July 30, 2005

In Our Time

I'm having a great time with Podcasting, listening to various programs while I work in the studio. Especially, the BBC program "In Our Time", my three recent downloads:

-The Terror

It's like sitting in on a university lecture (I loved those years so). The downside is part of the upside: sweeping topics dispatched in 42 minutes. What's nice is that after a download, it sits in my iTunes so that I can relisten anytime, I can back it up to listen more carefully to certain passages (upacking the density) with a click of the cursor. Melvin Bragg is pretty good in that while he is affable, he will hold his guest-academics' feet to the fire... even though the time frame keeps him from giving them a proper roasting.

There's much more commentary to deliver here. But alas!

This note will have to do for now. More later of course.

(If anyone can tell me how to download the rest of the archives, I'd appreciate it. I can only get these programs via podcast. For some reason, my (iBook) computer won't allow any other form of download from places such as the BBC, C-Span and a few other sites. Other downloads such as radio, video clips, music, and such, no problem.)

Posted by Dennis at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

Burger and a Beer

Around dinnertime (10-ish), Kiko called to see if I wanted to have a burger ar Bar Joseph. (I make the mental calculations for the good of the studio. I figure that I can do it.)

Sounds good, Kiko!

Kiko's been out all day in the water with his daughter, skiing. My cousin Joe and his girlfriend Verete show up with friends from London. All is good.

La Paca, aka "Ciclona" is a regular at Bar Joseph. She performs nightly at the Flamenco Bar and a nightly chupito at Bar Joseph is a pre performance prep ritual. I had to get my pic with her for the sake of posterity.

One night, I showed up wearing a wrinkled shirt... and that didn't go down well with the conventions here in Spain. Bad form, that. La Paca suggested... strongly... that she iron my shirts. All I had to do is drop it off at her place every week and she would take care of my appearance in a very good way. Now, bear in mind that she is a little sweet on me... very tender she is. I resist. She insists. It becomes a running joke. Finally, I tell her "?Cuidado, eh? ?Tendr?s consequencias!", my palms up, patting the air. Everyone laughs, knowing the implications. Game over.

La Paca is sweet.


After Xerlo's boat sank, he promptly went out and bought another one. A bigger one. That meant that tommorrow he will have a shakedown cruise and we're all invited. Ah so.

The urge to get back to the studio surged. My friends teased me about having to skeedaddle out of the party pack. I remarked how ironic it is that here I am in Europe, and it is my European art dealers who have scheduled -for two summers in a row- shows to open in August... the very month nearly everyone else are out on vacation! ?Ostea! ?Joder!

But, I'm lucky that I feel good about what's happening on canvas. (Fingers crossed.) But every minute is critical.

Life's short. Do it all.

Posted by Dennis at 9:23 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2005



Posted by Dennis at 9:56 PM | Comments (0)

Looks Like a Good Read

A quick perusal of Arts and Letters Daily yields what looks like an interesting read (at least the review itself is interesting). Clipped here, the last paragraph of a book review of "Alex Danchev's frisky biography":

The book ends, fortunately, closer to the ground, as Danchev lists the pigments on Braque's last palette, which he asked for on his deathbed. They include raw umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre and bone black. For Braque, mixing paint was like 'taking soil samples' and here, in the rudiments of a picture he never painted, he reduced man to his elements - the ultimate Cubist decomposition.
Posted by Dennis at 12:07 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2005

Admin/MailCall/Bill Gusky

(While my comment engine is in the shop for repairs, I'll have to blogpost the correspondence that has the kind of content that should be shared with you all. I'm sure the broken comment buttons will be fixed soon enough.)

Bill Gusky has a few questions for me:

Hi Dennis,

I greatly enjoyed learning about Gerard Smulevich on your blog, thank you.
Also it was fun and fascinating to learn about monads as you present them,
as they are seen in your work.

I had a personal relationship with those spiky objects, and it's great to
learn your own conceptual motivations regarding them -- I realize this is
just a small glimpse.

I had some questions, and I know you're busy, but maybe if you feel so
inclined you can share some answers, and if not, so be it.
1. Monad relates to a variety of philosophical concepts -- biological too,
if I recall correctly. Is the presence of this object in your work, this
monad, which I realize is a separate entity from the variety of monads in
philosophy -- Do you see the presence of this object in your work as being
illustrative in any way of a philosophy that you adhere to?
Probably the worst thing I could do is to illustrate philosophy.

Secondly, I am careful when I tread in the philosophical realm. I'm a painter, an architect, I was once a sailor, I'm a husband, a son, a brother, a friend to many (an enemy to a few? nah, I don't want to be that), a Californian, a Yankee and a wannabe European... I might be a scribbler (I struck out "writer"), but I'm not a philosopher.

I prefer to keep my hat in hand and listen more than speaking when it comes to philosophical matters. There may be times when the hat goes on my head and my arms go akimbo and I begin to exhort proclamations. Please tap me on the shoulder and remind me of this blogpost, if that should ever happen.

Thirdly (and firstly), illustration is not painting.

Fourthly... even so, there are evolving worldviews that manifest themselves in the things we make... so yes, there is a connection there. It just feels so craven and perverse for me to sollidify them into anything beginning to resemble a manifesto. Maybe it is this very blog that will be the tool to grapple with the consequences of what I have done and thought over the years.

Fifthly, (enough squirming, Dennis...) I first learned of Monads in undergraduate school. What stuck in my mind was my understanding of Leibniz's treatment of monads as partly allegorical/partly literal evocations of the world as composed of individual entities. Spherical, mirrored, self contained and empires unto themselves; the problem is how one does one overcome the containment and commune/communicate with the others? Vibrations. Like tuning forks, the vibration of one sympathetically vibrates the others. The picture of it all was vivid in my mind.

2. This sounds like kissing up but it's not -- you are SO philosophically
rich, at least as it seems from your writings on Chinese painting, these
monads, and a variety of other things you've blogged in the past year. A LOT
of thinking is going on. Yet, when I read your "Ahora" posts as you work, I
gather the impression that each addition to your work is a response to the
work itself at that stage in development. I gather that, although there is a
lot of writhing involved, as you put it, the work itself has a good deal of
immediacy. In other words, you don't approach the canvas with a strong
preconceived idea, to which you then give flesh. I've come to value this
fleshy kind of immediacy in your work. BUT -- am I wrong? Do you see your
work emerging, painting by painting, more from this rich bed of
philosophies, than from your intuitions and the properties of the materials?

