My music

June 20, 2011

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

My Paintings

October 21, 2010

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” – Wittgenstein

Actuality has little to do with making sense and more to do with accepting nonsense.  Making sense is an activity that operates with 4-dimensional syntax and grammar (usage).  Logic (syntax and grammar) is a sequential (time) contextual (space) analysis – it is the rules “behind” making sense.  The limits of these rules – their boundaries – confine a sign and separate it from its context of signs, charging the symbol with meaning through its usage.  Logic gives form in an otherwise “undifferentiated mass of organic sensation”.  Without the form of a sign, it would have no meaningful content, but would rather be a powerless shape in a context of sameness.  There is a logical limit on the expressive power of languages.  What is beyond these limits is nonsense.  That is not to say that it is insignificant, but rather inexpressible.  The nonsense is something logic cannot limit.  It is either an infinity or a paradox that dissolves logic and all hopes of making sense.  The causal (sequential) way of interpreting the world is an active way of interpreting the world.  The passage of time is continuous, flowing and progressive.  Growth and decay are continuous, fluid movements.  This way of thinking of time, as Smithson pointed out, is a practical, active way of thinking about time, but has little to do with the impractical actuality of time – the present.  The present is unobtainable by any logical means.  This does not necessarily entail that it is unlimited, infinite and void.  (which Smithson might ascribe to the present)  But if time were a place where events happened, the active (logical) event would cease to happen as soon as it happened.  The present – the actual – is a space without limits… it is a space apart from logical (limited) expressive meaningful space.  It is an incomprehensible infinity of possibilities where there is no correct or incorrect.  It is a meaningless context of sameness… unobtainable.  The present is inactive.  There is no movement in an instant of time.  It is a pause between the future and the past.

The future criss-crosses the past in an unobtainable present.”  – Smithson “Quasi-infinities of a Waning Space”  Logic cannot obtain the present.  Feeling cannot seize the present.

The inactive present avoids logic and experience because it has no limits.  What we experience is the future criss-crossing the past.  This is an active, expressive time with limits that change.  It can be mapped.  Progression and evolutionary notions of time turn into logical (epistemic) tools to map action.  This time makes sense.  Using this time, the world makes sense.  Without this active time, there is no sense to be made.  It is, as Smithson suggested, an infinite void of sameness – no limits – no form – nothing to make sense out of.  Logic requires active, continuous time.  It is fundamental to thinking.  This is not to say that all of our provisional theories are wrong.  They are correct.  But they are only correct because they are within the limits of logic.  There is no correct or incorrect outside the limits of language and logic.

The interpretations of actuality have infinite possibilities, none of which are correct or incorrect.  There are historically contingent provisional theories built on logical, fallible foundations that cannot be proven correct or incorrect because the foundation (axiom) floats without context.  There is no map of the map.  The world described is limited by the epistemic tools at hand.  The world felt is limited by the glass (sensing) body.  The nonsites eliminate the body from setting up limits, to let the world set the limits.

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.”


January 28, 2009


What does it feel like?


The dots penetrate the body. I’d say this feels more like acupuncture than saying, “acupuncture penetrates the body with needlelike precision. It is a simultaneous multiplicity of bodily sensations.” I think the visual metaphor is more powerful.

The Surreal Undermining the Real

“[The trumpet] sounds human. It sounds like a voice. Sometimes I can get it to sound like a… another voice.” – Miles Davis (60 Minutes Interview)

Some of you might find this five part youtube series of Miles playing live with Wayne Shorter, Jack De Johnette, Chick Corea and Dave Holland fairly interesting. I particularly like the exchanges between Chick (on Keys) and Miles, beginning about halfway through 3 of 6. They are speaking to each other in notes, but mostly phrases. The conversations begin with an exchange of some notes, maybe roughly equivilant to a greeting – meeting each other in a harmony, where the mutual compassion for one another is asking “where are you?”, rather than “how are you?” The location of Chick and Miles in the soundscape is a compassionate, humble questioning. The development of conversation becomes a transcendence of Miles from himself, and Chick from himself, where these spatial entities become distinct from the person Blowing, or tapping out the notes. It is “another voice”, that is not Miles’ nor Chick’s, but an evolving conversation spawing from the asking of “where are you?” to the exchange of phrases that develop into a textural, colorful, spatial conversation of the textural, colorful, spatial play itself. They leave thier bodies, not to enter the others body, but to enter the dissonances and resonances of their creative soundscape, where the self, nor the body can seem to reach the complexity of the creative soundscape. In other words, it could be said that their bodies of experience are transformed entirely into sound (texture, color, line, space). It reaches heights of soundplay where even the body is forgotten. It reminds me of a quote by Einstein where he writes, “To really live, is to live outside of oneself.” For Miles, I think, living was living outside of his body, into the body of sound.

In these recordings, there is something surreal going on that is more real than the verbal interactions of talking. The surreal displaces the real into dreamlike status. The alternate undermines the primary, where the roles are exchanged.

 or, Symbolic Agoraphobia