Nature and Language

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INTERACTING ECOLOGIES/ 相互作用的生態學

Posted September 22, 2017

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Chu Hsi (1130-1200):

Nature is principle. The mind is its embracement and reservoir, and issues it forth into operation.

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

When it looks back from the world to what makes it a world, from beings to what makes them be, the pure gaze, which involves nothing implicit (which does not, like the gaze of our eyes, have the darkness of a body and a past behind itself), could apply itself only to something that would be before it without restriction or condition: to what makes the world be a world, to an imperative grammar of Being, to indecomposable nuclei of meaning, systems of inseparable properties. The essences are this intrinsic sense, these necessities by principle. However may be the realities to which they are compounded and confused (but where their implications constantly make themselves no less felt), they are the sole legitimate or authentic being, which has the pretension and the right to be and which is affirmative of itself, because it is the system of everything that is possible before the eyes of a pure spectator, the diagram or pattern of what, at all levels, is SOMETHING --something in general, or something material, or something spiritual, or something living.

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Ivy on wall

" ... 'Situational Frames'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.) 

"When inverted thinking stops, the affrming mind naturally accords."

-- Ch'an/Zen master Dongshan Liangji (807-869)
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"The role of language itself, as of any other medium, is to translate and to transform being by 'participation' and perception."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1973)

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Mirror in garden

Gary Lee-Nova, MIRROR/WATERFALL, West Vancouver, October 1969. 
Installation view: mirror being placed in a sluice to form a waterfall that reflects sky and autumn leaves through water.

Gene Youngblood (1970):

Artistic activity during the last five years, known variously as land art, earthworks, conceptual art, process art, environment art, has been characterized, however tentatively, by a common concern with interacting ecologies, whether social, biological, or geosocial. The most important work has been done by ... Andy Warhol (real-time films) ... Robert Smithson ... Michael Snow ... John Cage ... Iain Baxter ... Gary Lee-Nova ... and others.

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Chu Hsi (1130-1200):

Nature refers to what is stabilized whereas destiny refers to what is operating. Destiny, for example, refers to water flowing, while nature refers to water contained in a bowl.

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Teahouse photo

LATE SUMMER --SOLAR WIND ON THE NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN TEAHOUSE, September 14, 2017. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.) 

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LIKE THE LITTLE STREAM
MAKING ITS WAY
THROUGH THE MOSSY CREVICES,
I, TOO, QUIETLY
TURN CLEAR AND TRANSPARENT

-- Zen master/poet-monk Ryokan (1758-1831)

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

Time and space extend beyond the visible present, and at the same they are BEHIND it, in depth, in hiding. The visible can thus fill me and occupy me only because I who see it do not see it from the depths of nothingness, but from the midst of itself; I the seer am also visible.

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"Although passing on and remaining are different, ultimately they are the same."

-- Seng-chao (384-414)

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Green Flower

" ... 'Point of Apparition'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

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Chuang Tzu (fourth century BCE):

All things are one. Which is short and which is long? Things are born and die and their completion cannot be taken for granted. They are now empty and now full, and their physical form is not fixed in one place. Time cannot be arrested. 

This is the way to talk about the workings of the great principle and to discuss the principle of all things.

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Stone lantern

" ... 'Pivotal Point'..." (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

CHIBA GARDEN, North Vancouver, was  designed by the landscape architect Toshimasa Ito. 

This traditional Japanese garden site was opened to the public in 1986. Its two stone lanterns were 'lit' for the first time on November 6, 2012, as part of a CAUSA multi-site curatorial project: IAIN BAXTER&: INFORMATION/LOCATION: NORTH VANCOUVER, June 17 - December 30, 2012. ]

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YOU MUST RISE ABOVE 
THE GLOOMY CLOUDS
COVERING THE MOUNTAINTOP.
OTHERWISE, HOW WILL YOU
EVER SEE THE BRIGHTNESS?

-- Zen master/monk-poet Ryokan (1758-1831)

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"In the humblest material sense, as information levels rise, no raw material or natural resource is indispensable any longer."

--  Marshall McLuhan (1960)

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Dainichi Nyorai image

DAINICHI NYORAI, Japan, 12th century. Wood with gold leaf and lacquer decoration  H. 36 3/8 in. (92.4 cm); W. 27 1/2 in. (69.9 cm); D. 19 5/8 in. (47.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Collection Record:

As Supreme Buddha of the Cosmos, from which the entire universe emanates, Dainichi Nyorai (Sanskrit: Mahavairocana Tathagata) is the central object of devotion in the esoteric sects of Buddhism. [ ... ] In its original gilt form the sculpture embodied the name by which Dainichi is most commonly known in East Asia: Supreme Buddha of the Great Illumination.

Kukai (774-835):

Existence is my existence ... and the existences of all sentient beings. ALL these existences are interrelated horizontally and vertically without end, like images in mirrors, or like the rays of lamps. This existence is that one, and that one is this. They are not identical, but are nevertheless identical; they are not different but are nevertheless different.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1844):

We have learned that we do not see directly, but mediately, and that we have no means of correcting these colored and distorted lenses, which we are, or of computing the amount of their errors. Perhaps these subject-lenses have a creative power; perhaps there are no objects.

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        CONFUSION IS FOR SURFING                         

                           M.K.Morton

                             all things counter, 

                             original, spare, strange--Hopkins

 

You find things downright perplexing?

Concaving when they should be convexing?

Coincidences and their cousins 

Bunching up? Paradoxes somersaulting by the dozens? 

 

Tangents encircling you? Reality over-flexing?

It's just the scheme of things cultivating, 

Instead of simplicity,

What intrigues. Maybe annexing.

 

Other dimensions. The uses of (even including duplicity

A bit of it) multiplicity? It, salivating

Plurivalency--yes, lucidity

Often lacking-- features mostly incongruity.


