You step into the portal and sometimes discover what you didn’t know want to know.
That is the gamble. The roll of the dice.
A book is the safest portal, and a diary is the second-safest portal. They are both private. When it comes to public portals, a blog, I think, is one of the safest, most forgiving portals.
I stepped into the portal a few hours ago and I discovered some things and made some connections that I hadn’t before.
Now I’m going to hit “publish” and step out.
I brought my father to a site where workers had removed the thick foliage so archaeologists could thoroughly map the site. Another archaeologist and I excitedly discussed the visible architectural features – patios, terraces, the stubs of walls. Finally, my dad threw his hands up in the air and said “All I see are rocks!”
But our trained eyes recognized that the piles of stones or earthen mounds we saw were suspiciously aligned. Stare at archaeological sites long enough and you’ll notice them too.
Mark Binelli talks about the way in which Frederick Wiseman makes documentaries from found objects.
He sees himself, he told me, like an artist who makes work from found objects, except in his case, the art is assembled from found events.
Sometimes such a practice involves instilling constraints as Matthew Herbert outlines in his ‘found sounds’ manifesto.
This reminds me of what Alan Levine calls aand being open to the space you are in
The last song, “Weightless”, contains the sound of morse code, the original 1974 broadcasted message beamed into space, written by Frank Drake with assistance from Carl Sagan among others. It included encoded information about human DNA and other indications of intelligent life to anyone in the cosmic vastness who might be listening.
Although I had an inkling what it was, I was a little lost for words.
I often have the same issue when putting on playlists too.
This reminded me of my next door neighbour growing up. He and his band were in some sort of band and they would play I Shot the Sheriff again and again. (I am going to assume that it was just their song or maybe my poor memory.) This would often be late at night, with little consideration for world around.
In the end, a fence may designate where my property may stop and start, however there is very little to separate sounds, even more so when living in an apartment. As my father once quipped, bass is not designed to be heard in the room you are in, but in the next room over.
In some ways, this reminds me of the Moog series where artists use the just Moog equipment to reproduce their songs:
Leaders must “work the problem” through proper and thorough procedures. Specifically, they should:
- Define the problem
- Determine goals/objectives
- Generate an array of alternative solutions
- Evaluate the possible consequences of each solution
- Use this analysis to choose one or more courses of action
- Plan the implementation
- Implement with full commitment
- Adapt as needed based on incoming data
It is interesting to watch the show and think about the problems that can be broken down and those outside of the sphere of control. Makes me wonder about whether working the problem relates to the space at hand or the space created.
- Edward S. Steinfeld’s Mao’s Lesson for Trump’s America – Beware of leaders willing to set their own country on fire.
- Naomi Klein’s Now We Have to Fight Trump’s Tin-Pot Coup – and Biden’s Worst Instincts
- Masha Gessen’s The Coup Stage of Donald Trump’s Presidency
- Bianca Hewes’ A little bit of hope for the future…
- Laura Tingle’s Whether Donald Trump wins or loses the US election, the madness of America will reverberate for Australia over the coming years
- Stan Grant’s The US election shows a divided country, but it’s foolish to count out America and The United States is deeply divided, but what we have seen this week is democracy in action
Although this is a significant decision for everybody in the world, I wonder if a part of the post-election actions have been as much about Trump’s effort to garner attention. I am reminded here of Doug Belshaw’s post from a few years ago, Curate or be Curated and the challenge that we face in regards to managing our feeds and thinking about who or what is filling our mental space.
After listening to a recent episode on corruption in politics on The Minefield podcast.
During this conversation Waleed Aly, Scott Stevens and Bruce Buchan discuss the current situation at home and abroad, I am left thinking whether people have simply become jaded by such discussions and how this all plays out.
I have always been puzzled by the way learning is referred to as something that can be ‘owned’. It is not a possession.
I understand responsibility, but saying, “students owning their learning” seems an odd turn of phrase. Like we are returning a possession.
What do you think?
— Tom Barrett (@tombarrett) November 17, 2020
This left me thinking about ownership and instead wondering about assemblages and systems.
A desiring machine is an assemblage “always in relation to the big social machines and technological machines” (Deleuze, 2004, p. 243). Language, media, literature, education and capitalism for example always orient a body towards a particular way of expressing desire, to produce a desiring subject so to speak. Desire always precedes subjectivity; subjectivity is the codification of ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ desires within a given body.
Learning, for Deleuze, is an experience which cannot be planned or organised, but that all learning is an event that shocks, causing some form of transformation within the body and mind of the learner.
