Tuesday, April 29, 2014

We'll pack up all our junk and fly so far away 
Devote ourselves to projects that sell 
We'll open up a restaurant in Santa Fe 
Forget this cold Bohemian Hell 

Oh oh oh 
Do you know the way to Santa Fe? 
You know, tumbleweeds, prairie dogs, yeah
Monday, April 28, 2014
"Heidegger had developed his own way of describing the nature of human existence. It wasn’t religious, and it wasn’t scientific; it got its arms around everything, from rocks to the soul. Instead of subjects and objects, Heidegger wanted to talk about 'beings.' The world, he argued, is full of beings—numbers, oceans, mountains, animals—but human beings are the only ones who care about what it means to be themselves. (A human being, he writes, is the 'entity which in its Being has this very Being as an issue.') This gives us depth. Mountains might outlast us, but they can’t out-be us. For Heidegger, human being was an activity, with its own unique qualities, for which he had invented names: thrownness, fallenness, projection. These words, for him, captured the way that we try, amidst the flow of time, to 'take a stand' on what it means to exist. (Thus the title: Being and Time).

In 'The Essence of Truth,' meanwhile, Heidegger proposed a different and, to my mind, a more realistic idea of truth than any I’d encountered before. He believed that, before you could know the truth about things, you had to care about them. Caring comes first, because it’s caring about things that 'unconceals' them in your day-to-day life, so that they can be known about. If you don’t care about things, they stay 'hidden'—and, because there are limits to our care, to be alive is 'to be surrounded by the hidden.' (A century’s worth of intellectual history has flowed from this insight: that caring and not caring about things has a history, and that this history shapes our thinking). This is a humble way to think about truth. It acknowledges that, while we claim to 'know' about a lot of things intellectually, we usually seek and know the deeper truth about only a few. Put another way: truth is as much about what we allow ourselves to experience as it is about what we know."
Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Annie Marie Musselman, Cottontail Going to Heaven.  From the sequence, Finding Trust.

Annie Marie Musselman, Nighthawk.  From the sequence, Finding Trust.

Two photographs made during the photographer's time as a volunteer at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington, Washington.  These pictures, particularly Cottontail,  touch something very deep in me that is not really accessible to language, what you might call an "ethics of care."  I highly recommend a browse through all 37 of the profoundly moving images from this sequence available at the photographer's website. (Scroll button located at upper left, above the paragraph of slightly ripe introductory text on the home page).

(In southwest BC, the Wildlife Rescue Association does similarly underfunded work, & once saved the life of a friend of mine). 

The author and critic-novelist-number-one-LA Clippers fan Mike LaPointe solve the universe's problems down the block at Gene Cafe.  Snapshot poetics by Keith Jardine.

After Pushing the "Site Reload" Button Approximately 50 Million Times...

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland OR: 10th row, dead center

Marymoor Park, Seattle WA (Saturday night): 6th row, dead center

Marymoor Park, Seattle WA (Sunday night): 4th row, dead center

Monday night & on: really hoping the road crew can use a volunteer semi-pro blogger/photographer.

"The important part of art, music, literature, theatre and film has always been immaterial, so it’s inevitable that the smart artist today would work with a medium in which the details of the final work are left up to circumstance. The same video played on three monitors will have three different colour schemes, but the specifics of any work are not what matter in the end. One point of refuge is the institution. If the work reflects on the structure it inhabits it can be contingent, devoid of concrete details and still cared for and looked after. The dematerialization of art is just an adaptation to contemporary conditions of production, which do not need to be seen as characterizing some millenial shift to the digital, but just normal and typical flimsiness. In distinction, there is work that is a real particular thing, that wants to be concrete and therefore specific and therefore unique."

