Yeah, yeah another Mark Gonzales post. I could start a Mark Gonzales blog but there are already a few of those. (Fuck Yeah Mark Gonzales and Gonz Cards Stranger from whence came the above photos). I keep seeing the same photos of Gonz on various blogs (my how the internet is shrinking as we all tune into them same shit...). Lots of people are seemingly living life vicariously through him but who better? I don't think anybody embraces the 'city as playground' quiet like Mark Gonzales does.
Old man making a clown of himself in the streets or genius re-humanizing public space?
Cities took over the wilderness to give us highly controlled zones for commerce and consumption, meaningless work and linear transport. We have to undermine all this and re-introduce wilderness and chaos to the city, like the little chimps that we are. Gonz shows us one way. The occupants of Tahrir Square showed us another, but there are countless methods to combat the dehumanization of modern life in the urban realm.
I went 'street skating' last Saturday with my friend Jeff but he couldn't skate due to injury, so we biked from spot to spot while he watched me hurt myself repeatedly. However, we both agreed that the actual skateboarding didn't count as much as just being in the streets and interacting with everything it threw at us. Heckling people and being heckled. Hanging tough with 12 year old Bmxers and tweaking hippies. Having ludicrous conversations with people who have long since surrendered their sanity. Keeping your eye on cops and security guards who are hired to make sure fun is not taking place. Stopping for red lights isn't fun. Driving a car between white lines in straight lines to get to a set destination isn't fun. Shopping bags aren't fun. Cops aren't fun. And all these unfun things are killing us. Keep moving, go nowhere for the sake of it, fall down, take the long way, carry your bike up a secret twenty stair-case to somewhere, ignore those signs that are set in the concrete and follow the other 'signs' (you know the ones). Occupy your town square and expose the illusions of authority and hierarchy, until illegitimate leaders retreat into irrelevance. Live two thousand years in four hours and go home at some point, broken, sweating and free.
I'll keep yacking away like this until we've ground everything down into a fine sand and we're standing naked on the beach again.
For more Gonz, check out his new Book, Instead Of Eros Avenged, which from what I understand is a collection of spontaneous cell phone photos taken during his many street interactions... or as the publisher describes it "A celebration of an improvised life."