they did not all know Ida now then
This was a performance of serial kissing along the row of busts commemorating Italian patriots on Gianicolo Hill. As the materials of flesh to stone touch, so do past and present, male and female. There is a tenderness, a pathos to the touch, which might tip into comedy because of the absurd repitition. The piece works on both levels of romance/emotion and philosophy. We can ask the same questions of romance as we do of representation. What does it mean to repeat? Do images give or take power from us? What is the difference between tragedy and comedy? The title of the piece is taken from Gertrude Stein's novel Ida. The entire sentence reads: “There are so many men. / What do you call them there. / There are so many men. / They did not all know Ida. / Now then.” Stein's playful dismantling of language in formal games is liberating but also potentially alienating, as conventional meaning dissolves. Stein as artist and figure is paradigmatic, not so far from our Ryan Trecartin, bearing on contemporary modes in the realms of romance and cultural production that are at once freeing and schizophrenic.