Drawing more bears in an attempt to make my own sigil.
I keep revisiting this piece by Nick Cave on cancel culture and in doing touches on something far more profound
Mercy ultimately acknowledges that we are all imperfect and in doing so allows us the oxygen to breathe — to feel protected within a society, through our mutual fallibility. Without mercy a society loses its soul, and devours itself.
If mercy is our guide we have a safety net of mutual consideration, and we can, to quote Oscar Wilde, “play gracefully with ideas.”
As far as I can see, cancel culture is mercy’s antithesis. Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world .... now embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer (and none of the beauty) — moral certainty and self-righteousness shorn even of the capacity for redemption
- Abandon normal instruments
- Accept advice
- A line has two sides
- Allow an easement (an easement is the abandonment of a stricture)
- Are there sections? Consider transitions
- Ask people to work against their better judgment
- Ask your body
- Assemble some of the instruments in a group and treat the group
- Balance the consistency principle with the inconsistency principle
- Be dirty
- Breathe more deeply
- Bridges -build -burn
- Change instrument roles
- Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency
- Children's voices -speaking -singing
- Cluster analysis
- Consider different fading systems
- Consult other sources -promising -unpromising
- Convert a melodic element into a rhythmic element
- Cut a vital connection
- Decorate, decorate
- Define an area as `safe' and use it as an anchor
- Destroy -nothing -the most important thing
- Discard an axiom
- Disconnect from desire
- Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
- Distorting time
- Do nothing for as long as possible
- Don't be afraid of things because they're easy to do
- Don't be frightened of cliches
- Don't be frightened to display your talents
- Don't break the silence
- Don't stress one thing more than another
- Do something boring
- Do the washing up
- Do the words need changing?
- Do we need holes?
- Emphasize differences
- Emphasize repetitions
- Emphasize the flaws
- Faced with a choice, do both (given by Dieter Roth)
- Feedback recordings into an acoustic situation
- Fill every beat with something
- Get your neck massaged
- Ghost echoes
- Give the game away
- Give way to your worst impulse
- Go slowly all the way round the outside
- Honor thy error as a hidden intention
- How would you have done it?
- Humanize something free of error
- Imagine the music as a moving chain or caterpillar
- Imagine the music as a set of disconnected events
- Infinitesimal gradations
- Intentions -credibility of -nobility of -humility of
- Into the impossible
- Is it finished?
- Is there something missing?
- Is the tuning appropriate?
- Just carry on
- Left channel, right channel, center channel
- Listen in total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly
- Listen to the quiet voice
- Look at a very small object; look at its center
- Look at the order in which you do things
- Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify them
- Lowest common denominator check -single beat -single note -single
- Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame
- Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last
- thing on the list
- Make a sudden, destructive, unpredictable action; incorporate
- Mechanicalize something idiosyncratic
- Mute and continue
- Only one element of each kind
- (Organic) machinery
- Overtly resist change
- Put in earplugs
- Remember those quiet evenings
- Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics
- Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities
- Repetition is a form of change
- Short circuit
- improve his virility shovels them straight into his lap)
- Shut the door and listen from outside
- Simple subtraction
- Spectrum analysis
- Take a break
- Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance
- Tape your mouth (given by Ritva Saarikko)
- The inconsistency principle
- The tape is now the music
- Think of the radio
- Tidy up
- Trust in the you of now
- Turn it upside down
- Twist the spine
- Use an old idea
- Use an unacceptable color
- Use fewer notes
- Use filters
- Use "unqualified" people
- What are you really thinking about just now? Incorporate
- What is the reality of the situation?
- What mistakes did you make last time?
- What would your closest friend do?
- What wouldn't you do?
- Work at a different speed
- You are an engineer
- You can only make one dot at a time
- You don't have to be ashamed of using your own ideas
Audre Lorde’s “Uses of the Erotic”
The principal horror of any system which defines the good in terms of profit rather than in terms of human need, or which defines human need to the exclusion of the psychic and emotional components of that need – the principal horror of such a system is that it robs our work of its erotic value, its erotic power and life appeal and fulfilment. Such a system reduces work to a travesty of necessities, a duty by which we earn bread or oblivion for ourselves and those we love. But this is tantamount to blinding a painter and then telling her to improve her work, and to enjoy the act of painting. It is not only next to impossible, it is also profoundly cruel.
A peek into his process
You want a mini education in Photography, duck into his YouTube channel. It's amazing that someone self taught like me can have access to so much knowledge usually buried behind walls of academia.
A hidden gem from Alec Soth's work - Summer Nights on the Dollar Tree
This work and Soth's interest in Robert Adams opened up a wonderful world of photography for me.
In 1960, pioneering American artists Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse met for the first time and became close friends. In 1965, Eva found herself facing a creative block during a period of self-doubt, and told Sol of her frustrating predicament. Sol replied with this letter.
It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itchin, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!
From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and you [sic] ability; the work you are doing sounds very good “Drawing-clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder… real nonsense.” That sounds fine, wonderful – real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!
I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work – the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell – you are not responsible for the world – you are only responsible for your work – so DO IT. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working – then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!
It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an “Agonizing Reappraisal” of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I’ve done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can’t you leave the “world” and “ART” alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that’s that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I’m sure you know all that. You also must know that you don’t have to justify your work – not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can’t understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can’t. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can – shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.
I would like to see your work and will have to be content to wait until Aug or Sept. I have seen photos of some of Tom’s new things at Lucy’s. They are impressive – especially the ones with the more rigorous form: the simpler ones. I guess he’ll send some more later on. Let me know how the shows are going and that kind of stuff.
