6.28.2001

notes on MOVEMENT : SPACE and SOUND
caught a 3-part documentary last night on the evolution of dance in the black community. A few things of note:

- Trisha Brown, speaking of the Judson School :
"we were the first modern dancers to take the hyperbole out of the work."

and Alvin Ailey :
"spirituals were a music that I felt I could actually SEE..."


STRAPPING TO, WALKING ON, MODIFICATIONS, AMPLIFICATIONS
    - a performance by Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane
wearing 16" thick block shoes, strapped to his feet
    - someone named "Solomons"
suspended, with ropes perpendicular to a tree, parallel to the ground and walking, quite miraculously, around the tree trunk, in an unwinding spiral (must find out more about that fellow).
    - Ulysses Dove, choreographer, came out of the Ailey troupe
working the dancers in rehearsal with the shapes and sounds of his voice..... half-words...........nonsense, the BREATH, the RHYTHMIC tttTTT-ba-da-ba-da paaaaahhhhhh....... stopped me in my tracks. mesmerizing. SOUND and SPACE. undeniably linked, perceptually and conceptually. Like the shape and sound of a writer's voice. Like the way music is often thought of in terms of the SPACE it creates. And I, also, often describe how a space, or a wall will feel by using a sound, or series of sounds and breath.....


Of the dancers mentioned above, 3 out of the 6 are now dead because of AIDS.

6.25.2001

This weekend: saved a turtle's life, and two crickets.

(The point is not to do remarkable things, but to do ordinary things with the conviction of their immense value)
-- Teilhard de Chardin

6.23.2001

NEW razor format --

Willa Cather, On the Art of Fiction (1920)
"Art, it seems to me, should simplify. That, indeed is very nearly the whole of the higher artistic process; finding what conventions of form and what detail one can do without and yet preserve the spirit of the whole -- so that all that one has suppressed and cut away is there to the reader's consciousness as much as if it were type on the page."

Mitsu is writing about the shifting nature of relationships...
"...to get into a holding pattern is the problem: to assume that the point is to maintain, rather than to constantly renew. One has to begin again every day, no matter what great things happened in the past. For fear of losing what we have, we often fail to realize that everything has to start over constantly, so we end up losing it anyway"
This prompted me to pull out a set of index cards typed (on an actual TYPEWRITER) one summer, my own "cliff's notes" of a text on meditation: Mindfulness in Plain English, by Henepola Gunaratana. Found what I was looking for:

"Mindfulness, and only mindfulness, can perceive that the three prime characteristics that Buddhism teaches are the deepest truths of existence."
anicca: impermanence
all conditioned things are inherently transitory

dukkha: unsatisfactoriness
every wordly thing is, in the end, unsatisfying.

anatta: selflessness
the absence of a permanent, unchanging entity called self.
I struggled - REALLY STRUGGLED - with these notions, and I think it is this sort of abstract thinking that many people feel they cannot relate to in Buddhism or other similar practices. How can one embrace this in any sort of a concrete way? How can I possibly apply this in "regular" life and still be a critical, thinking person? The great shift in understanding is to realize that the art of mindfulness is grounded very much in the concrete, and in its application within moments of everyday perception. This ability is perhaps one of its most important aspects: to notice that the true nature of ALL phenomena is impermanent, unsatisfactory, and self-less.

I bring this into ockhams' razor because, although I do not practice a true meditation, I have found that being aware of these characteristics in a sort-of waking meditation has significantly impacted not only my relationships, but also my work. For example, it is especially difficult to accept the "every wordly thing is, in the end, unsatisfying." But when I allow for that AS A POSSIBILITY, suddenly I am able to release issues of doubt and disappointment and worry. If everything is inherently unsatisfying, and I go into my life being ok with that, then pressure is released and graceful acceptance (and action) can begin. Art-making, and design, can be as fraught with self-doubt, worry and disappointment as any relationship. Some would say more so, given the potential neuroses of the creative act. But releasing the expectation of fulfillment, releasing the neurosis of the self (because there is no self) enables me to focus my bare attention (sati) on the work, and not on the expectations for the work.

Similarly, it has enabled me to focus my bare attention on the relationships I have, and not on my expectations for those relationships. To focus on the concrete, tangible perceptions of being with another, of being a part of a family, of being in this world. This has made all the difference.

