Labors of Love

I want to like Patti Smith. Really I do. by Naima Lowe

My Dearest 10 Readers, I have forsaken you. It has been over a year since my last post. This blog has gone the way of many that have come before it. Big dreams about the radical potential and ease of online presence crash and burn when faced with the realities of having a full time job or just being too unmotivated to write. Also there's this whole Tumblr thing that seems to be all the rage these days. I'm behind the curve apparently.

I'm not going to make any grand promises to myself or anyone else about my new-found commitment to the craft of pithy web presence. I will, however, attempt, in earnest, to share some of what's been running through my head over the last 14 months or so.

The biggest “project” that I’ve taken on has been my move to a small town in the pacific northwest called Olympia, WA. This town is the home of The Evergreen State College, where I am a member of the faculty. It is also the state capitol, the entry-way to the Olympic National Forest, the owner of a fantastic food co-op… And so very much rain. Rain, rain rain. Ugh. I think someone told me that Kurt Cobain wrote that last album up the street from where I live. And then there was all those pissed off white girls screeching…

Ok, that’s not especially earnest. Dammit! On the one hand, this place leaves me more earnest than ever, with its slowed down pace, its plethora of small farmers grinning me down at the market on the weekends, and its total willingness to embrace all sorts of unapologetically weird people into its fold. On the other hand, I am damp for 9 months out of the year and the lack of black people is almost as alarming as the volume of shapeless fleece outerwear. I am often at a loss for nice things to say, even when I’m feeling perfectly happy. Ambivalence is turning out to be a major theme in my interactions.

This was the culmination of one particularly difficult week last spring.

Naima, bashful, with Flyer

It is actually a whole lot more earnest than it seems. I even made a potential set list of my favorite songs by the artists’ pictured, and printed 50 flyers to post around town. They are all sitting in my little office though. I never got up the nerve to put them up. I suppose the rain just kept me from wanting to do much more than make soup and be cranky.

That, my dear 10 Readers, is the start of an honest assessment of my life in Olympia. There’s more to come, I hope.

Yours Truly,

Naima

And then there were Pasties by Naima Lowe

Dear 10 readers,

I have neglected this blog for many months as the complex and exhausting process of moving my entire life from one coast to another has rendered my almost completely without creative faculties. However, all is not lost.

As most of you know, (since 1/2 of you are members of my immediate family) I somehow managed to convinced my long term love, Kristina, to move with my from Philadelphia, PA to Olympia, WA. While we know that Olympia has many amazing things to offer (including gainful employment!), there are a variety of things that make us nervous about smallish town life. As lifelong East Coast girls, and great lovers of city life, this move will be something of a culture shock. But we're doing it. Earnestly.

And in the spirit of ritual and transition, we decided to mark our passage across the great United States of America by commemorating some of its natural and cultural wonders in the best way that utilizes our creative gifts and highlights our love for random factoids and kitsch.

Presenting "Pasties Across the Statsies!"

The idea came to me in a flash when I was trying to figure out a way to convince Kristina to drive across country instead of flying. I knew that if we had a project and task to make the hours in the car more bearable, she might go for it. I also knew that she would enjoy an opportunity to show off her crafting and pasty making skills. Oh yeah, and her tits.

We've chosen a series of locations along our route, but we're also leaving ourselves time and space to make changes and additions to our plan.

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We've learned a whole lot on this trip so far. For one thing, we've learned that it is really easy to get partially naked in public places without people noticing. We've also learned that when you go on a road trip in the middle of the summer and during a recession, there is lots and lots of road work and detours. And most importantly we learned that fiber-filled road snacks are the secret to road trip success.

I Win! (And So Can You?) by Naima Lowe

To my very dear 7 readers, I have some amazing news.

I have scored my dream job at the Evergreen State College in Olympia WA. I'll be teaching experimental and non-fiction film and video at a fantastic little public liberal arts college. It's an interdisciplinary college so that means that I get to teach across methodologies and with faculty in a variety of fields. The people are great, the campus is beautiful, and the opportunities for growth are fantastic. Like I said, my dream job. So dreamy in fact that I still periodically check the job boards because I haven't totally convinced myself that it's real.

I'm moving far away from everything I've ever known here on the dirty old East Coast, which is such an adventure for me in so many ways. I am happy, scared, thrilled, nervous, amazed and generally impressed with myself and the universe for this amazing opportunity.

