The Monday Media Diet with Erin Kapor

On scent, The Once and Future Monuments, and limousines

Erin Kapor (EK) is an old friend of WITI. She’s worked across business, music, and is now tripling down on making art with her own projects as well as studying at CalArts. Here we see what she’s into. Have a great week. -Colin (CJN)

Tell us about yourself

Hello! I am a creative who uses documentary strategies to produce installations, fragrances, and photographs.  I use scents, colors, and spaces stereotypically associated with femme introspection as allegories to pick apart these ideas by the inclusion of elements like negative space and chemicals (aldehyde) that make the environment uncomfortable.

I use my work as a way to explore my own experience of loss, the universality of anxiety, and the by-products of these feelings.  The photographs, performances, vessels, and olfaction are my attempt at containing, framing, remembering, fantasizing, and controlling-- the lack of which is the crux of anxiety. 

I’ve spent the last decade bouncing around New York, London, and Los Angeles.  I collect art books, records, and magnets and will take any opportunity to eat corndogs and sing karaoke.

Describe your media diet.

In terms of daily news outlets, I'm pretty basic-- NYT, CNN, BBC.  When I’m in a new city I like to make a point of getting a hard copy of the local newspaper.  Tells you a lot about a place.  Right now I'm in the midst of reading a bunch of National Geographic magazines from the 80s and 90s.  It's comforting that there are some media items that have a certain sense of enduring relevance.  I've also cut out some things this year like Michael Barbaro's The Daily podcast and the Guardian (mostly).  I love podcasts-- Science Friday, 1A.  Some of the best things I've listened to in the last year are Boomtown (it's about the culture around oil towns, specifically in West Texas) and Chuck Rosenberg's The Oath.  If you're feeling pretty lethargic about the state of politics in the US, but this podcast on ASAP.  He only interviews civil servants, amazing people that serve the people of the US in unelected positions.  The interview from last season with Robert Mueller is incredible.

What’s the last great book you read?

In terms of non-fiction I really enjoyed Michael Heizer: The Once and Future Monuments by William Fox.  Heizer's project The City is fascinating.  It was supposed to open in 2020 and he's been working on it since the 70s.  I gravitate towards people who toe the line between passion and obsession (the language of many artists) and he is a phenomenal example. I wish there were more women, well, really just more people that aren't men making monumental land art.  I'd also have to add Sarah Thorton's 33 Artists in 3 Acts. She interviewed a bunch of really famous contemporary artists (the Koons', Ai WeiWei’s, Damien Hirsts, Cindy Shermans' of the world) over a period of five years.  Her observation of the artists rather than the work was an interesting exercise in demystifying the notion of the all-encompassing genius.

Fiction. I really liked Kathy Acker's Blood and Guts in High School.  She was an immense, transgressive talent.  Would have loved to have had a wild night out with her.  Rachel Kushner's Telex from Cuba.  This is an incredible first novel (she wrote The Flamethrowers, The Mars Room, and recently published a collection of essays).  

What are you reading now?

Rest and be Thankful by Emma Glass. I just finished reading Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies and Joan Didion's Democracy

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

The New Yorker back to front, no question.  I'm waiting for them to do a special edition where they reverse everything and make the back the front. Give the people what they want!  I read books on paper still, I can't bring myself to give up the satisfaction of flipping a page.

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?

Harry Dodge.  He is an incredible artist and gifted storyteller.  His first book, memoir, My Meteorite came out last year and it is beautiful and messy and a fever dream of a read.  Also, anything that comes out on Spurl Editions. They print some really genre-bending, experimental stuff.

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone? 

I'm not particularly hip to these things but I do like perusing the Swimply app.  It's like Airbnb for people's pools.  You can rent them by the hour. 

Plane or Train?

Both! Taking Amtrak in the US outside of the east coast is wild. It feels like you are in another time and place.  In general, I like trains because you can actually see how fast you are going. 

What is one place everyone should visit?

Kare Kare beach on the North Island of New Zealand.  It's my favorite place in the world. People know it from that scene in Jane Campion's The Piano, where Holly Hunter is playing the instrument on the beach.

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into. 

I’ve been living in Texas for the last several months and I’ve developed a weird obsession with oil barrels and limos.  Mostly because neither of them really exist anymore.  Gasoline is delivered through pipelines and trucks but is still measured in the oil barrel metric.  I love that limos are this kind of ultimate symbol of excess that doesn’t really exist anymore.  I’ve been researching famous people’s personal limos. It ties into my interest in the cycle of how objects become ideas and then ideas become objects again. (EK) 

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Erin (EK)

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