Frequency

To be too caught up in who you are is to ignore the becoming. Life hurls us through time and it’s hard to be still. If we look only to the past and what divides us we won’t see that this earth is the most amazing and beautiful chance to be. Power is ease but it is combustable and tends to burn the earth. When I breathe and consider all, living closer to the wild earth, our common channel of communication, there is a frequency that is unnameable, indefinable, yet undeniably important to listen to.

A Stalwart Heart

Who stands up against oppression must have a stalwart heart. Correction will surely follow even such a heart if there is allowance for injustice in the name of power. The history of fighting injustice is littered with good intentions. A path is clear and finding a path that does not allow for oppression is right over the next hill. It is ever present as well as elusive. It’s not like there is a longed for destination that isn’t a vision for good will and friendship. Such a vista can inspire, so the quest for this scope is an enduring one. And history repeats itself when dishonesty is implimented as a shortcut to destination.

When one thinks light exists only in one canon or evangelism it may be hard to peel back the blinders all the way. Call for directions. Or think for yourself.

Return to life.

When we go on a hike it often takes us longer than average because we find ourselves investigating in wonder all the details along the way. We were within the forests around the Valle Caldera where there was a fire in 2013, along Thompson Ridge, burning nearly 24,000 acres of forest because a human’s electric line went down.

The beauty of the forest is returning though. There were signs of elk and deer bedding under trees and grazing the thick grasses that have repopulated the area rich in nutrients released by the burn. The wild iris were everywhere, from the low forest to the high meadows.

Nature works in ways that we barely understand. It brings life and death regardless of our human intelligence and meddlesome ways. Nature never does the exact same thing over and won’t keep like a museum of unchanging specimens for us to study. Nature will always correct what we mess up but it won’t be as before. I don’t have rose colored glasses on. The elements and energy have an entire universe of space and time to work with.

We don’t understand movement or change very well. I think, because we want it under our control and observation, most have little respect for that movement. In our need to harness nature and prove our power of survival, we don’t know how to respect and be open to that movement. It’s not that observation and study is not worth doing, trying to understand is important, it’s just that in that effort to understand we often make assumptions and become arrogant. Our needs often become taken care of by specialization of task and nature’s benevolence, so we forget and become closed to the infinity of possibility so we can rush towards a goal. I cannot help but ask, what is the rush? Where are we really going anyway?

 

At what point do you stop asking the question why?

I thought on my way to work:

When a perception I have is put into words it is my responsibility to analyze my inner dialogue and hold it up against what else I know before I voice it . However, I am a biological creature and do not have a view of everything and can only know what my limited view has shown me. I embrace this attitude of humility because although I have given much time and thought to the question – why our world is, like it is, I cannot presume to know, without deeper questioning the extent of another experience. Or the extent of the ancestral histories that add weight to the experience. I see a lot of deeper histories left out of dialogues, often in order to add gravity to a particular experience. So with that in mind I think the real solution is not to control the narrative by powerful policy but to share on a big scale a searching and open dialogue. It is easy to find reasons to discount another voice, it is much harder to find love and allow another to explore the depth of their experience. Real, honest thoughts are fragile, tenuous and easily destroyed, and destroying a heart causes anger and frustration in that heart. Some say anger and hate is inevitable because we are emotional creatures, but how do we choose what perception gets all the emotional passion? It is part of responsibility to take a deeper look at what is hurting a fellow man, not searching for reasons to hate and create emotions too hard to quench with love.

Traditions and evolving conscience.

There are some traditions, ancient in nature, that may seem cruel and hard to a modern world doing nothing more to procure food than drive a fuel powered vehicle to the store…Which to me makes it quite obvious that this ‘modern’ culture doesn’t really know what is best for everyone with this top down approach to consciousness. I say this because it’s not sustainable if all the billions of people lived that way.

