Friday, January 31, 2014

I don't keep a visual archive like Roy Arden does, but if I ever began, this would be entry #1
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Waste My Time, Please

SOME DUDE:  Hey guy.  Sell pet food?

CJB:  Look around.  We're a bookstore.

SD:  That's not what I asked you!
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Vetrovec Warning: An instruction or warning given to jurors in circumstances where they have received testimony from a witness that may be suspect but the frailties of which may not be self-evident to a juror.
Monday, January 27, 2014
"The true remake does not treat the past as a store of models to be followed but as a smoldering problem: the true remake is a haunted one."

(Sven Lutticken, "Planet of the Remakes."  Neatly connects the made-in-place & still-images-from-mobile-sequences-I-can't-bear-to-watch arms of my work.  Not sure about the thrust of SL's argument concluding with Stan Douglas; the recombinant machinery animating SD's recent film & video feels dead & overdetermined to me, in comparison with early works like Hors-champs, or the very odd photographs-in-various-styles of Midcentury Studio.  I'd prefer to consider my tutelary spirits as figures like John Carpenter, Robert Wise, Piranha's Joe Dante, Sturtevant, Phillips, Levine & etc. -- journeymen & women, not auteurs).
Sunday, January 26, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): "Canaries," by Yasunari Kawabata

Here's our man on the late-night #3, reeking of chlorine, sore as anything, reading Kawabata's Palm-of-the-Hand Stories, plotting a new photograph, and quietly weeping.  That kind of week.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Almost Cut My Hair
Written by David Crosby, performed by Crosby Stills Nash & Young

Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It was getting kind of long
I could have said it was in my way

But I didn't and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
And I feel like I owe it to someone

Must be because I had the flu for Christmas
And I'm not feeling up to par
It increases my paranoia
Like looking into a mirror and seeing a police car

But I'm not giving in an inch to fear
Cos I promised myself this year
I feel like I owe it to someone

When I finally get myself together
I'm gonna get down in some of that sweet summer weather
I'm going to find a space inside to laugh
Separate the wheat from the chaff

Cos I feel like I owe it, yeah
Said I feel like I owe it, yeah
You know I feel -- like I owe it yeah to someone.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Point Atkinson and (distant) Vancouver Island from Marine Drive, 1927

Alas, who is there
we can make use of? Not angels, not men;
and already the knowing brutes are aware
that we don’t feel very securely at home
within our interpreted world. There remains, perhaps,
some tree on a slope, to be looked at day after day,
there remains for us yesterday’s walk and the cupboard-love loyalty
of a habit that liked us and stayed and never gave notice. . . .

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

(Front-cover headline on mediocre glossy art magazine seen at newsstand)
Saturday, January 18, 2014

Henry Wessel, Visa Del Mar, 1995

A California suburb planned but not built. Land platted, roads & landscaping roughed in, and then what?  Bankruptcy?  Greener pastures? Hillside sliding, as if to shrug off the imposition of rectilinear "rationalist" geometry, pavement cracked from seismic upheaval or running water in the wet season.  Spindly palms, likely purchased from the lowest bidder, and the sort of scrub vegetation that comes scrambling back the second desert earth is left unpaved. Distant palm at far right arrests the left-to-right scanning motion that draws the eye across the composition (compare with Wall's Hillside in Sicily, 2008), & thereby designates the photograph as a Western still picture: a tableau, not an "open field."  Cracks and shadows in complex recession from flattish foreground.  The implication of wind, something which, although present in the scene, cannot be photographed & is indicated indirectly, eg., by the palms' spindly bent trunks & fuzzed-out fronds. Curbs submerged under greenery.  The left hand hillside reminds me of Cezanne's complicated compression of space, his indication of slumping & folding by stacking successive flat planes left-right, left-right.  Last, the peculiarly clear light, which always strikes me, coming from YVR to the desert south, as a sign reading, "Freedom."
Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jim Perrin, West: A Journey Through the Landscapes of Loss
W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn
Gillian Rose, Hegel Contra Sociology
Sigmund Freud, "Mourning and Melancholia"

Relevant to my interests: Eddie You Should Know Better, by the Natural Four

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"Appropriation can be understood as 'the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work.' In the visual arts, to appropriate means to properly adopt, borrow, recycle or sample aspects (or the entire form) of human-made visual culture. Notable in this respect are the Readymades of Marcel Duchamp. Other strategies include re-vision, re-evaluation, variation, version, interpretation, imitation, proximation, supplement, increment, improvisation, prequel... pastiche, paraphrase, parody, homage, mimicry, shan-zhai, echo, allusion, intertextuality and karaoke.  The term appropriation refers to the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work (as in '[T]he artist uses appropriation') or refers to the new work itself (as in '[T]his is a piece of appropriation art').

Inherent in our understanding of appropriation is the concept that the new work recontextualises whatever it borrows to create the new work. In most cases the original 'thing' remains accessible as the original, without change."

