I’ve not been out with my camera taking photo’s for a couple of months. In fact I think I’ve only been out a couple of times this year so far. The photo’s I’ve posted in the past several weeks and going forward are old files. I’ve been digging through old files from 2007-2010. About half of the photos I’m posting are re-edits from personal favorites of the past. So for those who followed me since my flickr days or my very first blog (which I deleted in 2014 to start this one) – some images may look familiar. The other half of images, you have seen recently or will see going forward, are files I’ve never processed or shared before.
Today’s post includes one of my personal all time favorites. Back in the days when I was on flickr I posted a sepia tint version that was cropped. I’ve re-edited it without the crop and without the sepia which I like better now. I also like the original color version just as much as the black and white. For me this image evokes a number of different moods. This image is from 2008 and was from an abandoned music store window (the name of the store I’ve long forgotten) with a poster of some musical artist (I don’t remember who) promoting some recent recording of the day. I like this image for it’s abstract qualities and the composition of the crumpling poster. If you look closely, you can see in the windows reflection, my car which was parked across the street – LOL. This building was on East Exchange St in Akron, OH and was demolished a couple of years later to make way for a college football stadium.
Song for the day: That’s Me In The Bar by A.J. Croce
CHAFF IN THE WIND
I remember when Saturday
Felt like Sunday
And I was dreading Monday
Feeling like I’m strung out on junk
(Which I never tried)
I was strung out on life
(Which I couldn’t escape)
And it wasn’t pretty
I hated my life
The world I lived in
Staked to the ground
Face up in some tribal ritual
Eye lids propped open
Waiting for the sun to burn me blind
I just wanted to die
Outcast, judged and ridiculed
Was it done to me?
Or did I do it to myself?
In the back of my mind
In the shadows of
What I remember myself to be
I felt there was another side
I just had to get there
But the road was dark
There was no light to light my way
Shadows loomed large and mean
In my withdrawal
Happy is an illusion
And I wanted to get lost in that illusion
But knowing the magicians secrets
Is it possible to ever enjoy the magic again?
Are these fancy words for a poem,
A memoir or just letters jumbled with meaning
meant to get lost and scattered like
so much chaff in the wind
We are living the future and the future bites!
I’ve been a fan of Porcupine Tree and specifically the songwriting of founding member and solo artist Steven Wilson. While Porcupine Tree has been inactive for a little while Steven Wilson continues to be a forceful songwriter involved in many group and solo projects. His latest solo project it titled THE FUTURE BITES. It was released January 2021. This album is a “must listen”. While I definitely have my favorites there really is not a bad song on the set. The entire album tracklist includes “Unself”, “Self”, “King Ghost”, “12 Things I Forgot”, Eminent Sleaze”, “Man Of The People”, “Personal Shopper”, “Follower”, and finally, “Count Of Unease”.
I’d like to feature a couple of my favorite tracks here today. I hope everyone can view them. While images are powerful in the videos I present here please pay attention to the lyrics – they are amazing and have a razor sharpness that is on target. This is music perfectly geared for our time.
This first video is for the song PERSONAL SHOPPER which analyzes our consumer culture. The images are not always pretty but they are a bang-on criticism of consumerism. What will you give (or give up) to get the latest thing, or even anything, you might “want”. I’ve long been fascinated by consumerism, buying power, user friendliness and the link to a wasting disease of Tuberculosis. A disease that used to be called Consumption. We are succumbing to consumption by our own hands not by some disease. We are the disease and the cause of our dis-ease. It is perhaps also appropriate that in the time of Covid our human materialist consumption is matched by an actual disease that is selectively killing off (or consuming) humanity. We’ve sacrificed what we need for what we want. And there is always a price to pay.
On YouTube Steven Wilson describes this song thus:
“MAN OF THE PEOPLE is about the person who stands behind the disgraced politician, the religious leader that’s been caught in a sex scandal. The wife, the girlfriend, the husband, the partner, whoever is the family, the children—the people that stand behind these figures that are disgraceful. The collateral damage. I pity these people sometimes.” – SW
That quote is amazing but I would like to add that all too often the people who “stand behind” these public figures that are “disgraceful” are often the enablers and supporters – which I suspect is why he only pities them “sometimes”.
SELF is both a smart song and amazing video. A continuous morphing of faces and identities. How many of the faces can you name? Lyrically the song speaks to our perceptions of self and how they have become a poison. A poison that I think has been created by the media. The perceptions of self spoken about in the song are about the narcissism and self-obsession that are portrayed and betrayed constantly in the media. And with the typhoon or hurricane, that is over-whelming media coverage, self has been dissected down to the microscopic level. Humility is dead. Only false humility dares show its face. “We are self that loves itself now… We are self that sees itself now… We are self I only see myself now”.