6.22.2001


Reata Ruins
Marfa, TX (image: Magdalin Leonardo)

6.21.2001

It's pretty great when a client sends you poetry. This past year I designed a house in Marfa, Texas (way out in West Texas, a glorious 7-hour drive from Austin) for a couple who spent almost 40 years in the hubbub of corporate Houston. They left their previous life behind and are discovering what it means to have light and space and sky and art as a part of their daily life. With their discovery comes my realization that this is a way of seeing I take entirely too much for granted. For them, it is a new and precious thing - and they are peeling back the layers, like an onion, like tissue around a jewel, like chrysalis.

This week they spent their first nights in this place that we have created. We: their hope, their needs... my hand and eye... the passion of the builder, my now dear friend Chuck... and the honest determination of his crew, most of them fresh-faced West Texas boys, right out of high school from neighboring Alpine, or Fort Davis, with big dreams of bigger towns where there is less space to get lost in.

And so I get a sweet little poem from K., which I feel he might allow me to excerpt:
When the
Evening sun
Starts down
The thick
Soft breeze
Comes round
And there is
No sound
On the west
Side of town...

Save the
Chirping
Of birds
And the
Unnatural
Ringing in
Your brain
From the quiet...
It is like pain
At toll-free
Marfa, TX....

Great Tsunami
Views to
Make you
Cry
Come see
It is
Toll-free

Marfa, TX....
His phrasing "toll-free" intrigues me - perhaps it is because places like West Texas give so freely to a person; it seems as if you are getting something for next to nothing. Where life feels natural, and full of grace. So much, it hurts.
grace n.
Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form or proportion....
A sense of fitness or propriety...
A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence...

American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition

6.19.2001

more manifolds: paint


(I can't help but notice how similar the color is to the title bar of ockham's razor)

formatted ockham's other tonight, "a looser, goosier side-forum for the razor, favoring lists and language, ways and means..."
please excuse the hiatus.
to continue from the previous post: some of the (manifold) references for "manifold":

mathematics:
A continuous n-manifold is a topological space where there is some open set around each point that is isomorphic to [Euclidean space]? Rn. That is, the space looks locally Euclidean. These isomorphisms are called charts, and the collection of all of them is called an atlas; by only including charts that relate smoothly to one another, we get an analytic manifold. All differentiable manifolds can be made analytic.

Associated with every point on an analytic manifold is a [tangent space]? and its dual, the cotangent space. The former consists of the possible directional derivatives, and the latter the differentials, which can be thought of as infinitesimal elements of the manifold. These spaces always have the same dimension as the manifold does.
the automotive referent:
Manifold: What is it?
- One manifold of an internal_combustion_engine is the system of pipes that distributes the mixture of air and fuel from the carburetor to all of the cylinders.
- The exhaust manifold gathers together all of the pipes that carry exhaust out of the cylinders and channels them into the tailpipe and muffler.
- The manifold that carries air and fuel to the cylinders is located underneath the carburetor on the top of the engine. The exhaust manifold is located under the engine, where the exhaust pipes exit each of the cylinders.
Frequently Asked Questions about the BXR Manifold
Will it fit under my stock hood?
Absolutely. The BXR design is 1/4 to 1/2 lower than the stock 5.0 & 5.8 (GT-40) Manifold.

the inflatable life jacket inflator manifold
some great diagrams and descripions of engine manifolds
A School on High-Dimensional Manifold Topology
and
The Manifold Inn near The River Manifold in The Manifold Valley Buxton, Derbyshire

there seem to be manifolds for everything ----- gas, water, combustion, exhaust, aquatic, mathematics (quantum field theory), oil, coolant, pneumatics, cement, two-liter intake, stepped, small valve, exhaust, pressure, Dual R134a & R12 gauge sets, heat, vacuum, 2-in-1 "Y"

including a quiet, beautiful manifold of paper, light and shadow

6.09.2001

****create an exhibition of MANIFOLDS
manifold:
--adj: 1. Of many kinds; multiple. 2. Having many features or forms. 3. Consisting of or operating several of one kind.
--n.: 1. A whole composed of diverse elements. 2. One of many copies. 3. A pipe so fitted that it has several apertures for making multiple connections. 4. Math A set of elements sharing a number of properties, usually of a topologic nature, such as orientability, differentiability, and dimensionality.
--tr.v. -folded, -folding, -folds. 1. To make several copies of. 2. To make manifold: multiply. [ME < OE manigfeald : manig, many + -feald, -fold.]

