Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Available mid-March. Mr. Fagen's voice dry above the typically lush arrangements. So I guess the only question is, "Come mid-March, should I drive to the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, or fly?"
Robert Bresson, Notes on the Cinematographer:

"'Visible parlance' of bodies, objects, houses, roads, trees, fields."

Untitled (Chain), 2006
Saturday, February 25, 2006

Music for photographs:

Some situations seek redress
Some songs just go, "Testing, testing..."
I took a picture: I was sick of motion...
Off to SeaTac in the rain, cats in tow, to collect their co-owner. Back Monday. CSA's new show, coincidentally by the cats' co-owner, opens Friday, 3rd March, from 6-9pm. Y'all come!


To reestablish a close relationship between.

To settle or resolve.

To bring (oneself) to accept.

To make compatible or consistent.

[Middle English reconcilen, from Old French reconcilier, from Latin reconciliāre : re-, re- + conciliāre, to conciliate; see conciliate.]
Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Restorations, Tooth Coloured, Permanent Posteriors -- Bonded Permanent Bicuspids -- Two Surface

Your Total (Please Pay): $161.70
Monday, February 20, 2006

Legacy, 2005-6. Panel 4 0f 5.

Stephen Shore in conversation with Lynne Tillman:

"Do I want the picture to mean this, or do I want the picture to be this? And I'm dealing with what's there. But if the decisions are that artificial, in a way, then I don't see where it's a big leap to drive my own car into the picture, if I feel that structurally it needs a car in the corner."
Shelf-building, & etc.

I wish I had something more concrete to add, some witty bon mot about my day, which I spent brushing varathane onto fresh pine boards out on Kingsway.

Breath smoking in the cold.

"D'you want my hat, John?"

"Why would I? I've got hair."
Saturday, February 18, 2006

Well, that's actually kind of charming, considering that Mr. P's Lot 49 is one of the best (eg., non-genre SF, non-Illuminatus) books I ever picked up as a teenager.

Ms., her quiz, and the annoying faux-McSweeney's-style NYC transit map on her personal website are hereby sentenced to an all day Saturday shift behind the Pulpfiction buying desk. GASP at the annoying crackhead with the fake $50! COUGH your lungs out (varathane fumes -- new shelves!). HOLD your tongue as an arts administrator who makes more money than you'll ever make in your life sells you a copy of Thierry de Duve's life-changing work of genius, Kant After Duchamp, then informs one of their arts administrator pals that they "didn't really get" Thierry, and that they "really really hated that book."

Actually, come to think of it, Ms.'s quiz is kind of charming too. Anyone who genuinely hates The Hobbit and The Fountainhead must have some good qualities buried somewhere.

4:15pm-ish, Main and Broadway: the first day in calendar 2006 that the sleepy February sun grazed the side of the Lee Building and dropped in to say hello. Full seven minute standstill, eyes closed. Winter 0, cjb 1!

More handwritten notes on the (Untitleds), yellow lined legal pad and red pen just out of sight in the foreground:

Anti-expressionism. Expressionism projects human feelings, etc. onto inanimate objects. The (Untitleds) uncover aspects of a thing (expressed as a noun; a single, specific object) latent in the thing but not typically observed because of force of habit, which compels us to see a thing as representative of a mental category (eg., the title) and not for the "dense specificity" of the thing itself.

Nouns, bolted together with grammar's glue, yield sentences. A good Friedlander or a Shore photograph is a compound sentence, worthy of Faulkner, Joyce, or Proust. Your little exercises are provisional definitions, "examples of use" like the ones in the dictionary. Infinitely expandable, a list that keeps on keepin' on.

Don't post a picture the same day you make it.

(Duchamp's delay)

Ask yourself, do you really want to claim an image? Or are you just me-toing? Do your pictures possess an abstract, "open," aporetic quality? Or are they just "good compositions?"

Gillian Rose, aporetic reading: "according to the difficulty which the conceptuality represents by leaving gaps and silences in the mode of representation." (Mourning Becomes The Law, Cambridge UP, 1996, p.8).

