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I bought these Philip Starke glasses at the end of the year in 2010 just before we moved to Sweden, thinking that they would fit right in in Stockholm – (they did not). I was “that American with the pink glasses” in Stockholm. One day I saw a Facebook post by Martha Wilson and she was wearing “my glasses”. After a bit of correspondence on the issue, I decided that I was in fact wearing “her glasses.” and always called my “pinks” my “Martha Wilson” glasses (take that Philipe Stark you’ve got nothing on the MW!)
Two years ago in March 2013 I started an artist residency at Light Work in Syracuse, New York. After graduating from college I worked for 4 years as the Lab Manager at Light Work’s public access photography lab. Being invited back as an Artist in Residency was a huge honor for me, in a sort of “local boy’s done good” kind of way.
Unfortunately, one of my first questions when I arrived was not about the facilities, or digital printers, or my proposed project, but about where the nearest liquor store was. You know when your parents told you that when they walked to school it was uphill both ways? Well, Light Work sits half way up the large hill that Syracuse University sits on. And the nearest liquor store is over that hill. So on my first night, in a snow storm, on a bicycle, I went up hill both ways to get a bottle of Jameson’s. It didn’t end well.
I had to leave Light Work a week early and realized that I just couldn’t drink anymore. Cold turkey, no moderation, all or nothing. And like any good alcoholic, I decided that I would do it by myself, because “I’ve got this”. I’d gone through periods of non drinking when I was in college and when I was making ski/snowboard films and had zero money for anything. I’ll do it my self, thanks.
Ask anyone who has battled addiction and you quickly find out that “doing it yourself” seldom works. It wasn’t until May 21st 2013, that I finally asked for help. But not before returning to drinking with gusto, pushing away the people that loved me most, and stepping on and breaking my “Martha Wilson” glasses in a drunken stupor.
I have worked since May 21st, 2013 on keeping myself sober every single day. I’ve gone through two pairs of glasses since these, but I’ve only lost/broken them on my own with nothing/noone to blame but my clumsiness.
John D. Freyer & Johan Lindquist outside the Dept. of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University.
Martha Wilson – Photo Credit: Christopher Milne