When I used to teach architecture design a few years ago, I would tell my students that the design process is like a NASA spaceship. The rockets are the conceptualizations and the payload is the architectural experience (I'm gambling that this is true for all art forms, in this case, painting ). The big Saturn thusters take us up off the launch pad and by stages, smaller thrusters push us into orbit until ultimately, little maneuvering rockets are all that's left.

Usually, at this point, I would check to see if the student gets the point (the "aha lights" in the eyes) that the objective is the ability to realize an architectural experience. Concepts are tools, used to achieve objectives (experiences?).

This little ditty from a studio instructor's toolkit has its problems but in general, but it's meant to direct a student to keep the role of conceptualization in its' proper place. In architecture school it's easy to see when a student is getting hung up in the clouds of ideas and not being able to find traction in the very demmanding medium of architecture. It seems to me that art schools in general forgot over the years how demmanding media (in the fullness of the term) can be.

I need an idea, a strategy, an inspiration, an intuition, some-mental-thing that propells me into the making of a painting. The writhing comes from (firstly) selecting the best of several ways of conceptualizing and entry into a painting and (secondly) the desire to push (ideas+paint) towards another level, some kind of metamorphosis, some kind of consequence, a surprise, an evolution, something more than the baggage I started with.

An arc.

As for the connection between a philosophical worldview and the practice of an artform like painting... perhaps like the monads of Leibniz that I had described earlier, the world of thinking (ugh... painting is thinking, Dennis... how about the "world of letters"?) and the world of mushing paint together communes through a kind of sympathetic vibration.


I was searching the web for an image of a circus rider standing on two horses (but alas. someday, we'll have an image based Google search capability)... this mental image at least, is my answer to your last question. There are problems with this duality, however. I have an idea of how to address it, but it will have to wait for a later blogpost.

Thanks for your time and for blogging out your work.
It's much appreciated.

Bill Gusky

A usted, se?or.

I remember an impression I had of the ideas of Benedetto Croce. I'm probably misinterpreting his ideas, but I remember his account of the origins of intuition. Intuition comes from an intermingling of ideas sunk deep within us. I'm not sure how this relates to Freudian theory (structures of ego and consciousness), but my impression was that if a rich trove of ideas were to be sunk deep within us, the roots of those ideas would comingle at a level beneath our conscious awareness and eventuallly surface as an emergent intuitive moment. The goal therefore is to be as widely learned as possible so as to have a rich bed of knowledge for the comingling to be as fruitful as possible.

I liked this account of intuition, rather than the airhead reputation conveyed by conventional wisdom.

Postscript II:
Nice turns in the studio, I see:


Posted by Dennis at 9:17 PM | Comments (0)

Admin/MailCall/Brent Hallard

(While my comment engine is in the shop for repairs, I'll have to blogpost the correspondence that has the kind of content that should be shared with you all. I'm sure the broken comment buttons will be fixed soon enough.)

Brent Hallard posted a few thoughts about my recent painting in his blog.

Hi Ya Dennis,

You may not miss your comments but some do... understanding what a release it but be not to have to go spam hunting allthetime.

I popped this up since you've switched off:
Yep, Dennis, I like these new-type ones. They are sort of sub-atmospheric, luminescent and sulfuric--colored and organic 'clouds' that have landed on a mind's windscreen. You kind of expect that you could see the work from both sides. Skins: Looks like a drier heavier weight is put down first and then removed (as you mentioned on your blog before, I think), and then over is a wetter less dense level. The utmost recent layers bear signs of swollen life, a swizzle, and even a muzzy swirl. You can drive these paintings on the open, but also on the close, as they are very solid.

Actually, what is most prominent about this new body of work it the weight of gravity on the manufacturing end, who's the dude that uses the skins of dried paint and then plops it on, actually there's two; an older french guy and an American (?), totally skipped my mind. But anyhow yours in nothing like them except for the element of natural weights and forces at play, and the played with.

And BTW you fit a lot in to your days..cool..


I've already sent a response, here it is:

Thanks Brent!

It was nice to see the pics in your blog, nice to be clicking around there. It's interesting to get a mental picture of so many places around the world, so many artists bubbling out their lives.

Good stuff, I like the "You kind of expect that you could see the work from both sides."... it's a good alternate to standard-representational-space, implications that provoke an imagined space or spatiality: an-other side.

And just who are the skin painter guys? I'd like to know more.

All the best,


Chris Ashley answers the question:

And just who are the skin painter guys?

Bernard Frize (French) and possibly, "Linda Besemer, a
Los Angeles painter, whose brilliant chromatic works
are created by painting on one side of a plastic
sheet, removing the plastic, and painting on the other
side. The resulting objects are hung over towel bars
and look both like textiles and like paint."

Ah so.

I was thinking tooo literally, as in the skin of a dried mass of paint.



Chris has a treasure chest of a mind:

I've seen Reiter's work- what I saw he poured. At the
moment I can't think of anyone else, though I know
there are others.

Wait! You're not thinking of these guys- back in the
late 70's, early 80's there were these painters called
Abstract Illusionists. James Havard was the big name.
A guy named Joe Doyle who lived in the Bay Area- I
think he would paint on Mylar of plexi and the pull
off these strokes of paint, arrange them on the
canvas, adhere them with acrylic, airbrush shadows,

Remember Ron Davis?

Does David Reed ever paint strokes on other surfaces
to be peeled up and moved to a canvas?

Ed Moses poured huge sections of rhoplex onto floors
and pried them off- maybe that spawned a whole bunch
of process painters.

There is some other LA painter who worked kind of like
this- Craig Kaufmann? Not Billy Al Bengston. Can't
think who it is.


Thanks, Chris. I know Jimmy Hayward, a great guy, a real painter. When I get back to LA, I hope to blog a studio visit with him someday.



