February 2019


The view from the peak of the mountain isn't available to those standing at the base - but the reverse is also true. Generally speaking, one has no choice but to work on those annoying little problem areas of life. Annoyance is a feeling. Feelings can be worked through. The fact that a problem is simply annoying suggests that there is no greater barrier to you addressing it, beyond a temporary sense of discomfort. Let the process flow wherever your interests carry you. Let the structure emerge naturally, rather than pre-emptively projecting one onto it. Practice & experimentation is what yields improvement, rather than determining the best possible method before you've actually done anything. The art exists not in any singular physical aspect of the piece, but in the interplay between aspects, the observer, and any behaviour inspired within the observer by the piece. What do I want? to continue moving, upward or outward, indefinitely. Generally speaking conversations are weighed down with constant consideration for the minutia of socialization, leaving far too little room for anything novel to be said.

There's a certain sort of framed poster & computer wallpaper you find in schools & office buildings - always a clear shot of some breathtaking landscape or piece of natural beauty. I don't find beauty in these things - a clear, unobstructed shot of an entire mountain, a sprawling vista, a waterfall, etc. - reduced to a nameable object of contemplation, no different really than the flickering florescent lights & the artificial climate control & the endless rows of cubicle walls. These office photos serve not only to remind me of the distance between myself & the experience of natural beauty, but also to instil doubt in the very idea of there being natural beauty out there to experience - perhaps it's nothing more than another generative fantasy of the urban environment, like perfume or fake flowers or the cultivation of a social media #brand. No, not mountains - I'd rather office walls be adorned with photos of offices, photos which through artful composition somehow managed to elevate the mundane, familiar environemnt into something evocative & exciting. I'd rather my art render the familiar unfamiliar, and not simply make the unfamiliar unreal. Utilitarion art: sometimes you write not in hopes of saying something meaningful or creating something beautiful, but because writing can feel kind of like taking a shit. Most vague emotional distresses can be (at least temporarily) addressed by becoming physically uncomfortable.

The idea of a dangerous situation in which there is real risk of injury seems somewhat appealing, if only because I'd be forced to pay attention to what I was doing. Breaking unwanted behaviour patterns does not require that you first understand their origin, but rather that you become relentlessly indignant towards them. My life is a work in progress. Anything I say regarding long-term success is at best an informed estimate, or a hopeful wager. In my adolescence, my time was largely spent living in fantasy landscapes, playing out imaginary scenarios far removed from the mundane reality of my daily experience. In my 20s I made great strides to leave these fantasies behind, to direct my focus squarely at my waking life. How disappointed I felt, when waking life failed to provide anything nearly as enthralling as the dancing shadows I had once known. Life felt like a dream that had ended, and a sleep from which I had not yet awoken. In the dying embers of my third decade a dull murmur has slowly come to consume my being - the old dreams were bad dreams. The old hopes were lies. The things you wished you were, were put there by external forces, to distract you from the thing that you are. If you're walking a path of discipline with the goal of experiencing some higher order of pleasure akin to a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, you may become frustrated if the thing you experience fails to match up to all the small nuggets of hedonism you werre forced to pass by on the way.

In college I spent a season living in student housing with three conventionally attractive young women. They hosted huge parties pretty much every weekend, and played pop music at loud volumes well into the night, and drank copious amounts of alcohol, and made a mess of the kitchen. I didn't participate. I was the quiet one, who never left his room. I just wanted to make ambient music & experiment with my sleep patterns. Everything else just felt like so much noise. When I decided to move out, a classmate said something to the extent of, "you're moving out of a house with three hot girls, are you crazy?". I remember feeling mildly disgusted at this attempted imposition upon my process of self-determination, this reminder that it's my societal duty to play my assigned role, to seek out that which I'm told to covet. I've often wondered if these things of popular life trajectories actually hold appeal for the majority, and I am simply an anomaly. Or is everyone else simply making a stronger effort to pretend? The philosophy of self-discipline suggests that the body can be re-trained to experience pleasure in doing that which garners results. The philosophy of self-gratification suggests that it would in fact be easier to re-train the universe to give one the desired results in exchange for doing what already feels pleasurable. Photography is the practice consciously returning a sense of unfamiliarity to the mundane.