Artists consumer reports

Consumer Reports: Jacob Ciocci

Jacob Ciocci

Jacob Ciocci and friends.

“Consumer Reports” is a recurring feature that profiles an artist’s consumption of any and all media throughout one work week.

Jacob Ciocci is an artist based in Brooklyn and North Braddock, Pennsylvania, whose performances, videos, and paintings reimagine and reconfigure contemporary icons and tropes both popular and forgotten. The result is an onslaught of culture that is at once visceral, emotional, and comical. Ciocci is a founding member of the influential art collective Paper Rad, and has shown work and performed at the New Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate Britain, and elsewhere.

His interaction with media is both celebratory and critical, the result of an art practice directly interlinked with American popular culture. For his “Consumer Reports,” Ciocci deploys the writing of a French theory collective to explain the relationship between Ke$ha and Dr. Luke, and spouts some controversial conspiracy theories about the New York rap radio station Hot 97’s “New At 2” segment. —John Chiaverina

Saturday, October 11

8:30 p.m.

I went to a restaurant alone. Instead of looking at social media like I usually do, I downloaded some apps. Amtrak’s app is pretty cool. Expedia’s app is not very cool. There were some baseball games playing at the restaurant—baseball’s a pretty cool sport.

1:30 a.m.

Before bed I watched the unrated version of World War Z on Netflix. While watching I did some deep thinking about what my emergency exit strategy would be out of NYC if/when the shit hits the fan. Decided on driving my car through back roads to southern Brooklyn and then over the Verrazano Bridge. After that, get rural as quick as possible. Always keep the car filled with gas.

Sunday, October 12

5:30 p.m.

I watched Through the Never at the gym on my iPhone via the application Netflix. This is a crazy movie, highly recommended. I never listen to music at the gym, and this one has a lot of metal songs I love. I probably did some weird moves while I was on the elliptical and maybe made a funny face once or twice.

7:30 p.m.

I hung out with the art collective Body By Body as well as Quintessa Matranga and Rafael Delacruz. One of the members of Body By Body had never heard of “Network Awesome” even though he knew who one of its creators (Jason Forrest) was. I attribute this to the fact that he does not have a Facebook account. I showed him the webpage for “Network Awesome” on my iPhone but it is not very impressive on an iPhone.

Monday, October 13

1:30 p.m.

I moved from one art studio to another art studio inside the same building. I definitely heard some music coming from other people’s studios—I always just assume any music coming from an art studio that I can’t recognize is either Animal Collective or “something from another country.”

3:30 p.m.

Driving home, I probably listened to Hot 97 in the car, but I can’t remember any songs. In general the song I like right now on Hot 97 is Troy Ave’s “All About The Money.” The beat on that track, along with those 2 recent Drake singles, sounds influenced by the classic underground rap song “Tried By Twelve” by East Flatbush Project, which is cool. When I got home, I took a big nap in preparation for my dentist appointment later.

5:30 p.m.

At the dentist I watched some videos in the waiting room about up-and-coming dentistry related technologies, which really made me feel at ease, and distracted me from the fact that they were about to pull my front tooth out then stick a bunch of goo in my mouth for 5 minutes to make “an impression.” I’ll tell you who didn’t make an “impression” on me . . . Those videos out in the waiting room. I played “Fruit Ninja” on my phone in the waiting room but, let’s be honest, video games have never been my strength.

7:30 p.m.

I got home and started to apply for a job. In the background was WGBO, NYC’s jazz station, which my housemate has been listening to for 48 hours straight.

8:00 p.m.

I watched a few YouTube videos with housemates, tried to explain that perhaps one of Wu-Tang’s many contributions to Hip Hop history was a palpable sense of memory (longing, nostalgia, fantasy, escape) in almost every track, despite who is rapping. The idea was not understood nor received well–looking back, I don’t even know if I like the idea, in fact, I would be fine with saying right here, publicly, in this post, for the record: it’s probably not that interesting of an idea. :/

9:00 p.m.

I clicked on this link but didn’t read this article yet. Full disclosure, this link will probably stay in my tabs for 2–3 days then I will copy it to a document I have called “stuff to read master list,” 3/4ths of which is links that Keith J. Varadi has posted to Facebook. Some of these I actually read, but many remain un-read. Does anyone have any cool art project ideas I can do with this list? Maybe a zine? Just kidding. Anyway, I did surf this writer’s website and looked at a lot of cool art. I realized the writer of the article has worked with Interstate Gallery where my friend Nick DeMarco has an upcoming show–double cool.

11:30 p.m.

I clicked on a Brainjet image article list and the image below was surprisingly the first one–cool!


Side note: “20 images that make no sense” would be a good name for an art show/Internet culture think piece/barf in my mouth. This image is the only artwork I remember from the one and only time I went to the Armory Show—which, by the way, is where I met Emily Roysdon—she was “working the door”—true story.

