Anodyne
Friday, January 19, 2007
 
"My girlfriend wants me at AA, not the party."

(Cellphone guy on the bus, overheard on the way to the UBC MFA show at the Belkin Satellite)
 
New Year's resolution: food in the fridge, cookbooks on the table, dinner beside them. So here's my version of chef John Ash's Tuna Sauce For Pasta, probably the best meal I've made for myself, ever. ("Fish!" said the cats, clustering round). Can of drained water-packed tuna in the blender. Small can of washed anchovy fillets, ditto. An egg yolk, carefully extracted by tossing the yolk and white back and forth between two small cups, an old Frances Jean trick recalled from childhood. Lots of lemon juice (3 tsp. bottled Real Lemon, though I suppose I could just have easily bought and squeezed a "real Real Lemon." Garlic. Fifteen seconds' pulse in the blender. Chopped cilanto, 3 tsp. chopped capers, a cautious drizzle of cream. The sauce turns a lovely beige-peach color. Fuselli pasta, 10 minutes in salted water on the stove. Sauce over steaming pasta, cilantro garnish, and, in a burst of Aurora Bistro-style inspiration, a sliced kosher dill alongside. "If a tuna-fish sandwich was pasta, this is the pasta it'd be." Small glass of Bonny Doon 2004 Big House Red (BCLDB, $18.95 specialty listing). Rain battering the drafty leaky condo windows, a crisp red Mac apple for dessert, the cats propped up nearby. Laurie Colwin's right: cooking is a lot like love. "Both happy and sad people can be cheered up by a nice meal!"
Thursday, January 18, 2007
 

Sir Richard Steele clearly divines Anodyne Inc. in 1700:

"Is it possible that a young Man at present could pass his Time better, than in reading the History of Stocks, and knowing by what secret Springs they have such sudden Ascents and Falls in the same Day? Could he be better conducted on his Way to Wealth, which is the great Article of Life, than in a Treatise dated from Change-Alley by an able proficient there? Nothing could be more useful, than to be well instructed in his Hope and Fears; to be diffident when others exalt, and with a secret Joy buy when others think it in their interest to sell."
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
 
"Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same." (Foucault)

Anodyne Inc.

Dividend paid today:

E-L Financial Corporation (ELF): .0125/[$600] share x 7 shares = $.88!

Not the world's stingiest dividend, but close.

Cash balance, $2066.52

Sunday, January 14, 2007
 

Anodyne Inc.

Dividends today! (Actually paid at midnight, but it's easier to update the stats now)

North West Company Income Fund (NWF.UN): .22/unit x 600 units = $132.00
Parkland Income Fund (PKI.UN): 1.27/unit x 746 units = $947.42 (includes one-time special end-of-the-year distribution)

Cash balance, $2065.64

The corporation's first quarterly report to shareholders will be live on or around the 25th of January. Don't expect too much, just the performance stats and a few paragraphs discussing the various positions' business results, as opposed to short-term share price changes. I am pretty pleased with the portfolio's performance so far. A few readers have written requesting weekly updates, which is a bit like calling a realtor every week to obtain an estimate of your home's resale value. For full disclosure's sake, I should also mention that I have been conducting a fairly in-depth conversation about one of the portfolio positions on a message board over at Stockhouse.com. I'm not linking to it here, but anyone with sufficient interest should be able to turn it up.
 

Monkey? Sweeeeet!
 

On Mission
By Christopher Brayshaw

[Author's preferred version of a CSA Space curator's handout]

Owen Kydd’s video installation Mission consists of three different silent sequences of portrait and landscape images made with a stationary camera and presented side-by-side in the gallery. The sequences differ slightly in length, and their shots are thrown into novel relief by the work’s ceaseless visual permutation. For me, this structure represents Kydd’s ambitious attempt to marry the ancient art of the still picture, whose static images imply an endless plenitude of detail, with the more recent art of cinematography, whose temporality makes it appear more “life like.” Paintings, drawings and photographs seem to belong to an older world; they demand a different attention span than cinema, a probing, self-directed, and more contemplative kind of looking.

Kydd has structured Mission so that the work responds equally well to “pictorial” and “cinematographic” modes of looking. The installation doesn’t really click until the evidence gleaned from each mode has been carefully compared with its other, just as two slightly different aerial photographs will generate the illusion of three-dimensional relief when perceived as a gestalt. Each element works with its other to generate a mysterious third, a composite continuous with both which provides more information than either on its own.

Mission
’s subject is a small town hard against the northern edge of the Fraser Valley, approximately forty miles east of Vancouver. The town’s notable features include the highway bridge to Abbotsford and the other communities south of the river; a timeworn downtown strip (pawnshops; liquor marts; Tim Horton’s; architecture and signage implying a certain kinship with the “American vernacular” of photographers like Henry Wessel and Stephen Shore); and Westminster Abbey, a picturesque Benedictine monastery perched high on a hill above the town.

Faced with the difficulty of representing such a heterogeneous place – even views less than a mile apart bear little resemblance to one another – Kydd begins with images which, like still pictures, are complete in themselves. By the time a view of a roadside slough or a suburban cul-de-sac briefly dissolves into darkness, and is replaced by the parking lot at a local car racing meet, or a tangled swath of urban forest, or the nodding fat pink and yellow heads of dahlia blooms in the monastery garden, we somehow feel that we have absorbed the essence of the scene, that Kydd’s camera has shown us more than we might have seen on our own. But because we are never shown just one view, but always several simultaneously, this “essence” is always juxtaposed against other equally self-sufficient scenes, thereby undermining the powerful sense of completeness we attribute to each shot on its own.

Mission alternately employs the powerful air of self-sufficiency that inheres in still pictures, and the fundamental properties of cinematography (movement; duration; time) to indicate that each of the installation’s single shots can only be considered autonomous if it is studied in isolation. The shots’ pretense of being still pictures is also complicated by details that undermine their “stillness.” Wind moves forest branches and the dahlias’ heads. Arcs of water and clouds of drifting smoke obscure the local drag strip. Cars cross and recross the Fraser bridge, sun semaphoring off their windshields and chrome. And Kydd’s portrait subjects -- individuals he met while filming -- can hardly keep still. They blink and shiver and nod; they smile, or rock to and fro, amused by Kydd’s simple command to do nothing, or at least as little as possible, for a minute or two. They are conscious of the camera and maybe a little embarrassed by it, but they control the terms of their depiction, choosing to accentuate certain characteristics or quirks of personality, and to de-emphasize others. A window washer and a Benedictine monk keep their faces straight, preferring to represent themselves through the accoutrements of their respective trades: the cassock, the squeegee and brush. A young Sto:lo man makes a gesture of openness, consenting to the artist filming him. Three girlfriends stay in almost constant motion as they subliminally study the camera and each other. And so on.

Here, I think, Kydd’s project transcends its moment, and achieves a kind of communion with older forms of picture making, exemplifed by the work of artists such as Brueghel, Hokusai, Cezanne, and, locally, the late E.J. Hughes. These artists all use landscape as a jumping-off point for the representation of culture, while withholding any explicit moral or ideological judgment of their subjects. If disturbances do occur – Brueghel’s Icarus plunging into the sea; Hughes’ sawmills’ smoky clouds – they are recorded without comment, as if to comment would somehow break faith with the artist’s obligation to simply depict what is there. Kydd’s refusal to step in front of his subjects by categorizing and judging is fuelled by a similarly democratic curiosity, and by something like an ethics, a position well articulated by the French philosopher Hippolyte Taine: “I want to reproduce the objects as they are or as they would be even if I did not exist.”

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