Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Anaïs Nin November: Elect the process of becoming

November 6, 2012


via.

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

(Anaïs Nin. D. H. Lawrence : An Unprofessional Study. 1932.)

This is a challenge breathtaking in scope. Wanting to change is so much easier than actually having the courage of the deed. I think it is a thing that happens by degrees, so that you look at yourself one day and realize you are totally different than the person you had been six months or a year or a decade ago. Where we elect the state of stasis and suffer that kind of death is where we mistake sameness for security, security for happiness, happiness for living. I wanted for very long to stay hidden, because I thought there was safety in that.


Ibid.

It is not just about a rut. It’s more like a trench, and the longer you stay in it, the more likely you’ll be hit by a Howitzer if you try darting topside. You have to climb with calculation, sometimes big leaps to get over a tough, deeply rooted, scrabbly stretch, sometimes taking ages of care to navigate your foot to a safe path. I have no idea what waits at the top. It might not be happiness. But how much better to see the whole field and enter the battle than to cower at the bottom of the trench?

To elect to “become” is to elect to risk. Risk is frightening because, whether it pays off in your estimation or disappoints you horribly, it guarantees one certain result: change.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Found objects — Agere sequitur credere

November 3, 2012

Slam, slam — oh, hot damn. I love the confidence of this li’l Unlikely G.

Anaïs Nin November: Daily Batman — Always punished

November 2, 2012


All those who try to unveil the mysteries always have tragic lives.

At the end they are always punished.


(“The Mohican.” Under A Glass Jar, 1944.)

Daily Batman: the Long Halloween

October 31, 2011

The death of Johnny Viti.

Daily Batman: A salt is no joke

October 29, 2011

Okay, that’s a decent diner joke, but I have another: you hold up the saltshaker.

“What’s this?” you ask your dining companion.

“Salt,” they say.

You hold up the saltshaker with one hand and, using the other, hold the knife from your place setting against its side. “What’s this?” you ask.

They don’t guess. You say:

“A salt with a deadly weapon.”

You’re welcome.

Daily Batman: Hanging out

October 28, 2011

I believe this is available as a tee on threadless. If it isn’t, it should be.

Just Another Auden October: A lane to the land of the dead

October 27, 2011


Photographed by Logan White.

The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

(W.H. Auden, “As I Walked Out One Evening.” Juvenelia, 1922-1928).

Daily Batman: Cthulu edition

October 27, 2011

A terrible day to forget the utility belt.


“Batman and Cthulu” by Scott Vanden Bosch.

The other gods! The other gods! The gods of the outer hells that guard the feeble gods of earth!… Look away… Go back… Do not see! Do not see! The vengeance of the infinite abysses!”

(H.P. Lovecraft. “The Other Gods.” Weird Tales. 1948. )

Daily Batman: Ink-blots

October 26, 2011


via.

But, my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.

(Alan Watts, The Nature of Consciousness.)

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Be Careful or Else

October 25, 2011

Just Another Auden October: Musee des Beaux Arts

October 25, 2011


“Lady Writing a Letter With Her Maid.” Jan Vermeer, 1677.

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position;
how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be


“A Youth Making a Face.” Adriaen Brouwer, 1635.

Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.


“Landscape With the Fall of Icarus”. Pieter Brueghel*, 1558.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure;
the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

(W.H. Auden, “Musee des Beaux Artes.” 1938).

*It has been discovered through radiocarbon dating that Landscape With the Fall of Icarus is not by Brueghel the Elder, though it is thought to be based on a lost painting of his, and that association lead to the centuries-long misattribution of the painting’s provenance.

Daily Batman: Let your fingers do the walking

October 25, 2011

Let your fingers do the walking!

…and the crime-fighting.

Daily Batman: Knee-wobbler

October 24, 2011


via.

There it is again.

Just Another Auden October: The dreadful wood of conscious evil

October 23, 2011


“Ritual Dance” by Aëla Labbé.

Alone, alone, about the dreadful wood
Of conscious evil runs a lost mankind,
Dreading to find its Father.

(W.H. Auden, For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio. 1941-2.)

Flashback Friday: Just Another Auden October, Harrow the house of the dead edition

October 21, 2011

This post originally appeared on at October 27, 2010 at 8:45 a.m.


Photographed by Mieke Willems.

Prohibit sharply the rehearsed response
And gradually correct the coward’s stance. …
Harrow the house of the dead; look shining at
New styles of architecture, a change of heart.

(W.H. Auden, “Petition.”)

Like that bird, for instance — do you think he woke up knowing he’d get to perch on a pert ass today? I expect not: I expect he thought it would be just another day, the same as all the others he has lived.

