Ern Malley, by Sidney Nolan
I have learned, over plenty of useful and non-useful time (time is time is time, no?), that my uncle views certain images—particularly photographs—as How-did-the-artist-do-it? rather than as a “document” or “moment in time”—being it is what it is, the stoppage of time itself, like a fragment of a memory, or the fullest memory frozen in the mind, &c. My uncle is a brilliant, creative individual, of whom I admire in more ways than I could ever express, but it beckons to be expressed in more ways than a tongue could flap in the mouth during hot weather; for granted, he has always been a father-figure to me, a best friend. Dare I critique him? This is not of the sort, but a simple explanation of a Thought; an emotional kind of thing, where the matrix of my ponderance at this hour flows deeply, drifts far out into some humming mountain, the world’s caterer, a kind of Carpathian Mountains beauty (+ we began reading Dracula together during the Christmas holidays, all the way through chapter VI, so I must make it known, this connection to the Carpathian lands). This thought, mind you, should be thought of as nothing more than a statement, for the lack of a better term. My uncle has always had a knack for visually expressing himself, which stems back to his elementary school days. Upon seeing an abstract painting once, he said, “I thought of the painting as a sequence of ‘movements’,” and then a comment or two about the sounds of music, particularly space music, he states that he ‘sees things’ (like the idea of “hovering over a name”), in a sense akin to a lava lamp (thinking upon the rhine of surrealism—a mind so full of energy it seeps from the ears, the tongue full of silence, null and patient). As Baudelaire once reverberated: “The arts aspire, if not to complement one another, at least to lend one another new energies”—! Emily Dickinson: “Myself the only Kangaroo among the Beauty.” My uncle and I jump around from subject to subject, even about sounds. He says, “We should write a book on Sound Theory.” Speaking in such thoughts as Cage’s theories, I add: “Each sound, no matter what it is, the loudest or the most minute, is a song in itself.”
I stumped my toe earlier and realized that it’s winter—unable to feel the pain is like being alive in a different body. Instilling something much brighter—it seems to never cease (James 1:8: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”) “Blank, like a name left blank.”
Richard Wurmbrand On Atheism: In prison, the political officer asked me harshly, “How long will you continue to keep your stupid religion?” I said to him, “I have seen innumerable atheists regretting on their deathbeds that they have been godless; they called on Christ. Can you imagine that a Christian could regret, when death is near, that he has been a Christian and call on Marx or Lenin to rescue him from his faith?” The officer laughed, “A clever answer.” I continued, “When an engineer has built a bridge, the fact that a cat can pass over the bridge is no proof that the bridge is good. A train must pass over it to prove its strength. The fact that you can be an atheist when everything goes well does not prove the truth of atheism. It does not hold up in moments of great crisis.” I used Lenin’s books to prove to him that, even after becoming prime minister of the Soviet Union, Lenin himself prayed when things went wrong.
Rilke: “These trees are magnificent, but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them, as though with their growth it too increased.”
Walking outside: that means that I’m literally the weather”?
Take pictures, love people. Take pictures, love people. Love people, take pictures. Love people, love people. Take pictures, take pictures. Films, films, films.
What I love about certain things is not about what they consist of, but instead what they are lacking.
A child crying because of strange weather? It’s like trying to ignore a giant.
George Stanley: “Writing — to see what turns up, or to keep going.” “Now the words tell of something so obvious / as to see the air in front of you / but not to have known it was something / to see.”
After reading Henri Michaux’s MISERABLE MIRACLE, the French poet/artist’s first book about his experimentation with Mescaline, a powerful hallucinogenic drug that has an “elongating propensity,” it’s easily one of more fascinating reads that I’ve ever encountered (right up there, with say, texts by Edmond Jabès—whether I disagree with some of them or not matters in the least). It’s a curious thought that, if the devastation of Michaux’s wife’s death after accidentally setting her nightgown on fire had not of happened, if his experimentation would have even began. Andre Gide said, “Michaux excels in making us feel the strangeness of natural things and the naturalness of strange things.” This rings true. Quotes like “a shiver in the workshop of the brain” describes it well, but one quote that sticks in mind is Michaux’s “language center” interacting with a knife that turns into a “thousand knives” and then:
Suddenly a thousand knives, suddenly a thousand dazzling scythes of light, scythes set in flashes of lightning, enormous, made to cut down whole forests, start furiously splitting space open from top to bottom with gigantic strokes, miraculously swift strokes, which I am forced to accompany internally...
Words become other words; colors like green are really red, and other colors by name aren’t their true identities, etc. “An enemy of colors? No longer colors at all. Yet they are not really absent either.” He describes certain visions as a “fussilade of colors.” Beautiful, makes me think of a blinking rainbow directly in front of your face. The mention of “whiteness” often is interesting too. One quote: “A whiteness appears, a whiteness to blind you, dazzling, like molten metal pouring out of a Bessemer converter.” Also: “Absolute white. White whiter than all whiteness. White of the advent of white.” White “riddling the eyeball.” Michaux writes also of being “hollowed out”—the “sensation of a fissure.” One quote that I found beautiful, “I hide my head in my scarf in order to know, to recognize my surroundings.”
Artistic, beautiful, poetic and comical (but that’s likely because I’m easily amused).
I always feel like every photograph I make is like a film still, always leading to something else...
Some things are so beautiful that their presence alone could make me disappear from the face of the globe. One look, and slowly the invisible metamorphosis begins. Another look and I’m blinking out of view. One final look, and I’m the ‘real’ Invisible Man...
Solar plexus flaring up, as if on the wings of a meteor...
Autoportrait au large con dégagé, by Ibrahim Shahda