Monthly Archives: April 2010

Together we form a dog, in search of the sacred flower

You are excrement, but you can change into gold...

The hypothesis I formed is that the amount of money pet owners spend regularly spikes right before they go on a vacation. Yesterday I rode my bike in the rain to buy Roly Poly treats and toys. This evening I board a flight to New Orleans. He will be home alone, save for a check-in here and there from my friend Eliot, and his new green-feathered googly-eyed squeak-snake. On the eve of my departure (and on the recommendation of my friend Austin,) I watched Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain. I am traveling light, carrying only a backpack. Considering my company on this trip, these two quotes from the film seemed a fitting farewell:

“Burn your money! Thief! If you don’t want to die, kill your money! We shall destroy the self image, unsteady, wavering, bewildered, full of desire, distracted, confused. When the self concept thinks this is I and that is mine, he binds himself and he forgets the great self.

Surrender the faithful animal you once called your body

-His feet stink like a rotten dog. I can’t stand the smell.

-He has beautiful teeth. When he puts all your bones back together, you will like his smell.”

Era Bom

O Amor Natural

“Honeybum lilybum colourbum lovebum / Rulingbum lustingbum anilbum breadbum / bum of a thousand forms, pluribum unibum / bum in flower, bum in two / lunar bum and luminary / fiddlebum.

Magical and multi bum, bum beyond the unreal / archbum sealed in the mystery of the occult / opalescent bum / incandescent bum / sweet honeycomb concealed between tenebrous tufts / unreached by the brimstone of lust / and where the global paleness of hyborean zones / concentrates the unceasing music of the cosmic merrygobum.

Reelbum leanbum / bum that’s more than bum / bum mutating/renovating / that adds a new harmony to the number.

Keep on rocking and singing and enveloping in spasm / the arc of triumph, the bridge of sighs, the suicide tower, the death of the Harpooner / tonguebum, fuckbum / lovebum lovebum lovebum.

Pluribum unibum

“You my world my unwound clock; that forgets time. You my walk my air my food my fasting. My bright sworded peace. My joyous sleep my awakening between girandoles. My hot warm cold hot scalding bath. My wraparound skin. My sharpened tempered angered nails. My taste of poison. My marked cards that break free and fly. My torment. My gentle leaping jaguar. My saliva my roving possessive tongue my stomach rubbing stomach. My losing myself in hairs seaweed waters craving. My penis submerged. Tunnel cave cave cave ever deeper narrower ever ever. My groans screams howls moans screeches mewing panting ah, oh, argh, mmm, uh my evaporation my glorious blissful suicide.”

-poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, as featured in the documentary O Amor Natural, by Dutch writer / director Heddy Honigmann

Parasites Rex

Reuben Lucy and Greta

“I see a lot of things as being like parasites. Parasites are the most successful life-form on Earth. It could be as many as three parasites for every free living species, its hard to say. If you’re not a species living inside another thing, then you’re a species with something living inside of you.” Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature’s Most Dangerous Creatures, on cute dogs

And Brian

In the dark ocean, two hundred fifty foot waves roll very slowly down long underwater slopes: “The deep waves have the distinguishing curl of Kelvin-Helmholtz billows, a type of wave present throughout nature. Scientists have long tracked these distinctive waves, finding them on the windblown sea, on sand dunes, among clouds and even in the churning gases of Saturn and Jupiter. They originate when two fluids, or gases, (or sea and air), move past one another at different speeds. At the boundary, the interaction produces a sequence of crests that rise gently and then curl into chaotic turbulence…” David Choad, on deep sea waves


South of Iceland in glacial art

Excerpted from James Hutton’s Theory of the Earth; or, an Investigation of the Laws Observable in the Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration of Land Upon the Globe, first presented before the Royal Society of Edinburgh in March and April 1785, or 225 years ago:

“It is supposed that the same power of extreme heat by which every different mineral substance had been brought into a melted state might be capable of producing an expansive force sufficient for elevating the land from the bottom of the ocean to the place it now occupies above the surface of the sea…

A theory is thus formed with regard to a mineral system. In this system, hard and solid bodies are to be formed from soft bodies, from loose or incoherent materials, collected together at the bottom of the sea; and the bottom of the ocean is to be made to change its place… to be formed into land…

Having thus ascertained a regular system in which the present land of the globe had been first formed at the bottom of the ocean and then raised above the surface of the sea, a question naturally occurs with regard to time; what had been the space of time necessary for accomplishing this great work? …

We shall be warranted in drawing the following conclusions; 1st, That it had required an indefinite space of time to have produced the land which now appears; 2dly, That an equal space had been employed upon the construction of that former land from whence the materials of the present came; Lastly, That there is presently laying at the bottom of the ocean the foundations of future land…”

The earliest human artwork, tens of thousands of years old, is found on the rock walls of caves. Maps of rocks, like the Geologic Map of the United States by Philip B. King and Helen M. Beikman (US Geological Survey), are modern art.

