Thursday, December 31, 2009

on the last day of the decade...


make music and mirth...


make noise and laugh...


hold hands and dance around the victrola...

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

before ipods and gameboys...



a group of family campers circa 1900, the youngest immersed in "new" technology...

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Friday, December 25, 2009

christmas house of cards...


this little hand made christmas card is one of my favorite things i own. it's probably from the late 1950's, simply made by gluing an original photograph to some green and red construction paper. of course, the wonderful thing is the construction made using the house of cards set designed by charles and ray eames. the eames house of cards is one of my favorite toys ever created, and i have numerous different variations on the sets as they were released - originally through tigrett in the 50's, and later through creative playthings and ravensburg in the 70's. the cards were one of the eames best realizations of their own creative process resulting in a situation of new creative process for the user.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

when snowmen listen to pianos...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

when melville mentioned christmas in the midst of "or, the whale"...



"at last the anchor was up, the sails were set, and off we glided. it was a short, cold christmas; and as the short northern day merged into night, we found ourselves almost broad upon the wintry ocean, whose freezing spray cased us in ice, as in polished armor. the long rows of teeth on the bulwarks glistened in the moonlight; and like the white ivory tusks of some huge elephant, vast curving icicles depended from the bows.

lank bildad, as pilot, headed the first watch, and ever and anon, as the old craft deep dived into the green seas, and sent the shivering frost all over her, and the winds howled, and the cordage rang, his steady notes were heard,-

"sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
stand dressed in living green.
so to the jews old canaan stood,
while jordan rolled between."

never did those sweet words sound more sweetly to me than then. they were full of hope and fruition. spite of this frigid winter night in the boisterous atlantic, spite of my wet feet and wetter jacket, there was yet, it then seemed to me, many a pleasant haven in store; and meads and glades so eternally vernal, that the grass shot up by the spring, untrodden, unwilted, remains at mid-summer."

text: moby dick.
images: top, richard platt, bottom, d. gentleman, both 1950's from ark, issue 7, journal of the royal college of art.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

when street cleaning reminds you of tape recording...

"funny, i just thought of an odd analogy... know those dizzy rear-steering wire-brush-and-spray street cleaners you see in big cities, zooming along next to the curb, scooping all the dirt and debris, lightly sprayed with water, into a central hopper? well, those wire brushes, striking sparks (and making your spine shiver sometimes) are "scanning" the street surface somewhat in the fashion of rotating heads on a passing tape (especially, a helical-scan videotape!). they manage collectively with many fast moving steel wires, to cover a vast mileage of asphalt at a very high sweep speed, though the machine moves along the tape - i mean, the street - at a relatively slow pace. the wires and the brushes do an overlapping job that is supposed to contact all the "information" - i.e., dirt and debris - at a properly vigorous sweep frequency..."

edward tatnall canby, in audio magazine, march 1966

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

FREE... concert saturday night... FREE...



free concert, featuring lucky dragons, eamon ore-giron, and myself. this is related to the recently opened "number one greatest hits" exhibition at the fellows of contemporary arts space in chinatown. the concert will be across the patio from the foca space, at 970 n. broadway, suite 202-203. the show will start at 8 pm, and i am playing first, so don't arrive at 9 or you will miss me. this is my last gig in los angeles for the year, and i won't be performing again until march... and yes, in case you missed it, this concert is free.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

a little ear help please...


in late 2006 i released a double LP called lines and spaces. the set included two one sided LPs, one made with the line notes on a piano (e, g, b, d, f) and one made with the space notes on a piano (f, a, c, e). the idea was that the Lps would be played together, on two turntables. the release was done in an edition of 125 copies, and i am nearly sold out of them.

a few days ago i received an email from a fan, who said that his copy contained two of the same records. each has a different matrix number, but both contain the same music. i grabbed my own copy, and lo and behold, both discs are the same. (i don't own two turntables).

since the piece has been released and sold out for a few years, i was surprised to hear from someone now (hasn't anyone else listened carefully!?!). so, i'm wondering if anyone who reads the blog has a set at home, and if so, could take a listen and let me know if indeed their copies are both the same record (which now seems highly likely).

if it turns out the entire pressing was two of the same discs, i'll most likely press the proper second disc and offer them free to those who already have the set.

i never encourage comments (although i like them of course), but in this case, i'd really love to hear from anyone with the set, either here or via email. thanks.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

two stereo views...





i've had these two stereoviews sitting on my bookshelf, facing my work area for awhile now.