Chris catches my mis-take! I think my brain has formed a dried skin over its' surface too:

Hi Dennis,

The Abstract Illusionist I named is James Havard, not
Hayward. I know James Hayward's work quite well- I've
seen his work for probably 25 years, including several
shows at Moderism in SF; I don't know him as "Jimmy,"
though I know that's what he's called. BTW, I saw the
group show he organized 2-3 years ago with him, you,
Morris, Reafsnyder, and Tchakalian at the same

For one of Havard's somewhat "classic" AbIll works
http://tinyurl.com/bjmzs - note the painted shadows.
His work always seemed to have Native American-related
content to it.

Another AbIll example is Joe Doyle-
http://tinyurl.com/aavvg. I belive he takes some
credit for "inventing" Ab Ill, whatever that means,
and if someone could really invent it anyway.

Giving this work a name like "Abstract Illusionism,"
as if it's a school of work, was sure to kill it. The
idea of giving abstraction legitimacy by using
illusionism- meaning "skill"- seemed funny at the
time, and even funnier in retrospect, except a whole
bunch of painters are sort of doing that anyway- never
really far from, for example, Richter, Reed, Karin
Davies, just to name a few.


Chris Ashley is a machine!

Thanks again, Chris.

Posted by Dennis at 6:10 PM | Comments (0)


Ok... this shot is from last night. It was pretty late andwhen I looked at the results of the foto shoot, I didn't think they were worthy. Today I feel a little different.

Shooting the fully saturated red paintings (and I've done a few over the years so that they have become a type for me perhaps) is difficult since the color is so extreme and the cameras I've used to shoot them have been unstable in capturing the color. There are modalities (not a precise term, but I'll use it anyway) to the colors when the dominant one is one like cad red that are there en vivo but are hard to capture by camera... and I think I like that quality.


Here are a couple of pics from this morning:

This painting doesn't look like this.

The color is way off (too juiced up) and there are tons of subtlleties that are no where to be found in this representation of the painting. I was tempted not to post it at all. A caveat will have to patch the experience.

Ultimately, you have to see the painting, to stand before it. That's the way it should be anyway, even with fotos of paintings that are very good.

As I began this one, I began to consider the possibility of coming closer to figuration with the alternating use of a ridiculously fat line and skins of color (cool, in that they tend to erase the lines) to render... portraits for example.

?Como no?

Toward the end of the painting, I was a little less enamoured of the idea. But it's still apossibility.


Posted by Dennis at 5:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2005


From the beginning, I've called them Monads.

Funny, now, to think of the Utility Fog link.

More Monad-ness here. And here, the Monadology.

Posted by Dennis at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

Revisiting Cadmium R.D.

I've been thinking that the next painting should be completely different from the previous several paintings, at least a kind where I would begin a sheet of paint as a starting point, a strategy I used to push away from after many paintings started in this manner. Now, my pendulum is going to swing back, at least for this next painting, maybe I'll hopscotch to the end of this timeframe before the show.

A red painting. I was thinking red.
Sheets of redness.

This month marks a two year anniversary of this blog. So I looked up the July 2003 archive and took a look around. There, were a few works that framed my gathering intentions.

Here are some images:

I was thinking about an agitated line, drawings...

And I'd get all freaky.
Look for the funny feeling.
But I would still want to see some areas of undisturbed sheet going on too.

Things dropped onto a (monochrome?) surface of paint, ripples in different ways. Interferance patterns.


Posted by Dennis at 9:23 PM | Comments (0)

Gerard Smulevich

The Photography of Gerard Smulevich.

I'm having trouble finding the original blogpost, the day Stephanie and I found this guy (Jaime, I think?) and his studio scrap built into the corner of his garage off an alley in Tossa. I showed this guy's studio to Gerry on his recent visit here and Gerry went nuts and had to shoot a foto. My shot was unworthy, so I'm glad Gerry caught it (even though what I call fotos and what Gerry calls photography are in different planes of accomplishment -I use a camera like a I use a pen in scribbling notes for the grocery store).

We had a dinner appointment with Kiko so we rushed to the house to fetch the camera gear. Gerry's a tall guy and in rushing out of our guest room (the top floor), he forgot that the ceiling was low and he left lots of DNA samples in the rough plaster.

He shot this pic in pain, folks.

Part three of three (because I want to see, and I want you to see -these fotos large.)

Posted by Dennis at 3:17 PM | Comments (0)

Gerard Smulevich

The Photography of Gerard Smulevich.

Gerry talked about the repetiition of towers going off into the distance to Tibidabo. The boat masts, the tops of spires, almost -yes and no- a theater of figures on stage.

He's bubbling out a body of work in Photography, in Art. (Capitalized to convey intention.) We share the archtecture-into-art history, a very particular one in the art world. (Cue the dirge chorus: "Few will be able to truly understand us!"... but true nevertheless to a degree without comedic melodrama.)

The thing about Gerry, is that of the subjects that I've seen him photograph, he knows a lot about them/it. Barcelona here, for example.

Part two of three (because I want to see, and I want you to see -these fotos large.)

Posted by Dennis at 3:17 PM | Comments (0)

Gerard Smulevich

The Photography of Gerard Smulevich.

He caught these ladies very practically improvising head gear at Parc Guell. Monumental and surreal and very real.

Gerry is a longtime friend, we taught architecture together. He was great to work with because he is the ideal kind of teacher. An inner life. Vivid. That burning with fire kind of teacher who not only advocates but lives his ideas and soaring aspirations. Every engaged student can identify with this.

In my years in architecture school, it was Joseph Burton (Louis Kahn scholar, ideas about neoplatonism), Sixto E. Moreira (A fierce poetics of space guy), Terry Hargrave (Big on higher level philosophical treatments built on 70's era pluralism and environmentalism. From earthy soil, early 80's architecture spun a new poetics of function/space. He put a CocaCola can into the middle of my model once and asked if my design could handle it.), and John Lange, a maniac who would drive his class to construct large scale models in a John Lautner language (all the while proclaiming the importance of libido in architecture as he wore "Angel Flight" pants and print shirts unbuttoned at the chest... going on about Louis I. Kahn, lady killer. How right he was About Mr. Kahn that is.).

Well, except for the last bit on Lange... Gerry, I'm sure, is a similar figure for hundreds of young architects coming from Los Angeles.

