tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:/posts mark von rosenstiel is present. 2019-12-12T18:49:34Z tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1488305 2019-12-12T18:40:09Z 2019-12-12T18:49:34Z perfection of craft.

I've been on a Joan DIdion kick recently after looking in the local bookstore for Maggie Nelson books and seeing that Didion, like Nelson, is in the California Authors section. I'm not a particularly well read person (I usually just grab what's on some list somewhere, recommended by friends, or otherwise offered up with credentials) and was struck by how many other authors I've read, especially in the vein of what I've always thought of as Literary Journalism (is that a category? I mean prose crafted to reflect some current event), are basically versions of Didion (and I'm sure she came from somewhere that came from somewhere, but 50+ years is a ways to go back and find something that seems so familiar). I guess everyone comes from somewhere, but the DEGREE to which someone like David Foster Wallace seems to echo Didion's voice -- a careless exactness and assurandence while also being painfully self aware -- is staggering. 

This will loop back, I swear, but what popped into my head while thinking about Didon and Wallace was Eminem as featured on a Big Sean track; stick with me even if you don't like Eminem at all. This was a few years ago and I was running on an elliptical in a gym in Budapest called something like Kisslife Fitness or Chilli's Fitness... I can't remember which. But as I ran in jean shorts next to an arrangement of people that seemed sculpted from the internet's idea of what made the perfect body (porn), I remember hearing the gravely machine gun delivery of what seemed like a familiar voice on a Spotify radio station meant to make me run (trap music and pop), referencing things that felt familiar but in the offered lyrical relationship sounded like a police line up of items a bot shopping on an Amazon Prime account purchased:

They blame me for murdering Jamie Lee Curtis
Said I put her face in the furnace, beat her with a space heater
A piece furniture, egg beater, thermos

I'm not trying to beef with Eminem, but I really don't get what that's supposed to mean. I don't think it really means anything, but his delivery SOUNDED like the pinnacle of what he has made his craft to be: voice a snare drum firing away on all syllables. His voice as remembered circa the 90s was lost in what sounded like a smokers haze, but the rhythm was buttoned up tight on its way to prom and easy to identify as coming from the Mather's home. Honing a part of craft, especially the part of one's craft that they are most well known for, can result in the illusion of the entirety of that craft being good while actually being sort of garbage. I could run like hell to that track until I googled what was being said, and then it became more of a slow trot as I pondered what to make of the whole thing.

And THIS is what I was thinking of as I realized David Foster Wallace was sort of like an overly honed Joan Didion. I say this with the utmost love for the things he has written and really only taking into account his essays (I don't have the attention span for Infinite Jest), but it made me realize that the way Wallace can craft his essays makes the structure feel like the same dish served over and over again. The nuance and playfulness is only there after forgetting you already once consumed the dish you are about to eat. 

Snowflakes form when cold water freezes onto pollen or dust in the sky. There needs to be some turbulence of pollen and dust in the general climate of "cold" and "wet" in order to get the whole snow thing started. Good art is a balance of turbulence with environment. Didion is so good at bringing a current event in line with history, current context, and tangential supportive information. She builds sparse houses that hold incredible spatial value. And while using such bare building materials each house she makes comes across with a subtlety that doesn't bombard the environment with a pollen or dust storm, turning a possible snowfall instead into a desert storm (non militaristic, but still overwhelming). Each work is a light snowfall pattering around the world and allowing one to revel in the fact that snowflakes are all different, they change the notion of an environment, and in the end things pass after a moment in order to be held anew in a future context. Didion's work seems to wrap itself in a base layer that prepares for the possibility of being seen in a new light at some future junction.

Good art I fall in love with. It's because I'm not bombarded and forced into an environment but shown a path forward that doesn't promise anything but a perspective. I've recently made a promise to someone that I'm deeply in love with. And thinking on it in the light of how it relates to art, it is quite similar. We have agreed on our environment and look to create the right type of turbulence for perfect snow storms. Maybe sometimes this means a storm that seems like it will destroy all (I don't actually think we'll get these... but you never know), but more often a storm that lays blankets of soft-focus light across pines and hidden cabins, where fires stay lit as long as we both can still hold the other in our mind.

