Hi. I used to use this blog a lot more than i do now. I don't agree with much of what i've posted here, but such is the nature of time. :) My instagram & facebook are likely to be more up to date.

the pittsburgh grassroots examiner

>> Saturday, August 29, 2009

a photo of our hero from my archive of early 20th century anarchists...

all you need to know
about the upcoming g20 in pittsburgh
and the accompanying bullshit, lies and state terrorism
can be found in the erudite, funny, subjective, personal and ultimately
triumphant column of the pittsburgh grassroots examiner,
which is penned by mike boda (formerly the town crier for
the yinsurrectionary times)...

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"The Bird of Babylon" complete! (mostly...)

>> Wednesday, August 26, 2009

first, a money shot... (notice the piles of materials and tools below it!) this shot was taken after a 24+ hour art binge before the visionary arts festival...

second, a note on photography. this bird suffers a bit from under-documentation. for example, the only shots i have of the finished bird were taken in a severely sleep-deprived state, or by attendants of the arts festival. some day i'll have a professional photographer shoot it, but that will have to wait. also, i've marked all but the first two photos with a creative commons license... please link back here for any use... the bird says thanks!

The Bird of Babylon... it's a piece that's been knocking around my head for a while, so it's great to have it out of there and in the world... basically i've been collecting scraps of colorful trash for years in the hopes of making something out of them... when i found a huge cache of fake flowers tossed unceremoniously in the muddy landfill of a local cemetery, the piece just clicked... i could use the flower petals to make bird feathers...

i brought all the junk i had collected, along with a rotary tool and some knives, to my friend laurie trok's studio... she has a similar interest in junk and found materials, so it seemed a good environment to work on the piece. after an hour or so sorting through the bits and bones, it seemed obvious laurie should help with the project. while i brought her the idea of making a bird out of trash, she is an equal author of the final object...

at first we thought we could make something like a bas relief... mounted flat on a wall... the first sketches of the head reflected this idea. but upon playing with the stems from the fake flowers, it became clear that we had great material to make a complete sculpture. we made a simple armature out of just the stems pieces, but eventually created a stronger structure using four flower arrangement stands also found in the cemetery...





the legs, feet and interior structure are fairly visible in this shot.


the structure is mostly held together by the stems, a plastic coated bundle of posable wire, however we also used a good amount of obsolete intercom wire i pulled out of the penn avenue basement. the poking out ends of the stem wire and the intercom wire provided a useful base to attach the old knit cotton t-shirts for use as skin. by tightening the shirts into the sculpture, we created a convex and concave musculature...



the inner torso of the bird is lined with bright red leather from a golf bag... we hoped to make a visible interior area of the bird, with a smaller bird inside, and still may...


laurie knotted together the fabric around the tail to create a very naturalistic rendition of that area.


we then began experimenting with various feather making techniques. i was convinced that i would be able to sew the feathers together with the intercom wire, but this proved incredibly difficult and time consuming. laurie saved the bird with the strong suggestion to get over the fetishization of found materials and use some hot glue! we glued the feathers to each other, onto strips, and directly to the fabric skin...


the finished product is largely a concoction of the wire fabric and petal/feather technique, but other parts of the bird required some different techniques... the neck was created using some iridescent ribbon found at the cemetery, and was stuffed with some of the uglier flowers... the head was assembled using a combination of cut automobile panel, flowers and other trash wired together through drilled holes...


this shot shows a little of the front of the wings, which we left mostly exposed to show the armature... it also shows our pictures of the anhinga, the real bird we based the anatomy of our bird off...

this back shot above is high resolution - click here to enlarge!


this head shot above is high resolution - click here to enlarge!

a face only the artists could love! notice the shattered lighter used as the upper beak flap. my wife laura suggested we retain some of the ugliness of the trash and i hope to integrate more of that idea in the finished product... so that the piece says more than "trash into treasure". there is something important to me about the beauty and ugliness of "babylon", both as a reference to modern culture and to it's opposite, "paradise"...




this shot shows the top of the log we stood the bird on. the log is scarred by chainsaws, and seems an apt perch. the feet, claws and legs will be finished when we do the final installation of the bird wherever it finds a home. we've got some really sweet pieces for the claws... fierce!


me posing with the bird for scale.

so while there is some touching up and more details to add, like the feet, the inner chamber and the final perch... the bird exists now... the theory behind it has changed and evolved through the process, through collaboration and will change even more in the final presentation, but there is no escaping the image of a phoenix arising out of the excesses of babylon, the natural world insisting upon space to spread it's wings...