(At the moment Gerry reads this, I predict a contorted face: "Why don't you ladle on more butter, Dennis!". A testimony, that's all I can say. A testimony.)

Part one of three (because I want to see, and I want you to see -these fotos large.)

Posted by Dennis at 3:15 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

Music in the Mail

Professor Winkler sent me these two albums.

?Muy bien, Tio!

Acoustic Guitars, simple arrangements, melodic songs and straight ahead lyrics. Everything exotic (surrealist evocations, hippiness overtones) is handled lightly and a lot of stress is placed on pushing their vocal and instrumental talents to the limit. From my (albeit naive) point of view, they are staking alot on their ability to craft songs. Poetry.

(I pause to ask myself why I wrote the last two lines, ending with the evocation of the grand art of poetry. First of all -who am I to compare songwriting to poetry? I have no background, not even an amateurs stake in being able to toy with poetry with a capital "P" no less. Secondly, Why subordinate songwritiing to poetry? Writing songs, like any artform, is one of many others and richly deserving of an articulation of its' own abundant world.)

From Bara:

You are alone
Another time
Take the step and cross the border to

In the loaves of Promised dreams
You still think twice
So better come to
Indigo wonderland
The place where only lovers come... to

Indigo wonderland
The place where only lovers come... to

Is that where you should go
'Cause fortune comes and goes
in Indigo the purple moon will glow
Hand in hand in wonderland
The place where lovers come to


I like them, both albums. It's rare that I do, music-wise. I'm not sure right now how to say why.

The professor is tuned perfectly into songcraft. I thought of McCartney/Lennon.

(These shallows will have to do right now... music crit is not my muscle. I'm so out of my depth. It's time to cut bait and relieve myself of the muscle strain.)


You can hear it for yourself right now. Click here for a rawer PruessPress version of Professor Winkler's "Naked". Click here for more songs. Remember that the CD is tighter than the PruessPress studio sessions.

Posted by Dennis at 9:19 PM | Comments (0)

Utility Fog

I've come across this topic twice now... I thought it best to blogpost this curiousity, we might be living it soon enough. What asymptotic times these are, huh?

It's called Utility Fog. This kind of stuff reminds me of the wee hour midwatch conversations with the Electronic Warfare Technician guys in my ye olde Navy days (I'm talking about you, Dennis Cimino, Bob Pietch!). Cups of coffee, flights of fancy made plausible with intense geek power, crazy talk. Wise guys who would be all too willing to toy with your dumb ass... funny, though.

A fast definition is here via Wikipedia. The following extended clip is from a write-up from a Dr. Hall:

Nanotechnology is based on the concept of tiny, self-replicating robots. The Utility Fog is a very simple extension of the idea: Suppose, instead of building the object you want atom by atom, the tiny robots linked their arms together to form a solid mass in the shape of the object you wanted? Then, when you got tired of that avant-garde coffeetable, the robots could simply shift around a little and you'd have an elegant Queen Anne piece instead.
The color and reflectivity of an object are results of its properties as an antenna in the micron wavelength region. Each robot could have an "antenna arm" that it could manipulate to vary those properties, and thus the surface of a Utility Fog object could look just about however you wanted it to. A "thin film" of robots could act as a video screen, varying their optical properties in real time.

Rather than paint the walls, coat them with Utility Fog and they can be a different color every day, or act as a floor-to-ceiling TV. Indeed, make the entire wall of the Fog and you can change the floor plan of your house to suit the occasion. Make the floor of it and never gets dirty, looks like hardwood but feels like foam rubber, and extrudes furniture in any form you desire. Indeed, your whole domestic environment can be constructed from Utility Fog; it can form any object you want (except food) and whenever you don't want an object any more, the robots that formed it spread out and form part of the floor again.

You may as well make your car of Utility Fog, too; then you can have a "new" one every day. But better than that, the *interior* of the car is filled with robots as well as its shell. You'll need to wear holographic "eyephones" to see, but the Fog will hold them up in front of your eyes and they'll feel and look as if they weren't there. Although heavier than air, the Fog is programmed to simulate its physical properties, so you can't feel it: when you move your arm, it flows out of the way. Except when there's a crash! Then it forms an instant form-fitting "seatbelt" protecting every inch of your body. You can take a 100-mph impact without messing your hair.

But you'll never have a 100-mph impact, or any other kind. Remember that each of these robots contains a fair-sized computer. They already have to be able to talk to each other and coordinate actions in a quite sophisticated way (even the original nano-assemblers have to, to build any macroscopic object). You can simply cover the road with a thick layer of robots. Then your car "calls ahead" and makes a reservation for every position in time and space it will occupy during the trip.

As long as you're covering the roads with Fog you may as well make it thick enough to hold the cars up so they can cross intersections at different levels. But now your car is no longer a specific set of robots, but a *pattern* in the road robots that moves along like a wave, just as a picture of a car moves across the pixels of a video screen. The appearance of the car at this point is completely arbitrary, and could even be dispensed with--all the road Fog is transparent, and you appear to fly along unsupported.

If you filled your house in with Fog this way, furniture no longer need be extruded from the floor; it can appear instantly as a pattern formed out of the "air" robots. Non-Fog objects can float around at will the way you did in your "car". But what's more, your surroundings can take on the appearance, and feel, of any other environment they can communicate with. Say you want to visit a friend; you both set your houses to an identical pattern. Then a Fog replica of him appears in your house, and one of you appears in his. The "air" fog around you can measure your actions so your simulacrum copies them exactly.

The pattern you both set your houses to could be anything, including a computer-generated illusion. In this way, Utility Fog can act as a transparent interface between "cyberspace" and physical reality.

Tech Specs
Active, polymorphic material ("Utility Fog") can be designed as a conglomeration of 100-micron robotic cells ("foglets"). Such robots could be built with the techniques of molecular nanotechnology (see Drexler, "Nanosystems", Wiley, 1992). Using designs from that source, controllers with processing capabilities of 1000 MIPS per cubic micron, and electric motors with power densities of one milliwatt per cubic micron are assumed.

Each Foglet has twelve arms, arranged as the faces of a dodecahedron. The central body of the foglet is roughly spherical, 10 microns in diameter. The arms are 5 microns in diameter and 50 microns long. A convex hull of the foglet approximates a 100-micron sphere. Each Foglet will weigh about 20 micrograms and contain about 5 quadrillion atoms. Its mechanical motions will have a precision of about a micron.