Untitled (Knicknacks), 2006. Public edition: private collection, Bowen Island, B.C.

Untitled (Ice), 2006
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Off on snowshoes with Team Cat. Back Friday.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Reading or recently read (notable titles in red as usual):

J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace

Franz Kafka, Collected Stories

The Last Picture Show (Walker Art Center)

John Stanley & Irving Tripp, Little Lulu v.1-5 (Dark Horse Comics)

Marcel Proust, Swann's Way

Philip K. Dick, Puttering About in a Small Land

Rebecca Turner, my old manager at Granville Books, once promised me $20 and a six-pack of gourmet beer if I ever finished all six volumes of Remembrance of Things Past. This may be the year I finally collect.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006


"In Blade Runner, set in a Los Angeles of 2019, Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, a Blade Runner or policeman whose job is to track down and terminate escaped human clones known as 'replicants.'

The irony of the situation -- a missing replica of the very author who championed 'replicant' freedom -- is not lost on Phil's creators.

But they still want him back.

'We really need to find him soon because the Smithsonian wants to put him in a travelling collection in the autumn,' said Prilliman referring to Washington's Smithsonian Institute, an organisation of museums and art galleries.

Along with an eerie likeness to the author, the robot features award-winning artificial intelligence that mimics the writer's mannerisms and lifelike skin material to affect realistic expressions.

Top-of-the-line voice software loaded with data from Dick's vast body of writing allows the robot to carry on natural-sounding conversations, although it does come off as a bit doddering at times.

Biometric-identification software and advanced machine vision allows the robot to recognise people -- even in a crowd -- read their expressions and body language and talk to them sounding a lot like a normal, albeit slightly senile, author who likes to quote his own books when he gets confused.

Prilliman and others close to Phil baulked at giving too many details about his disappearance including the name of the airline that was transporting the robot when he went missing.

Hanson officials said news of Phil's disappearance could hamper the ongoing investigation and search for the robot.

The company officials said they feared ransom demands might be made or Phil could turn up listed for sale on an internet auction house such as eBay."


Thesis, Counterthesis & Synthesis re: the (Untitleds)

Marcel Proust, Swann's Way:

"Perhaps the immobility of the things that surround us is forced upon them by our conviction that they are themselves and not anything else, by the immobility of our conception of them."

Gabriel Josipovici, "Introduction," Franz Kafka, Collected Stories:

"This is the world of Kafka's febrile line drawings, which show ludicrously tall or squat people stretching, twisting, leaning towards or away from one another, in what would be grotesque if it was an attempt at realism but which instead conveys perfectly how we sometimes feel, both constrained in our bodies and lunging free, both playing a game and close to desperation. The early diaries are full of detailed descriptions of gesturing, which seems to be a sign of frustration when it is he himself who is doing the gesturing, but is clearly also as much a part of his extreme sensitivity to others as his response to words. These gestures are in fact the visual and physical equivalent of those words which suddenly take on a life of their own and burst free of the sentence in which normal, well-behaved words should quietly lie."

Taine, via Mel Bochner's Misunderstandings (A Theory of Photography), 1970:

"I want to reproduce the objects as they are or as they would be even if I did not exist."

(today's soundtrack: Blondie, natch!)
Monday, February 13, 2006

Untitled (Dancers), 2006

One of approximately 50,000,000 X-rated come-ons littering Las Vegas Boulevard.

Alfred Stieglitz, The Asphalt Paver, New York, 1892 (photogravure from Camera Notes, 1913)

My favorite Stieglitz ever; squat smoking modernity erupting in full force under dark apprehensive trees.
Saturday, February 11, 2006

Untitled (Gutter), 2006
Thursday, February 09, 2006

Legacy, 2005-6. Panel 1 of 5.

A chronology:

In 1993 or 1994, I bought, for $15, at MacLeod's Books on Pender Street, a copy of the VAG exhibition catalog, Jeff Wall: 1990. Back then I was finishing up an English Honors degree at UBC and had zero interest in visual art, but I knew that one of my thesis advisors, Roger Seamon, liked Wall's photographs and had written about them, and I thought the catalog might make a nice end of term gift.