I'm inspired to write a little something about this whole issue of getting ones foot in the academia door based on an interesting post written by this illustrious Julie Levin Russo last year when she landed her first academic job. She muses brilliantly on the strange culture industry that is academia and the challenges faced by young/new scholars. Her conclusions are astutely based in an analysis of how class privilege dictates ones relative ability to "make it" in academia. I couldn't agree more with her conclusions, and I recommend you read her thoughts on this and more over at her blog.

I am, of course, in a slightly different category as an artist navigating academia. In some ways us artists have an advantage, at least in terms of our mindset. As an artist, I've long since given up on the idea that what I produce is anything but a commodity to be traded in one of various cultural marketplaces. We all do it, one way or another. We go on tour, we get commissions, we audition for commercials, we get design gigs on the side, we teach, we beg, we borrow, we steal. Depending on our educations, privileges, and inclinations, some of us end up in Academia. I am one such person.

Some background: I grew up around educators and academics and artists, so my inclination towards this field was somewhat predisposed. There was a moment in college when I thought I'd rebel and become a corporate lawyer or get an MBA, but I figured I'd rather not actually be able to pay off my student loans, so I stuck with art. My father is an artist and scholar working in academia, so its really kind of the family business.

There is a somewhat long and convoluted story that accounts for how I ended up getting an MFA in Film in 2008, which I won't bother to tell right now. But I did it, and then I needed to become employed. Before and during graduate school, I had a variety of jobs, in fields savory and unsavory that paid my bills and kept me in good stories to make art about. After graduate school I decided to really "go for it" and focused all of my energy on doing that wonderfully absurd hustle known as: Being an Adjunct.

And all of the stories you've heard about it are true. I've worked at 4 different colleges and high school media programs in the last 2 years, often all at the same time, and still made less than I did with one job as an Administrative Assistant before graduate school. I had no job security, no health benefits, almost no formal career development or supervisory support, and little to no collegiality. More than anything, I had a general sense that I was a disposable commodity in the minds of the administration(s) of the school(s) I worked for. As in, if I walked away angrily, I could be easily replaced. And now that I'm leaving this life behind, I will be, by people who are just as (and often more so) qualified and hard working.

Also, I loved it. I happen to love teaching. I happen to think it is fulfilling, exciting, and fun. It's a creative job with lots of flexibility and autonomy. It's a job that connects you to people while they are exploring ideas and dreams, which is dreamy. I came to appreciate the fact that my life changed all the time. With a total lack of job security came new people, new places, and new challenges all the time. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Now, my ability to find joy in this crazy lifestyle was facilitated largely by the stability provided by living with my consistently employed partner of five years in a house with a tiny mortgage. She works for a company that provides domestic partner benefits, and she had faith (thanks love!) in my ability to eventually come out with a better job. (Class privileges come in many many forms, yes they do.) So, I built my CV, both in teaching and in my art practice. I worked on projects new and old, updated my website, kept up my contacts with other artists, did activist work with organizations that I cared about, got to spend time with my family, and managed to live a pretty good life. I had time to go on the academic job market 2 years in a row, applying to around 40 jobs that resulted in 7 phone interviews and 5 campus interviews. There were close calls, near misses, bad fits, and tragic outcomes. My anxiety was in constant overdrive, and my therapist worked hard for her sliding scale fee. And then about 3 weeks ago I got a phone call over dinner with a fellow hard working artist. We were actually in the midst of talking about how badly I wanted this job at Evergreen. And then I got it. And now everything changes.

I never ever have to do the adjunct hustle again. If I'm savvy and committed in this job, I have the opportunity to stay there for a long time which means continual fulfilling work in a place that will support my creativity and teaching ability. I get to take summers off to work on my own art practice (and personal well being.) I get to be one of the "chosen few." There are lots of artists who have no desire to be in academia, and even more who will never have access to its comforts regardless of their personal inclinations. I'm not going to attempt any deep contemplation on the deeply complex class issues that impact artists more broadly in this little missive.  I feel more equipped to consider the fact that even for those of us who have the privilege and desire to commit ourselves to the false meritocracy that is academia, eyes wide open and willing to do it just for the sake of creativity, inquiry and exploration... Even for us, this system is fundamentally flawed. I'm not saying that I didn't work hard or that I don't deserve to be where I am. I didn't lie, cheat, or steal to get this job. But this isn't a simple equation of smarts + experience + dedication + education + talent = job. Like every other person trying to survive capitalism I had to find the right way to sell the commodity that is ME, and enter into an industry that is barely willing to acknowledge the fact that it is, in fact, an industry!