The arms telescope rather than having joints. The arms swivel on a universal joint at the base, and the gripper at the end can rotate about the arm's axis. The gripper is a hexagonal structure with three fingers, mounted on alternating faces of the hexagon. Two Foglets "grasp hands" in an interleaved six-finger grip. Since the fingers are designed to match the end of the other arm, this provides a relatively rigid connection; forces are only transmitted axially through the grip. When at rest, foglets form a lattice whose structure is that of a face-centered cubic crystal (i.e. an octet truss).

For a mass of Utility Fog to flow from one shape to another, or to exert dynamic forces (as in manipulating objects), a laminar flow field for the deformation is calculated. The foglets in each lamina remain attached to each other, but "walk" hand over hand across the adjacent layers. Although each layer can only move at a speed differential of 5 m/s with its neighbor, the cumulative shear rate in a reasonable thickness of Fog is considerable, up to 500 m/s per centimeter of thickness.

The atomically-precise crystals of the foglets' structural members will have a tensile strength of at least 100,000 psi. As an open lattice, the foglets occupy only about 3% of the volume they encompass. When locked in place, the Fog has a more or less anisotropic tensile strength of 1000 psi. In motion, this is reduced to about 500 if measured perpendicular to the shear plane. As a bulk material it has a density of 0.2 g/cc.

Without altering the lattice connectivity, Fog can contract by up to about 40% in any linear dimension, reducing its overall volume by a factor of five. (This is done by retracting all arms simultaneously.) Selective application of this technique allows Fog to simulate shapes and flow fields to a precision considerably greater than 100 microns.

An appropriate mass of Utility Fog can be programmed to simulate most of the physical properties of any macroscopic object (including air and water), to roughly the same precision those properties are measured by human senses. The major exceptions are taste, smell, and transparency. The latter an be overcome with holographic "eyephones" if a person is to be completely embedded in Fog.

Consider the application of Utility Fog to a task such as telepresence. The worksite is enclosed in a cloud of Fog, which simulates the hands of the operators to assemble the parts and manipulate tools. The operator is likewise completely embedded in Fog. Here, the Fog simulates the objects that are at the worksite, and allows the operator to manipulate them.

The Fog can also support the operator in such a way as to simulate weightlessness, if desired. Alternatively, the Fog at the worksite could simulate the effect of gravity on the objects there (in any desired direction).


Posted by Dennis at 8:21 PM | Comments (0)

Sharpener Guy

My studio here is pretty small, but having a floor above this street has its' charms.

Sometimes here in the pueblo of Tossa, I hear a whistling in the street. A vendor is coming. The local knife sharpener uses a toy pan flute, running up and down the scales in a dirge-slow rythmn. Whistle,whistle, whistle... a bird caws... a neighbor's radio... a moto roars by... a conversation doppler shifts... a mobile phone rings... whistle,whistle, whistle.

Today, my neighbor Teresita needs some work done.

He moves slowly, giving people a chance to assess their needs and to get to within earshot of his call. The economy of his business is geared to another era.

The elegance is something to behold. A grinder mounted on the central strut. A stable kickstand swivels down, transforming the bike into a power plant. A leather belt spins the grinder.

Teresita has a few more things to work on. She is a seamstress, this stuff is important to her.

He took the opportunity to fix his belt, working out of the leather sack tied to the handlebars.

It looks like easy work... but I'll bet that it's hard to do. You need a practiced eye to sharpen the correct side, at the correct bevel, taking care not to grind away too much blade, knowing which edge of the grinder sharpens hardest/sharpens smoothest, knowing when to polish, what to polish. I'll bet that one day sometime ago, someone tried to be a town sharpener and in not knowing the art of sharpening, destroyed the knives and scissors of the whole pueblo. I'll bet that this guy came in to save the day.

I'll bet.

Whistle,whistle, whistle... a bird caws... a neighbor's radio... a moto roars by... a conversation doppler shifts... a mobile phone rings... whistle,whistle, whistle.

Posted by Dennis at 5:21 PM | Comments (0)

A Day at the Races

Nacho and Leslie invited Kiko and I for a day at the races as they exercise their JoeDarcy team. Xerlo and Maite's son Oriel was competing too. Muy bien, Tio.

The day started with a rendezvous with Kiko at Bar Josep. There, one of the patrons, a guy who manages the boats at Mar Menuda, told us that Xerlo's boat sank after the high winds we had last Friday.


So off we went to the races. Maite, Xerlo's wife was leading us there. We told her the news, and she decided not to tell Xerlo just yet. Kiko agreed, certainly not by mobile phone. Xerlo's son Oriel was in the race today and a father's attention should be fully upon his son on this ocassion. They (and we) decided not to tell Xerlo until after the race, at dinner. A baggage of bad news.

After an hour's ride through Catalunyan countryside that looks like a mix of northern and southern California, we get to the racetrack. A hot day.

As the crowds gather and the teams prepare, we got in as freinds of Nacho's Team Joe/Darcy. The support caravans that assembled behind the shops was a party. The first order of business was a paseo:

Even though a track divides the stands and the shops (or maybe because of it), there is a kind of urban space, a room for community between the built masses.

I know. I thought it too. No, Kiko is not posing for a shot.

Ok, maybe a little bit.

The pursed mouth happens all the time, as long as I've known him. The arms akimbo probably comes from a builder's life: "Why did you paint that wall black when I told you explicitly that it should be white?!?" or "No, the doorway is over there, not here!".

Berta frolics, youngest daughter of Nacho and Leslie.

Nacho's shop. It's like an art opening.

And this, the art object?

And this, the art object that Oriel rides. Or is he a performance artist?

So Xerlo, Maite, Kiko and I make our way to the roof to watch the start of the race:

As the riders are on the circuit, Kiko's friend Mannix offers to take me out along the parallel road so we can shoot some pictures:

Mannix is well named. He is a big man, a bear of a man, all muscle. Our scooter was tiny. Riding behind anyone on a scooter presents a problem of where to hang on to... Mannix's belly was so ample and too hard (muscled) to actually get a grip. You have to rely on the collective surface tension of the palm of your hand, hoping that that little bit of friction would be enough to overcome the accelleration forces of the ride. I managed the best I could. Mannix drives fast, too.