It is the noun-use 4. that interests me: A set of elements sharing a number of properties, usually of a topologic nature, such as orientability, differentiability, and dimensionality. It would be interesting to pull together artists who do work of iterations (whose work is iterative), perhaps in wholly different ways that may seem entirely distinct, yet are of the same breed, the same family of insect. I am reminded of a text on morphology once read that had a striking illustration of the many, many variations within a particular family of 9-segmented beetles. Each beetle had the same parts, the same nine segments, same legs, same antennae. But for each variant the emphasis and proportion of the given parts was different - the 7th segment, say, and the 5th, in one beetle, were longer, while its legs were shorter and grouped more towards the head. In another one, the segments were all fairly regularly spaced, and thin, except for the 2nd segment, which was quite wide, and the legs were split between the front half and the back half.

Morphology, manifolds - also brings to mind the phrase "type/variant," which I first heard from an architect named Vincent James (see Type/Variant House, also Minneapolis Boathouse Project). I am beginning to explore this idea in direct applications of materiality and texture, and am currently working on developing a set of manifolds - one, for example, involves lines of sequins that expand and contract in scale and orientation creating a shifting topography of like-minded (type-minded) variation.

The idea of manifold as a process, too, where different works present evolutions of form or idea - the 7th segment elongates, the antennae turn outward instead of inward, the legs bifurcate. D's work does this for me, from floating objects to stick lamps to log lights to laminated log sections to ????(what's next Dan?) Each iteration is a variation in scale, medium, and form, with the focus (the emphasis) shifting between object, image, log, light, surface, edge, etc., depending on the phenomenon under exploration. All of the works seem to be cousins, however, even if distant. Is there more to it than just work being done by the same person, by the same hand? I think so. Of course, there are threads to be found between all of the work created by one person, but there are certain people who work more directly in a process of manifold, whose work seems to be deliberately stretching certain segments and allowing others to regress, while still staying in the same family. And those same artists also create other works that are not in a given set of manifolds, that are, in fact, quite distinct.

The works of a manifold do NOT, necessarily, denote chronology, or linear development. This is what could be compelling about an exhibition of manifolds. It allows process to be evident, without making it the subject of the show, without saying, "first the artist did this work, then this, then this." The manifold as process is not about chronological linear evolution, but about multiplicity in evolution, whose analogy might be the organic cluster-and-spoke-like growth of form as found in the development of cities over time. This seems to hold more true to the way ideas are often implemented as well.

****put together a list of other manifolds to be found

6.06.2001

Just had a fight with a concrete contractor. Jesse. I don't think Jesse likes me anymore. I didn't like his concrete pour. It looks like it's made out of playdough. Or silly putty. They don't tell you how to argue with contractors when you're in architecture school. You have to figure it out all on your own.

20 minutes later, though, and I'm sitting here, with Jack (cat) perched on my lap (though perched is not quite accurate given his girth - sprawled? wedged? glommed onto?), working more on my 20 things for calamondin.
20 things. 20 people. 20 days. a swap meet, a mail art project, a limited edition art exchange. The premise: you make an edition of 20 of something (size restrictions: 4 by 6 by .5 inches maximum). You mail those to me along with a self-addressed stamped envelope. So do 19 other people (well, ok, 18, since I'll be the 20th). I do lots of sorting on the floor of my living room, then mail you a package of 20 delightful pieces of art. - calamondin
I wonder what Jesse is doing.

6.04.2001

from Sunday, May 20, 2001 Austin American Statesman
thoughts, in their own words, of 36 graduating high school students in Thrall, TX
located an hour north east of Austin.

Matthew Suchomel, 18
I'm going to be a firefighter. I don't want no boring desk job or nothing. I want something that's kind of interesting, fun and gets your blood pumping. It's an adventure, I would think. It'd be kind of fun if you did something good for the world or people in the city.

