No. 316

In typography, anxiety is often represented by scribbled lines—perhaps to represent the way synaptic connections are led astray in times of anxiousness. I feel this way now, but not because of the challenges prescribed by class. To put it simply, time is harder and harder to come by leaving little room for much else.

For me to do well with the assignments and to secure the grade that I want comes easy. However, the print, the culmination of work, takes insane amounts of time, and I have experience enough not to think about it. The time left over, on the other hand, is easy to think about.

I wrote something earlier (which I may have deleted for who knows why) but I’ll rephrase it here. The simple answer is to make good use of time, because the quality of work that I require of myself for class isn’t lenient—not to “make” time, but to discover that which is already there. I’ve done harder things in the past, but the difficulty now is to find some a/c.

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”
— Vincent van Gogh

No. 314

Sometimes I’m not patient enough to wait for the solitude that comes with morning, so I’ll stay up and choose instant gratification instead. The problem with that is the longer I stay up, the less morning there is to enjoy.

***

It’s been humbling going back to school on my own accord. The practice of theorizing and thinking critically about art has had its effects and has given room for a reappraisal of the artistic process. The dark room has been conducive to this, too.

Each step, handled with precision, produces a given result. And a step, modified in the sequence, produces another. So, the trick is to evaluate what needs adjustment based on the finality of the print; all steps culminate in the print, so it’s the only way to see what needs changing. 

White paper is submerged under red light, exposing in its development what was once invisible in latency. Black bleeds in like watercolor, unevenly, and until the image fills out. There’s the quiet and the care that happens when things are time-sensitive, and real time goes unaccounted for. The whole thing is somewhat ritualistic, but that’s what I enjoy. 

“To me, too much of life is about moving; I think architecture can actually be used to help you enjoy where you are.”
— David Chipperfield

Light study; strolling around SWC.

Here’s a few picks from the color roll I used up at school.

“Whereas the first reading—the impulse to understand the photograph therefore interpreting it right away—is clearly linked to semiotics, using the image as a sign denoting a specific object, the latter implies a phenomenological approximation to the image. Phenomenology is trying to grasp the specificity of the image as visual object. It gives priority to the visual rather than the linguistic or emblematic aspects of the image…”
— From Bettina Lockemann’s essay, ‘A Phenomenological Approach to the Photobook’

It’s been awhile since I’ve done these; light studies at the San Diego Soup Shoppe.

“The theme of this mini-sequence [from “The Americans”] is a juxtoposition of the multitude, the individual, and the couple. The message is about love, loneliness, and the crowd, but the pictures also flesh out these dynamics visually and imbed them within a social fabric.”
— From David Bates’ essay, ‘The Syntax of a Photowork’
“The spatial interlude between pictures that is created by the viewer turning the pages (and the white space opposite pictures) functions like a blink, as does the white space between photographs on a gallery wall.”
— From David Bates’ essay, ‘The Syntax of a Photowork’
“Yet invariably in all such works, the syntax (sequence) of the pictures is determined by the continuity of the picture content (the referent).”
— From David Bates’ essay, ‘The Syntax of a Photowork’

Little Dragon performing “Feather”.

No. 304

I’m in love with this band, Little Dragon. It’s as if I were walking along and I discovered a cave, and in it contained not a conservative small chest of gold coins, but a boundless pile. (If you have any preconceived notions about this, use them.)

This just about sums up the way that I feel about any band that I come across whose entire discography just exudes brilliance. I usually and subsequently have an insatiable urge to plug in my headphones, and I won’t stop listening unless something’s required of me to unplug.

It’s true that I more often than not find muses in women, and especially the musical ones. This time it’s Yukimi, but only because her mannerisms remind me of a friend of mine – and myself – at once. 

To disclose a little further, I formerly had a professor who – I’m not kidding – said on the first day of class, “I really like cats, but I think I may have been a dog in a former life.” I think this anecdote does a pretty good job of describing myself except with respect to gender. I’m definitely happy to be a boy - ahem, I mean man - but I may have also been a girl in a former life. So, for those of you that have had the good fortune of being born a girl, may I suggest: Own it.

No. 303

This first week of school is always an orienting one. It’s a chance for me to gauge the climate of each classroom and to assimilate myself to it. Now that I’m through with this process, it’s time for me now to adapt my school schedule with the rest of my life. I used to make a distinction between school and life, but now I’m no longer counting the hours; everything at this point is intermeshed, especially since I try to maintain a consistent sense of self throughout. This wasn’t always easily done.

The main distinction between summer and school, of course, is a temporal one. During the summer it was easy – and preferred – to let time pass without thinking much of it. But now time has to be parsed out and priorities have to be collated, and if sleep is lost at this expense, fuck it. I can sleep, or I can be productive.

My birthday’s coming up in about a week, and I’m looking forward to seeing all, if not a majority, of the faces that I love. I wouldn’t be the person I am if not for these people, and they’re worth everything to me. It seems that growing up has functioned at light-speed these past couple years, and I have these people to thank—for challenging me, but also listening to me. As Christopher Owens might say, “Love is in the ear of the listener” and I thoroughly believe this.

No. 302

On writing:

I often say aloud what I’m writing to help me write conversationally. But whereas I’m adapting my voice onto paper, the writing, I noticed, is also changing how I speak. I try to express what I mean in few words, and in as many words as it took to say that, there’s one word for it: laconic.

To comment on the above, I performed a quick search and found that Hemingway does this, too. (However, I picked up this up from a reported practice by Vonnegut.) This, Hemingway wrote in 1963:  “I do most of my work in my head. I never begin to write until my ideas are in order. Frequently I recite passages of dialogue as it is being written; the ear is a good censor. I never set down a sentence on paper until I have it so expressed that it will be clear to anyone.” He goes on to say, “A writer’s style should be direct and personal, his imagery rich and earthy, and his words simple and vigorous. The greatest writers have the gift of brilliant brevity, are hard workers, diligent scholars and competent stylists.”

To be honest, it’s really hard to speak about Hemingway without the modifier, “fucking”, before it. He’s the master.