12.28.2011

HUNGER









If I've taste, it's not alone
For the earth and stones,
Rocks, coal, iron, air
That's my daily fare.

Turn my hungers, hungers browse
On the field of sound,
Suck up bindweed's gay venom
Along the ground.

Eat the pebbles that one breaks,
Churches' old stones;
Gravel of ancient deluge taste,
And loaves scattered in grey brakes.

***

Howling underneath the leaves
The wolf spits out the lovely plumes
Of his feast of fowls:
Like him I am consumed.

(excerpt)

12.27.2011

LEAD IN OUR LUNGS








My home. Age and decay in our back hallway.

12.10.2011

AFTER A DEATH

Once there was a shock
that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.
It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.
It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.

One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun
through brush where a few leaves hang on.
They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.
Names swallowed by the cold.

It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat
but often the shadow seems more real than the body.
The samurai looks insignificant
beside his armor of black dragon scales.

12.05.2011

THE GLASS TEAT

I now believe that television itself, the medium of sitting in front of a magic box that pulses images at us endlessly, the act of watching TV, per se, is mind crushing. It is soul deadening, dehumanizing, soporific in a poisonous way, ultimately brutalizing. It is, simply put so you cannot mistake my meaning, a bad thing.

We need never fear Orwell's 1984, because it's here, with us now, nearly a decade ahead of schedule, and has been with us for quite a while already. Witness the power of television and the impact it has had on you.

Don't write me letters telling me how you've escaped the terror, how you're not a slave to the box, how you still read and listen to Brahms and carry on meaningful discussions with your equally liberated friends. Stop and really take stock of how many hours last week you sat stunned before the tube, relaxing, just unwinding, just passing a little time between the demanding and excoriating life-interests that really command your energies. You will be stunned again, if you are honest. Because I did it, and it scared me, genuinely put a fright into me. It was far more time than I'd have considered feasible, knowing how much I despise television and how little there is I care to watch.

I rise, usually, between five and seven in the morning, depending on how late I've worked the night before. I work like a lunatic all day...I'm a workaholic...pity me...and by five or six in the evening I have to unwind. So I lie down and turn on the set. Where before I might have picked up a book of light fiction, or dozed, or just sighed and stared at the ceiling, now I turn on the carnivorous coaxial creature.

And I watch.

11.30.2011

LAST HOUSE/DAMNATIONLAND



This fall I helped with a little bit of art direction on a film project (seen above) that my friend Derek Kimball was commissioned to do for the annual horror film festival Damnationland in Maine, a series of vignettes to introduce and transition between the pieces made by various Maine filmmakers. D is a very old and dear friend of mine and my husband's, and my husband has scored two of his previous film releases, I Want You To Know and The Bully, both of which rightly earned some awards on the festival circuit. D, in addition to being an incredible musician (see Felsenmeer & Selbyville), has always been one of the most visually inspiring people in our lives, and his aesthetic is really beautiful, very informed by his love of the natural world, and especially that of his New England home. He really did such a beautiful job on the vignettes above, and I was flattered by his request for input. Do visit his Vimeo page to view more incredible film, video and animation work here.

11.09.2011

THEN HE PASSED HIS HAND

...swiftly over the board and gently swept all the pieces into a heap; and, meditatively with an artist's skill, made up a new game of the same pieces with quite other groupings, relationships and entanglements. The second game had an affinity with the first, it was the same world built of the same material, but the key was different, the time changed, the motif was differently given out and the situations differently presented. 
And in this fashion the clever architect built up one game after another out of the figures, each of which was a bit of myself, and every game had a distant resemblance to every other. Each belonged recognizably to the same world and acknowledged a common origin. Yet each was entirely new.
"This is the art of life," he said dreamily. "You may yourself as an artist develop the game of your life and lend it animation. You may complicate and enrich it as you please. It lies in your hands. Just as madness, in a higher sense, is the beginning of all wisdom, so is schizomania the beginning of all art and all fantasy...Here, take your little pieces away with you. The game will often give you pleasure. The piece that today grew to the proportions of an intolerable bugbear, you will degrade tomorrow to a mere lay figure...I wish you much pleasure, my dear sir."

11.05.2011

LA CHAMBRE

DOLMEN MUSIC

SHADOWS OF


This is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. If anyone reading this is knowledgeable about recording at all, I would love to know your thoughts on how the vocals might have been recorded...what kind of room? what kind of microphone? It is perfection.