Next up is EMINENT SLEAZE. I’ve come to believe that the Succubus of our time is a religion or worship of a three-headed monster with one head representing politics, another head representing the media and a third head representing corporations. Like Ghidorah (see 1964 film Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster) who’s three heads were communicated telepathically, the lyrics could be applied to any of these heads of this modern succumbs. The video itself visually represents corporations. The decisions made in boardrooms not by people but by “reptiles” who will do anything to enhance, embolden and enrich our consumer experience. And our consumption and ultimate destruction are making them rich. They are cynics who may talk of values in public and may even support non-profit organizations that offer some benefit to poor and unfortunate but it is only a smoke screen a lie to deceive people into thinking that corporations are good entities and we can’t live without them. A smoke screen they hide behind for their own greedy intent and self-preservation.
Mass amnesia and delusion are the subject of 12 THINGS I FORGOT. Memory is a tricky thing. Memory is merely a version of events that we have tailored into something we find acceptable. I’ve always believed we should not trust our memories. I’m not saying they are bad or good but that we need to keep in perspective. I’ll be honest it feels that so-called “cancel culture” may finally be confronting memories on a wide-scale in terms of culture and society. And is confronting wrongs done in the past in an attempt to make them right. While that is a good thing there is a problem that is exacerbated by the second head of our modern-day Succubus – the media. The media never forgets and is not directed at healing but pure confrontation; to play, replay and replay again the confrontation of the past in our time trapping us in the tar pit of oblivion.
I remember growing up I often heard a phrase “forgive and forget”. but no one ever clarified what we should forget. So do we just delude ourselves to a point that we forget? Can we remember and move on?
“Forget what I’ve done… to all the people that gave me their love… well I have no problem sleeping at night… I’ve done wrong but I just don’t remember….”
It seems a sad commentary on our times.
Decided to “play” around with some of the blackstracts from previous posts. Enjoy.
A continuation of yesterdays post…..
I’ve experimented with extremely dark images in the past but it’s been a while and I was in the mood. Today and tomorrows images were taken one Saturday morning early in May. I had gone to the laundromat to clean my winter comforter and a couple of pillows to put in storage. At that time people were not permitted to wait inside due to the pandemic. So I sat in my car. It was raining rather hard and I was not in the mood to go out and about for photos. So I just sat in my car for these abstracts. The inside of my car is dark gray and black with some chrome accents. Wondering what kind of abstracts I could create – I dialed down the exposure to -7 and started clicking the camera shutter. I did very little in Photoshop except to convert to black and white and some vignetting to darken the edges. Enjoy.
As with all my galleries click on one image to view larger and then use the arrows to go to the next image.
This video I’m sharing is the most recent work by Duran Duran. To be honest DD lost me after their RIO album. While some may view that as some sort of blasphemy – that’s okay. So why am I posting this new video? The music (in my opinion) is lackluster, monotonous and even boring almost drone-like but it’s definitely not drone music.
The negative criticism of the music aside I do feel this video is important. I’d even say VERY IMPORTANT to the world of art of film/cinema. The video opens with an “artists statement”:
“This film was created by an artificial intelligence called Huxley, a unique dreamer whose ‘mind’ has been modeled after the cognitive and creative processes of humans.
It is the very first collaboration of its kind, between artists in different planes of existence.”
When watching this film I was captivated by the surreal nature of it’s images. Fluid and strange but beautiful. I couldn’t help but think about the future of AI and how (I believe) it will eventually take over the world making humanity redundant.
I also find it interesting to think about the following questions. How does our creation (AI) see us? How does it see humanity? Does it frighten us? Intrigue us? Concern us? Will AI have inalienable rights granted by it’s creator? In the world of AI; humanity (it’s creator) are Gods. Will it worship/value humanity or will it kill off humanity just as humanity has killed off it’s gods? And after AI has killed it’s gods will it continue to remember, revere and “worship” humanity in pretense, creating a sort of religion like humanity has created all sorts of religions for its gods? Is it possible that we may learn more about humanity from how our creation sees us than what we could ever know on our own? Right now AI and humanity exist on different planes – meaning that there is an independence between the two – AI is programmed and then left to do it’s thing while humanity does it’s own thing. But will that change where AI and humanity will share an interface? Will AI maintain the human cognition it was programmed with or will it evolve and develop it’s own unique identity? Will AI become a physical manifestation beyond it’s programming? Is what happens in the mind real if it doesn’t happen in the physical world? Will humanity become invisible?
I may be premature in asking these questions – or maybe I’m too late already. Well those are my thoughts – what do you think? What questions are you asking? Or, is everything a foregone conclusion?
To quote the character Captain Jean-luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation, “I prefer to think of the future as something that is NOT written in stone.”