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December 30, 2003

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December 30, 2003
a tiny request...

when I die, please do not pick me as the representative of my species, do not pull my skin around a model shaped like my body and please do not pin me to a wall with all the others that happen to live in this state... do not place me in a cabinet somewhere in a hallway between larger exhibition halls with larger specimens in amazingly decorated environments...

December 29, 2003

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December 29, 2003
monkeys... There were many visitors at the bronx zoo today. It was a perfect day for families to make the trip, and so they did: the nuclear ones, the critical mass ones, the strangely radioactive clusters of sorts, packs, herds, swarms, bunches. My favorite people today might have been the concerned single mothers, some of their children taught to glow with a shy curiosity, there were whispered questions like: "how many primate species were extinct since 1901, mom?" and the answers, mostly also whispered: "I think we should keep going honey, it looks like this gentleman is trying to take some pictures." (meaning:"scary, scary, perv-alert!!!")... All I really wanted, was to be nearby when one of the animals happened to have that famous glimpse of awareness: "oh, my God, I am the last of my kind and yet I am trapped in a little, ridiculously painted terrarium with some dangerously psychotic bunch and nobody understands my language, or even my name, which is certainly not 'happy'." We all have these moments sometimes, don't we, so why shouldn't a walrus have them, or a "white-faced saki" or an "australian palm-cockatoo". (Imagine being one of the most intelligent species on the planet and be trapped in a box labeled "palm-cockatoo"... scary thought, isn't it?) I was that guy today, unshaven, quiet, alone, armed with a small camera, who sat in front of a bird cage for hours and stared at a near extinct, australian palm cockatoo until the animal calmed down, stopped screaming and biting (a plastic-tree), began to behave as if I were somehow interesting, positioned itself on one of the faux tree trunks and waved with one leg whenever i moved my right hand. Some imagined communication between two very odd species. (This is when a boy walked up to me and asked me if I had that sort of camera that could 'penetrate glass', just when his father fired another supercharged flash on the other side of the room, setting off what sounded like "new york car alarm for four toucans." I explained to the boy that the best way to "penetrate glass", was to turn off the flash on the camera... and to wait... cockatoo was still waving.) And I did not really bother with "tiger mountain" btw. and "kongo" was just a really short stop... children pounding against the glass, using both fists, about 15 grownups watching... three of them gorillas... A perfect day to visit the zoo. "did you get them, did you get them?" a lady asked me when she saw me holding the camera in the direction of a swarm of birds... "it all takes time... not yet..." she did not actually wait for the answer... It was a perfect day to visit the zoo and without fail, most of the screaming and shouting visitors seemed to be packed into a building simply called: "monkeys."

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December 29, 2003
another perfect chunk

managed to look out the window at the seemingly perfect moment yet again, into a bluish layer of liquid air under an oddly pinkish sky. The city caught now wearing wettest of dark hues, punctured by freshly lit, multicolored, manmade dots.
taxis look like early vertebrate with their third, glowing eye, and one could well imagine that the traffic lights are just an old lantern fish trick, blinking orange hands calling the few warmly wrapped new yorkers to run faster, straight into the open mouths of their mondays.
the sun will be here any minute now to pour gold over every visible thing but until then, a coquette dance of man made fireflies on a pastell stage continues.

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December 29, 2003

the walls should be orange, maybe just one of them, maybe the floor, parts of it, the ceiling, a light? How about orange sheets, could the curtains be orange, stained glass? The scent could definitely be the one of orange peel. I would like to hear orange sounds and to look out of the window and to see the sky incredibly saturated, magical. It would be a very nice thing. Really. Very much so.
I would love to wake up to orange and to close my eyes... well, you know...
From time to time it might be a good idea to visit a place with orange soil, or maybe to just put on an orange robe and to beg for rice with a little bowl made out of orange wood...

December 28, 2003

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December 28, 2003
nothing never happens

and there was rest. nothing really happened, so it seemed. the mind was left to travel happily to locations displayed in kind words and tiny saturated pictures. I liked the view from a speeding street car, droplets on a window, behind the slow looking glass more water, a river, I forgot the name. Another picture, a glimpse of an academy. The academy, we shall say, the one where Beuys and Richter and the Bechers and who else... Lupertz (is he still there, acutally?), Penck, Immendorf, Oehlen, Trockel, Ruff, and who else... oh does it really matter now?... seriously...
we traveled further... a kitchen, all tools arranged according to some very successful formula... apples, oranges, other exotic fruit and all of it noted with the help of Ludwig Sütterlin... the one who's beautiful looking writing was prohibited in 1941...
And we bite off time in little sweet chunks, they are delicious. And we are not quite sure why nothing really never happens, even when there is rest... and nothing really pretends to happen all the time.
update... Hmm...

December 26, 2003

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December 26, 2003
decisive moment

one just needs to wake up and look out side at the right second to forget that there is anything other than beauty. The light, just a few minutes ago, was so indescribable, it wiped out all memories of last nights dreams and replaced them with some pantheistic lump in my throat, glowing, growing, ...
the magical light has moved on now, we are back to a greyish looking new york, with a combustion engine soundtrack, but what else have we learned from making pictures than to experience the world as a series of unique, decisive moments... oh, look, here comes another one...

