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Ocean Vuong's Chinese Painter

2022-09-19

There's a legend about a Chinese painter who was asked by the emperor to paint a landscape so pristine that the emperor can enter it. He didn't do a good job, so the emperor was preparing to assassinate him. But because it was his painting, legend goes, he stepped inside and vanished, saving himself. I always loved that little allegory as an artist. Even when it is not enough for others, if it is enough for you, you can live inside it.

ocean vuong

Wild Geese

2022-09-18

poem by mary oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

State Of Music : Summer 2022

2022-09-17

Logged into my lastfm after ages, Riz Ahmed (introduced to me from the excellent ms marvel ost) has taken up most of my listening time. It's the one artist that K. jumps up and danced to irrespective of the mood he is in.

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self-host

2022-09-13

I couldn't have said it better:

There are no rules to blogging except this one: always self-host your website because your URL, your own private domain, is the most valuable thing you can own. Your career will thank you for it later and no-one can take it away.

This overlaps with a lot of what I aim towards. This one thing would stop us from performing for others and allow us the space to indulge in whatever fascinates us.

And, what fascinates us makes us who we are.

(source: Take Care of Your Blog)

Map of Maps

2022-09-12

Virgina Woolf paints a strong image of why cities are wonderful places to be.

I always felt this when I was in NYC. Where I could find myself when walking right in the middle of the manic, swirling madness of people.

Woolf relished the creative energy of London’s streets, describing it in her diary as “being on the highest crest of the biggest wave, right in the centre & swim of things.”

As Mrs. Dalloway walks, she does not merely perceive the city around her. Rather, she dips in and out of her past, remolding London into a highly textured mental landscape, “making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh.

I enjoyed Thoreau's essay on walking, where he asks us to walk like a camel, for "it is said to be the only beast which ruminates when walking."

Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow. - Henry David Thoreau

“Walking organizes the world around us; writing organizes our thoughts. Ultimately, maps like the one that Nabokov drew are recursive: they are maps of maps.”

Vladimir Nabokov offered some advice for teaching James Joyce’s “Ulysses”: “Instead of perpetuating the pretentious nonsense of Homeric, chromatic, and visceral chapter headings, instructors should prepare maps of Dublin with Bloom’s and Stephen’s intertwining itineraries clearly traced.”

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Walid Raad's Atlas

2022-09-11

A few years back, I came across Walid Raad's website, The Atlas Project. A look at the contemporary history of Lebanon, where Raad put together an archive which plays with the thin line between fiction and non-fiction. I was introduced to a genre of photography, speculative documentary, that has since become an integral part of my own practice.

Rivers and Tides

2022-09-11

Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers and Tides is apparently a dreaded watch in Art schools. The YouTube comments for these videos were filled with kids complaining they had to watch this.

I, for one, loved his complete surrender to nature. His approach to making art, which recognizes the entropy[1] in play for everything we create. [2]


  1. This Video Has 58,900,754 Views ↩︎

  2. scavenger who wanders ↩︎

Run A Small Social Network

2022-09-10

At the genesis of my site is this article/how-to guide by Darius Kazemi, How to run a small social network site for your friends

It has also set in motion this thought in my head that has been brewing the last two years to build an alternative, small, community driven, federated and image centric social network of my own.

a small social network site doesn't need a huge complex network of computers. One computer can be enough. Often it's the kind of thing you can rent for $10 a month, or even run at home on an old computer you have lying around if you want.

(for the administrator) remember that your job is social first and technical second

If I make software that makes the lives of 50 people much nicer, and it makes 0 people more miserable, then on the balance I think I'm doing better than a lot of programmers in the world.

Alison Bechdel Draws

2022-09-10

I searched and searched for this video of Alison Bechdel. She talks about how she has to photograph herself to draw her cartoons.

I can relate to her.

i found this in the deep crevices of my notes from 2021. it was right under my nose all along

2022-09-09

2022-09-09

I got a brief glimpse into the process of Joan Miro from one of the best books I read in 2021, I work like a gardner

tsundoku

2022-09-08

In Taleb's The Black Swan, he talks about author Umberto Eco's library of 30,000 book. Eco stated he found he could only read about 25,200 books if he read one book a day, every day, between the ages of ten and eighty. A “trifle,” he laments, compared to the million books available at any good library.

Taleb called it an Antilibrary.

Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. [Your] library should contain **as much of what you do not know **as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary

There is a much more subtle word that gets to heart of this — tsundoku [1]

tsundoku is the Japanese word for the stack(s) of books you’ve purchased but haven’t read. Its morphology combines **tsunde-oku **(letting things pile up) and dukosho


  1. The value of owning more books than you can read - Big Think ↩︎

Granddaughters by Joy Harjo

2022-09-08

Reading Joy Harjo's An American Sunrise and this poem took my breath away.

I was a thought, a dream, a fish, a wing
And then a human being
When I emerged from my mother's river
On my father's boat of potent fever
I carried a sack of dreams from a starlit dwelling
To be opened when I begin bleeding
There's a red dress, deerskin moccasins
The taste of berries made of promises
While the memories shift in their skins
At every moon, to do their ripening

Herzog's Rules of Filmmaking

2022-09-06

I have heard people criticise Herzog as fleecing rich kids with his school. But this list, like the lists of many other brilliant artists, hides within it inspirational jump points.

  • Always take the initiative.
  • There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
  • Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
  • Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
  • Learn to live with your mistakes.
  • Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
  • That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
  • There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
  • Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
  • Thwart institutional cowardice.
  • Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
  • Take your fate into your own hands.
  • Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
  • Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
  • Walk straight ahead, never detour.
  • Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
  • Don’t be fearful of rejection.
  • Develop your own voice.
  • Day one is the point of no return.
  • A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
  • Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
  • Guerrilla tactics are best.
  • Take revenge if need be.
  • Get used to the bear behind you.

Do Art And Do It Now

2022-09-06

Kurt Vonnegut's letter to students of Xavier High School.

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

The Bear

2022-09-05

If you had any dreams of running your own tiny restaurant, this show would scare them away.

Carmy Bear, one of the best chefs from one of the best restaurant in the world, comes back to Chicago to take over his brother's tiny sandwich shop upon his suicide. Every episode is as tightly wound as Carmy is, who is reeling from the debts his brother made, making a change-over at the restaurant and running away from his own grief.

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