All this getting someone out there hot under the collar? 
Harken an old across-the-seasons sprawler,
Probably ambiguously, hollar:
Humility is the better part of humidity.

 

Chuck incuriosity:

Don't give up delving diversity:

It's implicitly witty.

Heaven the ultimate super-city? 

 

Massed harps the alpha and omega of dulceticity? 

Make do with this vaudeville world's circus circuitry; 

Revel down its sublime villas of virtuosity.

Rhapsodic blue

 

Ringing intermittently eternally true--

At the wedding of philharmonic kaleidoscopicity

And gourmet pyrotechnicity, 

For the orchestra pit's bootleg electricity 


Anyone care who, most distractingly inexplicitly,

Foots the bill in manner-born princely remittancely?

You note I invoke confusion, not chaos.

Who's to deny an alias, 

 

Itself sufficiently nom de plumed, can be most efficacious?

Emerson everywhere beneath us a sliding floor. 

Detected. What's to deplore? 

The more's abundbarndance to score.

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"In reality, a concept is the same as a sign, and a sign is the same as a concept."

-- Chang Tung-sun (1886-1962)

"The future is &."

-- IAIN BAXTER&

[ Communication to CAUSA Research Curators, 24 February 2013. ]

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Lamelas projection

David Lamelas, PROJECTION, 1967 (reactivated in 2004). Two 16 mm projectors --placed back to back,  projecting imageless film onto a viewer/onto a wall. Collection FRAC Lorraine, Metz, France. 

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Kuo Hsiang (d. 312 CE):

There has never been a person who has roamed over the transcendental world to the utmost and yet was not silently in harmony with the mundane world; nor has there been anyone who was silently in harmony with the mundane world and yet did not roam over the transcendental world.

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THE INVISIBLE OF THE VISIBLE/有形之隱形

Posted September 4, 2017

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

If we are ourselves in question in the very unfolding of our life, it is not because a central non-being threatens to revoke our consent to being at each instant; it is because we ourselves are one sole continued question, a perpetual enterprise of taking our bearings on the constellations of the world, and of taking the bearings of the things on our dimensions.

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Chuang Tzu (fourth century BCE):

You have heard of the knowing that comes from the result of knowledge, but you do not know of the knowing that comes from not knowing. 

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Still Life sculpture

Marcel Duchamp, SCULPTURE-MORTE, summer 1959. Fruits and vegetables (made of marzipan), insects; paper mounted on wood, in a glass box. 33.8 x 22.5 x 9.9 cm (13.307 x 8.858 x 3.898 inches). National Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris. 

"To all appearances the artist is like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing."

-- Marcel Duchamp (1957) 

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Bronze Yamantaka

FIGURE OF YAMANTAKA [a "dharmapala"/defender of the religious law] DANCING ON A BUFFALO, East India, 11th-12th century CE. Bronze. 11.5 x 7 x 4 cm max. (4.528 x 2.756 x 1.57 inches). Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. 

The Editors of Encylopaedia Britannica (2017):

Worship of DHARMAPALAS was initiated by the magician-saint Padmasambhava, who is said to have conquered the malevolent deities in Tibet and forced them to take an oath promising to protect Buddhists and the Buddhist faith. 

They are worshipped singly or in a group called "Eight Terrible Ones," which most commonly includes YAMANTAKA ("Conquerer of Yama, or Death"). 

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Use of Speech

René Magritte, L'USAGE DE LA PAROLE [THE USE OF SPEECH], 1961. Gouache and collage on paper.

René Magritte (1965):

Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.

[ Note:

L'USAGE DE LA PAROLE addresses a subtle dichotomy between two conflicting terms: LE SAVOIR and LA CONNAISSANCE.

A 'connoisseurial' understanding of Magritte's work requires constant attention to a particular pattern: the fluency that links theoretical knowledge (LE SAVOIR) to both an awareness of actuality (LA CONNAISSANCE) and a potential acquisition of 'wisdom' (LA SAGESSE).

Therein, the artist locates his radical reminder of a persistently 'discontinuous' space/time continuum ... LE SAVOIR/LA CONNAISSANCE/LA SAGESSE.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ] 

 

MEMO to CAUSA Research Curators from Gary Lee-Nova (August 2017). 

Re: René Magritte, L'USAGE DE LA PAROLE, 1961:

"I'm haunted by this painting. I want to  build it and experience it as an object."

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Bertrand Russell (1940):

Truth and knowledge are different ... a proposition may be true although no method exists of discovery that it is so. 

[...]

We shall define 'truth' by reference to 'events' (I am speaking of non-logical truth) and knowledge by relation to 'percepts'. Thus 'truth' will be a wider conception than 'knowledge'. It would be a practically useless conception but for the fact that knowledge has very vague boundaries.

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Leaf silhouette

" ... 'Not Going (Or Staying)'....". (Photo: M  Cynog Evans)

 

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Ch'an master Niu T'ou Fa Jung (594-657):

Eternal day is like night, 
Eternal night is like day.

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McLuhan Scientist text

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Ariel on Bat

Henry Singleton, ARIEL ON A BAT'S BACK [first exhibited 1819]. Oil on canvas. Tate Gallery, London.

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Stephen Hawking, Director of Research, Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, University of Cambridge (2011):

It will be difficult to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million.

Our only chance of long term survival is not to remain lurking on planet earth, but to spread out into space.

NASA Press Release ( 22 February, 2017):

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located within the habitable zone, the area around the present star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

"This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "Answering the question, 'are we alone' is a top science prioriy and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal."

At about 40 light-years (235 trillion miles from earth) the system of planets is relatively close to us, in the constellation Aquarius. Because they are located outside of our solar system, these planets are scientifically known as exoplanets. 