December 25, 2003

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December 25, 2003
all great. “Hold on to your tickets folks, you won't be needing them today.” and so it was a free ride, in a brand new train. It still had that brand new train smell. The landscape outside was not really festive, there was no snow, only from time to time a blowup snowman waving his pumped up red white sugar cane... that's it. Merry Christmas. Mothers tend to invent rules, I guess, just to keep their children somehow under control, we all know that we were not always just nice, right? On Christmas eve, there would be no food all day, as my mother was preparing the traditional twelve meals (and wanted them to be eaten, I guess,) and so the rule she either passed on or invented, to keep things in good order was a very simple one: Whatever happens on Christmas Eve, will happen this way throughout the year. Now that's a great recipe for a day of heightened awareness. Did I brush my teeth? Did I find matching socks? Did I step out of bed with the right foot? Who did I speak to, what was it about? How kind was I to the world and how kind was it to me? Any pains? Surprises? Good? Bad? This Christmas eve was a rather good, packed day, I managed to speak to some people who are very close to my heart. One of them told me (between the lines) to just not call, another one asked me some unanswerable questions. I drew about 12 drawings of various sizes, discovered a way of representing time in drawings, did not take a single photograph, I disappointed some good friends, I made some good friends maybe happy, the dinner was a really great one, had twelve+ dishes, I probably drank a sip too much, and... there was a constant pinpointed pain, in the neck (which made it somehow funny), preventing me from head turns and other natural things (much less funny.) I would usually not write about such silly things as pains in the neck, but this time the feeling was so sharp that it made me wake up in the middle of the night. To make things more nightmarish, both of my arms decided to fall asleep (a first!) and so I woke up from some b-dream into a real pain nightmare, face down in a pillow, my neck hurting as if somebody were pushing a knife up my skull and both of my arms, limb, useless, yet hurting, next to me, not really mine, gone fishing... Not a very nice idea, now is it? Especially if one was told that this stuff is going to repeat all year... every night then? Will I really get just patches of sleep, peppered with some bad body experiences? Will I go insane? Had some more, similar moments on the day of Christmas, so if things evolve further, logically, I should probably start to learn how to draw with my feet, and additionally get ready to be just very, very alone... (abandoned by my own limbs?) (A car has been constantly honking for the last 15 minutes or so. The neighborhood is very thankful that there is a limit to the energy a car battery can supply as the sound went from a very loud G to a loud F.) Things are most wonderful, really. I can not complain... hmm... or at least I should not... Merry Christmas... this is a great day... It is, isn't it?
December 24, 2003

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December 24, 2003
oh so quiet

So there it is, that little tree. I actually had to undress it, as it came wrapped in some really ugly red foil and was decorated with some glittery styrofoam balls. Poor tree. It was one of the last, dwarfed ones. The last leftovers. I really hope that it is going to survive more than the holidays. The last thing I would want to do would be to kill a christmas tree, slowly... so i will need to be very careful. Right now it does look like a bonsai Christmas tree... Hmm, and yes, the needles are prickly...
I will follow the instructions, the ones that came on a drenched piece of paper with the tree. It is raining. It is a warm, spring-rain, it feels like spring, in a city, not necessarily in new york. At least not on the upper westside. There seemed to be fewer cars, fewer people in the street, fewer of everything else as well. This is the final chance, the final days, this is the time, let's buy whatever is left over. The wine store on 93rd seemed to be out of bordeaux (at least the kind under $150), there was just not much left in general. I guess everybody is giving wine to their doormen?, to somehow distract them from a lower than usual end of year gift?... Or maybe it is just good to give wine... And I wonder why I am writing about wine here anyway... it is Christmas eve, the evening when it all somehow happens. Or used to happen. Or will happen...
There will be Japanese food for dinner tonight. This might be the easiest way to keep up with the tradition of having twelve dishes.
It is a very quiet time. All good, all good... I think... let's celebrate... somehow... please...

December 23, 2003

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December 23, 2003

We sat down on the roof of a brownstone and looked into the back yard. that bag that had been hanging in the now leafless tree was still there, waving, the dogs still ran around in the back yard in little circles, there was still this subtle smell of creeping mold, fading, as if the air were marbleized with it.
The decoration in the windows across the back yard was turning away from trash bin recycling, towards the architectural digest faux heritage style.
Some of the ones we did not see now were very close together. Some even closer. The couple on the sofa on the third floor of 273 west 74th, was closer than that. For at least a little while.
For them we appeared as very small, thread shaped clouds, rising through the cracks of a brownstone roof... across the back yard... to which they certainly did not pay attention anyway.

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December 23, 2003
inventor, discoverer...

because he introduced himself as an inventor and a discoverer, they would often ask him about his (hopefully maginificent) accomplishments. what was it that he had invented, or what was it that he had discovered? would he share, would he let them have some of the adventure, without the risk of being eaten, burned or pulverized?
they would usually think that he was an impostor, or a liar when he told them that he was in the process of inventing them and himself and that this in itself was one of the larger discoveries. (not unique perhaps, but that did not seem to matter.)
they were expecting him to be the discoverer of things that had managed to hide from the robbers of past centuries. they secretly wanted him to be a similar grave robber, a thief of secrets so incredible, nobody even knew of their existence.
and inventions? inventions were mostly as good as their potential profit. They wished he were the inventor of a device that would allow them to move their motionless bodies from location to location, maybe levitating? Or he could be the inventor of the matching, miraculous, effortless, simple diet. He could be the inventor of something that would allow them to broadcast their brilliant ideas of the world to every single person on the globe, or the man who finally found a way to prevent others from spreading their poisonous propaganda...
it was a large disappointment to hear him say that his inventions and discoveries we shy and tiny ones, some even in a parallel universe, one without injuries, and gain, and death.
many considered it more exciting to listen to those who spoke louder, more shockingly and offered great solutions on how to really kill... at least somebody or something, and let it be this thing called time.

