Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015
Seminar One (Winter 2016)

Epictetus, Discourses, Fragments, Handbook (Oxford UP, trans. Robin Hard)

Martha C. Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness: Luck & Ethics in Greek Tragedy & Philosophy (Cambridge UP, pp.1-82)

Aeschylus, Agamemnon (U. Chicago P., trans. Richmond Lattimore)

Sophocles, Antigone (U. Chicago P., trans Elizabeth Wyckoff)

Martin Heidegger, "The Origin of the Work of Art" (Poetry, Language, Thought, HarperCollins, trans. Albert Hofstadter, pp. 15-86)

Frank Stella: A Retrospective (Yale UP, ed. Michael Auping)

1. A self-directed program of study loosely derived from the notion of an "international canon."

2. An attempt to upgrade my existing liberal-arts OS.

3.  In relation to, or occasionally against, ideas raised by my photography and critical writing.

4. Reboot of concept originally tried in summer 2013, described then as follows:

"Some questions I am trying to answer:

• How are repetition and reproduction distinct from one another?

• How should a person be?  By which I mean, how should individuals act in a way that is congruent with their own beliefs and with some broader concept of a 'public good'?  When individual beliefs and the 'public good' clash, which should take precedence?  Why?

• Why are public institutions so dysfunctional at this particular historical moment?  (See Zadie Smith on libraries, or The Mainlander on the VAG, and public art galleries in general.  Or ask L. & my friend Don Mega about legal aid, an exemplary public institution)."
Sunday, December 27, 2015

Two of next week's destinations, helpfully labelled.

Hello Christopher! Your trip to Jean is less than a week away!
Saturday, December 19, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Maegan Hill-Carroll, Ghost Child Smoking Field, 2013
Paula Fox, via John Latta, still alive:

"On weekends, he drove miles from the city, staying at an inn if he could find one, but more often at motels where he watched television programs, or, if there was a bar, nursing one drink for hours, or walking in any kind of weather until he was tired enough to sleep. But then, at least, he was away from the ceaseless din of publishing, out of reach of the culture experts, many of whose manuscripts ended up on his desk, and whose juices flowed, he had come to believe, for no other reason than the excitation of maintaining their names in print, who performed, deaf to their own failing voices so like the voices of aged singers, lest they faint into the sickness of anonymity, who could never be still but must add their own noise to the universal screech of opinion, their oppositions or agreements equally meaningless since both were only advertisements of their will to persist."
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
"[Y]ou have the capacity to be moved by countless things all at once, both in your senses and your intelligence, and in such a way as to give your assent to some, and to reject others, or to suspend judgement; and to preserve in your mind so many impressions from so many diverse objects, in such a way that when moved by them, your mind comes to conceive ideas that correspond to the impressions that were originally made on it, and so from these countless objects, you derive and preserve the arts, one after another, and also memories."

(Epictetus, Discourses, trans. Robin Hard)
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Image Speed

Capitalism likes everything fast; it increases its' subjects marginal propensity to consume and creates dissatisfaction with what they do consume.  Case in point: the nitwit who no longer buys print books, preferring his Kindle and the cloud:

 -I have over 800 books on this thing!  I could load your entire store onto it.

-How many of them have you finished?

-What's your point?

It takes time to choose physical objects, whether books, record albums, shirts or paintings, and time to interact with them.  Some times, as with fancy new-wave French food or remote cactus gardens, things that exist, as Benjamin says, "at a unique point in space and time," one has to physically go to them to interact with them, and that journey becomes part of what I'll call, for lack of a better phrase, an attending process.


"You travel all the way to Olympia to look at the work of Phidias, and all of you regard it as a misfortune to die without having seen such sights; and yet, when no journey is required and you already have the works in front of you, have you no desire, then, to view them and to understand them?" (Epictetus, Discourses, trans. Robin Hard)

Twitter, Instagram, Flickr etc. are meant to be ephemeral. There will always be a new community-favorite cat picture tomorrow.  But I think it is at least theoretically possible to use these new "fast" forms for critical ends, to chip away at the mandarin autonomy of the worst "slow" high art.  (Compare with Pop's challenge to second- and third- rate Abstract Expressionism). I think it is also worth considering the notion that whereas early-modern capitalism supported the exhibition, if not always the development, of autonomous, "slow" works (Louvre; MOMA; Pasadena Museum of Art), late capitalism actively impedes "fast" autonomous art by maintaining an infrastructure only meant to support slow art.
Monday, December 14, 2015

HDS, friend to kittehs

Tickets to the sun booked.  Here comes the next show.

I'm so live with it, look how I did it
Been bullshittin' but I finally arrived with it
I know it's late and I took all year but
You can stop complainin' 'cause I'm finally here.


"I don’t see my work and approach as having been very much affected by the accelerated image traffic situation. I don’t circulate my images on the Internet, and I have no website.

Museums or galleries put them online in connection with exhibitions, or else they get posted by those elves and genies who are responsible for putting things on the net — who are these people? How do the most obscure things get put up? When do they do it?"

My best guess at a culprit depicted above. Meanwhile, over here: Stephen Shore's Instagram
Gal Gracen's Soundcloud
Sunday, December 13, 2015
"I have been denied what our men are supposed to do. So I do what I want, which is to navigate."

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Andrew Wyeth, Sycamore Tree and Hunter, 1943
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
Recent reading: Laird Barron, "The Siphon."  Best modern take on Lovecraft since Charles Stross' "A Colder War."
Monday, December 07, 2015

A kindred spirit photographing two great subjects: rocks & cactus

"I come back to them and assess them at another moment of their, and my, life. They’re always still kind of happening for me; they don’t really recede into the past too much because it seems to me that every time I see them it’s a new occasion to encounter them and experience them, and, hopefully enjoy and appreciate them, and once more to find them to some extent good."

JW refers here to encountering his own pictures after a period of time.  The process, as he describes it, is analogous to my own experience of re-encountering geographically removed subjects -- mostly desert flora & fauna, less often people living among them -- after an interval & still finding myself captivated.
Wednesday, December 02, 2015

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