People for ages have sought to separate themselves from that harshness that can come from tradition. The world is changing very fast though and obliterating traditions in a rush to make everyone represent values that are not for all seems destructive in the name of a progress that isn’t always progressive when it dampens the spirit of those that feel differently.  Just because something works for one person does not mean it works for another.  This argument is usually used against more conservative traditions but is equally righteous when families want the freedom to be in community in a way that isn’t always tolerant to modern thought. While traditions should not ignore the evolution of consciousness, the evolution of consciousness is deeper than the speedy change in mentality that many progressives try to force upon everyone just because they feel that their way is better or more enlightened. While stereotyping is vulgar, political correctness seems to be used in the same spirit.  Is this the grey area that we should concentrate our respect towards?

The ancient tale of the hero’s journey comes to mind.

Dare I say that Nelson Mandela’s story is a courageous example of the hero’s journey. It is told that he was to marry into the tribe where he was born and to live there with that community.  He wanted something different so he left to seek a way of life that he perhaps could feel more authentic about, perhaps he knew he had something more to do. In his bravery he changed the world and re-wrote history for many that got stuck in that grey area of not being allowed to seek an authentic life.

I wonder about those he left behind, what world do they belong to?

As the modern world changes and people create new community based on very different circumstances will we remember what a man like Mandela came from? Are they holding on to something important?

I like studying the emotional life of whale pods. They really stick together naturally.

neutral has meaning here.

i think it is great when policies are watched, when people care about them being created and think them through to the ends.  also keeping them as simple as possible. communications policy is a place for thinkers for sure. there is always an open door for creating opportunities in ways that create light and positivity if we allow. it could be taken as foolishness to do so as the cynicism runs deep but it is also, i think, hopeful and i would enjoy if i could help keep a positive way alive. i feel that the netherlands, in making a statement for innovative communication, keeps those communications far, far reaching. open, noticed by anyone who finds the connection. good decision making is so huge and communication lines closing feels unnatural and if too much power is held over the decisions… how could we think for ourselves? everyone is different. i listen.

ars article, netherlands becomes worlds second net neutrality country.

i would rather not give in to conspiracy or media/ice-sheet-darkness. of course one does not want to be ignorant of happenings but we cannot see or know everything. i relate to the indigenous way of living with nature, starting close and staying close to ancestors, family, neighbors, or those relations that are born of like-mindedness (which is easier to bring into touch through open communication). real people with real stories. not so much at the at0mic speed or time, cut and ticking on to something only based on a concept of order.  unless that power is of the most dire need.

could that condensed reality really be necessary to harness?

perhaps, perhaps not but the statistics and even recorded history correlate with the necessity, that power, being a part of how humans have reacted in the past, not just one name of one person, is showing an important pattern.  names seem to become symbols of what is made into a seeming scape goat for bad behavior.

later the symbol becomes another name and the game of not connecting the dots continues the chase of who to blame.  blame a name, very distracting indeed.

even rabbit guides

don’t go fast as light.

the cat would have pointed out

it’s not a chase.

the magic is not

insisting on seeing the spark or pointing it out

compressing it to it’s limit.

rather letting it be

movement and light.

i’ve learned from some that good decision making starts early and when compressed too much, can get hot.  Too much heat and you have a meltdown. To little and you never have a spark. But what is the baseline?

It’s all connected.

here is a picture of spiko creating cool shadows.

spiko frame

Archaic values.

I have found that I relate to Gary Snyder’s way.  So completely that I cannot put what I really mean into words.  His sense of balance and freedom, his sense for sophistication necessarily being deeply rooted in nature. He softly reminds me of the importance of genuine connection in this world and to stay true to the integrity of that connection.

I find his way so free of control values that I think his words mean something different to everyone depending on where their home is.  Just reading this small excerpt from The Practice of the Wild revives in me the importance of what I sense to be devalued in modern society,  “Learning the birds and the flowers is not just high school science or nature study – it’s local etiquette.  It’s rude not to know your neighbors, you know?”

My appreciation of Snyder’s work is currently elevated to reverence. I see my own thinking in his words.

“Some folks hold that everything is a social construction, and I add that society is a natural construction, including the industrial and the toxic.” Gary Snyder from The Art of Poetry Number 47The Paris Review

“As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth . . . the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.” ~Gary Snyder

Reasoning.

