CN238

Jun 28 2022





We saw the shadow first. It shot vertically down the concrete pylon. Then the bird. It was flying almost perfectly horizontal away from the wide bulk of cement — 90° to the descending cast image. Discrepancy between the movement of the corollary and catalyst was one of momentary but sincere confusion; first we thought the shadow the bird. This happens all the time, with all manner of thing (relationships, political activity, “time”, what we think a painter meant…).

* * *

We took a far trip recently. We drove through places as if within a map — to various points of our desire. Our objects arrived, and were sincerely ravishing. But it must be said, we never requested to look behind refrigerators, thought to reconnoiter unimportant drawers of ordinary homes, or checked if the varied quaint facades, that went zipping by, even had backs. We had other things in mind; and of course without even being aware, we all always have other things in mind.






Sites in Use




It is of course important how something is said — but we don’t agree that the how is more important than the what. And when it comes to design it helps for the how and the what to be brought together by one conversant in both production (art) and contextualization (design). Meaning, it is good if a designer has the ability to make stuff too — as they will innately know the what and the how.

We say this looking at UK designer/furniture-maker Daniel Johns. Seeing his volley between the 3D and the 2D one can feel a lovely, searching experimentation as well as an awareness of atmosphere and circumstance.







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Goings-On(line)


An offering of pieces and projects from around the web.

Elizabeth Bishop, The Armadillo, 1979
Konstantin Grcic, Off Site, 2013
Sung Tieu Exhibition at Kunstverein Gartenhaus, 2022
Chloé Galibert-Laîné, The eye was in the tomb and stared at Daney, 2018
Prada, Fall/ Winter, 1999-00







Oracle


Of both the Tarot and the I Ching, we asked the following:




Petite Reading:

The summation of the three oracle returns this week are pretty good advice for one’s kit — generally speaking:

  1. Experience (writ large) is a conscientious balance of going out into the world and collating the collected information back in a safe environment. One or the other will not deliver a full Experience (or perspective).
  2. You can’t directly fight what is happening to you; you have to work with a dominant energy somehow.
  3. Meaning only exists through limitation.

🤔


Complete Reading:

This week we pulled the Two of Wands. Is learning and experience best developed out in the world or does it mature better in the calm/collected environs of one’s own space (home, library, laboratory, etc.)? Clearly it is both. Theories untested in the real world are quite useless but so is being distracted by the constant novelty of markets or jungles. It is up to us as individuals to get the balance right.

Our first hexagram this week is #29, The Abysmal (Water). The metaphor here is of the movement of water. That is, proper conduct should be like water; water has a way — it follows a course. The individual also has a course they must follow — do not resist but be sincere. It states: “if you are sincere, you have success in your heart.” Water is also constant of action; so you too should be constant: “water reaches its goal by flowing continually.” There were two changes this week, of which the specific notes are: if you are caught in a rip tide you should not swim directly against the current but on a long diagonal back to shore as well if you find yourself in quicksand extricating yourself by your own will is out of the question — be patient til the proper help comes along or yell like crazy.

Our second hexagram, the one that suggests how best to meet the challenges (or the changes) is #60, Limitation. The discourse here centers around the reality of setting boundaries or limits in a universe of infinite/inexhaustible possibilities. “Limitations are troublesome, but they are effective” though “it is necessary to set limits even upon limitation.” “The individual attains significance as a free spirit only by surrounding themself with these limitations and by determining for themself what their duty is.” And again using figurative language: “A lake is something limited. Water is inexhaustible. A lake can contain only a definite amount of the infinite quantity of water; this is its peculiarity. In human life too the individual achieves significance through discrimination and the setting of limits.”









 

CN237

May 31 2022





One thing is two words.

            Also, the moon has an earthrise.

Knowing is to hide not knowing —

            but both must be forgiven.

We owe death like a fake lake owes a dam

            or hedgerows owe shears.

