Thursday, July 30, 2009

myron stout on josef albers...

josef albers hommage to the square

myron stout 1950

"... i suppose albers came to his purism out of de stijl and kandinsky, and with the strong touch of 19th century scientific idealism which brought such a strong pragmatic note to the bauhaus - together, of course, with the german mystical-metaphysical idealism.

the earlier purists were so much more the poets and the mystics in their work than any now practicing and these are the very qualities which gave their work more validity (together, of course, with greater artistry) than that of the ones now practicing. i include albers, of course, with the earlier ones, though i can not feel him the artist that mondrian was, of course. he certainly does have the transcendental ideal, though, and he not only does not lose it with increasing age, but seems to strengthen and clarify it. his work always gives me pause, because the scientifically "measured" quality always stops me (at least momentarily - and sometimes blocks me) on the way "through" his work to what he has to say or present. on the other hand i always come again and again to a great admiration for the consistent and truly integrally held vision which impels him and is, on the whole, revealed in his work. that he can hold it is very remarkable, for it's almost as though he were a man out of his time - he should have lived a generation earlier when the materialism and lack of faith and conviction of today would not have been there to beat on him and his audience. the solitariness of his powerful idealism would have been easier to bear, so to speak, had he come to full flower in 1900 or 1910 instead of now. i think possibly he has not been able to reconcile his ideals with the world he finds himself in - his work is not embracingly "telling" enough. but he still holds to the basic - to the fundamental of what he knows will give expression to what he means."

april 28, 1960

top: josef albers hommage to the square
bottom: myron stout, 1950

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

when one nail just isn't enough...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

house music... (when buildings become a field of notes)










at 7:00 pm this coming saturday night, july 25, i will be fortunate enough to be doing a "dream gig". i'm performing at the schindler house (also known as the MAK center for art and architecture). also on the bill is a pair of gosh darned wonderful humans, making music as the climax golden twins. it's my favorite space in los angeles, and along with two solo sets, we will end the evening as a trio...

my relationship to schindler's work dates back to my childhood, and in 2001 i was lucky enough to be invited to create a few installations for the house and site. getting to work with the space a second time feels like a miracle...

the above images are scores for part of my performance (these will be somewhat improvised, while the rest will be entirely improvised...). if you've seen the scores i did for alvaro siza's pavilion, you will recognize the language here, participating upon and within rm schindler's original drawings for the house. if you are in the los angeles area, i would suggest attending the evening... airforms will probably be quiet until next week...

here some words from rm schindler regarding rhythm...

rhythm is a space relationship. it cannot be achieved by an arithmetical repetition of the same part but must be maintained by related spacings of parts, whether they are similar or not... as in music, such a rhythmic scheme may be simple repetition, or the more subtle locking of several rhythms.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

some landscapes...

landscape: 1

watching the moon
before sleeping






landscape: 6



fourth of

a balloon


child's name

landscape: 8



good friday

on these


and the
each spring
trickling waters

a few short poems by george dowden, from the journal some/thing, 1968

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Friday, July 17, 2009

the appearance of the idea of the universe...


"it is the things close at hand that give the idea of the universe as the human eye sees it, a universe which can be undulated concave or convex..."

pierre bonnard

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

when art fairs were in backyards rather than basel...

Monday, July 13, 2009

when music was made by solid rock...

luray caverns 7" record cover

many people have commented regarding a post i made last week about some folks in a cave listening to a radio, in relation to the luray caverns. i posted something about luray a long while ago, but have been unable to find that post through google's mysteriously unhelpful "search this blog" function.

so i set about looking for something in the real mess, and lo and behold i was able to put my hands on the 7" souvenir record from luray that not only has a beautiful cover, but some mysteriously wonderful music.(and i do believe it came into my possession from the collection of mr. bloggs, who runs the gregory ain park planned home blog)

here a bit of the liner notes:

the music on this record is made by solid rock. it comes from the great stalacpipe organ, only one of its kind inf the world, in the beautiful caverns of luray, luray virginia. deep in the caverns, in the walls of a large catherdral like chamber, stalactites are played like the pipes of an organ, producing musical tones that you hear on your record. stalactite after stalactite - those stony icicles and draperies hanging from the ceiling, have been turned by a grinding process to concert pitch. each one is equipped with a striking mechanism, a rubber tipped plunger that, fired by the impulse of an electric discharge, strikes the stalactite and brings forth a musical tone...making the recording was in itself something of an engineering feat. the microphone, like the listening audience, was centrally located and the music came from all sides. natural sounds, such as the splash of water dripping from the stalactites are an inevitable and interesting part of the record.

thanks to jeremey of ampersand etc. for reminding me and my feeble memory, that we dedicated a section of the book "site of sound" to the luray caverns organ, particularly deciding to include it because of its peculiar approach to site specific sound (and sounding). it is nice that the luray folks mentioned the natural dripping sounds in this recording on the sleeve, because it is a rare breed of instrument that can only be recorded as a field recording, not because of social reasons such as with rural or ethnographic recordings, but because the instrument itself exists in the world and is built of the world, and can only be heard within its natural soundscape.

click here to listen to the entirety of this little record.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

when peering into a tremendous ocean overhead...

cdv horn player circa 1890

... the clouds flew low and fast, and when he looked up, he felt he was peering into a tremendous ocean overhead, streaming above the earth.

now the earth was an isolated marble for him, sapphire-blue and streaked with white in the blackness of the universe, a tiny particle floating in the void – as he had seen in color photographs. this picture of the earth was not something he had in daily life. usually the earth was the school building, the fish ponds, a mood of the sky that he wrote down in a notebook... no, not even these things, it was made up only of things that were taken for granted. the most usual and normal, the most humdrum things, which were repeated a thousand times, so that he didn’t even register them anymore – that was the earth. from far away it was something that seemed like his conception of life: something wondrous, mysterious. but the closer he came to this life, the more it dissolved into details, into tiny things, through repetition. life was a vegetative thing, just as the earth was nothing special in the universe, a triviality. he rode the train and noticed he was thinking about the earth as though it were an alien star, so remote in the infinity of space that he could not tell it was inhabited by human beings, as though he himself were living not on it but outside of it. he felt as if he had fallen from the earth. it was an oceanic feeling of loneliness.”

gerhard roth, winterreise

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

when starch was used to clean the moon...









images from a small premium booklet that came free with faultless starch circa 1895. this tiny book, very much a pre-curser to cereal and food premiums, was part of a series of tiny kids story giveaways involving the starch as a main "ingredient" of the narrative. in this case, a boy is awakened by some pixies who invite him to visit the moon. there he discovers that the dark spots on the moon are dirty from coal, and that there are small moon pixies who clean the dirt away with faultless starch, which is why the moon shines so brightly. the boy ends up back in his bed (was it all a dream?) with a fresh box of starch by his side... can't find any info on the illustrator of these tiny newsprint booklets, the drawings are pretty darn nice...

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Monday, July 06, 2009

when spanterejst equals splintered edges...

spanterejst skibsskrog.

hull of ship in frame.

schiffsrumpf, fertig in den spanten.

membrures d'une coque de navire.


splintered edges squibs rocks.

howl of shapes on flume.

shifts rough, floating in dense expanses.

membranes dunes cork and nativities.


winter hedges scabs rakes.

bowl of shades aflame.

shafts laugh, flowing indents expanded.

remembering loons quirks activities.


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Friday, July 03, 2009

when people form a flag...




a real photo postcard circa 1910 of "the living flag", an arrangement of humans with coordinated colored clothes and some with stars on their heads... no photographer credited...

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