Alec Soth's Archived Blog

January 12, 2007

Friday Poem

Filed under: poetry,shit — alecsothblog @ 1:55 am

Postcard
by Beth Woodcome

This morning the three dogs shat
on the floor and that’s what I woke to.

Before I even woke my body took itself
in, took it in like an immediate mother would.

Not every mother, but let’s get back to you.
One dog is now sleeping at my feet.

I know how that feels, that shame.
This is my sixty-seventh postcard.

Each time, when I say
I wish you were here

I mean to say I don’t know if you’re real
or intend to hurt me by having a body I can’t get to.

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January 11, 2007

Shit Week

Filed under: shit — alecsothblog @ 2:05 am

After the success of Snow Week and my recent post on That Smell in New York, a reader suggested I launch Shit Week. It is worth consideration. As the parent of two small children and the owner of two dogs, the majority of my domestic life revolves around feces. I sometimes forget that this isn’t true of everyone. Not long ago a friend took care of my dogs while we were on vacation. When we returned home, he told me that he’d devised a trick. “While walking the dogs,” he said, “I realized that I could put my hand in the bag, pick up the poop, and pull my hand out.” I didn’t dare ask how he’d been doing it previously.

I’m reminded of that old Seinfeld line:

“On my block, a lot of people walk their dogs, and I always see them walking along with their little poop bags, which to me is just the lowest function of human life. If aliens are watching this through telescopes, they’re gonna think the dogs are the leaders. If you see two life forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume was in charge?”

There are plenty of examples of feces in the art world: Piero Manzoni’s Artist Shit, Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary, Martin Creed’s Shit Film and just about everything Paul McCarthy has ever done. There has even been a serious group show on the subject. But the greatest achievement in this arena is Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca. (Be sure to check out the fantastic Cloaca Website).

But what about photography and feces? Only one example comes to mind – a truly revolting picture by Terry Richardson. I recently posted the controversial question, Where are the People? Now I’m wondering, Where is the Poop? If disaster photography is more successful without people, is bowel movement photography better without the feces?

excusado
Excusado, 1925, by Edward Weston

January 10, 2007

That smell in New York

Filed under: shit — alecsothblog @ 1:18 am

Last night the upstairs toilet overflowed. We had water and God knows what else dripping through our kitchen ceiling. (I’m blaming Katrina karma). This morning I woke up at 4:30 to catch a plane to New York. While eating breakfast I read the NYTimes front page:

A Mystery Odor in Manhattan Raises Alarms and Questions

It was the odor associated with natural gas – the telltale, unpleasant sulfer scent that typically signals a gas leak. But this time, it was lingering in many areas of Manhattan, coursing through its buildings and leading to fears that is could ignite.

On the plane I read New York Magazine. The cover story was on Dash Snow, the downtown bad-boy artist with a De Menil bloodline. In the article he talks about his work:

“I’ve always been a big fan of the Post, and I remember in 1992, or whenever the fuck it was, Desert Storm, the Gulf War? Remember? I’d always read the Post, and there’d be really rad headlines about it,” said Snow. “I was just down for it! I’m down with anyone, even if they’re bad people, if they’re just, like, anti-American, you know what I mean? This is a series I’m working on,” he pointed at some collages on the wall with lots of pictures of Saddam Hussein, whose likeness is also tattooed on Snow’s arm. “They’re old headlines, and they all have come on them. Yeah, mine.”

Snow has been working with his own ejaculate a lot lately; his contribution to the Saatchi show was a piece called Fuck the Police, which featured sprays of his sperm on a collagelike installation of tabloid cutouts, headlines about corrupt cops.

The magazine also features another artist profile. The headline reads, Is Terence Koh’s Sperm Worth $100,000? The article describes the “fist-size gold-plated chunks” of his own excrement” and “his use of come as an art material.” But mostly the article talks about money:

Koh once posted online how much money he claimed to have earned as an artist in 2004: $153,782. Even conservative estimates for his 2006 take would break a million dollars. “I love money,” says Koh. “Having money is the grease that helps me run my other crazy projects, like my magazine and my Website and the new porn production company I am setting up in my basement.”

Is it possible that this mix of art, money and body fluid is the source of the mystery smell in New York? Should I have taken Polaroids of that brown juice dripping through my ceiling to show my dealer?

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