So to recap: new Eminem is possibly like David Foster Wallace. Reading Joan Didion is a lot like love. And I am hopelessly IN love.
tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1488012 2019-12-11T22:40:01Z 2019-12-11T22:40:02Z it's the holidays or something ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1478619 2019-11-17T00:52:24Z 2019-11-17T00:52:24Z King Milo ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1476439 2019-11-11T18:56:07Z 2019-11-11T18:56:08Z the saddest thing I've seen this morning. ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1471141 2019-10-28T19:45:53Z 2019-10-28T20:33:48Z starting "various moments of undress at 1443" ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1467849 2019-10-19T19:15:18Z 2019-10-19T19:15:19Z weekend crew. ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1467663 2019-10-19T09:21:31Z 2019-10-19T09:21:31Z Gil, I love you. ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1467488 2019-10-18T20:47:34Z 2019-10-18T20:47:34Z pre-electronics ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1465026 2019-10-11T23:18:50Z 2019-10-14T22:24:34Z local gods

My parents visited a little bit ago and, as visitors tend to do, quickly racked up a list of things they saw around me that I've yet to take the time to do. Feeling a bit ashamed of this fact, I took to my bike this morning and checked out one of their landmarks: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (I'll abbreviate it as COLA for brevity from now on), a church that's about a 10 minute bike ride from my apartment. 

I've seen this church for quite some time while sitting in no air-conditioning in my truck, Nemo, wondering if dehydration on the 101 is how I will die some day; sweat rolling from all parts of my body as I try to keep my back off the vinyl seat. I'd always thought the structure was some hospital, heavy on religious iconography, which is my brain taking some pretty strong narrative license. This last weekend I was convinced I was going to a museum and lecture with friends, who were in fact taking me to the beach. I'm not sure where I went wrong, but my head made a lot of excuses for why we were headed in the direction of the beach, until finally it conceded: I was going to the beach.

The grounds and construction of COLA are impressive. Sandstone colored concrete tearing into the surroundings like salt crystals with a type A personality. It feels geological in the space, which I guess depending on your views of evolution could be a real uncomfortable sensation. Which brings me to what I will own up front: I'm not one for religion. I believe in people creating frameworks for truth, as long as those frameworks can shift for new information gained. To me, most religions don't do this, so they're not for me, although I know people can practice them in a way that does satisfy this requirement. Footnote taken.

And as I wonder around I try to imagine this place built by the people that practice this in a way I find appealing: I ignore a lot of history and try to see it as a place that advocates exactly what it says it is. And in this mindset there's a lot of interesting things going on.

There's a small wooded area with bronze sculptures of lambs, lions, bee hives and camels, where the path that leads between them is the back of a snake. Little short cuts exist between the turns of the snake letting one wander into Unknown Territories. As a metaphor I kind of liked this, because I think to leave the path of the snake (evil or the thing that is against one's nature) in favor of something possibly scary and unknown, but more to who we believe ourselves to be, I like. "Jump off this path of prescribed destination and check out these lambs!" is what I heard whispered around in that eden. Although my thoughts got dashed a bit when I saw inscribed on a camels back "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God", which while standing among the furnishings of a quarter billion dollar structure seemed a bit disingenuous.

But THIS IDEA of destination and process and always moving to create ones environment is very comforting and what I do like when spirituality is, represented in religion or not, practiced authentically. I think parts of what degrades religion is the absolute, prescribed destinations that it sometimes seems to shout out at people. As a smart man once said recently, "it's better to walk a mile in the right direction than 10 miles in the wrong direction", which I think means that by following the correct path I may end up in a place of uncertainty but at least it's walking towards my destination. We don't just compromise, but lose, when we walk in the wrong direction because of the false comfort it gives us to feel we have arrived somewhere. This garden setup seemed to play on this for me.

Further on there's a sculpture that I can only describe as a vagina being hugged by a cherub. I like this. It is led to by a tunnel-like formation of palm trees, which seems like the whole arrangement is then a nesting doll of vaginas. I honestly don't know what I'm supposed to take away from this, except that it must be a place of great energetic importance.

Beyond the vagina nesting doll is the steeple, which is a wedge of concrete slung into the air like a concrete meat cleaver. I wrote once about gothic architecture that I didn't get the violence of its upward trajectory, although I understood how it effectively cast my eyes to the proper location. This angular echo of God's voice before me seems like minimalist gothic, if that can be such a thing: similar violence, particularly in the mid morning sun (flat like the circle of time), but also effectively turning my gaze up.