Nacho and his Irish business partner.


Towards the end of the race, Nacho's racer Jordi was second in position... then his bike crapped out.

Mannix (and I) helped Jordi coast his bike downhill for the shop. Jordi was pretty upset.

Mannix would push the bike with his foot, accelerating the scooter along.

When we got to the aid station, we dropped the bike off. The three of us jumped on the seat of the tiny scooter (maybe 700 to a thousand pounds of dudeness) to make our way back to the shop. Someone who took it upon themself to be an authority (plainsclothed police?), told us that we couldn't do it. Mannix and Jordi got very worked up about that "This isn't Barcelona here!". But they said it in a very animated Spanish way. All gesticulating and everything. You'd think they'd get in a fistfight or something.

We went anyway.


Note the expression on my face. Purposeful. We're doing serious things here, people.

We're bringing Jordi back. Yea.

A day at the races.

But it didn't end there... even though my camera did. The batteries ran out of a charge.

We told Xerlo about his boat at dinner. Xerlo took it well, a real measure of his character. I was expecting to hear a few of the fine points of Castellano/Catalan colorful expressions. But that lesson will have to wait for another day (usually at a bar late into the night). Xerlo absorbed the blow very well.

I don't have pics from the end of that day of the hometown of Maite and her mother Marga, Caldes de Montbui. The name points to the natural hot springs that dates into antiquity. It was a treat, a perfect end of the long day.

The town looks a little scattered and nondescript until you get inside and Maite's tour reveals the historic hot baths (Roman archaeology) and town laundry (locked, but Kiko let us in by fiddling with the locked gate). Kiko stuck his hand in the water and got a shock from the heat (74?C). The cobbblestones in the street and main plaza are hot from the geology below.

(image source for the two pics above)

She then took us to her second job, the noodle factory. That business is 300 years old and counting. Super cool inside, so much history, the pasta machine looks so old, thick cast metal and all. Everything is hand made. Then she showed us a picture of her mom, Margarita a pretty twenty something back in 1955, at work in the factory.

Xerlo had to go back to Tossa to check out his boat, so we caravaned back home. Beached, we applied our best forensic skills but with no result. The reason for the failure of water tight integrity escaped us. The propellor was mangled, but the tow ashore was the probable cause of this. The sea is a harsh mistress indeed.

Xerlo wants another boat.

?Claro que si!

Posted by Dennis at 2:22 PM | Comments (0)



I hope folks are thinking about this:


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The Comments are still out of commission for the meantime, that's alright by me. I don't miss the insidiously neccessary despamming chores. People chime in via email (the address is to your left in the margin), and that's been working out fine. The comment function will be restored soon enough. In terms of blogging, this is an ideal blogger's summer vacation -not having to clean spam drek every day.

Posted by Dennis at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2005


I had to put this painting ahead of most everything else since we returned from Florence. It was kind of brutal, shoving myself down the timeline like that... but accepting the opportunity to show a couple of paintings at Miguel Marcos' gallery meant that I had to squeeze the calendar a bit. Where once I planned months of margin, the wiggle room dwindled to weeks and now days. Note to self: keep a loose calendar as much as possible.

Maybe painting is like fishing, where intention is so diffused and dilated that it is at the moment one lets go, the strike hits and the game is on. This means that determination has to be used obliquely like we use peripheral vision, else a noisy and determined mindset will scare the fish away.

Pacing. Staring. Stalking. Headwork before the muscle twitch.

I didn't want to blog along the way, sorry people. I spent alot of time doubting, pacing, planning and revising in my head... blogging that process live.... I'm not ready for it, if I ever do it at all. I had to fly without instruments for a while and make sure this painting gets done. I will be painting single mindedly from now until shortly before I screw the panels into the crates that Ramon will build and deliver, mid August.

I've been pushing and pulling this particular language (clouds and pillows of paint, splotching into a picture plane) for about a year now.

I keep erasing everything I write about this painting.


Maybe I should wait.

When I finished this today, I rewarded myself with a snorkel in the shoals north of Tossa. A little rock climbing. The water: isolated pools behind rocks. Deep, very deep for what otherwise looks shallow. Lots of debris in the water and more than a few jellyfish along the way. It wasn't as spectacular as I had anticipated but it was good to marinate in the brine after sitting in the studio for so long.

I'm going to blow out a log jam of blogposts tonight.

And then I get into another painting.

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July 20, 2005



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July 16, 2005

I, Prof. Winkler

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends!

I, Prof. Winkler, will come to Los Angeles on July 27th to improve the
relationships between Germany and USA.

Please stay where you are. I?ll pick you up.
(Lot?s of toys in the trunk!)



Posted by Dennis at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

Second Summer

Stephanie is winging her way back to California. Dinner and drinks with Kiko brought us to within three hours of our appointment with Se?or Bartolo's six a.m. taxi ride to the Barcelona airport.

When she negotiated with Guess? in her return, two, two weeks of Tossa vacation was factored into the summer. Stephanie is so driven that she worked when she was here (the Florentine yarn show), sifting through industry magazines (interesting stuff, worth a blogpost one day) at the beach and shopping what the local stores have to offer (a surprising amount, it turns out). It all was good for me too, since I needed to repressurize the studio... although the stream of social events came fast and furious and the studio life had to be spliced into them.

Life is short, do it all.

Within reason.

This pic, from the first foray into the waters offshore Tossa. Stephanie mellowed a tan in the meantime of course, happy of course that tans are deemed healthy again.

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July 15, 2005

Ahora y Luego

I'm still listening to Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock".

On repeat.
Softly in the wee hours.
One song, m?bius-like.

This thought arose like wreckage surfacing from the depths:

A child, who won't leave the womb
-ends up killing the mother.

One song, m?bius-like.
A few hours on the way to heaven.
Softly in the wee hours.

More about that later.

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

July 14, 2005





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July 11, 2005


Much has happened. Much to be blogged.

I'm back in the studio for the strong back of a cycle before a show in Haarlem at the end of August.



