Monday, July 6

Music Review One: Fool's Gold

The album opens with a cantina scene. SURPRISE! It’s a party. For you. Look, they’re bringing a cake, and this is the song they are singing as they shove too-sweet vanilla cake from the box into your mouth, smearing a rainbow of sprinkle-dyed frosting across your face. You wish: I wish I was in a small island country, with moonshine, dominoes, and donkeys. You think: Actually I am at a bar, there aren’t that many attractive men here. At least the music is good. And you retreat back into yourself and start dancing.

Was that you’re first Fool’s Gold experience? That was my fantasy first Fool’s Gold experience. Actually, the first song on the album is called Surprise Hotel, not surprise party. The repetitive gleeful, sincere, shamanistic melodies of their first, debut album will transport you to your favorite birthday party fantasy. You think you understand: I know what he’s singing. He’s singing to me. He’s singing about how I feel. Then you realize he is singing another language. The familiar serenades that you were making up words to continue. You continue to make up words. You start thinking of intricate dance choreographies that will go with the next song: Nadine. But you thought he was singing “love it to be not so” or “love to peanut so.” You know he sings neither, but you nevertheless connect with the music. You wish you wore your full African outfit, headdress and all.

For a moment you think you are having an authentic afro-pop experience. You think, I am at the 1985 Live Aid Concert. This band went on just after U2. You start clapping. Clapping! Such a basal human urge! People have been clapping since the dawn of time. Now you are clapping. And singing. You can’t help it. You don’t know the lyrics, but you sing anyway, or hum, or both. Sing and hum. Yeah. Sometimes they just hum too. A band of hummers. You continue the fantasy that you are at the 1985 Live Aid Concert.

Later in the album, you begin to think: Wait, am I at a the 1985 Live Aid concert, or is this a coke inspired dance floor fantasy that I have concocted in the last 30 minutes as I have been coked out of my mind and dancing my ass off with that not-so-attractive also coked-up sweaty guy I met in the line for the bathroom?

So you once again turn inwards and chant the with the next song: Poseidon. And you dance like you are in the sea, pretending to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid. And you are one with the tides of the ocean....


Today, I was very lucky in the morning to get the new Fool's Gold album straight to my email (I'm such a bad blog writer, I don't even know what it's called- maybe they haven't named it yet?).

Anyways, if you didn't have the pleasure of watching FG for weeks on end at their residency at the Echo in LA last April, please note the greatness of the band called Fool's Gold. Conjuring the spirit of David Byrne impersonating the best of Fela Kuti and other Afro-pop All Stars, this gay group of gentlemen (and one lady) enthuse audiences time after time (I literally think I've seen them play about 14 times and I still enjoy the show in a genuine "I'm having a lot of fun" sense...). They have a few wonderful wonderful songs, perfect for dancing, cleaning, working, driving, partying, flipping pancakes, or any other more elaborate fantasy that you may want to conjure up.

Luke Top sings in Hebrew, which is totally hot– in general, guys singing in other languages is hot– and everyone else who plays in the band emulates the "way-groovy", good vibes. The best thing about this band is that it is so large (oscillating between 8 and 12 people) that it will inevitably remain a party band. Though much of the essence of Fool's Gold is the gimmick (that's why they're called Fool's Gold, right?)– the mysterious Hebrew lyrics – the Talking Heads circa Tom Tom Club super-party vibe – the classic beats of Afro-pop – the appeal of cute hipster boys playing world music in linen suites – the music remains very catchy and a great pick. Fave tracks: Nadine, Poseidon.

Unfortunately, the only song for MP3 download on the web is the previously linked surprise hotel, which I like, but is not my favorite, favorite, but since I don't want to poach sales, I won't post any more. Perhaps they will post more on their myspace. Album set to release September....

Police Lineup by Ben Gallardo

In other news, they are selling real gold from vending machines across Europe. In case you were wondering where you could get some. I yearn for the day when I carry golden nuggets in my pocket. I will have a file, so I can file some off to pay for something.

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Sunday, July 5

Musings on Landscape and Parallax View

An exercise in response to photos, in preparation for a return to academic writing...

Topics noted, to be explored in future posts in further detail:

Patterns in science
Science fiction influenced landscape
Space-time, the Big Bang
Aerial Photography
Parallax View
Mental Oasis
My personal artist vision
Slavoj Zizek


Landscape and our world in general are all a matter of scale and perspective. From one view you see a perspective that can grow, shift, travel time and space, all by simply being viewed from a different place. Hence, one could say we are all looking at the same thing: existence, just from different perspectives. Approaching landscape as a universal entity, one directly tied to nature, existence, and human transcendence gives new life to the field, and inspires my visual aesthetic. As Slavoj Zizek observes in The Parallax View, “the explanation of a universal concept becomes ‘interesting’ when the particular cases evoked to exemplify it are in tension with their own universality…”

As one can discuss and reflect upon the tension between landscape and existence from so many micro- and macro-perspectives, I aim to explore and invoke the connective tissues between the human approach to landscape and landscape itself. When studying the origins of our universe, our solar system, and contemplating our existence as a whole, there are many fascinating implications for our terrain rarely broached in the exploration of landscape, as they seem too conceptual or obtuse.