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Huxley Text

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Ch'an master Shih T'ou Hsi Ch'ien (700-790):

Principle yields to the arrow, the sword's edge, the stick.

'Honorable' and 'lowly' are merely words.

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Priestley text

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ARRIVING EARLY FOR FIRST 
FLAGGED STOP OF THE DAY 
AT ISOLATED STATION'S 
CONVENIENCE STORE

M. K. Morton

Awake enough to be on terms with the agenda-shy moon, 
My hour too early for distinguishing later from soon. 
Morning not up and about, merely giving notice.
But who's to notice even an absenced surface.

Ripple breaking a setting that remains all surface.
Milky Way tabloids report dawn indifferently affianced 
To noncommittal noon, 
Cockcrow nowhere near cadenced.

Venue not quite ready to wonder whether to stare,
It's that moment before morning-glory petals 
--Drowsy their flair 
For estimating how many bees they can afford share--

Their primal rune 
Open. The last trace of leftover night settles.
From sky --its own tone reflecting supposedly washed kettles
On warning putting dull--

First faint careless gesture trying nudge lull.
Climate essence of spare,
Impenitent,
Horizon-hesitant.

Posture mendicant,
Pension-calculating sun strews shards, audacious gull
Unimpressed. Overlapping silences the only fine fettles 
Impinging: implicit and unreproachful call on elementals.

Hint of yesterday or to-morrow abeyanced: 
Arrivals and departures 
Since not important, balanced; 
Exploring any suscepibility to reluctant double exposures,

Even so minimally incipient as a palimpsest
Sustains inclination to indirection,
Half-heartedly stretches its facility for most routine reception. 
Less than manifest,

Quasi-quiescent, demurely assertive but possessed
Of a slightly indiscreetly self-effacing atmosphere,
Those effortlessly retarding layers wisp the floors of perception. 
Burgeoned light making shift with a lackadaisical suggestion

Things might be getting underway,
Who within happy-go-lucky hollaring distance likely give a cheer?
Were even a customer on hand, no remaindered item any cause 
To feel it might be on display.

Rehearsal-jaded, nuts, bolts, screws,
Light-bulbs excuse cues 
For the trailing day. Pop, ices, candy, chips disturb no stray quark.
Sundials suppress their envy of seesaws.

What motive for anything on anything to turn its back?
Expectation is uncorked but at best the flavour of cork 
Tips its hand. Canteen pre-emptively against pulled-pork.
Orders flimsily (antithetical to particularized college quads) 

Gated. Not yet their inevitable track, engines clack.
No river shoal scents how often the day may fork.
Poster featuring winning lottery numbers gives up flapping, nods 
If a yawning air current lets the occasional eddy slip torque.

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Ch'an master Yung Chia Hsuan Chueh (665-713):

Ask the mechanical wooden puppet 
When it will attain Buddhahood through practice.

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THE INVISIBLE OF THE VISIBLE/有形之隱形

Posted August 12, 2017

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Ch'an master Shih Wang Ming (sixth century CE):

Beware of shadows and tracks;
The farther you leave them, the better.
Sitting upright in the shade of a tree,
Neither traces nor shadows remain. 

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Wyndham Lewis (1914):

The human form still runs, like a wave, through the texture or body of existence, and therefore of art. 

But just as the old form of egotism is no longer fit for such conditions as now prevail, so the isolated human figure of most ancient Art is an anachronism. 

THE ACTUAL HUMAN BODY BECOMES OF LESS IMPORTANCE EVERY DAY. It now, literally, EXISTS much less.

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Lugus print

Gilbert & George, LUGUS, 1982. Photo-piece: gelatin silver prints with hand colouring.

The Editors of Encyloædia Britannica (2017):

Lugus in ancient Celtic religion is one of the deities whom Julius Caesar  identified with the Roman god Mercury (Greek: Hermes.)

In Wales, as Lleu Llaw Gyffes ("Lleu of the Dexterous Hand"), he was believed to have had a strange birth. His mother was the virgin goddess Arianrhod ("silver wheel"). When her uncle, the great magician Math, tested her virginity by means of a wand of chastity, she at once gave birth to a boy child, who was instantly carried off by his uncle Gwydion and reared by him. Arianhrod then sought repeatedly to destroy her son, but she was always prevented by Gwydion's powerful magic. As his mother denied him a wife, Gwydion created a woman for him from flowers. 

Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE): 

Use the light.
Revert to enlightenment,
And thereby avoid danger to one's life --
This is called practicing the eternal.

 

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"What a long procession of dead bodies follows the wake of a siingle living person!"

-- Ch'an master Chao-chou Ts'ung-shen (778-897)

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Les Epaves print


Frontispiece by Félicien Rops from Charles Baudelaire's LES ÉPAVES ("Scraps"), published 1866.

"Here a skeleton that forms a tree with the legs and ribs for the trunk, the outstretched arms sprouting the leaves of poisonous plants in rows of little pots arranged as in a greenhouse."

-- George Poulet (1969)

BEAUTY

by Charles Baudelaire

(1857)

Conceive me as a dream of stone:
my breast, where mortals come to grief, 
is made to prompt all poets' love,
mute and noble as matter itself.

With snow for flesh, with ice for heart,
I sit on high, an unquizzed sphinx
begrudging acts that alter forms.
I never laugh --and never weep.

In studious awe the poets brood
before my monumental pose
aped from the proudest pedestal,

and to bind these docile lovers fast
I freeze the world in a perfect mirror:
the timeless light of my wide eyes.

Marshall McLuhan (1971):

Was it not the great innovation of the Symbolists that they suddenly turned away from cause and effect in order to look at the effects minus the csuses? Accompanying this strategy was the discovery that there was a pattern in the effects which revealed the total process rather than an isolated cause.

