December 30, 2004

Acts of G-d

When we were at my cousin's place in K?ln, I assumed that she would have an internet connection, but she was too new there to have one installed. I was bummed but I reasoned that being offline might be a good thing afterall. A break from mainlining data 24/7.

One evening, I flipped open the laptop and pulled down the wireless menu and lo! I was able to piggyback on someone's system! The connection was fragile and for reasons too technical for me to comprehend, I could only sustain a connection for ten minutes a day.

One of those days, I checked the news and I noted an earthquake of eight point something in the Antartic. Strange. A day or so later another, bigger quake in Sumatra... three hundred killed, the report said. I knew that the figures would likely go up, terrible news.

When I was a kid sailor, my ship would cruise through the Singapore Straits. I remember looking for Krakatoa, hoping to see it topside. We were headed for Sri Lanka. Columbo -a strange place, too hard in this short space to describe why. Elephants on ankle chains and expansive beaches enfronted with crumbling colonial architecture. Then to Karachi, Pakistan. We called it "Crotch-Rot" in the charming manner of swabbie culture. I remember fording the cabbies clamoring for fares as we jumped onto the pier. I dimly remember a corpse in a ditch, the police hurried us past and into the city. That night I ate bar-b-que chicken, wondering if it were wise to do so... and ignoring the taunts of the salty dogs to seek the comfort of prostitutes there to mark my manhood... knowing for certain that it was wise not to do so.

I enjoyed a couple of memorable dives at the Seychelle Islands while on a liberty port of call. The cabbie was a freak, rubbing his stickshift in a rude way to rasta music (the music was great but spoilt by all that freakin' goin' on). I remember Swiss tourists with us on the dive, a distinctive bunch. Good looking, quiet. I remember that the sea there had a reputation to be the habitat of sea snakes. I would always look for them over the side. Exotic, dangerous. There werem't enough tanks so I volunteered to snorkel above as my buddies combed the bottom, maybe 25 to 30 below. After a while, I kicked down and tapped for air. I went to another and tapped for more. It was such a feeling, swimming so unencumbered, bumming air from everyone. Such freedom. Finally, I surfaced and as I spun upward with the bubbles, my chest heaved up. I looked up and a huge volume escaped my mouth. Foolish -yes, to not have kept gas compression in mind. A great day that was.

It took an act of G-d to dwarf the War on Terror in the news. What a terrible price to pay for perspective. The casualty figures are surpassing a hundred thousand. It strains the imagination.

This blog is not designed to traffic the topical news, too many do it so much better than I can. My intentions were to narrowcast and center this blog on painting. Life intrudes and what may seem tangential has some bearing (in my estimation) on the internal life of the studio: the people I meet, the changing circumstances of our lives, information I find stimulating on the web. I even leave the art world news to others. It would be diverting to become another art world blogger-correspondent... even though I had entertained the idea in the beginning of this blogadventure but finally, it would have been diverting.

As the year turns and we reflect for a moment on the past, with wary anticipation... we count our blessings.

G-dspeed to us, to all of you.

Happy New Year.

Posted by Dennis at 4:51 PM | Comments (3)

December 29, 2004

Ad?u, Caganero

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Before the Xmas holiday goes the way of the leftover turkey, I thought I'd shoot the pics of the caganero behind the nativity scene at our neighborhood bar. It's kind of like shooting a foto of Sasquatch. Now you see him, now you don't.

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So there on the corner of the fireplace, is a thatch of forest moss and little holy figurines. And if you look behind the action, you might spy a Catalan completing the eternal cycle of life.

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This must be the Hasbro? variant.

The lad is ready for his close up, Mr. DeMille:
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Posted by Dennis at 4:30 PM | Comments (0)

Mark von Schlegel

Googling for Mark von Schlegel's writing, I find this site, This is part of the intro by Tessa Laird, I clip for you here (emphasis mine, and I tried to clean up several anomalies in the text, unsure of the propriety of doing so):

When I told Marc Herbst I would like to contribute to The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, he asked me if I could write a piece on the current "role of criticism" I'd written lots about art in the past, so I said "sure", pretty positive of my critical credentials. But the more I read up on criticism, particularly within the context of the Los Angeles art world, the less certain I became. I felt like I had stumbled into an anthill, where thousands of industrious (anty) intellectuals were going about their business of empire-building and ankle-biting.

My own role in this society was negligible, to say the least (aphid? dust mote?) as I began to realize a full-scale critical war was underway, mired in a rhetoric as black and white as Dubya? post 9-11 paeans to binarism. Brian Tucker painted a succinct picture of this division in X-tra? Summer 1999 editorial:

...discussion of art often takes the form of belligerent camps who caricature each other, then wage war against the caricatures: In this corner, wearing white trunks, Reactionary Patriarchs, their jackets grandly embroidered with the word beauty. And in red, fun-hating Marxist Puritans who strive to repress every wayward tongue and testicle.

Tucker, very sensibly, calls for dialogue instead of warfare (sound familiar?), rightly acknowledging that we are all, at the end of the day, folk that like to talk about art, and therefore ought to be able to find some common ground. Besides, he opines, Dave Hickey isn't Hitler. "I think he is", counters an anonymous colleague of Tucker.

At this point I had to shake my head. How did it come to pass that someone as seemingly affable as Hickey was being equated with the architect of the Holocaust? Hickey? A penchant for classicism coupled with regular jabs at his favorite punching-bag - the politically correct art institution - make him popular with conservatives and libertarians alike (and yes, we know they are alike). But does this kind of retrograde vision really spell the doom of everything we have fought for? Or is it simply an invitation to an invigorating ideological joust? To lose one's sense of humor is perhaps more fatal than loss of morality. Hickey plays the Joker in a deck that is stacked against the humorlessness of the left.

I myself like Dave Hickey very much. Joker or Ace? I wouldn't go against him in a card game. People who consider him to be reactionary don't know the meaning of the word.

This is a pretty fair description of the character of the dialog (a generous word) in the LA art scene. One reason for this perhaps is that there are several art schools (5 by one count) in that metropolis, and pecking orders are inevitable, espeically within each school.

