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You’re An Idiot

November 1, 2016

l1000595 I have devised a mental exercise for myself in which I look at a photograph and try to see it without allowing my mind to identify any objects in the photo. Just lines and shapes and tones, but not faces or cars or whatever is recognizable. To see without recognition. While not very easy, it’s possible to an extent.

But I realized it is seemingly impossible (without powerful drugs) to do with sound and speech. Once a sound is heard, if it’s recognizable, it’s almost impossible to hear without recognition. Speech is the same way; if it’s in your language, you can’t hear it without meaning. If bottled as music or poetry there is some hope, as the thinking mind can be overcome by the unnatural or the absurd. But otherwise, you’re trapped.

Ah, mind of distinction, you’re a useful idiot!

This is why art must be of no use.

(assembly by Dina Knapp, photo by the author.)


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The Old Man Checks His Phone

October 31, 2016

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A soul, shrink wrapped in skin.

It is our bodies that separate us.
Single us out.

But broken down, defenseless
What we call dead
Cell walls collapse
First proteins,
Now indistinguishable.
Disintegrated as self
Reintegrated with dirt.

Timeless.

Just what a Buddhist
Or a martyr
Would ask for.

The old man eats a pizza
And checks his phone.

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The Art Job

August 11, 2016

I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance.” ~ Sojourner Truth

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That which is invisible
Because of its nature
As unreflective of light
And unresponsive to pressure
Like scores, and programs and instructions for instance
Like the Fifth Symphony, or the Dharma,
or any story before it’s told
or gods of all sorts;
All of those things or non-things
All of those potentials
Undetectable and immeasurable
Without form or substance
Vastly outnumber what appears to be.

The artist’s job,
He said with arrogance
Is to make a representation,
Speaking in metaphors,
Of what is invisible.
Not to make shit up.


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It Doesn’t Mean Anything

August 2, 2016

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It is often said that a good photograph tells a story.

Maybe so, but a great photograph doesn’t.

It is a single sound, a word, if you must think of it that way.

A message without meaning.

Speechless and silent, it stays put

As the light hit the sensor.


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Or, Where the photon hits the sensor, that’s where the trouble began…

July 31, 2016

img791In the 21st century
Any monkey can make art.
I’m trying to make a decent photograph.

Leica didn’t acknowledge the existence of electricity until 1985. Images are made with photons, not electrons.

In the future, after the age of electricity, we will do all our work with light, and everything will be as it appears.

We shall be as gods.


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The Momentum of History

May 30, 2016

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door
Mass in motion,
Matter through space

It is non-fiction
With weight and inertia.

A boulder rolling
Downhill in time
Flattens out patterns of data
Like craters on the moon.

In ink of crushed bones and feathers
Innumerable body parts
Rusted machines and blown out buildings
What we call a story
Is pressed onto pages
As images.
The fiction we conjure
From marks left by rocks in time
This is what we tell to our children.

History has momentum
Because it is made
Of matter in motion.

And it doesn’t matter, really
What the TV says.

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Been There, Done That, Will Do It Again.

April 29, 2016

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Last night we were sitting under a canopy
At a large banquet table
A gathering
Attended by servants
Who brought fine wines and waters
And plate after plate of exquisite food.
Delicate beef, fish and octopus.

As in Da Vinci’s Last Supper
The master sat in the center
And we craned our necks
To catch some tidbit from his lips
That would open our minds
So we could be like him.
Generous and kind,
Magnanimous and wise.

Suddenly the centuries condensed
And the time space collapsed.
I remembered the event in every past epoch.
In this same place, at this same table,
Under this same tent.
The same discussion of the esoteric way.
“Four hundred years ago” I said, “Shakespeare died.”
“We’ve done this many times.”

There was the funeral scene in Satyricon
When they eat the dead poet.
The body of Christ, The body of Christ.
“I feel guilty when I eat octopus” said the poet next to me.
“The question is, ‘how guilty?'” I said.
“Not guilty enough” came the obvious answer
As the knife cut through the tentacle.

“Better a moment of nausea
For a lifetime of wealth.” Fellini said.

We’ve done this many times.
We’ll do it again.


* image of Lazaro Godoy


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