it's easy to forget about continuity.

I gave a talk a long time ago about continuity and discreteness and how it relates to the way I (and everyone really) tells stories. I think I think about stories as a discrete piece -- "this is the story about the time X happened" -- although it is perceived as a continuous block of time, which is again broken down into further discrete pieces that make up this whole flowing river of narrative. Recently I've found myself in a residency that I'm not quite sure what my purpose is. I came in with an idea that originally made sense, but didn't really make particular sense FOR ME; as in the goal of the project didn't buttress some work I'm currently doing. 

This is something I think I do quite often, which is spread myself further thin, versus dig deeper into a specific direction. I think a lot of people tend to use posthole diggers when they follow an idea, whereas I'm more a shovel person, which requires moving much more dirt. A posthole digger gets a Y-diameter hole X meters down and will at ground level also have a Y-diameter hole, while shovel digging creates a Y-diameter hole X meters down, but creates a Y-diameter-plus-some-trig-with-the-angle-of-repose-( hole.

What I hope is that the hole is different but still valuable. Although I'm self conscious about my hole digging technique not being optimized in certain regards, it tends to make sense to me when I get back to basics and think of continuity and discreteness. As I do a lot, I've been recently fixated on a paper (that I've only partially read), called The Multiplicity of Conscious States; The Idea of Duration. It's one of a bundled three papers by Henri Bergson, who I first read about a while back when he was mentioned in the Poetics of Space, which I guess a lot of people read when they were pretty young, but I stumbled into at the ripe age of 34 or so. He talks at length about the expression of a number and what a number actually is, arguing that the IDEA of a number takes place in space and not time. Basically, a number becomes something that individually occupies a single space as well as being a multitude of some unity in a single space. Like when we count 50 sheep to fall asleep (an example he uses), we are placing 50 identical sheep side by side in some physical space in our mind, whereas if I think of the number 50, I think of an unbreakable object called Fifty. 

He can get a bit wordy and I'm not sure if I'm following his main thought, but he punctuates all of this by saying "Number in process of formation is discontinuous, but, when formed, is invested in the continuity of space". Which I found funny to read yesterday as it made me loop back to main premises I have in my work: continuous/discontinuous divides, The Middle, complexity from simplicity, internal/external space, creation of ubiquitous means of information exchange, etc. 

My plan coming here was to photograph buildings and paint representations of their structure (low creative fidelity), using some ideas about painting I thought of when I was here 2 years ago; I thought of it as sort of a reunion of technique. However, on reading this little tidbit of Bergson, I realized that work here could tie back into ideas I've been having that I'm loosely calling Modular Modes of Existence, which is about chaining static sculptural elements together, which have possibilities for feedback loops with themselves and the environment. The structure and brutalist concrete elements of Belgrade are singing with ideas of Modularity and I think I've become a bit obsessed with a pair of identical apartment buildings about a mile away from me that seem as if concrete was poured into a kaleidoscope (originally tried to spell that "colidascope). But these buildings seem to scream about reference to Numbers in they way Bergson talks about Numbers, in that they inhabit, as all buildings do, a certain continuity/discrete middle ground, where they give space meaning as a whole, but also dictate an information exchange in their own right.

I remember when I was in 7th grade we were supposed to do a research project highlighting some issue in the world and mine was "Should we save the Salmon?" Just for some context some other kid researched Lasting Cultural Impacts of the Vietnam War, which when I heard of I thought, "OH. Issues like that! Why didn't someone tell me?!" The project involved doing first and second hand research. So I read a lot about damns, conservation, and animal population thresholds, while standing outside my local grocery store asking people "Do you think we need salmon?" As you can imagine, people looked at me like I was an idiot, but I couldn't tell at that age if anyone actually knew anything was True, so it seemed like any question you could ask was an issue.

(Also side note: My dad would always say to me when we left exterior doors open or the lights on "WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?!?! KILL THE SALMON!?!", which is a few degrees of separation from the issue, heat-loss, to the result of heat-loss: increased damn activity in order to produce more electricity for heat, resulting in salmon death. This took mental leaps at the age of 11.)

I bring this up because this age (7th grade-ish) was the period of making displays boards (this kid looks happy: Interestingly, science fairs, a major outlet for display boards, started in the 40s, becoming quite popular in the 50s due, in part, interest in the atomic bomb. Other tidbit is the first winner of a national science fair: Alan J. Fletcher) and OUTLINES of issues and references/connections to tangential information around the issue. Boards usually folded in threes with each panel containing selected boxes of information that when taken on the whole created an argument or illustration of The Point. In some ways, this is probably the most important understanding of how knowledge works, since each box can be broken down into its own display board, and so and so on.

Zooming out a bit these display boards end up being a bit like Numbers, with the unity they are built from being digestible and agreeable units of knowledge. This idea of unity in knowledge can be seen a lot in the agreeability we have to other’s stories or to what they hold as their own truth. I think the disconnect we can have when taking on other people’s stories is lacking a common unity, a smallest building block of narrative or truth, resulting in one person trying to take up another’s space in unpleasant ways, because the shape and volume of the space that holds this story or truth is distorted without a common unity; there’s a sense of mismatching or faulty resolution. It’s like if I tried to tell you about all the numbers between 1 and 10 by only using the number 2. I can’t build all the numbers between 1 and 10 with 2. I need the unity of integers under addition: 1.