It is in silence that hearing hears.

            In us is a fountain — no one knows why.

All in all — it’s hard to say

            whether the head is a riad

or something like the Monroeville Mall.







Sites in Use




As “humans” we have always been between — neither totally in a dream nor totally in materiality. But as the species moves from terrestrial mechanization to digital mechanization, what used to be only a burgeoning awareness of indeterminacy, is now crossing the threshold into a fully-realized, global existential quandary.

A kind of limbo is descending upon the world.

The artist Mark Leckey is something like a poetic diarist of this latter-day, societal anti-gravity. Through environment, object, memoir and/or varied pastiche he depicts hauntological netherworlds. Places where ghosts (literal or conceptual) have been caused into their hauntings by a silent wave of some sort of deadly populist fever — all (wittingly or incidentally) engineered by the omnicorps and their empty, self-serving megastructure promise(s)…

But… there is love here, of a sincere sort — perhaps because Leckey is forthright and happily lyrical about the mysterious and difficult condition(s). And maybe the antidote to seemingly endless franchises of empty promises, is simply no more promises (a reflective, dignified realist love) — like let’s begin with straightforward description first and then go from there.







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Goings-On(line)


An offering of pieces and projects from around the web.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Night (O you whose countenance), 1908
Louise Lawler Exhibition at Metro Pictures, 2021
Solomon Nagler, Notes On Gesture, 2007
Marc Camille Chaimowicz Exhibition at The Jewish Museum, 2018
Michiko Koshino, Fall/ Winter, 2000-01







Oracle


Of both the Tarot and the I Ching, we asked the following:




This week all the information is pointing clearly to a general efficacy of behavior — like stop delaying the improvement of your personality and your subsequent influence on your/the world.

First, you are going to have to make a choice — it is going to hurt but you must do it (apply for that job or end that relationship or quit drinking or finally have that psychedelic experience or start walking to work; whatever it is — you know what you have to do…). Commit to being honest with yourself, and make that the primordial bond from which all others emanate.

These are of course lifetime level/length improvements — but when else is better to start? Also they are deceptively simple — but a complexity is usually just a mass made from an innumerable amount of simple gestures.

As well, you should have done “it” five or two or twelve years ago — so knowing what you know now — be kind to your future self.

Two key orienting notes for all this: to lead others is to serve them — to lead yourself, imitate the good you love in others, work hard to cast out what you don’t like in your own behavior.


This week we pulled the Two of Swords. There is a choice, but neither is going to feel good. This type of situation is at the heart of most indecision. Use the appearance of this card as a sign to step clearly in one direction over another (or others).

Our first hexagram this week is #37, The Family (The Clan). This hexagram details the basic relations of the family and attributes the level of soundness of all subsequent orders/relations to this base order — like — the degree to which “the family” is stable is the degree to which all others will be stable. Of course a few major changes have occurred since the writing of the I Ching — like gender not being a requisite for leader of the household status, etc. But ultimately the truth here lies in notion of the sound nucleus, that is, without a center based in dependable accordance all that radiates from there will be perplexing and strenuous. Truly the fundamental unit of the world is the self’s honesty with itself; all good or ill emanates from the trueness of this relation: “…the influence on others must proceed from one’s own person. In order to be capable of producing such an influence, one’s words must have power, and this they can have only if they are based on something real, just as a flame depends on its fuel… furthermore, the words must be supported by one’s entire conduct… only firm and consistent conduct will make such an impression on others that they can adapt and conform to it. If words and conduct are not in accord and not consistent, they will have no effect.” There was one change this week, of which the specific note is: with important relationships it is wise to balance freedom and constraint — be a beautiful/strong/wise parent to that which is important to you.