i think the top one with the origami figures is simply amazing, not only for its beauty but for the utter strangeness of the image. paper has never seemed so anthropomorphic...and somewhat menacing!

while the drum image initially didn't do much for me, over time it's grown to also be a favorite image, particularly because of the simplicity of the color scheme, which reminds me for some reason of whistler. it is also interesting how something meant to be seen dimensionally looks as flat as a japanese woodblock print, when seen with the naked eye as opposed to through the intended viewer.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

when paintings open your eyes to the world...



a few weeks ago i visited the museum of latin american art (molaa) in long beach, to see an exhibition called "the sites of latin american abstraction". the exhibition featured a number of wonderful abstract paintings, sculpture, and photographs from the 1940's - 1970's.

while i was a bit disappointed in the selection of minor works by the major artists in the show - such as gego, lygia clark, cruz-diez, schendel, etc., i was really excited to discover the works lesser known artists, or artists whom i had never heard of.

one of the standouts in the show is a small painting pictured above, painted by lidy prati. this small painting was one of the things that really burrowed itself into me, and never let go. as i walked through the show a second time, writing down artist names, i found myself constantly drawn to prati's humble work.

a few days later, i was cleaning up the classroom for a day of final crits, when i happened upon a small scrap of paper, peppered with marks from someone's tennis shoe. of course, as you can see above, it instantly brought prati's work to the forefront of my visual consciousness; but while it appeared that the tennis shoe artist triggered my memory of prati's work, it seems more likely that the resonance of prati's work suggested i bend over to pick up the scrap of paper.

that moment of connection was one of numerous moments where art reveals its simple truth... that certain man made objects and experiences do indeed influence the way we see the world. as much as seeing an art object is a visual experience in and of itself, when an artwork work's its magic on a viewer's own vision, it not only changes one's relation to the artwork in front of them (epiphany), but has a longer lasting value in its ability to change the way one moves through the world (transformation) from that moment forward.

the minute one walks away from the object, the human is filled with something new, and there is a permanent shifting in the workings of one's eyes, one's pace, one's cognition, connections, pathways, etc.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

when names suggest words...


i recently acquired this small 6 panel brochure for c. henry adams "bureau of patronymics and patronomatology", published in 1886. adams' brochure offers "to the public" his services, to "furnish the etymological meaning of family or proper surnames." he offers the following illustration of how it works:

oliver: crowned with olives - peace.

wendell: dutch wandelaar - a traveler.

holmes: grassy plains, or meadow lands.

i have no idea if the connected words are rooted in etymology or games of word association, but the results, at least in holmes' case, are quite beautiful.

much of my own writing has danced around similar intuitive tendencies, such as the book of swedish poetry i translated into english using the sound and spelling of the swedish to suggest english equivalents... where a word like "dikter" (which sounds like diction), becomes the word "spoken".

adams charged a dollar for the rendering of a surname, and fifty cents for each christian name. quite a bit of money at the time.

the brochure ends with a testimonial from w.t.a. sprague..."i am perfectly delighted with the rendering of my name by you."

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Friday, December 04, 2009

when landscapes are free for ears...


i have a new sound work made with field recordings available at the soundwalk website/blog, here. it's an unusual piece for me, as i've used recordings of a woman singing and a man playing drums, so it is a bit more active and rhythmic than usual. the site is relatively new, and will continue to post new works in "edition" bursts. they have also recently posted works by aki onda, murmer, bj nilsen, yann novak, francisco lopez, radio mental, and others.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

perec on "why"...


"i have never felt at ease in talking about my work in theoretical or abstract terms. even if what i produce seems to stem from a long-worked-out program, from a long-standing-plan, i believe far more that i find my direction by following my nose. from the books i have written, in the order i have written them, i get the sometimes reassuring and sometimes uneasy feeling (uneasy because it is always suspended on a "projected" work, on an incompletion pointing to the unsayable, the desperate object of writing's desire) that they map a path, mark out a space, signpost a fumbling route, describe the specific staging posts of a search which has no why but only a how: i feel confusedly that the books i have written are inscribed and find their meaning in the overall image that i have of literature, but it seems to me that i shall never quite grasp that image entirely, that it belongs for me to a region beyond writing, to the question of "why i write", which i can never answer except by writing, and thus deferring forever the very moment when, by ceasing to write, that image would visibly cohere, like a jigsaw puzzle inexorably brought to its completion."

georges perec, 1978, re-printed in review of contemporary fiction, spring 2009.
image: a series of chess moves that perec used towards the writing of "life: a user's manual".

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