Artists consumer reports

Consumer Reports: Spencer Longo

Spencer Longo.

Spencer Longo.

Spencer Longo is an artist based in Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions include the solo show “Premium Blend” at Brand New Gallery in Milan and group shows at LOYAL Gallery, Stockholm; Chez Valentin, Paris; and Future Gallery, Berlin. He will have work in upcoming shows organized by Praz Delavallade in Paris and 63rd–77th Steps in Bari, Italy.

Following last week’s Bjorn Copeland effort, Consumer Reports keeps things in Los Angeles for a week with Longo consuming all sorts of media. We are talking YouTube techno, John Ronson essays, and even some drum n’ bass at the gym. Books and podcasts are taken in equal doses and the burgeoning social media phenomenon Periscope is explored. All in a day’s work. More below! —John Chiaverina

Monday, July 6

9:15 a.m.

Turned on the radio in the car but all the stations I listen to are playing commercials. Instead, I start playing videos from the hurfyd youtube channel.

The best track I found this morning was “B” by PDL. Nice use of air dancers in this vid.

1:12 p.m.

I’m working on an elaborate photoshop edit this week, so I know I’ll be hitting the podcasts hard to alleviate the tedium. Listen to the Half Hour of Power, which is a new segment that has been added in the rebooting of The Best Show podcast after it was off the air for a year. They talk about the scene in the first episode of True Detective season 2 where Colin Farrell makes a kid watch while he kicks the crap out of his dad.

2:20 p.m.

Listened to The Lambert Account, Molly Lambert’s new podcast post-Girls In Hoodies (RIP). Molly also talks about the dad ass-kicking scene from True Detective. I have the feeling I won’t be keeping up with this show. I don’t really have any other hot takes on the matter, I’m just glad to be taking part in culture.

5:07 p.m.

Download the audiobook for Jon Ronson’s Lost at Sea. Ronson is in the realm of nerdy UK gonzo journalism similar to Louis Theroux, and Lost at Sea is a collection of his essays. This is also the first time I’ve had to actually pay for an audiobook, as I blew all my audible credits on books on Ted Bundy and Minecraft. What was I thinking?

8:30 p.m.

Watched the 19-minute “Zyzz – The Legacy” tribute video to the deceased bodybuilder Zyzz with my girlfriend, Alana. Zyzz was a bodybuilder/internet troll, who, instead of competing for trophies, competed for attention and crafted his persona and body to become as famous as possible online. Zyzz popularized saying “u jelly?” and died when he was 22 from a heart attack in a Thai sauna. Zyzz is kind of outdated as an internet phenomenon at this point, but I had never watched this video before, and I feel like he is pretty integral to the rise in internet parlance of describing things as “aesthetic.” The whole story of Zyzz is bizarre on its own, but the video itself feels like it was created and edited by a maniac, which, considering it was made by Zyzz’s brother, may very well be the case. Alana says that if she were an artist, she would use this video as source material to work from. Instead, she is a librarian. There is a guy that lives in his van and lifts weights in her library’s parking lot who rents a minimum of eight dvds a day and watches them there on his laptop. He tried being an Uber driver for a bit, but he told her it cut into his dvd watching time so he stopped working for them.

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Tuesday, July 7

8:27 a.m.

Check my email. ARTnews has sent me a message reminding me about this project.

Check Facebook. Read a long thread where people are arguing about Uber. I’m pretty burnt out on the Uber debate. It’s hard for me to get to riled up about something that clearly is not actually going to exist in its current form for very long (defining themselves as a technology company as opposed to a transportation company makes their intentions obvious), and I definitely don’t think anything with such a transparent youth branding mechanism is genuinely cool, so, whatever.

9:19 a.m.

More hurfyd youtubes in the car. I skip around ’til I find a banger to really get my day going. My friends Annie Morrison and Dan Letson turned me onto the station recently, and I’ve been listening to a ton of music on it. Whoever is behind “hurfyd” curates a pretty good selection of new grimy techno, mostly by people I’ve never heard of. The videos they make for each track are a definite step up from your average joe sample jammer, which is a nice little bonus. I’m currently banned from the site I usually use to download and find music, so I’ve been resorting to other venues to do my digital digging.

10:53 a.m.

Check Instagram. The search homepage looks different than from what I remember, but I’m not sure if they updated it or if I just have a terrible memory. I scroll through a few of the trending hashtags. #applemusic is trending (lol). The suggested images for #boho are good, and make me think about the ontology of the floppy hat. Phil Anselmo, the lead singer of Pantera, is also trending because it’s his birthday! One of my favorite tidbits about Pantera is the unreleased cover art for their album Far Beyond Driven, which featured a bent-over ass being sodomized by a giant drill bit in a rusty hellscape surrounded by flames and crane hooks.

