by Nikki Darling
Digital poetry chapbook / Available at Light & Wire Gallery
The ebook Ascension by Nikki Darling is beyond auto-biographical. I don’t even think it is an ebook. I don’t think it is an ejournal or an ediary. What it is . . . is a mess.
Nikki is a mess.
Her hair is usually a mess.
She has dirty feet. And these are not purposeful things. Nikki’s messiness is a direct result of the time she dedicates to personal branding in other areas. The disorder is a result of neglect.
Nikki frequently neglects form and tries to bypass narrative.
Or so she would have you think.
This ebook is an electronic collage. A tribute to all things Nikki.
A dip inside of her brain.
And I have to admit I don’t like it there.
The music is too old. It makes me uncomfortable. The songs are too polished, thick and unbending with old school veneer. Why can’t she just write a story, a chap book for my hands?
Why the appropriation?
Why the mess?
I’m always tempted to tell Nikki to clean herself up. To clean up her work. To pull up her bra straps. To put on a bra. But her poems won’t wear one.
The inclusion of screens, like mini-experiential pockets of havoc, give insight to the cacophony of song that blares in Nikki’s mind. Music is integral to her work and it isn’t just the sound. Ascension reflects her obsession with all aspects of the music including the performers, the presentation, and the cultural context. The performers, or the artists that Nikki focuses on are none that I am terribly familiar with. They aren’t ones that I enjoy. They are gender-benders and here is the crux of my discomfort. Nikki has an eye for cultural construction and is especially gifted at lifting images and iconography of the past decades up and layering them against one another. Again, this is a collage. There is no clear delineation of gender. Her preference for boys is met with a proclivity for presenting them in feminized forms. Think long hair, short shorts, gliding around on skate boards.
May 2nd, 2014 / 10:00 am