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July 8, 2005

Friday in Florence

Yesterday, Stephanie heard of the London bombings in the convention hall. She said all of the vendors were cell phoning their friends and families in London to see if they are alright. She heard that the police shot a suicide bomber on a bus before he got to ignite the bomb belt. It turned out that this was bad information, the effect of too much communication and too little information. I'm glad it wasn't that bad... but it was still terrible as it was.

That evening, we heard sirens in the streets, police and ambulances. It was hard to tell if it was due to the terrorism in the air or normal ambient mayhem of civilization (note here that I don't want to attribute terrorism to a normative condition).

Against this, we ate a rather fine meal at a restaurant that I would like to recommend to you all: "Parione" at via del Parione, 74/76r, Via della Vigna Nuova 17, tel 055 214005. Nice shopping around there too.

It's Friday in Florence and here I have a smattering of shots to download for you in this blogpost:

My general attitude in shooting pics is not to replicate the tourist shots that you can find everywhere, and these are mostly in better form than I can provide in this blog anyway. So here is a shot with my back to the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens, a view of the wall of buildings that enfront the great sloping plaza. One of the nice things about the design of the plaza is that it is featureless and straight up plain. The fascade is severely rusticated and the lack of detail makes a place where people can adorn it in a special way. I liked it.

One thought, standing here is of the concept of "fabric" architecture -as opposed to feature architecture. In traditional (historically European) city planning and design, there is a consideration of the role of architecture as either the chorus or the actor on the urban stage. In modern city planning (America and any city that is expanding in the suburban manner today ... which is the only way we know of, by the way) every building tries in some degree to be the feature player.

But in another life, I'd like to create an architectural firm by the name "Fabrica" and therefore specialize in simple building types: mixed use with commercial ground floors and apartments/condos for multiple floors above. I'd keep it to five to ten types and tinker with each type to fit into each specific urban context. That's it.

I think that cities like Los Angeles are thickening. This would be an architecture for that process.

In another life, not this one.

On the walk back through Florence on the other side of the Arno River, I spot graffitti. Well, well.

Stencils, drawings with x-acto blades. They're fun and fast.

After the Uffizi foto experience, I gently approached the guard in the Medici Chapel, who was sitting and reading a magazine. "Excuse me sir?" He looked up to me, eyes like a basset hound: "Prego." My body language, most diplomatic: "Can we shoot pictures here with no flash?" He pounds his magazine into his lap: "NO! NO PICTURES ARE ALLOWED IN THIS CHAPEL! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!" His eyes trembled, all jelly they were.

Okay, okay, Tio.

So, I drew... as I should do anyway. I have left my drawing hand behind for a few years, I must confess. I used to draw all the time from the mists of childhood through my Navy days and into the architecture years. But less and less from the mid 80's onward. Maybe this is why I paint so abstractly nowadays. I've been thinking about drawings lately, about the need to recuperate the practice.

A tentative hand, but ultimately it's like riding a bike.

Posted by Dennis at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

July 7, 2005

Uffizi et al...

Our third day here in Florence, and here I am wrangling with two very important ftp file transfer have-to-do's. The hotel internet isn't working for me and so here I sit in an internet cafe below ground by the train station, summoning the great McGyver powers from PoMo heaven to help me out.

Meanwhile.... here are some pics from yesterday's tour action:

Waiting time at the Uffizi: over two hours...

I remember that at the Prado, everyone was snapping pictures. Here, not much at all.

Some freak of a tourist was flashing his camera, photons blasting electrons off the orbiting shells of the subatomic structures in Leonardo's painting.

I, however, clicked off my flash with the greatest of care, careful to only recieve reflected ambient light into the CCD chip of my camera (my eyes blilnk unctuouosly).

Even so, the guard freaked out and got into our faces about the no-camera rules.

Alright, alright.

My appreciation for the Prado grew all that much more.

I furvatively sneaked out the camera for a view out of the window (which, architecturally speaking, was an early use of reinforced concrete to reveal so much glazed area of window, so I understand).

I'm sure there's no problem in blasting electrons off from the window panes.

Everywhere, there are conservators in white overalls, gently removing the grime of experience and time from everything: art and building alike. What a job. It had a NASA feeling to it.

I'm pretty antagonistic about the tourist thing. And yet here I am, touring.

But even so, I cruised by the Duomo and hung out in front of the Ghiberti doors. I noticed that on one level, the tourists are more interesting than the normative objects of the tours. So many different cultures, so many different levels of acculturation. Cameras, ice creams, sunglasses, clothing, eyes, interpersonal relationships.

Now, flocks of Chinese are out, a sign of these 21st century times for sure.

The street urchins made thier passes... is it P.C. to call them Gypsies? I declined on the first pass from this one, noticing her braided hair -to the front and the ends linked around her neck. Very nice, even if the hair was greasy. I noticed that street people were especially well dressed, even though sometimes the details gave away their choice to be especially free and apart from "normal" society (dirty feet in new sandals, for example). it would be interesting to shoot pics of them all, a survey of those who live apart.

On her second pass, I made a deal to take her picture... we barter quickly, two euros. Ok, it's a deal. I reached into my pocket and three euros were in hand, so she upped her fee.

Sharp, that one.

Posted by Dennis at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 6, 2005


We arrived into Florence yesterday afternoon as the plane landed roughly in high winds. I was surprised by the small size of the city and the low density of the population. This place is nothing like Milan or even of Torino, where urban grit blends the periphery with the core of the city.

Here in Florence, the countryside seems pristine and the ride into the city snaps suddenly from pastoral colors into the hue of stones worn smooth by centuries of tourism.

As we settled into the room, Stephanie had to get out into the streets for some shopping. Fashionistas are like sharks who have to forever cruise (shop) to breathe.

Stephanie is here for a yarn convention. I'll get to hear about what's happening there over dinners with her Guess team. Interesting stuff. It's too bad she doesn't blog, fashion is a whole other universe.

More to come of course. The arrangements for wifi here in the hotel is a little difficult. At five euros a pop, it's not cheap, but my blog habit has taken root and it won't let me go.

Today is my first full foray in to the city. I'll begin with a visit to the Uffizi. Pics to come...