I sat in the shade to record some video at this point, because the slanted windows on the church caught a kaleidoscope of 101 traffic. Panel trucks looked the best. Small cars fit on one pane of glass, so they lacked the real drama that the interaction afforded. A hawk started circling over me just as the bells started tolling for the hour. Stuff like that is hard not to take seriously in certain settings; in this instance I took it as I was a blessed individual, however if this had happened at a kids birthday party in the valley I would have taken the hawk and bells as a sign it was time to leave. Context is everything.

I lit 2 candles, which I paid 6 dollars for. It said 5 dollars for a candle, but one of the candles I lit looked a little used, so I thought a dollar seemed fair. I thought of a group of people for each candle as I lit them. Inside, it ends up you can get a candle for 2 dollars, which made me feel like they were ripping off the people scared to go inside, which seemed a bit counter intuitive: you want a siren call for the ears of lost sheep, no? The candles inside were blue, versus outside was white. 

I once lit a candle for a woman in a church in Venice and when I walked out the canal stench hit me hard and a boy walked by with a cone of blue ice-cream and I almost forgot I was on earth. And suddenly that candle felt a bit absurd as did a lot of the time leading up to its lighting.

There was a water feature inside that included a pool for baptisms (dunks) and crossing yourself (sprinkles), where the four raised corners provided stoups, which stood guard around the lower, shallow baptism pool (google image search "baptism pool". There's some good ones.) There was a sign that said "Holy Water. No Coins."  

One time, when I was in a modern architecture museum, on a school tour, our class was in the gallery showing the progression of chairs through history, and as the tour guide turned slowly pointing out different progressions of design, they gasped pointing towards me, where I sat in a chair from the mid 1950s, apparently. 

I feel like accidentally tossing coins in a baptism pool for good luck is in the category of offenses that I committed in that chair; one offense is perhaps more religious, the other obviously more design/history focused.

The line for confession had the feeling of a doctors office: no idea if one was walking into good or bad news and a lot of people on their phones.

I walked out to my bike, stopping briefly to talk with my sister on the phone while perched on a wall, where I was quickly told to not sit. I asked if I could stand there, and they said that was okay: I rose like a steeple.

On the ground around me, carved into the concrete, were different sized circles connected by straight lines. I'm pretty sure one of them is the molecular structure for ketamine.

I guess my observations turned sorta snickering towards the end. Like a lot of "Look at this bullshit!?!", but then I caught myself thinking about how that mindset that wells up in me is the thing that blocks dialogue, blocks the ability to listen, and blocks the ability to connect with others; it's the thing I lob with prejudice as being practiced by a totality of people, creating in myself ignorant pathways. It's always dangerous to label an individual by a single group they're part of.

And we need places that advocate for the authentic conversation between groups that don't have a lot of common ground. I don't think churches (or other places of worship) are this place always, but I think they can be depending on the congregation (or group of practitioners). Whether you believe in them or not, churches at their core can instill the desire to talk with those around you: neighbors and Others. It goes to show that even while looking at ketamine molecules in the blazing reflection of a concrete cleaver, one can have epiphanies.

OH. And if you do visit COLA don't miss the gift shop where you can grab the book "Catholic and Curious" (not what I thought it was about... but it did answer the question "Our archbishop is closing the one and only Catholic church near the airport. Isn't there a requirement that there be a church in or very near an airport?" The answer is No.) or the shirt off, what I found to be, a very sexy mannequin that read "Wake Pray Slay". 
tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1464389 2019-10-10T02:51:35Z 2019-10-10T20:35:56Z measurement is an act of fabrication
I wrote that phrase down awhile ago -- measurement is an act of fabrication -- while thinking about how when I was a kid I’d try to help my dad out on job sites measuring distances for trim or framing up walls. I’d say things like “It’s 57 inches and then halfway between 3/16th and 4/16th” and my dad would shout back “Which one is it!!? 3/16th or 4/16th?!!” And to me it was truly impossible to tell. The distance between those two dashes might have as well been like trying to jump from one skyscraper’s roof to the next. 

I think as a kid I didn’t realize that nothing was ever cut to a perfect length: all construction and fabrication is an act of layering new materials onto old in hope of hiding the previous imperfections.

