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Not A Mirror, Not A Black Mirror.

January 18, 2017

The subject/object kerfuffle in European philosophy has kept a very great number of confusing expositors in business for a long time. Whether Hegel or Kant or Freud or Heidegger or Foucault, in the end you get the unmistakeable sense that a mind is a terrible thing to make.

And so here we are.

After many years making audio recordings of musicians great and not so much, I came to know what kind of recording I like – the well made live performance. But it was not until practicing photography in a non-journalistic way that I realized why. It has to do with the subject/object, mind/matter division that has plagued Whitey since Sophocles. 

When you take a photo, the mind meets the matter – the subject meets the object – at the location of the camera, and the camera makes an image. That image is not a memory, not a slice of time, not a record of the event (!) and certainly not a story. It is a photograph. 

If you want to make something else out of it, that’s your problem.

the scores of ishmael wadada leo smith, ten freedom summers, and the specter of race

December 12, 2016

I need add nothing here.

The Hum Blog


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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


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.


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


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


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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My photos are on Flickr

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