Posted by Dennis at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

July 5, 2005


Comments are still out of commission in this blog, so feel free to use the email address in the left margin. And speaking of feeling free, it's nice not accumulating/discarding nasty comment spam every day, the friction of blogging.

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

Happy 4th to All


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Stephanie in the House

Stephanie is back!

She's here in Tossa for a couple of weeks, on furlough from Guess? LA. She rolled in Saturday afternoon and by the time we were all toasting with Kiko, Xerlo and friends, plans were made for water skiing the next day. *

There's not a lot of time for pics of it all right now.... we are going to Florence for a yarn show Stephanie has to see, and she's taking me along for the ride. It will be my first time there. We leave in the morning and blogging will resume when we return in a few days.

*It was my first time attempting to ski (I never got up!) and right now, there are muscles I never knew I had... throbbing with pain.

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

July 3, 2005

Drew and Brian

Drew and Brian stayed for a day. Drew is the son of friends, the property owners of the studio I lease in ChinaTown LA. They are on a Grand Tour of Europe. By the way, these guys are ranked fourth in collegiete Tennis in the USA.

My camera was still "messed up", so this is the best shot I have. I yet needed to consult the manual to set things strait.

The lads were nice enough to come to my opening. I convinced them that they would have a good time in Tossa. And that, they did. I put them through the forced march of fun: snorkel, sun and kayak. I liked pacing the young bucks... the sea was choppy and even so, we jetted up farther than I have ever taken VIP's up the Costa Brava coastline. We were able to get into some deep caves and grottos, just around the corner from a restaurant that one can only reach by sea.

Kiko and I took them out to eat at a local insider Catalan real down home cooking: Can Soms, aka "Patiblau". Alberto, ever the naturalist, pulls out a dish of flowers and began to opine the destruction of a vine that wandered too far on to a neighbor's fascade.

Posted by Dennis at 9:12 AM | Comments (0)

July 2, 2005

Chris' Visit

Chris dropped into Tossa for a visit a day before the show.

A private art dealer, my dealer, Chris Byrne represents my work in Texas and beyond.

We had jsut enough time for a tour and to get something to eat.

Chris was on his way back from attending the Peter Saul opening at Musee Paul-Valery in Sete. This catalog is a gift.

"Poopin on Duschamp"
Acrylique et hule sur toile
150x110 cm

I'm sure that the land of the caganers will find a kindred spirit in Saul.

"Art Critic-Self Expression"
Acrylique et hule sur toile
100x110 cm

We bumped into a lot of Tossa people I know, so all the hihowareyous made me look like a rock star. Ramon, my carpenter, was at the bus station.

As we sat waiting for the bus, I notice Chris' satchel. He was traveling with a case full of sketchbooks. He's been working on a comic with a collaborator for several years. Here's a peek inside:

Toilet plungers, hardware store insect cyborgs... why does my mind turn to Burroughs? and Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch"?


Later, Chris sends me this image:
He's getting into it.

Posted by Dennis at 9:09 PM | Comments (0)

Opening: Galeria Miguel Marcos

One of the first things that I noticed about the show was how all of the work was curatorially assembled in a meticulous way. All of the work in this group seemed interlocked. Three rooms: one of photos of paintings over photographs (terrible that I don't have the name of the artist on hand... lo siento), the central gallery of Barcel?, Balkenhol and my paintings, and a larger gallery with Pistoletto's mirrored Odalesque (bouncing us back to the photos in the first gallery), Schnabel's vortex of sentiment and painterly sediment, and Barcel?'s totemic figure.

The interlocking thought arose as I stood in the central gallery, and I noticed that Balkenhol's painting (a woodcarved slab of wood) was an unwrapped (from three to two dimensions) version of his freestanding figures (three dimensions)... and that looking at an adjacent Barcel? still life painting with strange papier mach? encrustations seemed to provoke the resulting equation between sculpture and painting (3D embedded within 2D and visa-versa).

It was a sweltering day. This summer is beginning to resemble that deadly-hot summer of a few years ago (I forget which year it was) where heat waves killed so many people in the EU. The next two months will be interesting that way.

I got into the city early and hooked up with my friend Gerard Smulevich. After some coffee and an errand or two, we dropped into the gallery to check out the show and find the hotel where Miguel so generously provided for me that evening.

The gallery was a hive of activity and Gerry and I were breaking their stride. And even so, Miguel indulged us in conversation. I was glad Gerry had a chance to talk to Miguel. We got out and out of their hair and back into the streets of the old city for more great conversation and a bite to eat before we retired to our hotels.

The gallery is around the corner from the Palau de Musica. Located on the second floor, an elevated courtyard opens the gallery up, a garden on one side, the street to the other.

The gallery was too hot to sustain the crowd all at once, so most everyone hung out in the courtyard and took turns cruising the show. Miguel keeps the gallery in a pristine museum condition: no drinks allowed inside; the floors an walls are impeccable; the installation was refined to the centimeter by
Miguel's number one, Alberto; staff was stationed to thwart errant fingers from touching the works...

If it is indeed prestige that fuels the art world, then this particular gallery is where esteem is stood upright and cemented in place. Miguel understands art, where it comes from and how it exists in our society; he is fierce, vigilant and uncompromising, the ultimate painter's guardian.

Right after this shot, I touched a button on the camera that I didn't understand and all other shots were blurred. Add to this, my reticence to capitalize with obnoxious camera shots stolen from spontaneous conversations and especially when meeting new people... this will be another opening that will not be thoroughly documented photographically. No apologies, that's the way it is at the moment.

I did meet a number of very interesting people: collectors, critics, architects, local professionals... and a number of Tossa friends (Piet and Monique, Juan Carlos, Joan Planellas among others). The night ended in a Gallegan seafood restaurant close to the wharfs at the top end of the Barcelonetta. Gerry was my guest and we all had a very satisfying conversation together that ranged far and wide.

We parted ways and hooked up with in professors from the interior architecture program. Drinks in the bars of the Borne until the wee hours, a bubble of Yanquis chattering nasally in a social sea of Catalans. It was good to hear an American accent again.

A pleasant and memorable night it was.

Posted by Dennis at 7:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2005


What a cyclone the past few days have been!

Social and physical.

Let me try to lasso a few moments.

Please standby..... for mas hablaba.

Posted by Dennis at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)