Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Into the hairmosphere...

It's true, Sarah and I have spent a certain amount of time a la plage this summer. And at a some level of consciousness we enjoy seeing all the wonderful shapes and details that people conceal and reveal in their swim gear. Worth mentioning are the men who have thick hair all over their bodies, pelts of hair, sweaters even, that shoot out into the world, surrounding and encompassing their owners like an atmosphere - thus, the hairmosphere. What biomes thrive in these precarious follicular veils? What could get trapped in there? Rice? Krill? Could toxic gasses be held in there bringing heat and destruction in their wake? Every human a miracle...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Did cicadas help invent the spaghetti western?

On a walk through the park the cicadas were deafening in stereo, clacking it up like a frenzied clatch of techno dj's from both sides of the footpath. Walking with our friend, a director, we learn that cicadas are the ruin of many a film. Small sticks of dynamite are used to momentarily shut them up for a minute or two. Long takes are out of the question. I begin thinking of all of those poorly dubbed Sergio Leone films. Were they deprived of live sound as a result of cicada chatter?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Animals know no borders...

Actually, borders were a 19th C. invention. Try explaining what they mean to a Hairy Slit-faced Bat somewhere over Botswana/Namibia. Good luck!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Have nothing to say? No serious opinions? Unable to articulate a thesis to any meaningful conclusion? Do you nod and smile? Life got you in smooth condition? Do you love the "Talk of the Town" section? Do you read the cloudy-brained, half-witty musings of Gazpachot?

Time to switch from lite to dark. Time to drive the pitchfork deep into the earth and turn over some rich soil. TIme to stop skidding across the surface when you could be diving for pearls. Or what's your plan? Affectionate confections? Are you reeling in the years?

(Thanks Casper)

Friday, August 06, 2010

Impossibly exotic and moving expressions...

Should some of us live purely by our creativity, and what might that pursuit offer to our civilization?

Not everyone has to build a road, or manage a team of mid-level accountants, or can tomatoes, or bring water to parched villages, or refine the valve synchronization of the artificial heart. To me it seems vital to our species that some of us stay apart from the very real daily demands and problems of the practical world. We call these "apart" people artists, and though we've clearly cleared a space for them in society, it sometimes feels too apart. One catches wafts of sentiment that portray the artist as the aloof idler and the arts as hopelessly removed from reality. And of course the art world (and more specifically the art marketplace) should take a good amount of responsibility for this head-up-the-butt perception. This seems wrong.

My guy JFK, who strove to be a "total" human (in some super-flawed and incongruous post-war way), genuinely saw the pioneering of imagination and crafting expressions as a "real job" that factored critically in the larger community. Mind you he wasn't out there silk-screening images of Jackie with Andy Warhol at the Factory or anything, but he absolutely placed value in this arena. For example when he says:

"Art unifies the human experience. The artist has labored, amid deprivation, to perfect his skill; turned aside from quick success in order to strip his vision of everything secondary or cheapening. The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction in the life of a nation, is very close to the center of a nation's purpose - and is a test of the quality of a nation's civilization." (From JFK's offering to the book Creative America, Ridge Press, 1963)

There is so much in us to be unlocked. The stuff of our better nature and our collective becoming. Yes, build the road, can the tomato, and yes, sell the painting, the song, the story in the marketplace. Money and ideas should intermingle. And yes, create for the sake of creating alone, so that we might inspect the honest contents of our imaginations and discourse on the pros and cons of admitting them into reality.

("It Didn't Involve a Raise" by J.J. Cromer)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Gesamtkunstwerk vs. Concinnity...

I know, you're constantly confusing gesamtkunstwerk and concinnity in your everyday communications. Don't worry, me too, it's a common mistake.

Just remember that gesamtkunstwerk refers to a "total work of art" that incorporates many creative disciplines, whereas concinnity is the harmonious or purposeful reinforcement of the various parts of a work of art. The former is concerned with the whole; the latter is concerned with the successful integration of the parts.

A couple of simple mnemonics... Think of the final "e" in GesamtkuntswErk to remind you of Eusebius Trahndorff, whom you will remember, was the first to use the word in an 1827 essay. Concinnity: Think of the Latin root "concinnitas" which of course means skillfully put together. And there you are, confusion be darned!

("Gesamtkunstwerk" by Victoria Topping)