Anyway... Pardon this immediate digression into the LA art scene, the subject here is Mark von Schlegel (and I don't know what Mark thinks of Hickey's writing, by the way). Mark will be publishing a scifi novel in 2005 to be published by Semiotext(e). Here, we jump to Mark's statement (of which Mark puts forward his views, which doesn't entirely match mine, but thankfully neither he nor I think they must do so):

Mark von Schlegel
Critic, Los Angeles, Editor of The Rambler

It's a strange time, culturally speaking. To my mind, Matthew Arnold's call for the critic "to know the best that is known and thought in the world, and by in its turn making this known, to create a current of true and fresh ideas" remains valid and necessary. Western art has found itself in a position where it depends on criticism and writing more than ever before to create historical continuity in a field that tends to be fragmented and often perplexing. Artists today depend on ideas and rely, in part, on criticism to help define and trace their achievements. That said, today's art criticism threatens to devolve into a monotonous publicity and marketing of individual artists. If one wants to bring in ideas and connections and theories etc. one's welcome to, but one tends to be published and distributed because of the names positively dropped and the works illustrated. It's important that the critic (who tastes so little of the perks he or she helps generate for others) resists this trend. "What is more insidious than any censorship," the sometime censor T. S. Elliot once said, "is the steady influence which operates silently in any mass society organized for profit, for the depression of standards of art and culture."

There are readers all through the art world eager for honest, thoughtful criticism. We tend to look to publications these days not as forums of ideas but for revealing the current shape of art world power-positioning, yet an authentic work of criticism, when it appears, can function with more immediacy and authority than ever. The 100th anniversary edition of October Magazine was dedicated to the proposition that thoughtful criticism is obsolete. It was interesting that this particular issue was the most readable and challenging in years. Criticism gains freedom and honesty from a perceived obsolescence.

Theory, when it's printed, is practice. As we enter an age of religious atrocity, it's natural that early Enlightenment methodology should resurface. The Rambler takes its title from a semi-anonymous 18th-century Grub Street publication, one of many such sheets that littered the streets of London in those days. It's an attempt to reach back to an Enlightenment in its youth - wherein a tiny intellectual trickle (I recommend Blanford Parker's Triumph of Augustan Poetics on this) was able to enter the stream of public reality without recourse to any power but that of its own press. "Reason" obviously, philosophically, is a political posture - a symbol of individual power in a silencing, psychotic world. When reactionaries adopt it to preserve false histories and consolidate oligarchic power, terrible troubles ensue. The Rambler includes a healthy dose of science fiction as both acknowledgment of the claim possible futures hold on our generation and as satire of our own quasi-libertarian reactionism.

With the Rambler, we fantasize that the smallest, semi-anonymous, most localized collaborative publication can help generate wars of ideas, fictional trends, perpetrations of hoaxes, attacks in print, geo-political shiftings, the foundings of rival newspapers and schools who stand for something, etc. In other words, make it of actual consequence again, as we fantasize it used to be in the early Enlightenment, to write, to make art, to be alive. By presenting popular fictions beside art criticism, political analysis beside raw complaint, and giving ourselves the individual respect that only writers can give to other writers, we hope to gain energy and novelty by collapsing market-imposed, disciplinary boundaries. In its de-categorizing potential, contemporary Art culture remains, in many senses, wide open. Our first issue called for the resignation of George Bush. We hoped to be one among a series of such gestures and found ourselves relatively alone, even somewhat frightened and paranoid. But our artist readers appreciated the gesture -- eager to perceive their own place in a world larger than the contemporary machinations of a peculiar, elusive economy. Art needs to reach out to the "outside" world, for its own sake as much as for the sake of the "outside" world itself which has looked to it for moral and political initiative in the past.

In America today rights to free speech are in jeopardy; non-violent citizens are getting picked off in Home Depot parking-lots and professors shot in class rooms, while an abandoned, over-sported environment radically deteriorates. We artists and writers are a part of that America and our lives may not be so long. It's not so difficult, we've discovered, to make something cheap, something honest and awakening (advertisement and image-free) for people to read.

(For the interested reader, copies are available free at Diannepreuss gallery, Chung King Road, Chinatown).

I look forward to reading his upcoming novel.

Posted by Dennis at 3:54 PM | Comments (0)

Studio Visit: Frances Scholz

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My friend Mark von Schelgel was in K?ln to spend the holidays with Frances Scholz, and I was happy to be able to see them again and toast the holidays. Frances is a painter and she was generous to invite my visit her studio.

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I met her briefly at ChinaTownLA's Hop Louie a while ago, and I remember then repressing my impulse to pepper her with questions about her painting (I didn't want to appear too geeky... plus, there is only so much that can be said absent the work). When she suggested the visit, I leapt to it.

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Her paintings -as you might see here- are painted in thin transparent layers that rely on images projected and abstracted as a result of the process. I guess I can relate to them as my early work (1992-96) traded in alkyd glazes and a concern for a drawing that lingers over the materiality of it all. Different stuff but similar coordinates.

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Located just past the Turkish part of town, her studio is nestled between a funiture maker, a tailor and a restorer. She said she placed an ad as an artist seeking a studio that didn't garner results, so she replaced it as an art instructor seeking a studio that resulted in this place, the perfect place. She teaches at Braunschweig a 5 hour train ride away, one of the top 3 art academies in the country, its a big deal, a federally appointed position etc.

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I was happy to see that I was not the only one who needed a nap now and then. ;-) Two skylights, big windows, large walls and separate storage... just what we all need. Note the single strip of flourescents above, a very European gallery lighting standard.

(I will intersperse images of her tools here in the meantime.)

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In Frances' work, what came to my mind was the possibility that the painting also existed in the light cone of the projector, that abstraction came from angular distortion of the projection, the degradation of the image that is fetched up by the process and the peculiar manifestation of the changed imagery on the "emulsion" (the worked site of wet paint) where the brain/eye/hand is the catalyzing agent.

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Another aspect of the use of projectors in painting is how one must choose which aspect of light to delineate from the projected image. Imagine, if you have not experienced this already, tracing an image form a pool of light on a surface. This not only introduces a profound level of abstraction but it also recalls the perceptual intricacies of figure drawing (or drawing from life in general) in which one must choose a limited set from an unlimited set. This is a choice that evokes the unlimited from the combination of chosen limits. (uh, does this make more sense to me than to you?) The evocation of the many from the few could be a foundational definition of art.

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And below, a silkscreened work that for me evokes sculpture, maybe Brancusi. My first thought was that I'd like to see them 4 meters tall... and whatdoyaknow, she did make them bigger, bigger than that of human figure and I imagine with the contrapposto that it might imply. It would be wonderful to walk among them.
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UPDATE:
Once I got Frances' name (spellling) corrected, I was able to find links online. Here's one:

Frances Scholz - ROLLEN
Since the beginning of the 90s Frances Scholz more and more includes the space into the presentation of her works. She creates autonomous paintings, which she combines to ?space paintings?. Overlaps in time and space are characteristic of her works. The surface evolves to be space and space becomes surface, time flows into paintings, the paintings become film, the film becomes painting. These exchanges and their effects, also those between the different media shape the work of Frances Scholz.