An interview of Shepard Fairey and Mike Miller discussing their collaborative Easy E tribute piece.

What strikes you most about Easy E’s involvement between the battle of free speech and obscenity?

SF: Freedom of speech is really, really important, so ya know…  the idea of obscenity to me… I can’t even relate to that concept because if it can happen in the real world then it can’t be obscene, obscene would be about something that couldn’t happen, so violent that it’s not possible.  But human beings are capable of a lot, so just reporting on what human beings have done is never going to be obscene.  There’s a debate about whether it’s glorifying or not…  I think people are sophisticated enough to see the difference between license people take creatively and what they are encouraging.  But yeah, I may not want my seven year old listening to NWA but I still think that NWA and Easy E have every right to produce the work they produce.

MM: To touch on what Shepard said… All they did was to explain how the streets were…  There were strawberries in every neighborhood.  Everything that was going on in their music was directly from the streets…  They didn’t make up what was going on in the lyrics, it was just the truth.

Link to the Shepard Fairey, Mike MIller discussion.

Influenced by the exploration of applications.

Such an amazing part of the world. It takes me a long time to get a sense of place and honestly I haven’t yet found my place but living in Albuquerque has been an interesting experience. I could see myself living a long time in this land of enchanting colors and friendly encounters. I am often astounded at the beauty of nature in such a arid environment. This shot frames the sand hill cranes coming to winter along the Rio Grande.

In the age of internet media.

Rhizome has supported innovation and artistic exploration on the internet for about 13 years. Founded in 1996 as only an email list subscribed to by some of the first online artists, Rhizome created a space for artists working in emerging technologies to exhibit work, critique and define this new media and archive the work which is quite ephemeral as dot com time limits can expire.

Rhizome is a non profit and this month are holding a benefit: Rhizome 2009 Benefit There are still many spaces left on the $50,000 web page. Buy a pixel or a ticket to the event which will include works by innovative artists.

Mission

Rhizome is dedicated to the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology. Through open platforms for exchange and collaboration, our website serves to encourage and expand the communities around these practices. Our programs, many of which happen online, include commissions, exhibitions, events, discussion, archives and portfolios. We support artists working at the furthest reaches of technological experimentation as well as those responding to the broader aesthetic and political implications of new tools and media. Our organizational voice draws attention to artists, their work, their perspectives and the complex interrelationships between technology, art and culture.

Rhizome is located in the New Museum.

the new museum

Myth and Modern Culture

Darren Mahuron is a photographer in demand. He and his wife Lisa work in Fort Collins, Colorado creating commissions and artworks that are highly imaginative and metaphorical. Darren’s friends describe him as a passionate artist who is unpretentious, unstoppable and a natural at visualizing his imagination. I first saw his work when Gabriella Louise showed me the photograph he had done to promote her as a musician.

This piece (below) MEDEA 3 illustrates an interestingly modern interpretation of an ancient greek myth, the tragedy of Medea.

medea-3

Darren lent me his ear and answered a couple of questions about what inspires him and a little about how he achieves the beautiful textures and colors within his photos. The Mahuron’s work can be seen at the online gallery, Darren Mahuron: Photographer.

Sounds like you’ve been a visual storyteller for some time now… what is it about our world that inspires you to create?

I am inspired by many things; Music, Literature, Film, People, Places, Relationships. I love to travel, I enjoy conversation, most often topics that go well below the surface. I am passionate about life and death. I rarely look at other photographers work so as to not be influenced.

Looking at your web gallery I see a lot of metaphor in your work. Can you talk about the inspiration for this kind of storytelling?

Many of my ideas come from listening to music or reading. I love pre-christian history, Greek Mythology and politics, they all play a part in my storytelling I suppose. I typically have the idea as a visual first and then begin to understand it’s meaning later or sometimes never. Some of the ideas in my work have also come from my wife Lisa or the subject or as a collaboration.

In discovering digital photography what struck you first about the medium?

