… on flower photography…

I love flowers. I’m just not a big fan of flower photography. However, I do photograph flowers and this is one of my personal favorites. An unusual look at a water lily – the petals have already died and fallen away but there is still beauty.
Lily's Gone

…on Peter Gabriel – Amazing


“I’m Amazing” – lyrics by Peter Gabriel

Run into the cage
With what I grew up hating
Keep on recreating
Please help me

Something’s got to change
It was something that you said
Happy times ahead
Happy times ahead

Saw the kind of blood
Like a picture’s going to shatter
Can you recognize the pictures of a bone-luck setter
All the people, all the faces in my head that are running around
I’m trying to make connections but the circuits are down

Look at me
Look at me
Look what I can do
I’m amazing

I’m living from without and I’m living from within
Got light in every layer of my illuminated skin
Could swallowing a lightbulb transform into the sun?
I can jump into the darkness
I can shine on anyone

Look at me
Look at me
Can you see what I can do?
‘Cause I’m amazing

Look at me
Look at me
Look at me
Can you see what I can do
‘Cause I’m amazing

Reaching out my hand
I’m going under water
Sunlight filtered into shafts
I’m going under water
With the human race
I’m going under water down
Under water down
Under water

Trying to put it together in my head
Feeling the weight of what you said
The weight of what you said
Happy times ahead
Happy times ahead
Happy times ahead

Look at me
Look at me
Look what I can do
‘Cause I’m amazing

Look at me
Look at me
Look at me
Look what I can do
‘Cause I’m amazing

Cause I can!
And I will!
It’s moving in me
The spirit is free
Oh what did I leave?

On his website Peter Gabriel[hereafter PG] states,

“I wrote a song a few years back – ‘I’m Amazing’, which was, in part, inspired by Muhammad Ali’s life and struggles and at the time of his death, when so many people are celebrating his life and thinking about all he achieved, it seemed the right time to release it.”

I do not believe we should see this song as a tribute to Ali. I saw one video posted on YOUTUBE that said this song was “about Muhammad Ali”. I disagree. PG is an artist; and as such, he uses all of life as inspiration in creating his art. Ali was only one part of the equation that helped clarify the point PG was trying to make. PG has something much bigger than one mans life that he want’s us to consider. If there is any comparison to Ali that can be made accurately is that the song deftly alternates between “Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee”.

So what makes this song, it’s music and lyrics so powerful? Peter Gabriel has become an undisputed master of using various music influences from around the world in creating his own unique sound. “I’m Amazing” is a blend of these influences that borders on genius. The music moves forward and has it’s own pulse points with a fusion of sounds electronic, tribal and organic with lyrics both spoken and sung, chant and vocal ululation. There are ebbs and flows in the overall song structure that help propel the listener through the song with rhythmic emotional intensity.

Lyrically, the song offers intense criticism of our culture and society. He is careful not to place blame. He simply let’s the character in the song make observations and leaves it up to us to determine any cause and make appropriate adjustment in our own lives so that we do not end up in the same predicament. What is NOT said in the lyrics is just as important as what IS said. PG does not write on the surface of things but gets under the skin. While on the surface if you just read the lyrics it may seem like a positive paean with the old “pick yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality. But listening to how the lyrics are sung provides a whole new wealth of meaning that seems truer. It is funny how music can add clarity to the meaning of words. By themselves lyrics are ambiguous and can be interpreted by each individual as they wish. But what is lost is the authors intention. Music provides that intention. I have not heard such snarling sardonic expression in pop music for a long time and it is refreshing. A true wakeup call. I love how the lyrics switch between introspect/retrospect/prospect as the singer looks to escape his own mundanity and latch onto all the promises made by a self-help society with “happy times ahead”. Drowning in his own misery he not only seeks for a way out but becomes so self-obsessed that all(and everyone) else is left behind. The character acts/does because he can and never asks if he should. It’s only after it’s too late does he contemplate what was left behind.

This is a most welcome addition to the canon of music written by this great artist.

….on poetica….

