Thursday, February 27, 2014
San Andreas Fault at the Palmdale Road Cut

"If you want to view this yourself, exit SR-14 at Avenue S.  Head west on Ave S; turn on to the first dirt road you see after the freeway off-ramp.  Park there, and walk up the well-worn trails to the top of the hill."
"'It’s ecological resurrection, not species resurrection,' Shapiro says. A similar logic informs the restoration of Renaissance paintings. If you visit The Last Supper in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, you won’t see a single speck of paint from the brush of Leonardo da Vinci. You will see a mural with the same proportions and design as the original, and you may feel the same sense of awe as the refectory’s parishioners felt in 1498, but the original artwork disappeared centuries ago. Philosophers call this Theseus’ Paradox, a reference to the ship that Theseus sailed back to Athens from Crete after he had slain the Minotaur. The ship, Plutarch writes, was preserved by the Athenians, who 'took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place.' Theseus’ ship, therefore, became a standing example among the philosophers . . . one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same."
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
God laughs: corner of Pearblossom Hwy. and [UNSPECIFIED CROSSROAD] under construction, little orange grader trundling up and down,  NO STOPPING.  Work crew spraying water from a rolling tank.  Last year's cracked sign w/ snowboarding sticker totally gone.

Alrighty then.
Monday, February 24, 2014

"In this book, author John Easterby describes photography as the art of storytelling through visual images. Focusing primarily on digital photography, he discusses cameras of different types and sizes and the uses of supporting photographic tools, such as tripods, interchangeable lenses, and lights. He advises on studying the work of professional photographers in galleries, books, and magazines as an important first step in understanding how to look at photos. Tutorial projects include 'remaking' a well-known photo by a famous photographer, shooting a natural light portrait, using backlighting, shooting scenes at night, expressing movement in photos, freezing action, keeping a photographic diary, photographing sports events and crowd scenes, using a series of pictures to tell a photo story, and many others."
In Palmdale, checked into the Antelope Valley's version of the Overlook Hotel.  Huge, empty, dimly lit.  Roar of the freeway.
Sunday, February 23, 2014

Moreton Bay Fig in Big Tree Park in Glendora, CA

"The girth of this tree is not known. As this tree is a tree with multiple trunks, the girth can be larger than what would be expected of the tree of this age. Its height is not known. This tree was planted around the year 1880 ± 10, which makes it around 134 ± 10 years old."
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Coco tai pla. Jitlada, 5233 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. Photo credit: Jitlada. A variation on Kaeng tai pla.  Not to everybody's taste, but certainly to mine.  Fermented fish entrails, plus a gadzillion South Asian vegetables, inc. Thai pumpkin, bamboo shoots, sataw beans & crunchy wild eggplants. A funky sweat-inducing mess served with rice & complimentary buttery omelet (foreground).  Part of a 300+ item "specialty menu."  Original Matt Groening drawings everywhere -- Homer with flames bursting out of his mouth, crying, "Khua kling beef!" -- strings of Christmas lights still up, one table of extreme food bros inspecting the special-special hardcore Food Network TV-host subsection of the menu (Sample: sauteed bull penis w/ dry curry), date night in the corner still stuck on the westernized Thai menu slapped up like a beard on the inexplicably weirder & more delicious stuff behind it.  Midway through my curry & Singha a warm sensation, not so different from a massage, spread out along my shoulders. The extreme bro food is more expensive and probably not as good.       
Resuming one of my many other lives this morning for ten days in the sunshine.

Surprised & pleased to find, in early middle age, something I'm good at, something that provides that flow state that evolutionary psychologists talk about, something that bridges & connects all those difficult parts of my personality.

& finally getting to see that Pasadena hedge, for the first time.

"Don't get arrested!" sez L.