To which I can only add, in the depictive arts, one consequence of what RL describes as the work's desire for concrecity and specificity is the underlying assumption that every aspect of a depiction counts toward some kind of cumulative effect, even if by undercutting or complicating that gestalt.  Each part of a depiction, even a so-called dumb photographic one, is presumably the result of an artistic choice. Handy example: Metzker's horizontal blurs.  Or the broad comedy of Baldessari's Wrong (1967), which I read as saying, All that matters is a snapshot's subject -- Hey, look at John over there! -- but the moment snapshot poetics start being evaluated for all-over cumulative-art-effect, something clearly goes "wrong."
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Material for a Double Self-Portrait

Ray K. Metzker, Trolley Stop, 1966

The question of the challenge Warhol's Disasters (c. 1963) posed to to black-and-white "fine art photography" reconsidered from inside photography and not refracted through painting.  This extraordinary image is owned by MOMA but I've never actually seen it displayed there.  My guess, viz. the horizontal blurs that knit the composite image's densely textured surface together, is that Robbert Flick must know this picture well.  I saw a knockout exhibition of Flick's work at LA's Rose Gallery in February, but had never previously accounted for the impact of the "photojournalistic" aspect of Warhol's practice on either Flick or Metzker. 
Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fraser Garage, 2014

What a beautiful dream
That could flash on the screen
In a blink of an eye and be gone from me
Soft and sweet
Let me hold it close and keep it here with me, me


Elegant, 2014

Tip of the hat to Robert W. Chambers.

The author on his premises.
Thursday, April 17, 2014


TV screen crawl reads, ARTIST MICHAEL SNOW DEAD AT 90

Cut to Parliament Hill.  Snow's last work rises from behind the Centre Block: a hot-air balloon, its envelope styled after Picasso's 1941 bronze Death's Head.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Satire from the Blue:

Amazing Live Band Vehemently Despised By Its True Fans

The Internet Times-Tribune, October 10 2013 - New York City, NY - Steely Dan, a jazz-rock act with a core membership consisting of writer/keyboardist Donald Fagen and writer/guitarist Walter Becker, have just concluded another successful North American tour that began back in July of this year, and once again the band's most devoted fans simply couldn't be more unhappy.

Most of this year's 53 shows were filled to near-capacity. Concertgoers danced in the aisles and many were heard to say they felt it was the best show they'd been to in years. Mainstream media and blogger reviews were overwhelmingly positive, with reviewers drawing attention to the unsurpassed musicianship of guitarist Jon Herington, the four top-notch horn players, the bass playing of Freddie Washington, the keyboard wizardry of Jim Beard, the delicious vocal infusions of the trio of female backing vocalists, and the drumming of Keith Carlock, who was often referred to in reviews as one of the world's greatest living drummers.

But on an internet fan site known as the Steely Dan BlueBook, regular contributors let it be known that they couldn't be more disgusted and disappointed with the band they named as their favorite musical act. As one poster angrily put it, "They keep playing these songs that people recognize and enjoy - why would they do that?" Another livid fan was so enraged after reading about the songs the band had selected to play at an out of town concert he hadn't attended, that he angrily posted he would, "Continue my long standing tradition of reviewing but not attending shows by this band." Yet another disgruntled Steely Dan fanatic wrote that, "I was so upset when I read on the internet that they didn't play Do It Again [editor's note: this is one of Steely Dan's best known radio hits] at The Beacon [Theatre] on Request Night that I couldn't even think straight. I'm still angry days later, even though I really don't like that particular song very much and I certainly wasn't at the show."

In stark contrast to the happy, music-loving concertgoers in the seats, from July to October the super-fans and band history experts on the BlueBook took exception to virtually everything their favorite musical group had or hadn't done in the past decade or so, was currently doing, or was planning to do in the future. While the many people who chose to leave their computers behind for a few hours got to bask in the glow of one of the planet's finest live acts, true Steely Dan fans stayed home in protest and took to the internet to vent their hatred for the band they love. One after the other, they railed against everything from ticket prices to concert venues to the band's song choices. As one mega-fan put it, "Unless I can read that they played a set dominated by songs most people wouldn't recognize and couldn't possibly enjoy at a show over a thousand miles away from where I live, I'm going to be one unhappy Dan fan."