In aesthetics, the uncanny valley is a hypothesized relationship between the degree of an object’s resemblance to a human being and the emotional response to such an object. The concept suggests that humanoid objects which imperfectly resemble actual human beings provoke uncanny or strangely familiar feelings of eeriness and revulsion in observers.
I was wondering about this recently in regards to music and covers. A song produced for a record is going to sound different in a live performance space, even if it is a remix. I wonder if there is a similar ‘uncanny valley’ experience where a song gets too close to replicating the original that it becomes a little lost?
As more songs played, I kept thinking about that. How songs made people feel different ways, like they were in different seasons. Like they were running, or sitting calmly, or at the beach; or the feeling they had when their dog had gone to the vet and not come back; or when they were at their grandma’s farm and it was night and so dark they could see everything and nothing. And the more they spoke, the more I knew I was desperate to play my keyboard. To make something like these things. To build a feeling.
This had me thinking about the role of music in setting space. For example, the soundtrack to Sons of Anarchy draws on many familar tracks, but interprets them to fit a particular feel. Or David Lynch’s subversive choices, such as the use of Roy Orbison’s In Dreams in Blue Velvet.
To me, Lynch and Orbison both occupy a space in their respective art forms as singular voices. Each seem to traverse or explore more dream-like or subconscious terrain and each bring back a vision that is unique, that is, perhaps, candy colored.
Another way of looking at the creation of space, is the search for a space long lost. This is what Daniel Leviton unpacks in regards to the association between music and the memory of a particular time in life,
Compartmentalization is a subconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person’s having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.
Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self-states.
Masha is constantly reorganising her mental space to stay on top of things.
Far as I could tell, there was nothing underneath Ilsa but more Ilsa. It was amazing. I wanted to be like that someday. In one of my compartments, anyway. In another compartment, I hated her and myself for that.
“You realize that you’re compromised now.”
I shrugged. Compromised is only a few letters away from compartmentalized.
It has me thinking about Gilles Deleuze and the concept of multiplicity:
A multiplicity is an entity that originates from a folding or twisting of simple elements. Like a sand dune, a multiplicity is in constant flux, though it attains some consistency for a short or long duration. A multiplicity has porous boundaries and is defined provisionally by its variations and dimensions. Deleuze and Guattari redefine as multiplicities many of the key terms of Western political theory—including race, class, gender, language, state, society, person, and party. Their method aims to render political thinking more nuanced and generous toward difference.
“I’m disgusted by the fact that a lot of young people these days aren’t willing to sit down and practise the electric guitar for eight hours a day. They are all looking for an easier route to becoming famous. Look at the Top 50 songs on the radio in the US – there are no guitar solos in them. I see [Tom’s 2018 all-star solo album] The Atlas Underground as a Trojan horse. I want it to turn a new generation of kids on to cranking up the guitar.”
In an interview with Tim Shiel, Kate Miller-Heidke touched on the effort and sacrifices required to maintain her skills. In order to preserve her voice, she does not drink, smoke or go out in loud venues.
This sense of dedication reminds me of the story about Picasso’s napkin.
The story goes that Picasso was sitting in a Paris café when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking for a rather significant amount of money. The admirer was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!” “No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years”
It can be so easy to judge a provide off the cuff remarks on a piece of music, without any recognition of the time, effort, sacrifice and nuance that may sit behind it. However, this only captures a part of the space. I guess this is part of Ed Droste’s point it usually takes five listens to form a judgement.
In getting the backyard organised for my daughter’s birthday this morning, it dawned on me that during the last month when the last thing on my list of things to do was cutting things back and nurturing the garden, that the garden didn’t care, it just kept on growing. Whether it be the passionfruit vine stretching out even further along the fence line or the lemon tree growing even taller, the garden had kept on going.
I had a similar experience recently as the restrictions put in place to get on top of Melbourne’s second wave were lowered. I breathed again and moved beyond the day-to-day to consider again with the world outside. In the process I discovered that an old friend had been diagnosed with cancer.
In Alex Hern’s recent newsletter, he discusses the importance of ‘setting your eyes on the horizon’.
I think it’s important to set your eyes on the horizon. Find some things a couple of weeks away, a month away, maybe more, and just let yourself get excited about them. Maybe try and book some time off work in the middle of the week to do something you wouldn’t normally devote a day to. Upgrade your TV dinners to film nights with popcorn, and rent a movie you actually want to see rather than just picking whatever’s included with your Netflix subscription.
I agree with that, this is how I got through. Keep an eye on the prize. However, I guess it is also important to keep connected to world around you.