In no particular order, or odor:
These are the Days of Awe. The world is awash in guilt and redemption and I stand at the short precipice of feeling in love and hate with it all.
My friend, MG, once said that “we treat our bodies like machines” and he’s right. We push chemicals into our temples and expect positive results, including greater efficiency and better productivity. Most of the time, we’re right to do this. The organic and inorganic substances we inhale, digest, inject and observe are goody bags in the cavern of a worldly Halloween.
There seems to be a trend, on television lately, away from reality programming toward comedy and dark adventure. The reasons are probably many: real boredom, aspiration, better kinds of hope taking the form of mass entertainment that, in turn, substitute in for real politic.
I’m in the process of rebranding my company. This means that I’m assigning a new visual identity to way I feel about representing my professional life. It’s a bit like taking your old clothes to the Salvation Army, kissing them goodbye, and shopping in the eternity of a store called Maybe. It would be nice if they sold coffee there. But they don’t.
My two cats, Gusty and Inky, are getting older. I can see it in the way their fur sits on their bodies. For both of them, the tufts of hair separate just a little bit from the corpus of hair upon them. It’s like me.
When I was about ten years old, my grandfather, a physician, bought for me a copy of Gray’s Anatomy. I devoured that tome, learning, by the time I was in high school, the name of every single muscle, bone and ligament in the body. I took apart a plasticine cat in AP Biology with a partner. First, we took off the skin, which was the hardest part. Then we teased apart all of the musculature. I loved the little heart. We kept the cat in a bag. I’ll never forget the smell of formaldehyde and skin.
The television show, Grey’s Anatomy, just featured a song that sounded a lot like one by My Bloody Valentine.
I just purchased, and ate, for the first time, a little smoked goldeneye fish, whole. It was the color of gold and tasted even better. I pulled off the skin with a fork, and then pulled off the pink flesh from the bones beneath. Slowly, the flesh peeled from the skeleton and, safely on the fork, it went into my mouth. It was a delight and I was horrified at the fact that I was eating near-live flesh.
A friend of mine emailed me a passage from Carl Sagan’s last chapter of his book Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium:
Near my shaving mirror, so I see it every morning, is a framed postcard. On the back is a penciled message to a Mr. James Day in Swansea Valley, Wales. It reads:
Just a line to show that I am alive & kicking and going grand. It’s a treat.
It’s signed with the almost-indecipherable initials of one William John Rogers. On the front is a color photo of a sleek, four-funneled steamer captioned “White Star Liner Titanic.” The postmark was imprinted the day before the great ship went down, losing more than 1500 lives, including Mr. Rogers’. Annie and I display the postcard for a reason. We know that “going grand” can be the most temporary and illusory state. So it was with us.
They say that most stomach ulcers happen in September.
This is it, I can only watch some of this video shot from a nearby tall apartment building. It’s graphic and horrifying. The last post on 9/11 for a long time.
This video, entitled “September 11, 2001: What We Saw” would do better as “Empire.”
I feel like I’m there all over again.
I visited the World Trade Center many times. This is what I, and many others saw.
I’m typically not much of a believer in the 9/11 conspriacy theories that are very popular right now. I think something is definitely amiss in the way that the Bush administration investigated the events of that day and that there surely was and will be cover-ups, some very large in scale.
I’ve seen and read a good deal of 9/11 conspiracy info and much of it is tantalizing. Theorists, even the best and smartest ones, provide tremendously seductive reasons to distrust the government and flame our fears of an administration so clearly out of public visibility and control. The Bush administration, in its high jinx, denials, and outright lies about its intentions and objectives, has started the fires of conspiracy and deserves to be under incredible scrutiny (and even more than it currently holds). There is something right about all of the theories but mostly they make the government out to be more powerful, slippery and omnipotent than it is. In turn, theorists unwittingly turn the public against government as groups question every facet of its social responsbilities. Perhaps this is a simplification, but my concern (and, ultimately, my own conspiracy theory) is that 9/11 conspriacy theorists are aided (and maybe funded) by those who dislike and distrust federal government. The more that government is seen as a failure, and an instigator of failure, the more likely the public will be to dismantle its services, including those for health, welfare, and security.