December 22, 2003

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December 22, 2003
touching a radiator

They touched a radiator. She told him she did. Touching the hot metal was less painful than not being able to touch his face. He was in a completely different location, remembering his head, the back of it, hitting a radiator after being thrown through the room by an urge to escape from his father. He had fallen into a tunnel of memories, filled with moments when his scull or the scull of others, was hit by much heavier objects than it should be.
He remembered the stone he threw, the single one, and how it tore open the skin of a running boy, he remembered the cut, the consequences.
Then there was the other boy, holding on to on his back, laughing loudly, until his skull accidentally hit the bedroom wall.
In another image, it was him again, falling down, holding on to a friend, his friend falling on top of him, his head against concrete, the pre-manufactured walls of a future building.
He remembered the dark spots against the sky. He remembered the large knifes pressed by women, against his head.
He had traveled far, he had managed to cross much more than a river, or an ocean, or whatever that water was that could easiest be crossed by voices...
It was to be their last conversation. If he managed to fall through that tunnel in the midst of a simple chat, how far would he fall if they continued to talk. She clearly had the power to trigger very powerful images. It was like magic. He would never tell her about it. He would never tell her about anything else either... not the other, much stronger sequences of memories and forward flashes that followed...
Even if their conversation must have appeared very light to anybody who accidentally happened to observe it... the reality of it was that of two very different trips, taken from very different starting points... and ending up in quite dramatically different locations...
He looked at his hand. Under his fingernails and on them was his own blood.
Maybe they were both trying to do the same thing.
He hoped she was okay. And yet he would never ask her about it.

December 21, 2003

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December 21, 2003
quietly... whenever it is too cold to even step close to a window, one can just try to open the doors to the other rooms, the ones never really opened, the ones in which the furniture dressed up as ghosts, or animals swallowed by large cushions... a door opens, we listen to the dusty walls, each step is a real discovery now. The smell here is one that has been composed by stillness and time. And the first touch of things might just turn anything into a living creature, or so it feels, at least now. Is there a ceiling? Are there more rooms? How have things developed? Will we open another door?, Will there be a wild explosion of color and laughs and other exciting sounds?... Quite possibly yes... or no?... As the year is coming closer to its end, there are many places that have been somewhere, happening in a not disclosed location, somehow... And it is just that my head feels as if it had been filled with a styrofoam replica of a human brain, an object imitating a thinking organ. A model, very light, filled with a little led core... to add to the effect... Things are quite wonderful, if only seen from the right angle... And it is a good thing to close the eyes as it does not really matter where the body happens to be at this time... so the eyes should probably be closed, as we imagine that it is too cold to even step close to a window, as we try to open the doors to the other rooms, the ones never really opened, the ones in which the furniture looks like ghosts, or animals swallowed by large cushions... a door opens, we listen to the dusty walls, each step is a real discovery now...
December 20, 2003

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December 20, 2003
34 okay, this movie was not supposed to have this many sequels. I thought that things would somehow turn into a light flooded tunnel at 26, (like they did for Egon, you know, my childhood hero). And yet things still keep going. The engine is still running, we still have takeoffs and landings, it is still going on... and things are actually getting better... better to the level of great. I would like to knock on that virtual wood here, but this was the best year of my life, I have met some of the kindest people (some of them again, some again and again), we had some of the most spectacular moments (some of them a year long, some a bit shorter, some... a click...)... oh, and not only people, of course... If this is what life is supposed to be like, then please keep going. I expected a lot, but I got sooooo much more. Thank you! This life thing... it is pretty darn spectacular!
December 18, 2003

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December 18, 2003

The outside looks like the inside of a jewel box. The sky has a velvety quality to it, the layer of clouds looks very soft over the sharp edged city. The windows of the buildings around here are illuminated and decorated in a way that makes them appear like precious glittering objects. It is interesting to realize that they are actually more than that. Each one of the lights around here seems to indicate that somebody's day is not quite over... And these here are not offices. These are not necessarily people working. I can see several families from here, still playing with their kids... in one of the windows of the columbia house, somebody appears to be treated like a guest. There are many windows shimmering in a very bluish light... it is quite clear what is not happening there...
It is interesting to see how some quite natural human daytime activities have been pushed out of the day (which is reserved for focused work) and into the time when one would naturally want to sleep? It is certainly nothing new that humans attempt to carve more hours out of the day... I just wonder how the quality of perception changes in a day...
Silly thoughts... should be sleeping myself right now...

December 17, 2003

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December 17, 2003
101 moves...

Just came across this guy below in one of the more recent books... The dark spots in the drawing are the ones where the lines end... the light areas are the ones where the lines begin. The final result of a drawing is a piece that looks non-linear, but the process of drawing itself does, of course, have a beginning and an end(ing?)... (the process of looking at the drawing is in itself also ballistic, but who knows how ballistic for such a tiny piece... the drawing is about about 1.25 square inches?...)
there is a point in any drawing when the drawing is not there at all... then there is the dialogue, a game, a set of decisions between the player/draftsperson and the page... then there is a complete little drawing on a page and the game can begin for the viewer/critic/time... it is a bit like playing chess without a board... (let's all hug Marcel Duchamp) or like playing golf without a course (let's hug Chuck Close) and there is not always a clear winner... but there are moves... and each one of the games is a starting point for a completely new and different kind of game... (let's play!)
This drawing below consists of 101 moves/strokes/lines/mini-moments/decisions...


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December 17, 2003
a few sheets of paper, some incense and three matches...