I guess what I’m suggesting is that, as Auden petitions, it is worthwhile to defy the lessons of experience, throw caution to the wind, and look with a hopeful heart for the unexpected and unpredictable new. How to completely go about doing that I am less certain of, but I know that it must be worth trying.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Talk Nerdy to Me and Science Friday — New set of prime operatives

October 21, 2011

Two-step plan for becoming the only species in the multiverse.


Art installation by Lori Hershberger.

We’ve already got cracking on this, really. Well done … Earth. Let’s see what we can do with the rest of the Milky Way, and maybe Intergalactic Viceroy Hawking* will okay a mission to the Large Magellanic Cloud.

You know. Just to see what’s what over there with those guys. Kick the tires, shoot the breeze, strip mine a couple of planets and turn them in to dumps.



*You didn’t actually think he was human, did you? Tell me you didn’t buy that hype.

Daily Batman: Futbol americano and Sk8 or die, sort of, edition

October 21, 2011


Schulz had a long association with ice sports, and both figure skating and ice hockey featured prominently in his cartoons. In Santa Rosa, he was the owner of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which opened in 1969 and featured a snack bar called “The Warm Puppy”.

(the wiki).

Ice-skating is the only sport other than baseball at which I’ve ever instantly demonstrated amazing prowess on the first try. For this reason, I try to talk it up big to everyone I know, but, in a region of California that seldom ever sees temperatures dip below 25 degrees, fahrenheit, it’s an uphill battle.

Just Another Auden October: Composed of Eros and of dust, show an affirming flame — ft. photography by Andre de Dienes

October 20, 2011



Defenseless under the night,
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,


Ironic points of light,
Flash out wherever the Just,
Exchange their messages:


May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair



Show an affirming flame.

(W.H. Auden, “Sept. 1, 1939.” Another Time, 1940.)

All photographs by Andre de Dienes.

The date in the poem’s title refers, of course, to the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s Wehrmacht … or does it refer with remarkably prescient precedence to my birthday?

No. It refers to the other thing.

Liberated negative space o’ the day: Art of the cover, Convenience edition with bonus Jessica Fletcher

October 19, 2011

For when you really, really want to murder someone but don’t want the spontaneity to be eclipsed by hassle!

    “We found this book in your possession.”
    “So?”
    “You must agree it’s rather suspicious.”
    “Didn’t you say that the victim was drug behind a horse and buggy through a cornfield and then flensed like a whale?”
    “Yes.”
    “Doesn’t sound convenient, does it?”
    “Sold. You’re free to go.”

…but what does Jessica Fletcher think?

Whoa. The plot thickens.

Daily Batman: the irretrievably lost world inside

October 19, 2011



The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.

(Schopenhauer.)

I’ve been mourning the loss of a very close childhood friend. She was very literally the first friend I ever had. Because we moved quite far apart, in the last several years, our contact has been social networking and phone calls on each other’s birthdays (my lucky number, 22, is owing to her birthday of February 22nd). I do have to give her a wry thumbs-up because it was very clever to die of breast cancer in October so that we’d all remember every year to donate and walk and light candles and the like, but I can’t say I have been much of a fan of the actual passing.


In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight….
Not people die but worlds die in them.

(Yevgeny Yevtushenko, People.)

My friend had time to say goodbye to her sons, her husband, her sister and her parents, and to all of the rest of us who loved her. But what I have been struggling with is the loss of that world inside her: a world whose first gasps I was lucky enough to share with her, a world whose confident, feet-found orbit was still only just beginning. I feel so bitter and helpless about it. I didn’t realize how badly I’d been repressing it until I went to her funeral at our old church several hours away (alone, which was a terrible mistake). I didn’t weep or make a spectacle, but I didn’t stop crying. It was like I couldn’t.

Afterward, a very nice, very short woman came up and began gently asking me about my friend, and I explained that we’d known each other since we were very, very young, and had even gone to school together off and on. Turns out the woman was one of my kindergarten teachers. The nice one. Still nice, after all these years. I’ll explain that another day.

The point is — horrible. Bitterness. Anger. Grief. But not so much anger that I wish to assuage it by some sort of strike back; that would not at all comfort me, because I’m not down to facts just yet. I’m not ready to slap on a pink-ribboned tank top and run any marathons to make things better for others, because I don’t give a shit about all that yet. That is for sure.

I feel like a lost and selfish monster, surrounded by all this breast cancer awareness promotional material and not even up to the point of resentment of the disease; ergo, mystified by the idea of embracing that activism to trump my grief. I don’t like to feel that way. And I like to do all kinds of charity malarkey. I really do. I’ve donated this month already in the name of another friend’s mother, who beat it two years ago.

But this new thing — I am just not ready to even think of my friend’s death in terms of what killed her. That seems objective to the point of frightening. But I should strive for it? Right? How do you get to there?