This is considered the largest wooden structure in the world, last time I checked. It’s in Sevilla, about 30 mins from Rota, a small village where I was stationed with the US Navy in Spain for 3.5 years.
I went to my storage unit today and pulled out a bunch of Polaroids which I’m installing and selling for 2nd Friday at the Greenhouse. A lot of the photos are from my time in Europe, and I got nostalgic for that period in my life.
There was an innocence about that time. I was blessed with youth and a paycheck twice a month. I traveled anywhere in Europe as I pleased. If I wanted to go to London for the weekend, I could. I visited Paris and Barcelona at least 4 times each. The friends I kept around me were wonderful and supportive, for the most part, and also loved to travel.
Nevertheless, there was a prying dissatisfaction, knowing I wasn’t supposed to be there in the military, that every fiber of my being was telling me I needed to be making art and being around more like-minded people. It felt suffocating. The first quarter of 2011 was a long waiting game for my separation on May of that year.
During my last year in the military (and consequently, my last year in Spain), I took on a project in which I photographed my life with Polaroid cameras. I called it Placer Instantáneo (Instant Pleasure). Each day I designated a Polaroid photo for that day. Today, I went through some of those photos, looking at a life I lived so long ago. It feels like a lifetime has passed. I’m not that person anymore. I still have similar hopes, dreams, but I’m much more affirmed of my place in life. Though times are harder now (I rarely travel, as I’m just barely getting by with rent and food and art supplies), I’m much more confident in my skin, I feel much better supported and loved by family, friends and lovers, and so much happier in every sense.
Only hours left to join in on the Chicago IRL Kickstarter!
Donate and get awesome prizes, including a curated selection of original Polaroids by me!
This is a cause that I highly believe in, and I believe you should too. <3
We’re approaching the end of the runway for Chicago IRL #4’s telethon with less than 69 sensual hours to go! We’ve got a few exciting last minute additions.
*All levels at $12 and above include the fourth issue. This is the best way to pre-order a copy! Orders made after the Kickstarter won’t have such an exciting set of bonus options to choose from.
*All levels at $15 and above include the set of artist postcards featuring work from Chicago IRL contributors. The set now includes issue 2 contributor Vincent Chevalier’s HYPER-REAL (and hopefully a few more before all is said and done).
*All levels at $30 or above that mention the choice of artist prints or jockstrap now also include a curated selection of issue 3 contributor (and soon to be issue 4 cover model) Kiam Marcelo Junio’s original polaroids!
All of the funds raised go directly towards paying printing costs for the magazine and production costs for the rewards. We provide free copies of the issue to every contributor whose work appears, and we also donate copies to local archives and other lgbtq libraries and institutions.
Queer activist and co-founder of Chicago IRL
Fuji 100-C Instant film
What is Chicago IRL?
Chicago IRL (In Real Life) is an arts and literary digest cataloging contemporary queer creative culture in Chicago. We document not only existing queer talent but also create new collaborations and explorations.Chicago IRL launched in June 2011 and is a co-production of graphic designer Topher McCulloch, a South Dakota native who blew into town four years ago and tries to make something awful every day, and Joseph Varisco, a graduate student of social work, Chicago native and creator of theQueer Culture & Social Media Study. We are both passionate about documenting contemporary cultural happenings in and around Chicago. We are now preparing our fourth issue for publication, and we need your help.
Donate to Chicago IRL’s Kickstarter page and help bring Issue #4 into full fruition.
Memento Momento: Hanging up the works
Special thanks to Arturo, Kienan, Savannah and Enrique!
More of the work in progress: Volar (To Fly), made from discarded Polaroid 669 prints.
Part of my Recuerdos Desechados (Discarded Memories) series, and my upcoming art exhibit, Memento Momento.
Posted as it’s drying.
Memento Momento - Preparing for my exhibit, opening this Thursday. I’ve still got one more canvas to complete for my Recuerdos Desechados series, titled “Volar (To Fly),” inspired by flight patterns of birds.
Works in Progress: Recuerdos Desechados (Discarded Memories)
In Spanish, the verb “deshacer” can mean many things: to discard, dispose, destruct, to take apart, defragment, or break down, to recreate, rearrange, re-compartmentalize. With this project, I am attempting to do all of these with my old unwanted Polaroids - those I take and think are “meh” or “ok” and am willing to part with, throw away so easily.
Unwanted Polaroids or instant photos are something like our own thought process. Thoughts and images that we do not want to think about at the moment are often pushed aside, down into the subconscious level. Some psychologic theories believe that it is during our dreams that these memories or thoughts come out, when our brain sorts through the mess and re-arranges everything to allow us to move on to the next day.
Recuerdos Desechados is my way of sorting through these failed images, as well as the old memories that are attached to them. I have come up with various processes to break down, tear apart, and rearrange these images in another form to completely obliterate their former purpose and to create a new one.
Recuerdos Desechados is an ongoing project and will be a part of my first art exhibit, Memento Momento, a humble exposition at La Calabaza Mecánica, a bar in downtown Rota, a small fishing village in southern Spain.
The inauguration for Memento Momento will be on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 9:30 pm, Central European Time.
two of my loves, my daily rituals: coffee and Polaroid.
Photo: Mike in his barracks room, taken with a vintage Polaroid SX-70 camera with Impossible PX-70 Color Shade film.
The bottom line: After buying Polaroid’s last film factory, the Impossible Project is making a profit where the instant-photo pioneer saw little future.
Whenever people see me with any of my 5 Polaroid cameras, I often get asked the same thing: Where do you get the film? I thought they stopped making them.
It’s true. Polaroid, the company, shut down production of all their instant films a couple of years ago. But in its wake rose another, The Impossible Project.
Please read the linked article and learn about the future of Polaroid-format films, and the wonderful founders of the Impossible Project. Thanks to them, Polaroid-lovers do not have to worry about throwing away their beloved cameras for lack of film materials.
I’ve been following the company’s efforts before their products launced. Since then, I have become a frequent buyer of these (quite-pricey) packs of film. I’ve used them all on my in-progress project, Placer Instantaneo. Impossible’s current sepia-toned offerings are wonderful (but difficult to store), and their color materials still need a lot of work. But this is just the beginning, and I have faith that they’ll continue to improve their films.
OK, so not a literal baby, more like my figurative baby: my first solo art exhibit @Calabaza Mecanica (Rota, Cadiz, Spain) in April.
Show contents: PolaPortraits, Placer Instantaneo and Recuerdos Deshechados (a new collage series made of peeled Polaroids and Impossible films).
I wanna come up with something clever, like the project titles above (Instant Pleasure, and Discarded/Undone/Rearranged Memories).
Right now, I’m thinking “Memento/Momento” but I’m not sold yet.
Placer Instantaneo - a year in Instant Film
see the work in progress: http://placer-instantaneo.tumblr.com
i’m up to #250/365 now!