As cultural producers and service providers in colleges and universities, academics are workers (of a peculiar  and highly privileged sort, no doubt, but workers nonetheless.), and it behooves us to continually evaluate our labor, evaluate our relationships to management, strengthen our relationships to other workers within our industry and in all industries, and work hard to remind ourselves and everyone around us of the structural inequities that impact our ability to work with dignity and fairness. I'm writing this as a reminder to myself that I have "moved up in the world," but that I don't want to fall into the trap of thinking "well, that's just how it's done." In addition to the lie of meritocracy, academics of all stripes, and perhaps artists in particular, participate in the lie that it's ok to let junior scholars and artists put up with this mess because we had to put up with it! Graduate school, post-graduate school, and junior scholar status is like a 10 year long hazing ritual for the overly educated. What are the implications for academia if it continues on in this way? What does it mean for undergraduates, future scholars, and the production of new knowledge and art in academia if only the strongest (and most class privileged) can survive? Does it have to be this way?

So my dear 7 readers, what are the alternatives? I am here as an artist in academia because I actually do believe in art and education for its own sake. I believe that it is important and worthwhile, and I believe that it is worth investing my time, energy and smarts in, despite all its flaws. Maybe the 8 of us can come up some ideas on how to make it better, for everyone.

Yours Truly,

Naima

When Research Becomes Dangerous by Naima Lowe

For the last few years I've had that iconic image of a man sitting in his basement apartment illuminated by 1369 light bulbs from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. I have been thinking about ways to interpret that image or use it as a jumping off point for some new work. Still pre-occupied, as I am, with using (or else losing?) my hard earned skills as a photographer and cinematographer, my first thought was to stage the image in some way, and then take a photograph or make some sort of short film. Alas, someone smarter and more famous than I has already done so.

Moments like these inevitably make me curse my ignorance when it comes to contemporary art (apparently Jeff Wall is famous), and cause me to massively doubt my ability to avoid being derivative. Which is funny, given that the project inherently asks for such scrutiny as a remake/re-rendering of one of the most famous works of African-American literature.

Today while doing my research, I didn't give up entirely, though my pluck seems to have diminished. I'm not surprised or overly annoyed that I'm so sensitive to such things. I'm a young, struggling artist and while wide fame and fortune aren't my largest goals, I do have to consider my work in relationship to those working in similar fields. I'm more bothered by the fact that I've started to think about potential project in the context of how they might seem to people who might hire me to teach. Again, I'm not naive; I know that this matters. But academics are a small corner of my already miniscule audience, and if I'm going to focus outward in any way, it seems more pragmatic to think about my creative, political, social, personal and academic circles as a whole.

But even as I read this, I'm struck by this whole concept of "audience." What do I need from an audience? Validation? Press? Feedback? Funding? Love?

Not to worry my five whole readers. I haven't given up hope. I'm just trying to gently nudge myself out of this creative slump that I seem to have entered since leaving the not-so-gentle embrace of graduate school. I think that the only way to do this is to get over myself and just keep making things.

Easier said than done.

Yours Truly

Naima

In a way, we're all String Theorists. by Naima Lowe

In the last six months or so, I've heard the following phrase several times from several different people, and it has made me thoroughly cranky: "In a way, we're all Artists." Now, all three of you reading know that my art practice features a mix of more rarified, highly skilled pieces and things that explicitly reject the idea of art as something created outside ones everyday existence. The three of you may also know that in the realm of "media arts" I'm thoroughly interested in understanding the impact of various institutional modes of creation and how they shape/are shaped by the creative people around them. As in, I'm just as amazed by YouTube celebrities as I am by Julie Dash as I am by Peter Greenaway as I am by Kara Walker delving into film and video in her recent work.

I'm also invested in debunking the notion of "artist" as a category reserved for cultural elites (I am in this category, so this is a tricky thing to debunk), and those who otherwise have "time to kill" while normal people are stuck getting real jobs. And I'm often exhausted by reminding myself and others that ideas of "good art," bad art," "fine art," "political art," "trained art," "outsider art," "community art," "conceptual art," "craft," etc etc are entirely coded by class, access and cultural hegemony. Each of these modes of cultural production has their own sets of institutional norms and practices, and are impacted by the flow of capital and aesthetic/political position relative to the cultural elite.

And yet, when I hear people say "Well, we're all 'artists' in our way," I get annoyed.