And this phrase “measurement is an act of fabrication” doesn’t just state the obvious: that to fabricate an object means to measure certain things in the world. Instead what I was getting at is that to state a dimension as 57 and 3/16th inches is to lie a little bit about what you are saying you see.

This idea came to mind again today when I was reading Bluets by Maggie Nelson. It’s no Argonauts for me, but maybe that’s a bit unfair to say as a different book by the same author should be… different. I’m ashamed to say that I once joined one of those CD clubs back in the day and was disappointed when I couldn’t buy the same sounding CD over and over. I didn’t know any bands, I only knew 2 or 3, and didn’t get why people looked for new music. I think part of me melts easily into defaults and I think the majority of mechanisms I have created in my life are in the pursuit of killing this natural, albeit bad, instinct.

Anyways Bluets is a small book, one of those ones where you really have to break the spine over and over if you want it to stay open on a table, and in one paragraph she writes about the cyanometer, a device invented by Horace Benedict de Saussure in 1789. The device was meant to measure the blues of the sky, but was simply a grid of 53 different blues with holes next to them so you could see which grid square matched the sky best. If the sky fell between grid 3 and 4 you were shit out of luck, just like measuring a wall that had a refinement somewhere between 3/16th and 4/16th inches.

And she writes of this that “measurement does not make beauty”. I like how she says this, because it makes me think of knowing the entire atomic structure of something until it becomes a small stone statue in a walled off garden; to tease out and try to say that a thing is like something else, is to sloppily cover it in green paint and call it a tree.

But I guess sloppily painting is what we achieve with language a lot of the time, as language is a tool of measurement.

This also makes me think of relationships and the desire to measure what a relationship is. I’ve been guilty a few times in the past of needing things out of relationships and measuring them to an exhaustion. I think at the time they were just simply relationships that didn’t work, but I hoped through investigation and measurement that I could find what was broken, not realizing that I was holding rubble in my hands and wondering why the stairs weren’t were the floorpan showed them.

I'm lucky these days to be in a relationship that has no space for stone statues, nor walled gardens. We don't even include a ha-ha to keep out some wandering sheep and in return we get a space with a sky made of unknown blue.

Of course I can’t stop measuring all things: making art is a certain act of measurement. But maybe the truly great measurements are those that approach but never touch some limit. The wake of objects left behind as they move from hand to hand, create a certain wobbling boundary; a boundary that to claim to measure in any definitive way is to be imprecise.
tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1464178 2019-10-09T01:48:02Z 2019-10-09T01:50:01Z cupless winds... or I mean windless cups

I think this piece pictured that I made about a thousand years ago (give or take a year), is one of my favorite things I've ever made. Super simple: cups being blown by little computer fans. It was called "details of a perfect story" which I still think is a good title and explains what the cups are up to just about as good as I can.

I'm playing around with a new version, where maybe down the line everyone could draw a picture on their cup, throw a little device in it, and then place it in a room and watch as their cup and a 1000 others danced around on the floor in a windless room.

tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1463908 2019-10-08T01:44:40Z 2019-10-09T01:50:14Z instapot and canada.
An instapot is the cooking device for how people act in our current social and political climate: settings entered and then whatever the outcome is, is deemed out of ones hands. My new relationship with my instapot has reminded me to throw my apathy and pessimism under its locked and fortress like lid to be cooked away under heat and pressure: a place where the most bizarre tumble of ingredients comes out always surprisingly delicious. Like Schrodinger's cat as a cooking device where the outcome is a bit unknown, but always edible and note worthy. Which is maybe a good reminder of how to approach different ideas and politics. I tell you: instapot solves all. And remember if you're Canadian to go out and vote this month; maybe vote Independent? Staples 2019!
tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1463085 2019-10-05T16:47:01Z 2019-10-09T04:53:19Z short passages

Somewhere deep in the woods is a pond circled by float planes. A couple sits on fallen logs that act as high-end furniture, placed atop an outdoor patio made of large ceramic tiles; these are the tiles that children think of when their grandparents have just moved to Florida.

Grass stands tall and semi-erect; morning delight only partially responding to the breeze.

Every now and then the man or woman gets up to try and move the log a bit this way or that; intermittent sneaker squeaks like a lonely fire alarm low on batteries.

Orange lips listen patiently, nibbling on fake tanner finger nails, as the other talks over the drone of prop engines. Pontoon clouds hung below fuselages rich with passengers of ideas.

