Here and Now, Art, Bradford, Houshiary, Sasamoto, Anderson, Internet Archive, Count Basie, Elsner & Kristiansen.
HERE AND NOW
Tonight’s issue will be brief. The last couple weeks have been busy with nonprofit work leading up to a public event, and now there’s grant writing, a funeral to attend, and more.
Today I spent a lovely afternoon with my son on his birthday, with his partner and friends, many of whom he’s known since grade school and high school. This is back in the town where I grew up, and sometimes it’s strange to return, see what’s changed, and what seems the same (the high school music building where I played piano for the band; the city offices where I once worked). It’s even stranger to then meet up with my son’s friends who are all grown up now, and then some. Having known them once as rambunctious kids or teens, they are now middle-aged, looking somewhat softened (chastened?) by experience.
Lately I’ve been trying to get a clearer understanding of my own focus on this newsletter—and it keeps coming down to a set of questions: How do you survive and thrive as an artist (in any of the arts) during an era of great, exponential change and instability? How does color, culture, gender, [dis]ability, and age* factor in? What art is addressing these changes, and what ideas, actions, processes, and tools are helping us to forge on through all of this? Sounds like I’ve got my “serious” hat on, but I’m also interested in how we can keep art and writing fun and exploratory.
* At whatever age you are experiencing at the moment.
A collage I did several years ago, inspired by an archaeological dig done in the Chinatown neighborhood where I work (actually in the “Japantown” section of Chinatown. Shards from old vases, bottles and pottery were found.
Are you an artist? Do you work a day job? “Wild, Wild West: A Beautiful Rant by Mark Bradford”:
Shirazeh Houshiary: The collision between chance (chaos) and will. “The infinity of the large . . . and the infinity of the small.” Not metaphysical, but experiential:
Aki Sasamoto noticed she was “feeling super-stretched and tired, trying to do a day job and trying to do art . . .” How elastic are you? Personally, I’m not feeling very elastic at all.
The Internet Archive in San Francisco is an incredible archive of internet sites and cultural artifacts in digital form. For example, one of their current major projects is to digitize over 100,000 vinyl records and make them available, free, for streaming online. Sometimes, when I’m drawing, I’ll listen to music from their audio collection. And it’s just a fun place to poke around. Check out their Wayback Machine. Remember that old website you shut down 15 years ago? You might find fragments of it in the archives.
“Everyday” by Count Basie and His Orchestra, from the “Santa Cruz Collection,” Internet Archive 78 rpm collections. I was just in Santa Cruz, CA this afternoon, so I’m curious to know where this came from, specifically.
Fredrik Elsner with Oleg Kristiansen singing “Pinerrarissuaq” in native Greenlandic (Inuit/Aleut language understood by less than 60,000 people). Fredrik Elsner is part of the band, Nanook, with his brother Christian; they are part Inuit and part Danish. The group turned down a contract with Sony, which required them to sing in English. I don’t think I need a translation for this song:
Good night . . .
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