11.03.2011

428-429

What is the meaning of Initiation? It is the Path to the realization of your Self as the sole, the supreme, the absolute of all Truth, Beauty, Purity, Perfection!
What is the artistic sense in you? What but the One Channel always open to you through which this Light flows freely to enkindle you (and the world through you) with flowers of inexhaustible fervour and flame?
And you set up against That this spectre of grim fear, of shame, of qualms and doubts, of inward quakings lest--you are too stricken with panic to see clearly what the horror is. You say "the elemental spirits and the Archangels are watching." (!) My dear, dear, sister, did you invent these beings for no better purpose than to spy on you? They are there to serve you; they are parts of your being whose function is to enable you to reach further in one particular direction or another without interference from the other parts, so long as you happen to need them for some service or other in the Great Work.
Please cleanse your mind once and for all of this delusion, disastrous and most damnable, that there can be opposition between two essential parts of your nature.
I cannot write more; it makes me too sad. I hope there is no need. Do be your Self, the radiant Daughter of the Muse!
With that command I turn to other tasks.

.

11.01.2011

BLACKENED PALMS

A weekend experiment, prompted by a forthcoming project by a friend whose work, mind and heart I greatly admire. A gorgeous weekend to sit cross-legged under the trees, playing with sunlight, mirrors, prisms and film. More from the series can be found here.

That all being said, may I admit that I am unbearably bored by my art? Perhaps "bored" is an unfortunate and inaccurate choice of word...dissatisfied? unimpressed perhaps? The phrase that continues to loop in my mind, "Strike that, reverse it," seems the most accurate way of describing my malaise. I want to erase my entire portfolio off of the map and start anew. 

On a positive note, I reflected with some amusement upon a memory I have of myself at 15 years old, laying in my room and marveling at the trippy gatefold in Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album, deciding quite resolutely that my deepest wish was to go back in time and seek employment at Hipgnosis. I fancy this series to be an appropriate submission in this imagined scenario. If I haven't succeeded at pleasing my present self, at least I can take comfort in having pleased my former.
 

_




I wish that I were able to dig up an appropriate title for these, portraits of an artist I admired from afar who has since become one of my most trusted friends, but I fear that I am still learning how to properly articulate my love for those most dear. I always seem to fall short, and I often fear that those who mean the most to me won't ever get a sense of the depth and nature of my feelings. This is something that we all struggle with, I'm sure. If I find the proper language, I will return here to amend, but until then, here they remain unnamed: portraits of a friend and of a time that I am forever grateful for.
(My hope is to print these in the darkroom soon, and to eventually print an art-zine of the series, as many of the photos are being kept under wraps. There will also eventually be some handmade stereocards of the portraits I took in color. In the meantime, view more on flickr.)

10.26.2011

SHOP SALE

20% off prints and all else. Enter coupon code "MORTUI" upon checkout to receive the discount. Happy Halloween all. http://www.etsy.com/shop/OfAMirrorAndABell

10.24.2011

EFFIGY

My first foray into doll-making. I have needed to create this magic(k)al piece for the purpose of protection and manifestation of creative will. Hand-sewn and hand-painted, with a homemade velvet skirt and golden-threaded neckpiece. Yet to be fulfilled is a proper home with talismans to protect she and I while sleeping, and proper disguises for nighttime travels. There are always projects to distract me from completion, so in the meantime she remains in my cabinet of curiosities, next to a small bundle of bay leaves sent from overseas to protect one in dreams. 
I baked this black panther mask of clay, since sprayed with a gloss finish and awaiting proper finishing touches. It is a bit heavy for the doll, so I am having a bit of a hard time problem-solving. I will surely share photos as the project progresses.

TAROT SHRINES




I have been in want of a space set for tarot meditation, as certain cards have themes and symbols that require my attention, so I decided to set about creating some proper shrines. The first I created is at top, which ended up donning a pattern that reminds me of both Latin American and Russian folk art. (I'm quite fond of both.) The card in this case is simply attached with some putty...not very sophisticated, but perfectly utilitarian. It will probably end up in my Etsy shop! The second was made for a dear friend's birthday, and is decorated with small clay roses which I molded and baked in my oven, finished with a spray of gloss. The crystals in this case are both decorative and utilitarian, securing the chosen tarot card by cinching it to the wood. 
More to come, surely, as I adore the craft of these small sacred spaces.