GPS taped to the steering wheels.

And out of the windows that are pinholes in a sky, the pond is a runway.

tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1462891 2019-10-04T22:10:38Z 2019-10-04T22:10:38Z some friends always say yes ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1462821 2019-10-04T18:56:35Z 2019-10-04T18:56:36Z what's in a name?

I used to spend a lot of time in New York a few years back: I was seeing a woman (hey Alina!) who lived there, so I was bouncing back and forth from Seattle to a nice little apartment on Spring street.

New York has always felt, and still does feel, like an exotic place to me. It’s a center piece to something although I’m not sure it’s the center that anyone talks it up to be, which is the the thing that I want to ramble on for a bit about.

It has always bothered me when people say “I’m a New Yorker”, or “THIS is New York” when seeing something high contrast happening around them in the city. Many people have written on the idea of what New York is to them (For some reason I think of the Flamethrowers when I think of writers writing about New York, which I can’t actually recall the narrative structure or tone that is used to capture the city, although I’m quite sure it is there), which is something I can’t really get into since I never spent enough time there to consider myself anything other than a visitor.

But the insistence of being FROM a place is something I can relate to, as I’ve had time in a few places that I consider to be in my blood at this point. Even so, I’d never distinguish my personality by announcing my relationship to some physical place. I’ve found myself embedded deeply in many places, but emotionally I have never thought of a place as defining that sensation of being embedded; perhaps part of what that place was at a certain time.

I think what’s bothersome to me is that saying something like “I’m a New Yorker” seems to place on oneself the stereotypes of the place they are from as they suppose it is seen by outside people. The quality they seem to actually be addressing, however, is nuanced and a particular quality of that place as seen by them;  in how it supports and amplifies something that they hold dear to themselves. And to diminish this important quality by draping it in a name of a place, is to diminish one’s self. It’s like pants that make someones ass look great:  I agree that some pants make an ass look better, but without the ass the pants are useless.

I remember writing a paper in college about Fela Kuti, and the TA wrote the comment back “Okay paper. Very western viewpoint of the individual”, which maybe someone would write on the top of this post. Perhaps the annoyance I have at this whole New Yorker thing (or any other time I hear people refer to a city/place as part of their core identity) is the fact that I struggle with an overriding sense of being an individual first, which I agree in the world today is not only socially irresponsible, but also a bit scientifically incorrect (I’m still on my Hyperobjects kick. Hi Bradford!)

For now, I’ll wander these streets of LA, where I have not heard even once: “I’m an Angeleno”. Although I do admit to uttering the phrase in an exhale “Dowtown LA…”, the place I now call home; a place I watch a bit tentatively out of the corner of my eye at, as if it’s someone dressed as a clown hiding in a parking structure (an actual description of someone once seen in downtown).

Maybe what I’m getting at is the duel role of content and container that is a place of belonging. And I guess the things that we are most passionate about, and strive to conjure the most in our daily lives, are usually in this role of content and container. What is a disservice to ourselves is when we delegate these passions to be only one of these things.
tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1462534 2019-10-04T03:35:34Z 2019-10-04T03:35:34Z it's what inside that counts (a lover looks good in all light)
tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1462466 2019-10-03T22:09:45Z 2019-10-03T22:09:45Z small joys.

One of my small joys in life is forgotten, leftover coffee. 

To amble into the kitchen in the morning and find my moka pot half full of room temperature coffee is something that must be akin to what nature photographers feel when spotting a snow leopard (who came up with that spelling?!). 

Further, to forget a pot that was made mid-morning only to find it as I have now, at 3 in the afternoon, is the feeling of leaving a car in an illegal parking spot for over 24 hours and coming back to have it not only still there but with no ticket.

Afternoon or morning light with forgotten coffee is the finishing touches on a painting that was almost perfect.
tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1462450 2019-10-03T21:31:20Z 2019-10-03T21:31:21Z a room with a view
tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1451624 2019-09-04T02:45:31Z 2019-09-04T02:47:05Z thanks for the company, Gill. ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1451539 2019-09-03T22:12:06Z 2019-09-03T22:12:07Z no stretch ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1451462 2019-09-03T18:23:04Z 2019-09-03T19:51:01Z notes on recklessness

The first time I realized that the math side of my brain was the same as the art side of my brain, I was a sophomore in college. Each side was up to the same tasks, just with different vocabularies. For most of my life, until that moment, I had felt that I needed to pick a side to play with for the day and that making that choice meant I was inherently stunting the development of the other side of my brain. It was a stressful position to be in, until that moment of clarity came along and two things that were square blocks in round holes, suddenly were just the same puzzle piece, and there were no blocks or holes, just a mind at rest.

