Normal: the romanticized average

What percentage of the time is the concept of “normalcy” referenced in relation to human fears I wonder?

I am wary of the adjective “normal,” as I’m sure many people are, when used to describe anything other than geometric relationships or chemical solutions. It is a dishonest sort of adjective I think, seeking, at worst, to describe something which does not exist, or, at best, to pretty-up something which does exist, but which ought to be called by another name entirely.

11.01. filed under: !. humanity. observations. 9

Graphis Annual 1971 / 1972

So I managed to get my grubby hands on yet another vintage Graphis Annual, this one, a loner, representing 71 / 72. The book and its contents are beautiful, as always, though stylistically this books represents a bit a of a shift from the late 50’s issues I’ve showcased thus far. (See parts 1, 2, and 3.) I’ve limited the post to 18 examples, drawn from nearly all of the 20 subject groups, simply displayed in the order they were scanned. Before we get to It here are a few words from editor Walter Herdeg…

“Our society relies for its existence on the consumer behavior of its members. And consumption depends on– inter alia –advertising. Is this yearbook of advertising graphics, then, concerned with our society? Is it, indeed, a critical commentary on society? We leave the reader to form his own opinion.”

10.21. filed under: !. design. 12

It is usually my practice to limit my image posting here to those things which I find pleasing and which I assume you might find pleasing as well. This is only natural. We all like pretty pictures. Today, however, it is my intention to post some decidedly ugly images, images which are so ugly, in fact, that they might correctly be called “the ugliest” images in existence. Don’t fret, they are not close-up proctological photos used for diagnostic purposes. Images of that nature are not meant to be pretty, but rather functional, and in the satisfying of that function do have a certain merit; No, the images I am about to show you were created by human hands to fulfill a purpose (like said proctological images) but to simultaneously be aesthetically pleasing as well. The ultimate statement on their awfulness is that they fail miserably on both counts, which is to say their ugliness is so great that it actually hinders their intended functionality. That is the definition of failure in design I’d say. Brace yourself…

10.08. filed under: !. criticism. design. observations. 13

Lives of the Saints (4)

Should I call the police or The Weekly World News? I can’t decide.

This isn’t a joke John, alright?

Well what you’re saying is you were just raped… by a “God.” Is that correct?

I didn’t say “raped.”

10.07. filed under: !. fiction. 2

The death of the White Goddess

Or: The Meerschaum Pipe.

Admittedly pipe smoking has long since passed its peak of popularity. The days of gentlemen sitting in their book-lined studies puffing at a fine pipe whilst sipping at a tumbler of brandy are long gone, thrown out with the servants, the wife-ruling, the mistresses, and the dishwater. With them so too has passed the glory days of the pipe carver. Sure there are stragglers, both smokers and carvers, but I’d wager that today most pipe smoking is done sans tobacco and I think anyone who has ducked into a head shop, out of need or curiosity, can attest to the fact that pipe craft now strives to fulfill a different set of demands, and adheres to a very different “aesthetic.” So, digging now into the “dying arts” file, I bring you some images and some history of the once great meerschaum pipe.

10.01. filed under: art. !. design. history. 11

Chambers of delight

Or: What we lost when we lost the thundermug.

Progress– in its endless forward push there is an implicit trade-off. Improvements are made and something new is gained, but something old is usually lost as well. Possibly something unreplaceable. An example? When improved technology and health concerns collided to make indoor-plumbing a near necessity humanity gained the toilet. What we lost was the chamber pot. “The chamber pot!?” You ask. “Who would ever miss a filthy stinking little bucket of excrement?” Well, no one. But when we lost the thundermug we lost something else with it. Where in our modern lives can we find the wholesome pleasure of taking a midnight crap right on someone’s forehead? Not counting the use of your spouse or children… nowhere. This is a pleasure chamber pot users enjoyed which progress has taken from us. They could drop a steamer on a politician’s face, or let loose with a hot stream right into the iris of a peeping eyeball, anytime, day or night. I’ve reproduced a few images from Lucinda Lambton’s 1983 book Chambers of Delight to give you an idea of what it is we sanitary moderns are missing.

09.27. filed under: !. history. life. play. 7

Art for sale

Or: At long last your waiting (for an original Jaime Morrison photograph to hang lovingly on your wall and cherish for ever and ever) is over!

I’ve decided to make available a group of 13 photographs I shot early last year. Most were shot in Central Park. All are professionally mounted, to bleed, and meant to be hung without a frame. They are photographic enlargements, not digital prints, without augmentation, cropping, or retouching of any kind. There are two sizes in the group. 12 of the photographs measure 20"x30” and are mounted on .75” thick museum board. The remaining 2 are quite large, measuring 48"x72”, mounted on 1.5” thick museum board. Each is a first edition original, having only been printed once to date. If you’d like to know about their inspiration you can see this short statement which I wrote shortly before they were exhibited. See below for thumbnails of each photograph and feel free to contact me with any inquiries.

09.25. filed under: art. !. personal. 1

A Billion Dialects

Or, our secret languages and private lexicons

Language. Isn’t our relationship with it strange? There is a sense somehow that language exists outside of us, that we are users of language only, consumers rather than manufacturers. When we are children language is offered to us as a fully formed quantity, to be learned and employed in just the way mathematics or chemistry are, replete with correct and incorrect solutions to the “problems” of expression. Language, of course, has the added characteristic of containing within itself “forbidden” ground– words and phrases which were you to utter them in polite company would illicit outrage, stern reproach, and disgust. Imagine, by way of comparison, stating the correlation coefficient between two variables at the dinner table only to be knocked up-side the head by an incensed Grandma. As adults most of us would seem to think about language only when searching our numb skulls for that elusive perfect word. And yet… behind closed doors?

09.21. filed under: !. observations. people. 20

The two vintage postcards above express in image more concisely than I ever could in words just exactly how I’m feeling today. They sum-up nicely the faces that I would be making at you right now if this site were, well, my face. They come from a book put out sometime around 1975 called Fantasy Postcards which reproduce a selection of vintage, turn of the century, specimens from the author, William Ouellette’s, personal collection. Since I have nothing to say today (and would rather make ugly faces at each and every one of you if only I could) I’ve decided to simply offer unto you, oh slavering maw of the internet, a few of the wacky cards which caught my eye. Enjoy.

09.17. filed under: art. !. books. play.

Minotaur Reading by Beth Carter.

Extrapolation: The Minotaur Reading

The world, so far as he knew it, was terrifically boring, with all those endlessly angling hallways leading to dead-ends or back onto themselves. He constantly snorted his impatient youthful frustration at the crushing “sameness” of it all.  By the age of 8 he’d grown tired of scraping his horns up and down the lengths of those uniform walls and abandoned his explorations all together. It should be said, I suppose, that the world was terrifically lonely as well. Aside from the occasional appearance of Daedalus (and the rare glimpse of Icarus at his heels) he was as alone as a man with a bull’s face could be, which, as the less handsome among us can attest, is very alone indeed. In the main his days were spent sitting in a corner listening to the phorminx of his stomach play accompaniment to his snorts.

09.16. filed under: art. !. fiction. 1

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