Later on, after I get my place set, I'm going to have a ranch and stuff. That's what my dad does, but I don't plan on doing that right now. There's not too much money in it.

................................
Isai Govellan, 17
I'm going to be moving out. I have to get used to that because I'm going to go to college - Blinn Junior College. I have some friends there. I'll study computer graphics. From there I'm not too sure. I love drawing and doing other kinds of design. I'm real creative. I'm nervous about not meeting expectations. They say I can do a lot of things. I just need to try harder. They can tell when I try or don't try.

................................
Alonso Aleman, 19
After graduation, I'll probably take a year off and get a job. I'm not sure what. I'll probably just stay with my parents for awhile. In five years I'll probably be married. I've had a girlfriend for about three years. We've talked about it. We'll probably start a family. No kids yet, but about two, later. She probably wants them.

................................
Lucas Agee, 17
I'm just going to continue working. Right now it's McDonald's but that ain't going to last too long. I'll find something else. I'm tired of fast food.

I'd be kind of happy not to see some of these people at school again, to tell you the truth. I don't get along with too many people. A lot of people get their stuff handed to them, and I've had to work for mine, so it makes me mad. I've had millions of different jobs. I've worked over at the Hippoplex, at a welding shop in Taylor, and at Walmart, up at the school, and at Subway. I'd rather go to work than school, and actually get paid for showing up.

................................
Sarah Noel, 18
I go in July and get enrolled at Baldwin Beauty School in Austin for cosmetology. I've always liked doing it, so I decided to take my career in it. I cut my boyfriend's hair and stuff, but I messed up on it. It wasn't my fault because he moved his head. I had one of the electric razors with no guard and he said he's never going to let me do it again.

................................
Michelle Lawrence, 18
I'm going to take my first year at Temple Junior College. I finally got my mom worn down, she's going to let me apply or Galveston or Kingsville, and that's where I'm going to go from there. She doesn't think I can be out on my own; I don't have enough responsibility for that. She doesn't think I can handle it. That, and I'm her last. And I'm going to be the first to go to college.

I have no talent for nothing and history interests me. So I'm going to go for history. My teacher actually told me a pretty neat thing you can get into. You can go to Hollywood and they'll ask you to find information on different things for movies. I wanted to look into that. If I can figure out what it's called.

................................
Miles Chumbley, 18
After graduation, I'm going to work at various camps as a counselor. Then I'm going to Grayson County College in Sherman. My sister went there. I haven't decided what I'm going to study - probably music and animal science. I'm in my own band, a rock band. We don't have a name.

I've always been into animals. In five years, I'll just have graduated college, so it's hard to say where I'll be. I could be in a band playing somewhere or out in the field studying animals. Reptiles especially. They always appeal to me - they have a lot of attitude and are shunned by everyone. I'm a little anxious, a little apprehensive about what's about to happen to me. I'm fixing to be out on my own. I'm also excited because I get to prove myself.

................................
Dana Rutter, 17
I'm going to work until August at Beall's in Taylor, and then I'm going to Sam Houston. My mom went there, and it's fairly cheap. My dad's trying to make up a contract for me to pay him back. I don't think that'll happen. I'm going to major in business accounting and business management.

This lady that works at Beall's, she knows a guy that works at the Huntsville Jail in human resources. She said she could help me for a summer job, so I'm going to go over there. I haven't ever been to a jail. But she said I won't be around any inmates. I'll be back in my own office.

................................
Joanna Memmer, 18
I'm going to get a job. One that pays money - that would be nice. I just really am not sure..... I'm not nervous about graduating because everything will just work out. I don't need much. Just money and a truck and friends. I don't think I want a career. I don't want to settle down to one thing. Maybe go to Broadway and be a dancer. Then be a mechanic. Everything different. Because you only have one life.

................................
Keith Sutton, 18
As soon as I graduate, I'll find a new job. A better job than the one I've got right now. I work at a shop, a tire shop in Taylor. I put them on and do oil changes and stuff. I'll probably go to Round Rock and find another job. I'm just ready to get out of here. Just whatever happens.


I want to put them all in my pocket and tell them that everything is going to be ok. Even if I have to lie.