Our second hexagram, the one that suggests how best to meet the challenges (or the changes) is #42, Increase. Here we have the clearest advice to increase the strength of the group and then the self. To strengthen/nurture a group of people (a team, a country, a family, etc.) all one really need know is this: “to rule truly is to serve.” As for strengthening/improving oneself the counsel is equally clear and plain: “When a person discovers good in others, they should imitate it… if a person perceives something bad in themself, let them rid themself of it… these ethical changes represent the most important increases to personality.” That’s it.











 

CN236

May 24 2022




(…continued from parts one and two)

It was really quite a push. It had been years since being properly athletic. But we had to make it to the top.

But why? It’s a fair question. Maybe achieving a set goal, like climbing to the top of a tall object or calling one’s mother just to hear her voice, is an attempt to come in contact with a provable fact — some thing in direct opposition to the un-bordered, proportionless, shadowlands of our heads.

* * *

Once we were at a party and had taken too much of a dissociative. The feeling was like being a marionette, with our feet just barely touching the floor — and all the sounds we heard had the good parts removed — like there was music playing and we were walking, but just cardboard cut outs of “music” and “walking.” It was like life without any empiricism and it was awful.

* * *

Anyway, eventually we climbed off of the face and onto the crest. The surface area of the small summit was about 20 feet square. It was dotted with shoulder high boulders in between which was hard packed sand, with enough space to walk. There was an undertone of arrangement about it all, but seemed unlikely.

Peaking around the bottom of one of the largest boulders was the tip of a boot. It was western, pointed and made of snake skin. We thought we could see the edge of a sleeve (also snake skin) and a wrinkled hand sticking out from it.

“Hello?” We said with unstable emphasis — we had been taken aback. “Sorry. We didn’t think anyone would be up here. We were just…”

As we rounded the largest rock to make our address more directly, we discovered that there was no one there; just a small snake skin jacket draped over one of the rocks and similarly styled boots placed neatly at the base.

Just empty clothing in dying sunlight — but the initial suggestion lingered, uncomfortably.

We thought of our night as a marionette and decided we wanted to be in the security of our car.

Somehow our descent, in relative darkness, was easier — though we did manage to tear the knee of our pants and cut our cheek enough to drip blood onto our shirt. When we reached the dirt field and the ring of Palo Blanco trees, we involuntarily looked in the direction where the old man with the accordion had been sitting.

We could just make out a seated shadow and the flaring glow of cigar end.

A low, aged voice emanated from the silhouette: “Did you see her? The snake woman?”

“Who? What? No; but we did see…”

But we were cut off by the light heaving breath of the accordion.

*  *  *

We closed the car door and rolled down the windows. We sat for awhile, waiting to start the engine — listening to the sound of lilting crickets and the faint, distant music. Above these standard sounds we thought we could hear something more complex — something like a grito, but not human — a sound betwixt a hyena and a peacock.








Sites in Use




If there is actual order somewhere, that is, some sort of dimension or filter which makes all unequivocally sensible and true — we cannot touch it or see it. This of course is a deep, deep discomfort and for sure why the arts (whether applied or fine) exist — to substitute for order (at least in major part).

Graphic design is the most emphatic in its desire to create order. Perhaps it’s because there can be little to no ambiguity in it — it can point to the artfully abstruse — but if it becomes actually abstract (with no meaning, and no use) it would instantly transmogrify into art (becoming like a Lawrence Weiner piece or concrete poetry). So with graphic design there’s like a transcendental insecurity combined with a transcendental will to overcome it.

When looking at hyper graphic design like that by Gunnar Harrison we feel his insecurity and the desire for order in the most beautiful and satisfying way.







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Goings-On(line)


An offering of pieces and projects from around the web.

Marianne Moore, Ennui, 1908
Christopher Lee, The Countryside as a City, 2015
Abbas Zahedi Exhibition at Anonymous Gallery, 2022
Shu Lea Cheang, Fresh Kill, 1994
Hiroaki Ohya, The Wizard of Jeanz, 1999







Oracle


Of both the Tarot and the I Ching, we asked the following:




This week all our feelings and feelers are pointing towards the idea of restraint. For this period consider taking a few steps back, as to really get an impression of what proper measure is for your varied endeavors — both in pressure applied and amount of attention. Remember rewards and fruits come with the right conditions — not by overdoing.