When one ponders the scientific reality of our existence, it becomes quite incomprehensible. We are made out of the big bang, our essence itself is elements– if we think about the large-scale picture of what we are and where we are, we can loose ourselves… Perhaps that is not such a bad notion. In our contemporary culture of online avatars, strip malls, and endless suburbia, the idea that we are a part of something vast– unexplainable– inexorable– provides a mental oasis. When the best way to experience a beautiful landscape is by watching the Travel Channel, we wonder when the invention of the holodeck will come to fruition.

Few people immediately associate landscape with science fiction, yet when considering that our place-hood and identity is a perspective, not a reality; in a sense, landscape is a perfect example of fictionalized science. Creating landscape and learning from nature’s forms allows us to fictionalize and interpret our reality, an opportunity to make that mental oasis real.

My photography deals with scale and natural beauty, illustrating that rhythms that may appear chaotic, from afar, become standard when followed and mapped through nature. Forms in nature and models of chaos, such as fractals repeat themselves endlessly. Nature, when observed from very far or very close, appears other-worldly– alien, and unnatural. The tension between our normal everyday perception and the alien provides a rich ground for landscape- a place-hood outside our given identity, one that transcends the social constraints of our culture, tapping further into the essence of human existence and experience.

Observation and visual mapping via various technologies offers increasingly vast and removed perspectives of our world: man made structures seen through the panoptic lens of Google Map’s street view, or our cities and globe flattened into a panorama canvassed across our browser window, then, our earth, as viewed from a satellite deep in space… Eventually we find ourselves gazing at our galaxy, then our galaxy among infinite others, and finally with an image of the big bang: the formation of existence. When we ask ourselves, ‘Why is the night sky dark between the stars?’ we find the answer: because at one time, there was nothing.

Consulting Zizek again to instruct our idea of landscape and perspective, he argues, “the fundamental feature of today’s society is the irreconcilable antagonism between Totality and the individual. This means that, ultimately, the status of the Real is purely parallactic and, as such, non-substantial: it has no substantial destiny in itself, it is just a gap between two points of perspective, perceptible only in the shift from one to the other.” By looking to nature to inform our notion of beauty, we can be assured that the most tangible and reliable aspect is the multiple perspectives from which it can be seen.

My art aims to reveal and investigate patterns and aspects of land and nature that are otherwise hidden or unobserved. I am of the opinion that these qualities should inform our sense of beauty and desire, that we can see the reflection of one thing in many things, and that the essence of being can instruct beauty very simply, with the logic of nature. My vision of landscape architecture is at once science and nature based, but fictional– a fiction that can only be built by the imagination and invention of human experience.



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Friday, July 3

Back to WORK

Afternoon, Tokyo, Japan, 2005

Tree Garden, Tokyo, Japan, 2005

Rock Slide, Bolinas, California, 2009

Lagoon, Big Sur, California, 2009

Untitled I, Pan American Flight, 2006

Untitled II (Vessel), Pan American Flight, 2006

Untitled III (Tracks), Pan American Flight, 2006

Untitled IV (Peaks), Pan American Flight, 2006

Untitled (Trees), Pico Canyon, California, 2008

Towsley Canyon, California, 2009

Untitled Still Life, Claremont, California, 2009

Tree Wrappers, Kyoto, Japan, 2005

Untitled Still Life (Grass Lake), Pico Canyon, California, 2009

Untitled V (Dark Canyon), Pan American Flight, 2006

This is my photo portfolio that I aim to translate into new work in other media. I am currently debating how I should progress. I am thinking of making dioramas. I remain obsessed with Kim Keever.

Kim Keever's studio

I like the idea of making something that can be seen and interpreted from different views (I'm all about
the PARALLAX VIEW). My goal is to produce a number of projects by the end of this year. I am cultivating my brain studio right now and setting forth with goals and things I need:

studio space

I am amassing these slowly but surely! All I need is more substances of interest and late night privacy. I am going to start staying up very very late.

Now that it is summer, I am having familiar productive/destructive feelings and rhythms. Movie watching, afternoon drinking, bad 80's and 90's pop hits. Oh they go together so so well. And of course the creativity is already writhing and riveting in and through my veins. (I think)

Today, in the midst of my late-night-partying-induced slowness, I had to dig up some of the ugliest, most potent of the 80's/90's pop elixer:

Wicked Games, Oh my.
I don't know what I Got Til It's Gone
And then I also got a hankering for that Extreme song, More than Words.

And it feels so good.

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Sunday, April 19

back back back!

just images for now.

Wednesday, May 23


i am procrastinating right now, because i need to do work and i just don't want to. things i did today to procrastinate:
sat in tompkins park
walked to union square
walked around farmers market buying cookies and pretending to buy plants
found new friends on myspace
read about monkeys getting the bubonic plague 3x (3 different articles)
read gossip blog
talked on phone
found annoying upstairs neighbors on myspace because they left a flyer on my door

thats alot of procrastinating!!!!
now, i have also made a procrastination appointment for tomorrow already, by setting up a meeting with a designer who is making her own stuff, rather than making the dress that i am supposed to be designing:

below i can illustrate the problem with the pattern that i need to fix and then apply to the design:

yes, and more of a problem when your client does not live in the same place as you. please don't laugh.

funny things i saw today:
cute squirrel
cute dog
my best friends dad's band's myspace page with this picture!