Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Los Angeles Project

Here is a letter I received in the mail from Ms. Dacheux herself. Please see for more information...

October 3. 2006

Dear Friends,

I am being held hostage by a progressive underground coalition called “The Imaginative Action Regime.”

I have no concept of where I am anymore. But don’t worry, I have not been harmed. My captors treat me well and feed me popsicles. They do not ask for my body. I have tried many times to spread my legs freely, but they have refused. This is my plight, as they are very attractive.

They want something else, which is why I am writing you. They want you to know about The LOS ANGELES PROJECT, a reaction to The Manhattan Project.

Manhattan. Los Angeles. Manhattan. Los Angeles. East Coast. West Coast. Fuck it.

I responded with a charismatic joke about Tupac and Biggie. I told them that if I were ever in a war, it would be a rap one, and I would be a super small fiery bundle of rhymes that jumps out into the spotlight to save everyone from gunfire.

Yes, they agreed. I am a maniac. I know nothing of war, let alone rap, or even hula hooping. Yet, they liked my joke, mostly because of my enthusiasm and tone. I felt promoted. And, in my playfulness, became one of them.

They told me to forget about coasts, forget about this and that, and to think only in concepts. They suggested that I think about The Manhattan Project minus Manhattan in a non-linear manner. They told me that The LOS ANGELES PROJECT should be thought of in a similar way but with different effects.

We have had many arguments over this.

I said that I could only think about things that are real.

This is how I get through the day, by putting one foot in front of the other, by zipping things up, by opening the door. I told them that ever since my dad died, I have been overly concerned with concrete things, because when I think too long about unreal things, I start to float in space.

“There’s nothing wrong with space,” they said.

I explained that if I sit still long enough, my body becomes magnetic, like water, pulling apart at the seams.

They nodded their heads and then tickled me. It was very sexy, and I grew distracted . . .

They are laughing over my shoulder right now . . . they are throwing me winks.

Where was I? Oh, that’s right. The Manhattan Project.

“Can you invent something that was unimaginable until now?” they asked.
“I’m not strong in physics.” I said.
“You don’t need to know how things work. This is not about knowing.” they explained.

They pushed piles of paper under my nose and forced me to write the word “coast” over and over again, for hours upon hours, until I saw only inane squiggles and curling pencil marks.

“What is that?” my captors demanded.

My hand ached, my eyes crossed. “It’s just pencil.”

“But, what does it mean?”

“It means pencil. It means we talk without talking through this scribble. I understand and you understand”

"No," they said, “we don’t understand.” They pointed to my scribblings.

“Nothing real means anything solid.” They do several little dances to spite my exhaustion. A lovely twirl for hours, a choreographed dance to Pat Benatar, and then I get crazy. They never tire.

On the next day, they told me to draw the first dead person I had ever seen.

On the next day, they told me to draw the second dead person I had ever seen.

On the next day, they told me to draw these two dead people as though they had forgotten about peanut butter.

It was difficult-- drawing the nose has always been challenging for me. At first, I drew carefully, and then carelessly as they watched, until eventually I grew distracted-- uncertain of my squiggles . . . this was a good sign.

On the next day, they asked me to illuminate myself like a fish gasping for air.

“Do you remember the Manhattan Project?” they asked me again.
“What are you, a nihilist?” I threw down my pencil.
“Would a nihilist have a suntan?” they laughed.

It was true, they had great suntans.

They urged me to continue. They described these times as apocalyptic and they told me what was at stake. They elaborated on some funny stories about performance pieces where performers protest performers to performers as though to suggest that wars are solved in art galleries.

They warned me about self-indulgent ego blasting, that some artists would not find it interesting, that some creative types only glory for other established creative types . . . this is not what The LOS ANGELES PROJECT means.

If their demands are not met, I will be held captive for a long long long fucking long ass time.

They said some artists would critique this, eat too much cheese and drink too much wine, throw up on themselves, demand this letter be more serious, especially when talking about war times and death. They might suggest my writing flat, that in three years it might mature, but in three years it might be too late.

I told them about you. How you are different.

I said that you believe in possibility, that chance is what you bring into the world and what you are capable of creatively evoking.

This is why they demanded I write you. For whatever reason, they believe in me, and in this sense, they believe in you.

“There is nothing wrong with funny childlike art,” My captors told me. “In fact,” they added, “only funny art will save the situation at hand.”

This is The LOS ANGELES PROJECT-- an extreme progressive need for imaginative action during these war times.

They are serious about being silly and their demands are as follows . . . pay attention, this is the important part--

1. Look out of a piece of paper and pretend window.
2. Write down something childlike or embarrassing—otherwise known as something
that could change the world. Do not talk about serious existing politics. As we all know, that route will not change the world, let alone save it.
3. Draw what you wrote down, especially if you are shy about drawing.
4. Make sure your something was fantastical and incomprehensible until now.
5. Place the pretend window in an envelope, and mail to our portal:

c/o ms. dacheux
1803 Gramercy Place #12
Los Angeles, CA 90028

or place the pretend window in a scanner & jpg us at thelosangelesproject at yahoo dot com .

6. Now, think of a friend who was imaginary when you were a kid and is now very real.
7. Send them this document, paste the url, etc. get the word out, and tell them to repeat these actions.

My captors are building something quite spectacular here. They promise explosive results. Their brains are on fire. We are all doodling noses and feet for fish. Do not worry, I am safe, I am enjoying my stay. But, I miss you all. I miss you all so terribly. They will not release me until their demands are met. So, please act fast.

I don't know all the details. Every day is new. But, they have assured me of this--

Collectively, if geniuses were able to build something destructively unimaginable out of science, surely we can build something constructively unimaginable out of art. This is the beginning. This is where you and I hold hands & walk into the project.

Sincerely Your Friend & Future Collaborator,

Stacy Elaine Dacheux

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