The History of Kisses and Flirty Looks

I’m participating in Fun-a-Day 2014, a daily art challenge through the month of January, committed to do a daily post here detailing some Big Art Idea or project that looms somewhere out in my future.


I’m thinking about hosting an exhibition in late winter or  early spring tentatively titled “The History of Kisses and Flirty Looks,” a reexamination of the history of the everyday.

20 March 1998, as I stepped off the train alone on my way to the airport to fly, for the first time, out of my country, a pretty girl blew me a kiss from the train as it pulled away. I blew a kiss back and spent the next hour wondering who she was and what made her think to give such a sweet ephemeral gift to a total stranger.

It is intended to be a direct challenge to the concept of history as a curated construction, elevating great men, nation-states, wars, victories, loses, inventions, and discoveries. As with Michael Foucault and the famous Annales School, history is more than a chronicle centered on mythic heroes. Howard Zinn with his People’s History series and a wave of postmodern historians continue to challenge this dominant historical paradigm.

History is just as much about the histories of kisses and flirty looks, random kindnesses and terrible personal loss. That thing that happened to you, right over there, that changed your life forever.

My parents met for the first time over tea after class and made me possible.

While eight year old me stood beside him, a cop hit my uncle right here for no reason and gave me a much more nuanced view of democracy.

He broke up with me via text and I read his message on my phone, this phone, knowing I would never be quite the same again.

This is the toaster they recovered from the burnt remains of my cabin that they said started it.

I’m thinking of a two to three day show someplace in Santa Cruz that includes small-scale installation, sculptural, painted, textile, and new media works. The theme will be personal history, memory, and story. Each piece will be presented in an historical context in which the personal is presented as the relevant historical narrative.

Would you be interested in such an exhibition? Showing? Organizing? Talking more about it?  What now?

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