a haunted capital

My mother had the idea to shoot a portrait of me wearing this T-shirt printed with a Huxtable family portrait. As a child I watched The Cosby Show in order to escape the reality of my dismantled working-class family. My mother set up the camera in the bedroom doorway, facing a mirror reflecting part of her image. Both the mirror and the T-shirt are scratched, dusty, and fading in the light. In the text that I perform live, for this particular photograph I wrote, “Between my background and my foreground, I am not sure where I stand.”

—LaToya Ruby Frazier

LaToya Ruby Frazier (American, b. 1982). Huxtables, Mom and Me, 2009. Gelatin silver photograph, 15 x 19 ¼ in. (38.1 x 48.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Emily Winthrop Miles Fund, 2011.63.3. © LaToya Ruby Frazier

Currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum in the exhibition LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital. Up through August 11, 2013.

canadiana-maple-deactivated2016  asked:

Hi there. I met you during The Raven Boys tour in 2012 in Canada, and I remember you telling a story of how you got lost on a moor during your research phase of the book. I'm looking to travel to that moor but I can't remember the name of it! If it's possible, I'd very much appreciate it if you could tell me. By the way, that was one of the best experiences of my life, thanks for signing my riding helmet (I still have it)

Dear highland-horses,

Here is a story of how I nearly went to England and never came out again.

The Raven Cycle, as you possibly know, is mostly about troubled young men, troubled old cars, and ley lines. I knew quite a bit about the first two but not so much about the third, so I decided to visit a few. It turned out that ley lines were not very interesting to look at, seeing as they are invisible and also probably imaginary,* but my interest was piqued when I read about Wistman’s Wood.

*Supposed attributes of ley lines: strange energy (invisible), time loss (invisible), getting lost (invisible), electrical spikes (invisible), poor health (invisible), great health (imaginary?), hauntings (imaginary?), and auditory disturbances (invisible).

Wistman’s Wood is a twisted little forest in Dartmoor. The ground is boulders, the sky is gray, and the trees are stunted weird-ass oak trees. Everything is moss. According to my research, it was supposedly “haunted” by the capital D Devil. I doubted that it was haunted by the Devil, as everyone knows that you are possessed by the Devil and haunted by poor life decisions, but I figured that it was probably uncomfortable. When things make people uncomfortable, they nearly always blame the Devil or libertarians. I like uncomfortable things. Well, I like interesting things. I don’t so much care if something is uncomfortable or not, so long as it’s interesting.

So I decided to go. I asked my mother and sister if they wanted to go with me. Also a pregnant friend. When I pitched the idea, I emphasized the magical wonder of the hidden forest and deemphasized its location on an invisible imaginary energy source and also the possible presence of demonic forces.

FRIEND: I always love spending time with you!
SISTER: Yay! I hear Dartmoor has amazing scones!
MOTHER: Is there going to be a demon on this trip?

My mother has a very piercing intellect. It’s difficult to slip things past her.

We went. We checked into the Two Bridges Hotel, which turned out to be 60% fine, 30% ominous, 10% sausages. We decided to walk to Wistman’s Wood the following morning. I’d done my research and discovered it was but a brief jaunt over a sheep field.

FRIEND: *is pregnant* Is it far?
ME: But a brief jaunt.
MOTHER: Is there going to be a demon on this walk?

We jaunted. Everything was mist. Everything was fog. Everything was sheep. We continued jaunting. MistFogSheep continued unabated. No one said are you sure we’re going the right way because that is a surefire sign that you are not. An hour passed. We had never not been walking. We were in an unfamiliar sheep field somewhere on the planet, and there was no sign of a tree anywhere. Although we stood on a hilltop and could not have gone far, none of our phones could acquire signal. The sheep snickered meanly. My mother sat upon a hummock to wait. We made loopy circles around her. Everything was freezing and mucky. Another hour passed. I was becoming increasingly aware that my friend was going to have her baby here on this moor, and then the sheep were going to eat it. I consoled myself with the knowledge that it was just as well that my phone wasn’t working as I wasn’t sure how I was going to break the news to Lover that I wasn’t coming home: I now lived in a space between mortal minutes in a place on no earthly map. Send my reader mail to Maggie Stiefvater, Crook of England’s Elbow, Fabric of Space Time.

Suddenly the mist parted, and magically, we saw Wistman’s Wood before us. It was a dark, huddled lump, all of the trees mist-strewn and suspicious. It was also exceptionally close. It had somehow managed to get ominously close without us managing to notice, which seems impossible given the nature of trees. They do not have legs, not even on a ley line.

Nonetheless, we were overjoyed. Finally!

