Thursday, September 28, 2006

Why the seventies were a good time to grow up, part 1.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

6 o'clock in the morning
and I'm the last person in this plane still awake
Y'know I can almost smell the blood washing against the shores
of this land that cant forget its past.
Oh the wind that carries this plane, is the wind of change,
Heaven sent and hell bent.
Over the mountain tops we go, just like all the other gi joes,

This is your captain calling--with an urgent warning
We're above the gulf of arabia--our altitude is falling
and I can't hold her up--there's no time for thinking
All hands on deck--this bird is sinking

Across the beaches and cranes, rivers and trains
All the money I've made, bodies I've maimed.
Time was when I seemed to know,
Just like any other gi joe
Should I cry like a baby, or die like a man
While all the planets little wars start joining hands,
Oh what a heaven--what a hell!
Y'know there's nothing can be done in the whole wide world.

This is your captain calling--with an urgent warning
We're above the gulf of arabia--our altitude is falling
& I can't hold her up--there's no time for thinking
All hands on deck--this bird is sinking

-Sweet Bird of Truth
From The The's "Infected," 1986.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Vancouver and Pembroke / 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Stephen Shore's The Nature of Photographs, a personal holy grail (PHG!) that is finally being re-issued by Phaidon next month.
25% employee discount, here we come.

Today was my 2nd day on the job at my new place of employment, Bolen Books, a giant, family owned business that looks suspiciously like a chain store, but somehow isn't. Jaded hipster employee girl's first comment "nice sweater," (quickly followed up by a sneering "Yeah, anyone who dresses like an aging college professor is ok in my book") alerts me that I am back in the wonderous world of 20-something retail, with all of it's attendant perks.
Welcome back, big guy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Whats up?

Yeah, hey.

What are you doing?

(lining up shot of ice freezer behind convenience store) Taking a picture.

Of that? (points at freezer.)

Yeah, and maybe a little of that too (store window to left of freezer).


(tired and cranky) Why not?

(turns and gives a moment of consideration to the scene) Well, for one thing, its not very interesting, dude.

Ok, what would be interesting?

(thinks for a moment, then snaps his fingers) Pink Floyd Shots, dude!

"Pink Floyd shots."


You want me to take pictures of Pink Floyd?

(laughing) No, dude! Pink Floyd shots! Like when you are just totally baked and you lean back and...(frames some power lines through his fingers) Pink Floyd shots!

Oh, I get it.


So what?

Are you gonna take some or not?

(moving off) Well, you won't believe this, but that was the last shot on the roll.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Ministry of Casual Living
1442 Haultain St.
Victoria, B.C.

See that big black window lower left? I'll be showing some photographs in there come January. Two photographs actually. Of windows.
If you are anywhere near Victoria at that time and want to see these photos of windows, come on down.
100 Views - 69

Monday, September 18, 2006

My internet pal Ben Chatwin, a young, london based musician with an office day job, once told me that he knew very few people his age in London who weren't suffering from one form of depression or another.
"It starts in the schools here." he typed. "There is absolutely no encouragement to develop your personal interests into careers, none of that "follow your dream" crap that you get from day one in the states. It's drilled into you daily that any student who steps out of his or her pre-ordained path towards a mindless office job will regret it in the worst possible way."
I saw this this morning and it reminded me of what Ben said.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

An Art Story!

In 1993, on spring break from my second year of art school, I drove down to visit some of my old high school friends in Monterey, California. I thought I would impress them with tales of my exciting life in the big city, dazzle them even.
My first night back in town was celebrated with an enormous amount of pot smoking at the apartment of an old friend (this was back when I was still struggling desperately to convince myself that I enjoyed smoking pot, and didn't find it a hellish nightmare-like journey into shrieking paranoia and utter despair.)
There were about 8 people there, most of which I'd gone to school with, and a few others I'd never met before. I was amazed to find that, in the three years I'd been away, most of my little band of goofy wannabe-punk/stoner friends had become suprisingly stoic, laid back surfers. I barely recognized some of them anymore. Everyone was deeply tanned and large, or larger than I remembered them anyway, with that blissed out look over the eyes, like a scrim, that seems unique to surfers. I felt small and frail, a pale ambassador from a cold city of disembodied, hung-up intellectuals.
There were boards stacked at the entrance to the apartment; enormous, cigar shaped longboards coated with wax and patched dings, and shorter, more aggressive looking freestyle boards with triple fins on their undersides. A light film of sand seemed to cover everything in the place, like moondust in a landing module. It was a part of the clothes, the carpet, the air. Outside, seawater dripped off the cuffs of black, hooded wetsuits.
The lighting in the apartment was low, practically subterranean, and the conversation was slow and relaxed, cryptic; a language of insiders. Tides, sets, points, lefts, rights, overheads, wash cycles, glass rooms. Framed above the mantle, candlelight flickering across it's surface, was an enormous colour photograph of a white shark, smiling through a haze of murky water. The Man, The Boss, The Landlord, Whitey, White Pointer, White Death, the Man in the Grey Suit.
"The Shrine" somebody said, smiling at my slack jawed appraisal of the photo.
Joints were passed. Pipes, bongs. Somebody put on a record that sounded like Bob Marley in a wind tunnel. I began to feel extremely out of place. Like a man without a body, without the slightest connection to a natural world my friends seemed to be card carrying members of. I began to bug out. What was I doing with my life? Was I any happier than these guys? No, I was miserable. Art seemed suddenly pointless, and these guys, they seemed...connected somehow. To something I feared and admired and yearned for. The elements. I began to think about the elements.
My friends, sensing something amiss, tried to lure me back into conversation.
"So, whats it like up there?"
"Yeah, is the Art School in a big igloo or what?"