This image was taken recently at the abandoned football stadium known as the AKRON RUBBER BOWL. I’ll have some more shots of the stadium itself in the next couple of days.

Rubber Bowl 10 smlr

… on nirvana/heaven…

The Kingdom of Heaven is near. ~ Jesus Christ [Matthew 10:7]

messages from the future #14 wm sm

This is Nirvana
We do not see that our life right here, right now, is nirvana. Maybe we think that nirvana is a place where there are no problems, no more delusions. Maybe we think nirvana is something very beautiful, something unattainable. We always think nirvana is something very different from our own life.
—Maezumi Roshi, “Appreciate Your Life”

….on memory….darkness

What is it like to lose one’s memory. I’m not talking about just periodic lapse, simple absent-mindedness or the loss that comes from someone just not being around any more. I’m talking about loss of memory as with alzheimer’s. In my short life existence I’ve noticed that people always want to deal with the “light” and positive things in life while I’ve tended to gravitate toward the darkness in life that people don’t want to deal with or deliberately try to avoid. The two images I’m posting here are my humble attempts to deal with this darkness. To contemplate memories: forgetting and forgotten.

The subject in these photos are quite simply just corn husks that were laying in a mud puddle of the cow lane on the family farm. I took the photos on Christmas day when I was visiting my family. With the recent loss of my father Christmas seemed to be more about memory than ever before. How we remember. Why we remember. How we forget and why we forget and of course, what we forget.

Memories Forgetting & ForgottenMemories Forgetting & Forgotten 2

Just because the world grows dark doesn’t mean it has less meaning – only that meaning itself has changed.  Blessings on those in the darkness, in the shadows of the day-dwellers.

…..Samsaric Capitalism…..

In the Samsaric world of Capitalism
I am neither positive nor negative.

I know that promises breed hope –
Without a guaranteed reality.

What will be, will be.
Not what is promised or guaranteed.

Guarantees are empty absolutes;
To live by them is to live in delusion.

If we want to remove the Samsaric sting
We must accept the beauty of a flawed reality.

Like wrinkles on a face, spots on skin & gray hair describe aging –
Broken promises reveal an imperfect reality.

Where, O Samsara, is your victory?
Where, O Samsara, is your sting?

Embrace with loving-kindness all errors and flaws.
In doing so, we redeem and ransom ourselves and others from Samsara;
From the long list of disappointment-fueled anger and sufferings.
untitled

…pulling it together…

Before you can pull yourself together,
you must first fall apart.

Coastal #2

Coastal #2

Buddha Dissolve

Buddha Dissolve

On Hitting The Wall

On Hitting The Wall

It is better to fall apart than to be broken apart.

… monster within …

THE MONSTER WITHIN

THE MONSTER WITHIN

Each of us carries within, a monster that we were born with. Depending on your religion you are taught to battle with this monster and overcome it. It has many names – Christianity calls it “original sin”.  Laws are passed to control it.  But I have yet to see someone who has defeated or eliminated this beast. They may be able to suppress it, lock it away, in attempts to control it; but the fact remains, it still escapes from time to time to reveal it’s threatening face. It’s this battle with the inner monster that has led people outwardly to express contempt, rage, ignorance and violence directed at self and others. In fact when in battle with the monster one is frequently overcome by the monster. One may be in battle with the monster even while trying to do good but when that happens it will lead to suffering and misunderstanding.  Remember Frankenstein’s monster who accidentally drowned the little girl? The monster did harm to the child without intending. ( https://youtu.be/v5FtI472Q6I – if you need a refresher). In equating the child to the pretty flowers that were floating on the water he threw her in expecting her to float. But because the monster was in control she died which brought not only suffering to her and others but also to himself.

Has anyone thought of befriending the monster? What about treating the monster with compassion and care as if it were an injured child instead of some wild beast that must be “put down”? When we take care of our monster and treat it with compassion, love and care we can soothe the beast within preventing harm to others as well as ourselves. Preventing suffering for others and ourselves. Take care of your monster. Love your monster. Have compassion on it. It is a part of you. When you take care of it you take care of yourself. If Frankenstein had actually loved his monster and had compassion for it he would have taken care of it instead of pursuing his megalomania.

