6```I Just Want to Feel Special!!!
6.24 - 6.30


Hello! If you came here thinking I did something cool this week because of the title, sorry there’s only disappointment for you... All I did was reading, painting, and occassionally meeting people. I thoroughly enjoyed my week, but there really wasn’t much that I feel like sharing. 

However, I did watch several documentaries and had some thoughts about beliefs! So here are five of them, and some reflections that will make my title make sense. 






“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”



William Blake




 

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1
The Proposal


Living art






Holy shit this film was wild. The previous day I’d seen the words “artist” and “architect” in the film description and the next second I got my ticket. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to watch...

Basically, two women are obsessed with a dead architect, and one of them, who was an artist, turned the architect’s ashes into a diamond ring, and made a whole art exhibition, as a proposal to the other woman, who owned the entirety of the architect’s professional archive, to release the archive back to the public, in exchange for the ring. 


This was all real. The architect was Luis Barragán, who was the second person to win the Pritzker Prize (the Nobel prize in architecture) And the artist was Jill Magid.


My description of the whole thing was definitely oversimplified. You can read more about what happened here.





My major reaction, besides shock, was a newfound angle of looking at what an “artist” means. Echoing what I wrote a week ago, being an artist is really a way of dealing with things. Jill Magid gave us a perfect example of how that works.


Jill found out that all of Barragán’s (a Mexican) professional archive had been purchased by a Swiss institution, and the lady in charge never allowed anyone to access the archive. Through countless letter exchanges, Jill realized the depth of the lady’s obsession (also heard that the lady’s husband bought the archive for her), so she came up with this creative and certainly bold method of turning the architect’s ashes (with his family’s and the government’s approval) into a diamond ring, put that ring and the videos and other archival materials of how she got the ashes and made the diamond into an art exhibition with the title, “The Proposal.” The exhibition was created for that Swiss lady in mind first and foremost, and at the same time got people’s attention, especially now with a documentary on the whole process now in theaters. 


 

You could go to Jill’s exhibition and say that she barely did any art for the show: most of what was exhibited was simply archives of things she did in her life.


Or you could also say, “that period of her life was an art in itself!” 


It appears that there are, loosely, three types of artists: one creates artistic objects, one lives art and shows the evidence of their living, and one that makes others feel that they’re living art through his/her own art.


With The Proposal, Jill was certainly being the second type. And, mam, this way of positioning oneself fascinates me. 


She reminded me of Tehching Hsieh, a performance artist most famous for his series of “one year performances.” For example, he spent a year entirely outside and not entering any shelter or building, and another year punching a time clock every hour. They all sound ridiculous, no matter how many times you think about them, but their absurdity, given deeper contemplation, contains so much poetry! 


Art has changed my way of seeing the world on so many levels, but I definitely cannot say I live it yet. I don’t think I ever will live on the street for a whole year or make some dead man’s ashes into a diamond for sure. I do want to remember, though, that there are many, many possibilities to approach issues, solve problems, and live a life, and, if not live them, at least I can imagine and be aware. These possibilities make life interesting. 
 


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2
Behind the Curve


My relationship with beliefs







Yes, this is a documentary of the Flat Earth Theory. I could not understand why people would believe in it, so I watched it. I still believe the Earth is an ellipsoid, if you were concerned.


After watching the film, I realized: by being decently open minded with learning about other beliefs that could be drastically different from yours, you really get to learn about yourself, and your relationship with your own beliefs so much more! Seriously.


A very interesting momnent of the film was when Patricia Steere, a major person in the Flat Earth community, talked about the conspiracies people within the community made up about herself. (i.e. that she was a CIA spy, or that she was a cold-blooded reptilian. Some crazy stuff.) And she said:

        “Anybody can believe whatever they want to believe about me, but I wonder if in their hearts,                   people who do that know they’re lying. Or are they so conspiratorial that they actually believe it?             Then it makes me worry about maybe things I believe in: am I like another version of them? But I           know I’m not.”


I found it quite funny watching her say this, because it is so obvious that she is one of those people. Except, how do I know I’m not another version of her, just in a different sense?