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dante's paradise

>> Saturday, August 15, 2009


a great piece of writing was sent in answer to one of my questions... it not only answered my question but it was so charming in it's delivery i thought it would be enjoyable to others...

me (paraphrased):

"hey... what's the deal with the paradiso?"

brilliant response from an un-named genius:

"I confess to having a strong preference for the Paradiso, which is not shared by many. For whatever reason, a lot of people are intrigued by the rather creatively imagined punishments and purgative exercises in the other volumes (e.g., the proud carrying around heavy rocks on their shoulders so that they can't look up!), but as someone drawn to the classic mystics, I find the whole structure of the Paradiso-- ending with the sublime and inexpressible (even for Dante) beatific vision-- utterly fascinating. You just have to accept that it's a bit of a shortcut through the medieval mind to begin there. There's quite enough to keep one busy for a long time, because it's impossible to avoid following the footnotes into the cosmology and angelic theology of Pseudo-Dionysius (the most esoteric of the lot, who probably only made it into mainstream Christian thought because of his pseudonym), Bernard of Clairvaux, Aquinas, the Neo-Platonists, etc.

I am hardly a scholar on the subject (although I've certainly accumulated the resources to do it if I should suddenly acquire a different kind of mind.) I've always felt free to mine the metaphors liberally-- and avoid the arguments that stopped being interesting several centuries ago (not to mention Italian city-state politics-- which got Dante exiled and with some speculative time on his hands in the first place). Maybe it was exile that evoked in him such a compelling interest in the final resolution of things... And keep in mind that Dante wasn't entirely literal about all of this. There's a place where he explains that the whole distribution of the souls that he encounters into the various planetary spheres is really just an organizational convenience arranged for the benefit of his mortal mind. Rather generous of God, I think-- but one of the reasons that I retain more patience than most with classic Christian symbology. The truth in it has nothing whatsoever in common with the verifiability of the six o'clock news..."

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that veiled gazette #369


blogging is hard...

it's been a long time since the last digest... a lot of current events have passed, scandals, debates, triumphs, miseries... i'm not going to touch on most of them... but only share with you the fragments i collected in the meantime... just things i dragged into the ever-over-flowing folder of "blog ideas" on the bookmark bar... blogging has been a weird fit for my current efforts, and there has been much talk and some action on quitting the internet around me... BUT, i feel the flame hasn't died quite yet... and we'll see where this shrouded deer leads us next.

quality performance art...

ART, FASHION : fascinating article about faking a vermeer... old pal's art on boing boing video... dj ripley has been posting a lot of great jamaican fashion from her trip there. here, here, here, here, and here. flower mandalas and other decent new-agey art. speaking of new-agey (old-agey?) this celtic talismanic jewelry reminded me of calder's contour drawings of animals. this guys design is supercolorcleanskillz. subway mind fuck art. did you know that motorcycles used to look WAY cooler? here's good billboard mod. and more book sculpture.. this time a face. the results of this camera art are boring, but the idea is good. more pretty art on basic sounds... also, van gogh didn't cut off his ear... it was gauguin!

MUSIC: flute-boxing. daichi-boxing. woman-boxing. competition-boxing. music of colombia via geko jones. love this guy's tabla style. blue daisy sounds like flying lotus, burial and a nice hum. great new mellowish dubstep artists here, here, and here. afro punk interview. LOVED this 10 essential wiley tunes article. poppy music blog. lovin' this old school jam. wendy carlos interview (if you don't know about her, you need to read up...) a bonus for those who actually read these digests, i picked my favorite brian eno tracks off his first four pop albums and put them here. old buddy from college's remix site, remixin. skweee... get hip. oh, and can someone please toss me khalid's secret eq chart?... yeah, thanks.

90 degree angles get old quick...

ARCHITECTURE, ECO, DIY: holy shit, dangerous tea house! splendid, extensive collection of beautiful and bizarre houses... including the one above... great inspiration there for designing or remodeling buildings (both of which i've been doing recently)... i've posted before about art made with books, including shelves, but here's a cool upside-down book shelf design... LED lights can now do pretty much every color... some interesting eco work... saw it on the colbert report... ceiling porn. bottles and cob. laundry water greywater system. other bizarre houses and furnishings chronicled in dornob magazine.

one of many real angels...