I really discovered Photoshop first. It was very intuitive for me. Digital photography was a tool to get a file into Photoshop to mess around with. That’s how it started for me. I like photography more now that I understand it better, but I still consider myself more of a digital painter than a photographer.

In your photographs, the first thing I sense is your grit and texture, it seems that you use high contrast lighting to start achieving this effect. Can you talk a little bit about why you frequently choose this pallet?

I try and create a consistent world that is dirty, or gritty, a little edgy maybe as a way to communicate my ideas. Not sure why I started down this road, it just resonates with me.

One distinction in your photographs are the shadows and rich colors, it seems that you shoot above the ambient with the strobes… or do you achieve the depth in post?

I’m not completely sure what “above the ambient” means actually.  I’m self taught, and I just do what I think looks right. One way I’ve learned to improve on my contrasty look is to shoot with brighter lights. This saves me time in post. It also allows me to shoot at say F22 rather than F2.8 which gives me a larger depth of field and more detail to work with later in Photoshop.

As far as advertising, I really enjoy the Exist campaign. The photographs illustrate the fears we see in our minds as we are driving around the city, and also the fears of biking around the city.  To create events like those must require a bit of pre-production, are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of photographer or do you plan ahead meticulously?

I’m a pretty meticulous planner. I always have the shot in my head before going on location. I typically know how I’m going to light it as well. I sometimes will also loosely draw the image so that I know the composition will work.
I definitely try and allow for some spontaneity while on location, but that typically has more to do with allowing the model freedom inside the controlled set and lighting.

I tried to learn from your techniques in this photo of my husband Brooks could you give me a critique? He wanted all of his freckles to show and we were trying to recreate something similar in detail and texture as this cover of Wired Magazine because it is so the opposite of airbrushed perfection.

wired

bb_style_portrait

Sure. By comparing the photos the number one issue keeping you from getting the look that I think you are going for is the lighting. I think you’ve done some interesting things in post, but without strategically placed, high contrast lighting, it will end up a little flat.

If you were starting over again, what flash/strobe would you start with?

I started with Alien Bees actually because they were the least expensive lights that were still getting positive reviews. I still use them.

If there is anything you would like to say other artists please do.

People often ask me about short-cuts. I don’t really know of any. I spend 4-12 hours on each image. Also, the best way to get better is to try and shoot or photoshop ever single day. I think work ethic is more important than just about anything else art related. If you want to make a living doing photography or art, it’s simple, just work longer and harder than your competition.

Coraline artist panel at Nucleus.

Gallery Nucleus has recently hosted a Coraline Production Artist PanelSteve Lambe has posted most of the event which Sean Szeles recored during the talk. The talks are also viewable on YouTube.

MEET some of the PRODUCTION ARTISTS that worked on the movie as they drop by to discuss their contributions to the film, along with the production and artistic process for this highly anticipated visual masterpiece.

Nucleus, located in California, hosts many emerging artists, illustrators, animators and interactive work.

coraline talks at nucleus

Coraline was done in stop frame animation, all of the finish work and pre-production that went into it though are enormous contributions and art in their own right. The original story was created by a favorite of mine, Neil Gaiman, directed by Henry Selik renound for many films such as the “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Social media for disease control.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has taken the social media model and in doing so has made it so much easier to find current information on product recalls to infection outbrakes.  The recent peanut butter recall is highlighted here. The blogs that keep outbreak news updated, the webinars to allow bloggers to stay up to date on outbreaks and recalls and to ask questions of FDA and CDC subject matter experts, the searchable databases where information on products can be found and much more are available to anyone with access to a computer.

This kind of information is pertinent in our fast paced, multifarious world.

Super Bowl Ad.

Ahhh, the beautiful and plentiful broadcast time put aside for advertising during the Super Bowl.  This year my absolute fave was the ‘Heist‘ done by Psyop and Weiden + Kennedy Portland. The little tricksters are brilliant in the use of illusion and subtlety! Full list of Credits. The sweet crane shot at the beginning is just perfect for setting up the scene to be somewhere between dream and reality.

butterlies as coca cola