Next to me are little pieces of stationery, small pouches for incense, paper fish for sending money, a paper flower that also serves as a pouch.
The pieces not only traveled for thousands of miles to get here, they also had to be manufactured, they had to be invented, their idea must have traveled for centuries. The fibers of the paper alone have been through so many processes, the idea of the paper however has spent a lot of time on other pieces of paper and in heads and...
We appear to have arrived at the crossroads of many parallel journeys. There is the journey of the idea of things, as well as the journey of the actual pieces... as carriers of ideas. (and there is more... isn't there?)
And then the pieces of paper are actually just a temporary representation, a harmonious collection of molecules. The molecular building blocks used to make these little pouches and pieces of paper, ready to be made more obviously unique with ink... they have traveled for millions of years. They can quite possibly have passed through landscapes, through bodies even... these being as well, temporary travelers.
One of the letter sheets has a drawing of flowers on it... and the idea of flowers alone is a really complex one.
I might be able to begin to grasp the complexity trapped in a sheet of prepared stationery, I do not seem to turn this understanding into this here, the linear string of words...
And to make things even more odd, I took one little pouch, shaped like a leaf, filled with fragrance, out of its pouch...
I placed it onto a round metal tray. It took three matches so far to burn the little leaf. It is now a strange looking black mini sculpture that sits in brown sweat, on a metal tray, next to three used matches.
And even though it would be easiest to describe this little leaf as gone, it is everything but gone... Not only did it light up in bright flames when I set it on fire, it also released some of the fragrance the incense... in a beautiful, slowly unfolding flower of smoke. It was a very quiet, very amazing spectacle...
And the fragrance... yes the fragrance is quite beautiful too... It turned the room into a quiet place, independent of time and space...
And I am aware that in order to smell anything, there have to be molecules that enter my body, touch the right receptors... so not only did the little leaf burn, parts of it are now part of me... and the idea of them being part of me is now part of anybody who chose to read so far through this attempt to translate something that just can not be translated... because not everything can... and not everything should be translated into anything that appears to communicate it faster...
a piece of paper can be quite possibly best experienced as a piece of paper...
and an incense can be probably best experienced as an incense... and a flower, best be left a flower... though leaving things alone would certainly make us less human... as we seem to be programmed to have the urge to transform...
as we are somehow just particles of an unstoppable transformation...

December 16, 2003

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December 16, 2003
good night...

Did anybody out there see some time for sale? I am not sure I could afford to buy a lot of it now, but I would please like some, maybe a few days, maybe a few weeks... an hour perhaps?... minutes? just to be able to catch up on sleep... perhaps. A friend reminded me yesterday that I have not really slept properly for the almost two years that we know each other...
It is almost 2am again and I would really love to read about Urushi, as there is a truly beautiful article in the most current issue of Kateigaho | International edition.... but I will now be taken away by a slightly spinning cocoon of powerful sleep... one eye is already closed... see?...
(If this entry is too short and tired, please scroll down and read something more enthusiastic and glowy...)

oh and... "One gram of sumi (charcoal) possesses a surface area of 300 square meters."... how about a sumi brain?... oh... sleep...

December 15, 2003

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December 15, 2003
Just remembered...

there are several rolls of film in the refrigerator... I had brought them back from Miami in March... this was when I went there with heavy analogue photo equipment....
I just remembered that because I came across one of the older Pelican pictures (I know, I know) that were actually shot with that 1950's equipment...
Hmm... Not only was I able to stand further away from the bird... the lens was a more serious one... and the weather was better...
Hmm... I have the feeling that the film in the refrigerator has continued a chemical process that will lead to some very unexpected results...
Hmm... will try to at least have it developed this year, I guess...

December 14, 2003

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December 14, 2003
Early French Daguerreotypes or time traveling mirrors at the Metropolitan Museum of Art...

Finally managed to cross the park on a weekend again. It was really late, getting dark almost, there was snow, rain, there were heavy, wet jackets, layers. Gloves. Slowly soaked through, finally very wet shoes. It is great when nature takes over in such a man made environment like Manhattan. "Take this, tiny New Yorkers!"