10.03.2011

THE ELECTRIC HARPSICHORD



Soundtrack to the Godmaker series.

9.25.2011

THE OUTSIDER

An inspiring life.





LOOP

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9.17.2011

TUNING IN

RECOMMENDED


I never would have expected Stockhausen to be such a charismatic lecturer.

9.04.2011

GABRIEL, THE SHY ONE

It was my intention to write a bit about this series after shooting it in July. It is born from a concept that I have been meditating on for the past year or so, made flesh after a number of months of planning and constructing the costume, which came to rest upon the shoulders and crown of my dearest love and muse, Glenna. It was a beautiful day, which I hope to always remember, spent with women that are dear to my heart on the shores of New England. Gabriel, gold foil crowns and breasts, summer's first dip in the ocean, jars full of wild rose hips. But I digress:


A good portion of the past year was spent absorbed in the mythology presented in James Merrill's The Changing Light At Sandover. I will not bother to summarize it here; blessings be to internet search engines for allowing me some brevity. For a variety of reasons, for a year or so prior to reading the epic poem, my mind was steeped in the idea of creation being born from destruction, and the necessary tandem of the two forces. I can not contribute anything new to this age-old observation, but it is a fascination that led me to be especially intrigued by Merrill's unique account of the angel Gabriel. He is presented as the right hand of God, the force which is obligated to keep the overly enthusiastic creative force of God in check. He is described as a dark, shrouded, bat-like character with fiery red eyes, who is reticent to engage in any conversation or speak of his calling, which he dutifully accepts, but brings him no joy. Merrill and his partner David Jackson spend a good deal of time trying to convince Gabriel of the reasons why man is worth saving, citing the transcendent power of music, art and poetry mainly. Gabriel is unmoved; I am as well. I honor this maligned and misunderstood character, though perhaps honored by a few in the form of Shiva, or in card 13 of the tarot, and present him (/her) in a new form here.

8.06.2011

IN ART,

...in being an artist, Goldmund saw the possibility of reconciling his deepest contradictions, or at aleast of expressing newly and magnificently the split in his nature. But art was not just a gift. It could not be had for nothing; it cost a great deal; it demanded sacrifices. For over three years Goldmund sacrificed his most essential need, the thing he needed most next to desire and love: his freedom. Being free, drifting in a limitless world, the hazards of wandering, being alone and independent--all that he had renounced. Others might judge him fickle, insubordinate, and overly independent when he neglected workshop and work during an occasional furious fling. To him, his life was slavery; often it embittered him and seemed unbearable. Neither the master nor his future nor need demanded his obedience--it was art itself. Art, such a spiritual goddess in appearance, required so many pretty things! One needed a roof over one's head, and tools, woods, clay, colors, gold, effort and patience. He had sacrificed the wild freedom of the woods to this goddess, the intoxication of the wide world, the harsh joys of danger, the pride of misery, and this sacrifice had to be made again and again, chokingly, with clenched teeth.

7.03.2011

DANSE SACRALE

THAT NIGHT IN ZURICH

I had a dream: I saw a large white building several storeys high which looked like a University. It was full of students; most of them were studying the exact or applied sciences, engineering or physics. They all seemed to be using their knowledge to achieve tangible results; they were applying it automatically without a thought to the significance of what they were doing. They were untroubled by doubt and had no concern for vital essences. This University of my dream seemed to represent the world of our future. The men coming out of the classrooms were hard and metallic, expressing themselves only in the laws of mechanics, and were themselves only becoming products of those laws. The last exponents of a world of flesh and blood had departed and, with their concern for a living earth with gods and demons, were considered by this new generation of anti-men as romantic idealists, the product merely of a decayed bourgeois society. Thus my dream seemed to suggest that the archetype of the future -- or indeed of the present since the future has already arrived -- would be the man of the atom and the machine, preparing himself for the conquest of space in a University building made entirely of concrete and surrounded by asphalt.