Perhaps I'm overly sensitive because I'm trying to pay off my art school loans on a working artists' salary, (actually, on an art teacher's salary, because most artists actually get to also be at least three other things in order to stay afloat). But the statement "We're All Artists" feels so disingenuous at times, especially when I hear it from people who have well-paying, middle class/upper middle class jobs in specialized fields that require their own type of training and experience. What would happen if I was talking to a civil rights lawyer about their work and said, "Well, we're all Civil Rights Lawyers, in our way, right?" or "We're all Labor Organizers in our way" or what about "We're all Cardiologists, in our way"?

I get that there is artistry and creativity in everything that we do, but I also feel protective of those of us who bust our asses on the daily to operate as artists. In capitalism, most artists are expected/have to more or less give their work away. There are a few who become art stars, receiving critical and financial success within one of the various art markets. But most of us essentially create work in the interest of being able to continue to make more work. Our labor is vastly devalued, regardless of whether we've received specialized training, had lives of privilege, or feel entitled to the word "artist" in the first place. And unfortunately this model is just as prevalent (if not more so) within progressive circles. How many times have we heard people talk smack about the amount that artists charge for their work, or about having "sold out" by getting a contract with a major record label or film studio? Or how often do we, as people interested in social justice, expect our artists to only speak from a very specific polemical political position, or to otherwise justify their existence by the work's ability to be commodified by the movement?

So yeah, it feels like a slap in the face to hear that everyone/anyone gets to be what I've (and many many many others, who have had even fewer tangible markers of success than I have) fought tooth and nail every day to become.

And perhaps I'm overly sensitive because in the interest of making a decent living, I'm using the creativity and artistry of teaching as my main source of actual income, and this work takes up more of my time than I'd like to admit.

So tell me, my three dear readers. Am I just being a snob with a chip on her shoulder, or should I start to find ways to address this issue among my peers?

Yours Truly, Naima

Teaching, Learning, (Making A) Living by Naima Lowe

There's an article today in the Philadelphia Inquirer about Adjunct Awareness Week at Temple University. The actions are organized by the Adjunct Organizing Committee. I am theoretically a part of this organization. As in, I'm an adjunct at Temple University, and I am interested in fair labor practices, and I'm on the email list. However, I haven't been to an action or a meeting in for as long as I can remember. I get pangs of guilt every time I hear about the paltry protests, because I know that this matters, and that I am as frustrated as many of my peers about the poor working conditions. But it's a total Catch-22, because going to those meetings and seeing those protests can almost make me feel even worse, because they are so poorly attended. It is hard to make the case that Adjuncts are demanding better conditions when only (according to the Inquirer article) 10 people show up to the protest. Cue the guilt. For those of you who don't know, as an Adjunct, I have no job security, no benefits, very little access to professional development, no office, no real support from my department, and the pay is well... BAD. I do it because I happen to like it, and because, frankly, even though I've applied like hell to all manner of other full time positions, this is what I've got going on in this economy. I don't think I'm alone in this particular scenario. So I'm well aware that as an adjunct there are, in fact, very poor working conditions and I know that the University depends on my willingness to work for cheap to maintain its bottom line. The confusing irony, of course, is that while more and more adjuncts are hired to teach, and more and more lay-offs of full time staff occur, tuition keeps going up and up. Read that Chronicle article I linked to in this paragraph. The author explains this stuff way better than I do.

But I digress. I'm concerned with why I, and perhaps other Adjuncts, find it hard to get involved in organizing for better pay and benefits withing our chosen profession. For one thing, I think that there' s a certain complacency built into this system. People enter the land of the "Adjunct' with the expectation that they will move on to something bigger and better eventually (that's certainly what goes through my head), and so getting involved in organizing for better pay and benefits feels sort of problematic/a waste of time. Part of the reason that this system of grossly underpaying large portions of the teaching workforce at a University stays in place is that many of us see it as a necessary evil or stepping stone. Our professors and peers with full time positions all did it, and then found better jobs, so why make a fuss? Of course, many of them got those jobs (and are holding on to them for dear life!) before the current over-crowding of the academic marketplace with highly qualified candidates.