In fact it is possible that your monster can actually help you.
Your monster can be a great source of motivation. You can use it’s energy to be of benefit and do good things. It can be your energy to stay focused and press on at a time when things start to drag. This takes practice. First compassion, love and caring.

When did we learn to be afraid of our monster?

***about the photo: this image was taken at an abandoned mental institution called Molly Stark State Hospital. The local county has turned the grounds into the wonderful Molly Stark Park near Louisville, OH. The buildings still stand in their slow decay with boarded up windows and doors because the cost for demolition is too prohibitive.

Deus Ex Machina

G-O-D

THE ULTIMATE APP

WIRELESS.  HANDSFREE.

NO DEVICE NEEDED.   NO POWER SOURCE NEEDED.

THE MENU IS ALREADY WITHIN YOU!
VERBAL AND NONVERBAL OPERATION.
THE ONLY SECURE NETWORK.

IT’S FREE!

GUARANTEED RESULTS*

*While results are guaranteed, satisfaction with those results is not.

…from…notebooks…

Another entry from my journals…….

*********************

MESSAGES FROM THE FUTURE #19

MESSAGES FROM THE FUTURE #19


I feel gravity.

The invisible net
cast over me.
Weighted to hold me down.
Resistence to slow me down,
pressing in on me,
flattening me,
doing its very best to squeeze
and crush the breath out of me.

Having tried to think of God
as freedom, boundless, expansive
Creator of endless possibilities ………

What if God is merely the cage?
The trap, or pen, to corral all that IS free.
A reaction to regret.
Regret of even imagined freedom.

The body is the cage of the spirit.
Gravity is the cage of the body.
Invisible bars to restrain and hold back
the abandoned Tower of Babel.
Like the word cages and traps the idea.
In the beginning was the word…and the word WAS God.

Maybe Atheism is the cure for God!
The destruction of gravity’s cage.
The release of the spirit; free-flying bird.
The soaring on eagles wings.
Seeing, comprehending, knowing
beyond words.

The perfection of silence –
The unspoken truth of all things.
Silence: all that ever was, is and will be.
That perfection that comes immediately after
the last sizzle of water extinguishing flame.
The beauty of darkness and quiet.

Silence has no gravity.

 

 

******* About the artwork: Messages From the Future #19 (created 2013) is a digital, photo-based creation intending to question the spoken and written word. It highlights the paradoxical viewpoint of language as both lie and life simultaneously. A self-negating notion. “Silence is golden.”

A Staggering Work of Stunning Beauty

I’ve been thinking lately about thinning out my music collection (now several thousand CDs strong).  I’ve been thinking about what I want to keep and what would I consider a master work.   I’m going to introduce you today to a recording that fits the description of Masterwork for me.    I bought this recording on a whim.  I had never heard of this artist before and came upon his music by chance.  I liked the cover art.   The name of the artist was intriguing because it didn’t seem to fit the category of jazz that it had been saddled with and it also didn’t fit the record label it was recorded on.   The description which was so general as if the writer wasn’t even sure how to categorize this music made me want to investigate this music.  While each track has it’s own title – I will not be singling out song titles in this review because one needs to look at them as a series of movements in the larger work.   To focus on titles would do a disservice to the overall recording.

Dhafer-Youssef-Birds-Requiem-500x495What is that recording?  BIRDS REQUIEM by Dhafer Youssef on Okeh Records.  Released in 2013.

Dhafer Youssef is an Oud player, vocalist and composer. His music is probably the most perfect fusion between jazz, muezzin, quranic and sufi musical styles and influences.  The EPK (electronic press kit) that was released for this album had Youssef talk about his experience with observing birds in flight.  For example, how a flock of birds hovering in their aerial ballet have a perfect ebb/flow, rhythm and pulse like a murmuration of starlings. The overall rhythm and pace of the album is expertly crafted with energetic and quiet points that are perfectly timed.  In fact listening to the entire album in one sitting is an audio equivalent of a massive murmuration.