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"Roaming vultures regret former laughs, 
earthworms regret their late awakening...."

-- Su Tung-p'o (1037-1101)

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Plant in pot

" ... 'Counter-Physics'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.) 

Alison Foster, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford (2017):

KATSURA tree 

In Japan, China and Korea this species is embedded in the folklore and celebrated in poetry where Katsura has been translated as "moon laurel". Legend has it that a shadow on the moon is the result of a magic Katsura tree which cannot be cut down.

JAPAN TIMES, August 9, 2017:

As Nagasaki marked the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing on Wednesday, Mayor Tomisha Taue demanded that the Japanese government join a recently adopted treaty banning nuclear weapons. 

Taue's call for Japan's inclusion in the treaty, which was adopted by 122 United Nations members last month, followed an appeal on Sunday by the Mayor of Hiroshima for the government to "bridge the gap" between nuclear and non-nuclear states to help achieve a ban on nuclear weapons.

[...] 

A plutonium bomb named "Fat Man" was dropped over Nagasaki by a U.S. bomber on August 9, 1945, three days after the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

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"The bomb is of higher learning all compact, the extension division of the university." 

-- Marshall McLuhan (1964)

Zen master Ikkyu (1394-1481):

We pray for our life of tomorrow,
Ephemeral life though it be;
This is the habit of our mind 
That passed away yesterday.

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Car and shovels

Joseph Beuys, F.I.U.: THE DEFENCE OF NATURE, 1983-85. Automobile, shovels, copper pieces, pamphlets and blackboards. Solomon R..Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Cornelia Lauf, Guggenheim Museum:

The work refers to an ecological campaign that Beuys [in association with Lucrezia de Dominizio] waged in the 1980s with the help of his students at the F.I.U. [Free International University for Creativity and Interdisciplinary Research]. The campaign required the use of a car, pamphlets, copper tubing, and spades that were meant to be plunged vigorously into the Italian countryside  Beuys sold the car, its contents and two blackboards as part of his routine transformation of performance materials that would in turn fund other projects.

"Nature says few words."

-- Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE)

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Confucius (d. 479 BCE):

Do I have knowledge? No, I do not. If even a bumpkin asks a question of me, I am all empty. I simply tap at both ends of the question until I exhaust it.

Jonathan Schell (1982):

There is no need to 'abolish war' among the nuclear powers; it is already gone. The choices don't include war any longer. They consist now of peace, on the one hand, and annihilation on the other. And annihilation --or 'assured destruction'-- is as far from being war as peace is, and the sooner we recognize this the sooner we will be able to save our species from self-extermination.

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Green Light photo

Bruce Nauman, GREEN LIGHT CORRIDOR, 1970. Wallboard and green fluorescent light. 10 x 40 x 1 feet (3 m x 12 .2 x 30.5 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

"Both what's inside and what's outside determine our physical, physiological and psychological responses --how we look at an object."

-- Bruce Nauman (1988)

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Andrew Marvell (1621-1678):

Luxurious man, to bring his vice in use,
Did after him the world seduce;
And from the fields the flowers and plants allure,
Where Nature was most plain and pure.
He first enclosed within the garden's square
A dead and standing pool of air....

Kukai (774-835):

Perception of an object varies according to the mind.
When the mind is polluted, the object becomes tainted. 

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Ch'an master Hung-chih (1091-1137):

The round pearl has no hollows.
The great raw gem isn't polished.
What is esteemed by the people of the 
Way is having no edges.
Removing the road of agreement,
Senses and matter are empty.
The free body, resting on nothing,
Stands out unique and alive.

Osbert Sitwell (1945): 

Everywhere men have unlocked the prisoners within, and from under the disguising skins the apes have leapt joyfully out. 

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Remember Nature photo

Students from Central Saint Martins College (University of the Arts, London) respond to Gustav Metzger's worldwide call for a DAY OF ACTION TO REMEMBER NATURE, 4 November 2015.

"We have no choice but to follow the path of ethics into aesthetics."

-- Gustav Metzger (2015)

Hans Ulrich Olbrist, THE GUARDIAN, 3 March 2017:

Gustav [1926-2017] repeatedly told me that we needed to take a stand against the continuing erasure of species, that if we continued to talk just of climate change, nothing would change. He said we must call it what it is: extinction.

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THE INVISIBLE OF THE VISIBLE/有形之隱形

Posted July 13, 2017

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White Peony photo

" ... 'Mutuality'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



"The world is what I perceive, but as soon as we examine and express its absolute proximity, it also becomes, inexplicably, irremediable distance."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964)


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Levi strauss text

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Niu T'ou Fa Jung (594-657):

Going, coming, sitting, standing,
Don't attach to anything.
Affirming no direction,
Can there be leaving and entering?
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Mao text

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Jung Chan and Jon Halliday (2005):

China's first bomb was detonated on 16 October 1964 at Lop Nor in the Gobi Desert. The silk road had passed through here, linking central China with the shores of the Mediterranean Sea across the vast continents of Europe and Asia. Via this most barren and uninhabitable desert had flowed silk, spices, precious stones, art and culture ... exhanges that had excited ancient civilizations, and infused them with new life. Lop Nor had thus witnessed numerous life-enhancing impacts. Now, nearly two millennia later, it was the cradle of another "big bang," that of destruction and death.

[...] With hunger only a couple of years behind [The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962], and powerful memories raw, some among the elite wondered how much the bomb had cost. [...] In fact, the cost of China's Bomb has been estimsted at U.S.$4.1 billion (in 1957 prices). This amount in hard currency could have bought enough wheat to provide an extra 300 calories per day for two years for the entire population --enough to save the lives of every single one of the nearly 38 million people who died in the famine. Mao's Bomb caused 100 times as many deaths as both of the Bombs the Americans dropped on Hiroshima.