Back soon.  New laptop for picture-processing, so, weather & time permitting, updates from the road.
Monday, February 17, 2014

Folks we have had a flight control problem up front here we're workin it uh that's Los Angeles off to the right there that's where we're intending to go. We're pretty busy up here workin this situation I don't anticipate any big problems once we get a couple of sub systems on the line. But we will be going into LAX and I'd anticipate us parking there in about twenty to thirty minutes.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
"A remix may also refer to a nonlinear reinterpretation of a given work or media other than audio, or a hybridizing process combining fragments of various works. The process of combining and recontextualizing will often produce unique results independent of the intentions and vision of the original designer/artist."
Why does reading a book, which doesn’t award points to me for reading it, suddenly seem so unappealing?
Saturday, February 15, 2014

David Hockney, Saw at Howard and Catherine's, Los Angeles, 21st October 1994, 1994

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Just received: Bruce Hainley's Under the Sign of [SIC]: Sturtevant's Volte-Face (Semiotexte, 2013).  The first full length critical study of one of the most radical artists I know.  Sturtevant's brave late 60s work made me feel less alone the first few times I drove out location-hunting, and her reception history made me less puzzled and disappointed when some folks initially failed to grasp what I was up to.  Along with yesterday's Image & Narrative essay, it's a good week for explication.

Hainley:  "[Claes Oldenburg's] The Store was never just a single thing, rather, in many ways, two or more.  Discerning such multiplicity was all the permission Sturtevant needed to activate repetition for difference.  Returning to the Lower East Side, she doesn't stress on the significance of  'no significance,' but, instead, she opens a critical site at which to consider, materially, significantly, what comes to matter and why -- and how it all depends upon using visible goods as a front to push invisible concepts."


"With an obnoxious hodgepodge of typefaces and font sizes as well as impacted blocking, the brash red and black of the Babel of the announcement card for [Sturtevant's] The Store of Claes Oldenburg looks like the design of a disgruntled Constructivist on a grappa bender.  Whatever it announced -- action or emporium -- wasn't corporate or accomplished 'in cooperation with' gallery backing; not sitting on its ass, it opened downtown, unsanctioned, under the sign of Sturtevant."

"Dear Christopher,
You've got a trip coming up! We just wanted to send you a reminder about your Los Angeles/Los Angeles International Airport car rental reservation with Hertz!"

Remembered at the last minute to rent a car big enough to accept an 8' folding ladder, a stack of 2 x 4s, some custom 20" x 30" paper honeycomb panels....
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool." (L. Bangs)
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
You, Sir, Are a Mouthful

"In 'visual autofiction' impersonation will remain an important stratagem, albeit no longer exclusively related to institutional critique. 'Impersonation' transforms the artist in an amateur practitioner of different aesthetic means of expression (from silhouette-cutting to stripping) - not as mere role-playing, but as a manner of situating the artistic self by means of a fictional expansion of his/her operative field. The use of impersonation in autofiction has a double objective: on the one hand, it exposes the impossible liaison of artistic agency and critique (rather than establishing it, as conceptual photography desired); on the other hand, it seeks the productive endorsement of the same impossibility. 'Visual autofiction' thus offers what can be described as a participatory critique through role-playing (i.e. the photographic works of Cindy Sherman or Tracey Moffatt)."

(My emphasis.  This exhaustively detailed essay comes as close to summarizing the basis for my "turn to the visual" as anything I have ever found, though the profoundly clunky & tone-deaf phrase "visual autofiction" will never pass my lips.)
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
"At a high level of abstraction I have been uncoding organic structure, carrying shit no one else has ever heard of forward in time."  (@ken_belford)
Monday, February 10, 2014
I'm (Not) Gary

The Llano Del Rio piece is a large framed panoramic color landscape shot with my homebrew Street View rig, accompanied by three smaller tasteful black and white location photographs, a wall-mounted didactic panel, and two pages of framed & typeset script from an unrealized multichannel video projection.  Its juxtaposition of the mechanics of representation with a quintessential failed early modern utopia should be pretty obvious. 

I suppose this work is a reading, or more accurately a deliberately willful misreading, of  William Wood's great essay "Secret Work" (Vancouver Art Gallery, 1999). WW & I have not agreed about much, ever.  But "Secret Work" first hipped me to conceptual art's legacy of creative imposture, for which I was & still am thankful.    