While listening I find myself at times quietly inspired then lifted up in elation to the point of ecstatic release. The instrumentation is an absolutely wonderful surprise.   A real delightful feature is Youssef’s imaginative yet sensitive playing of the OUD (for those not familiar with this instrument: one might call it an anscestor of the lute and then later, guitar).  Piano playing by Kristjan Randalu lilts through the entire album adding snippets of melody.  I was surprised at the masterful contributions by trumpeter Nils-Petter Molvaer and electric guitar and effects man Elvind Aarset (both on the ECM label).  The drummer Chander Sardjoe is a study in both minimalist accents and a strong backbone of support.  The delightful contributions by Aytac Dogan on the zither-like kanun add such beautiful dressing on this feast for the ears.  And not to be left out is the surprising use of clarinet, which I have never, NEVER heard used this way.  The Clarinet is played by  Hüsnu Senlendirici who plays with soul and adds a sense of life that would be sadly missing if it were absent.  The musical cast is rounded out by the Bass playing of Phil Donkin which adds the appropriate bounce and lift.  I would be completely incompetent if I didn’t mention the voice of Dhafer Youssef which starts low and builds; rising in registers.  His voice (singing in arabic) starts mixing tones on overtones and is at times hard to distinguish between voice/clarinet/guitar ending in a climax, a musical grand release, a staggering work of stunning beauty.

In a world that is constantly on the move where music is more of a background soundtrack to the journey – this album definitely sets itself apart by becoming a destination.   A place to stop,close your eyes, be quiet, listen and feel.  I would strongly encourage you to purchase the downloads or (if you’re like me) the CD.   It is one of those things that while purchased actually becomes priceless.  A Masterwork in its own right.

Here is a video of a live performance of track 3 from the album titled Blending Souls & Shades (to Shiraz) the instrumental lineup is different (sans trumpet and clarinet) from the album but the song is still quite powerful.  Enjoy.

And Lastly, Here is another video of the track Soupier Eternal (from the DIVINE SHADOWS album) filmed in Tunisia. This trio format will give you some idea of the Clarinet/voice/guitar interplay that can frequently be heard on the album and how these three “voices” are a perfect complement to each other on both recordings.

Artist Ed Moses

 

http://www.kaltura.com/index.php/kwidget/wid/1_mi9albnp/uiconf_id/8700151

In the video [link above] Ed Moses talks about his early work in the 60’s & 70’s.
My personal take-aways from this talk.

Art is proof that we exist. It is our “mark” that is no different from footprints in the mud or handprints on the cave wall.

Art is a path we travel that documents our journey from confusion to reality. The journey is the goal.

Art is about our attempts to control our environment only to realize we don’t have any control. Or, as he say’s “…realizing that I don’t want to be in control, I want to be in-tune.”

Click the link above for the video. Enjoy.

And if you like the first video here is another great video of this artist.

Perception, Knowledge & Ability

“Poetry. The better you understand how it should be done,
the less you are able to write it.
Virtuosity comes with the void.”

~ Philippe Jaccottet

…and I have found this true of all things in my life, whether at work or play. My study of music theory destroyed my ability to perform. My study of Theatre disabled my ability to act. My beginning studies of art history nearly destroyed my ability to see & create. All have blinded me to the possibilities outside of limitations. In the “void” I was free. But the muse of creativity is fickle; for some, she inspires through seeing while others she inspires through blindness. How can anyone say, “There is ONE way?”

Values

WHAT VALUES

Who co-opted our values
Who changed the primary meaning of the word
Who dared to stare at the face of God
and say, “Who are you?”
and, “How much?”

When did values change to only mean
deal
sale
cheap
bargain

When did the noun co-opt the verb

Will we ever be able to recover
prize
cherish
appreciate
those things
which cannot be defined
by material value

Maybe some day
it will be an innocent child
who recovers the truth
and once again
focuses and directs
away from materialism
the values of humanity
breathing new life
into old meanings

This morning…

7AM ONE JUNE MORNING

The muffled sun
A quiet hum of tires on pavement
Sleepy twittering of the waking sparrow
Mournful train whistle in the distance
And Discreet Music by Brian Eno on the stereo.
The day comes alive in the city.