(Like figure out how to pay attention and not pay attention.)


This week we pulled the Empress card, reversed. When upright the energy is what you want: the nurturing power that engenders all creativity. When the Empress comes reversed (as it is here) smothering comes to mind; a flame is lit then extinguished, the spark plug and the fuel are too close and short out. Perhaps put some distance between yourself and your external affairs this week. Have a light touch… Watch peripherally from a distance…

Our one and only hexagram this week (there were no changes) is #60, Limitation. An expression that we oft paraphrase is: there is no meaning without limitation. It is quite a deep notion and can be applied in varied ways. One of our favorite phrases from #60 furthers the concept sagely: “If a person should seek to impose galling limitations upon their own nature, it would be injurious. And if one goes too far in imposing limitations on others, they would rebel. Therefore it is necessary to set limits even upon limitation.” That last part, the “it is necessary to set limits even upon limitation” part that we really enjoy. It’s not just a basic notion of like keeping things in balance, but like keeping one’s balance in balance.










 

CN235

May 17 2022



We’ve never been good with heights; so the confidence of our attitude during the whole of the climb was mystifying — something besides will was pushing — though if we are being frank, very little of human life is willed — right? Heart, lungs, the precise fading/persistence of memories… not a lot of choice there…

Anyway… we took a break at what was probably a little over the halfway point. We had no water and there was no shade, at around 95 degrees. We nestled sweatily and a little shakily into a rock nook, next to a solitary juniper — really just a single meter long branch with a Dr. Suess-like tuft of green at the end.

Shielding the sun, with a flat hand above our eyes, we looked out at the radiating miles of flat wash land, cut by the zipper of asphalt that led to the Puente Santo mountains. We thought we could still hear a little accordion music from the copse of Palo Blanco trees below; but the sound was more like a distant tinkling of bells.

At the base of the small juniper was wrapped a torn, white strip of gauze, like a bandage around a bony wrist — the sight of it brought to mind a long forgotten, extremely strange memory — a remembrance right on the cusp of feeling like a dream — but it for sure happened.

When we were about 10, we were eating cereal at the kitchen table before school. Our mother was standing at the counter reading. When all of a sudden we heard Liz (our sister) yelling from the bathroom above:

“Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!”

“Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!”

We ran upstairs to find her lying straight in the bathtub, shower on, crossed arms and her towel tied in an odd loin cloth fashion around her waist. Our mother grabbed her and shook her, trying to wake her from the trance.

“Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!”

Worse, our greyhound Peter was sort of pressed into the corner, by the toilet, standing on two legs, disturbingly anthropomorphic and Anubis-like — having some sort of seizure. When our mother finally broke Liz from her stupor, Peter simultaneously fell to the floor.

Our sister didn’t go to school for the rest of the week and slept in our mother’s room for a month. The strangest part of all though, was that for three days after the incident we were inundated with mail. But not just random junk stuffs, but books, magazines, scholarly journals, etc. all dealing with the theme of ancient Egypt. Really, just mountains of material on Egyptian art and history. There must have been every Egyptological publication piled high on the living room carpet.

Our mother had to go to the post office to terminate our service. But neither the publishers or the post office manager could explain how all of it was addressed and routed to a random house in the Las Jorgas suburbs.

Since the sun was lowering with steadiness, we thought it best to return to our climb.

Stiffly we turned back to the stone face, and looked up to plan the rest of the trip upwards.