Posted by Dennis at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

K?ln Xmas 2004

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The imagery of Christmas here in this part of Germany is similar to what we are used to in North America: snowy forest landscapes, Santas, Frosty the Snowman, elves, stuff like that. Of course, there are elements that I can't track, such as this grandmother figure floating in the sky on a pillow, and what is the story behind the mice, fox and bambi figures? This was a bilboard featured prominantly above a small fair in the city, it must be a popular holiday story.

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We had heard of the holiday drink "Gluhwein", and this seemed to be the place to test it out.

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This guy charged us 9 euros for two mugs, selling the mug along with the drink. Drinking out of ones' shoes seems to be a universal sign of festivity.

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Spiced hot wine on a cold day and later, a sausage to top it off. It was a good way to hang a bit in our first morning on foot in the city, and watch people prepare for Christmas day.

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I like seeing how the images of xmas are inflected in every place. This Santa has this determined look on his face. No, he looks beseeching. The fact that this is a trash can lid kind of reverses the meaning of Santa's bag of presents. Interesting too, that this Santa is unconcerned with recycling, which is very determined in Germany (locals separate paper, plastic and three kinds of glass: clear, brown and green).

Later in the day, I saw a trashtruck upload the goods: a very techy and clean truck zooms to a stop as the driver in smart overalls jumps out with a remote control unit for the huge hydraulic pincers to lift the large steel cans overhead as his cute and trusty Jack Russel Terrier awaits in the passenger seat for his master to return, bobbed tail wagging.

Posted by Dennis at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

Gratitude

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Thank you, Raphael Rubinstein and Art in America for the mention of this blog in the January 2005 issue.

If first heard of it in my beleagered comments section (afflicted as I am by spambots at this time) where reader Scott Wayne Indiana had tipped me off on the news. My friend Joanne Greenbaum sent me an email with the news and by that time, I resigned myself to hearing about it from afar, since Art mags are rare here in Tossa de Mar.

Then, I tuned into Tom Moody's site and there it all is! NEWSgrist has a scan I grabbed for the image above, thank you very much. And thanks to Tom Moody, who was kind enough to mention this blog at the recent Rhizome.org panel discussion on art blogs, wherein I fancy that Art in America gleened the info for the article.

And a very special thanks goes to my old friend Dean Terry who mechanically created this blog for me in the first place. Dean is an artist (we went to grad school together) teaching at the University of Texas at Dallas, he has his own blog, Alt7, the link is on the "Soup of Links" on the left margin of this blog.

Welcome, party people! This blog is chiefly a studio journal, a bibliography of interests that influence the things I make in various degrees, an exercise of curiosity, a phantom limb of painting....

Sorry about the infestation of spam in the comments section. I am wrangling with the technical stuff to eradicate them, difficult to do.

We've just returned from K?ln for the holidays and I have a backlog of blogposts to unleash in these pages. I visited Frances Scholz's studio and hung out with her significant other and my good friend Mark Von Schlegel at a cool bar in the city. That and many other posts to come!

UPDATE: Stephanie asks me, "Do you feel a special added pressure to blog after the article?", elbow in the ribs, laughing. I shrug, "I try to ignore it."

Posted by Dennis at 9:49 AM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2004

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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We are about to step out and fly to K?ln to spend xmas with my cousin who has recently settled in there. It's a good chance to see family/friends and experience the zero degree temps that will surely make this place feel warmer when we return.

Not much time to be loquacious, but I wanted to upload a few images of the recent work, this one above a little older and the next are of a work in progress:
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These jpegs aren't electrifying me, it's better in person...
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This drawing might show the roadmap.
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Here is how big this beast is.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Posted by Dennis at 6:34 AM | Comments (5)

December 19, 2004

Ahora

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A bigger painting, done in chunks.

Each chunk, like a painting in and of itself, it takes one to two days, often overnights.

Maybe seven to eight chunks.

The gamble is that the chunks cohere.

Some studies:
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The first try always has a charm.

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The next several try to recover and augment...

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And even when I invert and variate, the thrust looks clear to me, so I go to paint.

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This is the first chunk.

Posted by Dennis at 5:39 PM | Comments (0)

Dominos

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We found Ramon at the bus station playing dominos.
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Posted by Dennis at 5:09 PM | Comments (0)

Chop

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I've been a little nonverbal lately, more words later.

Right now, more images feels best.

The chat engine will revive no doubt.

Please stay tuned.

Posted by Dennis at 5:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2004

Ahora

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Posted by Dennis at 4:38 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2004

Picaros

Mom was robbed as she was checking in at the Barcelona airport!

A thief napped her purse as she was paying her overwieght fees at the ticket counter. She was wrangling several large bags stuffed with antique fabrics she bought here recently, and I think she was targeted as she exited the taxi. I also think that there was probably a networked affair since the security guard (who was standing close by at the time) did nothing to help her, denying that he saw anything amiss at the time. The whole incident happened in the instant mom turned to pay her fees.

Losing jewelry, important baggage documents, house keys and a priceless address book; she struggled onto the aircraft only to succumb to a paralysing migrane for which her pills were also in the stolen purse. She was lucky to have had her passport in hand at the time. A connection at Heathrow gave her the chance to make several telephone calls to stem the damage done, she arrived home over 24 hours later only to have to have a locksmith drill through the three locks in her front door to get her inside.

She's been robbed twice before here, on the street in Tossa and in Barcelona (where she sported a decoy bag that was ripped from her shoulder as a successful precaution). A warning to visiting friends and family: keep your eyes open, your guard up, lower your victim profile and keep the most valuable stuff as close and as tucked away as possible. This place is beautiful but the street is wilder than it looks, even inside the airport.

Posted by Dennis at 10:49 AM | Comments (2)

December 15, 2004

Admin

As spam in the comment section surpasses 33,000 I begin to scrutinize the guts of the template of this blog to see how I can disable comments. I hate to do it, but the housecleaning is a little too time consuming. There is also the factor of tinkering under the hood of this machine... there's the risk of damaging the architecture of the blog, creating bigger problems than the one I'm trying to fix.

We shall see.