In the end, Roger never got the catalog, because I started leafing through it. A lot of landscapes I immediately recognized from riding Skytrain, or wandering aimlessly around East Vancouver. The BC Tel building. The Georgia Viaduct. New Westminster's Schara Tzedeck Cemetery. East Hastings Street. All drenched -- at least in my imagination -- in that curious flat grey West Coast light.

Up until then, I think I had always somehow unconsciously associated "high" art with huge cosmopolitan cities -- Paris, or New York, or London. It had never occurred to me that the things I saw and experienced every day might be valid art materials, or that anyone outside of Vancouver would ever accept them as such.

I took some art history courses at UBC, quit writing bad disaster-themed science fiction, and started trying to write better art criticism.

In 2000, the Or Gallery organized a loosely curated fundraiser, Knock Off, whose invitees were requested to remake, mash up, or baldly plagarize a work or works of their choice. I still think that this is the best exhibition I have ever seen at an artist-run center, both for the invitees' choices, some well-known, others totally obscure, and for the complex, subtle, and often moving ways that the choices spoke about the invitees' own work.

Also in 2000, my friend Kevin Schmidt participated in a group exhibition I organized for the Surrey Art Gallery by photographing his rustbucket Chevrolet station wagon against five different "super, natural" landscapes, a la the SUV ads that run during Hockey Night in Canada.

In September 2005, my brother Drew sold me his old Subaru Legacy (340000 kms!). I liked driving again, after 15 years of taking the bus, and I liked the car a lot; it seemed to have acquired a personality in the course of its passage through time.

In October 2005, I drove out to North Burnaby with my new digital camera, spurred by a dim memory of a Vancouver International Film Festival documentary in which Wall described making Coastal Motifs, still my favorite of all his photographs, by erecting a view camera on the roof of his elderly car. My idea was to make a 35mm. study of the same landscape. Learn by doing, & etc. Most of the "study" pictures didn't work out too well (you can see some of them in the Anodyne archives). One exception was a portrait of the Subaru, made right at the end of the day in much the same spirit as Manet's portrait of his elderly parents: a representation that recognizes that its subject(s) are not going to be around forever.

I am a frequently depressed and gloomy guy, but making Legacy's five panels was the most fun I have had in years, even when being chased by a big mean Chow Chow down River Road, or stopped by the Burnaby RCMP. So, thank you JW, KS, and DB. Without whom, & etc. Thanks.

Warren Buffett & The Four Invest-igators (apologies to Robert Arthur)

"The Secret Millionaire's Club, currently in production, will consist of 13 titles with the first two titles scheduled for release in Fall 2006. The series, featuring the words, voice and likeness of Mr. Buffett, will focus on financial lessons utilizing kid-relatable characters and real world situations, as well as entertaining adventures."


"An unscrupulous developer buying up properties in Omaha is foreclosing on the rundown local Youth Center. Its last four members are cleaning out the attic when they find a box of old sports memorabilia- among other rare and valuable items. They put everything up for bid on an online auction service -- and make millions! After they pay off the mortgage on the center, the 'secret millionaires' ask local celebrity Warren Buffett for advice on how to invest the money.

With Warren's help, the four kids meet secretly to decide what local companies and businesses to invest in. Each week, Warren guides them to discovering new aspects of his investment philosophy, by using the Socratic Method to help them put his rules into practice, and helps them learn sound financial management skills -- like avoiding debt!

At the same time, the kids become involved in adventures as they deal with dishonest owners, corrupt accountants, security guards, corporate raiders, crooked politicians, and, of course, the unscrupulous developer."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Study for Legacy, 2005

A rebus:

Legacy, 2005-6. 5 digital color photographs, framed, each 14" x 16" (image size)

My old beater.

"Something handed down by a predecessor." (OED)

Jeff Wall, River Road, 1997

Three days off work with a bad cold and a full tank of gas. Crisscrossing the lower mainland, hacking up big chunks of yellow phlegm, West Coast Mapbook open on the passenger seat beside me. I've found six River Roads so far (West Richmond; East Richmond; Delta; Delta-Surrey; Maple Ridge; Langley), but this particular view still eludes me.

