Sunday, April 30, 2006

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Friday, April 28, 2006

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Then, during the same visit to Mississippi, the following exchange takes place between Frank and eight male high school students outside Port Gibson High:

Kids: “What are you doing here?”

RF: “I’m just taking pictures.”

Kids: “Why?”

R.F.: “For myself – just to see…”

Kids: “He must be a Communist. He looks like one. Why don’t you go to the other side of town and watch the niggers play?”

Frank would later include this exchange opposite a series of 4 photographs of the group of boys in his book "The Lines of my Hand."
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"From 7:30 PM until 11:30 P.M. I was cross-examined by those three men who, at halftime were joined by apparently an inspector of that county. I will describe to you this cross-examination which was the most humiliating experience I had so far."

-Robert Frank, midway through the creation of "The Americans," sends word to his friend Walker Evans of bad goings-on in Mississippi.

Monday, April 24, 2006

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

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Friday, April 21, 2006

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

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The Children's Prison, a short 'public service announcement' (under 30 seconds) by Boards of Canada that is so good it almost makes me forget the crushing disappointment of their last full length.
On first viewing, like most things BOC, it's deceptively simple: retro sesame street/electric company graphics, sampled little kids voice, rainbows, clouds and numbers. It's on the second or third viewing that things start to add up. The voice sample "I guess I'm growing up" begins to sound less like an expression of bewildered indifference and more and more like the final statement of a condemned man. As the graphics of childhood (2+2=22) give way to an onslaught of negative, restrictive parental admonishments (no, not, guilty), then again to a brief burst of futile 'child solidarity' phrases (don't let them catch you! Come back!) it becomes clear that the 'children's prison' (adulthood) is as inescapable as it is inevitable.
In the end, I think this video conveys the same one-two punch as the best of their earlier work. An initially amusing and infectious outer crust that conceals within it an almost unbearable sense of loss and memory.

From an older interview with the duo:

What's the fascination with children's voices? Is it to do with a nostalgia for childhood?

Mike: "It's something that has a peculiar effect in music, it ought not to be there, especially in atonal, synthetic music. It's completely out of place, and yet its in that context that you can really feel the sadness of a child's voice. Being a kid is such a transitory, fleeting part of your lifespan. If you have siblings, then if you think about it, you'll have known them as adults for a lot longer than you ever knew them as children. It's like a little kid lost, gone."
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Monday, April 17, 2006

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

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Friday, April 14, 2006

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

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Included: 1 ROBERT STORR action figure, no batteries required. Simply wind spring and set interview switch to "on."

STORR: ...I also think that either there is an evolution in the work or a paradox that was always there, which is the fact that, on the one hand, technically they belong to the tradition of fine studio painting and, on the other hand, that something apparently arbitrary or mechanical has been done to pictures made in that tradition. After all, you are a master of the disruptive technique as well. the thing that makes it blur is not a machine but a bigger brush or squeegee. it was never so mechanical; it was never so arbitrary, correct?


STORR: And then again, you said earlier that what seperated you from other artists was not simply that you have this technical command but that you have the ability to recognize when a work has achieved a certain rightness.


STORR: So the defining quality of what you do is both a matter of the mastery of materials and a question of recognition and decision. It was never about violence done to the picture in the same way that some people have seen this kind of disruptive physicality as aggression, pure and simple.

RICHTER: Yes, that's true.

STORR: In some ways, what you're up to is closer to what [Alberto] Giacometti did than to the kind of painting that is usually described as wild or violent. It is about working away at the image and at the paint until you can see something.


STORR: So, in that respect, your approach is similiar to Giacometti's but involves a different formal language with a different set of conventions, and is being pursued at a different time.

RICHTER: Yes, that sounds good.

