by C von Hassett

We say we are an addict and fully believe it. We find ourselves in modes of addiction, are aware of perhaps unhealthy relationships with drink or drugs, with sex or whatever else we believe we are addicted to, then freely label ourselves ‘Addict.’ And if not an addict, then we embrace or easily accept such designations as depressed, anxious, fearful, angry, unworthy, a push-over, too kind, too loving.

“I am an addict,” we will say to the group, to our loved ones and ourselves. And yet, is this true?

There is a practice in Dzogchen meditation

by C von Hassett

Dzogchen, or Atiyoga, is a profound body of teachings that point us directly toward the recognition of mind in its natural state. The teachings as a philosophy are radical, if not wholly revolutionary. As a practice, they are transformational, moving one from concept-based being to awareness being, from contrived, dualistic thinking to a mind unbound by any thought, a mind beyond ideation of any kind. This is the arrival of wisdom mind, enlightened mind, and an arrival here means there is no turning back. There simply cannot be, for conventional mind has been sliced clean through.

by C von Hassett

Space defines who we are as much as it defines the totality of our existence. As an actual physical body, the corporeal self, we are more space than matter, infinitely more, though from the conceptual perspective this would be a tough argument to sell. The truth is, the human body — your body — is 99.99% space, and that incredible, near-incomprehensible percentage holds constant for all matter in the world we exist in, including all matter throughout the limitless universe.

Consider that percentage for a moment: the body is 99.99% empty space. Look down at the…

at Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles (through 20 March 2021)
Reviewed by Nancy Kay Turner

Simphiwe Ndzube’s Silumko (2021)

Simphiwe Ndzube’s engaging exhibit, entitled Like the Snake that Fed the Chameleon at Nicodim Gallery, is a visual and aural treat composed of paintings, sculptures and two installations, all bathed in a soundscape created by the artist in collaboration with Thabo K. Makgolo and Zambini Makwetha. A master storyteller, Nzdube creates an existential, otherworldly space where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. The work defies easy explanations, as mystery is piled on top of enigma. Each painting or sculpture shares a homemade, do-it-yourself aesthetic, with all seams made…

by Lisa Zeiger

“All I can see is the frame.”
–Robert Mitchum in Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past

The art of Shirin Neshat is the pure, clear pool at the heart of a Persian garden. On its surface play fountains of poetry and music, films and visions. In its depths reside all the sequestered emotion, alluring ritual, and ambivalent traditions of the artist’s native Iran. Long gone from another country, Neshat exalts its beauty in the photographs, video installations and feature films she has been making since the early 1990s. …

at William Turner Gallery, Los Angeles (through 28 November)
Reviewed by Lita Barrie

Mark Steven Greenfield’s powerful exhibition of Black Madonna paintings, currently on view at William Turner Gallery, is perfectly timed to coincide with the election of the first woman of color, Kamala Harris, to be our next Vice President; while the exhibition notably follows on the years-long Black Lives Matter protests that in all likelihood lifted Ms. Harris to the second highest office of the land.

As an African American artist who emerged out of the Black Power movement in the late 1960s, Greenfield has had a long…

Reviewed by Alci Rengifo

Chasing the Light
by Oliver Stone
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 352 pp., $25.20

If there is anything the year 2020 has shaken into the very fabric of our imperial society, it’s that nothing ever goes according to plan, rarely is anything absolutely assured. While a biological threat has upended not only our nationalist pride as a world hegemony, it no doubt has uprooted many personal obsessions with career paths and lifestyle. That most provocative of American film directors, Oliver Stone, has now released a passionate and absorbing memoir, Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon, Midnight…

Reviewed by John Biscello

The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish
by Katya Apekina
Two Dollar Radio, 353pp., $12.74

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again

In the name of nursery rhyme remixology, first let us add the soothing menace of a Pink Floyd soundscape to the tale, and then let us peer into the fragmented disaster that the fallen Humpty has become, and realize that he was never an anthropomorphized egg-man at all, but rather a family incestuously consolidated…

at The Barbican, London (through 24 Jan 2021)
Reviewed by Christopher P Jones

Despite what intuition tells us, history is constantly changing. The revision of the past happens all around us and at all times, sometimes perniciously and sometimes for enlightened reasons. For her first exhibition in the UK, Toyin Ojih Odutola has done a brave and remarkable thing. She has created an entire origin-myth that not only revisits ancient African history but invents it. …

by Max King Cap

“My father was a little headstrong, my mother was a little armstrong. The Headstrongs married the Armstrongs, and that’s why darkies were born.” — Rufus T. Firefly, Duck Soup, 1933

He had done it before. One can readily find the photographs of his handiwork; two human torsos, headless, the legs amputated just below the knee. Young and fit but unidentifiable, their fingertips rasped smooth. When first put on display, tens of thousands saw this pair of dismembered bodies and admiringly walked right by them.

Although Ota Benga, standing just fifty-nine inches tall, was cruelly kept with…

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RIOT MATERIAL is LA’s premier literary-cultural magazine with an eye on art, word, and forward-aiming thought. Check out our gallery on IG: @ riotmaterial.

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