New art-crit here, proof that I haven't dropped off the face of the planet yet.

"Tolagson’s is a different kind of picture. In it I hear the voices of older European photographers like John Gutmann and Robert Frank, whose best work was made in America, but always from the perspective of an outsider looking in at a foreign culture. The photographs collected in Frank’s The Americans could have been taken by Walter Tevis’ Man Who Fell to Earth; they feel like the work of an alien with a camera, who is always present at exactly the right moment, but never quite sure about the significance of what he is depicting. Tolagson’s picture has this kind of quality about it, too; it is by no means a naïve picture, but it puts naivety into play as a kind of style, in order to problematize viewers’ reception of its content. It is photography’s nature to depict things, and Abandoned Store carries out its work by framing the things that cohere around its subject’s absence. Painted symbols. Reflections. Light, and sky."

(Image: Jamie Tolagson, Abandoned Store, Bishop, California, 2006)
Sunday, February 05, 2006

Great Cthulhu rises, hungry, from the toybox.

Nb. the figure at rear right. A real touch of genius, that.

(thx to jnadiger for the pop-cultural hookup)

"I thought you could maybe get bus ads for Pulpfiction and they could look like this!", writes staff member Katie D.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Line Down

A few communication problems between Anodyne World HQ and Blogger Command this afternoon. Anyone receiving 403 Forbidden errors or other goofy messages while trying to access the site is advised to check back tomorrow afternoon (I can currently view some but not all posts, edit some but not all, & etc. Aaargh!)
Torrential rain at Main and Broadway, power out all over the city, bare tree limbs shaking in ferocious wind. Grey-black sky. Fair sized chunks of tree and awning bouncing off of car hoods. My parents' deck on Bowen washed away by the high tide and the logs that kept ceaselessly battering up from below.

Day -- I think -- #42 with rain.

Did I mention my depression?

Leavened, today, by Mr. Ben Webster, Mr. Oscar Peterson, Locus Solus magazine, and Mr. Brian Eno. Not to mention the customers who braved the Seventh Seal-style apocalypse outside to wander in, buy books, and look at art.
Friday, February 03, 2006

Fairfield Porter, View of the Islands, Maine, 1975

Deep seasonal depression, unleavened by Yesterdays New Quintet or New Topographics.

A lot of 60s magazines in today, including Locus Solus 1, featuring Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, John Ashberry, Frank O'Hara, Robin Blaser & etc. Also four poems by Fairfield Porter, extraordinarily talented realist painter and occasional art critic, including this one, which I reproduce for the weird little shiver of recognition it prompted in me as I read, like weak spring sun:

The Mountain
By Fairfield Porter

Here is a mountain I am unable to encompass
Except after many deliberate days in the sun
That keeps constantly burning through the cold air.

Along the slanting edge of a massive shoulder
Grow myriads of short flowers springing
From the wet earth soaked with melting snow.

Above the airy sparse woods, pouring
Between the tree trunks with still coldness,
Like the sudden shock of a mountain pool,

I circle with care to the higher meadow slopes
Through breathless shadows under the final rocks
Uncovered below the unprotected sun,

Until over the snow at last on the rocky summit
I survey across the blue and sunny valleys
Filled with giant slowly penetrable forests

The distant peaks I have not yet walked over
Countless and all different from each other
Projecting and broken in the transparent sun.

Untitled (Frontiers), 2006
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
2006 50K Club -- cjb & Team Cat

No cute tie-in photos yet, but the West Coast's favorite man and stuffed cat hiking team has been back at it since early January. About 1000m of elevation gain so far this year, including today's aborted attempt on Grouse Mountain, which concluded with a muddy retreat down the Skyline Trail in full-on pouring rain.

Team Cat votes with two hands and four paws for North Vancouver's Harmony Deli, home of an amazing turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce $3.95 bunwich lunch special, and the donuts that kept the team plodding up Grouse last spring.

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