(End of Part II)







Sites in Use




Looking at Sarah Sitkin’s highly affecting, puddling, blooming, grizzled flesh piles (like some sort of dimensional conversation between Picasso, Leatherface and Roger Caillois) — we were reminded of Jim Woodring talking about his experience with salvia divinorum: “It makes your body feel like it’s turning into a set of gears which are grinding into each other… like my mind was plucking at the surface of reality — just plucking at it like a dead man plucking at the coverlet… the world was ripped off of itself and I saw what was underneath…”






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Goings-On(line)


An offering of pieces and projects from around the web.

Don Paterson, Why do you stay up so late?, 2009
Ane Graff Exhibition at Kunstinstituut Melly, 2022
Diego Diapolo, Cryonics, 2020
Sterling Ruby Exhibition at Sprüth Magers, 2020
Bernhard Willhelm, Spring/ Summer, 2009







Oracle


Of both the Tarot and the I Ching, we asked the following:




This might be quite personal, but of course the highly personal can have broad utility, as often what seems specific to oneself is generally true — just not talked about. But alas, we’ll see… Something that has been persistent in our psychology for many years is the thought of suicide. This week we ask the oracle what is its wisdom regarding the subject of self-termination.

First, nothing stays the same — this may be cold comfort in times of extreme difficulty or protracted anguish — and certainly life’s endless reorderings may actually be the source of one’s desire for oblivion. But decisions of finality must be made keeping change in mind.

One’s life here is not permanent under any circumstance, whether that be by one’s own hand or by old age. Listen to your emotions as you reread that sentence.

Another important thing to consider is the imagination (this could also be called curiosity or invention). Maybe it would be helpful to think that suicidal thoughts are a transcendental falling short of one’s imagination. With a loving/dignified heart, access all of your creative powers to explore your faults and achievements — without any judgment. Do not let dark thoughts linger — keep casually rejecting them.

In short, creatively move with the changes. (“No one will regret having taken this road.“)


This week we pulled the Page of Cups. Here we have the card of the imaginative fantasist. The shortcomings here are obvious: head in the clouds, daydreamer, etc, etc. But the strength is perhaps not as apparent: the imagination is the fount of all creation(s)/creativitylike, the speculation of today is the science/knowledge of tomorrow. Discount the dreamer (and the imagination) at your peril.

Our first hexagram this week is #24, Return (The Turning Point). The I Ching expounds the notion that all that happens in this world happens within cycles. Here, #24 is where the dark is descending and renewal and rebirth are forthcoming (fyi hexagram number 33, is where “the power of the dark is ascending” and light loses power). not diminishing). Note, there is a particular line of warning: “…everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that the return may lead to a flowering…” There were four changes this week, of which the specific notes are: don’t let bad thoughts root in the mind and develop a desire to move with the changes — don’t be obstinate.

Our second hexagram, the one that suggests how best to meet the challenges (or the changes) is #9, The Taming Power of the Small. “The hexagram presents a configuration of circumstances in which a strong element is temporarily held in leash by a weak element… To carry out our purpose we need firm determination within and gentleness and adaptability in external relations.” Here the feeling is something like being on a plane caught in a holding pattern; you are at the mercy of the pilot and air traffic controllers however you can take time to prepare a little bit more for your arrival (whatever that purpose might be).








 

CN234

May 10 2022




It was neither the appropriate time nor were we wearing suitable shoes. It was just that the thing jutted up so suddenly and significantly — we felt somehow compelled towards it. To be clear, we were driving back from Puente Santo, down the 93 (by the quartz mine, just past where the 27 and the 8 intersect) when abruptly, over the ridge of the highway, arose a giant granite tower. Obviously there are tons of esoteric geologies out there, but this one we hadn’t remembered ever seeing.

We almost skidded off the shoulder, so sudden was our decision to stop. Without much thought we locked the car, side skipped down into the drainage ditch, hopped over a little trickle of black and green water, and bounded up the other side.

The north face of the mass started, almost at the edge of the bank; so we had to kind of wobble sideways to make our way. Emergence from the shadowed, narrow path, revealed a modest dirt field ringed by a few Palo Blanco trees. All blasted by the sun.