Monday, April 10, 2006

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

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DOC DOOM! (not to be confused with MF Doom)
For starters, here is what he is actually saying.
There's nothing too radical or shocking about it. It's a scientific warning about the vulnerability of the worlds human population to pathogenic microbes, which is something we should all know about and be grateful to be made aware of. His 'infamous' speech made waves simply because he 'took the microbes side' to make a rhetorical point. The point: We are now in serious, serious trouble because of our overpopulation and treatment of the worlds resources, and the microbes have us at a serious disadvantage because of it. Is there anyone actually dumb enough to think that this speech was a serious call for destruction of 90% of the world's population by human means? Apparently so.
Edward Abbey, in one of his funnier moments, once told a hall full of cattle ranchers that their cattle should be hunted to extinction and their bodies ground up into coyote food. He too was making a rhetorical point; that cattle require more land in the southwest than they are worth, and that they destroy the habitats of indigenous animals like the coyote. This point, whether right or wrong, was at least understood by the audience. The ranchers didn't immediately rush out and form cattle protection militias, or start waving signs that said "Save our Cows!" or even report Abbey to the 'Cattle Police.' They realized he was stretching words to make a point, told him what to do with that point, and went outside and shot their pistols in the air.
Unfortunately, this kind of lively, imaginative debate is proving a tad too subtle for today's right wing reactionaries to handle, which is why Mr. Pianka has been singled out for surveillance by giddy little informants like dickhead here.
Writing, however, is not life. It's not even very much fun. It's like standing in a dark cave with an entire colony of Mexican fruit bats and trying to catch them with a butterfly net. They're zooming here and swooping there; they're smacking you with their wings. They're getting tangled in your hair, they probably have rabies, and they want to suck your blood, but you just keep swinging the net over and over and over, and yet the net remains empty. If, wonder of wonders, you do catch a bat, you will bask blissfully in the knowledge that you have netted the most perfect specimen of Chiroptera ever known. You'll bask for exactly five minutes. Then you'll start worrying that you'll have no one to admire your bat, your perfect, perfect bat. Or, if you do, that people will think it's a sucky bat, or that it should have been bigger, or furrier. Or that Jonathan Franzen's bat was better, even though you know your bat was every bit as squeaky and fuzzy and crinkly-nosed as any other bat. So then you realize that the world just isn't fair. But then you realize your bat does, in fact, suck. Then you realize your bat is actually a fine, fine bat but the problem is that the world doesn't actually need any more bats, so maybe you should just put down the net and take up needlepoint.

-Rachel Proctor May

Change 'writing' to 'photography' and 'Jonathan Franzen' to 'Walker Evans' and you've got a pretty good description of my daily process.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

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"I love books and I love looking at photographs in books. Photographic reproductions are closer to facsimiles of the original than reproductions of other media. Books, though, always raise the issue of sequence. When the sequence is short, perhaps less than twenty images, it functions as a single, unified work. When this happens, the individual images take on a "lightness." They are, as you observed, seen as parts of a whole, not stand alone pieces. This "lightness" can expand the range of photographic possibilities: images can be simply notations, quick observations, visual one-liners."

-Stephen Shore

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

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Victoria, B.C. - musical twilight zone of Canada:

1. Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" is playing over the speakers as I sit down to lunch at Floyd's Diner. Middle aged, crystal wearing, guru impersonating woman to my left turns to her friend/pupil and says (in patronizing, more-cultured-than-thou voice):

"This is Tracy Chapman. Do you know her music? She was a very popular black singer in the seventies."

2. The stereo system at Crystal Pool, which usually pumps out a steady stream of Britney, Blink 182 and Nickleback, suddenly, and without warning, starts playing Songs:Ohia's low-fi existential masterpiece "Captain Badass." Not quite able to comprehend what's happening, I stop swimming and grip the side of the pool, blinking in confusion. No one else seems to notice.

(Camera pans left to reveal Rod Serling, disguised as a member of the water aerobics class)
"An average pool in an average town...etc. etc."

Monday, April 03, 2006

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

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