Saturday, September 24, 2011

Observation, Observer, Reflection

Images invite sensations.

Landscapes and seasons; cities and their environs, villages; countrysides, harbors, hills and deserts; the first frost, bonfire on a riverbank, college common as darkness falls. 

Conception of idea, restraint of emotion, intensity of perception, manipulation of media, realization and presentation. 

Friday, September 23, 2011


The fragrance of rain becomes an abstract memory in the dry season.

Our sojourn appears at times to have resplendent clarity, then a glance in another direction renders it stark and bleak until light breaks again. 

The perceptions reveal the shapes and sounds, textures and colors of the fabric of existence; the mind and emotions interpret them with the cultural instruments they learn to use.

Yet the imagination conceives things that seem impossible until they are experienced.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Romance and Reality

The idea that life can be, or should be, art, is self-evidently problematic.

It can be an appealing concept, and echoes historical perspectives of every sort.  Some will atttibute the idea to the Beats, to the Black Mountain College, to Walter Pater and the Aesthetic Movement, or to any number of schools of thought reaching back to the Renaissance, and beyond that, to the Epicureans.

Given its rich history and broad scope, it is nonetheless an intensely subjective perspective, and difficult to reconcile with the vicissitudes of life.  It is one of many aspects of a vision of existence, sometimes fitting, sometimes untenable.

Nor should it be confused with the art of living well, and with fullness of purpose, regardless of circumstance or external challenges.

What is undeniable is that an artistic and creative point of view may realize the products of the imagination in concrete form, and in doing so establish a foundation for realities yet to come.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

To Hear and to Listen

Much goes unnoticed.  Listening consciousness does not cease, but will be passive if not engaged.

That which is unusual or striking meets the ear.  We arrive on the scene at the moment bells ring; a fragment of conversation is humorous, interesting, or alarming; a curious piece of music, at first unfamiliar, drifts across the lakefront and with a sudden surge of emotional energy we recognize the song, followed by a host of connected images and associations.  The psyche is engaged, we are attentive to developments within and without, and we participate in the art of listening.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


The ambient composer or listener may become preternaturally sensitive to the sounds of the surrounding world.

The drone of an idling car; bird call; light fall of rain; Doppler effect of passing truck with radio, briefly casting the aural shadow of an undefinable musical instrument; light hammering of minor construction work suddenly becoming multiplied in broad and deep echoes across a hundred yards of open field; refrain of crickets and cicadas downhill toward a distant riverbank.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Art and Consciousness

Aristotle considered art to be a representation of reality.  In broad terms this is clearly so.

Some view art as a vehicle for emotions or ideas; some as a means for expression of universal, idiosyncratic, or transgressive viewpoints.  Some may see the various arts-- painting, photography, film, music, architecture, performance media, and so forth-- for their cultural potential in persuading an audience to act or think in certain ways, or as mediums to be exploited for profit.  All these are legitimate positions recognized by critics and artists themselves.

Art may also be an approach to the phenomena of existence, a way to perceive the appearances of things and create representations of these observations. 

In this sense, art questions and assesses the validity of perceptions, then generates viewpoints of reality, as opposed to expressing those already in the mind of the artist.  By such means the artist and those who engage with the art may enhance their perspectives in ways beyond the narrowly limited and mundane, to gain certain degrees of insight-- and foresight-- as well as aesthetic pleasure.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Consider the phenomena of existence, the sights, sounds, mingled impressions, historic and human elements and connections of interrelated events.

Music, noise, sounds of the street, voices, insects, animals and machines.  Clocks striking and shouting children, weather conditions, the stirring of air.  Travelers passing overhead.  Ring tones.  Birds and the fluttering of wings.  Back to music, footsteps, automobiles passing.  Wind in the ears.  Breath.

Vibrations, at times, that are perceived yet cannot be identified.

They are all the sounds of a journey.