The way people talked about Flat Earth (how they got into it, how the authority constructs a whole lie to manipulate us and they were seeing the truth) made me think if they were believers of the theory really just because they wanted to believe in something that challenges the authority, that makes them feel special, like they were some type of visionary who foresaw some reality before everyone else. 


Because if that is the case, then I certainly am the same as them. I don’t believe the Earth is flat, but I cannot deny the joy and pride of feeling like I am one of the few awakened ones in other aspects. There are some beliefs I hold and some decisions I make, that make me feel so special, as if most people are getting wrong on things so obviously right to me and I am holding one of the few keys to living the right way. 


How dumb that thought was! I just want to feel special and extraordinary and unique and cool etc etc. I do the same thing with people who stubbornly believe in those bullshit. I’m not any better here. 


And I am sure many people out there would look at those beliefs and decisions of mine and think that I am so wrong and feel sorry for me for being so completely deceived by my own beliefs. 


Then, the only way to resolve this issue of beliefs, is to always hold suspicion in my beliefs within me, and to half-openly engage with as many communities out there as possible. (But I don’t know what I mean with “resolve” here. It was an instinct of mine that I don’t know how to name...)


And the point of engaging with different communities is not to be constantly persuaded, but to remember how my beliefs are not obvious truths for everyone, could have taken a different form if I had been exposed to different influences


But not having a firm belief system is also very dangerous...


And I will leave it here, because I am so confused about how much and what I should believe (while having a lot of firm beliefs already), I cannot possibly finish this part of my update with any conclusion...


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3
Above Us Only Sky


Connecting through creating







I don’t have much to say here, other than that I hope one day I could also meet my SO from what I or he creates and that we connect spiritually through creating together. :)


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4
Dying to Know: Ram Dass & Tim Leary


The system and the individual 





Ah, psychedelics again. If this hasn’t been clear already, I am fascinated by the potentials of psychedelics (in treating drug addiction, depression, PTSD, and many other things), and its history (so many legendary people claimed psychedelics’ significance on their lives!) This film was about two major figures in psychedelics research in the 60s. 


Dying to Know was quite frustrating to watch at times. Both Tim Leary and Ram Dass were such smart and bright scientists at first, yet they were expelled from Harvard and later, for Leary, deemed as “the most dangerous man of the country,” by being blamed for something they advocated against for. It was a whole different group of people that promoted the use of psychedelics in a meaningless and purely entertaining way, not the two of them, who really just wanted to find new ways of treating mental illnesses -- which is what researchers are finally doing now, again, decades later.


And it was cool to see how Leary was able to be mentally free from the system of privilege that he just did what he wanted and felt right at elite institutions like Harvard. I aspire to be free-spirited like him one day.


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5
7 Days Out: League of Legends


A whole new world...







This goes with what I talked about in #2. I know nothing about esports nor gaming, honestly. Even though I say I really want to make games, the kind of games I’ve imagined myself making has always been indie, definitely not anything like League of Legends. Watching this documentary opened up a whole new world for me. 


My major takeaway was: I kind of want to intern at Riot Games some time in the near future! Yes. I went all the way from not knowing how LOL works to wanting to work for Riot, but it’s not because I am so crazy over LOL or esports now that I desperately want to be part of it. 


I recently found myself more and more interested in learning about entertainment and media, especially areas or events at the center of people’s attention, because, frankly, I cannot relate, but they are important in understanding the world. My elite education taught me nothing on empathizing with the majority of the world, which is different from understanding how things work from a very detached and top-down view.


And being someone who wishes she could experience a lot of different lives in her own limited body and lifetime, it is not pleasant to feel like she cannot personally understand most of the people in this world in a lot of ways. 


So, I want to know more about esports. And I hope to go to events and conventions in popular media during this gap year: kcon, comicon, game conventions, etc, etc. I don’t think I can really turn into a hardcore gamer or something like that, but I do want to have a better sense of what most people are up to in terms of media and entertainment.


Let me know if there are conventions you recommend me to go!!














Mark
“Let's absurdify life, from east to west. Let us play hide-and-seek with our consciousness of living.” (Fernando Pessoa)