23 May, 2008

via jackson pollock

here's a picture which proves the life of the artist is at least half purely aesthetic. the look: the concentration: the demonstration of sheer brilliance: in reality this was a project of a japanese art history class during Japan Week on campus. everyone who walked by was invited to paint a circle on the paper, signifying zen enlightenment. i told them i'm terribly far away from enlightenment, but still, they insisted.

i gave it my all:

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special thanks to nick for his sweet cameo, and that rad big book he's holding.

never let your education get in the way of your learning

now that i'm almost done with institutional learning, i can finally start focusing on those words and texts that i've been lacking the time to indulge in. this afternoon i've set aside the books i'm to read this summer. it's going to be a nice time.

here they are (in order i plan to read them):

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i'm by no means the fastest reader. so if i can pull this off in the two and a half months between graduation and moving to portland (all the while *spoiler alert* making a feature length movie), i'll be duly pleased with myself.

22 May, 2008

hey, you with the pretty face (welcome to the human race)

traditionally, i've claimed "comfort" by robert service to be one of my all time favorite poems. i like the way he writes about the sky as something that offers comfort. last summer when i flew to europe, and for the first time ever in my life i was actually on my own and independent, i remember looking at the clouds as the plane was touching down and thinking, "they look like the clouds in bellingham." right then i knew that no matter where i traveled on this planet, i'd never feel too far from home, because clouds would always be clouds, and the sky would always be blue.

in my group of friends there has been a lot of talk about moving lately, and people going their separate ways. even though everyone's being brave about it, it's a little bit sad. it's like watching clouds roam over a landscape. but, i suppose that's how it operates. i suppose, indeed, it never ends, and there's a little tender sadness to everything.

which is why people like robert service write such lovely things:


Say! You've struck a heap of trouble --
Bust in business, lost your wife;
No one cares a cent about you,
You don't care a cent for life;
Hard luck has of hope bereft you,
Health is failing, wish you'd die --
Why, you've still the sunshine left you
And the big, blue sky.

Sky so blue it makes you wonder
If it's heaven shining through;
Earth so smiling 'way out yonder,
Sun so bright it dazzles you;
Birds a-singing, flowers a-flinging
All their fragrance on the breeze;
Dancing shadows, green, still meadows --
Don't you mope, you've still got these.

These, and none can take them from you;
These, and none can weigh their worth.
What! you're tired and broke and beaten? --
Why, you're rich -- you've got the earth!
Yes, if you're a tramp in tatters,
While the blue sky bends above
You've got nearly all that matters --
You've got God, and God is love.

Robert W. Service

16 May, 2008

harpo doug

in a fit of boredom, our dear doug sacrison bleached his hair yesterday. i'll be honest: it looks terrible, and he agrees. however, fate works in mysterious ways. we learned yesterday, and it would have been impossible without this hair disaster, that doug shares an uncanny resemblance with harpo marx.

see for yourself:

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doug sacrison

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harpo marx

as you can see, failures and disasters are often the catalysts for life's most terrific surprises.

15 May, 2008

robert rauschenberg 1925-2008

The art world lost a very innovative and generous person on Monday afternoon. Robert Rauschenberg filled the gap between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, making him arguably the most important American artist of the 20th century. Between his time spent at Black Mountain College with John Cage, his collaborations with Jasper Johns, or creating art from electricity and performance, Rauschenberg was constantly tearing down the walls between life and art.

Here are a handful of quotes of his that I think are nice, as well as a few of his works.


"You can't make either life or art, you have to work in the hole in between, which is undefined. That's what makes the adventure of painting."

"There's a moment for everyone when you fall into your own shadow and the fact is that it's your shadow and you're forced to live in it. And this is nothing to celebrate or not celebrate. It simply is."

"I don't think of myself as making art. I do what I do because I want to, because painting is the best way I've found to get along with myself."

"My art is about paying attention – about the extremely dangerous possibility that you might be art."

“A lot of people try to think up ideas. I’m not one. I’d rather accept the irresistible possibilities of what I can’t ignore.”

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retroactive

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estate

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a photograph of his performance piece open score.

We lost a very special human being in you, Mr. Rauschenberg. I would have liked to of met you.

(the ny times published a really nice piece on him yesterday, if you're interested, i suggest reading it: you were a good man, robert.)

08 May, 2008

joy, noun: an introduction

Above all else, I am desperately pleased that joy, in its infinite sensation, is a noun. Joy is not something one can do like love, or jog. Nor can one be described as joy, as one would refer to a friend as pretty, or interesting. Indeed not. Rather, joy emerges under the classification of something tangible, akin to a person, place, or thing.

In its most common usage, the word refers to a state of being: “A vivid emotion of pleasure arising from a sense of well-being or satisfaction; the feeling or state of being highly pleased or delighted; exultation of spirit; gladness, delight.” This definition offers wonderful framework -- a conversion from the intangible to something much more palpable. Joy, with its three letters of absolute enduring resonance, is. One can understand it as not untouchable or abstract like the adjectives happy, or American. Being is joy! Joy is the existence!

The word was adopted into our language during the era of Middle English, borrowed from Old French (joie), and shares ancestral roots with the romantic languages dating all the way back to popular Latin (gaudia). Its first appearance in English print was in 1225 CE, in a royal writing, then spelled ioie. I believe that there is great comfort to be found in this archeology, that our word joy has maintained its modern definitional fidelity for nearly an entire millennium, while its definitional roots date back further to Roman times (and assumably before, lest we forget words existed before ideas were written). Keets, in 1820, illustrated joy with heartbreaking precision in Ode Melancholy: “Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips, bidding adieu.”

Interestingly, joy has taken several other definitions, whose usages are now obsolete. For example, circa 1400s, joy was used to refer to a certain style of stage play: “Ioy, or pley [th]at begynnythe wythe sorrow, and endythe wythe gladness, comedia. Ioy, or pley [th]at begynnythe wythe gladnesse, and endythe wythe sorrow, tragedia.” Also, before there was an English word for glory, i.e., before the Latin word gloria had been adopted into our language, English speakers employed joy. The definition of this outmoded utilization was “Joyful adoring praise and thanksgiving; rendering Latin gloria,” and its usages can be found during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Joy was briefly used as a synonym for jewel. This definition comes from France (naturally), and can be found in Breton’s Miseries Manillia (1599): “Here my sweete Mistresse, take this Pearle-ioye/ Set it in the ring that hangeth at mine eare.”

Joy has also been extended to be a term of endearment for a sweetheart, or child. Blake uses this definition in his Songs of Innocence (1789), “Pretty joy! Sweet joy but two days old.” This brand of joy maintains today. Joy was extended furthermore after World War II in America. This form of joy was colloquially used, and is defined as “Result, satisfaction, success. Especially with negative, and frequently ironical.” Here the word was used to illuminate a negative situation. In 1946, this usage can be found in Brickhill and Norton’s Escape to Danger, “At 9.15 the workers had been down nearly forty minutes and still ‘no joy.’” While the word appears to have taken on a cynical meaning, I believe this extension of joy embellishes its original meaning through its lack of it. Its ontology derives from the importance of joy. Or perhaps, rather, its ontology is the importance of joy.