(My emphasis)

Rackwick Bay and (mouse-infested) bothy, Hoy, Orkney.  Spent one of the happiest late afternoons, evenings & mornings of my life here, c. summer 1994.  Red sand, round red-pink stones. In the late morning, walked cross-country along the coast to view that most famous of Scottish climbing destinations, the Old Man of Hoy.
"Searching is a restless activity in which one moves toward possible locations of a lost object.  The person who is searching has to select places in which to look, move towards them, and scan them; he must also select what to see."  (Colin Murray Parkes, Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life)
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
And so it ends
Some parch for what they were; others are made
Blind to all but one vision, their neccessity
To be reconciled.  I believe in my
Abandonment, since it is what I have.

Geoffrey Hill, "Funeral Music," quoted in Jim Perrin, West: A Journey Through the Landscapes of Loss

On Method

(excerpt from a letter to a curator friend)

"There are a couple of pictures of the LA park where Citizen was made on Anodyne, which I found by my usual rules: close reading of the image, place previously unknown to me, no asking anyone involved in the picture's production.  All I had to go on was the catalog raisonne's 'Photographed in Los Angeles.'  At first I thought I'd have to search every LA park, & then realized that I could limit the search to those with playground equipment, & then scan most, but not all, of those with Street View before I went, to narrow the field.  In the end I went to about sixteen LA parks in person, and [PARK NAME], in [LOS ANGELES NEIGHBORHOOD], turned out to be the 'right' one.  A quiet day, very warm, roar of the nearby freeway."

& etc.

"Today, the hillside is covered with apartment buildings, but the stairs remain—133 steps across multiple landings, with a handrail and some overhead lights, often littered with debris, and very ill maintained for such a landmark."
Monday, January 13, 2014

This guy walks the walk.  Only dined with him once so far, courtesy D. & E. A great experience.

"I once read that every time a chef picks up the phone to place an order, something somewhere dies. I have always felt that as a cook it is my responsibility to make sure that the animal is not only raised humanely, but that after its death we respect its sacrifice by using all parts of the animal. That is one reason that we butcher the animals here at the restaurant. It is also the reason we don't have a menu that is 'set' like so many other restaurants. As part of this philosophy of using the whole animal, we make a lot of different stocks. We believe that if we serve an animal that the sauce is made with its bones. [Above] is a picture of the rabbit carcasses in the stock pot. The addition of some water and a few hours of gentle simmering, we'll have an amazing base to use in all of our rabbit preparations."

"Mix-a-Lot did not act alone. There was Luke, Wreckx-N-Effect, and many others. But his was the loudest voice for this cultural overthrow of the Euro-centric beauty aesthetic, in favor of something more akin to what America would like twenty years hence: Black women are now on the covers of magazines, which used to be very risky. 'Baby' will forever be a great combination of a silly pop song with an earnest resolve to change the perception of body image in America."
Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sketch for Walnut, 2014

"Tall oaks from little acorns grow."
Saturday, January 11, 2014
"[I]t is worth remembering that most of the silent classic comedies were shot on real locations in Hollywood, Silverlake, Culver City, etc., and form an archive of urban scenery around 1914-27 such as no other city in the world possesses." (Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies)
Friday, January 10, 2014


"[T]he artist as a tradition-fluent progressive working nonstop at the height of his powers, deftly juggling digital and analog modes of representation and energetically pursuing newness on several fronts."

Flooring guys I've never seen before are spreading mastic over plywood in the apartment lobby.

GUY #1:  Please don't step in the glue.

GUY #2:  Where ya headed?

CJB [arms full of pizza boxes, junk mail & rinsed-out cat food tins]: The recycling.

GUY #1:  Well just inch along the wall there.  Pretend you're clinging to a cliff.

GUY #2 [Watches as CJB sneaky-petes along]: You're kinda good at that.  I mean, with all that crap and all.

CJB:  And my broken foot.

GUY #2:  Jesus dude.

CJB [lost in going-on-for-twenty-year-old memories]: Let's say I've had some practice.
Thursday, January 09, 2014

JIM HENSON: I find that being a parent being close to children has broadened my perspective allowed me to empathize and understand more than I ever did before. I hope that empathy comes through in my senseless entertainment.

(Apocryphal, but, wow)
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Bad contemporary art: failing to get players laid since forever.
Monday, January 06, 2014

Lions sometimes like to play with discarded Christmas trees.  Who knew?

Relevant to my interests (& tonight's latenight movie @ Anodyne HQ): Charles Burnett, Killer of Sheep, 1979

Scariest movie I've ever seen? Easy.  Courtesy Ms. Joan Lindsay & Mr. Peter Weir.  One day, given time, the international flight, & the right equipment I'd like to make a work after this picture there.
Sunday, January 05, 2014

Precinct Tree, 2014

For Mr. Jamie Tolagson, fellow Carpenterite, my friend: this plain vanilla cone.  The source's blue van parked right next to about a half block south of the little foreground tree, in a location displaced by the freeway that now splits the scene into two different places.  But an image of previously photographed or filmed reality needs to work as a depiction of present reality, too.  So, details: "Arms"; the diagonal spill of sunlight adjacent to the left hand tree; the stairs and protruding balcony; and most of all, the weird collaged slices of space above & around the garage in the middle distance. Those neighbor houses are all from Braqueland!  Also nb. how one digital seam rhymes with the downward plunge of the fence's right-hand post.  Right hand frame edge feels a bit unanchored, save the pavement paint splotch & distant inverted V of the red roof.  But it's what I got.
Heli Flight - Hanes Helipad to Cap Gate

