ARIA DEAN is wearing the Romy no.004. She is an artist living in New York City.
What should we be reading?
Shameless plug for November–a new contemporary art publication of which I’m an editor. We just released our first full issue! But, uh, other than that . . . I’ve been slowly working my way through Memo from David O. Selznick–just a collection of memos from Hollywood producer Selznick sent during his time at various film studios. Like peeping at someone's “sent” email folder. Everything from asking for a raise to gushing about seeing Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin for the first time in theaters.
Can you recall a dream?
In my dream last night, I’d finally switched brands of dish soap. (Current one is too hard to squeeze). Disappointing to wake up with the original still in the kitchen.
What do you collect?
I was going to say nothing, but I’ve sort of accidentally begun to collect action figures and miniature statues. Started out as necessary for a series of sculptures I was making. Now they’re around the houses and growing in number . . .
The best arthouse film(s)?
Very big question! I often really enjoy films that are ostensibly narratively about a Thing, but are just about the social relations collected around the pursuit of that thing. Fassbinder’s Third Generation is in theory about a terrorist cell trying to execute their plot, but is really just a group of friends hanging out. Shirley Clarke’s The Connection: heroin addicts in 60s NYC wait for their connection, which drives the dialogue but we’re really just chilling in this room for 1.5 hours. So I guess this is to say, films that dress themselves in a genre’s clothing to do something more analytical, contemplative or generally strange.
What stands the test of time?
So little. . . a song you once truly loved rarely loses its appeal. Dunno if that means its music that stands the test of time, or love?
What takes you to cloud 9?
When I pick a book from my shelf to take on the train, and it turns out to directly relate to something I’ve been thinking about or working on lately. Finding in it an answer to a question I had only half-formed in the back of my mind. Almost everywhere I haven’t gone before that wouldn’t be physically dangerous to go to, but right now I’m interested in going to Romania, Taiwan, and Patagonia.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Take my night guard out.
What is the last thing you do at night?
Do you have a soundtrack to your life?
Ugh, like melancholic indie pop or something. However, I might present it as “post-punk-soundtracked.”
Who are your inspirations?
Mostly artists who write, whether it’s about art, theory, culture, etc. A special kind of practice.
Where would you find your doppelgänger?
Climbing out of a mirror.
What is good design?
Functional design that makes room for frivolity in the gaps!
Where do you find good design?
Could be anywhere.
What is a rule that should never be broken?
Backup your harddrive??
What is a rule that should always be broken?
“Make an outline of your essay before starting writing.” Never works.
What did you have for breakfast?
Muesli! After years of messing around with other breakfasts, I’ve finally found my love.
What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
A certain hunger >:)
What thoughts currently occupy you?
Kind of hungry as I’m writing this. Will I order lunch in or make something?
What was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you?
Going to make a list because I can’t remember just one thing: In middle school I had a whole fairly intense Marc Chagall thing; I read Ayn Rand’s Anthem in 9th grade and touted it as my favorite book until I found out about her politics and later work; West Side Story; Billy Wilder’s The Apartment was probably the first film I watched over and over; No Age was the first band I saw play live more than one time; LA heroes.
For some reason, this question feels like it has two versions–second is: what was the first piece of cultural work that really mattered to you? 1. Pierre Huyghe show at LACMA in 2014 broke my brain and made me thirst after exhibition-making for the first time for real. 2. Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Representation freshman year of college.
What do you still wish to learn?
Would love to improve my foreign language capacities–basic Spanish, and restaurant French don’t really cut it.
What is still a mystery?
Continued sock disappearances at home.
What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
What is your favourite representation of complexity?
Where is happiness found?
Lurking around the corner!
What do you find humorous?
Sucker for old school physical comedy.
What do you want to trade?
Current iPhone for an upgrade.
What do you want to find?
Usually some sort of truth about perception lol.
What is a distraction?
No such thing! I take an expanded approach to “focus,” which usually means doing a lot of things that look like “distractions” but will eventually be recontextualized as “productive detours.”
What should we listen to?
Spent this morning listening to Lust for Life for some reason; would recc an Iggy Pop breakfast. Also, “Spinning Away,” by Brian Eno and John Cale has really been getting me lately. (Just came on as I was finishing up these questions.)
What does progression mean to you?
Have some problems with the linearity it implies - the desires and needs that underwrite “progression” might be better served by like “expansion” and/or “sustenance.”
What was your last download?
A bundle of book pdfs for a project I’m researching: Claude McKay autobiography, a book about Black Germans during the Third Reich, and a history of the Frankfurt School.
Any last words?