but enigmatic letter from British Columbia and posted it here. Anyway, here's part two:

I got another interesting letter today, which you can see below. It came from Scotland. I've never been to Scotland, but they appear to have quite nice handwriting there.

The reason that this particular letter interests me so much is that there appears to be another letter underneath the short one, but it's been almost completely erased. Part of me wants to decode it, but it's really faint so I doubt I'll be able to get it (and they didn't push hard enough to pull it out via texture).

Anyway, I love getting letters… hopefully none of the senders eventually murder me.

Does that make me a legend?

So one of the really fun things about getting tatttooed by Matt yesterday is that it brought back all sorts of art memories from the ancient past… and then Saira and I pulled an old box out of my storage space and I found some pictures. The two kind of cruddy paintings below (I think about 6'x6' each but I'm not sure) were part of my highschool work, circa 1990…

(I really want to emphasize that's fifteen or so years old).

In retrospect, my highschool art program was incredibly cool, and I don't think it would ever be tolerated today. With full knowledge of school officials, my final year's art project was largely on the effects of LSD on painting and sculpture, with a secondary focus on blood art, so I actually did acid at school while working on the project for the entire semester, under teacher “supervision”. But it did end up getting me a scholarship so I guess it wasn't such a terrible idea? I mean, all of my grades were 92% and up, and several of my courses I literally wrote a perfect test every time and ended up with a hundred percent in those. So while the school played loose with the rules, I got a great education from teachers that took serious risks to allow me to express myself and do well at the same time.

Anyway, I've written in the past about how I once “poisoned” my university peers as a part of my performance art class — please read the crazy story first if you don't know what I'm referring to. Anyway, as I mentioned a few entries earlier, I dropped out of school after the first year, preferring dealing drugs and stealing to going to school (yeah, ok, maybe it was a terrible idea after all to do so much acid in highschool — but I do have some funny memories of being on acid, spending the day tossing bales of hay, as my mother accused me repeatedly of being high). In any case, on to the story.

So what I didn't know, but have now found out because Matt managed to stick it through the program, is that every year since then they have told performance art students that they are not allowed to do “shock art”. The more I think about that, the more angry it's been making me. Outside of calling what I did “shock art” being incredibly insulting and shallow, banning the class from creating meaningful and high impact art is the absolute worst lesson that an art school could possibly teach.




And for the artist, real art eventually kills you.

I'm not saying that you can't create something of beauty, but I don't know if all created things of beauty are art (I'm not convinced that most of what I paint is art). Anyway, I think that once you start defining art broadly, it's all art if you feel like calling it art, and then what's the fucking point unless you're an artist as a stepping stone to becoming a zen master.

The statement that I was trying to make with my performance (outside of “fuck you all”, which was a big part of it) was that we live in an incredibly dangerous world, that we're constantly faced with serious risks, and that most people are so stupid that even if they're warned in advance that something is dangerous, they still do it, and don't consider the risk until it personally strikes them. And I believe I pulled that off, because most of the kids in the class freaked out and called their parents and told them they had AIDS, and spent the next year getting tested. As far as I'm concerned, that project probably made half of those kids wear condoms for the next few years, and I'm assuming there's a real good chance that a few of them found out they had undiagnosed STDs. So as far as I'm concerned, my art changed the course of their lives, and that's as effective and valid as you get with performance art.

And fuck any school that tries to ban art while still maintaining the pretence of a legitimate art program.

Eh, maybe I'm just an art bigot or something.

More of my neighborhood…

I went for a walk and took some more photos. I don't know what those crazy pipes are, but they're really neat looking and totally decayed. The big silos in the photos are unused and not locked (they just have big bolts on them that I could open, I just didn't bring any tools). Might be a neat place to do a suspension inside one of those towers. Anyway, I'm going to make myself a snack and paint for a while. Other than that, these three weeks while Nefarious is away are “mod weeks” for me, so I have a few fun appointments coming up.

Fancy House…

My neighbor has a lot of decorative bricks! (Zoom in if you want)