Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Do You Know About Punk
You Never Punched A Hole
Through A Mirror

Kofi Fosu Forson

New York City is our greatest experiment.

Collectively there are five Burroughs in New York. It starts with the greatest of them all Manhattan. Followed by what has essentially become the new Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

Manhattan is concentrated with a variety of cultures and has always been. Much of this was viewed as the burgeoning of what was hip and new, 6o's Beat Culture, late 70's PUNK and the New Wave art culture of the 80's.

A lot has changed then. Plans were made as far back as when Mayor Koch was followed by the city's first black Mayor Dinkins to curb the violence brought about by drugs. The 80's poverty and economic distress saw an increase in drug trafficking and everyday violence. The lower part of Manhattan, what is known as Alphabet City, was a dangerous place to be. Uzis were fired even during the afternoon. Many dared not enter Alphabet City.

Mayor Guliani took credit for the cleaning up of New York, its subway system, day to day violence, pornography in Times Square. Post 9/11 made New York an adventurous place to be. Many who had helped cultivate the city's integrity left for other Burroughs or cities all together. A lot was done by many groups to keep the raw art content in the lower part of New York. But with the increase in rent many of these artists couldn't afford to live here.

What we have in the downtown area of New York are groups of well to do white patrons who can afford the rent. It has become a sea of young white groups without the integrity or culture of those before. Somehow many of these people are diseased by money and are left without the history of what made Greenwich Village a neighborhood legendary.

The subcultures of New York can be found among second generation Italian Americans, Russians and Greeks. Among these who live in mostly Brooklyn and Queens are Portugese, Asians and Polish. African Americans and distinctly those from Africa tend to live in the Bronx.

Intellectually it is divisible between Jewish intellectuals and African American intellectuals. Most of them have migrated to Brooklyn leaving Manhattan for moneyed people less of culture, Hollywood actors who own lofts here and live between Hollywood and New York. New York University and Columbia University students represent the core of its intellectual young.

The European influence is great. This can be found within the share of those who decidedly live an intellectual New York life. As opposed to those who find a core of their influence from Europeans who pass through New York.

I've gone through a phase of meeting and befriending Europeans who visit months at a time. My first lover was from Milano, Italy. My greatest affair was with a German woman. I find that most New Yorkers from other cities in America, prominently those from the South and others from international cities appreciate me more. Even people from outer Burroughs like Brooklyn value my raw nature. Those from Manhattan are viewed as too privileged and full of themselves.

As an intellectual African they view me as different and open minded. I've benefited in knowing Polish, Israeli and Eastern Europeans. They have created a strong center in me, a sense of character and love and respect. Much of this can be found in the art world.

Currently brilliance in language is spoken by a chosen few. Many of these live idle lives separate from the struggle that is the art world. The artists cultured in the modern art world are similar all over the world. They live the stress of art and its advantages of money, drugs and sex. Much of this is concentrated in a crowd of people with limited passions. Art is more or less a strain.

The relevance of the European influence can be found among those who welcome the European philosophy on language. It provides one with imagination an open mindedness which elevates the conscience of an artist who lives in New York.

Just like the Hollywood person who visits New York, the Off-Broadway actor who ventures to Hollywood, the Independent director who hopes to make it to Hollywood or the European who ventures to New York once a year, New York artists who welcome a European philosophy become more intellectually attractive.

Monday, August 22, 2011

PHOTOS from album PARIS, Tennessee
MODELS: Kofi Fosu Forson . Dianne Bowen
PHOTOS by Kofi Fosu Forson

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What Do You Know About The Future:
You're Not a Genius

Kofi Fosu Forson

If I knew beforehand that this was going to be the future I would have been a little disappointed. Essentially not much has changed along the lines of the human condition. We feel and we love. We hate and we long for. Although what has emanated from this nature of reality television and what Andy Warhol envisioned as 15 Minutes of fame is a means of entitlement.

This sea of wannabes and potential nothings feel they deserve something, an entity I fail to understand. Much of this upsurge stems from the younger generation raised on post MTV, technology and the internet. Circumstantially they have everything they could ever want.

What is missing I feel is the literary and pronouncedly hot sadomasochistic notion of art and sex. I honestly felt the 90's were a decided uplift from the death of sex. With every death comes a new understanding and what the 90's became was a mirroring of the Beatnic 50's where language was seduced and massacred. Writers like Kuruoac and Burroughs extraordinarily took language to so many different levels.

The essence of the massacre is outrightly sadistic. The nature of Burrough's work stems from the sexual psyche. This is what made writers like Henry Miller. The essence of the brain as muscular breaking down the barriers of love, sex, fate. The 90's was a continuation of this and how heroin and sex, the introduction of The Barely Legal into popular culture, the post feminist authors like Camille Paglia and Naomi Wolf, novels like The Poisonwood Bible made language essential to life.

Once we surrendered to the BUSH philosophy much of this was replaced by government action which permeated everything we did some would say even the water we drank. Where we are now is a world where anybody can be somebody.

What is the literary model now. How is morality upheld. None of this is apparent as we live in a world with no intellectual approach. What I had always envisioned the modern man to be is a person of intellect and sex. F Scott Fitzgerald established this with such excellence later enhanced in the novels by McInerny and Easton Ellis.

So the idea of modernity was always envisioned with sophistication. This was evident in music, art and sexuality. I think back to Donald Fagen's Nightfly. An album steeped in 50's perception of the future. In it artists would be adjoined internationally in thought. That is what the world has become a virtual place. Social networks like facebook allows for such a condition. Many fail to see the possibility in this as much of this world becomes a place for meaningless fun.

It can then be said referring back to my original thought that not much has changed. We therefore depend on those who continue to encourage thought and advancement of language.

The internet has certainly become the place for that. The programmable thought thus then becomes a virtual thought as fantasy has been made equivalent with the real.

Hence the virtual is real. In a hyper David Lynch surreal sense of the world the imagined Blue Velvet is a real world.

To live within the notion of giving life to a thought and envisioning a world for oneself is where we are in life. But this is only pertinent to those with an exceptional imagination.

It can then be said this modern world was made for the gifted, the extraordinary, those with a gift for envisioning a unique world, a world they manifest from, exist in. And much as those who inhabited the Kafka- esque psychological trap and circled philosophy and lived a literarily modern life, the future belongs belongs to the genius.

The genius benefits from this modern world. Cultural thrashing and circumstances surrounding symptomatic madness in politics and sexuality is a source of inspiration for those who think for those who transform themselves. That is what we did with AIDS. The 90's became a rebirth.

This virtual landscape of internet porn and dismissal of intellectualizing will and has resulted in a backlash. Those who emerge from this are geniuses.

Hence the genius is not a fat woman who dances to New Kids on The Block on Youtube.

The genius is cult.
Dear Readers of Black Cocteau,

I want to apologize for not posting for the past several months to what seems forever. I've been a participant on the social network Facebook. I seem to get more of an immediate response from the public once I post. I am able to share in a thread meaning one two or more people engage in a conversation as a reaction to my post. I have come to realize my blog Black Cocteau is not so much about an exchange with the public as it is a chance for me to express my thoughts on language and beauty along with a variety of topics which reflect my opinion on culture, gender and sexual politics. In doing so I gain an audience of people who share in this philosophy.

So I hereby return and continue with this very blog hoping I haven't lost my core audience hoping I make many more.

With Regards,

Kofi Fosu Forson