Monday, February 28, 2011

when a piece of victorian scrap suddenly feels connected...


recently picked up this small victorian trade card for the mason and hamlin organ company. and while it did catch my eye in regards to its relation to my collection of early music related photographs, i suddenly found myself realizing that much of the design seems totally compatible with my own aesthetic sense.

for over 20 years i have found inspiration in modernist graphic design/architecture and abstract painting, but slowly i have been discovering that my own aesthetic is messier, more awkward, and less inclined towards empty space (i.e. i love the "clean" stuff, but it just doesn't seem to want to come out of me as a maker). what struck me about this image is how the hanging banner on the left totally disrupts the symmetry. the amount of ornament, repetition, and general visual noise also seems consistent with my own work, as well as with the repetitions of tramp art and so-called outsider art. on many levels, i can look at the way this image was constructed and can see certain visual decisions that feel familiar.

this painting from 2008 "the same sun spinning and fading..." certainly seems aesthetically compatible with the old paper object i found a few weeks ago:


what is interesting to me is that this relationship suggests an evolving aesthetic rather than a dedicated card carrying member of single aesthetic or historical club. as much as i still gush over the norton simon's maholy-nagy painting every time i see it, i have also begun to feel a strong connection to some of the victorian era's awkward and complex way of visual composition (and how much of its awkwardness is an artifact of an analog and/or mechanical process - rather than a digital/virtual one).

it isn't so much that i am looking for inspiration in such things, as much as discovering that i feel some sort of sympathetic relationship to certain objects and eras that never seemed to be an influence or interest.

rather than working from the printed object above, i'm more interested in the potential of having deeper conversations with things that are able to unexpectedly reveal things to me about my work that has previously been unnoticed or unacknowledged... once again proving that these old things can not only inspire work, at times, but can also expand the conversation.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

4 free events... starting tonight...


tonight, feb 23, at 7 pm i will be participating in an event at sci arc called "polytopes: the architecture of soundscapes" which will feature talks and performances, participants include: Juan Azulay, Jean Michel Crettaz, Craig Hodgetts, Lance Putnam, Curtis Roads, Steve Roden, David Rosenboom and Carolina Trigo. i will be performing a 20 minute improvised work using video field recordings taken on site, as well as scores created from the site... here.

friday afternoon, feb 25, i will be giving an artist talk with john o'brien at cerritos college from noon - 2pm. location info here.

friday night, feb 25, my 20 year survey show that was recently at the armory center for the arts - steve roden in between, curated by howard fox, will travel to the san diego state university art gallery. there will be an opening reception from 6-9pm, and a conversation with the artist and curator from 6-7pm. more info here.

and finally, at 8 pm on saturday night february 26, i will have the honor of performing with david grubbs and david watson as part of ad hoc #2 at beacon arts. more info here.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

when plucking words from the likes of bud fischer...


he thinks i
can only.

his eyes,
last snapshot
an action:
click and out.

gophers and posies
we find on the side,
hoping and praying
for chance.

gone line blown only bags full.

bird box swish - thr-heee always.

this car,
that basket:
for fire
for fire

boom. soft:
know it solid.

just a bump -
your head against the ceiling
my head against the ceiling.
exalted after hand and foot.

peculiar thing bangs into your looking,
i heard,"firm firm."

i'm glad
i feel
i got my chest.
i heard in the world of the night
sunshine, the door.


in the floor
so much:

i don't want.
i want -
i'll do that pleasure.

"ooky... ooky" to himself...
what's wrong? stop crying.

i have hunch enough,
now surely i'll be surprised.

in. this. i've you. and now wise
to. to sever connections that will be
lovely -
squawking or still.

(from found cut up fragments of comic strip panels from a 1927 sunday comic section.)

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

two field recording fragments from rilke...

lofty god of distant harmonies
i sense you everywhere deep in every
upon the gently patterned slope the
stand silent as when they first heard
you sing
.......... of the brown

.......... of the sonorous
dried-up earth of the forest
drums the flight of the faun

two fragments (i am assuming left unused) from rilke's duino elegies........

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Monday, February 14, 2011

two schwitters and a gaze...



she is my fairy queen:
is my fairy queen.
her shoe
is my fairy shoe,
when i walk on her feet,
its heaven for me.
i wish from my fairy
heaven with her.
round and open
open through the water.
open in the air.
open and round,
round and open.
round on the corner.
during the night,
when darkness is open in the air,
all things are round
on all corners.

small chinese poem:
I stood before my iron front door.
my friend drove by on a dirigible bicycle.
then my thoughts remembered her.

(two poems by kurt schwitters, photo: anonymous RPPC circa 1900)

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

when awkwardness arrives through drawing...






"drawing is immediate, requires little technological assistance. just making a mark. some primitive intention here. pre-linguistic maybe. but the drawing mark lies close to the linguistic sign. and drawing is a kind of sign making to be sure. but what kind of sign is the question that arises with every drawing mark that is always more than just a mark. and for me language is often also there, written on the page beside the non-linguistic marks. two different but inseparable kinds of marks/signs. only linguistic beings seem to make drawing marks (the apes that now make them are induced to do so by humans). getting out the sheet of paper and the stuff to make the marks means opening up a space that is both mental and physical. maybe in this space i get as close as i can to erasing, for a brief time, the mind/body problem, which is really not so much of a "problem" as a kind of awkwardness that arrives in the form of linguistic confusion."

text: robert morris, interview from "from mnemosyne to clio: the miror to the labyrinth"
images: robert morris, blind time drawings (some of my most favorite drawings in the world)

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

as if antonin artaud ever played the banjo...


" I have aspired no further than the clockwork of the soul, I have transcribed only the pain of an abortive adjustment.
I am a total abyss. Those who believed me capable of a whole pain, a beautiful pain, a dense and fleshy anguish, an anguish which is a mixture of objects, an effervescent grinding of forces rather than a suspended point
—and yet with restless, uprooting impulses which come from the confrontation of my forces with these abysses of offered finality
(from the confrontation of forces of powerful size),
and there is nothing left but the voluminous abysses, the immobility, the cold—
in short, those who attributed to me more life, who thought me at an earlier stage in the fall of the self, who believed me immersed in a tormented noise, in a violent darkness with which I struggled
—are lost in the shadows of man."

(image: anonymous snapshot, 1930's, text: antonin artaud, fragment from "the nerve meter")

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