Posted by Dennis at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2004

Window

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Posted by Dennis at 9:43 PM | Comments (0)

There's a Debate?

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I remember this movie when I was a kid. The scenes of half man and half bull (and pigs) were pretty startling. Forty years later, we have this:

Scientists debate blending of human, animal forms

Well, that's a great issue to debate.

new meme alert:

humanzee

Ancient meme alert:

chimeras

Amazing Sentence Alert:

"Such "humanized" animals could have countless uses."

Astounding Paragraph Alert:

But few scientists are eager to do that experiment. The risk, they say, is that some human cells will find their way to the developing testes or ovaries, where they might grow into human sperm and eggs. If two such chimeras ? say, mice ? were to mate, a human embryo might form, trapped in a mouse.

Jaw hits Chest Alert:

Now Weissman says he is thinking about making chimeric mice whose brains are 100 percent human. He proposes keeping tabs on the mice as they develop. If the brains look as if they are taking on a distinctly human architecture ? a development that could hint at a glimmer of humanness ? they could be killed, he said. If they look as if they are organizing themselves in a mouse brain architecture, they could be used for research.

Apparently, all glimmers must die.

Update: The debate should be renewed about the distinctions between human and animal life. It's an important one with heavy ramifications.

Posted by Dennis at 8:33 PM | Comments (0)

Cautionary Tale

Apparently, we need to be reminded that seeing is not believing:

Is it possible that we place too much faith in pictures?
...we should not automatically value what we see in a picture over what we learn from our other senses.

Posted by Dennis at 6:53 PM | Comments (0)

Way Too Much Perfidy

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This is the kind of blogposts that keep me coming back to the Ministry of Minor Perfidy:

Dolphins protect us from sharks, but what good are they against giant fighting robots?

Our closest allies in the animal kingdom, the dolphins, were recently reported as having taken decisive action last month to protect a group of human tourists from the scourge of shark terrorism. Four New Zealanders swimming in the ocean near Whangarei on New Zealand's North Island when a pod of dolphins suddenly pushed the four swimmers together and began circling them.

At first the New Zealanders were concerned at this action, feeling perhaps that overzealous dolphin border police were concerned at some passport violation. But then swimmer Rob Howes saw the angry fin of a three meter long fundamentalist Great White terrorist shark, and understood the reason for the dolphins? behavior.

The dolphin counter-terror force circled the swimmers for another forty minutes before declaring the area secure and allowing the swimmers to return to shore. Dolphin sources report that an average of seven to ten humans are killed each year by shark terrorists. They urge caution when visiting the oceans because, ?The oceans cover three fourths of the globe, and there are only so many dolphins. While we?ve had notable successes in curbing shark terrorist activity, the ocean remains a breeding ground for shark extremism.? A dolphin spokesman at their embassy at Sea world endorsed this webpage giving helpful tips to avoid becoming the victim of shark extremist violence.

While some have accused the dolphins of pursuing a imperialist policy in regard to counter-terror actions in shark national homelands, it is clear that the sacrifice of brave dolphins in the DDF and Dolphin constabulary are the reason that there are so few shark attacks on humans. Some dolphin supporters even believe that without the strong arm tactics of our dolphin allies, we would be facing the scourge of shark terrorism in the streets of our cities and towns.

Despite the shrill attacks of those who accuse the dolphins of being frontmen for human imperialism in the oceans, or the obstructionism of our so-called allies the orcas; we owe a debt of gratitude to our finned allies, for holding the line against fundamentalist terror in the oceans.

Posted by Dennis at 6:48 PM | Comments (0)

Thought Control

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With regularity, I'm finding articles on direct neural control of computers, more and more as time goes by. I remember when I encountered the first article, it was about a device that was installed on the surface of a Monkey's brain instead of into the tissue. Scientists drilled into the skull and deposited an M&M size device onto the surface of the brain. The monkey was able to control a computer cursor with the same dexterity as by hand.

What if we can control not just one cursor, but a whole keyboard?

Here's one of the recent ones:

With electrodes implanted directly on their brains, two Madison patients were able to control a computer cursor and play a basic video game just by thinking about it.

The accomplishment highlights an amazing new technology that in the last year has created the distinct possibility that severely disabled people may soon be able to communicate and even regain movement by tapping directly into the brain and training it to bypass damaged nerve cells.

"It's as if the first flight at Kitty Hawk has gone a few hundred feet," said Joseph Pancrazio, program director of neural engineering at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, which has funded the University of Wisconsin-Madison research and other projects.

The latest advance involves UW doctors who last month and in June removed a portion of the skulls of two patients and implanted electrodes on the surfaces of their brains.

Here's a very active method of neural implantation:

So far, implanted electrodes are unable to sense consistent neuronal signals for more than a few months.
Therefore, devices that automatically move electrodes through the brain to seek out the strongest signals will be essential tools if brain implants are ever going to work.

Joel Burdick and Richard Andersen at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have developed the autonomous microdrive, a device in which the electrodes sense where the strongest signal is coming from, and move towards it. The prototype is mounted on the skull and uses piezoelectric motors to move four electrodes independently of each other....

The microdrive is still too bulky to be used for people and the team is working to make a smaller version with up to 100 electrodes so that within a year they expect to be able to fit a paralysed person with a microdrive implant that will allow them to control a computer cursor and navigate the web.

Autonomous microdrives could also eventually be used in other types of implant, such as the deep brain stimulators used to treat Parkinson?s disease.

Or course, this is probably the size of a toaster, but who can doubt that a nanotech solution won't shrink this tool down too the size of a... virus? (I was thinking of a mite, but why not go smaller?)

For those who don't want to sport the microdrive, here's a skullcap solution via Engadget:

"The results show that people can learn to use scalp-recorded electroencephalogram rhythms to control rapid and accurate movement of a cursor in two directions," said Jonathan Wolpaw and Dennis McFarlane.

The research team, from New York State Department of Health and State University of New York in Albany, said the research was another step towards people controlling wheelchairs or other electronic devices by thought.

I imagine a day when we can go down to the local Apple store and buy a next generation computer and the people at the "Genius Bar" will open an ampule of nanobots that will fly up my nose and install themselves into my cortext and retina.

And then what, Dennis?

Well, I will then be able to blog on the run!

Posted by Dennis at 6:34 PM | Comments (1)

one health point

(Noodling along at normal browsing speed, I slip down the rabbitt hole of Kotaku.)

