Commonwealth and Council


Jen Smith


JS: Is there an emoticon for chuckling? Is it LOL? ‘Cause that is  what is happening to me – but I have avoided using that acronym.

AB: I’m not actually clear on what LOL means. It looks like someone throwing up their hands in exasperation.

JS: It means Laugh Out Loud. Not really an emoticon.

AB: Not lots of love or lots of luck. Or load of lies. Or loss of life? Life or Limb? Light of life?**

**quotes excerpted from text collaboration with Aaron Brewer (ongoing).

LOL takes an iconic, distancing phrase and turns it into an embodied encounter. Begun as a non-competitive word game between lovers – different LOL phrases are generated to express the range of feelings associated with intimacy. Not a joke - though funny, nonsensical and  poignant – complicated feelings are communicated through the economical  structure of the often-used acronym. Blankets for a bed: the site of lovers’ laughter, optimism, longing, fucking, fuck-ups, failings. The manifestation of long hours of handiwork, the quilts are the opposite of the expediency of the text message and mirror the overwhelming effort  of loving, the labor of love.

Jen Smith is an artist, musician and chef. One of the first participants and credited with coining the term “Riot Grrrl” in the early 1990’s, she has long standing commitments to feminism, community  participation and fun. With her post punk band the Quails, she has played music halls, street protests and squats, made posters, zines and anti-war ephemera, and recorded three albums. Currently, she has a catering business in East Los Angeles. She received her BA in American  Studies from University of Maryland, College Park, and her MFA from  University of California, Irvine.