Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oui je te dis

I was speaking with a friend tonight about the phenomenon of what I noticed as French inner city and middle class youths modeling themselves after American black urban culture. In this country, I’m used to seeing white Americans taking on the fashion, vocabulary, and attitudes of African-Americans. But, something struck me as particularly inauthentic about the phenomenon in France. I think it had to do with fact that, because of the distance, I could see the myths behind it more clearly than here. My first reaction was, “they aren’t doing it right.” Then I got to thinking about adopting.

The phenomenon is post-modern in the sense that the French are borrowing from another culture and somehow, making it their own. The idea of the unique loses solidity. One thing only references another, and so on and so on. There’s no way out of it.

Can we really say that an African-American deeply ensconced in urban culture is the “real” thing. That is, that he or she is the reference, the source? I think yes, but I’m starting to question that conviction.

What this has to do with art and my work, I’m unsure. I’m just trying to keep the blog going. I won’t be going into the studio for a while, as I’m finishing a translation project. But, I have an important studio visit next week at the Whitney Museum. Until then, I’m keeping the juices alive.

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