Here's an interesting conversation about writing and computer games and wrtiing about computer games... all of which reminds me of the coils of the gyre all floppy and chopped up (Dennis' lingo decoded -meaning that there are these wierd feedback loops of new and old in strange positions):

In the early seventies Tom Wolfe edited a collection of writings from the previous few years entitled ?The New Journalism?, which provided exactly that. This journalism was intensely personal, throwing away the rules of standard journalistic discourse like the pretence of objectivity and an embracing of the ?I?. We're talking about people like Capote, Mailer and Hunter S. Thompson. While Games journalism ? having nabbed a lot of its tricks from the people who nabbed a lot of tricks from the New Journalism people ? uses a sizeable chunk of those already, it hasn't really thought about how the core of that philosophy really applies to videogames.

In the last year or so we've started. In a nod to Wolfe, I'm going to call it the New Games Journalism, just because it needs a name if this essay's going to be decipherable to the human mind.

Embarrassingly for myself and my professional peers, the first real signs of this form didn't appear in the pages of game magazines, but on the net. Early-period State was painfully close to a new paradigm for games writing, but was hamstrung and eventually foiled by its elitism, its faux-intellectualism and insecurity. They're all forgivable faults, since the writers were the gaming equivalent of zine-kids, trying to find a voice which didn't sound too shrill. But still: depressing.

...so I click on the provocative link in the article:

You see what this has become? It's not just a trivial game to be played in an idle moment, this is a genuine battle of good versus evil. It has nothing to do with Star Wars or Jedi Knights or any of the fluff that surrounds the game's mechanics. I played by the 'rules' and he didn't, that makes me the 'good' guy and him the 'baddie', but this is real, in the sense that there's no telling who's going to win out here. There's no script or plot to determine the eventual triumph of the good guy (that's me, five health), there's no 'natural order' of a fictional universe or any question of an apocryphal ultimate 'balance'. There's just me and him, light and dark, in a genuine contest between the two.

And there it is. I don't even know what it was. Some chance slash or poke in all of the rolling and jumping around and his lifeless avatar, with all his racist stabs and underhand duplicity, goes tumbling to the floor vanquished by the guy who even in the face of all of that, played by the ?rules'. Only one health point remains but I win.

I'm a fucking hero. A real one.

A beep and a server message: Wanker has disconnected.

I can only dream of the howls of anguish so far away.

My next opponent spawns. And bows. A chat icon appears.

"Awesome" he types.

All of which reminds me of... me (but in a small way of course). I like the self awareness, the wrestle with change that Modernity brings, and the inclusion of the marital in the arts of it all.

Posted by Dennis at 5:44 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2004

Keep on Going

PRESS PRUESSPRESS

Posted by Dennis at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

December 9, 2004

Martial

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Posted by Dennis at 1:39 AM | Comments (0)

December 8, 2004

Ahora

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Posted by Dennis at 6:15 PM | Comments (0)

December 7, 2004

More Mechanical Repro

I guess we don't have to draw anymore, either:
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The multi-flash camera's non-photorealistic images look like line drawings, but have an advantage over hand made line drawings for they are able depict real-world scenes with precision and, most importanly, speed impossible for the human eye/hand. One may ask, why not use good ol' Photoshop filters to achieve these types of images? Multi-flash is able to detect variations and shape, while Photoshop filters are only able to translate variations and intensity of color. It does not produce intelligent stenciling like PhotoShop's posturization, but the results are similar and more successful.

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Posted by Dennis at 5:37 PM | Comments (0)

Cinque Hicks

Via Tom Moody's site, I've found Bare and Bitter Sleep", Cinque Hicks'A snippet:

Dyske Suematsu posted a very interesting article at Rhizome called The Myth of Meritocracy in which he argues that salesmanship is not some adjunct skill to art making, but is in fact the same as art making. Oversimplifying of course, but that's the gist of it. He argues that artists don't become famous because they're influential, they become influential because they're famous. Compelling. And I have to admit the idea appeals to the marketing hack in me.

And with such candor, he both neutralizes and sharpens his P.O.V., good stuff.

I remember a conversation with a NYC artist on the fame train, who was open about the fact that he tried mightily to "brand" himself. To a great degree, he succeeded. I trace it all to the years surrounding MOCA/LA's "Public Offerings" and the institutionally endorsed idea that there is nothing left to make art with or about, except the institution itself... artists as stock to be traded on the floor.

Art of the Deal" Indeed.

Posted by Dennis at 5:27 PM | Comments (0)

blogs and art and blogs

There's this funny multiple identity issue in the blogosphere:

Blogger as autobiographer or blogger as pundit or blogger as essayist or blogger as an active agent in the political wars or blogger as poet of ever-ry day or blogger as exhibitionist or blogger as chronicler...

In general, I think people try all the hats on when they blog, and this is surely what makes blogging fantastic. The personal stuff can humanize but it can irritate for it's great potential of narccssicism. This is the "Oh, I went to this restaurant." and "Oh, I have so much work to do..."

Fronting the impersonal virtual anchor-person persona is to ape what we already had in a besotted Dan Rather or a senile Walter Cronkite... and that was them in their prime! Why would we need more of that?

Lately, I've tended to think of a blog as two antithetical expressions:

-blog as a net to catch the peculiar butterlfy-like thoughts and encounters that suffuse our days, the swarm that flutters around the things we make, the work we do.

-blog as an alternate media, as new as those moments immemorial as when a stick first was scratched into a clay plate or ink stained parchment or type bit in a press or the guys at xerox got all GUI.

Posted by Dennis at 5:16 PM | Comments (0)

penny aphorism

Paintings (art in general of course) are open questions,

The art of the what if's rather than the thou shalt's...

Posted by Dennis at 5:09 PM | Comments (0)

Off Center

Here is a snippet from a backyard astronomy site on how to see the stars:

Averted Vision

When you look directly at something, its image falls on your retina's fovea centralis. This spot is packed with bright-light-optimized cone cells and provides sharp resolution under strong illumination. But the fovea is fairly blind in dim light. So to see something faint, you have to look slightly away from it. Doing so moves the image of your target off the fovea and onto parts of the retina that have more rod cells, which see only in black and white but are more light-sensitive than the cones.

To see this effect at work, stare straight at a moderately faint star. It will disappear. Avert your gaze just a bit; there it is again.

I often think about how this works conceptually, how to catch the elusive idea by indirect means. Thinking with the rods, not the cones.

Painting with rods...

