the suspended orb speaks volumesPosted on March 4th, 2015
…and the dreams of a complex world.Posted on March 24th, 2014
Notes on the 4thPosted on July 4th, 2013
Walter had a house few doors down from my childhood home in Hayward, CA. He lived there with his wife, who I rarely ever saw, and never knew the name of. The outside of their home was always very tidy and well maintained. They had two nearly identical Volkswagon Rabbits which were kept in like-new condition. He could be seen daily in the late afternoon, in aviator sunglasses and white fedora, watering his meticulously cared for lawn and hedges.
I always waved to, and had on several occasions chatted with Walter: he was consistently nice to me, soft-spoken (tho I had witnessed him yelling at other neighbor children for stepping on his property). My dad told me that Walter had been a soldier in Vietnam. Although I didn’t know much about Vietnam at that point, this fact simultaneously frightened and intrigued me.
Walter’s choice of porch decorations also contributed to my intrigue. On nationalistic holidays, such as the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and the like, Walter had a variety of flags he would hang out front of his house: it was either the hammer & sickle flag of the Soviet Union, or, more often, a classic skull and crossbones/Jolly Roger pirate flag. He also had a bust of what looked like the devil which he had hanging on his porch no matter what calendar day it happened to be. I never asked him specifically about these objects, but, even as a child, I believed him to be more of a contrarian than a Satanist, Russian, or pirate. And more, I liked it. Somehow, this notion of absurdly, and boldly displaying the opposite iconography than what was expected by his suburban neighbors exhilarated me. Now, it’s quite possible I could have been wrong about his intentions, but regardless, since then, for me, the forth of July has become as intrinsically linked to the skull and crossbones flag and the upheaval/upset of the norm as it is to fireworks, hot dogs, and the National Anthem.
Earlier today I decided to stop in at the Roswell, NM Goodwill store and look over their used records. I was flipping through and found a nice copy of some 70′s film soundtracks including W.Carlos’ “A Clockwork Orange” theme, the vinyl in what looked to be pristine condition. This made me smile. Two men approached the place where I was thumbing through titles. We began discussing how it was a shame there were no real record stores in town, and how so many were closing across the country. One of the men, Larry, an avid record collector from Los Angeles, was just passing through Roswell, scoping out a possible, or what sounded to be more inevitable, relocation to the city. Larry’s talk of moving came with a sense of urgency and helplessness, which made me a bit sad. He did not go into details, but gave some mention of Los Angeles, while having been his home for most of his life, was not conducive to a peaceful mind. He went on to say there was nothing left for him to hold on to there and that, for some undisclosed reason, Roswell was his only viable option. The conversation slowly shifted back towards the joy of music. His eyes lit up when we found a common interest in 1970s experimental rock such as Cluster, and Can, and Neu! His friend looked to be growing impatient of our increasingly esoteric banter, and we parted ways, wishing each other luck in the paths that lead from that point, both of us smiling. I hope Larry finds Roswell to be as welcoming, peaceful, and oddly inspiring as I have.
Yesterday, July 3, 2013, marked 10 years since I first arrived in North Adams, MA, a place that has been my home for nearly the entirety of that decade. My first real home away from the S.F. Bay Area, in North Adams I had discovered an independence from my familiar upbringings, and an amazingly supportive community; my family away from family. Independence is a funny notion, something we strive to find, only to realize it’s basically a fallacy: we not only need each other, we are each other: all one, messy conflicted beautiful horrible organism, and yet, it seems that every so often I have the need to extract myself again from that familiar structure, in search of freedom, knowing it’s a doomed cycle. But somehow I enjoy it, the whole process of seeking, establishing, connecting, growing, and, inevitably, becoming restless, and looking out toward unknown mythical mutations. I’m so thankful to have made that journey 10 years ago, to have met the fine people I have, and now find myself on another journey, uncertain of where it leads, but certain I will always be able to find home.
Dream Journal: Glowing Blue LightPosted on June 17th, 2013
I woke up with the feeling this was a re-occurring dream: can only remember a small segment of something that feels as though it was immensely larger. A desert-like downtown, it is daytime, very dusty storefronts, dirt streets. There is a hat shop. An older man, who I knew makes leather hats for the shop, enters the storefront to talk with the proprietor. I had heard about him but never seen what he looks like. He had long grey hair and dressed in all hand stitched black leather (which I’m assuming he’d designed and assembled). Something about the old man seems unnatural. I’m very uncertain what it is.