I also wonder if we Adjuncts, who are largely people with advanced degrees (MAs, MFAs, PhDs, etc) find it difficult to think of themselves as "workers." I know that I often internally cringe when I talk about the problems involved with my jobs (yes, multiple, as is the case with most Adjuncts, unless they are independently wealthy). On the one hand I was raised as a good quasi-socialist progressive type who sees the essential flaws in capitalism, supports unions, abhors the treatment of the poor and working class people in our economy, and thus (with requisite middle-class guilt) wonders how I can in good conscience put my over-educated, culturally privileged self into the same category. I know, I know. This analysis is rife with problems, but I think there's something to it! I imagine that many adjuncts have a similar mix of political left-ness, class privilege and (thus) guilt about their position in the world. And I think that my "guilt" may also be a mask for not WANTING to align myself with whatever f*cked up stereotype I have about people involved in labor unions. My family, supposedly, ascended beyond "worker" status, onto become full fledged intellectuals, artists, activists even! And so now, even though I'm nominally employed, and other members of my immediate family are unemployed, underemployed, riddled with debt, facing evictions, etc, I can't help wonder how my ambivalence towards taking part in Temple's organizing is related to my sense of shame in having all this amazing cultural capital, but very little actual capital to show for it.

What should I do my 3 dear readers? Yours Truly, Naima

I think this is real... by Naima Lowe

I wrote this today as a statement of artists intentions for a job that I'm applying for. It is longish (perhaps too long for a job application), and I'm not sure that it is what I'm suppose to do. But I think I really really mean it. So here it is. -----------------

Naima Lowe

Statement of Artists Intentions and Recent Work

Statement of Artists Intentions

I have a really good work ethic. For some, a good work ethic means waking up every day and getting straight to the drawing board. For others, it means feverishly toiling in front of a screen or on set at all hours of the night. My work ethic comes from a deep desire to treat everyone who takes part in my art work; collaborators, audience and myself; with deepest respect and care.

I live in a world that feeds on fears of scarcity, pushes allies into competition, and is fueled by consumption rather than creation. As the daughter and granddaughter and great-granddaughter and great-great-granddaughter of jazz musicians, teachers, social workers, dress makers and field hands, I have the profound privilege of being reminded daily that I am nothing without my collaborators in the creation of joy and abstraction in the every day. In my work I push back against scarcity by being devilishly baroque, undermine competition by teaming with those who challenge me most, and treat all of my work (even the consumable parts) as lived aesthetic experiences in which process is barely distinct from product.

Recent and Ongoing Works

My work usually revolves around the strange complexity of identity formation, especially the way that we are both utterly fixed by our bodies and completely free to make it all up as we go along. My 2007 film Birthmarks explored the physical and psychic scars of violence through the ever morphing relationship between a father and daughter. In addition to collecting archival material and creating original writing and installation works to be filmed, I made a series of intentional spaces in which my father and I could challenge ourselves to look closely at the series of dark scars on his back that he received by being beat up by the Newark Police in 1967. The collaboration with my father largely revolved around a jazz improvisational model during which we agreed to a key and tempo (Newark, the riots, 1967), felt confident in each others’ knowledge of our instruments (him-Bass Trombone and storytelling, me-16mm camera and poetics), and then challenged each other to play our best. There were moments in the two year process of creating this film when I wanted to scream at my father for being inconsistent, or untrue to myself by pretending not to feel the pain brought about by the work, but I chose to remain present and accountable to my work ethic. I choose to remain true to my aesthetic vision while being kind to myself and my father. The experience was as unwaveringly honest, complex and affirming as I believe the film turned out to be. .

My more recent work has me delving more fully into the relationship between identity and historicity. In addition to research on the film work of Kara Walker and her status as a black post-modernist within the institutional fine art world, I have considered my own power as an artist to shape and mold the images of fictional and real subjects. In my work Mary and Sarah and You and Me: A Series of Tiny Spectacles, I have created a densely theatrical and spectacle driven world based on the lives of real life 19th century women. Stagecoach Mary Fields was a black cowgirl, and Mother Sarah Amadeus Dunne was the white nun whose story is entwined with Mary’s in the small white Montana town in which they lived. In creating this work I sought the help of a friend (Emmy Bean) and fellow alumna of a musical theater camp, whose life as a queer, white radical Christian echoed mine as a queer, black, artist brought up in mostly white central Connecticut. I knew that in order for us to go about writing, rehearsing, making music and videos, and researching 19th century pioneer life, we would have to deal confront ourselves pretty head on. Our joint work ethic included intensive weeklong sessions that were always punctuated with trips to the beach, time to see our families, and space to breathe and cry as needed. We warmed up by singing show tunes, and always made sure to have good food available for ourselves and anyone working around us. The resulting work is a layered experience for spectator and artist alike that includes storytelling, video installation, song, over-head projected photographs, and puppetry. We utilize some aspects of a stripped bare gallery aesthetic in order to situate our audience in a familiar mode of art consumption that gives the audience space to consider their own place and implication in the work. We also tell rich, detailed, visually dynamic stories about forbidden love, racial injustice, and religious fervor. These tales shift and evolve before the audiences’ eyes as we interrogate the integrity of our own project, and ask ourselves why we feel that these women’s lives are ours to reshape.

