This Post is Not About Art

When I tell you that the arrangement of sweetly colored textural shapes above is not art I sincerely hope you believe it. Admittedly, you have little reason to. You’ve been here before. You’ve seen that week after week I populate this space with images that are in fact art, or could, without too great a leap of imagination, be considered as such. High art, low art, unexpected art, unintentional art; Categorical labels and their attendant quotation marks, though generally eschewed, abound here for those who’d choose to employ them. This post though, is different. Truly. So when I assure you that the image above, and those to follow below are not art, have nothing whatsoever to do with art, and that when looking at them you probably ought to cringe and scowl, your nose ought to wrinkle, and you should turn away feeling vaguely disgusted, know that I mean it.

08.17. filed under: misc. 6

The captain, crew, and palace retinue were dead; meat stripped from bone, broken and brined like soup carcasses. The ship was no more. Water to their thighs the three boys were standing somehow, breathing somehow, alive. A prince presumptive and his young guards facing an unknown shore beneath a fast darkening sky. Bred for leadership but having never lead, the prince was silent. He felt the sand dragging over the tops of his feet, sucked backward by the tide. He trembled. He thought of the ceremonial sword bestowed on him that very morning, its blade now plunged into the sea floor. In the woods beyond the the edge of the shore animals moaned and chortled and sung.

03.09. filed under: fiction. misc.

She wasn’t a religious woman. There was no denying that. She hadn’t given Heaven much thought at all, so to say her expectations had been confounded would not be quite accurate. And yet, moving along there on that seemingly endless escalator, she felt confounded anyhow. Not that Heaven ought to exist you understand. Not at all. People on Earth brow-beat one another about its dress code and management and admittance policies continuously, treating the whole of the world like one giant, chaotic, waiting-line, jostling and elbowing and murdering one another to get a bit closer to the velvet rope. That it existed, though admittedly surprising, did not in fact seem strange to her. It was the escalator itself which was perplexing. The thing creaked, and groaned, and was rusted to such an extent it seemed miraculous that it functioned at all.

She was afraid of heights so she didn’t look around, just straight ahead, eyes glued to the stretch of escalator directly in front of her, and staring at it with its flaking paint and leaking sealant and crumbling surfaces she began to get nervous. Alone there, high above the Earth, she said out loud, “It’s almost as though… it has been completely ignored since the day of its creation… or forgotten.”

(Note: the image, which is not actually of an escalator to heaven, was found here.)

03.02. filed under: belief. fiction. misc. 4

“That’s not fair,” she cried. It was a singular moment. A moment with import undiminished by the billions upon billions exactly like it which had preceded and would flow away from it like an ever widening delta of epiphanic gall. All over the planet smug, lazy, people parroted the same empty response, “Life isn’t fair!” Life isn’t fair? This gutless, impotent echo wouldn’t do. Not tonight. Not for us. I broke with tradition and strove for a specificity which might actually reach the heart or the brain. “Sometimes the hero loses, no matter how plucky, no matter how fine his instrument or heartening the sight of his weapons. Sometimes the wolf tears open the hero’s throat, punctures his eyeball with a fang, crushes his skull, guzzles his steaming blood, and simply trots off to mate lazily and sleep the morning away like a stone.”  She was quiet, unhappy with this answer evidently, unsatisfied. She was getting it finally, life. Eventually she murmured, “That’s horrible.” I looked at her, at her cheeks, her lips, her little hands, and said in response the only thing I knew for certain. “The wolf would disagree.”

02.23. filed under: fiction. life. misc.

Robert Edward Auctions, an auction house specializing in baseball memorabilia, recently came upon a document which is not only illuminating, but may represent the most amusing chunk of writing to be officially issued by Major League baseball in existence. Today the league is having some serious public relations problems wrestling with the use of performance enhancing drugs, in the 1890’s, when the document in question was issued, they were having serious public relations problems of another kind. Specifically they were wrestling with the constant stream of terrifically filthy language which evidently issued from their players’ mouths, in every possible direction- at umpires, opposing players, fans, women, kids, nuns, diapered toddlers…

01.26. filed under: history. misc. play. 6

If you are anything like me good reader (and since you are here at all I must assume that, in some small way at least, you are) you look at the image above, and you read the caption, and you wonder, “what does that mean?” It seems simple enough. A quirky drawing; a short caption. You can’t help but run through possibilities– A comic strip? A children’s book? An illustration from an exposé on the secrets of magic? A rejected New Yorker Cartoon? And yet… it remains opaque somehow doesn’t it?. I mean “M. Ivorde’s little man?” That seems odd. And what’s with the space helmet? And what’s that he’s holding? A metal detector? A street sweeper’s dust-pan? Just what exactly is happening here?