My work had changed since you left and it is much better. I will be having a show May 4 -9 at the Daniels Gallery 17 E 64yh St (where Emmerich was), I wish you could be there. Much love to you both.
Music for Airports, at least one of the pieces on there, is structurally very, very simple. There are sung notes, sung by three women and my self. One of the notes repeats every 23 1/2 seconds. It is in fact a long loop running around a series of tubular aluminum chairs in Conny Plank’s studio. The next lowest loop repeats every 25 7/8 seconds or something like that. The third one every 29 15/16 seconds or something. What I mean is they all repeat in cycles that are called incommensurable — they are not likely to come back into sync again.
I just set all of these loops running and let them configure in whichever way they wanted to, and in fact the result is very, very nice. The interesting thing is that it doesn’t sound at all mechanical or mathematical as you would imagine. It sounds like some guy is sitting there playing the piano with quite intense feeling. The spacing and dynamics of “his” playing sound very well organized. That was an example of hardly interfering at all.“
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
It is difficult for anyone born and raised in human infrastructure to truly internalize the fact that your view of the world is backward. Even if you fully know that you live in a natural world that existed before you and will continue long after, even if you know that the wilderness is the default state of things, and that nature is not something that only happens in carefully curated enclaves between towns, something that pops up in empty spaces if you ignore them for a while, even if you spend your whole life believing yourself to be deeply in touch with the ebb and flow, the cycle, the ecosystem as it actually is, you will still have trouble picturing an untouched world. You will still struggle to understand that human constructs are carved out and overlaid, that these are the places that are the in-between, not the other way around.
I have had a hunch, and today we tried out la molisana instead of any random off the wall pasta. And, it made a difference. The chew was good. The pasta on the whole tasted much nicer.
How much of a difference does pushing really hard at something matter?
I think in the current culture where hobbies become side-hustles. Something is considered wasted, if isn't done to serve as a stepping stone for something else. The thought that there could be something else becomes an impossibility.
How countries slip into Fascism
- Construct an internal enemy, as both focus and diversion.
- Isolate and demonize that enemy by unleashing and protecting the utterance of overt and coded name-calling and verbal abuse. Employ ad hominem attacks as legitimate charges against that enemy.
- Enlist and create sources and distributors of information who are willing to reinforce the demonizing process because it is profitable, because it grants power and because it works.
- Palisade all art forms; monitor, discredit or expel those that challenge or destabilize processes of demonization and deification.
- Subvert and malign all representatives of and sympathizers with this constructed enemy.
- Solicit, from among the enemy, collaborators who agree with and can sanitize the dispossession process.
- Pathologize the enemy in scholarly and popular mediums; recycle, for example, scientific racism and the myths of racial superiority in order to naturalize the pathology.
- Criminalize the enemy. Then prepare, budget for and rationalize the building of holding arenas for the enemy-especially its males and absolutely its children.
- Reward mindlessness and apathy with monumentalized entertainments and with little pleasures, tiny seductions, a few minutes on television, a few lines in the press, a little pseudo-success, the illusion of power and influence, a little fun, a little style, a little consequence.
- Maintain, at all costs, silence.
Umberto Eco, qualities of Eternal Facism
- The cult of tradition. “One has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditionalist thinkers. The Nazi gnosis was nourished by traditionalist, syncretistic, occult elements.”
- The rejection of modernism. “The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.”
- The cult of action for action’s sake. “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”
- Disagreement is treason. “The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.”
- Fear of difference. “The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”
- Appeal to social frustration. “One of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
- The obsession with a plot. “Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one. The followers must feel besieged.”
- The enemy is both strong and weak. “By a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.”
- Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. “For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.”
- Contempt for the weak. “Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology.”
- Everybody is educated to become a hero. “In Ur-Fascist ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death.”
- Machismo and weaponry. “Machismo implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality.”
- Selective populism. “There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”
- Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak. “All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”
Teju Cole's books have always been hard for me to entangle. They are pictorially and thematically dense. This article gave me an insight into his work, as well as photography as a medium.
The associations, though, are often not entirely clear. A photograph of a telegraph pole on a deserted street in Selma, Alabama prompts a memory of a dream Cole had about crossing a street but never arriving at the other side, which, in turn, calls up a quotation on consciousness and time by the French phenomenological philosopher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
He talks me through a photograph of a ship’s foghorn, white with a gold rim, resplendent against a backdrop of Lake Brienz in Switzerland, the mountains rising out of the sea in the background amid glowering clouds. The fragment reads: “I opened my eyes, What lay before me looked like the sound of the alphorn at the beginning of the final movement of Brahms’s First Symphony. This was the sound, this was the sound I saw.
Interesting tidbits about John Berger, whose book Understanding a photograph I am now reading.
“I actually asked John why photography was not part of his practice,” Cole says, “In his case, to photograph a subject was to foreclose some part of what he could write about it. He saw it as an interference in his writing faculties.
And, Chris Marker, whose San Soleil I saw in an early parenting daze when feeding K. at 5am.
In his great film, Sans Soleil, Marker moves between zooming out and watching the flow of life and zooming in to look at the pattern of the details of everyday experience. He is not telling you one thing about a place, but allowing it all to come in and making the connections visible.
And, there in lies the crux of photography as a medium — its watching the flow of life and patterns of everyday experience and making the connections visible.
MosFilms, once the premier studio in the USSR, has been putting up some of their best movies on YouTube. For free.
I watched Solaris on here a few years back. It is such a gift!