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Chuang Tzu text

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"We have learned that history is something that takes no notice of our exepectations."

-- Oswald Spengler (1930)



"The world is full of abandoned meanings."

-- Don DeLillo (1985)

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HOME AGAIN AMONG
FIELDS AND GARDENS [4]

T'ao Ch'ien
(365-427)

Years never walking mountains and lakes
gone, elated again among forests and fields,

I take our children by the hand and set out
through woods and abandoned farmlands.

Soon, we're walking around aimlessly amid
gravemounds and houses deserted long ago,

their wells and kitchen stoves still standing
among broken-down bamboo and mulberry.

Someone's out gathering firewood, so I ask
where these people, all these people, went.

Turning toward me, he says: NOTHING'S LEFT
ONCE YOU'RE DEAD AND GONE, NOTHING. WAIT

A SINGLE GENERATION AND, COURT OR MARKET,
EVERY LAST FACE IS NEW. It's true, of course.

Life's its own mirage of change. And it ends
returned into all empty absense. What else?

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Tree tops photo

" ... 'Long View'...". (Photo: M  Cynog Evans.)



Marshall McLuhan (1959):

A hundred years ago, the painters abandoned pictorial space, the space of perspective, enclosed space as painters call it, in favor of what they call, "automorphic" space, a space in which each person, each thing, makes its own world.



Bertrand Russell (1914):

In looking at a given thing and approaching it, one sense-datum will become several, and each of these will again divide. This ONE appearance may represent MANY things, and to this process there seems no end. Hence in the limit, when we approach indefinitely near to the thing, there will be an indefinite number of units of matters corresponding to what, at a finite distance, is only one appearance. This is how infinite divisibility arises.

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DWELLING IN THE MOUNTAINS

Hsieh Ling-Yun
(385-433)

As for my
homes perched north and south,
inaccessible except across the water:

gaze deep into wind and cloud
and you know this realm utterly.

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Anselmo otremare photo

Giovanni Anselmo, OLTREMARE A OVEST (ULTRAMARINE TO THE WEST). Granite with magnetic needle;  ultramarine blue paint on the wall. First  executed in 1980. Stone: 2 5/8 x 27 1/2 x 47 7/8 in. (50.5 x 70 x 12 cm.)



Tacita Dean (2006):

On the 16th of August 1965, Giovanni Anselmo had an epiphany on the slopes of the volcanic island of Stromboli.

[...]

Standing with his face to the sun for a photograph Anselmo realised he had no shadow. As the shutter clicked, he perceived his shadow as actually being projected into the sky and rendered invisible, and that all that he normally recognised as evidence of himself on the surface of the earth was now connecting him to the greater infinity of space. And suddenly he felt a true and actual cosmic integration. He understood his part in the universe and, as an artist, he knew he could no longer represent it by standing a little way back and looking at it head on, but could henceforth work from within, as an integrant in the invisible storm of electric energies that was raging above and below him on the tarry slopes of Stromboli.
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"Today nobody knows whether he was tomorrow...."

-- Richard Hüelsenbeck (1916)
_________________________________________


Ch'an master Shih T'ou Hsi Ch'ien (700-790):

In obscurity, words of the high and middle (paths) are in accordance;
in lucidity, purity or muddiness of
exposition are apparent.



Aldous Huxley (1940):

The old idea that words possess magical powers is false; but its falsity
is the distortion of a very important truth. Words do have a magical effect --but not in the way that magicians supposed, and not on the object they were trying to influence. Words are magical in the way they affect the minds of those who use them.

_________________________________________

Sunset Ocean photo

CIRCUMFERENCE --September 29, 2004. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)



MEMO to CAUSA
from GARY LEE-NOVA

09.07.17.

In 1962, following a couple of Peyote excursions, it occured to me that it is always the same time, and everything moves past that point, whatever "that" is.

I now think that "that" is human consciousness, and perhaps consciousness of all living things, i.e., animals, vegetation, etc.

I inhabit a simultaneous field of events and make my way through all that instinctively and intuitively, for the most part. I apply my intellect to a task of developing an understanding of how I manage to do that.

_________________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1965):

Art as anti-environment awakens perception of the environment. Conventional art should then seem to be a mere repetition of the environmental by way of a soothing hypnosis.

_________________________________________

Carr trees painting

Emily Carr, UNTITLED, 1938-39. Oil on paper. Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr Trust.



"I feel there is very much in abstraction but it must be abstraction with a reason, that is, there must be an underlying truth --something-- the pith or kernel, the inner sense of the thing to be experienced. If that doesn't speak then it's a dead abstraction without cause or reason for existence."

-- Emily Carr (1930)



"All propositions intelligible to us, whether or not they primarily concern things only known to us by description, are composed wholly of constituents with which we are acquainted, for a constituent with which we are not acquainted is unintelligible to us."

-- Bertrand Russell (1910)

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Wen Zhengming painting
Wen Zhengming, OLD TREE BY A COLD WATERFALL, 1549.
Hanging scroll, ink and colours on silk.
National Palace Museum, Taipei.



Chuang Tzu (fourth century BCE):

When "this" and "that" have no opposites, there is the very axis of Tao.
Only when the axis occupies the centre of a circle can things in their infinite complexities be responded to.



Alfred North Whitehead (1929):

The perfect realization is not merely the explication of what in abstraction is timeless. It does more: it implants timelessness on what in its essence is passing. The perfect moment is fadeless in the lapse of time. Time has then lost its character of 'perpetual perishing'; it becomes the 'moving image of eternity.'

_________________________________________
_________________________________________

SUMMER SOLSTICE/夏至

Posted June 20, 2017

_______________________________________

Chuang Tzu (fourth century BCE):

In reality Tao has no limitation, and speech has no finality. Because of this, there are clear demarcations.