7.02.2011

THERE ARE SORES WHICH SLOWLY ERODE THE MIND IN SOLITUDE LIKE A KIND OF CANKER

The whip whistled through the air; the horses set off, breathing hard. They moved with high, smooth paces. Their hoofs touched the ground gently and silently. The bells around their necks played a strange tune in the damp air. In the gaps between the clouds the stars gazed down at the earth like gleaming eyes emerging from a mass of coagulated blood. A wonderful sense of tranquility pervaded my whole being. All that I could feel was the jar pressing against my chest with the weight of a dead body. The interlocking trees with their wry, twisted branches seemed in the darkness to be gripping one another by the hand for fear they should slip and crash to the ground. The sides of the road were lined with weird houses of individual geometrical shapes, with forlorn, black windows. The walls of the houses, like glowworms, gave forth a dim, sickly radiance. The trees passed by alarmingly in clumps and in rows and fled away from us. But it appeared to me that their feet became entangled in vines of morning glory which brought them to the ground. The smell of death, the smell of decomposing flesh, pervaded me, body and soul. It seemed to me that I had always been saturated with the smell of death and had slept all my life in a black coffin while a bent old man whose face I could not see transported me through the mist and the passing shadows.

THE PIANO DROP


This album currently on loop in our home.

6.27.2011

A WINTER IN WAITING






Darkroom prints of my friend Ali and her love, in the still woods behind Courtney's home. Neither my digital camera nor my scanner seem to capture the reality of these prints, so sadly much is compromised in the viewing. Those that I am willing to part with may find themselves in my shop.

4.29.2011

REDHEADS BLEED NO MORE THAN OTHERS

Baby male and female mice were produced from dual fathers, and it may be possible to produce non-cloned mice from a single mouse father. The circadian rhythms of mice are permanently affected by the season in which they were born. The excessive cleanliness of modern life may encourage depression by killing off beneficial bacteria. Neurotic newlyweds who have sex frequently are as happy as non-neurotic couples. Neonaticide in France was found to be five times more prevalent than previously thought. A South Carolina parrot was the sole witness to the death by neglect of a ninety-eight-year-old woman. "Help me, help me," said the parrot. "Ha ha ha!" Two California teenagers were arrested for strangling two chickens, a Rhode Island red named Linny and an Ameraucana named Maxine. In England, where average annual per-capita income 700 years ago was calculated to have been $800 in 1990 dollars, a flutist stole 299 rare bird skins from an ornithology museum in order to pay for a new flute. Oral sex is rarely or reluctantly received by women who fear their genitals are abnormal. The earth was found to be responsible for the asymmetric bulge of the moon's Lunar Farside Highlands. Scientists claimed to have found the first life that uses arsenic rather than phosphorus in its DNA and observed echoes of the universe from before the Big Bang. Particle physicists were optimistic about the possibility of creating something out of nothing, because nothing is actually something. The U.N. announced plans to launch a satellite powered by feces.

4.25.2011

OF A MIRROR AND A BELL

Of A Mirror And A Bell is the title of a Japanese ghost story, as translated and told by Lafcadio Hearn around the turn of the last century in his collection Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. In the tale, a monastery in a remote village, in an effort to collect bronze enough to create a bell for their campus, requests that the local women donate their old bronze mirrors for melting. One woman, after donating her own, is overwhelmed with remorse for having parted with an object that she only then realizes has great sentimental value to her. She recalls the moments she shared with both her mother and grandmother in front of the mirror, and thinks of how a mirror is said to contain the soul of a woman. Suddenly she feels as though a piece of her soul is missing, and her sadness consumes her. When the priests of the monastery begin melting the donated bronze, they find that no matter what they try, one mirror in particular resists the heat of their fires. They conclude that the owner of the mirror did not sacrifice selflessly, and that it is because their soul is still so entwined with the object that it will not melt. Word spreads through the small village, and the family engravings on the mirror betray the woman. She is soon so ashamed of her failure to let go of her attachment, that she takes her own life, and upon doing so, promises that anyone who is able to break the great monastery bell will receive great fortune. The poor priests become so plagued by the incessant din of those attempting to crack the bell with any number of tools and objects that, in exasperation, they remove the bell and roll it down a great hill, it's holy peels muted in the depths of a swamp.

You can read the story in full here, though I highly recommend just purchasing the entire collection of "strange things".

4.17.2011

KALAM


I would like to know what it feels like to join in this ecstatic form of prayer. I would also like some of the food that they're passing around.

3.22.2011

GOLD THREAD

Experimenting with sewing and painting on my test strips.

GODMAKER

More darkroom work from a series that may, as New Myths, continue indefinitely. More here.