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Katie Peyton Hofstadter
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This is a shark on a house. It follows the time honored tradition of shark art, and art on top of houses. It’s a statement against dropping shit from the sky. What else do we need to know? According to the Oxford City Council: a lot. Should it be removed? Maintained? Landmarked forever? More importantly, if we allow one person to have shark on their house, does that mean we have to let everyone have a shark on their house? What about a dolphin? A turtle? A giant Pokémon? In other words, is the Headington Shark a gateway drug? I've thought about it, and I’m pretty sure I personally don’t have much cause for concern. My building (a 1928 walkup at the edge of Greenpoint BK) is an unlikely target for guerrilla shark action. First, the shark would have to access the roof, which is not going to happen. The super is definitely not going to answer the phone. The shark can send an email to the management company, which will be received never. Someone’s cousin may come and look at the shark’s apartment and say it’s an old building, and also, no to the roof. In fact, I have seen no sharks on any roofs in my neighborhood, in the time since this shark was installed in 1986. The only thing I’ve seen on top of buildings are other buildings: new construction condominiums, which literally snake over, in an L fashion, to hover on top of prewar walkups. So, even if a shark does land on the roof, a condominium will probably land on top of it in three years. +++ I cannot believe The New Yorker was also working on a piece about this, but if you want actual reporting, you can read the whole thing here. Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2019 at The Best American Poetry
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What I notice first: the carved wooden snake, glowing pink and gold in the darkened room. Her lips curl back to laugh, showing teeny-tiny fangs. In the corner, a hypertext narrative glitters quietly, ready to fork. Laughter isn’t a common theme in art and technology, though maybe it should be. It is a powerful game-changer. It allows us to shift one mindset to another. According to George Carlin, laughter creates a space just large enough for a new idea to slip in. Laughter can also be a purge, allowing us to process cruel and absurd truths that might otherwise drive us insane. I’ve traveled to 205 Hudson Street to see the The Laughing Snake, by Brooklyn-based Iranian artist Morehshin Allahyari. See it in person, that is; I had previously experienced the hypertext narrative online, through the Whitney Museum’s Artport, a portal to Internet and new media art. Morehshin Allahyari, She Who Sees the Unknown: The Laughing Snake, 2018. 3D-printed sculpture, touchscreen with hypertext narrative, mirrors, & sound. Installed in Refiguring the Future, Hunter College Art Galleries, 2019. Allahyari's latest series, She Who Sees the Unknown, re-examines female monsters of Middle Eastern origin. The work slides smoothly between the past and present, drawing parallels between ancient legends and contemporary narratives and asking: How are the myths of the past shaping the technology of our future? In this series, you’ll encounter dark goddesses, sinister prophecies, trickster jinn. Set at the intersection of real and virtual worlds, Allahyari explores the mysteries at the sharp edges of our culture, and in the cracks between our stories. She knows the best art often comes from these gaps. Screenshot: Moreshin Allahyari, The Laughing Snake, hypertext narrative on Artport. The Laughing Snake According to the Book of Felicity, an illuminated manuscript from the 16th century Ottoman Empire, the Laughing Snake was a female jinn who went on a murderous rampage. Day in and day out, she murdered humans and animals to the sound of her own hysterical laughter. Finally, a wise man came up with the brilliant plan: to hold a mirror to her face. The jinn laughed at her own reflection, until she died. Why would a woman go on a hysterical rampage? Allahyari holds up a mirror and describes a woman laughing at her own world: This is a hypertext narrative: when you click bold words, they fork into new lines or stanzas. [... indicates what the hypertext changes to. Click here to interact with the full hypertext narrative. ) And please know that I am just Existing: Walking around in the streets of Tehran (in pants, with a long Manto, covering all my body, and a scarf) Taking the public taxi Standing in some line Taking the bus Sitting down somewhere And young boys, middle-aged fathers, old old grandpas CASUALLY [... CAUSING EVENTUAL MONSTROSITY Catcall me — EVERY SINGLE DAY To tell me “what a nice piece of pussy” I am To tell me “I want to fuck you and your mother” To tell... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2019 at The Best American Poetry
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There is a hopeful sense that like this bird, the most fluid of us may survive. Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2019 at The Best American Poetry
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Jan 1, 2019