"What's "Art School" like anyway?"
Wracking my brain for something in my art school experience that seemed physical and immediate enough to gain the respect of the room, I made, in retrospect, a very cynical decision. I chose to try and awe my friends with the "weirdness" of art, rather than tell them what I really thought of it.
I began talking about Chris Burden.
How he'd crawled naked through glass, how he'd had his body stuck full of pins, how he'd crucified himself on a volkswagon. I went for shock value, using that same pseudo-awed voice, full of dramatic gravitis, that all stoners use when they are telling you something heavy man. The room tittered and snorted, grins all around. Not the reaction I was going for. I went for maximum effect.
"He even had himself shot in the arm with a rifle." I said.
Peals of laughter from the whole room. I'd missed something. Had I shit my pants and not realized it? ( this was a common pot induced paranoia of mine.) Everyone began pointing at a tall, tanned guy with long hair sitting to my right, who was shaking his head. Something was going on that I didn't understand. When the laughter finally died down he leaned over, grinning like a maniac.
"That is so funny that you brought that up, man." he said. "Because my dad was the one who shot Chris Burden."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Kevin Yates
Garbage Bags, 2004
edition of 3
bronze, cardboard
installed 12.5 x 34.5 x 35 cm

If you live in Toronto, head down to the Susan Hobbs Gallery and check out Kevin Yates's new work Dead Objects.
It's up till the 21st of October.
100 Views - 68

Some basic arguments in defense of artistic uncertainty, scribbled down this morning during a seemingly endless Simpleposie debate:

I think the cutoff point between discovery/exploration and refinement/mannerism is something all artists have to grapple with. To me, discovery is what happens when the artist's vague intentions collide with the utterly un-vague solidity of their medium. It's a big collision, and I think most good artists come out the other end of it shaken, no matter what their level of virtuosity.

The process of making art should refract your original intention (as my pal Chris says: "like water bending light.") It's not that the process changes your mind, but that it digests and expands upon your original intention, giving back to you much, much more than you could have conceived of on your own.

So even though the good (or maybe I should just say 'interesting') artist may approach their next piece with a blueprint drawn from the last, convinced they finally know exactly what they are doing, the process dissuades them, again and again. I think what results from this is art.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Why are the 100 Views posts becoming less and less frequent?

1. Because I have no desire to hurry up and finish this series. I'm enjoying the process of it more than anything I've worked on in years, and I'd be happy if it went on forever.
2. Because the more time I take, the better the images.
3. Because I want the series to run through the winter, so that all the seasons are represented. I started with a bang, and have been purposely putting the brakes on ever since. I'm further along than I should be at this point.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Update/Clarification regarding the white shark photo:
No, the new white shark at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is not 12 inches long, those are giant bluefin tuna in the background of the photo, one of the largest, fastest and most powerful fish in the ocean, and about a million times more aggressive looking than a white shark. Intimidating is not even the word. Trust me on this one folks, everything in that photo is much, much larger than it looks.

Monday, September 04, 2006

"The complexities, manias, and sorrows of the Middle East have driven many people insane, and in the years of debating and discussing this issue, I've encountered my share (though some would say that I, too, am nuts, and sometimes I feel that's true). But last Wednesday night, I hit the lunatic jackpot. And while I try to never throw words like "lunatic" casually around, in this case it applies -- indeed, it may be an understatement."

-the rest here.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a new white shark in captivity, a male this time, slightly larger than the female that was released in 2005. It's swimming around right now in the Outer Bay Exhibit, which is worth the price of admission alone.
All southbound roadtripping Canadians should re-route accordingly. South on I-5, right at Salinas.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

100 Views - 67