Stereovision of the mind or something.

In 2015, I ended up at Meet Factory for a stint as their Longest Participating Resident (Hey Piotr! Hey Zuzana!), and it was upon showing up at this place that I made another shift in mind which is that I realized the practice of art and the living of my life were the same thing.

In my time before getting there I had been focused on the narrative that objects tell within confined structures, and was troubled by how I could get at the internal state of an object and its history.

To make headway on this goal meant having a certain fearlessness in the objects themselves, which I guess is sort of the goal of a lot of art: a fearlessness of a certain mode of expression. To create those objects, though, I realized required a fearlessness in me. It required letting go of the constraints in certain parts of a process and allowing myself into feedback with what I was trying to do.

When I was in 5th grade I had a friend, David Heffner, and one day we were going out to water balloon the neighborhood. We didn’t have any water balloons, but did have a bunch of sandwich bags. We started filling sandwich bags and rubber banding them closed (they weren’t zip locks, just the Stuff ’n Fold variety of sandwich bag: like a pair of tights whiteys for a sandwich, where you are stuffing the sandwich through the fly), but I started getting really particular about us having to gather the bags back up and reuse them. After all: they didn’t explode like water balloons, so we should just grab them back and use them again. This, however, takes a lot of the gorilla warfare out of the task, which is the paramount point of the task, so David understandably looked at me like I was crazy and bolted to play with other friends that afternoon.

In that instance: if the goal was to water balloon and all we had was sandwich bags, we should have therefore used sandwich bags. I had failed to take ownership over the desired task to be undertaken and gotten muddled in details outside of my purpose.

I realized at Meet Factory that the fearlessness that I wanted in the things I created, required an ownership of fearlessness in myself. There’s many different ways to embody fearlessness and I think for a period in Meet Factory and beyond I took on a certain recklessness that amounted to expressing a maximized version of fearlessness that has always lived inside me, but it was a fearlessness that I checked with my coat at dinner parties in order to make room for others.

With groups of artists in different countries around Europe, I tumbled through art and into the crevices of cities in a way that those cities were not ready for. We bit all hands and flattened mountains, while building skyscrapers from air and our will. There was a certain sense of abandon and being untouchable and I think the feedback with art served its purpose.

But on moving to LA, I realized that I had brought this recklessness with me, into a world that was no longer the same. It wasn’t sleeping on floors in warehouses on the outskirts of Budapest, but instead high rises and skies that always smiled kindly through sun kissed cheeks. And this recklessness no longer served my art, and instead made me feel further from it. My recklessness had become a barrier to the life I loved and the things I liked to make.

You can build a castle for yourself out of anything: recklessness, hate, love and even virtue. You can look down from these castles and chastise and scold others; turn the ability to make statements about "us" to statements about "them". Fearlessness can be a a great castle where at first it is the bridge to any new destination, as you forge ahead with zero inhibition, but then you suddenly realize that your fearlessness is just a set of fences keeping you from seeing the world through new eyes.

When I first got to Meet Factory I met an artist who was one of the most fearless people I have ever met. I think I had a bit of jealousy over their disregard for norms and decorum. I didn’t realize they were just using fearlessness as a knife to remove parts of the world they didn’t have the patience or ability to deal with.

I guess this is all to say that in the feedback of the practice of art and the living of life, it’s important to look up and see if the parts of either have metastasized and taken on lives of their own that no longer serve the other. And I don’t think art is special in this regard, it’s just the thing I use as a translation of my life to see if things still make sense. Like putting “I am happy” through a few different languages in Google translate, before translating back to english, and seeing if I get back the original phrase.

And there’s a lot of other ways to translate my life: friends, family, the love for another.

At the end of the day I just don’t want to build castles. And I don’t want to forget that the ability to fluidly move from one mode of an expression of life to another and see each expression translated easily into all aspects of my life is a good way to stay happy.

