return to saturn


Jacki was the first to turn thirty and she called it the return to saturn. Every 29.5 years, the planet completes an orbit of the sun and returns to the same spot as when you were born. Chaos is meant to ensue. Then, having mounted the obstacles, you enter a new chapter in life. I am ambivalent when it comes to astrology in general, but I like this idea and I feel the chaos. As this chapter closes, I want to document as many things as possible which relate to how I came to work in contemporary art. It is about quantifying and bookmarking my life, saving my references from the oblivion of in-one-ear-out-the-other that typifies our era of rapid communication in which much is shared but nothing is kept or owned or digested properly. 

It’s about understanding my own relationship to culture that is meaningful and connected to life; it’s a way to examine the prejudices: Euro-centric underpinnings, the mark of a religious education, etc. inherent in the usual cultural jaunts, narratives, and interpretations. In an effort to unlearn, one must first acknowledge that which runs deep, what one was taught and how that colors any effort to expand or change course. As Spivak says: “do not accuse, do not excuse…” (and also: “I’m a Europeanist, after all!”) Time to expose, perform an exegesis, and go from there. 

This is also a space in which I can express and not restrict the natural course of my mind: one thing leads to another, always a helicopter spinning and not landing. But the project itself, once completed, will be a landing. And if I am an attentive captain, when this project closes, I’ll have accomplished something concrete, and produced a document.

This is a document of the highs that come with these associations, and the mapping of so much material that is inspiring, or weighted, or both. A blog was an economic and natural choice as I can connect ideas and material through tags. Things can live side by side but also appear months apart in time. Hyperlinks may connect ideas as well. Yet I need to take things in in a linear fashion. I need things to be clear, to have a logic and flow, things must unfold in time and in relation to another in a legible fashion. Therefore, I chose a simple and clean template to start and intend that this project is experienced as something live. 

It was spurred while I was watching a documentary on Balmain, with the mention of Gertrude Stein writing about the house’s first show, which took place in 1945 just following the liberation, for Vogue Magazine. I needed to find this piece and I needed to share it. I no longer wanted to be a magazine editor, I wanted to be a writer, and yet that urge to put things out into the world regardless of whether or  not they were produced by me is not something that goes away, no matter what hat you decide to put on in the morning to professionally self-identify.


Gertrude Stein wearing Balmain suit
Horst P. Horst (1906–1999)
Gelatin silver print, 1946
Courtesy Horst P. Horst Estate, Miami

And this came directly after a youtube video of a lecture by Leonard Cohen in 1964, this random, decontextualized document… it was a retort to a talk by someone else, and Cohen mentioned by him by name but ostensibly he was not important enough to include in the video. And I needed to share this position, because it was so raw and honest, and still relevant 50+ years later. Yet I had no idea what it was. So to do this project was also a means to publish and to find out and then to share it, to take license. This is the internet age, and the age of acceleration, godammit. And the alternative is just to lose grasp of it all.