Now imagine the Met on a Sunday evening like this. Packed, soaked masses pretending they to wait for a train, perhaps? Heavy, wet jackets, layers, inspected bags, lines, lines, people, people, screams, calls, amplified whispers... suggested price... real price... second floor... turn left, dodge tourists, sneak a peak at some excellent photography from the collection... turn left again... not too early... left again... enter...
quiet. dark. intimate little gallery... soft voices...
Let's enter: The Dawn of Photography: French Daguerreotypes, 1839–1855 is a selection of 175 images so revolutionary... the ability of some to take the breath away still holds, holds a hundred an fifty years later, in the age when images often do not make ever make it to become real world objects.
What could possibly be so special about often tiny little metallic images, barely visible from some angles, somehow fragile looking and often scratched, strange, almost holographic?...
Dawn of photography. What could one expect here? Portraits of those wealthy enough to have a picture taken, not wealthy enough to have their faces painted? Humans, long gone, turned into strangely still black and silvery metal pieces, their heads supported by their hands or invisible metal braces? Blurry children who did not manage to sit still long enough to actually burn their image in to the metal plates?... Images of Paris? The French countryside?... The colonies.
The first important realization in the exhibition is probably that some of the aspects of the technology on view here appear superior to what we are used to seeing every day. We are now somehow trained to accept a world in which images are turned into data, they are compressed, decompressed, animated, moved quickly across our ever changing liquid cristal screens. Wild colors and sounds somehow distract us from the emptiness often found between "keyframes".
So the very first amazing discovery one must make in the intimate exhibition is just the superior resolution of Daguerreotypes. Yes there are images portraying Paris in something that can be probably best described as no color... yet the images we see are such perfectly detailed reflections of the city, each little window appears so beyond what one might actually even see in real life, that the effect is more of a beyond reality experience. The paris shown here is not some funnily animated movie. It is also not a highly saturated and beautified impression of light, collected on a large canvas... no this is a supreme reflection, a microchip like precision. This 1850's paris looks true to itself.
We realise that all objects on the Daguerreotypes are reversed, as a camera records a mirror image of the subject it is pointed at... today's cameras follow the same principle except that the reversed image they record, the negative is later transfered, often onto a paper surface and usually enlarged. The photographs we usually hold in our hands are objects that were touched by light that passed through a negative made with the help of reflected light that was actually visible at the scene. (I do not even want to think what we are looking at with digital photography... oh and polaroids are a completely different story...)
What makes these Daguerreotypes such powerfully magical objects is the fact that they are the ones that actually were present when whatever we see on them today happened in front of the camera they were mounted in. There is no transfer process, there is no copy. The objects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art right now are time travelers, unique pieces, real witnesses, they are mirrors with the ability to remember one single reflection.
Each and every person portrayed in the Daguerreotypes presented at the Met, did not really look the way we see them in these pieces... but when they looked at these images, they must have been much closer to them than even our own photographs today... all of these pieces are mirror images of the sitters.
We somehow learn to be more familiar with our own mirror image than with photographs of ourselves, don't we?
Combine these two factors, the breathtaking precision and the idea that we are looking at unique, slow-mirrors (as in slow glass) and now you can almost imagine the rooms of the Daguerreotypie exhibition fill with the memories of those reflected here. People, objects, locations... what if they reappeared to face their own reflections... (just a thought.)
And those reflected are not what one would expect.
One small image depicts an open-mouthed man...
His teeth look very used, covered with plaque...
Not far from here, a parent, slightly blurry, next to the bed of his hauntingly sharply exposed passed away child. Right next to it in another post mortem portrait, a sister perhaps, she is even more moved... the dead child in this frame appears even more in focus. (This image is not part of the exhibition but a good illustration of the mood...)
Then there is an image of a painting... a soft beautiful body, the frame of the image is strangely cropped. The painting depicted appears to be painted by Ingres. In the upper portion of the image, a very out of focus recording of a tiny fragment of another Ingres... This one needs a bit of explanation. We learn that the painting who's image has burned itself into the plate here, is a lost one, portraying Ingres' first wife Madeleine... the Daguerreotype was taken long after she was gone. Ingres' second wife, Delphine, who never posed for him nude, urged the artist to destroy the painting... and he did... yet not without asking a Daguerreotypist to record his memory of his first wife on a silver covered copper plate.
The image was apparently discovered, hidden, in a drawer used by Ingres, at the Musée Ingres in Montauban, France.
It is truly fascinating to see how a new technology was quickly applied by many very differently thinking minds. Some of the thoughts turned to images might appear somehow dated and part of the 19th century thinking, but many of the metallic images feel like timeless masterpieces. (Or maybe the hand of time just happens to have aligned the current aesthetic perception with the one of the makers of some of the presented daguerreotypes.) Images of designer samples, or a very incredible arrangement of flowers reminded me of contemporary photography (and maybe how some of it would like to achieve the effect of what I was looking at here.) In a room containing some softly pornographic daguerreotypes, happen to be some interesting non related images. (Not that the stereoscopic erotica from the 19th century were not interesting, of course.)
One of the most exciting pieces in the exhibition might be a rather sweet little portrait of a panting dog taken by Louis-Auguste Bisson for his surrogate sister, Rosa Bonheur. Though the image is embedded in a rather cute, dog house shaped frame, the viewer is very much aware that this very sharp image must have been incredibly difficult to record. The animal appears quite perfectly in focus. How did the maker of this daguerreotype manage to keep even the tongue of the seemingly very happy dog so still?... The exposure times for early daguerreotypes were around 15 minutes... and even after subsequent technological improvements, the exposure times were still in the range of a minute... Could Bisson have used some special trick to obtain the desired effect? Maybe the amount of light was somehow increased to a level where a shorter exposure was possible?... Still... (And no, the dog was not a Weimaraner.)
The last room of the exhibition also contained several gems. Images of death masks, or rather plaster copies of heads of several Arfican tribesmen. Images interesting because of the several layers of creation that were at play here...
Images had been recorded of sculptures which had been recorded, after lives... which had not quite been recorded, taken from an environment barely understood...
Floating memories of heads. Detached from their bodies. No sign of anything that could possibly date them... Series... Even series of these must have appeared more compact and easier to store than the plaster heads, than the real heads, than the ideas of the people to whom these heads belonged?
Still, the results shown here were also hauntingly beautiful...
One of the series actually reminded me of the more current Chuck Close work... which happens to be evolving in the same medium... only very different... perhaps?... Well, different, yes...
And when I looked at some of the images, I wondered if Chuck Close was actually reaching back to an old technique, or if the technique of daguerreotype just waited for a little while, to be rediscovered by somebody who would understand that the fast things are not always the more interesting ones.
To be rediscovered by somebody who understands the energy magic... and the ability to not stop time, but to travel through it...
If I was not quite sure why Close would use daguerreotypes for some of his recent work before I saw the exhibition... after seeing it... it was more than a most logical step... in the right direction...

Outside, louder voices, an open gallery, light, sounds, voices, brilliant paintings, turn right, turn right, dodge the giftshop, layers, wet jackets, heavy. Soaked masses, packed. The Met on a Sunday evening...

Outside of the museum were New Yorkers, pushed towards the building by rain. It was time to return home, in soaked shoes, gloves, layers, heavy wet jackets, through the melted snow, the lakes of water. It was really late... and yet it was possible to again cross the park...
I am certainly not getting enough sleep these days...

December 13, 2003

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December 13, 2003

Read the following with the heaviest New Yuoak accent you can possibly simulate. Here is a brief version of a cuonvasation behind me at de regise at 11pm on a saturday nite...

Old Lady with a shrill voice (to really, really tired looking old man in his 70's holding a ¢50 bag of peanuts):"You can have those, but only if you want them for the office. If you want them for the office, you can have them, because I don't want to see you eating them on the couch."
(She handles the sausage shaped pack in one hand, far away from her body as if it were filled with some funny, yet dangerous jelly. The peanuts move in their dusty greasy world visible through a clear area in the plastic pack. She looks at the ingredients list in a way as if she were wearing bifocal lenses. She is not wearing any glasses.)
"You are not going to eat these at home. You gotta take them to the office. Take them for the office. But take only one, you don't need two. One is enough. For the office. You can eat them when you have a break. They're peanuts. What's in there?. Yes. For the office. Or do you want the orange ones? Are they different? Take the yellow ones. They are peanuts. You can eat them."
(She inspects a yellow variety first. Then the orange pack, then the yellow one again. Her monologue continues for several minutes. She finally settles, puts one yellow pack of unsalted nuts on top of their produce. The man never replies. He looks very much as if he were very familiar with the woman's behaviour.)
I pay and am about to leave the register, when the man uses the distraction to quickly pull out three more bags of "orange" and "yellow" peanuts from the snack shelf. He deposits them silently at the front of their rather large pile of food. The old lady appears upset, like a mother who just lost a battle for snacks to her two year old child.)
A tall, odd looking customer behind the couple (smiling at the old man):"You like nuts?"
Old man (his eyes looking quickly for some answer on the ingredient list of the small orange pack of salted peanuts...): "I need the salt."