Also, the signal had returned to our phones.

MOTHER: I’m going to wait out here. Because demon.

She did, as the rest of us plunged in. I am pleased to report to you that it was indeed so interesting that I easily see how it had developed rumors of devils and libertarians running amok. These photos do not quite capture it, as no camera has yet been developed that can adequately reproduce dread or alternate time loops.

We emerged without difficulty to find my mother communing with about 13 wild ponies — she was not sorry — and then we headed back to the hotel. It took no time at all. We furtively ate scones with a sense of having gotten away with something. I was, however, darkly aware that it was possible that my friend might now give birth to a black winged thing, and also that my mother might possibly dream of borderless mist for the rest of her days, and further that my sister might forever hear the ghostly calls of invisible sheep, and finally that I might never meet another deadline for a Raven Cycle book. But that was in the future. In the present, in that moment, warm in the Two Bridges Hotel, there was only relief and comfort.

So, dear highland-horses, that is the name of the place where I got lost. Wistman’s Wood: somewhere, somehow, those words are always being breathed aloud.

Visitdartmoor.co.uk says that it is “is important for the mosses and lichens that festoon the trees and the impressive granite boulders found on the site.” Stiefvater says, sure, that sounds right. Wistman’s Wood: Come for the lichens. Stay for the devil.



Nothing can stop us if we believe

Bastille - Oblivion

Foxes - Glorious 

Foxes - Night Glo

Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks

M83 - Wait

Kodaline - All I Want

Birdy & Jaymes Young - Best Shot

Birdy - Not About Angels

Birdy - Tee Shirt

Ed Sheeran - All of the Stars

Grouplove - Let Me In

Indians - Oblivion

Tom Odell - Long Way Down 

Jake Bugg - Simple as This

Ray LaMontagne - Without Words

Charli XCX - Boom Clap

Lykke Li - No One Ever Loved

Radical Face - We’re On Our Way

Foster the People - Waste

Foster the People - I Would Do Anything for You

Foster the People - Miss You 

The 1975 - Robbers

The 1975 - Settle Down

Foster the People - Fire Escape

Foster the People - Nevermind 

Foster the People - A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon

Foster the People - Don’t Stop (Color On the Walls)

Foster the People - Coming of Age

Foster the People - Pseudologia Fantastica

Grouplove - I’m with You

Grouplove - Schoolboy

Grouplove - Ways to Go

Grouplove - Slow

Grouplove - Spun

Grouplove - Chloe

Grouplove - Close Your Eyes and Count to Ten

Grouplove - Cruel and Beautiful World

Grouplove - Love Will Save Your Soul

Grouplove - Lovely Cup

Grouplove - Tongue Tied

Grouplove - Betty’s a Bomb Shell

OneRepublic - What You Wanted

Of Monsters and Men - Love Love Love

Of Monsters and Men - Sloom

Of Monsters and Men - Yellow Light

Of Monsters and Men - Your Bones

Of Monsters and Men - From Finner

Of Monsters and Men - Mountain Sound

Of Monsters and Men - Six Weeks

Of Monsters and Men - King and Lionheart

Of Monsters and Men - Lakehouse

The 1975 - Anobrain

The 1975 - Me

The 1975 - Haunt // Bed

Capital Cities - Love Away

Capital Cities - Origami

Capital Cities - Chartreuse

Capital Cities & Soseh - Chasing You

Capital Cities - One Minute More

Capital Cities & André 300 - Farrah Fawcett Hair

Capital Cities - Patience Get Us Nowhere Fast

Capital Cities - Safe and Sound

Foxes - Night Owls Early Birds

The 1975 - Woman

The 1975 - Facedown

Bastille - Overjoyed

Bastille - Flaws (Acoustic Version)

Bastille - Poet

The XX - Angels

The XX - Fiction

The XX - Our Song

The XX - Reunion

The XX - Swept Away

The XX - Try

Lana del Rey - Lucky Ones

Lana del Rey - Serial Killer

Lana del Rey - Without You

Lana del Rey - Radio

Alesso vs OneRepublic - If I Lose Myself

Empire of the Sun/Zedd - Alive

Ed Sheeran - One


Artist LaToya Ruby Frazier takes on Levi’s in opposition to their ad campaign featuring the slogan “Everyone’s work is equally important,” shot in Braddock, Pa., her depressed and jobless hometown. Frazier solo exhibit, “A Haunted Capital,” opens at the Brooklyn Museum tomorrow (March 22).


Netizens outlined iconic buildings that have become utterly invisible in the heavy smog in Beijing’s CBD, as a way to highlight the dense air pollution that’s been haunting the capital for days.(inewsweek)