A wintery open-helicopter view of some local scrambling destinations.
Saturday, January 04, 2014

Hold out for the out of the ordinary. Production still, spring 1978. Courtesy Shay Wilson.
Friday, January 03, 2014
"Menard's version, the narrator claims, is 'more subtle' and 'infinitely richer' than Cervantes'. Menard, who is both historically and linguistically removed from the seventeenth-century Spanish setting, has a wider variety of subjects, forms, languages, and techniques at his disposal, and his knowledge -- of theory, at least -- is greater than Cervantes', who had access only to everything up through 1604. These extra three centuries provide Menard with a vastly larger reservoir to draw from, and his skillful selection of form and subject makes him the greater genius. Menard's work 'points to a new conception of the historical novel'; Cervantes' work, by contrast, is merely a satire of his contemporary world in the contemporary language."


Recent reading:

Peter Straub, Mrs. God

"The Turn of the Screw" + The Shining + The Haunting of Hill House.  Worth reading, though the novella's cumulative reviews on Goodreads are uniformly depressing.  Eg.,

"[W]hile I did enjoy this book, I cannot say that I understood everything that went on in the story."

"It pains me to give this book only one star because it was so much better than the ending gave it to be."

"[I]t was Mr. Straub's style of writing that made this read excruciating. He's clearly trying SO HARD to be 'literary,' to be seen as above his station (poor horror writers always seem to reach that particular plateau at one time or another) that his writing becomes clumsy and unbearable."

"I'm still a little confused about everything that happened. I guess I'm just not smart enough, but I wanted everything spelled out for me so I was sure I was understanding everything I was reading."

So-called internet fan reviewers are fucking dumb, especially those whose instant explanation for stylistic experiments they didn't like or understand is Pierre Bordieu-lite class critique, eg.,  The poor writer or artist is desperate for social acceptance!  He wants to be seen as above his station!  Bourgeois criticism wants to reduce everything to class anxiety. (I recall versions of this same critique being lobbed even less successfully at Barnett Newman and M. Duchamp back in the day.)  Class anxiety is soothing to the bourgeois mind because it spells everything out just as reviewer #4, above, prefers; it makes the world as legible as the how-to-use-the-lanes instructions at the Hillcrest Pool.
Thursday, January 02, 2014
Recent reading:

Donna Tartt, The Secret History

Nathaniel West, The Day of the Locust

Kelly McGonigal, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, & What You Can Do to Get More of It

I've been hearing about Tartt's book for years, which is as good as everyone says it is.  Natural comparisons to Twin Peaks, M. John Harrison's Course of the Heart, and Highsmith's Ripley books abound.

I very rarely read a book and think, "Wow! This would make a great movie!"  But I'd happily pay to see a film version of The Secret History directed by Wes Anderson, though most of the Anderson principals are probably now too old to convincingly pass as early 90s liberal-arts undergraduates.  Owen Wilson as poor dead Bunny, young Jason Schwartzman as Henry, Tenenbaums-era Paltrow as Camilla, Bill Murray as the officious Dean of Students relaying the news that the Classics Program is no more following Julian's turn-on-a-dime disappearance.... As Gob Bluth says, "C'mon!"

(All dreamworld casting aside, Anderson's films are the best parallel for Tartt's amazing novel I can think of, with their idiosyncratic entitled sense-of-self protagonists (who, like Tartt's characters, are not nearly as bright as they imagine themselves to be), quick shifts of dramatic tone, and general air of staginess, by which I mean both that the works incorporate aspects of theatricality into non-theatrical forms (awareness of audience; third wall disruption) and actually contain scenes staged in enclosed spaces as tiny plays (Moonrise Kingdom's house & the Britten pageant-within-the-movie; Steve Zissou's submarine; Max Fischer's various productions; most of Tartt's scenes set in Julian's attic classroom, plus assorted dorm rooms, living rooms, diners, & basements).
Wednesday, January 01, 2014

"He resolved to outstrip the vanity which awaits all the woes of mankind; he undertook a task that was complex in the extreme and futile from the outset.  He dedicated his conscience and nightly studies to the repetition of a pre-existing book in a foreign tongue."  (Borges, "Pierre Meynard," trans. Anthony Bonner)

"He resolved to anticipate the vanity that awaits all the labors of mankind; he undertook a task of infinite complexity, a task futile from the outset.  He dedicated his scruples and his nights 'lit by midnight oil' to repeating in a foreign tongue a book that already existed."  (ibid., trans. Andrew Hurley)

"Indeed, he saw with absolute clarity the experimental nature of his works, which might be admirable for their innovativeness and a certain laconic integrity, but hardly for their strength of passion.  'I am like Cowley's odes,' he said in a letter to me from Longford on March 6, 1939.  'I belong not to art but to the history of art.'"  (Another Borgesian writer & judgment close -- maybe too close -- to my own heart)

Powered by Blogger

.post-title { display: none!important; }