TNM Studios June 2022 Newsletter
Centering health, the pitfalls of projection, my beef with Chris Marker's La Jetée,
I’m going to keep it fully 100% in this newsletter. I’ve been quietly working steady offline and, in the studio, locking in and focusing, and executing some dream work in the past year. This is going to be a long read because I’m going to share more about what has happened outside of the studio for this one.
During this time and thanks to the best insurance, I’ve had in my life from teaching at Princeton I had the chance to go through a range of health tests based on my familial health history which is not the best starting end of Feb - May. For about 1.5 months I was at the doctor twice a week for blood work, scans, colonoscopy, and all else. I felt very optimistic about this because I barely drink and do not smoke at all and mostly have eaten okay. Most of my tests checked out for the most part but I did get diagnosed with a degenerative disc disorder which has given me immense pain since the top of 2021. It’s a chronic disorder that many treat with pain medication but I decided to forgo that and get deeper into my overall health.
In March when I met first with a nutritionist, she put it like this – for every month that I gave myself a full hard healthy reset on my body I could reclaim a year that I have felt out whack. I identified five years where things were off and designated five months for a hardcore health reset.
This is what this commitment has looked like for me; A gym membership where I actually go to the gym 3 – 5x weekly, a personal trainer 3x per week, therapy sessions 2x per week – Process + Mythology therapy ( a LIFE changing experience!) + regular life maintenance therapy, weekly Acupuncture, weekly massage, weekly professional stretching, a herbal mix, Vipassana Meditation – 3x per week, daily Moxibustion post workouts thanks to a dear friend’s recommendation. I bought the Oura ring and have been able to track my sleep and successfully aim for more rest in a real way that I feel in my day-to-day. I have also been tracking calories via the Noom app (and yes it actually works + this is not an AD) and this has been the first time ever that I considered my caloric intake and have been able to be more conscious of cooking and what I really like to eat by sticking to a regimented diet that feels good and does not leave me feeling empty by any means.
The results? I’ve lost double digits amount of weight (the healthy way), gained muscle + strength, and am in the best shape of my life because of this. I have a clear mind and my sensory issues are tempered in a way that they haven’t been in a while. I just feel really good at the moment and this has allowed me to work across all of the projects that I have in play with more ease and efficiency. And I have no back pain as I strengthen my core, thankfully.
Why am I sharing all of this??
I think it’s time to pull back the veil of assumed productivity that = raggedness on my end that has been trailing me for years. Half of these things I have done for years to counter sensory issues tied to my autism and have never really spoken on it publicly. I’ve had to make my own accommodations and pay for care that most would think excessive but this care has allowed me to literally be able to speak. The pandemic wore me out by its stasis. The majority of the work that I produced last year required a ton of editing + writing which is a ton of sitting still which is not the best on the body especially when gyms were not the safest spaces to be in. Traveling to film and being stuck in hotels to stay well and protect my subjects was a mindfuck to say the least. Now I’m fully aware that we are STILL in this thing, but I have just now felt more confident to engage at the gym, and felt confident to invest in training in a real way.
At this moment when I am prepping to present a range of work, I am often asked about my artistic output because it tends to come up in these spurts all at once. Folks have assumed that I’m a workaholic when I actually work less per day than most people do who have jobs that they hate. This is not a diss, but at this point, and as my therapist is schooling me on the levels of what projection can be from friends, peers, and strangers I have had enough of it because there is an assumption of neglect that is inherent to making work at this level. This is not true. I like many others have struggled early in my career to wrangle what it really means to work for yourself in this field and it can indeed be taxing but it does not have to remain that way. Some people work very well when people tell them what to do, I do not. The projection thing has been something that I have had a very hard time reading as an autistic person and have often taken on these “concerns” from others as a truth/care model. But now that I am one solid year into assessing how this behavior has shown up in my life I have no time for it. People will work jobs, excessive overtime for low wages for others that have absolutely no merit or value to them and we never refer to them as workaholics or as doing a lot. Projection is a stealth emotional killer, and I now feel very confident about how to shut that shit down. I truly love and have fought very hard to be able to make work that means something to me. I can’t work a regular job, as it doesn’t work for my mind so I made a life for myself where I can set my own hours, and if I need to take a nap or rest I can do that cause I am my own boss. There are days when things are good for me and days when they are not, so this life that I have made for myself in the arts allows me this flexibility and I’m deeply thankful for this.
Now on to the work….
Announcements + Exhibitions + Events + and all else...
*I had the chance to meet one of my favorite artists of all time. Melvin Edwards. I attended the Dia Beacon luncheon and he was there as an honoree on the occasion of his stunning install in the galleries. So much I could share about this moment. Huge for me.
*I also have my first-ever studio assistant. His name is Rodney and if you email me about work then you will more than likely hear from him from here on out.