I’m not here to hold lots of different pegs for lots of different holes. Or a mix of pegs and puzzle pieces. I’m here to pay attention and find flow.

tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1451137 2019-09-02T23:17:15Z 2019-09-02T23:17:16Z Nike, call me. ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1450631 2019-09-01T16:36:35Z 2019-09-01T16:36:36Z window lock or someone praying or someone in child's pose. ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1447905 2019-08-23T22:51:22Z 2019-08-23T22:51:22Z lover with wooden telescope in foreground for creeping. ]]> tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1446976 2019-08-21T02:06:32Z 2019-08-21T16:18:37Z spaces in between.

I wrote down the other day in my notes, “it’s easy to dissolve. we all will dissolve. It’s hard to choose how we dissolve.” Like many of my notes I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking at that moment (there’s a note above it that says, “Ifá Johnny slaughtering chickens,” which is a really great story, but not really relevant to the note I want to touch on… it is unclear why I thought of Johnny yesterday, though).

I think I jotted down that note as I was reading an article about the National Radio Quiet Zone in Green Bank West Virginia, a town where microwaves, bluetooth and WiFi are all banned, and cellphone signals fenced off in order to allow the super sensitive telescope there to peer off into space and try to detect whispers of the waves meandering in from Big Bangs, Small Bangs, and maybe just stars falling in love (Biggest Bangs). All these signals that heard last call and plunked down in a taxi cab called Earth.

The article takes a romantic twist on the story, commenting more on the life that is required to live in this town, smartphone free. What does that do to the citizens? I like that the author doesn’t take a judgmental stance on whether smartphones around us are good or bad, but more just the impact they have on our day to day interactions. The way they augment and shape the formality of our lives.

I’m an addict to my phone, which is one of the reasons I don’t use social media, as it removes from me one more hook that sticks deeply in my brain and tugs on neurons for the entirety of the day; phantom buzzes and an extra sense of urgency isn’t something I need more of in my life. But DISSOLVING seems to be the path all of our lives take and phones are one more way we dissolve. Our boundaries are frayed and we are consumed by things in our lives. Even the self can consume the self. Our time and energy, our focus, they are all offered over fence posts only to realize the fence itself disappears and soon new pastures that once were “over there” are “in here”. And this is a good thing, if it's done with intention and carrying.

Marx wrote, “all that is solid melts into air” (which is also a title of a novel that I really liked the first 3/4 of… the last 1/4 was sorta patching up plot holes and all the beautiful writing started to feel so rushed. A line from it that I still think of was something around being the most lonely among the company of strangers. But written so beautifully. Shit. Can’t find it in my notes. But I did find the note “there is no perfection of the object”. Look! What a great idea to be dissolved in.), which I think was meant to be a statement about coming to some truth about the nature of being. The truest things we can’t hold on to, if we assume they will never change. Instead we should look to the space of these things we find truth and gratitude towards and appreciate how that space can change, requiring us to move and fix our fencing.

I’ve dissolved into ideas and people. I recently think I even dissolved a bit while picking blackberries with someone in Surrey of all places.

In large and small ways we all continue to dissolve and we find ourselves in the things that both we penetrate and penetrates us. 

tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1444364 2019-08-13T18:15:37Z 2019-09-04T20:12:19Z always always.

Sunday I was in the Broad museum, checking out the special exhibit, Soul of a Nation, after which I jumped upstairs to see the room in the permanent collection dedicated to Cy Twombly. Twombly is one of my favorite artists, because he worked as a code breaker for a stint and also paints in that way that seems like anyone can do it; if I can get the right set of ideas behind my brush, everything else will follow. 

I never thought as a kid that I had a chance in hell painting like Vermeer, but Twombly seemed to say, "make science and rationality sing, dance and forget to come home for dinner and you can paint as well." He created bridges between parts of my brain that I was told in science class was made up from two distinct parts, a creative side and a rational side: left and right hemispheres. I think that being told this as a child growing up really fucked with my head. (I was at breakfast the other day and my nieces were with me, and a man that I used to know as a kid walked up and introduced himself to everyone seated. My one niece sort of shrunk back a bit, she's 5 (maybe 6? I know! I should really know her age), and the guy remarked "oh, she's a bit shy, huh?" and I could see her face flicker with thoughts about what that meant, and it made me wonder how much she would take on the traits others told her were hers, but never were. Maybe we finally grow up when we stop doing this -- stop taking on the traits others tell us are ours -- but it's probably only after a bit of damage is already done.) I remember thinking as a kid that I had to choose one side of my brain to be the dominant side and that it frustrated me to think that maybe I could only be one thing or another. Anyway, Twombly seemed to be a cure for two brain hemispheres being able to become one. (The book, Consilience, by E.O Wilson would have been a bible to me if I had found it when I was young.)