Posted by Dennis at 5:08 PM | Comments (0)

penny aphorism

criticism: you can make a nice sword to fall on later in the grey days

Posted by Dennis at 4:57 PM | Comments (0)

Let's Think Again

Times are a changing:

The collapse of the labour movement is not just a British phenomenon, but one shared with much of Europe. There are two underlying reasons for its demise. The first is the loss of agency, the decline of the industrial working class and its consequent erosion as a meaningful and effective political force. It was the working class - in terms of workplace, community, unions and party - that invented and gave expression to the labour movement. The second reason is the collapse of communism. Of course, the mainstream labour movement in this country never subscribed to its tenets, but both the social democratic and communist traditions shared, in different ways, the vision of a better society based on collectivist principles. It is that vision that was buried with the interment of communism. For over a century, European politics was defined by the struggle between capitalism and socialism: suddenly, capitalism became the only show in town, both in Europe and globally. The result was the rapid deconstruction of the left such that it now exists as but a rump of its former self - not just in Britain, or Europe, but everywhere.

We are living in a different world than the one we grew up in. I think we in our artworld should not be so comfortable with the coordinates of conventional wisdom. I don't have the definitive answers to be sure, but I think it is time to question the entirety of the near half century legacy of our vaunted PostModern assumptions.

Posted by Dennis at 2:12 PM | Comments (0)

A Glass Bead

I read Hesse's "Glass Bead Game" when I was a kid sailor. I barely understood the ramifications of it then, but the story was vivid and it stayed with me all these years to find a resonance in this creative/academic world of ours:

All the insights, noble thoughts and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual property - on all this immense body of intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like an organist on an organ. And this organ has attained almost unimaginable perfection; its manuals and pedals range over the entire intellectual cosmos; its stops are almost beyond number. Theoretically this instrument is capable of reproducing in the Game the entire intellectual content of the universe. These manuals, pedals and stops are now fixed. Changes in their number and order, and attempts at perfecting them, are actually no longer feasible except in theory...

Posted by Dennis at 1:32 PM | Comments (0)

brutal pain

Q. So what should we talk about?

V. What should we talk about? I don?t know, I really have nothing to say anymore, this is already uncomfortable. I?m talking to a journalist. I feel the pain coming already. The brutal pain, when one day I should read your edit of whatever I say, because no matter what I say, no matter how I say it, no matter it?s tone, it?s frequency range, it?s decibel level or the way in which I put the words together, no matter my intentions and no matter the truth, what I?ll read one day will be a chastised, manipulated abortion of your misunderstandings, your manipulations, your agenda and your amateur use of the English language.

Q. How can I do that if this is a Question and Answer?

Posted by Dennis at 1:26 PM | Comments (0)

Buckle Your Seat Belts, Please

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My blogpost sac is strained, ready to burst. I'm going to purge my Sticky Note and see what the harvest looks like...

It might look a little manic, but it's as natural and easy as a light rain on a sunny day.

;-)

Posted by Dennis at 1:23 PM | Comments (0)

Holiday Gifts Anyone?

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If you've had the impulse to buy a holiday gift that crosses the lines from the artworld to the music world to the world of the pure love of the (near) amateur, here's the ideal solution for you all:

PruessPress offers a complete line of the tender-lovin'-non-industrial-hand-made:

There are things available, from original cd's with hand-printed artwork, analog pre-mixed cassettes, concert DVD's, Music Videos, a feature-length film on DVD with soundtrack by Sea of Galilee, collaborative art works, individual artworks, prints, photographs, newsletters, novels, signed soft-balls, posters, artist books, used cars, beauty products, screenplays, and other things. Seriously. If you're interested buying something email us and we'll tell you how much things cost. Or come by 510 Bernard Street, Los Angeles, 90012, Wednesday - Saturday 12-6 pm.

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Currently playing: Mark Stan Rogel's (attention, nom de guerre) Jim Jones"...


"Well listen for a moment, lads
Hear me tell my tale,
Out cross the seas from England
I was condemned to sail.

The jury found me guilty and
Says the judge said he,
Ah for life Jim Jones
We've sent you
Across the stormy seas..."

A big happy holidays shout out there to Rabbi MilkBlood, Mark StanRogel, Steve and Frances, Joel and Tif, Charles and Mr.Banjo!

Posted by Dennis at 1:11 PM | Comments (0)

Quad Guy

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The old homeboys here tool around in these quad bikes. This guy's bike went dead so I had a chance to snap his pic (notice his considerate action pose? His dog should have acted the part and faced into the "wind") and he obliged. These guys usually have mulitple properties: a house or two in town, kids in houses in the hills with gardened properties, productive.

Once upon a time fisherman families.

Posted by Dennis at 1:06 AM | Comments (0)

Tossa's Urban Plan

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We found flyers about town announcing the exhibition of the recent changes to the Urban Plan for Tossa.

?Que Bien!

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The exhibit has a dozen foam core boards (one image at top) with the usual image/text montage standard to the profession. Data was broken down by category and tons of verbage in Catalan all boils down to this: Tossa is a town whose sole industry is MassTourism.

Since there is evidently ( I admit that I'm still learning) no vision for alternative industries of any type, and the thought of a migration to wealthier tourists is inconcievable at the moment, then fortifying the MassTourism function is the only thing people here can do. So they will provide better parking and spruce up the place a bit.

But think about the trends: tourism is expanding globally, eco-tourism and exotic tourism (I read recently how the Afgans want to make Tora Bora a tourist destination... wait a minute, was that a spoof?)... and changes in the concept of Social Security and retirement will inevitably make their mark on the tourism of tomorrow. Is it me or does the idea of MassTourism seem dated to the seventies or so?

The trouble is that attracting busloads of tourists to sell them Mexican sombreros and burro (the Catalan logo) beach blankets all the while serving up a comida that seems much the same in all restaurants here. Good stuff sure, but why not a variety in character and quality?

I'm sure that this is what the plan dictates, but I could be wrong. A second meeting is soon, and I will attend with interest.

Is it too predictable that I would think this place should embrace the arts as a way to move the tourist cursor in a different direction? I'm serious and I don't think it is a craven suggestion laced with self intrerest. (Porsupuesto un poco, pero pocisimo, eh?) Forget the artworld. Any cultural content offered in this pueblo is game for an investment of imagination and yes, public funds in music, theater, literature, although the kind of fine arts that vies for the dialog would make the picture complete.

Symposiums, exhibitions, publications, an art fair of ideas for example. Take for example how Houston manifested the Glassell School, the post graduate residency program that seeded that city with an art community that is vital to this day. It helps to have the museums nearby, and this region has its' share too.