_______________________________________

Valery text

_________________________________________


"We have at present no experience with atomic war. We do not know how many must die. It is better if one-half are left, the second best is one-third. [...] In place of the totally destroyed capitalism we will obtain perpetual peace. This will not be a bad thing."

-- Mao Zedong (1958)

________________________________________

Deleuze text

________________________________________

Jonathan Schell (1986):

It is of the essence of the human condition that we are born, live for a while, and then die. Through mishaps of all kinds, we may also suffer untimely death, and in extinction by nuclear arms the number of untimely deaths would reach the limit for one catastrophe: everyone in the world would die. But although the untimely death of everyone in the world would in itself constitute an unimaginably huge loss, it would bring with it a separate, distinct loss that would be in a sense even huger --the cancellation of all future generations of human beings.

________________________________________

Dancing Shiva image

SHIVA AS LORD OF DANCE (NATARAJA).  India (Tamil Nadu), copper alloy, ca.11th century CE. H. 26 7/8 in. (68.3 cm). Diam. 22 1/4 in. (56.5 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.



Museum Record:

Shiva is a brilliant [Hindu tradition] invention. It combines in a single image Shiva's roles as creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe and conveys the Indian conception of the never-ending cycle of time. Although it appeared in sculpture as early as the fifth century, its present, world-famous form evolved under the rule of the Cholas [880-1279]. Shiva's dance is set within a flaming halo. The god holds in his upper right hand the DAMARU (hand drum that made the first sounds of creation). His upper left hand holds AGNI (the fire that will destroy the universe). With his lower right hand, he makes ABHAYAMUDRA (the gesture that allays fear). The dwarflike figure being trampled by his right foot represents APASAMA PURUSHA (illusion which leads mankind astray).



P. S. Deodhar (2013):

Bilingual Tamil and Chinese-language inscriptions of late 13th century have been found associated with a Siva temple at Quanzhou [south-eastern China]. [South Indian style] statues of lord Krishna and Shiva have been unearthed from the Quanzhou temple site.

_______________________________________

Tree trunk photo

" ... 'Permanent Flux'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

_________________________________________

Wei Ying-wu
(c. 737-792)

AT CLOUD-WISDOM MONASTERY, IN THE CH'AN MASTER'S COURTYARD

Exalted with age, you never leave here:
the gate-path is overgrown with grass.

But summer rains have come, bringing
fruits and herbs into such bright beauty,

so we stroll down into forests of shadow,
sharing what recluse birds feel at dusk,

freed even of our names. And this much
alone, we wander the countryside back.
________________________________________

Ink blots


Hans Hoffman, ASTRAL NEBULA, oil on canvas, 1961. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau München, Munich.



"It must be understood that no verbal explanation can ever penetrate the mysteries of creation."

-- Hans Hoffman (1946)

_________________________________________

Ernst Bloch (1953):

Utopian consciousness wants to look into the distance, but ultimately only in order to penetrate the darkness so near it of the just lived moment, in which everything that is drives and is hidden from itself. In other words: we need the most powerful telescope, that of polished utopian consciousness, in order to penetrate precisely the nearest nearness.

________________________________________

Beuys handwriting

Joseph Beuys, HONEY IS FLOWING IN ALL DIRECTIONS  Ink, graphite and stamp on paper, 1976.  Tate Gallery (London)/National Galleries of Scotland.



Collection Record:

This work relates to the artist's installation 'Honeypump in the Workplace', which was shown at the contemporary art exhibition Documenta VI in 1977. The work was installed around the staircase of the Fridericianum Museum, and consisted of a series of tubes running into rooms adjacent to the staircase, through which two tons of liquid honey was pumped by a motor.



Joseph Beuys (1973):

I say aesthetics = human being. That is a radical formula. I set the idea of aesthetics directly in the context of human existence, and then I have the whole problem in hand.

________________________________________

Qiu Ying painting

Qiu Ying (ca. 1494-1552), FAIRYLAND OF PEACH BLOSSOMS. Hanging scroll: ink and colour on silk. Tianjin Museum.



Longxi Zhang (2005):

In classical Chinese literature, the most famous literary utopia with some concrete description is undoubtedly by Tao Yuanming's (365-427) elegant narration in PEACH BLOSSOM SPRING. In Tao Yuanming's work, the poet lets us have a glimpse of a community in peace and harmony quite out of this world.

_________________________________________

"Among the blind the one-eyed blinkard reigns."

-- Andrew Marvell (1653)
________________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1971):

We have polluted not just the physical but the psychic and perceptual order of our societies without questioning our procedures.

[...]

If I have a point of view about the human condition as a result of investigating the effects of media, it is simply that people are somnabulistic. They seem to be happily hypnotized by their own extensions of themselves.

________________________________________

Chuang Tzu (fourth century BCE):

Tung-kuo Tzu asked Chuang Tzu, "What is called Tao --where is it?"
"It is everywhere," replied Chuang Tzu.
Tung-kuo Tzu said, "It will not do unless you are more specific."
"It is in the ant," said Chuang Tzu.
"Why go so low down?"
"It is in the weeds."
"Why even lower?"
"It is in a potsherd."
"Why still lower?"
"It is in the excrement and urine," said Chuang Tzu. Tung-kuo gave no response.

________________________________________

ONE FOR THE ROAD

M. K..Morton

Could Stonehenge, of all remaining where gods hurled,
Be the most over-rated pile of rubble in the world?
These days difficult to discover a tightly folded map
That distinguishes heritage site from tourist trap.

_________________________________________
_________________________________________

THE INVISIBLE OF THE VISIBLE/有形之隱形

Posted May 22, 2017

For Stanley Brouwn, In Memoriam

_______________________________________

"In words all that matters is to express the meaning."