Moving day.  Cats hate moving.
Sunday, February 09, 2014


Technically copyright-infringing "research," courtesy a custom-built image scraping tool written in Python.  All those computer-science books in the side office turn out to have their uses! Depicted: one small piece of #1, Hockney's full size study for the final work.  I wanted to examine all of #2 before heading out on location again, but neither work is currently on display at the Getty & sneaky technological solutionism seems more in keeping with the spirit of this increasingly quixhotic project.

It's becoming clearer to me that the end result of all of this is probably going to be three composite photographs made in the Antelope Valley:

1.  Joshua, a small cut-and-pasted study of a Joshua tree (seen at right in #1, above) made to familiarize myself with the process of hand-assembling a photocollage;

2.  Pearblossom, a digitally assembled composite photograph of the new highway sign dead center in the field of view of Hockney's #2, and;

3.  Antelope Valley, a large collage of cut-and-pasted machine-printed photographs on paper honeycomb panel, which replicates the general appearance of #2, but uses diverse locations drawn from the vicinity of Hockney's own work (Lancaster / Palmdale / Lake Los Angeles).
Saturday, February 08, 2014
Period Style

Out-of-focus photograph (condensation; frost; water surface; clouds).

Non-lens-based photograph.

Abstract painting or hybrid painting-sculpture.

Light blue; light green; yellow; violet; salmon; rose.

Mirror, potted plant or model placed adjacent to any of the above and photographed.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Waste My Time, Please

PHONE:  Ring!

CJB:  Good afternoon, Pulpfiction.

GIGGLING 14-YEAR-OLD BOY:  Do you have any books on...Adolf Hilter?  Sorry.  Hitler.

CJB [intuiting foolishness]:  Probably not.  Here's never been that big around here.

G14YOB:  Yeah, because, y'see, I have do a school project on him.

CJB:  I'd say the public library is a friend in your time of need.  Give 'em a call.

G14YOB:  Do you know why I have to do a project on him....?

CJB:  No...?

G14YOB:  BECAUSE HE FUCKED MY DAD IN THE ASS!  [Dissolves into hysterical laughter]

PHONE:  [Dial tone]
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Gillian Rose, Hegel Contra Sociology, my italics:

"[The] 'symbolic' form of art provides the case for 'romantic irony.'  It is 'romantic' because it acknowledges the history of art as representation and the subsequent pseudo-integrity of meaning and configuration.  It is 'ironic' because its aims are substantial not subjective.  It seeks to draw attention to substance by playing with the conventions of representation in order to undermine them, to reveal the real divorce between meaning and configuration.  The result is a form of art which is not pleasing, not ideal, but which is severe in the attempt to rebel against dominant assimilation.  This is the kind of argument which was taken up again in the twentieth century debates over expressionism and post-expressionism.  Thomas Mann, for example, called his use of irony 'the severe style.'"
Sunday, February 02, 2014

Real time "research." 439 Powell, right now.

Update, 5pm: false alarm.  Van loaned out for the afternoon by its owner.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
The petite bourgeoisie and their children, bonding over coffee & Sysco eggs.
We Think There is a Book Here For You!

Walking to work through grey dawn, snow-sky, pink light leaking in at the horizon.

A construction worker heads on-shift, tool belt shifting and jangling as he walks, half a block ahead of me.  He's snacking from a little paper sack of whole-shell peanuts.  Every crow in the neighborhood drifts along with him in a noisy black flapping cloud.  Now and again he tosses a handful of nuts out in a wide arc and the crow army diverts from him to fall, squabbling, into the road to dispute the spoils.  Some crows get nuts. Most don't.

Crow #1 (no nut) rushes Crow #2 (nut) in full threat display: shoulders up, head forward, beak wide open, feathers ruffling, vocalizing like crazy.

Crow #2 shows no outward sign of alarm, but shifts its tasty booty around to anchor it more deeply in its beak.

More wild vocalizing.

Crow #2 maintains 100% zen.

Crow #1 abruptly shuts up, drops head, tucks feathers in.  Hops dejectedly away.

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