“Consumer Reports” is a recurring feature that profiles an artist’s consumption of any and all media throughout one work week.
Nick DeMarco is an artist based in New York who works in many mediums, including sculpture, furniture, and new media. His work has been shown at venues like MoMA PS1, Higher Pictures Gallery, Abrons Art Center, Vogt Gallery, 319 Scholes, and the Berkeley Art Museum. He currently has a solo show—a collection of sculptures and audio based on a feature-length screenplay written by DeMarco titled “Here on Earth”—up now at Interstate Projects in Brooklyn.
For DeMarco’s “Consumer Reports,” we join him in the week leading up to the opening of “Here On Earth.” As he preps for the show, DeMarco listens to a lot of NPR, a good amount of podcasts, and just enough ska. Additionally, if you ever wondered how Eyes Wide Shut got made, and it’s connection to the Illuminati, please keep reading. —John Chiaverina
Monday, December 8
The first thing I hear is Morning Edition on WYNC on my clock radio. I let it play for about 30 seconds before hitting snooze.
Three snoozes later, the story on the radio is about Chris Christie’s “bridgegate” scandal, normally one of my favorite topics, but today I am too sleepy to pay attention, so I hit snooze again. I continue to cross fade between wake and sleep in 10 minute increments until my guilt takes over and I get out of bed.
First things first, I reach for my phone to check my social media stats and see what my friends have been up to while I was sleeping.
I find 0 new emails or likes, which isn’t a bad thing.
With BBC World Service now over (tied with Leonard Lopate for my least favorite public radio program), I turn my radio back on to see what’s up with Brian Lehrer. The show is about the pending federal civil rights investigation for the Eric Garner choke hold case. I’d like to be paying closer attention to the story, but I need to write a bunch of emails, so I let it play softly in the background.
I notice a woman at the coffee shop has a pencil case with the phrase “I liked New York better before everybody had so much money” silkscreened onto it. I think about what this means as I let my first cup of the day do its magic.
I meet up with my friend Loric Sih to figure out the final mixing of audio and borrow some equipment for my show at Interstate Projects, which opens on Saturday. We talk a little about Art Basel Miami and the current political climate after the two non-indictments of killer cops. We both agree that everything is very sad.
Realizing I haven’t checked in with any podcasts today, I download the newest episode of Democracy Now. Hearing that funky bassline intro is nourishing to my soul, and gives me a much needed late afternoon energy boost.
Inspired by some tweets by my friend Zach Kaplan, I watched Eyes Wide Shut this weekend, which I’m embarrassed to say was my first time. I loved it and have been thinking about it a lot ever since.
When I see a movie that really hits me I try to find the craziest analysis of it I can. At the time of writing, this is the best I’ve come across. One of my favorite conspiracy theories has always been that Kubrick filmed the fake moon landing for the government and filled The Shining with clues, and this article takes it further to say that he agreed to shoot the hoax if they allowed him to make whatever movie he wanted without question.
That movie was Eyes Wide Shut and the Illuminati killed him for it. Wild stuff.
I listen to the last 20 minutes of a podcast I started yesterday, Seven Second Delay on WFMU, as I unload my laundry. It’s maybe my favorite podcast, one I’ve been listening to almost every week since about 2006 when my friend Lil Bucket introduced me to it. It’s an OK episode.
I meet up with Loric again to go see Interstellar at Union Square, stopping off at Chipotle first to sneak burritos into the screening. The movie was painfully dumb but mostly enjoyable, no regrets.
Tuesday, December 9
Killing some time before a meeting with the gallery, I watch President Obama on The Colbert Report. It’s a weird episode, the rhythms are all off. I love Colbert, he’s no question one of my favorite public figures, but watching his last few weeks of episodes before the finale has been a little unsettling.
He’s been able to maintain the character of ‘Colbert’ for all these years, and now that the end is in sight he’s letting it waver a little, letting his own voice creep in. It’s equally unsettling to see Obama, also wrapping up his run, in a weird unfunny comedy bit on the show.
Schedule delayed because of heavy rain, I kill more time by cracking open my Kindle. I’m about 2/3 of the way through The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and I haven’t decided what I think of it. It’s pretty good I guess.
At Interstate Projects sanding down some plinths listening to Fresh Air on a small radio. I love Terry Gross, and would go so far as to call myself a Fresh Air Freak, but today’s topic about an embedded journalist in Iraq isn’t striking much of a chord with me, so I don’t mind the interruptions from the table saw.