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I really like how the artist abstracts the physical area surrounding the drill bit ass-fucking, allowing the viewer space for interpretation and reflection, causing one’s eyes to dance across the composition.

10:59 a.m.

Back in photoshop. Listen to some comedy podcasts. Chelsea Peretti has Tim Heidecker on her show. I like her stand-up and she and Heidecker have good chemistry together. Listen to Hollywood Handbook next. Hollywood Handbook is my favorite thing going right now in comedy. They once described the show as “the worst conversation you’ve ever overheard at the Coffee Bean,” which for all you non-insiders is where aspiring screenwriters hang out to play the play the role of aspiring screenwriters in Los Angeles in the movie in their mind that they are the star of. This episode of Hollywood Handbook is recorded in front of a live audience, which I’m initially skeptical of, but it’s still funny. They read the script for their new movie, Pope Attitude 2.

3:25 p.m.

Jaakko Pallasvuo facebook messages me a promotional video for the “Woof Washer”. We both agree that it’d be nice if there was a human-sized version of this product.

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3:36 p.m.

Start listening to the Jon Ronson audiobook. The first essay is about Deal or No Deal contestants who create elaborate personal logic systems that they think will help them pick the winning suitcase, and one on Bina48, the AI robot created by transgender millionaire Martine Rothblatt. So far not as good as his actual books, but I’ll hold out for a few more essays. Part of Ronson’s appeal for me is how he follows leads to really unexpected places and makes connections between disparate ideas and events. In So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, he goes between interviews with people like Justine Sacco, fired after a Twitter storm over a dumb tweet, and attending public humiliation porn shoots, and in The Psychopath Test, spends time equally talking with billionaire CEOs as he does navigating the history of hyper-experimental psychiatric institutes.

6:15 p.m.

Finish reading Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer, which was recommended by Alana. The best comparison I can make to this book is Stalker by Tarkovsky. Four female specialists cross over into the cut-off-from-civilization “Area X,” part of a series of expeditions which always end in disaster. One of the primary plot points revolves around the specialists discovering a mysterious plant species growing along the wall of an endless, underground tunnel that spells out legible text in the form of an endless poem. It also kind of reminds me of playing Myst. The plant text feels like it could be an Anicka Yi piece.

9:15 p.m.

Head over to my friend Jon Clark and Abraham Drimmer’s apartment to drink beers and hang. We try to listen to an old Ex Models song after the topic of early-aughts “sass” rock comes up, but don’t make it very far through the song. We watch some vines. We look at Jon’s book “Deviant Desires,” and explore the pony-play section.

Wednesday, July 8

8:40 a.m.

Check email. Brendan Fowler has sent the new music video by Odwalla88 for the song “What the.” I’m into it.

Check Facebook. Like a post from Joel Holmberg. Joel has been “killing it” on social media lately!

11:24 a.m.

Listen to the most recent Best Show with Tom Scharpling podcast. He speculates what would be in the gift bag for guests if Lars Von Trier had a podcast and comes up with the following:

– an empty gun holster

– a drawing by someone in an insane asylum, torn in half

– an old, faded photograph of a family on a picnic

– kettle corn

5:07 p.m.

I stumble upon the guy who puts out music as Vereker’s Instagram page, which is private, and request to follow him. He immediately accepts my request and I look through his sparse account. He’s posted a few pics of his girlfriend Darja Bajagic and her work. They seem really into each other. It’s very cute.

6:15 p.m.

Stream an old drum ‘n’ bass mix by Optical on Soundcloud at the gym. There’s a guy in a Cannibal Corpse tank top spotting a woman with giant fake boobs on one of the machines. This is my Los Angeles.

8:10 p.m.

Alana texts me a picture of herself in front of the Arclight Cinerama Dome, which has giant inflatable Minions on top of it.

8:53 p.m.

Read a clickbait article about how Damien Hirst used to pull his foreskin through a hole in his pants, and trick people into touching it thinking it was gum. I’ve heard of this gag before, but the version I’m familiar with is where you pull your balls through your fly, not your foreskin. This foreskin version strikes me as very English. Why would you cut a hole in your pants just to do this?

11:20 p.m.

Alana gets home after seeing seeing Magic Mike XXL. She loved it. We have sex.

12:05 a.m.