1:45 p.m.

For about a year all I have wanted to watch are shows about nature or the cosmos (not Cosmos the show but just shows about the cosmos . . :) After you’ve watched enough nature shows you realize a lot of them recycle clips from other shows, or in general, don’t have a lot of clips to work with. These shows are a great lesson in creating narrative when there really isn’t one — when there is a scarcity of footage — through suspenseful cutting. Like, when the snake is crawling around and they are trying to trick you into thinking that the snake is going to eat the monkey but the snake never does BECAUSE THEY WERE NEVER EVEN IN THE SAME JUNGLE TO BEGIN WITH! You never see them in the same shot, people! Wake up! I’m considering this as a teaching tool/exercise if I ever teach a found-footage video class again (could also work for just an editing class).

Tuesday, October 14

2:15 p.m.

I like all the new house songs they are playing on the “New At 2” on Hot 97. The DJ Mustard-style ones are sadly finally sounding flat to me.

One tough decision is whether to listen to the “New at 2” on Hot 97 or “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” on NPR, which both start at 2 p.m. A friend of mine came up with a cool T-shirt idea: a Yin Yang symbol made up of on one half the Hot 97 logo and on the other half the NPR logo. Pretty good idea–could go viral.

4:30 p.m.

It’s very hard to keep track of my Facebook surfing, especially when I’m on the go. It happens in such tiny ephemeral doses, almost untraceable. Maybe it didn’t happen at all? It’s a ghost inside a dream inside the Matrix. But in general my two favorite accounts are Carl Ostendarp and Andrea Cespo. Listened to the new Mykki Blanco track “Moshin in the Front” featuring Cities Aviv. It sounds pretty cool although I’m still scared to go into the pit.

5:30 p.m.

Green Streets Salads in Bushwick is cool. It feels like a safe space—like Subway or a ’90s model of a healthy food establishment. It’s way more comforting than the newer style of healthy/farm to table. While at Green Streets, I liked a photo on Instagram of a cat or a dog. Can’t remember which animal it was, but it was cute?

5:47 p.m.

That line “I don’t check the price” in the new Rae Sremmurd song really hits home–I don’t check the price either . . . When I go buy an onion.

5:49 p.m.

A new person followed one of my social media accounts on the Internet: “Welcome into the fold my new friend.”

8:15 p.m.

David Wightman emailed me this amazing Andrew WK song I had never heard two weeks ago and I have been listening to it a lot in the studio to get psyched. The lyrics to this song are a perfect mix of radical left “no-rules-personal-spirituality-living-in-the-moment-psyche-up” and Nazi/Christian youth “motivational-speech-propaganda” rhetoric: “I Guess That’s Why They Call It Waking Up Dead . . . I’ll Make You Blind, Then You’ll Be Free.”

8:30 p.m.

I’m about to watch/listen to this Skrillex doc in a hidden tab. I’m pretty sure Skrillex is the first musician to ever put a spaceship on stage . . . NOT! Also the stream/viewer/embed of this video on the below webpage is hilariously small! Reminds me of 2003, so charming.

Skrillex Doc Notes so far: At about the 2-minute mark Skrillex walks into a pretty typical, boring-looking warehouse doorway and says “cool entrance.” Also at around minute 4 he says, “The more I think about it the more I want to do another spaceship . . . I think spaceships are just MY THING.”

11:30 p.m.

Uh Oh. Bad/sad news.

I was at a dinner party the other night trying to explain how the dynamic between Ke$ha and the superproducer Dr. Luke might relate to the ideas explained in this book: Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl, Tiqqun, Associate Editor.

Here is a sample quote from that text that might relate:

“The Young-Girl already represents the most performative of the agents of behavioral control. Through her, the dominant power has extended to the farthest reaches of the life of every person.”

In this case, I’m thinking about Dr. Luke as representing/symbolizing the composited, virtual, amalgamated image of The Young-Girl, and Rose Sebert (a k a Ke$ha) as representing/symbolizing the embodied, physical image of The Young Girl. This new court case would then represent/symbolize the inevitable trauma that comes from the difference between these two versions/images of The Young Girl, the court case being almost like a broken mirror between Dr. Luke and Ke$ha gazing at one another. Obviously the problem with theories like these is that Ke$ha is not just a symbol but an actual person with a life who is dealing with really hard stuff that I’m just writing about in some detached, abstract way.

Wednesday, October 15

12:45 a.m.

I emailed with the artist Spencer Longo about scale in contemporary art. I said that, “Big paintings or objects in white wall galleries dwarf people and make them feel like little kids flying through a fantasy world–the big images envelop you like you are in a video game. There’s something really innocent and goofy about that–it’s a fantasy as old as time: surfs, honey I shrunk the kids, “the littles,” tinker bell, tiny elves, etc.