One thoroughly fed-up poster summed it all up when he wrote, "As a true fan, I lost the ability to enjoy their live shows a long time ago. I'm bored to tears with their repetitive back catalog and I absolutely never play any of Steely Dan's music at home, on my iPod, or in the car. It's not always easy for me to truly express my utter contempt for this brilliant songwriting duo and their crew of stellar backing musicians, but it's comforting to know that The BlueBook is always there whenever I feel the uncontrollable urge to repeat myself."
CJB v. Commercial Gallery

To a show by a friend at Gallery X.  Close examination of pictures x 30 minutes prompts no response of any kind from the gallerist, the only other person in the big empty space.


GALLERIST:  So, do you have any questions?

CJB:  I don't think so.  I'm pretty familiar with [ARTIST FRIEND]'s work; I've exhibited him a few times.

GALLERIST:  Oh.  You're a friend.  [Turns, starts to walk away]

CJB [to GALLERIST's rapidly retreating back]:  Actually, I do have a question.  About a third of these images are [UNFAMILIAR PHOTO PROCESS] prints.  What's [UNFAMILIAR PHOTO PROCESS]?

GALLERIST:  It's a darkroom process.

CJB:  I get that.  I was just wondering, maybe you could tell me a little bit about it?  I'm totally unfamiliar with it.

GALLERIST:  It's a process that [ARTIST] uses in his darkroom to make the prints.

CJB:  Okay, that totally clears things up.

When Gallery X goes bust, as it inevitably will, my guess is that its owner will blame retail rents, or Vancouver's lack of aesthetic sophistication, etc. etc. etc., but not general stiff cluelessness.
Sunday, April 13, 2014

With L. to the last Vancouver performance of Stan Douglas' and Chris Haddock's Helen Lawrence.

Impeccable, but for a last-minute breach of the fifth wall. Douglas' best work since Hors-Champs.

Standouts among the amazing cast: Nicholas Lea, channelling full-on 50s film-noir-psycho-killer; Hrothgar Mathews; Allan Louis, &, finally, Haley McGee's wisecracking butch, one step ahead of everyone else.
Friday, April 11, 2014

Rock Surface Tree, 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014
"CNN: Ghosts of Deceased Shuttle Astronauts Swimming Toward Pinging Sounds" (via @uncledynamite)
Wednesday, April 09, 2014

25 Hikers And Backpackers Reveal The Creepiest, Scariest Things They’ve Found In The Wild

"Hiking alone at dusk doing a five mile loop in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles. I see another lone hiker approaching from the opposite direction. As he gets closer, I suddenly realize I know this person: It’s the guy who played Jame Gumb, aka Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs."

Rock Surface black boxes pinging louder.  Off to the Okanagan to triangulate.

(Entire road in question now on Street View.  Still: deliveries scheduled, so off I go.  Am I explaining how I cracked it?  No.)

"I happened to notice those rock formations from the car while we were going along that road. I thought they were interesting so went back and made a lot of snapshots with a 35mm camera. I did those very casually and when I saw them later liked quite a few of them.  But I liked two of them in particular -- the two I've printed of course.  I made a pair of small prints from the 35mm negatives and made an edition of them.  Then I went back to the same spot a few months later and photographed it again with a larger negative.  So there are in fact two versions of Rock Surface.  I feel that I respond to certain forms, certain configurations of things, and can't explain why, or at least, I have to leave it to the picture made from that response to somehow say why."

Q:  How would you respond to you?

A:  I'd be pleased that someone had made the effort of parsing my pictures.
Monday, April 07, 2014
Jul 05 14 Redmond, WA Marymoor Amphitheatre presale April 25
Jul 06 14 Redmond, WA Marymoor Amphitheatre presale April 25
Sunday, April 06, 2014
Chengdu Culinary Chronicles Day Sixteen: Braised Duck w/ Konjac
Saturday, April 05, 2014
Despite his very different historical and cultural circumstance, he wondered whether he would have pursued his own version of the image had he known its precedent.
Friday, April 04, 2014
MIT Open Courseware -- Calculus for Beginners & Artists
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

1. The act or an instance of repeating; reiteration
2. A thing, word, action, etc., that is repeated
3. A replica or copy

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