Patrick Johnson Recommends...

“To me, the way millennial distractibility has been cast as inattentiveness is unfair. Distractibility gives me access to experiences I wouldn’t have without the internet, and these varied experiences make up the foundation of my writing. Being distractible allows me to encounter things that I wouldn’t with a higher attention. So I find @jasonebeyer on Instagram, whose surreal nude figures remind me of lubricated versions of the vogueing men in video art by Jacolby Satterwhite, who remapped earth with rows of Black men, Trina, and a Pegasus in the film accompaniment to Solange’s album When I Get Home, which reminds me of Matthew Barney’s film series The Cremaster Cycle, which is named after the cremaster muscle that I’ve dissected in a cadaver lab, and how in another class I’m taking we’re learning how to respond ‘with empathy’ to our patients.

What’s poetic probably is the way I’m interested in things—images, concepts, and experiences that are not my own, yet echo in me. What feelings are universal? What feelings can I access? What’s off-limits to my imagination? To me, getting lost on the internet is about perspective-taking: maybe I end up on the Wikipedia page for the cremaster muscle, or maybe I always end up looking at that same person’s selfies, hoping they’ll notice me.”
—Patrick Johnson, author of Gatekeeper (Milkweed Editions, 2019)