Tossa as a summer experience already provides cultural content, why not sharpen it a little?

A modest but ambitious public relations effort to let the world know would inevitably attract a different kind of touristm the kind that likes the arts. A surrogate and well meaning promotional sleight of hand.

There's been talk about building a wharf to the South to let the yachts dock, the fell swoop to move the type of tourism here. I'm not too sure about that.

Artists are always the vanguard of urban renewal (gentrification, for you narrow eyed sour pusses out there). Cities should use them as a force for positive change. Artists may get pushed out one day, but so what? Change will do y'all good. In the meantime, artists need cheap rent to have time to have the time to think anew about art. Rent at the moment is pretty good here in general and there is a lot of empty and otherwise not-tasked building volumes in Tossa too... great studio space, guys!

Update: Here's Tossa's urbanism site for you in Catalan

Update II: Mom's comment was accurate: it's the fisher families' obstinance that keeps this town from becoming overdeveloped, a cartoon of itself. As they say here: "We're simple people.". At least they keep the town from becoming like other carnivalesque beach towns here along the Med.

Even so, I am wary of the thick casing of golden amber that preserves this place so. To be modern is to wrestle in a Faustian way and the alternative is at best a fairy tale... at worst, to be atavistic in a not-so-good way.

Posted by Dennis at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

December 6, 2004

Roofery

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Ah, such a fine architectural detail! Our skylight is leaking so I had to improvise a bandage.

While I was up high, I snapped some pics for you all:

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Maybe we could build a crowsnest with a corscrew spiral stair all in metal up through the skylight like a minaret calling a prayer to the sea.

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I love Joan's and Tere's roof utility porch. Such a great frontality. The changing laundry is wonderful. I'd like to shoot their place all year and have a interview with pics of them in a coffee table book. That'll trip them out.

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And here's Javier's garden(or is it Jaime?). Tomatoes are plenty up to December. Lettuce, citrus trees. I wonder if there's a well under the little roof? I think it's fantastic that a cared-for garden is there.

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This place, still under construction ("Progress Reports"), has a well -actually two wells, the other is out of sight to the bottom of the pic. This one has a clean out. Maybe it is a fireplace? There is a chimney going vertical I think. Maybe it's an oven?

Posted by Dennis at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

The Short Trip to France

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I downloaded the images from Stephanie's camera, and I thought that I would share the booty from an overnight in France. Stephanie did shoot a bunch of teddy bears, and they did have a quality to them, but this artist has to draw the line, ?por favor!

We'll return to the serious artworld soon enough. Here's some pictures and a stream-of-consciousness narration from Stephanie:

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(The red checked fabric might become curtains for the future kitchen cabinets. The boxes are pastries for our neighbors. Between them are curtains for the front door.)

We drove up into Southern France so Angel (mom) can buy from one of her sources. We went to the farmer's market in XXXX at the farmer's market. It was so beautiful, it looked like a movie set. There was a man in a funny French hat selling all kinds of cheeses. Lots of taste samples were always available. There was a lady with a cart of salamis hung from strings. They had live chickens and fresh eggs and rabbits big and grey in cages and a box of sad freshly killed rabbitts that made me want to be a vegetarian again

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(Our very first brazier in situ.)

We went to the bakery and bought cakes for the neighbors. We spent the night in a warm and clean but minimal, not very charming -but clean and warm- accomodations for the night. Then we drove into the country and mom bought some antique textiles the next morning. We woke up early and went to the flea market/ antique fair, in XXXXX where we saw lots of interesting stuff and lots of dogs everywhere.

XXXX

(business-censored for Mom!)

Posted by Dennis at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

Hoy

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y esta semana

Posted by Dennis at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)

December 5, 2004

Movement

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Movement, everything is in motion.

I finished this painting in the middle of the week in a marathon of work (even though I had thought I had devised a more humane way of painting large panels in sections). I finished as the sun rose, then I shut the studio and got swept away by the gotta do's.

(Music: James Brown's instrumental "Go On Now")

Mom arrived here for a business trip, two weeks. Both she and Stephanie are off into France for a buying trip, two days. (Wife and mother in harmony, how wonderful life can be!) When mom arrived, we talked nonstop for a day: family affairs. It can get intense, this familial dynamic. Such history. I asked her to write a bio on my grandfather, which brought on as much trepidation as anticipation.

(Music: from the "Funny Face" soundtrack, "He loves, and she loves and they love love, so why can't you love and I love too?")

Papang (my grandfather on my mother's side) was a complex man, strengths and weaknesses all monumental. Highlights: when his father struck and killed an insulting American, his family was plunged into poverty and reduced to living under a bridge. Papang educated himself by reading the books he had to deliver in his job for a bookstore. Bootstrapping himself like this into becoming a teacher, then a lawyer, then a small time politician (never fully realised), his glory was his family, which he attended to with a fastidiousness that was as lovingly idealised and realized, as it was sometimes harrowing. He nurtured his brood before, during and after the Japanese occupation. Later, he sent his kids to school in Spain to give them the best education possible. As a lawyer, he represented the underdog, often resulting in less wealth than he could have garnered otherwise. I remember returning to his house in Manila one day with him as a peasant waited at his door with a partial payment for services rendered: a hapless chicken held by the feet.

I'm not even scratching the surface here. So, mom... let's get moving on this bio, ok? If you don't write it , I will!

;-)

Ramon delivered the new panels, so I'm preparing the next painting, 200 x 300 centimeters. Handiwork.

(music: from the "Trainspotting" soundtrack, "Primal Scream")

I've been gathering a backlog of blogposts. Lately, I've been visualizing a bladder, swollen from an malfunctioning sphincter. For some reason, I've been running into technical roadblocks in procuring the images I need to tell a few stories (computer stuff). Incidentally, my websurf technique is to open up the Stickies program in Apple OSX and cut and paste snippets and URL's as I go. Later, I select the most appropriate items for the blogposts. And right now, my stickynote is pretty big. Mucho micturation to come!

(Music: James Brown's instrumental: "Popcorn", finger snappin', head bobbin', hip all swivelly, big toe tappin', Go On, Now!)

Posted by Dennis at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

December 2, 2004

change of heart

Mellowed his harsh.

At least he blogged it.

Posted by Dennis at 2:00 AM | Comments (0)

December 1, 2004

Castellano Lessons

Stephanie's next two words that she wants to say more often:

"?Hombre!"

and

"...indeed."