SEX: i continue to be interested in finding a way to fit sex into this blog. i enjoy it being mostly family friendly... but there's something to the eroticism of brian's blog that helps counterpoint the brutal truths and mystic bliss. apparently obsession with sex goes back some ways. anyway, as erotica goes, mod fetish tends to be more artful and interesting than most, but is mostly just photos of naked women... i guess there's just a big part of me that would rather be naked at burning man... and that's about all the sexual openness i can muster for the moment.


ALEXANDRIA IS OPEN, GREATSITE, TECHNOLOGY : the pirate bay just got sold, but that's o.k. because google is the new pirate bay. it's a silly issue, because pirates buy more music than non-pirates. this is a nice collection of rainbow design tutorials, (including how to make lines like in the picture above). good source of high res photojournalism is the boston globe's big picture and the wall street journals photo journal. I always enjoy looking up words on the online etymological dictionary (try magic!), but the urban dictionary is indispensable for slang (try hyphy!) dig the voting process. yeah, yeah, change the internet forever... and phones. i'm up in the air about internet privacy issues, but this tool seems to make it simple to stalk. oh, and if you're going to waste time playing video games, this one helps map proteins...

BABYLON, POLITICS : the g20 is in pittsburgh soon, and that fucks with me... mostly because i have some outspoken anarchist youth using my first floor to feed people and have meetings, and cops love to fuck with innocents. grr. obama - he releases some important secrets, blocks other important secrets. i could do a whole post just on how complex my feelings are about obama and the new senate... among the issues are the "two" wars... the cronyism going on that he campaigned against, and the fact that the soldiers are still being told to "hunt people for jesus". (of course the bush era version of this was far weirder... really, really weird.) after 5 years, portugal's drug decriminalization has produced some seriously positive results. did you know that as many people are making their living from blogging as are from being lawyers? old bomb scars. face transplant successful (warning, graphic images) here. old castes in newly revealed maps... constant police brutality. how will the newspapers survive? there's no huffington post without the new york times, so can the grey lady stay alive by being a non-profit? REX84... yuck. and google beware.


WEIRD, SUFI: plants can recognize genetically identical cuttings... i'm a big fan of rumi... and never heard him weigh in on hallaj until reading this poem. great zen motivational poster from the great mojo1000. weird water properties. weirder other substances, including the ferro-fluids in the video above. earliest bible online for free. gurdjieff's long gone, but a movement technique not unlike his exists(youtube)... tap the wisdom of the crowd. it appears having religion is good for your health... remote viewing experiment - hey, you don't have to convince me. mentalist whoops master chess players(youtube). remember, death is milliseconds away.

seriously...

HUMOR: stephen colbert in iraq... i had profoundly mixed feelings about the whole thing, partially because apparently conservatives don't realize stephen colbert is joking (seriously!) laura and i were hurting from laughter watching this old snl thing. this may not be funny to some, but a lot of people got weirded out when amazon dropped all of it's search results for gay and lesbian books, but it may have just been one lone hacker making a "point" facial hair contestants. mark twain motivational posters. funny silhouettes. married to the sea.

VIDEO: parkour (first 7 seconds AMAZINGZOMGWTFAWESOMESOX)... free running... speed stacking... psychedelic yoooooouuuutube... and now witness a baby give a fiery sermon. it's not what you say, but how you say it, apparently:


PERSONAL, POINTSOFPROCESS: mixing dirty was named as a tie for mix of the year. I've got a brand new deejay night, which i'm gonna call "The Garden of Earthly Delights". Way more details (and previews of the gorgeous flyers i made) coming. as i've been blogging less, i've mostly been tossing little tidbits on facebook. i post compelling images in an album called "incarnations", and some art in an album called "art i like" Some links that probably aren't here are here on facebook. maybe i'd have more time to blog if i had a monkey babysitter. but seriously... kids are awesome. i love my son... he's such a joy... and we're having another in february. but then that's enough. two will do... i'm travelling now to take him to see his 6 grandparents... which is why i have the leisure to blog. pittsburgh too hot! i-man haffi cool out, up on the mountain top...

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how to dance to dubstep

>> Thursday, August 13, 2009

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in the meantime.

>> Tuesday, August 4, 2009


anyone in really worried that i'm not blogging (due to total craziness revolving around dj gigs, the visionary arts festival and the g20 in pittsburgh) should just head over to brian's blog... he keeps it coming. if he learned about sacred geometry, pittsburgh and dirty ass electronic music, i'd quit blogging for good.

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got money? feed kids!

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