Uncertain Terms

by Katherine Aungier

When an artist Corrina Mehiel, an activist, a woman was killed in DC...

It's offensiveness is in that the life of someone was taken, I felt particularly touched by the fact she seemed to live her life out there and with care for others. When I look at her work in particular the series Tree Hugger floors me. 

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     Copyright 2017 Corrina Mehiel. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 Corrina Mehiel. All rights reserved.

 In this photo series, Tree Hugger, Mehiel wrote, “ I am attempting to embody my mother by wearing her clothes.  She spent her life planting trees, knowing that if given the time, they would outlive her.  Since her death, trees have become a sort of memento of her life for me.”

Corrina Meheil’s gave me a gift, that communication may not be direct but the attempt to talk to someone you know is gone has grace. I will come back to this endeavor of trying to make some actual headway into violence itself; here seems like a good time to go in, but I don’t want to be capitalizing on suffering that isn’t mine. The phrase, "no one should outlive their children," will always hold true, if you are reading this and have lost a child, please excuse all of my small complaints to follow.

Whitney Biennial, New York CIty, NY, March 20th 2017

Within the Whitney Biennial, the visitors come into a worship space.  A basic humanity and a sense of scale are immediately noticeable in Raul de Nieves’ work the beginning & the end neither & the otherwise betwixt & between the end is the beginning & the end,

Raul de Nieves works at the Whitney Biennial, Matthew Carasella courtesy of the Whitney Museum

Raul de Nieves works at the Whitney Biennial, Matthew Carasella courtesy of the Whitney Museum

The space is figured with those walking across a desert of pain to find grace, light or strange beaded figures that are just a little larger than us. It is a story of progression through violence, the idea of death as a force to be met, the ritualistic making of artwork and a dialogue with the place from where you grew.

A repossession of one’s pain versus another or others' pain, specifically that of Mamie Till Bradley has come under wide scrutiny with Dana Schutz's painting and the Whitney Museum. Displayed within this Open Casket, a painting made by Schutz takes as its primary source a photograph of the image of Emmet Till’s open casket, hence the title. The power that Mamie Till has, is she knew that the death of her son could be taken very seriously because of the brutality to a child.

The main problem I have with this whole issue is the fact that violence towards black people is still not taken seriously enough in this country, for example the shock of the photograph or the one of Castill being shot might be less mobilizing today than it was over 50 years ago. Mamie had his casket remain open- the impact of that act was so strong it shocked America. So true are Mamie’s words today, “Strange, to think that people might learn to hate as a way of getting some approval, some acceptance, some love. I thought about all that”.

 I do think about the spaces we create to view artwork often and I don’t think we have enough actual voices of people whose pain we are “representing” and yet I am a white woman so let me just say I am not sure, how do I speak up ?

Most of this issue which is racism and then justice which follows an act of hate both are important but the root causes are harder to weed out. I do not say enough and if I do it is to my like minded friends.

 Mexico City, April 10th 2017

I did take a hiatus from the United States, New York to be specific, in an effort to get unstuck.

So here is the honesty; I came to Mexico City with heartbreak.

Romances don’t always go there. They don’t always cross a threshold of pain beyond repair. The suffering maybe can stay out in the open and then each person grows.

When I go into the world I try to act never afraid, but I am terrified- then the work comes.

The small infraction on my freedom to roam in the night is a major setback to a general mode of operating here. My fear setback is most likely one tenth of what it might be like to be born in America not white and that is truly humbling and nauseating to consider.

We still need an inhabitable planet and there is something even more savage than human nature at play here, greed has gone inward and the value of a person has a somehow been reduced into almost a negative amount and our Mother Nature we’ve left to die.

Yet, the Dalai Lama says he is considering not being born again and the nature is screaming at us to heed her warning. There are Native Americans, descendants of those taken bondage, there are the sacrifices of so many peoples' labor- we sometimes call them aliens or illegal or mothers and there are healers, strong people, gracious greeters. They're up against many a crazed person in power trying to break their backs and not in the abstract, not just in higher places of power.

I mean this minute.

Suffering or dying.

What is left something like self pity or nihilism or defining oneself through their purchases, but then I realize this is not the time to be morose or dramatic. I should, I can be majorly communicative and organized. There are deep lessons in suffering say like we maybe needed the shit to get so bad logic and then rebirth, still I am of the opinion that we live in now and none of this mother nature is too far gone is okay by me.

I realize the enormity of this place with each passing minute. I'm pacing around in Mexico City and searching for someone who does not live here. I’m stepping around ruins in hopes of soaking up some strength. I’m walking to an orchestra of bells, birds, taxi horns, electric claps, periwinkle flowers falling but only during the day.

For at night one needs to be safe and consider that they are female.

April 16th, 2017

 The real Pepsi challenge:

can you drink a can while in a choke hold by riot police?

 US Silent Partners

to be

all the time

Restless with this

NOT secret

Dealing out three cards

and keeping none close, again

why do I feel so abiding to this game

Lighten up Leonard, maybe I need him to whisper it to me, be still

When is the Pan-American Picnic?

From one many, And let it be someone who sees All, for I am losing hope.

suicide = silence over time

pragmatism= the privilege of deciding how vocal you are- I’ve heard it called white, which

when I see that is allAn Appropriate

HuntingintheDessertTaupesandEasterSunday BESTwithBelumicBarfsStains


Well there I fell in an open sewer _had to strip

Probably there are many people who believe their voices

and yet cease
speech -
A strangulation by hands or rope,
generational seismic goosebumps -shhh, hush  Every Pepsi Refreshes The World


By Katherine Aungier Title ”the real Pepsi challenge: can you drink a can while in a choke hold by riot police? quoted from Max Maslansky

 I take it on and then I talk to myself about how it is capitalism not people that I know who are to blame. My take away from it,  I need to be as organized as this bullshit because how many people had this garbage pushed into their eyeballs.

In this commercial all you need is to be a celebrity, white, and willing to give up your Pepsi.

I think that list just about sums up what is quickly replacing moral decency. In D.F. same people who are selling luxury goods here bring criminality,   they are committing acts of treason against the people of their people.

Everyone who's arguing but not listening, I haven’t been listening either. When you say that I make you mad to the point of violence, should I want to stay in that talk?

2.  "When each person loves the other as much as himself, it makes one out of many (unus fiat ex pluribus), as Pythagoras wishes things to be in friendship."[9]   Printing of this on money really just about cancels the sentiment out or at least I think so.

There's almost another level of violence in trying to understand the psyche of America’s president right now. I think and think and think the whole damn day about what is to be done. Then I drink and stare into books and then make a drawing and then watch television and then read facebook and then often take it from the top until I am tired or crying. Any journal notes, psychic energies and paintings that are made after you got this far are considered victories- thank you, dear readers.