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

Been reading the 1968 book Camp Concentration by Tomash M. Disch and have been enjoying it very much, more, in truth, than I expected to. It sat in my to-read pile for a long while before I actually got up the interest to crack it open. Perhaps it was the ‘72 cover illustration? The cracked spine? I don’t know. In any case, having never heard of Disch, I figured perhaps you had not either, and thought I’d share a few paragraphs to get you acquainted. The following is a snippet from a conversation between the protagonist, Louis Sacchetti (a poet, and conscientious objector to some conflict or other who has been sent, as an objective chronicler, to a military instillation where patients are injected with a modified strain of syphilis which makes them brilliant before eating away their brain and killing them) and Dr. Aimee Busk (an icey doctor at said military instillation.) Hope you enjoy.

09.10. filed under: books. ideas. 3

Meditative, Meticulous, Unstable, and Dangerous

Or, new paintings by David Lynn

I recently made the acquaintance of a young painter, originally from Minnesota, named David Lynn. He was kind enough to send me images of some recent works (most of which were shown a few months ago at The Minnesota Museum of American Art I believe) and, in that they aren’t anywhere else to be seen on this ol’ internet, I wanted to share them you. See below for a few words and more than a few paintings.

09.09. filed under: art. !. people. 4

Or, Beter tú lait a kandel dhan tú kers dhe darknes.

Let me get right down to it folks, I have it on good authority that within the next two years we may become witness to one of the most profound changes in American life imaginable. I’m not talking about the stamping out of political corruption, nor a sudden, seemingly miraculous, turn toward competency in the news media; no I’m talking about the obliteration and recasting of the english language itself. If you can read you truly can’t afford not to read this post.

09.06. filed under: !. lies. 7

Mark Rothko on The Artist’s Dilemma

I’ve been making my way through the collection of Mark Rothko’s Writings titled, The Artist’s Reality, Philosophies of Art in fits and starts for a while now and have wanted to post some snippet of the text in order to share what I regard as some very beautiful and cogent writing. Problem is this isn’t sound-byte type material. I’ve decided therefore to simply take the plunge and transcribe the first piece in the book, titled, The Artist’s Dilemma, in full. (Hopefully Mark’s son, and editor of the book, Christopher, will look upon this as the loving tribute [and incentive for those unfamiliar with the volume to pick it up] which it is, and not merely a copywrite infringement, which… it also unquestionably is.) Though the public persona of “the artist” has certainly changed since Rothko’s heyday as a member of the artistic intelligencia - particularly in the wake of Warhol’s savvy marketing blitz - this piece is, I believe, still relevant in many ways and beyond that it is a beautifuly written and precious artifact from what many of us would surely consider “better days” in the history of painting. See below. 

09.02. filed under: art. !. ideas. observations. people. 2

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