Next please...

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December 13, 2003
florals 001-018































December 12, 2003

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December 12, 2003
The Morning News and my truly badly updated catalogue and other things.

The Morning News today, linked to some of my drawings in the catalogue on this site. (Wow, thank you!) It is moments like these when I painfully realize that most of my work is not here online... and an even smaller part of this small part, actually sits in the catalogue. If you just surfed in from The Morning News and are a bit confused about the lack of any more drawings... please use the search field on the right hand side of this page here and look for funny key words like: "360x360", or "111" or... "Moleskine"... and this will probably keep you entertained until the next morning... when this site will again become The Yesterday's News... and I will quietly write more about those barely visible little things between the barely visible little things...
Thank you so much for visiting... (A big thanks to all of the 80 or so Sites that have linked to me so far... it feels like you guys actually like what you see here... thank you...)

December 11, 2003

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December 11, 2003
Just a few more...

Before everybody goes home again, before the lights dim here again, before a more intimate voice sneaks back into the posts, maybe this now is the perfect time to post just a few more of the pelican pictures. Just a few more.

(a detail of the above)

December 10, 2003

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December 10, 2003
ready to land...

did he really ever even move his wings?, or was he just floating in?, suspended on an invisible air-stream? Embracing air.

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December 10, 2003
ready to...


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December 10, 2003
Blue man.

There seem to be always thinkers on the benches between the lanes of Broadway. Not thinkiers? Oh, they certainly are.
Maybe this is the place to be. But in the morning?, when the temperatures are near the freezing point? A man in a large blue jacket is staring at traffic going uptown. He must be cold, he must be cold, I am cold looking at him... Maybe it is not his choice to sit there? Maybe he does not feel cold? Maybe he is not sitting there at all?
I push myself against the glass to see the street moving with early morning new yorkers right underneath my adopted feet. The glass is so cold that the plants are avoiding it. I leave little cloud shapes on the view.
There are footsteps in the snow on the roof of Chase Manhattan Bank across Broadway.
A woman waiting for a bus does not realize that her silhouette looks like the shape of a bird... just from here, perhaps. This is made even more apparent by a pigeon performing a seduction dance behing her, without her knowledge, maybe without the pigeons knowledge as well.
My head is muddy, it is that muddy seriousness that follows an evening spent with water that has traveled through too many machines and processes and filters and things... what a perfect mood to write a really bitter story.
The man is gone. I will go and get some breakfast downstairs.

December 09, 2003

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December 09, 2003
Beyond pelicans...

There is a good reason why most of the recent entries had nothing to do with Art Basel Miami Beach. The show was simply a very serious and large event, some of the encounters were ones that will radiate for the months to come, there are so many new names, so many new things, so many new ideas... some quite spectacular, some somehow abysmal, some wonderful, some not so great... it will take a while for me to digest pieces of the experience and then to place them here, over time.
Please do not think that I am withholding information, or trying to release it with news-channel-like addiction to procrastination...
I took pages and pages of notes. I have a pile of cards from galleries. I have a whole bag with material related to the main show as well as the other events that happened at the same time...
If I were writing about nature, or my own drawings, I would not mind placing insults and injuring descriptions here... when writing about things that influence other lives... I would like to be more considerate... especially with those who are just barely coming to the table...
I know this post might sound like a silly excuse... I am just enjoying the fact that I do not have to write for a particular deadline... and I am also waiting for my memory to soften the waves on some of the stranger experiences...
Slower sometimes does make sense...

ahem... if you scroll down... there is actually a bit of a first entry about art basel miami beach... hmm... slooowlyyy...

December 08, 2003

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December 08, 2003
what a head...

Yes, this is the actual head of this particular bird. Yes, this is what a pelican head looks like, when it is not trying to look like a pelican. Yes, the bird almost landed on my head. Yes, this was a large bird. No, I did not think he would land on me...
It does appear as if the head of the bird were closest to the dinosaur ancestors we imagine populating the skies at some point in this planet's past... it is interesting to see such a strong visual connection in a living, moving, flying animal...

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December 08, 2003
finally more quiet...

How could I have possibly have expected a less than crazy day after a week of absence. I somehow felt as if there were little image clips running in front of my inner eye, somehow not controlled, just there... almost like that adultADD commercial I recently saw on tv... no I do not suffer from ADD, but expressions like "hit the ground running" are there for a reason.
I will just need to "shift gears" "more effectively"... there is so much to do...
and I know that right this minute, there is a feathered guy, a green beaked young pelikan, waiting at the pier, looking for an opportunity to get a fish. He probably, well, most definitely does not remember be, as I walked up to him with that little black box and held it right up to his beak, until that little box clicked... I must have looked really silly, sneaking up on birds, getting as close as I possibly could, avoiding the zoom at all cost. When I took the pictures of these birds, I could smell their feathers, they could definitely smell me too...
and yet I somehow had the very clear feeling of correct distance. I at least had the perception that I could somehow feel what was a comfortable zone for them with my body, them with my hand, them with my camera...
I am not going to shoot bears next week...
I think I like it more to come closer and closer to animals that would usually not trust me... and yet... would not like to kill me...
but again... i was quite happy not to be a little fish...