Read the press release Jesse Stecklow sent me for a group show he’s curating this summer. Artists are having so much fun with press releases right now. There’s been some hot ones this year.

Thursday, July 9

8:11 a.m.

Check my phone to see I have received a notification from the Shazam app that Calvin Harris has joined Shazam and encourages me to see what he’s listening to. I close my phone.

8:21 a.m.

Catch up on Donald Trump’s campaign mishaps. It seems like this is going to be the most fun we get to have watching Trump pretend to run for president. I’m loving it.

I heard Trump University discussed on The Best Show earlier this week, and I look a little more into it. They had to change the name to The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative after being sued for being so obviously misleading. Their website looks like a cross between spam ad design and drab healthcare payment portals. Not very convincing for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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I get a like on one of my Instagram posts. A rush of adrenalin floods my system as I feel my self-worth growing exponentially.

Watch a trailer for the movie Self/less with Alana. Have been watching a lot of trailers recently to see if anything looks good for the summer. The most entertaining looking ones are Knock Knock and We Are Your Friends.

Read about another female teacher that fucked one of her students. Check out some of the released Hillary Clinton emails.

10:50 a.m.

Still working in photoshop. Listen to a few episodes of The Great Debates podcast. Issues debated in these episodes: “English is the greatest language,” “It’s OK to be racist,” and “The drought is serious.”

1:18 p.m.

Watched comedian Esther Povitsky on Periscope.

1:42 p.m.

Watched comedian Hannibal Buress on Periscope. Periscope has grown on me. A handful of friends are using it as well. Not sure exactly where this app will go, but I’m genuinely having fun using it. The chat function seems to generate the content of the live streams themselves, since people don’t really to know what to actually shoot with it yet, which seems like the most promising feature. Passively watching some live event go down in real time doesn’t feel as interesting as actually being able to engage with the person and content as it happens. Or, maybe it’s just that there’s only so many things that are actually worth watching in real time. As a social app, it’s pretty fun.

6:26 p.m.

Listen to more of Jon Ronson’s audiobook at the gym. Normally I can’t focus on my reps while getting jacked out and pumped up if I listen to something with narration, but I’m doing cardio today so it works out. In his essay on interviewing ICP when “Miracles” came out, Shaggy 2 Dope admits that they are both on anti-depression meds.

7:13 p.m.

Turn on the radio. “Hey Mama” comes on by Nicki Minaj and David Guetta. This is definitely my least favorite song on the radio right now, so I turn it off.  The radio has been extremely lackluster recently after everything got saturated with watered-down DJ Mustard beats and horn-centric rap. I think we have “Thrift Shop” to blame for kicking that off again, but it really reached a crest with Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty To Me,” all of which have this gypsy-punk-meets-trickle-down-Timbaland-globalism thing going on. I hope it’s just a lull before we get a bunch of summer jams dropped on our heads.

9:29 p.m.

Read Au Naturel from the One Works series put out by Afterall press. The One Works series are short books that go into detail on a single work by an artist. This one is on Sarah Lucas, whose pavilion was one of the few I really liked at the biennale.

11:17 p.m.

Watch a Periscope of Ann Hirsch and Gene McHugh walking around in Las Vegas. Ann shoots a person riding a mechanical bull in a Western bar.

Friday, July 10

9:45 a.m.

Make the rounds on social media, finish reading the Sarah Lucas book. As much as I think writing analytically about humor is logically backwards, I still get a sick, twisted pleasure out of it.

12:43 p.m.

The moderators of Reddit are shutting down popular forums left and right due to the firing of their AMA moderator. The /NoFap subreddit, however, is still online, promising it would never abandon its users in a time when they might need one another the most. Weaning oneself off of masturbation/pornography sounds tough. I read through a few posts. It’s pretty much the same as it always is.

5:50 p.m.

Artist Jacob Ciocci sends me a link to 100+ works he’s made recently. There are some real gems in here. I’ve been feeling existential this week and his work resonates with me.

7:40 p.m.

Go to a screening at Fahrenheit curated by Dora Budor. Dora is here, which is a nice surprise. This is the second night of a two-night screening. Rachel Rose’s video has some really nice abstracted cinematic moments, and Neil Beloufa’s video is surprisingly different than his sculptural work. Get pizza afterwards then go to a party, then decide to go to another party after that. I’m driving Jesse Stecklow and Bryan Morello in my car and Jesse insists we listen to the PDL track I discovered at the beginning of this report. The track is enjoyed by all, then we hang out at the party for a little bit and leave.


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