Spencer replied with, “This could also extend to examples in fiction of entering into paintings (what dreams may come) and gateways to other worlds (Narnia; entering closet, Stargate, entering portal). In Super Mario 64 (pretty much the first mainstream fully 3D home console game), you would enter each level by jumping into paintings (see here). I still very clearly remember the first time I played this game and how much of an expansion it felt from 2 dimensional games that came before it, and how ‘free’ it felt.”

2:15 p.m.

I listened to NPR on the way to work–bad news all around.

3:15 p.m.

I liked a photo on Instagram of a Kenny Scharf print.

8:35 p.m.

Now I’m doing some computer work at home: my housemate turned on NPR and that storytelling program The Moth is on. What do you guys think about The Moth? It’s less annoying than Radiolab I guess but still kind of annoying? I think once I might have lol’ed at a Moth story and then felt weird… There was this one story I actually liked–it’s so hard to actually like things these days, and yet, it’s so easy to hit the “like” button–isn’t it ironic?

Thursday, October 16

1:30 p.m.

Three tabs currently open in Chrome Browser:

After looking at the links in these three tabs one could conclude that Jacob Ciocci is jealous of how much money normal, smart-yet-creative people who made good career decisions make. Then he gets frustrated and looks for reassurance via a lecture by an aging punk icon, which doesn’t really reassure him any. Then Jacob remembers that the best way to pick oneself out of such pointless, untrue, confusing, and ultimately unproductive yet all-too-typical-Internet-mind-spaces is to check out some killer digital art. But that narrative is nowhere close to why these 3 tabs are open in my browser.

2:30 p.m.

Driving to Staten Island, I had Siri dictate the following thought into my “notes” software: “American Highway driving and obsession with cars as metaphor for precarity in cut-through American capitalism: no safety net, your life is on the line . . . and it feels exhilarating!”

2:45 p.m.

Have you guys ever noticed that on the “New At Two” segment on Hot 97 some of those songs aren’t that new? #Conspiracy

10:30 p.m.

After class, back at home, I watched this early Residents video:

The weird thing is that at Oberlin I remember doing a performance kind of like this (probably way worse) and thinking that it was cool and “original” and “cutting edge” or “contemporary” or something. But this video is from 1976 . . . A year before I was born.


Friday, October 16

1:35 p.m.

These two links showed up right next to each other in my feed. I don’t know maybe these two articles have something in common if you REALLY stretch and think about it:

The day jobs of cos-players provide them with enough income to explore cool, far-out, weirdo, radical or subversive behavior after work. Brad Troemel is creating weirdo art about labor for the market, and then donating money to radical/subversive organizations. In both cases, the model for subversion/radical behavior is perfectly in line with, or doesn’t break the rules of capitalism (“be a good citizen, have a career, work for those in power, and be as weird as you want after work”/”be a good citizen, make art that sells to those in power, then donate the money to whoever you want, those with perhaps less power”). Absolutely not complaining or hating, just noticing, trying to connect the dots. I think it’s an interesting time to be creative.

2:30 p.m.

I finally got back into my studio. Internet is not working, so I had to rely on the two Mp3s that exist on my computer to get me in the zone. My go-to YouTube songs at the moment are Charlie XCX “Break The Rules” and Rae Sremmurd “We.” But with no Internet I couldn’t listen to these songs, and was forced to listen to an Mp3 I must have downloaded from Soundcloud. It is called “nightstalker.mp3,” I think it is by Teams/Sean Bowie but it reminds me a lot of early 2000s Mat Brinkman, who was a member of the Providence art/music collective Forcefield. This kind of sound might be my “soul music.”

The only other Mp3 on my computers is “Never Surrender” by the classic Hardcore Punk band Negative Approach. I just played these two songs back to back for as long as I could take it.

3:30 p.m.

I had Siri dictate the following thought into my “notes” software: “Do you remember where you were the moment the technology known as 1080p TRUE HD dropped onto the streets?”

6:15 p.m.

Internet got turned back on—phew!!

6:20 p.m.

Last year or maybe 2 years ago Nick Faust posted this video to Facebook:

The soundtrack is from a really amazing Prodigy album, Invaders Must Die, which was a big inspiration on the last release for my band, Extreme Animals. I might be crazy but I think this is a cool sound that people should check out. Not sure what genre of music this is but I think it could be Trip Metal?

Saturday, October 17

2:45 p.m.

One cool thing I saw today was a Sleepy’s Mattress truck. That’s a good-looking cartoon on the side!

3:15 p.m.

I watched the rest of Through the Never at the gym–it gets pretty trippy towards the end, no spoilers. Check out this pic for a peak into the vibe:


6:14 p.m.

My housemate is currently listening to a “serial” NPR podcast in the background as I type this.

6:35 p.m.

I had Siri dictate the following thought into my “notes” software: “About six months ago I decided to join Instagram and since then have really fallen in love with contemporary art. But then after reflecting on it, I realized I was just in love with Instagram and I still really hate contemporary art. :(“

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