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December 08, 2003
Onward, forward

don't you dare to look back, buddy, there are tons of pigs and donkeys, right behind you, on that trailer. you are moving on into the one and the only direction known to man, you are on the right track, in the front seat, in the cockpit, up there, on top, most powerful machine under your behind, crowds cheering, here, there, everywhere, right? lights beaming, copilot giving good direction advice. others have been here before you, others have tried to achieve some sort of greatness, but hey, they only messed up the seat, they only somehow pretended to be driving higher. you are different, you are pressing on that gas pedal, are burning that diesel like it should be burned, you are very well equipped to look at the road ahead and to drive the whole load right into a slow motion supercrash, with a big and joyful smile. go buddy go...
just remember to sometimes go home, park the truck, have a snack.
relax, at least for 28 days or so...

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December 08, 2003
back to new word/k city

It is good to be back. It is good to be back, it is good to be back. If I repeat it often enough I will hopefully truly and honestly believe it. Words are a powerful thing, words are a very powerful thing, words are a really powerful thing.
Well, it is actually good to be back. I hope that I will open one of the drawers in the bedroom and there it will be, my brain, waiting for me, cool, focused, glowing in a bright orange color... possibly pulsating, and I will open that flap on the back of my head, plop in that brain and then we will just need to find a nice electric outlet to get the thinking going again... and then the posts here will become longer and maybe a little more exciting as well...
I sometimes imagine my brain as a little dried fruit, brownish, darkish, tiny, de-cored.
My father would often announce at the dinner table that his was like a completely smooth plastic like surface... so we both don't really mean it, of course.
It is good to be back, it is good to be back. I have to yet find the words to describe how different it feels to look at New York now, after having spent days in a crazily saturated, yet incredibly relaxed place... (at least for me it was.)
I can really feel that the thoughts are spinning faster by the minute... now I just really need to put them together onto a little string... and we will have a little thought neckless...
Oh, and then the brain, and then the outlet...
I shall work on this one...
(And don't think that I have not written anything about Art Basel Miami Beach... because I have, but it was so bad that I decided to reedit it...)

December 07, 2003

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December 07, 2003
up that map (looking to the left)

the flight was easy and the sunset was a really great one... but... new york is so much colder than south florida... brrrr...
(glad to be back.)

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December 07, 2003

gigantic, bigger than life. powerful, strong, sometimes just driven and pulled into a frenzy. a beautiful voice, in a very compact package, after all. visiting, passing by, here, just for fun, or maybe looking for something in just the wrong place, for now, in a location where the larger guys hang out, and more than that. but for now... gigantic, bigger than life, powerful, strong...

December 06, 2003

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December 06, 2003
stormy, sunny?

writing this with slightly stiff hands. went out to the ocean before sunrise. a storm seems to be coming up, a cold something was brewing over the water. it will hit the coast soon. I am indoors now, ran out of batteries on the camera... there is a coffee on my little table... let's see what happens next...

(just some time later, the sun beaming, I am closing the windows, will go home now, slowly... get some more sleep?... or maybe go through all the tiny notes and names and thing?s... try to remember in a better way... will touch snow tomorrow...)

December 05, 2003

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December 05, 2003
Peli can star...

No matter how many art events and parties I am going to miss in the next few days, I hope I will see many more magical moments with birds here in Miami. This Pelican said hello a few days ago, he does not have an agent...
I still think he is quite a star... (or maybe it is just me again...)

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December 05, 2003
Art basel, Miami Beach and Naoya Hatakeyama and Vik Muniz and Takashi Murakami, for now... (a very tiny part one in a series...)

How could I possibly try to describe even the emotional size of Art Basel Miami Beach? Just the main event, in the convention center of Miami Beach took six hours to walk through. How could anybody possibly go to a gigantic "Art loves Design" party (theme "carnival") afterwards? I could barely move and really barely see anything somehow focused after the main show. Could it be that I am just too old for these things? Or do I actually need to digest what I saw and heard and spoke about? (I really think that I am simply living far above my age... let's hope I am the baby Metusalem in the making.) I heard of people "doing the main show" in 45 minutes... kids... you must be kidding...
To put things short, no, I was not at the absolutely fabulous design district party yesterday and no, I did not even go to the opening of the little opening of "Long Shots", I did not see "Art Nova" and did not get to see "NADA" Art fair (yet). Gosh, I even completely missed the fact that there is an Inka Essenhigh show at the Museum of Contemporary Art here... by now I feel pretty much like I felt when I first arrived in New York... there is just too much to do to actually get to see it all...
But, what I got to see was quite spectacular, I can not really complain at all. The main venue felt like a gigantic river of thoughts and ideas (some really new and some... ahem... polluted back into the waters...) and I felt a bit like a little Salmon boy, on the second return to the bear infested sexy mountain waters. It was good to see some friendly faces, some familiar pieces, some new ones by old friends...hmm.
I hoped that it would take me a good night of sleep to be able to understand my little notes about the highlights of the show and that I would be able to just post a very comprehensive description of the event here, but this is also not going to happen, as too much happened really, some portion of my visual brain is probably swollen now, I was not allowed to take pictures, or maybe I did not even want to... oh... this post is turning into one huge whining act... (Ahem, I just noticed that I can not find my little notebook I carried around with me yesterday, so this here will be a real memory trapeze act.)
First the happy and familiar. Naoya Hatakeyama’s new work is really breathtaking. The Japanese photographer known for his Limeworks and Blasts and Slow Glass series has some new spectacular work on the market. ATMOS is the name of the series and there is going to be a really beautiful book out very soon. (Taka Ishii from Tokyo had a prototype and it is truly an unfolding beauty.) The photographs, which, as the book and the art dealers suggest, should be displayed as diptychs, present a Naoya Hatakeyama view of industrial as well as natural landscapes in France. Never before have I seen photographs of such spectacular clouds, created by machines made by people, turned into stunning work by a man using a machine. I am really looking forward to seeing large portions of the series in a large exhibition context. (They are unfortunately too large to fit a regular New York Apartment.) Single pieces from the series are still very affordable and certainly recommended. Naoya Hatakeyama does not fail to stun. (The new pieces were available from Taka Ishii in Tokyo and the quite excellent L.A. Gallery in Frankfurt for under $7000/photograph.)
Sprinkled around the fair, was new work by Vik Muniz. His new magazine series makes his work appear more and more like something Chuck Close would probably do if he ever used hole punched magazine pieces. This is naturally a good thing. I am maybe not as ecstatic about the new work as I was about some of his previous streams of visual thought, but Muniz is one magician supreme, the new work is as perfectly crafted as any of his so far. We love Vik Muniz.
My favorite piece by Vik hung in the area of Benítez Gallery from Madrid and it was not even technically a photograph but a sepia toned photogravure, one based on the cover image of a recent catalogue of a retrospective in Spain... (Since "Seeing is Believing" is sold out everywhere, this might be the new Muniz book to get? I am not sure if it is out in the US yet, but this should not stop some fans.) The earthy piece at Benítez carried some of the warmth and soul of the Muniz' we all "fell in love with"... but maybe that's just me. The graphic piece was also under $10000, I did not ask about the pricing structure of the photographs.
What else was happy and familiar? Here and there were little paintings by Takashi Murakami. They were tiny little mushrooms, maybe 12x12cm, on grey little canvasses... smiling happily for $15000-$50000 each. Hmm...
One could have purchased editions of Gerhard Richter family snapshots, with artfully smeared oil paint, covering all faces in the picture for about the same amount... Some people like it when their investment is cute and smiles back at them, some use different criteria.
To be continued... (of course...)