But tonight I watched MIT Engineer Breaks Down WTC Controlled Demolition
a video on Google that documents what seems to be a pretty serious flaw in the 9/11 story. Jeff King, the speaker and an engineer, notes that the buildings at the WTC pretty much could not have fallen the way they did without explosive assistance. He starts the video with televised reports, which I remember seeing the next day, about explosions downtown that may have helped or caused the fall.
This is the Fall. We’re in the Fall. The Fall has begun. It’s the Fall. We’re Falling. I’m Falling. You also are Falling. We are Falling.
A lot of folks have pointed their blogs towards the Noah Kalina’s striking Noah takes a photo of himself everyday for 6 years video. It’s quite a work. Kalina literally maps out the trajectory of his ovoid face (actually, the same shape as mine) by linking together thousands of still photographs that document his appearance every day for six years.
The entirety of the video, over the course of 5 minutes, runs quickly on YouTube but not so fast that you can’t tell how his surroundings changed during that time. The music, a beautiful though derivative score by Carly Comando, is also mesmerizing and moving and the video takes you down the slow-fast road of a single person’s life over quite a few years. You can see his hairline recede, his eyes sinking into his skull, his skin becoming more sallow, his cheeks losing their elasticity. You can see the rapid growth of hair and the solidity of his forehead but it is his eyes that, centered, lay claim to one’s imagination. His eyes stare at you, forming a relationship with you that is at once pleading and callow.
When I was at Brown, a guy named Jay Stuckey photographed himself for a year and put up the resulting Polaroids on the wall for a big show. It’s not a big deal to shoot yourself over the course of six years and make a nice video. But, in an age of publicly accessible obscurity and at a time of erased identities, I found Mr. Kalina’s work very unassuring and depressive in outlook, not unlike the 21 Up series that continues to captivate.
My hope: that Mr. Kalina continues with his project for another 44 years and that, 44 years from now, I would have the honor of watching 50 years of his life disappear on a screen.
For the past five years or so, there seems to have been (in my mind) a real dearth of good photography out there. Most of it was either very derivative of documentary photographers or it simply mocked photography in the 1990s. Boring.
Lately, it seems that there are quite a few artist photographers out there doing some beautiful and complicated work. Here’s a little list:
Trey Ratcliff’s Stuck in Customs, a photo blog filled with his heavily color manipulated images. I love his more “realistic” images, like the one of conservative writer Andrew Sullivan and this one of a gorgeous Eva.
Weird (but not too much) portraits by Noah Sheldon. They feel heavily de-masculinized as well, castrated to their core and gorgeous.
I may have noted her before, but I love the work of Rachel Papo and her website Serial No. 3817131. These are some of the most haunting, mezmerizing photos of Jewish women I’ve ever seen.
Old pal Jake Dobkin has been working away on some amazing photos of street art on his Streetsy. Jake’s got 50 fine pages of photography, each one richer than the next. His photography has been a real collaboration between himself and those who decorate the street. It’s asychronous aesthetic collectivism built on top of new technologies. Thanks, Jake.
It’s Labor Day here in Canada (and it’s not cold). (Here’s an inside tip: Canadians don’t think it’s funny when Americans ask, “Man, is it cold there?” during August or September.)
In fact, no one is working. Oh sure, the police and the firefighters and the hospital workers and a skeleton staff at the 7-11. We even got a package from the States today. (I learned yesterday that postal workers in Canada make very good dime.)
But everything else is closed. Safeway, Home Depot, every restaurant worth its salt and pepper, bookstores, sex shops, everything. All closed. Labor Day—time off. For everyone. But I really wish I could go shoe shopping for the Fall.
Here’s my motherfuckin’ company’s website, MANOVERBOARD, transliterated into the shiznit via Gizoogle. I couldn’ta said it better:
MANOVERBOARD: Web N Print Design N Dippin’.
MANOVERBOARD. Fo’-fo’ desert eagle to your motherfuckin’ dome: Web n print design, accessible websites, logos, corporate identities, n brand’n. I started yo shit and I’ll end yo’ shit.
• develops accessible, elegant n powerful websites tizzle bring thugz togetha
• builds corporate identities n printed materials tizzy bring thugz bizzle
• provides website analysis n Web design steppin’ that bring thugz results