-- Confucius (551-479 BCE)

_______________________________________________

Marshall McLuhan text

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Carr Painting Metchosin

Emily Carr, METCHOSIN, oil on canvas, c. 1935. Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Emily Carr notebook entry, 1934:

There's a torn and splintered ridge across the stumps I call the "screamers." These are the unsawn last bits, the cry of the tree's heart, wrenching and tearing apart just before she gives that sway and last groan of falling, that dreadful pause while her executioners step back with their saws and watch. It's a horrible sight to see a tree felled, even now, though the stumps are grey and rotting. As you pass among them you see the screamers sticking up out of their tombstones, as if it were. They are their own tombstones and their own mourners.

_______________________________________________

Carr Untitled Painting

Emily Carr, UNTITLED, oil on canvas, 1922-1925. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Alfred North Whitehead (1938):

Connectedness is of the essence of all things of all types. It is of the essence of types, that they be connected. Abstraction from connectedness involves the omission of an essential factor in the fact considered. No fact is merely itself. The penetration of literature and art at their height arises from our dumb sense that we have passed beyond mythology, namely, beyond the myth of isolation.

[...]

The concentration of attention upon matter-of-fact is the supremacy of the desert. Any approach to such triumph bestows on learning a 'fugitive, and cloistered virtue', which shuns emphasis on essential connections such as disclose the universe in its impact upon individual experience.

_________________________________________

"Augmentation leads to division, division leads to diminution, diminution leads to closing."

--  Shao Yung (1011-1077)

"Why is there anything at all rather than nothing whatsoever?"

-- Gottfried Liebniz (1697)

"Although the whole of this life were said to be nothing but a dream and the physical world nothing but a phantasm, I should call this dream or phantasm real enough, if, using reason well, we were never deceived by it.

-- Martin Heidegger (1929) 

_________________________________________

Line drawing

Iain Baxter&, POINT OF VIEW ROOM, ink on paper, 2011. 

Shao Yung (1011-1077):

By viewing things is not meant viewing them with one's physical eyes but with one's mind. Nay, not with one's mind but with the principle inherent in things. There is nothing in the universe without principle, nature, and destiny.

_________________________________________

Ontological photo

" ... 'Ontological Outline'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

That the world could pre-exist my consciousness of the world is out of the question: is it not obvious that every world without me that I could think of becomes, by the very fact that I think of it, a world for me; that the private world I divine at the origin of another's gaze is not so private as to prevent me from becoming at that very moment a quasi-spectator?

[...]

There is no brute world, there is only an elaborated world; there is no intermundane space, there is only a signification "world"....

________________________________________

Two seated scholars


Shim So-Chông, Korean (1707-1769), TWO SCHOLARS SEATED IN A LANDSCAPE, ENGAGED IN CONVERSATION, AND ADMIRING A WATERFALL WHILE AN ATTENDANT PREPARES TEA --hanging scroll, mid-eighteenth century. The Harvard Art  Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum.

[ Burglind Jungmann, UCLA, 2014:

There is a long tradition of Korean painting, and Korean works can be clearly distinguished from paintings of China and Japan. [...] Under the influence of China, Korea developed and maintained its distinctive characteristics and sometimes reached a level that excelled that of China. ]

"I cannot understand why the defence of man against atomic death should be left to professional diplomats."

-- Ilya Ehrenburg (1961)

_______________________________________

Mikhail Bakunin text

_________________________________________

"By the time I was eleven years old, I had been taught that nature, far from  abhoring a vacuum, positively adores it."

-- Edith Sitwell (1965)

"No culture I know or have read about has developed a perfect balance of man's situational needs. This is due in part to the fact that man domesticated himself with very little knowledge of his own basic nature."

-- Edward T. Hall (1976) 

_________________________________________

Jeffers Hawk text

_________________________________________

Bertrand Russell (1918):

If life is to be saved from boredom relieved only by disaster, means must be found for restoring individual initiative, not only in things that are trivial, but in things that really matter. I do not mean that we should destroy those parts of modern organisation upon which the very existence of large populations depend, but I do mean that the organisation should be much more flexible, more relieved by local autonomy, and less oppressive to the human spirit through its impersonal vastness, than it has become through its unbearably rapid growth and centralisation, with which our ways of thought and feeling have been unable to keep pace.

_________________________________________ 

                TUNING UP                      
                 M.K. Morton

  And what is so rare as a day in June?
  Then heaven tries earth if it be in tune.
                 --James Russell Lowell

Dropping light'o love promises, chalking up profuse sprints,
Cloud patches of April with coolest squints
The horizon scan. Ground-cover throwing off frosty stupors,
In ravine ferny clay, akimboly, slackly, cakes fresh footprints

Of exploring youngsters: embryonic grand old troupers,
Their moulting radar a-glinter,
Who earnestly track, inspect mud-hammocked,
Hummock-thudded,

Acorn-muddled,
Hollow logs, unpensioned timber now deceptively puddled,
But pipeline uncorrupted,
That made it untenanted through the winter.

Hoping something tricky to alert, these advance-guys imitate frogs;
Strategically place rocks, stones, then twigs, see how easily clogs
A freshet. No time for an experimental continental shelf.
Before supper. The season, hanging pretty folded back on itself,

Waiting to wake to its sacred role the cavernous, measureless Alph.
Dripping maple-sap stamps its feet on moss with vintner
Ambitions. Comfortable hibernatees, gratified to still register the cold,
Laze den-dazed. Below coffed blues, buds watch watering-cans unfold;

On vacant turf upstart russet tentatively sprawls entitlement bold.
Cuckoos' neighbours, put to squatters' rights, practise their scold.
Tadpoles don't know the import of "old",
But puzzle over what the caterpillars were told.

