Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Recurring Motifs

JH's memorial was held last Saturday, November 12, at 150w83. PB managed to get through his speech without breaking down. It was a fine speech, loving, modest, and gently humorous. "Jin loved me but he also loved Anderson Cooper and Brazilian ballet dancer Thiago Soares." JH's mom spoke of JH's hospitalization in Fukuoka and PB's care for him in his last days. She too was puzzled by JH's sudden death and speculated that it was due to radiation as JH volunteered at the Fukushima prefecture in the last two or three years he visited Japan. In his speech JH's brother asked himself why JH moved to NYC, and thought it was because the city gave JH the freedom to be himself, freedom he could not find in Japan. He ended by asking us to keep NYC free, to which call many in the audience stood up and applauded. I could not help relating this to the election of Trump. The moment made a deep impression on me. I am committed to New York City and do not intend to leave in the next four years of what looks like a most harrowing term for minorities in America.

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Glad that I went for Ho Tzu Nyen's talk at the Asian Art Archive in America. Met him having a smoke outside the brownstone that housed the American satellite of the large Hong Kong arts institute. I liked him. No airs. Just himself. He said he was returning to Singapore after two years or so in Berlin. He seemed ambivalent about the decision. Y was at the talk too. HTN talked about four works: Utama: Every Name in History Is I (2003), Earth (2009), The Cloud of Unknowing (2011), and Ten Thousand Tigers (2014). All the works attended to recurring motifs in art history, mythology, ritual. I asked him how he decided on the sequence of focus in the large-scale works. He said that he aimed for maximum resonance between two consecutive segments. Y was probably right when she said afterwards that he had a poetics. Instead of a logic, I added. Or a grammar, I thought when I left.

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Haiku written yesterday morning:

Cold November sun
breadcrumbs all over
my black jacket

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