Jump to tree-lined neighborhood, older colonial houses, it is nighttime: a dim glowy blue light reflects off of everything. A young girl and her mother stand in a driveway. The mother is holding a rabbit and telling the young girl that if she stabs the rabbit it will live forever. The girl stabs the rabbit, it bleeds out and dies. Her mother is gone and the young girl is yelling and crying about her mother being a liar. There is a pile of medium-to-large-sized objects on the curb (big trash day perhaps). Many of the objects were large glass jugs (5 gallons). I told the girl that we needed to break the glass jugs in order to repair everything. We start rabidly going through the garbage piles, breaking the glass. We come upon a creature in one of the piles of trash: a dog. it is bleeding. The girl seems extremely happy. It was her dog that had gone missing several weeks back. The dog seems confused, scared, and runs away. The girl runs after it. There are now haphazard heaps of glass chairs in the garbage piles. Everything is broken. The girl comes back moments later, crying.
Back to the desert storefront, daytime. I am now inside the hat shop. I approach the proprietor. I say, “I saw the old man come in here earlier today, the one that makes those hats over there. I always wondered what he looks like.” The proprietor replied, “Oh no, that wasn’t him, that was one of his followers that lives in the hills with him. Every once and a while they come to town to get away from him. He must drive them crazy.” and then a pause. The proprietor continued, “The old man died earlier this afternoon.” It seemed like I knew that already, and I told the proprietor, “In seeing what I thought was the old man earlier, I thought, ‘He is going to die soon.’” The proprietor lifted his eyebrows.
Dream Journal: The MovePosted on May 20th, 2013
There was desperation in the move that was taking place. The skies were dark but the buildings and streets were all visible, though I don’t recall there being lamps of any sort. There was a stone church, tucked away in an alleyway, with a steeple that extended high above the surrounding buildings. I was rushing up the stairs to the ladder that climbed the steeple: there was a very inconvenient storage chamber up there. I was tremendously unprepared. Several friends, following close behind, had shown up to help me, though they could only stay a short while as they themselves were also needing to get out of town. I knew my tent and sleeping bag were in there a midst several unorganized boxes of valuable stuff, and that I would need those wherever I was going. Once reaching the top of the steeple, we looked out, the entire environment was swaying, I realized that although I felt stable, it was the steeple swaying, and had to assure my friends that it was safe. I told them, “that’s just what it does all the time.” Sean Riley was looking over the edge of a railing at the swaying environment & smiling. I’ve dreamt this church before, the swaying steeple, the ominous tense atmosphere. The situation was familiar, comforting.
I opened the door to the storage chamber, it was musty and smelled of damp cardboard. I began rifling through the boxes looking for my tent. Down below in the alleyway, there was a large figure approaching the church (whirling lines of energy, not unlike the Tasmanian Devil, but with more of a humanoid form). When encountering a person, it would lift them up and shake them until the bond between their cells broke…something like that, I’m unsure of the science…they just fell apart. Also, this monster was my child and was desperately looking for me.
There was a 16 wheeler involved. I think it was supposed to meet us and haul my stuff, and somehow act as a defense strategy, intercepting the whirling energy lines creature. An agent of some sort, a familiar entity, was driving….I’m fuzzy on the details. The truck never reached us, it went off the road just out of town, and headed into alfalfa fields (a trail of mud and smoke rose into the air behind it). The green of the alfalfa was lush and deep in the glowy bluish light.
The water may be bitter…Posted on February 7th, 2013
A month has gone by since I’ve arrived here in Roswell. I’m not certain I’m surprised by this, but time passes very quickly here.