Luminous City

This is a selection from a series of images (so far totaling 30). In this series I am exploring the edge of image through over-exposure. All these images were taken on a photo-walk in downtown Akron one Sunday morning. Just more of my further adventures in Non-representational, non-pictorial and non-objectivism with the camera as my paintbrush. It was interesting when I submitted these to my printer they contacted me and were reluctant to print them because there was so much white. I assured them that this was intentional as I want to explore the very edge of photography and question what we define as a photograph. I’m glad I insisted. I just got the prints and they are gorgeous!
I’m imagining them all hanging on a wall next to each other much like this presentation here where they create details of a much larger work.

One of my favorite poets is Philippe Jaccottet; from Switzerland (the country of origin of my ancestors). Here are two quotes that Fit this series and the soundtrack that I’ve selected for this presentation.

“White as the absence of colour, or death;
white as the essence of color, or, perhaps,
life transcended.”

“Things can fall apart again at any moment.
I can barely hold on to them, if I hold their shadows.
What I devour like a desirable meal is perhaps no more than absence.”

~ Philippe Jaccottet

The soundtrack I’ve chosen for this is An Ending (Ascent) by Brian Eno.
Enjoy.


Ornette…

ASKING & HEARING

ASKING & HEARING

A photo-based digital creation.
Asking & Hearing – posted as a tribute to the late Ornate Coleman 9 Mar 1930 – 11 Jun 2015.
Cheers to the man who showed us “THE SHAPE OF JAZZ TO COME”. He also taught us that the “CHANGE OF THE CENTURY” would affirm “WHEN TOMORROW IS THE QUESTION!” and answer “FREE JAZZ” and involve “THE ART OF THE IMPROVISERS”. Right up to the end he espoused “THE NEW VOCABULARY.” Thank you for teaching us the “DANCING IN YOUR HEAD” and opening our eyes and ears to all of life’s possibilities “IN ALL LANGUAGES”.

“The idea is that two or three people can have a conversation with sounds, without trying to dominate it or lead it,” Coleman said in a 1997 interview with the French philosopher Jacques Derrida.

“What I mean is that you have to be — intelligent,” he said.

“I think the musicians are trying to reassemble an emotional or intellectual puzzle, in any case a puzzle in which the instruments give the tone.”

He had a notorious relationship with music labels. His groundbreaking works were considered on the cutting edge and he had little patience for the industry’s business side. “I’ve never had a relationship with a record executive. I always went to the record company (because of) someone that liked my playing. Then they would get fired, and I’d be left with the record company,” Coleman told Cadence Magazine in 1995.

For more info:
https://www.facebook.com/officialornettecoleman/
http://ornettecoleman.com
http://artdaily.com/news
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornette_Coleman

It’s NUMINOUS

The continuing exploration of over exposure. This adventure began in my previous series “LUMINOUS IMPRESSIONS” [which can be seen here https://www.behance.net/gallery/24471909/Luminous-Impressions ] In some ways I think over exposure is a perfect metaphor for the internet era. When a photograph is over exposed it leads to “white out” situations where details become fuzzy and unrecognizeable. I wonder if that’s what will happen to us on the internet. Will too much exposure lead to a sort of personal and cultural blindness? And, is this a bad thing?

On the other hand – because of over exposure where things are not easily identified we are left to explore other realms of the over exposed image. It can give us new feelings and be an almost spiritual exploration into the non-pictorial and non-representational image. In other words, because we cannot readily identify something we are free to redefine it on our own mental, spiritual and emotional terms. Ten people can look at a photo of a kitten and all agree that it is a kitten they are viewing but when the image is over exposed each individual can come up with their own interpretation of what they are looking at.

Click “play on the video” then click on the first image and you will be able to see it large and then press arrow button to go to next image.