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Mackenzie Patel

I think I’m having a not-being-a-teenager-anymore crisis. March 25th marked my 20th birthday and navigating this transition from angsty midget to mature midget is strange. March was a bouquet of suck and success, two words that have built my college experience so far. Boys {as per usual} wrung emotion out of my indifference. Tinder was a waste of minutes and glossy eyes—although I did Facetime a UF basketball player because of it. Speaking of, the O’Connell Center offered me an internship, so my dream of dating a basketball player (not through Tinder) is possible. Canyon Barry?

Art

The vestiges of my Lolita craze flared up again with the work of Sally Mann. Although her photographs aren’t intended to be sexual, the heart-shaped sunglasses and naked torsos sing a Lana Del Ray tune.

  • Family Pictures, 1984-1991

http://sallymann.com/selected-works/family-pictures

This image is too captivating to be allowed. It depicts Virginia, the daughter of Sally Mann, as a cross between Botticelli’s Venus and a water nymph out of a Rubens’ painting. Her tendrils of hair snake towards her naked rib cage—it was revealed in a documentary that it looks several tries (and re-wetting) to get the streaks perfect. Virginia is only five or six, yet her expression is so intense and ethereal that it belongs in a Renaissance painting, not a farm in Virginia. This image is part of Immediate Family, a collection of familial photographs Mann released in 1992. Controversy has plagued these prints ever since, with critics complaining Mann was exploiting her children sexually and for commercial gain. I disagree with these accusations; in the documentary, Mann explained that her childhood was a similar daydream of skinny dipping, running wild in nature, and never wearing clothes. She isn’t abusing her children—she’s photographing the motherly intimacy she couldn’t communicate in social terms. Any mother that can capture this fleeting contrast—the innocence yet “knowing” * child—is an artist, not a philanderer.

*“knowing” child: one who is aware of their own emotions and body as well as the feelings and actions of adults. She/he isn’t an unthinking, doll-like being, but an aware human.

Last Light http://sallymann.com/selected-works/family-pictures

The other Immediate Family image I adore is Virginia in the grip of a stranger. Critics read this as child abuse (i.e. choking and pedophilia), but I see the blackened hand as loving. Her dirty hair cascades over lazy, half-open eyes; it’s the quintessential example of childish trust and comfort. The noir tones layer the bodies with empathy and the atmosphere of a salty, sunny afternoon. How often can the connection between father and daughter be so explicitly defined? Sally Mann is in the ranks of my favorite photographers. Her work marries the whimsical with the disturbing, all with a 1950s theme song. According to a New York Times article, Mann’s son, Emmett, took his own life in September of 2016. Thousands of black and whites, lounging around their farmhouse, reduced to suicide. I can’t imagine confronting my dead son’s photograph in every corner of the house.

  • Sunday Sketches, Christoph Niemann

 

Christoph Niemann was featured on Abstract, a new series about graphic design on Netflix. Clean/geometric/insightful: three words that characterize his tagline as a “visual storyteller.” His sketches were simple but a twist always transformed the black lines into a design puzzle. His Instagram, AbstractSunday, is 347 images of big-city style and taste that belong on a New Yorker Magazine cover {he’s designed 24 of them so far). Sunday Sketches is an ongoing project in which Niemann juxtaposes everyday objects to create familiar, seemingly ordinary objects—except a woman’s legs are a pair of scissors and her waist is a paintbrush. They look almost too easy—effortless—like any bland person could slap them together. However, visual puns aren’t three second creations; “It’s all about sitting down and the time you spend at your desk.” My favorite ones include the play on Ceci n’est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe), the inkwell photography, and the highlighter sabers. Such abstract, clarified ideas—and yet I would never have thought of them. The watercolor undertones give the sketches a childlike-life; especially combined with everyday objects, they seem like nursery doodles.

Find more of his sketches here.

  • April 23rd, 2016 Instagram photos, Kim Kardashian West

001

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

 I can’t believe Kim Kardashian imagery is in another favorites post. I must be running out of quality content to research…. although it can’t be denied her Instagram pictures are on point. Made to look natural but curated to the hilt, every image is a constructed identity she wants her audience to view. It’s ingenious, really, how she crafts our perception and opinion of her through pixels and filters. Being “extra” is her normal state, but I find these B&W posts unusual. Scrolling through her Instagram, most pictures are color-saturated and layered with vintage tones. Why would she color these wedding pictures differently? Lips parted as Kanye’s teeth tug her choker; bodiless hands grabbing flawless thighs; a motorboat view of Kim’s breasts. They resemble stills from a classy pornographic film. Kim claims she was just “messing around” with her friends during Dave Grutman’s wedding. However, she presents these images as art, labeling them as 001, 002, etc. They are hypnotizing in a sickening way—even David Beckam’s tattooed forearm makes an appearance.  It’s a party you want to attend, but which you can never leave.

