Saturday, October 25, 2008
All in time will be
Later on we'll try
Hollow peaks we've climbed
All these things I've seen
How it feels to be something on

That's how the days go
If I break down all that I am
A field of wires. . . .

Late afternoon in a Vancouver suburb. White sky. You can't see me in the photograph, because I'm parked behind the viewfinder, that unfamiliar mechanism, loading sheet film into a borrowed camera, while "classic" rock incessantly blares from the open back door of the tire shop across the alley. Cold wind, a few leaves sifting down across the grass. The flawless black liquid-crystal numbers on the equally unfamiliar light meter's face. An occasional car.

What am I doing, exactly? Making a portrait, but of what I'm not sure. "Beyond the symbolism associated with the oak, tree of justice and peace, a majestic tree with solid roots and a powerful trunk, the title indicated by Courbet in the exhibition booklet signified the opposition of Alaise to Alise-Sainte-Reine, or Vercingetorix to Caesar, of individual courage to centralizing power, of Courbet to Napoleon III." (Dominique De Font-Reaulx on Courbet's The Oak at Flagey (The Oak of Vercingetorix)).

Q: So it's a piss-take?

A: Hardly. I took the best example I knew, the plainest recognition of the world I inhabit, and applied that plain seeing -- faithful, unironized representation of what is there -- to a minor element of a composition whose production techniques are utterly beyond me. Irony doesn't work too well in art, at least in my experience.

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