Material Time

Larval Subjects .

Stone Age House on isthmus in Svaerholt, Norway. Photo By Levi Bryant

I’m slowly walking along the isthmus in Svaerholt, Norway.  My legs are tired from climbing hills and mountains and I can’t move any faster through the grass and uneven terrain.  Earlier in the day I helped Esther, Ingar, and Stein dig a midden outside of the ruins of the Nazi officer quarters in the village.  We discover piles of fish bones, whale or reindeer bones, lots of fishing hooks and nails, and shards of porcelain and glass.  There are Nazi eagles stamped on the porcelain.  Despite being shattered, it looks brand new.  Despite the discomfort of laboring over middens, carefully peeling away layers of dirt with a trowel, archaeologists have the best job, I think to myself.  Everything they find is treasure, even cod bones and mysteriously bent, rusted nails.

read on!

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Unruly Heritage

Early assemblages.jpg
This post, Unruly Heritage, like so many of Levi’s, feels like a confirmation of what I do in making art (what drives me, if not often in what I actually accomplish!) . It was my fascination with detritus I’d find on the street that got me started again, after a 40 year detour. That all these things, these fragments, in being broken and discarded–existed in a present– that was also, a Time of shattered chronology–like the shards of broken mirrors I often used–and represented, for me, a kind of freedom. The former use-identities still clung to them, but thinly, like dust, that in rearranging them, they asserted a new identity in their assemblage. It felt very political. Yes, I thought, or felt — THIS is what we have to do to make a new, and humanly habitable world!

Right to left,  above:  #10 “A piece of the Puzzle,”  #1, and #131. In the center, the first piece I made, July of 2012, in this numbered series that’s now at #903.

Larval Subjects .

For weeks I’ve struggled with how to compose this post because my thoughts feel all chaotic and jumbled.  However, the name of this blog is “Larval Subjects”.  This blog is a place for the development of half-formed, perhaps ill advised or poorly conceived thoughts.  For no thought can be thought before it is thought, and thinking a thought has a certain element of materiality to it, found within speech and writing.  Contrary to Aristotle’s Peri hermenaias, where speech is a sign of thought and writing is a sign of speech, such that thought is conceived as an origin or spirit that precedes speech and writing, there is always something nachträglich in thought.  One never truly knows what they think until after they have done, said, or written it.  Thought is not what precedes our action, speech, and writing as an arche or origin, but is what will have…

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#188

Buried in the basement… I was gonna trash this one, but when I held it against a frame, I thought it worth keeping. One of only two that I kept after coming back from New Mexico in 2013.
Colors of New Mexico. 28″ x 40″ Acrylic and paper collage on 1/4″ pvc foam board.
#188View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

 

3 Older Pieces… Pavement series #334

Pulled these up from my basement for the move. In 2015, I did a series inspired by patterns in pavement and broken sidewalks.
#334.jpg
#334 17×23 Acrylic, broken auto glass, street dirt on Masonite.
#354.jpg
#354 39×22 Acrylic on Masonite
#359 #359 16×22 on canvas
View more work at Saatchi Art, and on my web portfolio: ART BY WILLARD For photos on this blog, click MY ART on the right panel and scroll down.

 

Why do we choose to live isolated lives?

This is not how most humans, for most of our existence on this planet lived. This is a capitalist disease! And nowhere has it advanced to the deadly level that we see in the USA.

I’m in a desperate situation. Not sure I will be in a place I will want to choose to remain alive in another 3 weeks.

Tryin to think beyond my personal problems here–why is this happening? Asking this, so it’s about more than me.

Goin through this–desperate to find a place to live, a place where I don’t have to give up what keeps me alive–making art–makes me think, if I had money, I’d buy a big house, low rent or free for a communal core, with extra rooms and lottsa soffa space, so people coming to actions from out of town, or comrades passing through, or people in need of emergency shelter would have a place.

We need those kinda communal shelters. Something I’ve had on my mind for more than more than 50 years. In 1970 we bought a big fixer upper in Powelton, group of us–with one person putting up most of the initial money. Should be places like that all over the city. It is STUPID and WASTEFUL and socially destructive, the way we live in isolated units now. It takes learning new habits, new values, but makes so much more sense.

More than 50 years later, I’m haunted by some needless deaths in an apt house I was living in–old people without family alone in their flats. Most deadly for older people as they lose their health. A person alone in an apt, without family or friends, is in a place as unhealthy for mental health as solitary confinement. We put people–with disabilities, the very elderly–in Capitalist Solitary!

It’s so unnecessary! We don’t have to choose to live like this! We can change how we arrange our common lives–this is something in our power. We don’t have to wait for the revolution! We can BE that part of the revolution!

This is a concern of lifetime for me… a ‘concern’ the way older Quakers used the word. Does anyone care or think about this? How we could actually DO something to change how we live together–with profound consequences that would echo through the whole economic political social universe!

How many hundred thousand houses in Philly? If 5% of them went communal, most, if not all, of our les sans toit, would no longer be living on the street. And for those in need of more intense medical and psychological care, that same kind of housing, with people with training and skills needed to deal with those problems, would be able to take even THEM in. This is like, Street Medic Ethos–raised to the level most street medics actually would aspire to.

We need to think seriously about organizing on THIS level–on how we live–on learning to live together, caring for one another, in the world we want to make happen.

Svaerholt– Encounters With The Real

Larval Subjects .

It is June 9th, 2017.  I have earlier given a well attended talk on object-oriented ontology and the ontology of folds at the Litteraturhuset in Oslo, Norway.  I’ve been brought here by the Oslo Center for Advanced Studies and the After Discourse:  Things, Archaeology, and Heritage in the 21st Century.  It is late in the evening and I am sitting in a bar with Bjørnar Olsen and Þóra Pétursdóttir.  While I am delighted to be here, I’m not entirely sure why I have I have been invited.  I don’t yet understand archaeology and don’t see the connection with my work.  The year before—but it had been coming for a long time –I had made the decision that the purpose of my travel would be to learn from others and what they are doing in their disciplines and why.  I had decided that my philosophical work would be…

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