And it was interesting standing in front of this painting and thinking a bit about the poem in it:

The Roses XXVI

Infinitely at ease
despite so many risks,
with no variation
of her usual routine,
the blooming rose is the omen
of her immeasurable endurance.

Do we know how she survives?
No doubt one of her days
is all the earth and all
of our infinity.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Mull on that while we circle around and bring some things into the narrative: I've had this strange 2-3 months that have recently passed that involved a whirlwind through Europe and then another whirlwind through British Columbia. The whirlwind to Europe was undertaken as what was supposed to be the first leg of a two leg trip whose main components were a residency in Belgrade and then an installation in Chongqing. Last minute the Chongqing project was cut, leaving me with the residency and a block of unfilled time. I expanded my Europe destinations a bit to see old friends and places I've lived over the years, and then dug my heels in for 3 weeks in Belgrade to think about modularity and buildings and paint some sketches. 

I guess recently my work has been drifting from how objects tell stories and contain history to how the modes of information exchange work between objects and an observer; like how the guts of the actual elements of stories work. This has got me reading a bit about error correction codes (Richard Wesley Hamming, man behind the Hamming Code, as well as Hamming Matrix, Hamming Window, Hamming Numbers, Hamming Bound, and Hamming Distance. Go Hamming! Go!) and information theory. Stories are a bit like seeing a painting without a title or vice versa. It is receiving a piece of information (seeing the painting or reading the title), internalizing the representation, and then you're given the chance to check the quality of the transmission with another piece of information (either the title or painting, whichever one you didn't previously look at). 

And to share a story in person is a bit the same. The story is the ship sent across vast seas, and then each person's face acts as a lighthouse that bounces back some low resolution information on what was sent and received. Body language is ripples off the oars of the ship that if you peer with a telescope towards the horizon you will make out the contours of how what you said was heard. 

And sometimes I think that I can see the point of a what I'm trying to say quite clearly. There can be a beauty to sitting down to write something and see these little hurdles of narrative lined up the straightaway of a 100m of track that my fingers are waiting to dance over with keys. Then there are times when I feel I sense what is something like a building and instead of starting with "I sense a building..." and try to dig into the general outline of what it is, I start with "A single brick sits a top another...", which is the starting point of a multitude. It creates a murky abstract painting of a story titled "untitled". 

The Rose in the poem strikes me like a singularity of self. A focal point that can be stated without eyes darting or hanging ellipses on garbled sentences. It is a pen put confidently to paper not saying how the world is, but how one feels they are in the world. A statement about permanence hung on the delicacy of something that is certain to fade. And the perfection of a moment like that will last an eternity. It is two car blinkers perfectly in time at a stop light.

I recently spent a month with a woman I could see spending my whole life with. We woke up day after day among tangled sheets and languid conversation. Sunlight made into people. And I try to think about what made that time unique. If I wanted to strip it of romanticism and be analytical I would say it was the sensation of information seamlessly moving between us. Stories and titles that matched quite perfectly, over and over again; those car blinkers chanting in unison at endless green lights.

This I'm quite grateful for. 

And when I was looking at the painting of Twombly, I was thinking about his choosing three roses instead of two. The poem dictates the existence of the rose, the first rose passes it to the observers, and we only need a second rose to echo back, "I am here". 

As one responds "Always" to a story, the second responds, "Always." and there is no reason to add an "Always?", because it wilts what was already known.

Always always.
tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1431021 2019-07-10T18:38:38Z 2019-07-10T18:38:39Z belgrade flow chart

tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1431017 2019-07-10T18:37:24Z 2019-07-10T18:37:24Z modular belgrade #7

tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1431016 2019-07-10T18:36:47Z 2019-07-10T18:36:47Z modular belgrade #6

tag:markvonrosenstiel.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1431011 2019-07-10T18:30:29Z 2019-07-10T18:36:10Z modular belgrade #5