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various moods for 2022—writing autobiographically, making intense & personal projects—examining the past as a model to avoid for the future—

i’ve always felt there are two versions of the self—internal dialogues & the various attempts we make at revealing that person to the world, then that presentation as it is interpreted by others. somewhere in the middle is who we are in this reality—yet the glare of those reflections shift over time, then so do we—

photo by carola di poi

change is the only constant—the universe performs its natural balancing act, we somehow try to keep up with our own, adapting to the state of the world & the state of society against the state of the self—

but can one ever really change themselves? or are we simply subject to that self-reflection, waiting for the glare to simply illuminate the truth that hides in the shadows?

partly cloudy, a chance of dismay. fireworks mistaken for gunshots, gunshots mistaken for fireworks. the bars are closing, the cars are speeding. a coyote and a stray cat both cross my path. it’s just another night in los angeles & i hope that this year is better than the last.

the bernie hat

“are you a bernie fan?”

a polite older man sitting across from us at silverlake ramen asked me this as the check was being paid.

“well, of course he is, why else would he be wearing that hat?” the woman sitting across from him humorously jabbed & they laughed rhetorically for a second. i responded in the affirmative & the conversation was off to the races.

i try to mostly listen in these situations as there are few enough people in my generation that agree with my ideas, much less those who qualify for the boomer era. i didn’t need to ruin the day of these otherwise polite & kind pople. i could tell they were otherwise die-hard liberals who knew the two-party system here was just broken. they talked about phone banking for bernie & how ‘their generation’ was out in the streets, trying to affect change in the sixties.

with an obvious disdain for republicans & guns, the man told me about how the united states needs to bring in countries from around the world to ‘show us how it’s done’—japan for public transport, finland for education, etc. (i did almost break laughing when he suggested germany & israel for military, as i doubt we need two countries who’ve committed massive war crimes to add to the states’ already thick resumé on that front.) the woman, meanwhile, insisted repeatedly that, ‘we just need thousands in the streets, marching & demonstrating.’

after letting this go on for a couple minutes, just to see where they actually stood i suggested that we’d done that, and it was obama who cleared out the occupy wall street camps. “well, i think that’s different,” she insisted, obviously biased. i guess the tear gas canisters missed her that time around.

the fault of their logic isn’t that the united states can still be saved, but that the political establishment would allow it to happen. elected officials are primarily servants of the capitalist elite, and will never allow for money to go anywhere but up the food chain. i mean, hell, we’re now fighting round three of a global pandemic & at this point the government isn’t even commenting, much less committing any action.

this is how it’ll go from here on out—be it climate change or police violence or the houselessness crisis. from major city mayors to the president, they just don’t give a fuck about anything but a checkbook.

it’s too bad, as people like this couple won’t be able to live the rest of their lives without feeling some sort of combination of confusion & despair, while my generation & younger basically assume we’ll all be dead before reaching that age anyway. and these fucking politicians want us to go to work?

passing through it all

given the season & its scheduled events, i’ve been thinking about time a lot. i suppose we all do, as the year comes to a close. recollections, misfortunes, random moments of joy. whatever.

i don’t necessarily believe in ‘wasted’ time—there is always something to learn in what has passed & what has been gained or lost. i’ve heard many friends & associations alike express a similar sentiment over the years: “am i wasting my life?”

what a sick society we are told to call the greatest on earth. brand it however you like, it doesn’t change the fact it makes human beings consider themselves a loss, that their own lives are superficial. what one can ultimately learn from this is how damaged the system is to make those trapped in it feel naturally damaged themselves.

‘anarchy’ may be an intimidating term to most, but the anarchists i’ve met along the way have always been caring, accepting & inclusive. it’s the nature of the idea.

time is never lost, only stolen—but that message will never echo through existing mechanisms, and we are likely doomed to watch this machine as it eats itself & all the lives it uses to stay in a motion.

the most dangerous thing for a system built on lies is for the people to believe in themselves. the moon will never show another face, but we can. we must.

Colin Smith (b. 1982, based in Los Angeles) works in a form of assembly within and across disciplines, both in digital and analogue formats. Following in the ideas of media theorist Marshall McLuhan, the medium of his work is often dictated by its message—the diversity of projects that result are each an attempt to represent a particular thesis, a certain context.

Educated in graphic design and photojournalism, and self-taught in the visual arts, Smith has additionally worked as an art director, freelance designer or creative consultant for a variety of small businesses and independent clients around the world.

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