Damien Hirst: New Paintings (Interview)

Reprinted from C-Arts Magazine (1)-Websized-Damien-Hirst-in-his-Bali-studio,-2009,-Photo-by-Ashley-Bickerton-as-JPEG(Issue #10), September 2009. The interview took place in February of 2009.

One of the very best things that can happen to a thinking person is to have his assumptions flipped. When I met Damien Hirst on Bali’s Brawa Beach, where he was finishing an intense three-month painting session, I expected him to have a bumper sticker on his lap t op that said, “Suck my cock vomit.” Which he did. But I didn’t expect him to be extraordinarily down-to-earth, generous, and aware of his own position in a way that is caring rather than cynical.

This interview is the first he’s given since deciding here in Bali to stop all his production pieces in order to focus on making his own paintings. In the process, it touches on everything from the suicide of his close friend to the essence of painting to five-foot wooden gi raffes—with a detour on the nature of visual language using Vaseline and a cucumber.

Alexander Boldizar: So you’ve stopped your production?

Damien Hirst: Yeah, I’ve stopped it all.

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Reprinted from C-Arts Magazine, September 2009.

The desire for security stands against every great and noble enterprise. —Tacitus

In New York City you can get a ticket for sitting on a milk crate or taking up two seats on a subway or putting on a puppet show visible from the street or climbing a tree or driving a taxi while wearing shorts. NYPD officers walk through the stairwells of housing projects where crack gangs once ruled, not with drug dogs but with decibel-meters to hand out tickets to teenagers playing their music too loud. Central Park was once both dangerous and beautiful, but now someone has installed a fence every ten meters and it feels less natural than even the densest maze of Brooklyn concrete.

During my four years in New York, I walked alone at night into five or six of the worst projects in Brownsville, East Ne w York, Harlem and the Bronx (to interview people), and I never experienced a moment of fear—something that only an escapee from a mental institution could have said fifteen years earlier.

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Looking for a Sci-Fi Agent…

Looking for a Sci-Fi Agent...

My new novel, The Man Who Saw Seconds, is finished. And my agent turned it down because it’s science fiction, and she doesn’t do science fiction. I feel very grateful to have the agent I have–The Ugly is a difficult book, and finding an agent who cares about literature more than money is rare, unusual, extraordinarily lucky.

And yet I can’t help feeling a bit of frustration at the way we all put ourselves in boxes. Why can’t the same author write both heavy stuff and thrillers? Comments I’ve received from other published writers who’ve been kind enough to give me their time as readers included, “I was irritated whenever I had to put it down,” “It would/will make an amazing film,” and “I’m stunned your agent wasn’t completely hooked. I certainly am.”

Again, I have a great agent. She just doesn’t do sci-fi. She suggested I work with her for my literary fiction, and find another agent for my commercial fiction. So…I’m looking for a sci-fi agent. And perhaps a pseudonym.

Manny Lampnut? Bald Lazier Ox? Roland Lulfromulber? Radix Loblaze? Continue reading Looking for a Sci-Fi Agent…

The real danger of technology

The real danger of technology

[Please note that I have taken the core of this post and turned it into a full article, “Taylor Momsen’s Secret Sex with a Green Fat Toxic Cancer Tumor,” published in C-Arts Magazine and reproduced here.]

I’m afraid of technology. Not of the Terminator, smart machines, genetic engineering or even the self-replicating gray nano goo that Bill Joy, founder of Sun Microsystems, famously worried about in a 2000 Wired article, “Why the future doesn’t need us.”

I’m afraid of something much simpler: the personal computer. Specifically, way it interacts with the human brain. There has always been a tendency among children, elementary-school teachers and policemen to think in simple terms of right and wrong, in checklists and keywords and similar boxes. It’s a way of avoiding thinking.

At the end of law school, all of us who came from national schools took a ten-week Bar Bri course to learn the state law that students at state schools had been studying for three years. The one thing the Bar Bri instructors explicitly drilled into our heads was “Don’t think. Memorize and repeat keywords. Whatever you do, do NOT try to think on the test. You will only be punished for it.”

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The manly man’s mushroom diet

The manly man's mushroom diet

Or…How I Beat Candida and Incidentally Lost 60 Pounds

As a manly man, it’s a bit shameful to admit you count anything, let alone something as vain as carbs or calories. In reality, a manly man has many layers. On the surface, it’s important to pretend you can’t count anything. You face what comes, whether it’s the next beer or the next opponent, without worrying about long-term issues like being outnumbered or running out of beer. Under that surface, a manly man is highly intelligent, of course, and understands exactly what’s going on — it’s only for honour’s sake that he doesn’t allow himself to access that information.

Still, even a manly man eats. And that eating includes choices. As the author of The Ugly, I tried for a long time to keep my body as close to that of Muzhduk’s as I could. I was unable to reach 300 lbs, but so long as I was over 260, with enough muscle to perform parlour tricks like lifting Honda Civics, I was happy.

Then something happened that dropped me down to 205. I lost most of my body fat while retaining all my lean muscle mass. To my chagrin, I can now count eight individual muscles in my abdomen. The good news is I haven’t lost strength. The bad news is that now I look, well, thin.

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After decades of research, physicists have finally captured a photo of Emptiness.