As a part of ISSUE Project Room’s ongoing quarantine-coping series, Isolated Field Recordings, sound and video artist C. Spencer Yeh featured a livestream on Wednesday entitled THE BIG SHARE with original composition, a pet cat, and some delicious dinner footage filmed by the notorious foodie himself.
ISSUE’s site is still hosting the full video, along with the following note from Yeh:
“Perhaps the best way I’ve been able to describe THE BIG SHARE is as a series of rough draft chapters from an unfinished novel that probably will never, nor should really, get finished. It’s a long convoluted path leading to the imagining of what basically amounts to a scrapbook—one which I’m flipping through some pages publicly, pausing to admire my deftly-handcut buttcracks of the heart.
The plan I had for this was pretty simple and straightforward, and had come to me rather quickly after considering the prompt from ISSUE. Shortly after the Quar hit, I found that what used to be a fairly active and consistent social media sharing habit of mine had suddenly ground to a halt. I still continued to pull my phone out and take photos and video anyways—that part of me did not get the message, which is a funny way to think about snapping pics. Had this image-taking just become a generating of potential content for sharing on social media? Like acquiring books and records, are these piles just accumulating with no real possibility of actually being visited? So, the project was to gather together and revisit these “field recordings” and do one BIG SHARE. THE BIG SHARE would take place in a space off the main thruways of online, requiring a bit more intention and opting-in to access. Of course I would be occupying an opportunity that could have been another’s, however I’m fine in no longer talking myself out of taking up spaces like I used to, particularly under the sway of greedy and resentful people. There’s so much else to say, but I want to save it for the work. Otherwise, why would I bother rendering it in audio and video it if I could just write about it? I’m now concerned about either being greatly overbearing and insufferable, or unable to feel secure in the sound of my own voice—there is no in between!
If THE BIG SHARE somehow felt necessary at the time of ISSUE’s invitation, then I should see through it as the way to go even now. Quite simply the stakes have changed around so much artmaking, senses of productivity, of worth in the self, and the self in relation to others. The energy that could be put into drafting and broadcasting a grand statement would instead be put towards direct action and aid, and the desire to author and satisfy myself would be put towards activities like cooking—a coping activity that also feeds and supports others around. Another recent development is the taking in and taking care of a new animal member of the family. Especially important, the action and the aid, the conversation, the goals, values, and beliefs, are put into everyday practice alongside the cooking and the pets and the vanity video projects etc., and not isolated to a couple weeks annually.
I’d been trying to figure out exactly what it is about cooking and eating that interests me. Certainly my anxieties and complications around making food have eased and sublimated in my life alongside so much else. I abhor any prescribed model of food appreciation, but politely endure them when others invoke and apply these terms. I don’t find my resistance of these tags and roles to be any form of humility or self-deprecation. When I tell people I really am not a “musician” I do not say this out of sadness or regret. If people want to hear about my deal, I’d rather talk about my particular path, methods, experience. I’m happier when I hear the same from others—certainly more happy than when others punish themselves for not achieving an archetypal ideal. One of the most notable food posts I had seen in the, uh, feed, was from a friend who successfully made toum at home. The working title for this part is TALKING ABOUT NOT TALKING ABOUT THINGS YOU ARE SAYING BUT TRYING NOT TO TALK ABOUT.
In the same week of the invitation from ISSUE, we had started fostering a cat from a volunteer-run cat rescue specializing in ferals and strays. Michelangelo, a “very sweet shy boy,” one of twenty-plus cats rescued from a hoarder-type situation, soon turned out to be a she—Michelangela. She had been clearly overwhelmed by her previous situation, as well as the hectic recovery facility, and as a result had retreated into herself and tuned the fuck out. We were told to keep her first in the bathroom, in her carrier, shielded from the stressfully vast expanse of a new zone. It may well take a great amount of patience—some weeks for her to come out of her shell. Michelangela—soon D’Angela then Darling Mikki—and so, another section, THE STORY OF MIKKI.
At the time of writing, I’m still planning on rounding the program out with a segment that survived my initial coarse edit of the project outline––FIFTY MEMES GENERATED BY AI. The program will also possibly feature old and new music from Burning Star Core, CCSSYY, CS Yeh, and C. Spencer Yeh.”