Heart of america in rock art

The New York City Council mandated five weeks vacation for working horses. When horses run free…

“They don’t forget what grass is. Usually the first thing a horse does when it is set loose in a field or paddock will be to roll in a sandy spot. They will take great pleasure in this, and wave their feet in the air almost as if expressing joy and contentment as they scratch their backs. In Britain, it was said that when the pit ponies came up from the mines, often after months or years without seeing daylight or smelling grass, they invariably rolled and rolled.” Fran Jurga of Gloucester, Mass., who publishes the equine journal Hoofcare and Lameness

Aunt Lynne

Rhode Island 1985

My cousin Amy said that looking through old photos helped her deal with the passing of her mom, my Aunt Lynne. Her words have been on my mind, because the photo on the April page of our family calendar shows Aunt Lynne, Uncle Johnny, my sister, Aunt Judy and me visiting my grandmother at the nursing home last spring. My grandmother passed away in August; Aunt Lynne passed away last month. I look at the picture every day and it makes me sad. While down in Connecticut this week I decided to go through the family photo albums. I wanted to see the Aunt Lynne I remember best; having fun, making me laugh, hugging Amy, so in love with Uncle Johnny.

Lucy In the basement

When I cracked open one album a Polaroid fluttered to the ground. My first pet, a guinea pig named Lucy, and my rock collection. I was a bad pet owner at age twelve, and lost interest in cleaning the cage. For her part, Lucy was an all-night squealing nightmare. Aunt Lynne bailed me out and took Lucy in. Her tender care transformed the little pig from a squealer to a behaved and beloved pet who dined daily on fresh salads. Something magical happened to Lucy, and that something was love. I love you Aunt Lynne and I miss you.

Aunt Lynne and Uncle Johnny

With Love To Lead The Way

Timothy Speed Levitch

“New York City is a living organism. It evolves, it devolves, it fluctuates as a living organism. My relationship with New York City is as vitriolic as my relationship with myself or with any other human being, which means that it changes every millisecond, that its in constant fluctuation. This winter, I really felt like we were getting a divorce, and I was certainly the loser of that divorce. There was anger, I was overwhelmed, I was re-immersed into my own naivete. I couldn’t believe how angry the city was with me and it seemed to be like a vindictive woman, no reason whatsoever, just by the pure rage of its own existence. Because the concrete had settled, because the terracotta had been meticulously carved, because some of the buildings are higher than others. The anger, the inferiority that some of the shorter buildings feel, I felt, and I suddenly was not welcome on this island anymore. The city and I have had a reemergence of some kind in the summer. Maybe because I was able to refuel my cruise a little bit, working laboriously and crawling my way back onto the island, because perhaps I paid proper respect to it… I don’t know why the city was so angry with me during this winter. I’m just glad that its not quite as angry with me right now. I don’t want to speak too soon for God’s sakes, I mean, like I said, the relationship seems to change, as any human relationship would, and with any living thing. Sometimes I think that if this is a living organism, maybe its more along the lines of a cyclops. Sometimes I think if it is a living organism, maybe its more on the level of a stream-lined, scintillating mermaid… who sings to me at night.

Touching terracotta

“Terracotta becomes one of the major materials of New York City architecture. Its like a sand-baked brick. Its not quite granite and its not quite brick. It walks the mainstream middle. It was excellent for NYC architecture because it could hang off the skeletons of the buildings. Its much lighter than stone. The difference between terracotta and stone that strikes me the most is that terracotta reflects the sunlight and stone absorbs it. You can see the bouncy light along this building. When I see terracotta like this it just makes me feel like I’m senselessly running through a meadow or high grassland area nude, chasing a woman who I’ve never met before who’s entirely nude. Its just the most raw and primordial chase. Two nude human beings running through grassland marsh area. As you move up the building can’t you feel the undulations of her curvature? The mmh! Aw! Yes! Yes! That slight groan that some people have in the act of intercourse. Euh! Like the somewhat dying grunt of a beautiful woman grunting in the storms of her own malaise. That’s why the terracotta is important to me. Its the euh! The euh! moments of life. Oh God please. The begging parts of life. On the left side, you see those lioness characters up there? Please don’t stop! Please don’t stop!”

-Timothy “Speed” Levitch, profiled in the 1998 documentary, The Cruise

Meer Exposure Effect

There goes another Hell Night

Vegetables are hotter than meats.

