Hong Kong Edition
It didn’t seem like it could get worse than the Art of Losing It – Milan edition, when gang violence left hacked off fingers on the street and shut down the area where the gallery was (and I’m not at all sure this was the worst part of that trip), but life is often not what it seems and here’s how Nomad described how he felt. It is the best description I’ve heard of the work in a show in a very long time. MOUSSE
“Biggest amount of pollution measured by man on earth ever. While I am standing on a rooftop in SOHO, 8 people die due to breathing problems. You sweat without working. You sweat even more while working. The noise never stops. I discovered that there was a factory above my bed. They work all night. In the morning, the worker in the backyard starts pounding iron. You can hear construction in every direction (if you have enough space to listen to them in between the other noises that surround you).
A nerve near my right shoulder is inflamed due to a slipped disc and the maltreatment of a Korean doctor. The arm feels as if it is broken in seven different spots. Like the noise, the pain never stops. I go to a Chinese doctor who puts suction cups all over my back and right arm and I turn into a living pizza. The pain worsens everyday to a point of agony. I start to paint with my left hand. I change doctors and get electroshock treatment and prescribed painkillers. The doctor tells me that most importantly I HAVE to rest and I tell her it’s not possible. Each of the ten sessions costs me a fortune. When I drink, I mean when I get really drunk, I manage to sleep for at least an hour. I’m not supposed to drink with the painkillers, but it helps. One morning I’m so exhausted and in so much pain that I can’t go to the doctor. I force myself up and see a black shadow on my left hand side. It’s Death. We start talking.I force myself to the subway and get on. We keep on talking. I make it to the doctor and everything gets better from that point on. After a week in the city, I don’t want to see any more people. I don’t want to see any more pretty girls in designer clothes, shopping in the luxury stores that are all over Hong Kong. I don’t want to see any more fucking Rolex stores, every 50 meters there’s a fucking Rolex sign. Hong Kong is all about status. It’s all about tasteless niveau riche investment banker cunts, hedge fund jocks who stand around tables in bars losing their hair. This place is hell. It’s like Las Vegas without the funny buildings and the lights. Girls are supposed to be pretty and well dressed and guys are supposed to be rich. The only real people I meet are either into Kung Fu or Graffiti. I get more drunk with my friends Orsek and Shoes who spent 6-8 years here systematically destroying the city and the subways. Now they’re leaving and they tell me they’ve had enough and will never come back. I can’t imagine surviving eight years in this place. Not even the next seven days.
Where are my pain killers? Fascinatingly enough, there is no crime in the city. Everything is so fucking safe. Yet a fucking taxi driver takes off with my bag, camera, sunglasses and the inflatable neck brace the doctor sold me to ease my pain. All gone. I hate the taxi drivers. If they don’t know the address where they’re supposed to drop you off, they just drive you somewhere and say its around the corner- just cross the street. You end up in the wrong district and before you can complain they’re already gone. It seems to me that the Chinese can’t admit failure or lack of information. Nothing seems to work unless you do it yourself. The anger and frustration rises. The paintings get better and better.
Sometimes I have to use my feet to paint, taking the canvas off the wall, putting it on the ground, dipping my toes into acrylic, throwing sand on them, glue, spraying tar on them and rinsing it all off with water. One day I go to the beach. Beach. Fake quartz sand. There’s a red oily substance floating on top of the water. I collect rusty waste and drift wood for the scultptures I want to make. One of the sculptures will be PAN. It must be. The god of nature, he’s well needed around here. I see three guys sitting on a bench. One is on his cell phone talking. One is listening to music on his iphone. The third one is taking pictures, holding his iphone in front of his eyes and shooting himself. I feel like I’ve just seen the modern version of the 3 Chinese monkeys and decide to paint it later that day. Everyday is a new story, a new painting, a new line in the diary. The only consistent thread, the string that holds the pearl necklace is the exhaustion I feel from the pain, the pollution, and all the struggle in this Moloch. Again, it’s the Art of Losing It …. lots of money, sanity, innocence (I never paid a hooker before), camera, neck brace and other stuff, tons of stuff.
My state of mind and the obscenity of the wealth that surrounds me are not coming together. I live in my own musical world. My ipod becomes my caravan. I ride the subway singing or rapping the lyrics of the songs while people stare at me in disbelief or disgust. Not one smile. Just disapproval. The only person I meet that is always happy is my Kung Fu friend who trains to his limits seven hours a day. He saves my days.
After all that, I’m happy with the intensity and the amount of losing. Hong Kong is a perfect place to lose- the dirtiest most toxic city in the world, where westerners go and become multimillionaires within three years then retire. And where old Chinese grandmothers with hunched backs sit on the street and sell their last belongings just a handful of meters away.
Do I have to say something positive about the place? The food and the kung fu are great.”
nomad – back in Telde …