mark baumer 1983-2017

i barely knew him. but i loved him. probably many people feel this way. he was a seraph mash of andy kaufman, ray johnson, and tehching hsieh. what am i saying. he was entirely his own being. but like these, his mindful performances carefully studied empathy and mortality. his video diaries are fantastic! precisely raw, absurd documentaries of his compassionate durational art. watch his last entry, from his 100th day walking, in which he shouts YOUR IGNORANCE IS KILLING PEOPLE! then watch all the rest.


among other things, his walk was a fundraising effort for the environmental FANG collective. please consider donating.


an interview with mark baumer on steve roggenbuck’s plantliker podcast

Mark Baumer died. He was hit by a car and killed while walking along US 90, in Crestview, Florida. Mark was walking barefoot across the country to raise money for the FANG Collective, but also, I suspect, to both find solitude and meet people. Mark was an artist, not only through his poetry and videos, but in his life, and he was always searching for inspiration.

Mark was at the fringes of lots of labor, social justice and climate actions in Rhode Island, but occasionally he stepped up to take a more central role. His work always seemed to be based in a deep sense of compassion…

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two quick takes:

SUMMER OF HATE has the kind of honesty i like. one with a thin sheen of fiction and, on occasion, a thick glob of style (but this mostly subtle, a french exit or a tasteful gesture). mannered yet truthful. paced here with a good and slow buildup but not quite manipulatively suspenseful. an effective documentary-ish presentation re: class, race, and cultural capital… and, reading it in january 2017, the appalling realization the bush II years were a restrained preview and not the nadir. dug this book.


emo like duras is emo. grieving, brave, and deracinating, i found FISH IN EXILE unafraid to wear emotion on its sleeve. and yet sui generis; made with a charged, defamiliarized language… making the old (classic) story somehow all her own (the persephone retell a favorite bit), the book has a little of karapanou or lispector in its ability to poetically sear to the heart of the matter — but clears its own ground. loved it.


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