The Bright Mississippi

Large Binocular Telescope

The blooming of the pink tree flowers in my fair city of Cambridge has triggered an allergic reaction to my sinuses. The past week I have been working sick, my functionality dependent on mucus medications of different stripes. Man’s only known cure for such a thing is to sleep. At the end of the day, having fired up TV on the internet and reclining with candy, I have found sleep an easy friend. Meanwhile my only true friend Roly Poly has been friendless, his playmate stuffily snoring. My grip on the household duties has slipped. On Sunday I left for work at 7 AM and did not return home until 2 AM. Upon my return, I discovered that Roly Poly had chewed a hole through his feed bag, and the chow had poured out into my grey sneaker.

Esplanade Avenue

The internet is a large binocular telescope and through the eyepiece I peer into my near-future. Work at the restaurant, my “galaxias kuklos,” as the Greeks first called it, or “milky circle,” appears as a lifestream of photos, comments, reviews, blogposts, and tweets. From my dim basement in the spiral arm, I can see other galaxies. I play Allen Toussaint, Candi Staton, or Bettye Lavette on iTunes, and my mind trips into a digital daydream. The double mirrors of Google Maps collect light from objects millions of times farther away than anything my eyes can see… real images of a tree on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans, blocks away from the levee walls, where I will be standing in two weeks.

Mister Lonely

Michael and Marilyn

“Come on in. Hello. Hey. Good morning. Good morning. I brought you some strawberries. Aw, thank you. That’s really nice, thanks. (Picks up voice recorder.) What’s this? Its a recorder. Why? Why what? Why do you need to record things. Its… just something I do, you know. When I write songs, or when I say something beautiful. I talk into it mostly, or read from books. Just to remember things. Like what? People, stories mainly. I always felt like life moves too quickly, and this is my attempt at slowing it. I get to keep the days with me, get to keep the people I meet with me, otherwise they will leave me. The sheep have to be killed. Those people said they are diseased. What? All of them? Yeah, all of them. They all have to be killed. Its easy to get sick these days. Do you ever talk about me? When? In your recorder. Oh, yeah… yeah, sometimes. What do you say? I don’t know, different things. Depends. Oops, sorry. (She kisses his head and feeds him a strawberry.) I hope they are good. What? The things you say about me.”

Buckwheat and pony

“I love women. They’re hotttt. They make me sweat. I love chickens. I love their wings, like breasts. If you combine chicken with a woman’s breast, you get chicken breast. I like chicken breast. Chicken breast is niiiice. And hotttt! If it was up to me, I’d make the world naked women, and naked chickens. That’s hot. Yeah. I love women. They make me sweat! I love chickens. Their breasts are so smoooooooth. Yeah.”

All images and words are from Harmony Korine’s 2007 film “Mister Lonely,” starring Diego Luna as Michael Jackson and Samantha Morton as Marylin Monroe. Werner Herzog plays a supporting role as Father Umbrillo, a priest who talks nuns into jumping out of airplanes.

The Artist Is Present

Singing Beach

My Dream Machine alarm clock went haywire. In the middle of the night it spontaneously switched on, max volume, blaring static noise. I unplugged it and returned to sleep. In the morning, at the set hour, my Jensen alarm clock powered on the radio, WHRB, and the Hillbilly at Harvard played the song, “Barnacle Bill the Sailor.” The lyrics wandered into my waking imaginings… “Who’s that knocking at my door? Who’s that knocking at my door? It’s only me from over the sea, said Barnacle Bill the Sailor.” A few days later I drifted off on the singing sands of Singing Beach, in Manchester by the Sea. I had braved the April ocean, catching waves until a lifesaving golden retriever lifted me out of the surf by the scruff of my neck, and hauled me on shore. When I opened my eyes the ocean’s edge had crept closer and my skin was burning.

Lifestreams and the dimensions of the internet, from an essay by David Gelernter, titled The Future Beyond the iPad: “The iPad is mainly an Internet device, and we’re still seeing the Internet the wrong way. The ongoing proliferation of lifestreams (in the form of event streams, feeds, RSS updates, Twitter streams and so on) makes it clear that the Internet is mainly for telling us what’s happening now, what just happened, what’s about to happen and so on.

The classical Web site is static but a lifestream flows, at the speed of time. New material arrives constantly. Nowadays lifestreams are mainly displayed in the form of lists.

But when Eric Freeman and I invented lifestreams in the mid-’90s, we designed a 3D display in which the past flowed into the depths of the screen; the future hovered in front of the screen. The plane of the screen itself showed you now.

This sort of display makes efficient use of screen-space by using a foreshortened perspective view, and by making the screen a transparent viewport you look through, instead of an opaque surface to look at.

The iPad is designed as a traditional opaque surface. Touch-screens will be useful for stream-handling, but they’ll be optimized to a different set of finger-motions.”

The title for this post taken using a set of finger motions from the Marina Abramović MoMA exhibition of the same name.