July 19, 2007

Cabinet 26: "Perspective Correction"

Can I just say, I've reached a point in my life where I don't know what's left to accomplish? I mean, how can I top the thrill of getting to write for Cabinet Magazine? I just don't know.

I've had a puppydog crush on Cabinet since Issue 3, where they interviewed John Cliett about the implications of his definitive/exclusive photos of Walter deMaria's Lightning Field. Then there was the magazine's plan in 2003 to lease the ten tiny, lost slivers of surveying-mistake-generated land that Gordon Matta-Clark once bought from the New York City government for his unrealized project, Reality Properties: Fake Estates. What began as an offhand bemusement grew into an exhibition at the Queens Museum and a book--and an important contribution to the resurgence of Matta-Clark's influence on the art world. It can be self-conscious and super-nerdy, but the magazine consistently finds overlooked and convincing perspectives on the culture and art taking shape around us.

Whenever I read it, I was never able to imagine how to write one of those Cabinet essays. What offbeat subject did I have a slightly too obsessive familiarity with that a dozen art history phd's didn't already turn into 300-page dissertations? Then guest editor Jonathan Allen and Sina Najafi emailed me out of the blue, asking if I'd like to interview Scott Sforza about stagecraft for the special issue on Magic. Uh, YEAH.

Sforza never came to the phone, though, so instead, I ended up with an attempt to put a bit of political and visual context around the exercise of control of the vantage point. I also threw in some discussion of the impact of the switch from binocular [eyes] to monocular [camera/lens] vision and the construction and interpretation of media images. For good measure, I connected some dots from Sforza to Andrea del Pozzo to the spiritualist photographers of the 19th century to Jan Dibbets to Michelangelo Antonioni. Susan Sontag and Gilles Deleuze provided much of the theoretical seasoning, along with a rather candid Karl Rove, circa early 2001. To top it off, there are the incredible anti-Sforzian photographs of GWB's visit to Monolia shot by Iwan Baan.

I tell you this now because the article isn't online, so you should all go re-up your subscriptions pronto so you can read it. I still can't believe it's there.

Cabinet 26: Perspective Correction: The beguiling stagecraft of American politics [cabinetmagazine.org]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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first published: July 19, 2007.

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