The mundane aspects of my creative practice may seem too vulgar to state as an part of my artistic intentions, but I have found it useful to remind myself and anyone I collaborate with of them. Too often I find that experimental filmmakers, video artists and performance artists, like myself, have given themselves over to solitary, auteur, obsessive, and self involved practices that ignore the pleasure and collectivity that comes along with our transgressions. I work very very hard, and I care a great deal about craft, make no mistake. But I have chosen this artists life for myself, and I intend on enjoying it.

A Strange White Box by Naima Lowe

I have rented and currently inhabit a 520 sq foot studio in a converted warehouse in an industrial/residential neighborhood in NE Philadelphia. This is by no means a strange state of affairs. I am like many other young (and older) artists, craftspeople, filmmakers, t-shirt makers, musicians, and entrepreneurs who take up residence in these spaces, working to fulfill our creative dreams, to fulfill our landlords dreams of gentrification, to fill these weird empty boxes that once housed industry.

I like the imagine that they still house industry. I suppose in the case of some of my neighbors, this is true. There's the recording studio next door and the paper maker downstairs and the jewelry designer down the hall.

I do something else entirely, and I've somehow decided that the best thing to do with this THING that I do is house it in a big cube that I've painted white and filled with equipment and paper and paint and brushes and books and fabric and other shit that I've collected over the years.

That is the magic potion, right? Mix collected shit, good ideas, ambitious new MFA holder in a nice big asbestos filled container and WHAM, BANG POOF! You get art.

eh.
Not so much.
It is an interesting trick to train myself to to do my art in this space. My practice is so much in my head. I read books, I have conversations, I pace up and down, and watch TV. I apply to things, and then I read more books. And cull video footage on occasion, and then I hatch this gigantic plans that do, in fact, require space and junk... But in the meantime, its that other stuff. I'm making art RIGHT NOW (said the girl about to drink some Ting and watch Bravo), and I'm not in my studio. What does that mean? Will it be lost forever because I haven't hatched it in the place where it will be best nurtured? Will it die on the way to its nursery?

But, this is what discipline is shaped of, and I think that discipline isn't such a bad thing. I sit there for 2-3 hours at a time, and I read, write, apply for things, organize things, look at videos, and pace up and down. I give myself a break. I read some more. Those 2-3 hours started out as nothing but fear of even showing up in that place. And then it was 1 hour, and now its 2, and in a while I'll probably stand to be there for days and days at a time.

In my cauldron, my cube, my asbestos box, my obligatory art cubicle with its total lack of heat and shitty ventilation.

Material Girl by Naima Lowe

This elongated process of packing up all my belongings into a new house and a new studio has me anxious and excited. As usual, I go through all of my books, papers, clothes and letters and remember things about myself and past... Really finding out about myself, once again, through objects.

And in the process I'm discovering my fascination with objects, and forging new project ideas around these objects. I want to deal in the physical and tactile. I want sentimentality and dust in my nose. I'm talking about burying and digging up burlap, stacking up VHS tapes and buying old red telephones from ebay. I don't expect much to come out of this... Just a messy room in a converted fastener factory.

It is strange to start with writing, get educated in image making and end up caring most about things I can hold in my hands. It is strange to suddenly feel like something of a formalist, or a materialist, or maybe a situationist or another one of those words that I don't quite understand. But then maybe we're all formalists at heart, even the people who claim concept above and beyond all else. Aren't, after all, my body and thoughts made of SOMETHING. Aren't there aesthetics in the everyday?

Inspirations and Life and Work and Everything by Naima Lowe

Aha!I've decided to take up the mantle of actually using this blog to document my attempts at being a really real grown up artist type on her way to finishing her MFA and trying to make art and teaching my career. This isn't an easy endeavor, but perhaps this attempt at paying attention to the process, tracking myself and my endeavors here will help it all feel more real.

I'll start, I suppose, with the project that I am most directly involved with at the moment, and then go from there. The next few posts will be dedicated to describing it in detail and trying to get myself closer to being able to describe it in the context of my education, my life, and my beliefs.

Here's a basic description of the projection from my website. It is called: Mary and Sarah and You and Me