from the serie ” During a rave party ” by Lise Sarfati
RUSSIA St. Petersbourg, 2000
from the serie ” During a rave party ” by Lise Sarfati
RUSSIA St. Petersbourg, 2000
all of this.
(Source: entergodmode / GODMODEINTERNET)
Photo by me.
"What are you supposed to do with Photoshop?"
This was a question I asked absolutely no one. I didn’t ask even after I signed up for a class that taught Photoshop to kids on weekends.
The class was part of a program called Coyote Junior High, the idea being that elementary and middle school kids could tackle the creative endeavors of their dreams when their dreams weren’t being crushed at regular weekday school. Want to build a treehouse? You totally can! What about a soap box car? What’s a soap box car? Doesn’t matter! Build one and then rocket all over your neighborhood like a tiny racer.
Tree house class and soap box car class both existed and both sounded great, so naturally I took Photoshop class, which deposited me and about 15 other confused children into a florescent room one day a week to learn how to scan our photos from home and add effects to them.
There was definitely more going on there, but at nine pretty much all of it was way beyond anything I could grasp, so instead I brought photos from home, scanned them, and then dutifully photoshopped my little sister out of them whenever possible.
The one I remember the most was a photo of the two of us swimming in Mexico. It was hot but grey, and that grey sky reflected on the water, giving it a metallic property, like we were submerged in Mercury. That one was easy. I smudged the water around until her bobbing head wasn’t in the photo anymore. It looked like she was never there.
I showed it to my dad, and he was not impressed. He asked me why I would do something like that and I didn’t know what to say. It never occurred to me that the act of digitally removing my sister from a photo might mean that I wanted her removed from my actual life.
I responded to this by returning the next week with more family photos—now duplicating my sister into any empty space I could.
A million little sisters on a grassy field at the park.
A million little sisters in the rainforest, floating above a tree canopy.
A million little sisters visiting Mayan ruins.
A million little sisters obscuring a massive temple, and the blazing sun above it.
To this day, Photoshop for me is binary. I am not skilled enough to do anything with it but add and subtract. There is a lot of something, or there is nothing at all.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest mistakes I ever made was selling my copy of Blink 182’s Dude Ranch for like four bucks in a fit of misplaced coolness. I was clearing out my CD collection for no reason at all, my senior year of high school—Dude Ranch had been out for awhile. I think I was 13 when it came out—and I threw it in a stack with alanis morissette’s Jagged Little Pill and probably some other stuff I can’t remember. Why did I feel this pressing need to get rid of these CDs? Where did I think I was going?
In the pile it went. Blink 182 couldn’t stay but Korn could? What is that logic? Life is Peachy is still under my bed somewhere. Attribute it to a frantic fit of sweaty insecurity. Bleary-eyed, thumbing through albums and tossing them on a whim—it’s a feeling of recklessness with my possessions that I haven’t felt since. It was its own small transformation.
One thing I do remember feeling weird about as a teenager was how Blink 182 were not teenagers, but they were making songs that pinpointed the teenage experience—or I guess the experience of being a white teenage boy in America in the 90s—so accurately that it made them hugely, hugely famous. As I approached those late teen years, the ones where you think you know everything, I decided that what they did was creepy, somehow managing to discount the 65 billion young adult novels written by grown men that I’d been reading.
I don’t really regret the choice to toss the CD. Thanks to the miracle of technology, I can listen to Dude Ranch whenever I want, which is not often, because I can no longer relate to it. What I do regret was this line of thinking: how could grown men write accurately about my teenage experience right down to the gross jokes that you laugh at but never actually think are funny?
Maybe they were teenagers trapped in adult bodies or maybe they just remembered what it felt like to be so unsure.
When our family first got a personal computer, I didn’t really know what to do with it. Most kids had PCs. They could play Commander Keen and a bunch of other games that came on floppy disks the size of a human skull. I remember them all as variations of Mario, except every couple levels you had to switch out for another floppy, the computer engulfing it in one unglamorous shove/suck motion. But we had a Mac. I’m not sure why. At the time, Macs were used for….? I don’t even know. Graphic design? No one was doing that in my house.
Once I had played the few games available to me: Loom, Prince of Persia, Reading Maze, Flight Simulator (Flight Simulator was terrible), I would write stories. I would open up Microsoft word, dutifully make sure all the text was in caps, bold, italicized and underlined—you know, all the options—and then I would start writing.
The stories were each a paragraph long. Maybe two if I was feeling especially inspired. They mostly followed the Potsticker family, which, I believe, was loosely modeled on a combination of my own family and The Simpsons. Each story involved the family going to a sporting event in Seattle. At some point during each event, the son in the family would be called upon to help the team out in some way (home run, extravagant slam dunk), and the story would end. I was terrible at sports—all sports—so these stories were wish fulfillment.
The one I remember the most involved the Potstickers going to a Mariners game, where the son hit a game-winning grand slam after first meeting Ken Griffey Jr, and then soon after, his father, Ken Griffey Sr. I remember writing the story in awe of how Ken Griffey Jr., the best baseball player in the history of time as far as I was concerned, had a dad that also played professional baseball. Based on all logic available to me, if Jr. was that good, then Sr. had to be even better. He had to be playing baseball at god level.
Photo by John Francis Peters
Remember when Future was weird? He’s still weird, but other rappers showed up and were weirder. It’s partially why Honest has so many layers—not a love song to be found, no song as anthemic as “Tony Montana,” just a bunch of hoarse-voiced croaks from the dead center of whatever you call the crisis that a famous person has when they get famous (see also: live the dream, live their dream, live someone’s dream) and realize that it’s maybe not what they want. It’s all over the album—from the entire concept of “Benz Friendz” (when was the last time that sentiment was relayed in a rap song—or any other song really—plus, PLUS! It breaks the Andre3000 guest spot mold that’s been going on since, like, the “Walk It Out” remix of popping up on a song where everyone else is talking about things not even remotely similar to what he’s talking about, which makes him sound even wiser than he already is. Andre and Future are collaborating right down to the thematic bones of this thing and it is a joy to listen to) to the John Carpenter never-ending tension of “Covered n Money,” which paints having a shitload of money as legitimately nightmarish. No joke, first time I heard the song the first image that popped into my head was Future being covered in money, buried alive by it. Not a nice image. There’s the other stuff too—the Big Rube interlude which places Honest right in that Dungeon Family lineage of simmering paranoia, the Kanye West verse that, subject matter aside, sounds like it came from a particularly angry afternoon Kanye had sometime around the release of Graduation that no one knew about, the way “Move That Dope” is full of retro computer skronk to the point that it sounds like all that retro tech in Alien looks and how the absolute happiest-sounding person the entire album is Pharrell, again on “Move That Dope,” nimbly rapping about doing yoga with naked girls. He’s having his third (fourth? fifth?) moment in the public eye and he is audibly stoked. So Honest is the sound of Future re-evaluating. Auto-tune tossed out for Busy Signal/Mavado/Assassin-golden period of creativity dancehall rasp, money means nothing, but he has it. What’s the point? Honest is not the best album Future will ever make, but you can’t say it’s not interesting.
Ian Wallace, At Work 1983, installation view from Many Places at Once, CCA Wattis Institute, April 2014
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