*June 13 – June 18 Parcours at Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland - Achaba de Ogun, 2022 on view at 100 Jahre Schlosserei Weiland (Basels Stadtschmiede)
She asks him about his necklace.
The combat necklace he wore at the start of the war that is yet to come.
He invents an explanation
These subtitles and subtext are burned into Marker’s short film La Jetée as the ‘Woman’ holds the ‘Man’s’ necklace, an Achaba de Ogun. This scripted erasure kills the knowledge and cultural heritage of this object, known as the Achaba de Ogún, for his fiction. McClodden, an admirer of Marker’s films, has crafted an Achaba de Ogún for herself made from iron as a counter to this cinematic erasure as she is a practitioner of Santería and a child of the orisha Ogún, an African deity known as the God of War and Iron. McClodden presents her Achaba de Ogún in the basement of the oldest Blacksmith shop in Basel surrounded by iron and steel alongside a 1960s painting by the actor Davos Hanich who portrayed the ‘Man’ in La Jetée which she purchased from Ebay. Hanich was a French painter and sculptor who met Chris Marker while in Switzerland as a refugee and a partisan during World War II.
*July 13th MASK / CONCEAL / CARRY at 52 Walker - NYC (I’ll share more on this one in July)
Shoutout to Ebony Haynes for allowing me to pull this shit off…WHEW!
August 3rd – 28th The Trace of An implied Presence at The Shed presented by Nike (yeah, the sports company)(ill share more in August)
*Some writing of mine that has come and is coming out -
I have an essay in artist D’Angelo Lovell Williams’ Contact High monograph on Mack Books
Mousse Magazine, Issue 80 – I was invited by the publication to review a few texts for the Books section and I chose to review Harmony Holiday’s MAAFA alongside Achille Mbembe’s Necropolitics and Dawn Lundy Martin’s Good Stock Strange Blood, its more of a ramble that came from reading all three at once last month.
*Reading - I’m currently working through –
I Want to Be Ready: Improvised Dance as a Practice of Freedom by Danielle Goldman has been a text that I sought out as I am working with a dancer, Leslie Cuyjet that works in Improvisation but this work is also a way to think about improvisation across form as a tool that is predicated on mastery as well as the willingness to explore form in real-time outside of the final product being the core goal or reference.
Harmony Holiday’s take on Kendrick’s latest album for 4Columns should be read by every music critic on the planet right now as an example of what it means to at the very least challenge your darlings. There is literally no other writer writing better than this woman. This is criticism at its most caring and finest. As an artist, you can only dream of someone reading your work at this depth whether good or bad or neither.
Re-reading Africa’s Ogun: Old World and New as I make this Achaba de Ogun for myself. It’s a text that has been very much a core to my spiritual practice and a way for me to expand the monolithic reads of my orisha Ogun.
Music, Films, + Videos…
I’ve watched Couples Therapy Season 3 and Orna is a fucking G, she is like the Shirley Horn of therapists ...she really gets space and silence. This season was interesting and I’m just a fan of the realness of it all. I loved the therapist group sessions the most.
The Northman is the whitest chaotic shit. I’ve. Seen. In. a. whiiiiile. Like why even go through all of that?! Naked in the lava shit at the end sent me though. Felt like a more foresty Star Wars Darth Vadar x Anakin fight gone Viking. I love an epic, but this was just not IT.
Love on The Spectrum (USA) – *Sigh* I’ve watched the entire season and am floored by the lack of a Black subject in this series. The UK edition also was very white-centered so I guess I was hoping they would address this lack but nope. As an autistic adult who is low support, I do see bits of myself in all of the characters and watched at times with tears in my eyes because it is a pretty big deal to have a show like this on TV. I’ve seen the reviews from the autistic community and I agree it does infantilize many of the subjects but I think the big win for this show was Kaelynn who did not have her parent speaking for her. She also happened to live in Greenville, SC where I grew up and her work with kids who have autism is really admirable.
Nala Sinephro – Space 1.8 - On repeat in the studio daily. Unreal beauty. Just sets a solid tone for focus and clarity and reminds me to breathe. This album feels like when you get in a good meditation sit.
Hassan Ibn Ali - Retrospect in Retirement of Delay: The Solo Recordings – this guy is a FULL genius. My elder Jymie Merritt put me on years ago and this release is stunning. I have the vinyl which I play at home often.
070Shake – You Can’t Kill Me - just dropped today and it’s HARD. Dark and some sonic exploration with her vocals and production are both crisp AF.
Angel Olsen - Big Time - This album fucking wreeeeecked me. The writing on grief, maaaan. Her take on a country album is TOPS. The lyrics are really lovely. All The Flowers broke me open. Wow. to be alive….
RIP to the great Samella Lewis. A true force. Her work across so many forms has been a guiding source of inspiration for many. Many of her publications have a home in [ Cf. ] and are there for you all to visit them and learn from her greatness.