The summation: I’ve done a lot of conceptualizing, had a lot of long in depth phone conversations with friends and collaborators, played with tape loops quite a bit, ordered and still awaiting 9 audio cassette players for what will be a coin operated ouroboros tape loop reichian drum circle machine, made two video pieces (one for my new electric drone rock outfit I’m calling Tiros Won! – to be released world-wide-web-wide in the next few weeks, and one with collaborative entity with Jamie Lee Mohr, Trust/Fail, viewable [here] …a Trust/Fail art show is accumulating), recorded and written several songs (to be released as Tiros Won! under a new publishing entity by myself, Forest Graham and Savannah Lamal, Blank Magic, LLC… sneak peak/fundraiser is imminent), started planning a series of drawings and paintings, made some headway on a painting I owe my former studio-mate David and his son Ariel which involves a lot of tentacles, acquired a new interest in stained glass and neon beer signs to compliment my continued interest in light, and beer, taking a ceramics class on Tuesday evenings, currently building an architectural wall work that very possibly could end up being pretty cool, revamped and expanded Ghost Radio, a piece which debuted at last year’s DeCordova Biennial, for an upcoming exhibition at Salisbury University in Maryland, found a local karaoke joint, Billy Ray’s which has karaoke evenings two nights a week, and, Karaoke, I’m finding, is a key component to my art-making, and my understanding of contemporary folk culture (reclaiming overproduced media product into visceral home-brewed ritual). An essay on this in the works.
Also, on the natural end of the world, not to far from the compound here is the Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge. It is awesome. I’m just going to say this: check out dragonfly nymph jaws. They’re nuts. Oh, and they also have butt water jets.
Welcome to Roswell.Posted on January 5th, 2013
Arrived day before yesterday in Roswell, New Mexico, for a year-long stint of making things here: www.rair.org [link] . I’m ridiculously humbled and honored to be here.
“All America City” aka “Alien City,” Roswell’s population was 48,366 at the time of the 2010 census. Elevation, 3,573 ft. I’ve heard there’s a good salad bar downtown somewhere. Also, a weather balloon crash landed 75 miles from here in 1947.
After a day of spending a lot of time to myself setting up my living and studio spaces, an evening of meeting many new faces ensued. Ryder Richards [link], a fellow grantee, set up his studio space as an ad-hoc gallery, a box within a box in which he curates monthly exhibits. Last night was a reception for Jonathan Whitfill [link], an amiable fellow from Lubbock, Texas who elegantly destroys book with beautiful results, within Ryder’s “Cube” gallery. Is it wrong that I want to lick work that’s deeply encased in resin?
Another fellow grantee, Natasha Bowdoin [link], opened her studio doors for viewing. Densely layered paper-cutting text/painting organic mutations of space, form, and language. Something very plankton-like/micro-gone-macro about her work. I like a lot. Oh, and there were marionette tigers! Very much looking forward to seeing what she turns out over the course of the year.
A late morning in the future.
Front centre a small table, the two drawers of which are open.
On the table, a tape-recorder with microphone and an overly-full box of recorded cassette tapes.
An alien disguised as a coyote sitting at the table, facing front, a wearish old dog.
Cracked low voice. Distinctive intonation.
“This is not a lip sync contest, this is full contact karaoke.”
OidPosted on November 19th, 2012
Wolfgang Rottger (aka Spheroid, aka Morgen Wurde) is a talented sound artist/composer from Kiel, Germany. Oid is the result of a remote collaboration between him and myself way back in 2000, released in 2001. In the late 90′s early 00′s I was running a cdr label called Throat. He had sent me several intriguing ambient tracks: spacious stretchy liquid granular blippy loveliness, one of which ended up on Throat’s first compilation “Error Cycle” (which may be a future upload…) in 1999. Oid was a process which involved both of us sending source sounds to each other which were subsequently torn apart, stretched, manipulated into what ended up being these three final tracks. Wolfgang, under the name Morgen Wurde continues to produce some incredibly beautiful sounds which can be heard *here* [link].
Listen/download “Oid” *here* [link].
BlownPosted on November 19th, 2012
Blown is a set of 4 compositions created between 2003 & 2004 originally released on a the French cdr label, Naninani, and was limited to 100 copies. Sounds which make up this recording were primarily collected throughout Oakland, CA using a mini disc recorder and a set of binaural mics as well as a thrift-store-find portable cassette recorder. Field recordings range from the 4th of July from atop a warehouse in west Oakland, to the wind blowing cracking/squeaking Eucalyptus trees in Joaquin Miller & Redwood Regional Parks.
An effort to misuse, investigate and transform language toward a more visceral state is an ongoing thread through a lot of the things I make, both visual and aural. This recording, “Blown” attempts to allow its title to function in all of its meanings at once: from the force behind a gentle indirect movement, to the result of a violent eruption, the word is used less as an adjective describing a specific state of something , and more as a body encompassing of a multiplicity of experience.
Listen/download “Blown” *here* [link].
Beaver MillPosted on August 27th, 2012
Emptiest this room has been in quite some time.