I head to Radio Shack to buy three 1/8″ to 1/4″ audio input adapters.
I have a deadline at my day job so I go into work for a few hours. I listen to the Slate Spoiler podcast on Interstellar and don’t agree with most of their opinions, although they do coincidentally mention the conspiracy about Kubrick and the moon landing, which I appreciate.
I come home and watch a Nova doc about Neanderthals. I’ve always been very curious about that time period, when modern humans and Neanderthals were hanging out on the same planet. It’s a good documentary, very pro-Neanderthal rights.
Wednesday, December 10
My friend Huey gives me a ride in his Honda Element to pick up some large prints at Echod Printing for the show. They come in a four-foot tube, so the Element is much appreciated.
I head to Staples in Union Square to buy four sheets of blue paper and some brass hole-punch fasteners.
I head downtown to my work to print out a copy of a screenplay I wrote as part of my show on Saturday. The show is a physical installation of a blockbuster film I wrote and ‘directed,’ with larger than life-sized cut-outs of photoshopped images of A-list actors and feature-length audio.
I head back to Staples to use their three-hole punch on the screenplay. I love Staples because, like Kinko’s, it’s a too-large store with abundant resources at your disposal and generally friendly (but understaffed) employees.
This allows for all of those resources to be exploited.
Back home, I watch an episode of Black Mirror. I’ve been meaning to watch it for years, but never got around to it. It just got added to Netflix, so I missed my chance to be Indie with it… Now I’m streaming it along with everybody else.
This episode is a satire of American Idol-type shows. I like when TV makes you feel ashamed for watching TV.
Thursday, December 11
I watch the new Mad Max trailer to get pumped for a long day installing this show at the gallery. It works. I’m always a sucker for any kind of post-apocalyptic movie. It’s very satisfying to watch society crumble from the safety of your laptop.
I hire a Lyft car to take me to the gallery with a few small sculptures in the back seat. There’s a chance of rain, and the sculptures are water sensitive, so everything is wrapped in a few layers of garbage bags, tape and shop towels.
Tom Weinrich from Interstate Projects and I head over to Supreme Digital to pick up a bunch of prints that we had mounted onto museum board for the show. The prints look beautiful, and I’m feeling very pumped.
I put on my “Skamitzvah” Spotify playlist and send out a tweet asking if anybody wants to hang out with me at the gallery while I listen to my ska playlist. The tweet gets a fairly positive response but nobody comes over. I spend the next few hours cutting out figures from the mounted prints with an off-brand X-Acto knife until my hand hurts too much to continue.
My roommate Jonathan Coward stops by the gallery to help Tom and I apply three 4′ x 8′ vinyl prints to the walls. The task kinda sucks, but we get it done fairly quickly. I learn that maybe I don’t want to work with vinyl on walls in the future.
I listen to Cocteau Twins and walk in circles deciding on the final layout of the show. This installation has a fair amount of optical illusion involved, with multiple layers of mounted freestanding prints, so it takes awhile to get all the sight lines right.
Friday, December 12
I continue cutting out prints with my off-brand X-Acto and listen to the Desus vs. Mero podcast, definitely a top shelf p-cast.
Feeling confident, I tweet out a picture of a piece from the show.
I put on Reality Asserts Itself, a leftist podcast from The Real News Network. A little bit more scrappy than Democracy Now, most of their guests are piped in over Skype and the production quality is pretty rough in general, but there’s always a lot of thorough critiques of neoliberalism and late capitalism, and I like their general vibe.
I head to Radio Shack to buy two 20′ audio cables. Even though it’s overpriced and understocked, I relish the opportunity to stop in at the ole ‘shack. Despite the fact that I am an avid Amazon Prime user, it’s become increasingly clear to me that Amazon is going to be one of the prominent overlords in our dystopian future, so sometimes I like to overcut their business with places like Radio Shack.
Tom and I design some wooden speaker boxes to hide the audio equipment for the show, fishing the wires through holes in the walls.
Having finished everything I can on the show until the paint dries, I head out. Still wired from decision fatigue, I walk home listening to my “British Drug Montage” Spotify playlist. As a member of the Napster Generation, I never thought I would pay for a subscription music download service, but the fact is… I love Spotify. British Drug Montage is probably my most listened-to playlist on that app—it’s a mix of Big Beat, Acid, and other things that one might picture in a ‘Madchester’-style (think Trainspotting) drug-inspired film sequence.
Back home, I check the feed. Nothing stands out. I refresh.