In the shade of the farthest one (about 25 feet away) sat an elderly man wearing a plaid shirt, jeans and green baseball cap. He was playing an accordion; which he stopped upon seeing us. Behind him there was a dilapidated bus partially blocked by a few branches. We could just make out some faded words on the side: “Juan Barrow and the Dusty Acres.”

Involuntarily we waved at him. He didn’t wave back but nodded sleepily and pointed up toward the stony peak. We walked following the direction of his hand, feeling a little confused as to why we did so.

There was a parting of the stone face that had the beginnings of a trail — really just loose rocks, tufts of brown mossy stuffs and hard-packed dirt. Looking up it seemed to be about 100 feet to the top. We took a deep breath, found our first sturdy foothold and started our ascent.

The heartsick accordion swells renewed. They seemed to change shape the higher we climbed.

End of Part One…






Sites in Use




We really love the Lenny Nero character in the movie Strange Days — there’s something about seeing designer Alfie Allen’s site that brought him to mind. We think it might be that Alfie’s site feels like a kind of chic, sporty digital information card that Lenny would carry. 👌






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Goings-On(line)


An offering of pieces and projects from around the web.

Denise Levertov, Living, 1967
OrtaMiklos Exhibition at Friedman Benda, 2022
Edward Yang, A Confucian Confusion, 1994
Melvin Edwards Exhibition at Alexander Gray Associates, 2019
Costume National, Fall/ Winter, 2001-02







Oracle


Of both the Tarot and the I Ching, we asked the following:




If you are like us you crave variation as well as steadiness. Finding this to be a bit of conundrum for structuring a normal day — this week we asked the oracle: what should a proper well organized day look like (keeping those two poles in mind)?

Don’t sacrifice your time for fantasy gains; take a moment to think about your long term goals to parse what is fantasy born of personal bias (those with traumatic pasts take special note). Deliberate the right amount of time on a subject — never too much — overthinking will cause even more difficulty. That is, since the body/mind needs rhythm for proper function, if one deliberates too long the body/mind will want to make indecision its new rhythm (this is SUPER common — big businesses/news-feeds/social-media-platforms thrive off of this wasteful energy/rhythm).


Ultimately strive to understand your place in things and make your days a reflection of this. You are better and worse than you think. Effective people shrink the poor-cognition-gaps in these two directions — and subsequently have more fruitful days (poetry in personal reflection, not fantasy).


This week we pulled the The Hanged Man in reversed aspect. When the Hanged Man is in normal aspect, that is upside down (🙃🤔) it represents something like biding time — that is, sacrificing time to contemplate/take-stock for longer term gains. When the hanged man is in reversed aspect , as it is here, there is a feeling that the sacrifices one is making are for nought — if a martyr falls in a forest with no one around to hear them do they have an effect? No.

Our first hexagram this week is #57, The Gentle (The Penetrating, Wind). It is through a never-lapsing small-scale influence that lasting, penetrating, effects are wrought. This principle can be applied to both inner and outer objectives, both far reaching and local. Poetically it is suggested that time is the instrument/medium here — as in transpiring by constancy over a long duration. There were two changes this week, of which the specific notes are: when indecisive for long periods of time, a military type resoluteness is wanted and “repeated deliberation brings fresh doubts.”

Our second hexagram, the one that suggests how best to meet the challenges (or the changes) is #61, Inner Truth. Though everything in this world is changing/evolving/drifting, it is vvveeerrryyy ssslllooowww — the effects are barely perceptible to the things involved (in this case us, humans). We feel most things as totally unchanging — and for our level of practical interaction (with the world, ourselves and each other) this is absolutely true. So, it is important for us to feel our place and act accordingly; that is, know when to be subservient, when to wrestle and when to lead. Without this understanding of one’s place in things, life is very difficult — likely needlessly so.