Music

Genres, not specific tracks, dominated the ear candy of March. I couldn’t find ANY worthy classical music pieces, so I ditched Rimsky-Korsakov for LCD Soundsystem and The Cults.

  • Late 90s/Early 2000s whiny male singers
Image result for third eye blind

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Third_Eye_Blind_at_SUNY_Geneseo.jpg

There’s something captivating about thin, whiny voices coming from scrawny males. Pile on the angst and lyrics about disillusion—and I’m hooked. Third Eye Blind serenaded me with Never Let You Go, a Year 2000 hit about “sneaky and smoked out” girls that taste like broken promises. Besides the catchy guitar rift, the words at the song’s end smell like a late 90s summer of chipped polish and popsicles:

“I remember the stupid things, the mood rings, the bracelets and the beads
Nickels and dimes, yours and mine, did you cash in all your dreams
You don’t dream for me, no, you don’t dream for me, no
But I still feel you pulse like sonar from the days in the waves

That girl is like a sunburn”

I’d love for a future boyfriend to compare me to a sunburn. Their most famous song, Semi-Charmed Life (1997), is four minutes of “do do do” and little red panties. Popish, whimsical, and high school—a time most of us romanticize after we’re done with that 7 a.m. hellhole. I was also obsessed with 1985, a 2004 song by Bowling for Soup. The lyrics paint an unsatisfied mother who peaked at 18 and reminisces about Springsteen, Madonna, and her wasted life.

  • Contemporary R&B
Frank Ocean December 2011 (cropped).jpg

By Dave Gold – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21388380

By Contemporary R&B, I mean Frank Ocean and Donald Glover. I first heard Nights with a plate of cookies on my lap and Netflix’s Africa in the background. It wasn’t remarkable, but something about the plain guitar and languid drums stuck with me. “Round the city, round the clock/Everybody needs you” and then it progresses to a drumming, gospel frenzy around minute 3. It’s lazy and noctious, like how I feel on a hungover, unwashed-hair morning. This led me to Pink + White, a similar song of slow words and rustling beats. At one point (1:16), Ocean brings a breeze and hammock into my ears, and it’s so easy to fall asleep to. “Kneel down to the dry land. Kiss the earth that birthed you.” The song is an auditory haze, effortless to listen to. Of course, Donald Glover’s Redbone is gold and languor—I feel so damn classy playing it. Where’s my gin + tonic? It’s about “paranoia and infidelity”, so stay woke.

I also played LCD Soundsystem, Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody, and a Hey Ya Sweater Beats remix on repeat.

People

A new category.

  • Jahi Khalfani

Filmmaker, friend, and restless achiever, Jahi is one of the most unusual people I’ve met at University. I met him at the intersection of Hurricane Matthew and Shaggy and was immediately drawn to his quiet-corner vibes. Besides being trendy as hell, his business aspirations are always a dose of motivation when my own creative plans feel stagnant. His content agency, 23rd Esque, is debuting online soon and has graphics/services as dynamic as their creator. And he’s only 19. In addition to videography, Jahi has also dabbled in modeling photography. I find his images of Vallah (below) entrancing, like being in a 70s, tennis court dream. I’ve seen Vallah around campus, but I can’t divorce her real self from these gritty identities.

@turniptino

A post shared by Jahi N.A.K (@nathanasad) on

 

 Last October was a clusterfuck but meeting Jahi mid-month was the catalyst for my present and future writing plans.  I needed his inspiration and prodding the most when my creativity was too busy being drunk and petty. So, thank-you Jahi; you have no idea how grateful I am for your constant ideas, encouragement, and 212 shenanigans.

Selected videos by Jahi N-A K.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvRMbkw9Qak

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5FsY1oYcGk

https://vimeo.com/207220994

https://vimeo.com/199008994

  • Liana G.

Liana is one of those girlfriends you stay friends with after college ends. Classes finish and real jobs steal us, but I’m sure our friendship will last once “on campus” isn’t in our vocabulary anymore. Violin virtuoso and selfless giver, Liana and I became friends during the end of senior year. We went to different high schools but competed on the same academic team—and our dorky, musical, and bikini-Friday selves found common ground. She’s my go-to listener. My drama exploded in college, and she’s stuck around for every juicy, petty part of it. We’re growing up together, sharing the details of our character-defining nights. Yes, our interests coincide, but being in this strange/messed up/exhilarating life stage together is the most important. She’s the kind of girl that ends up your bridesmaid, the girl who comments on your baby pictures with heart-eyed emojis.

And I’m so happy we cliqued on a Disney monorail at midnight two years ago.

See ya bitches next month <3

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