I came across this image accidentally, much as you have, and if you’re anything like me you’re a curious sort and would like nothing better than to just click a link real quick, satisfy that curiosity, and move on. Well, having been down that road I have to ask you, in all seriousness, is that really what you want? I mean, couldn’t you just let it go?

11.28. filed under: ideas. misc. play. wtf. 11

Semantics and the Eye of the Beholder

Centuries hence, in the light of the hot world, when the Chinese-ruled ports tax starships with diamond cores and the concerns of men have melded into a single muffled sadness; when the alien cuneiforms discovered on dry sea beds have embedded themselves in human consciousness, and the letter forms of all the world’s cultures have been melded into a single system to describe a single angularly chaotic language; when seemingly infinite forms of dead media (created and mass produced and rendered obsolete within the span of a week) are our greatest natural resource and are smelted to power the chugging and clanging engines of despair…perhaps then the document pictured here will flutter against someone’s pant leg on an irradiated street, and she will pick it up gingerly in her hazmat gloves, and begin to read. Perhaps she’ll be stunned to find something in the High Unified Language written on the oldest and deadest media of all– paper. Perhaps she’ll smuggle it into her home-cubicle and pore over the words, finding them rich with subtext and subtle humor and painfully germane warnings for a populace with cheap rubber hearts and a deadness about the eyes. Perhaps she’ll be inspired and a spark of resistance will light a fire of revolution. Perhaps she’ll think it a miracle ever after.

And in the forgotten grave of a forgotten man, topped with a worn and unreadable stone, the bones of the hand which held a brush to that document will be just slightly closer than they were the day before to becoming dust.

11.24. filed under: ideas. misc. 7

Seed text: The first 6 lines of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem I Am Waiting (a critique of the American status quo, touching on false religiosity, crass consumerism, and the general absurdity of it all c.1958) which are as follows–

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail.

Filtering mechanism employed: Google Maps.

Result: Voxx, 8230 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA.

Quote: “Voxx is the world’s most pre-eminent scholar regarding Demonology and Witchcraft. Voxx is featured in the book, “The Top 100 Psychics in America.” She is an initiate of several magickal orders, and is the High Priestess of the Circle of Aradia. Among her abilities are the casting of Astrodice, Bibliomancy, Channeling, Pyromancy, Scrying, and Spirit Evocation. She is one of a handful of individuals who can fluently speak the the Magickal Enochian language. Voxx has appeared on many national television and radio shows, as well as in several films. Voxx is a published poet. Voxx is also a Screenwriter, Filmmaker, Photographer, Painter, talented electronica musician, and Multi-Media Artist. Voxx’s clients (who include the members of Motley Crue, Tara Reid, and Howard Stern) have been regularly astounded by her ability to successfully and accurately predict the names, dates and details regarding their future Soul Mates, as well as the subsequent birth of their children.” 

This result was the first returned because Voxx is mentioned on a site called rip-off report by a consumer in Staten Island who had paid for and cast Voxx’s “spells” but wasn’t initially satisfied because his “demands were not being fulfilled.”

Conclusion: Intentional misuse of data filtering tools shifts context and allows for the machine discovery of multilayered, wail-worthy, illustrative perfection. Truly a wonder.

11.23. filed under: bits&bytes. misc. play. 2

Prussian Blue

Fe7(CN)18(H2O)x where 14 ≤ x ≤ 16. RGB 0, 49, 83. HEX #003153.


Heinrich Diesbach, the German painter and colormaker, was after Cochineal Red Lake, a pigment originally obtained by crushing the bodies of cochineal insects. Toward this end, sometime in 1704, in the laboratory of alchemist Johann Konrad Dippel, Diesbach mixed iron sulphate and carbonate of potash. The potash was contaminated with animal oil, however, and the result was not Cochineal Red. The potash (an alkali) reacted with the animal oil (prepared from blood), to create potassium ferrocyanide. Mixing this with the iron sulphate, created the chemical compound iron ferrocyanide, better known as the first modern synthetic pigment ever created, albeit accidentally: Prussian Blue.

11.22. filed under: history. misc. 2

Her name is The Humanities

There has been a lively discussion going on over at Varieties of Unreligious Experience touched off by Conrad’s post Humanism and the virtue of anxiety. My mind, degenerate and poorly oiled as it is, could not help but take a particularly delightful exchange to its ultimate conclusion (pictured above through the miracle of photoshop). Rather than catastrophically lower the level of discourse there, I thought I’d post my addition where it could do no such harm- here.

09.20. filed under: ideas. misc. play. 3

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