The second is heard in abundance when you watch BBC international. Another word heard with emphasis: "Goodbye." As in "Dismissed!" or "BBC, Out!". So crisp they are.

Indeed.

The first prompts me to scribble a little about "Learning Spanish as a Second Language, 'Cause if it Weren't for English, I Wouldn't Know a Language at All." So, here's a tutorial in all you need to drop into Catalunya/Spain (boy, spelling out their name sure is fraught with implications, a political minefield)... with apologies if need be to Catalunya/Spain.

?HOMBRE!

That's what they say a lot here, ?Hombre!

They say it in exclamation or to punch up a sentence. Hombre!, everybody uses it from kids to our Seventy Nine year old neigbor Victoria (her house, a jewell of a scaled dwelling deserving a bloggy rich post in the near future), she'll say "?Que me digas, Hombre!. That's lesson one.

Lesson two:

"Si, Si, Si."

Say "Si, Si, Si." as much as possible, especially when you understand the conversation. You can draw out the pronouciation of the "Si", as in "Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.", undulating your voice in a faint baritone. A jutting lower jaw and lip pucker does well for effect. Yes's are like kisses, "Si, Si, Si.", "Si, Si, Si.". Nod head and maintain eye contact, "Si, Si, Si.".

How to say no:

"Noooooooo."

Head lower, slow shake to side to side, baritone in modulation.

Another affirmation: "Valley", except the v is pronounced like the b, as in "Balley". "Valley, valley, valley."

"?Si, si, si!

Lesson Three:

Spanish is not called Espa?ol over here, they call it Castellano. Castellano has a bonus in that every letter is pronouncable in every word. There's fewer words in Castellano than in English, so it takes more phrasing to convey the same set of concepts as that in English. There's a lot of alluding goung on. So, I've heard and so far it seems so. There are not many nouns, but there are plenty of verbs. A verb in Castellano can serve the uses of several in English. The trouble is, each verb has fourteen variations, with each of the fourteen possessing six subvariations. Then there's the irregulars, the exceptions to tthe elaborate rules. Then there are colloquial phrases and contractions which abound.

The first thing is that verbs have a chassis called an infinitive. To this, you can bolt many suffixes.

For example, there are three forms of past tense:

-a specific moment in the past, as in "When were you born?" All verbs end in "-?" or "-?", in other words, add an "-eeeeeeeee" to the end of the infinitve as in "grit?" (I shouted) or "gru??" (I grumbled)

-a general past in which you add "-aba", "-abamos", the full conjugation to nearly every verb you find (the ones ending in -ar or "-ia" or "-iamos" to the other ones)

-a compound tense such as "I have eaten." that leads to six other compound tenses: had, shall have, would have, may have and might have. Believe it or not, this simplifies the orginal fourteen to a nut of seven difficult "simple" tenses, five more added to the two above.

Best advice: add "-aba" to every verb in past tense until you learn the other forms. Be shameless.

As for the future, take the infinitive and add an accented "-e" to all. At the last count, there are nine irregulars, a low number.

Lesson Four:

You can get a smile out of a Catalan in the street by saying hello with "?Adeu!", pronounced "A-day-ooooh!". Thank you is "Merci", adn thus you might see the French in Adeu (Adieu). Thanks is "SisPlau" (and I'm typing this phonetically, I cna't find the translation fast enough online). Good day is "Bon dia". You can get a rise out of a hard core Catalan by greeting with ?Buenas dias!, they'll respond "Bon dia." with a lowered gaze. A chirpy "Bon dia" back and they brighten up.

"Venga, venga." is "Bingy,bingy."

Lesson Five:

(well, that's enough of this nonsense...)

Indeed.

Posted by Dennis at 11:31 PM | Comments (4)

Sherie's Question

Sherie' Franssen asked a technical question in the comments of an earlier post:

The movement has muscle and is making a nice tension. Are you painting on raw linen/canvas? Treating the surface w/rabbit glue? Just curious.

I thought I'd answer with some length:

Hello Sherie':

I was working on Belgian Linen for years, not wanting to paint on white gesso for some reason (I wanted to see the ground). I was using Matte Resin on canvas before that, but then I was throwing transparent skeins of tinted Alkyd Resin (Windsor & Newton's "Liquin"). I called them glaze paintings. I'll have to rescue some images of them to show you all online someday.

I was thinking of switching to canvas, and then I was able to get (my mother imports antique fabrics to the States from the EU, -thank you Mom!) these antique linens that are blond like canvas but with a linen weave. You can see the human hand in the material. They are bought from this region and I like the retasking of the material into the painting's support. It's a step away from the anonymity of industrialization, but don't get me wrong... I'm not grinding an axe against "the man" (modern fabrication techniques). There is an issue of the hand in the work and I don't want to conjure a Luddite mentality about it. Late Modern industrialization adds much to our pallette, but there's something in wet paint not yet eclipsed by the machine.

Lately, I've been thinking of how nice and slick paper surfaces are, daydreaming about gluing absurdly large sheets onto panels. There's no way I can't think of how to do it without trouble. You can seal the paper with Alkyd Resin, a barrier friendly to paper. Sanded gesso/plaster panels are cool, but what work! A faster method is to use Cotton Duck and seal the weave with modeling paste and drywall knives, then gesso with the knives, sanding all the way. It'd be great to pick up a telephone and order slick surfaced panels. Painters John Pomara and Marcus Weggerman use honeycombed aluminum aircraft panels welded onto aluminum frames. But they are extremely, extremely expensive.

As for Rabitt Skin Glue (why are all the materials in caps? dunno), I've talked to conservators and their sagely advice is that it has a tendency to invite microorganisms to eat it over time. The synthetic nature of Acrylic Matte Resin is better, as is regular white glue from the hardware store. There must be qualities to R.S.G. that I don't know about, but I've never got around to doing the ritual boil and stir. "My bad", as they say today.

There is an issue of the mystique of art material (Belgian Linen direction), which I haven't tried to press, but I know it's a way to go. You can see it in Bacon's paintings, for example. It's a matter of money, most times. I also recall -against this train of thought- the rough and ready materiality of Rauchenberg and Basquait.

Paintings that are remembered trump the materials that constitute them.

Posted by Dennis at 8:49 PM | Comments (1)

Check This Out

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Blogger Michael Totten took a trip to Lybia and has a set of captioned pics that is worth checking out.

Also, Michael went to Tunisia last July, interesting pics here.

Posted by Dennis at 7:50 PM | Comments (0)