My music

June 20, 2011

Here’s a link to some music I make with a trio in my apartment.  I’m on piano.

http://www.myspace.com/saltwaterandthefunky24bits

My Paintings

October 21, 2010

www.workingpaint.wordpress.com

I Heart Huckabees “head banging scene”

By using a jejune experiment, I think Smithson is pointing out the obvious in relation to the absurd, as usual through his subtle satire. By saying “prove” in the use of a jejune experiment, he is commenting on the fetishes of culture (of his time), by saying, in essence, a child playing in a sandbox does not need a probability equation to make him/her believe that he cannot make the sand reverse back into pure black and white. I think you need to read Smithson with a bit of a sense of humour, sometimes. It’s pretty funny, considering that an unenculturated, unknowledgeable child might believe in the irreversability of entropy (via a sandbox) moreso than some adults may believe so because of the probabilistic “conclusions” and methods of the sciences. In doing this, he is most certainly not berating the Sciences at all, but most likely pointing out the absurdity of believing otherwise.

It’s a mockery. This is what happens when people believe in certain highly probable things, like entropy or an external world.

Smithson might attribute the fetishes for “proof” and lack of belief to a very fundemental misunderstanding of language due to “the mania for literacy”. He continues in the essay to write, “References are often reversed so that the “object” takes the place of the “word”. A is A is never A is A, but rather X is A. The misunderstood notion of a metaphor has it that A is X – that is wrong.” The word is not the object, yet this might be the fundamental misconception of language that extends outward into our cultural biases about “art movements”, rather than our more acute cultural biases about art and the artist, or an idea and its creator. The fetish for literacy, to paraphrase Smithson, is due to language fears. These language fears are a cultural phenomenon, where the size of your vocabulary might be an expression of your language fear. The labels of “art movements” are curiously long-winded and innacurate, which is why some artists, and historians put quotes around them. They have become a convention where categorical limits are necessary, but the meaning of the term brings to mind something completely different than what it’s referring to. It might be more appropriate, for convention’s sake, to name periods in art history from one artists name to the next, or one artpiece to the last. So, “conceptual art” might better be called “Duchamp onward”, or “Fountain onward”.

But, why the misleading terms? I think we can look to the fetishes of capitalism for this answer. The illusory hierarchies that are a development of the “territory struggle”, where the illusion becomes a “concrete” cell, and the dreamy “power-structures” that are upheld by the powerful, are considered real. The powerful could be considered wardons of the powerless. The nightmare of a “prison” becomes all too real. The physical language involved in political, and social discourse is misleading in some cases, I think. They’re not “territories” or “structures” but mirages, fantasies, and illusions. They don’t take up space the way a building does, but destroy actual space through the power of abusing metaphor. Their abuse of metaphors creates hallucinatory delusions of “territory” and “structures.” These delusions, I think, create a reversed belief in metaphor that extends into the misconceptions, and thus mislabels that are prevelaent in movements throughout history.

If you don’t believe in entropy, Smithson might say, “find a child and ask them.”  Or, if you don’t believe in existence, the writers of I Heart Huckabees might say, “bash your head against something.”

Robert Smithson, (digitally “preserved”) photograph of a partially buried woodshed

woodshed

“I should now like to prove the irreversability of eternity by using a jejune experiment for proving entropy. Picture in your mind’s eye the sandbox divided in half with lack sand on one side and white sand on the other. We take a child and have him run hundreds of times around clockwise in the box until the sand gets mixed and begins to turn grey; after that, we have we have him run anti-clockwise, but the result will not be a restoration of the original division, but a greater degree of greyness and an increase of entropy.

Of course, if we filmed such an experiment we could prove the reversability of eternity by showing the film backwards, but then sooner or later the film itself would crumble or get lost and enter the state of irreversibility. Somehow this suggests that the cinema offers an illusive or temporary escape from physical dissolution. The false immortality of the film gives the viewer an illusion of control over eternity – but “the superstars” are fading.”

– Robert Smithson, “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic , New Jersey” (1967)

The importance of jejune, I think, lies in the regression to a childlike state of a lack of enculturated knowledge. The jejune is a possibility-space free from the illusionistic confines of the predominant cultural biases and attitudes. Before the abuse of power enculturates a child through inversions of metaphors, calling illusions “structures”, fantasies “concrete”, etc., the child is allowed to roam free from the biased cultural confines. Sure, they lack knowledge – but this is where the play and vividness of imagination comes from. Without social responsibilities, or cultural confinement, the child’s unenculturated imagination takes control of it’s experience. It is that powerful. Haven’t you ever seen a child run around in a “rampage” interacting with apparitions of thier own imaginations, almost to the point of mentaly transforming the architecture underneath a table, into the underside of a mountain? Scale, to the child is no longer a restriction. Tables can be mountains. Mountains can be tables. The concept of a “structure” to the child is interchangeable with “illusion”. There are no fantasies of “concreteness”, or “stasis” masquerading as real. The child is closer to the entropic realities, than some adults might think themselves to be. Some children have no mania for preservation, not because they have a concept of it, but because they lack the concept of it. They evolve along with cultural attitudes, and once the threshold of free inversion and interchangeability is passed into “locked” illusionistic metaphors determined scales, they slowly die out in a cultural dreamscape, they think is a landscape. We all do.

The jejune, then – regardless if this experiment still holds true with servers, and hard-drives today – is a telling expression of the power of both the imagination, and the cultural sublimation of it through metaphorical magic tricks.