December 03, 2003

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December 03, 2003

Hello dear Friend,
today I am writing to you from the public library in Miami. Yes, I am currently accessing the weg in a way available to anyone, even those who can not afford a computer, or pay for monthly internet access, or hmm... just want to see what it is like to ride this really amazing internet wave for free. I am temporary user number 56. My Time Pass will expire in just a little while. I am working on a slightly noisy Gateway E-4200, whatever this might mean. The screen I am looking at is a flickering VX700. The letters are large, I can imagine that what I am writing here can be very well seen from across the room. Number 61 is being called right now. 61 did not show up, 62 is a girl in Khakis and a pink top with white stripes. I have the feeling that 63 is this 9 year old boy, stepping from one foot onto the other, to somehow prevent something catastrophic from happening. He is staring at me as if I could somehow help him... I do not think I can.
The girl next to me is writing with the help of that annoying little animated paper-clip. She did not welcome the help from her younger brother who brought his colorful book about castles. On her screen are large quetions of the day: "Which liquid will freeze faster... grape juice, milk or water?"... (There are other questions, but I do not want to be kicked out of here.)
A little crowd of kids is getting ready to go to Home Depot. A girl, who's boy carries a really beat up skateboard seems to really need some help, at least this is what she keeps repeating to the gentleman at the front desk... He just gave her a CD.
This is a really well equipped library, there are good books here, the people seem kind and interested... I am just realizing somehow more that the majority of the blogs I linked to, and probably the majority of blogs out there in general, were not written in such an environment as the one I am in right now. I wonder how well I could possibly design and write and upkeep a blog if I were forced to do all this from this workstation, 30 minutes at a time, with many eyes looking at me, with many slightly distracting sounds, some inspiring, some definitely not.
Number 67 is being called. My time will be over soon.
I can not complain about sitting here. I can not complain about being allowed to just use this access point for free. I just walked here as a stranger and I am allowed to use the service, just like that...
The situation will certainly improve as we move forward. The access to the web will become much easier for many, cheaper for others. Soon there will probably be the feeling of the web being the new paper... accessible, disposable, everywhere...
Right now, today, there is a difference, there is a gap... it is just very interesting to be aware of it...
There is a large group of people out there who are allowed to share this space with us, 30 minutes at a time...
And among them are the people who will probably define what the world will look like for us, when we will barely be able to see the screen, or whatever will replace the screens, when we all come closer to our final destination...
Oh, and there will be....... (hmm... sorry, my friend... but my time is up....)
Your Witold (no spellchecker was used during the creation of this entry)

December 02, 2003

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December 02, 2003

Went to the top floor, saw the really silly things. The selection there was truly sparse, the pricing somehow made up with four, five, sometimes six 10 faced dice. Dungeons and Dragons for the wallet.
The shopping mall was almost empty. It was just me and the sales representatives, all ready to go home, ready to leave all these carved pieces of glass and metal and leather and woven, printed silk, imbued with names of people and old cities. Many of them really just wanted to go home and have a nice dinner with tons of high fructose corn syrup. Or maybe just aspirine, prozac?
No visit to Miami is complete without a visit to that place on 96th Street here, which I treat as a museum of Luxury, with a Miami sugar coating.
Imagine a world studded with gems and glittery luxurious edges on things.
What happened to simplicity? Elegance? Ecstasy of Quality? They might have just missed their flight from New York and Paris and Milan... or is it just me?...
(I think I am getting a cold...)...

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December 02, 2003
peli can

He waited for the right Moment, for the fish to appear on the end of this almost invisible line. If he was lucky enough, the fish would be of the "wrong" kind, the species humans did not like to get into their buckets.
He would then wait for the stunned and confused fish to be thrown back into the water. This would be the perfect moment to just pick up this little snack.
He knew he had to be careful with every one of his moves. He was not alone there... many hunted this early in the morning...

Slow hunting was one thing, of course. Soaring over the buildings, the bay, the ocean, was what this was really about. He would speed over the water, looking for the slightest movement underneath the surface...

Today I am glad not to be the size of a fish.

December 01, 2003

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December 01, 2003

lot after lot there is more and more expensive square footage here by the water, by the ocean, on the beach. So a pile of sand, obviously not really from here, or maybe just here to mark the spot, will need to work as a backdrop for this image.
Birds here are serious about their business. I feel very lucky that I am not the size of a worm... I would stand absolutely no chance...