This is the starting point... basically I'm going to start investigating the creation of a display boards AS PAINTINGS for some buildings in Belgrade related to modularity and space. And Numbers. Crafty painting.

wise words from Jacob.

I was recently undertaking the massive (procrastination) project of retrieving 10 years worth of photos off of a failed external hard drive. With some technical wizardry and 24 hours of a computer chugging along, I was able to scrape back in time and get everything. If you are reading this and have known me at any point since 2008 and just thought to yourself "Fuck, I hope he doesn't still have THAT photo", the unfortunate answer is, "Yes, I probably do." The good thing is, that there were so many photos, most of them will probably just end up as noise.

After the long import the image that jumped into view was a picture of an artists statement. It reads as follows:

"You can see whatever you want in my art. I was thinking about leaves when I was making it, but it also looks like a tiger being chased by a lion. Jacob Webber, age six"

This really resonates for me today, because on my way to pick up some coffee and move my legs a bit before getting this 'ol earth rotation going (Although, to be honest, I've been on this kick of cheap beer (bud light or coors light) and cheap coffee (whatever is in RiteAid), but due to a recent Opening of Eyes I'm back on good coffee), I was thinking about modifications that can be done in the world to fool AI in teslas or other autonomous driving systems (

This crossed my mind because as I was walking up to a crosswalk, I glanced over to the car that had stopped for me (a tesla) and noticed a beautiful woman in the back of it and then almost walked directly into the front wheel panel. In some ways placing a beautiful woman in the back of a car impacts me a little like placing stickers on a stop sign impacts a tesla. 

And this got me thinking about the give/take between digital/meat-space, and the growing middle ground that is created between them, where it is unclear if I am purely in one or the other; a space that I think people find a little disorienting. This disorientation is partly due to the fact that physical and digital spaces are now more effectively constructed in order to shift behavior; they work together to funnel us towards outcomes. This has always been something we've been aware of, but with big data so much of what we do can be hacked while leaving us feeling we are autonomous through a process: we can't see our own nuances and subtle defaults. If you think of politics, influencers, and news sources in recent years, they are all modes of creating signals and placing markers in order to create outcomes without us thinking too much about it.

Everyone is sticking beautiful women in the back of Teslas. Everywhere.

I think Jacob seemed to be getting at this point from a more artistic perspective years ago.

body hair.

I spent my morning watering plastic plants and nodding along to a video tutorial taught by a plastic person. I ate plastic food and brushed plastic teeth. 

I think body hair is the only calming indicator for the day.

oh the mutations.

I recently fell in love. It’s strange because I usually fall in love and make grand gestures like flying halfway around the world in something that is manic, anxious and more an expression of loving love, then loving a person. I like the idea of grand gestures and assume that this person will be the focus of grand gestures at some point, but off the bat things are strangely quiet and whispering, sort of like light wind on a rain flap of a tent out on some frontier. In a serendipitous moment (or coincidental... or... something) I stumbled on something I wrote down in a text editor awhile back and it seems relevant. What was written is as follows:

mutations are forgetting about love. Mutations are kicking and pushing to be in love again

mutations are almost chocking on a toothbrush 


I think the last line is return number for some item, although I’m not sure what. I googled it, and the first result was “Buy Suspension Strut Mount Anchor 703995 Fits 96-05 Toyota Rav4”, which isn’t something I’m in the market for, so we’ll just leave that there as a clue for future generations. 

BUT MUTATIONS. I had to write about them for an application to an institution that I’ve now applied for exactly the number of times I’ve been rejected. On the topic, the non-project based part of the text read:

Which brings us to a mutation, which is exactly a point of departure from group to isolate, or isolate to group. It could be said that we live in the age of mutation; “mutation” being a janus word in many facets: one person screams it to show their individuality, while another echos it back describing their inclusion in a group. 

Consider a mutation of thrushes, indicating a group of birds that have forever only known themselves. Or even a genetic mutation leading to a new group of people, see: Tetrachromacy. A lot of pop culture tends to buttress the beauty of mutation whether it is in teenage turtles or wolverines. In data science, programmers will rally around immutable data structures; not quite a reference to mutation, but maybe a bit of shade thrown towards it. 

I recently asked my mom about the things she didn’t realize she would lose as she got older (I’ve been recently fixated on the fact that available conversations with friends are constantly burning off in greedy fires) and she said “my face”; which, explained, makes sense, as the woman she sees in the mirror isn’t the woman she sees herself to be. The face becomes a container that is viewed for its structure versus the content that is held within. So at some point my mom is saying that the Self mutates and no longer has a face. 

But I had submitted all of that after not remembering about this forgotten text or the more recent turn of events of this love business. WHICH IS WEIRD, because there I was deliberating about love and mutations only to tumble into love, a place both familiar and completely alien. It is the group of all things I am, plus all things I never knew I would be. 

To have steps appear as I walk into voids, and airbags deploy gently in all situations social or physical. To ease into the moment. A mutation is the perfect isomorphic partner to the present. 

A mutation is being in love.

And I guess it's humbling to try to express something in writing or make some object hooked up with a a bazillion wires and hung even more puppet-like still in papers about Self and Space and Countability (this last bit is a generalization of most the things I think I end up making), and they never seem to be quite as well crafted as sharing lemonade in a hot car, with no air conditioning, while I drive along the ocean with this person.

So I guess you can file this under "amendments to thoughts on mutations. i.e. love".

china round 2.

Working on a new piece for an exhibition in China this summer. Details forthcoming. As for now I'm in the code.