Extending the first cuppla bars of spring-song,
Challenging melting snowy owls too hoot for words,
Making tightrope-walkers nervous, earliest hummingbirds
Prolong percussion's daintiest gong.

From the projection booth on stage-struck shoots' emerging screen,
Conspicuous by their absence, unlettered bards' upland shepherds--
Still, yet, to trample down last autumn's soggy litter,
Among the unconjureds--

Boulder-masked, gather, weather unpredictable,
But unobliteratable,
Gather age-old renewed meaning for between
Tight-spun solstices. Although not the subtlest hinter,

And lots less vivacious than the jumping queues
At summer's seaside canteen,
This ram's month, horning the zodiac to more decisively intervene,
Impatience-sow it can't help but. Little better than loosely politely,

Verging on slightly--
Unconcerned about delaying dejavus--
Fields and slope, dim, dull, dusky green,
Seethe serene.

_______________________________________________

"Loving truth and living honestly is my attitude to life. Be true to yourself and be true to others, thus you can be the judge of your behavior."

-- Ba Jin, anarchist writer (1904-2005)

"Sociability is as much a law of nature as mutual struggle."

-- Peter Kropotkin (1902)

_________________________________________

Piles of Lumber

Iain Baxter, PILES (one of 59 b&w photographs, offset printed, comprising A PORTFOLIO OF PILES), N. E. Thing Company, 1968.

(Published by the Fine Arts Gallery, University of British Columbia, on the occasion of its 1968 "Piles" exhibition.)

"It's the molecular structure and physical characteristics that give pile materials their nuances of stackability."

-- Iain Baxter (1968)

"Each moment is all being, each moment is the entire world. Reflect now whether any beings or any world is left out of the present moment."

-- Dogen (1200-1253)

[ Note:

Several years prior to becoming President of the N. E. Thing Company (NETCO), Iain Baxter had become a practicing artist-photographer. His earliest 'project' photographs were produced in the mid-1950s --being realized in tandem with his University of Idaho studies in ZOOLOGY.

In 1961, while residing in Kyoto (as the recipient of a Japanese Government Foreign Scholarship), Baxter 'concretized'  his mastery of photography as a COMMUNICATIVE/DOCUMENTARY MEDIUM. And from 1962 onwards, his work has revealed an insightful grasp of UKIYO, the "SORROWFUL WORLD" from which Buddhists seek release.

_______________________________________________

Shao Yung Text

______________________________________

 

"All classification depends on the current character of importance."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1938)

________________________________________

Brouwn text image

Stanley Brouwn, LENGTH = DISTANCE, 2014.

"Art that is a matter of life and death cannot be free or fine art."

-- Ad Reinhardt (1953)

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_________________________________________

JUDGEMENTS OF PERCEPTION/感知的判斷

Posted April 28, 2017

_______________________________________

Laozi stele

STELE WITH THE DEIFIED LAO-TZU AND TWO ATTENDANTS, Northern Wei dynasty, dated 515 CE. Sandstone. H. 43.5 cm..Osaka Municipal Museum of Art.



Inscription from the STELE OF THE SAGE MOTHER (SHENGMU BEI), dated 153 CE:

Lao Tzu, the Tao:
Born prior to the Shapeless,
Grown before the Great Beginning

[...]

He passes in and out of confusion,
Contemplating chaos as yet undifferentiated,
And viewing the clear and turbid in union.
_______________________________________

"It's a flat'ning Thought, that the more we have seen, the less we have to say."

-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1825)
_______________________________________

"Functioning everywhere means far-reaching. Being far-reaching means returning to the original point."

-- Lao Tzu (d. 531 BCE)
_______________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1973):

Displacing percepts is the role of the artist. [...] The art of remaking the world eternally new is achieved by careful and deliberate dislocation of ordinary perceptions.
_______________________________________

THE SMALL POND

by Yang Wan-li
(1127-1206)

A spring's eye of shadow resists even the stillest flow.
Among tree shadow, its lit water adores warm clear skies.

Spiral of blades, a tiny waterlily's clenched against dew,
and there at the very top, in early light, sits a dragonfly.

_______________________________________

"There is nothing to be seen beyond our horizons, but other landscapes and still other horizons, and nothing inside the thing but other smaller things."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1945)
_______________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1973):

Today, metamorphosis by CHIASMUS --the reversal of process caused by increasing speed, scope, or size-- is visible everywhere for anyone to see. The chiasmus of speedup is slowdown.
_______________________________________

"Always be doing something without expectation."

-- Mencius (371-289 BCE)
_______________________________________

Wyndham Lewis (1950):

We should be thankful we are having our roots loosened, or, better, pulled up. We are not vegetables or trees, although we often rant about our ROOTS as if we were.
________________________________________

Circular Daoist image

IMAGES OF [TAOIST] IMMORTALS ON THREE REGISTERS. Shan-Han Dynasty (221-263/264).

Central circular area of bronze mirror --drawn by Hayashi Minao, from a rubbing in the Seattle Art Museum.



Wu Hung, University of Chicago (2000):

Among the various images on a "three register" mirror, the identifications of those on the middle level --the Queen Mother of the West and the King Father of East-- are most certain. Hayashi Minao [twentieth century scholar of Chinese archaeology] has further identified the loop motif on the lower level as JIAN MU, described in ancient texts as a divine tree at "the center of Heaven and Earth," along with heavenly lords (DI) moved back and forth between these two realms.
______________________________________

Trees and mountains

" ... 'Crystallization'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

If we are ourselves in question in the very unfolding of our life, it is not because a central non-being threatens to revoke our consent to being at an instant; it is because we ourselves are one continued question, a perpetual enterprise of  taking our bearings on the constellations of the world, and of taking the bearings of the things on our dimensions.

_______________________________________

            NO VACANCY
                M.K.Morton

If all things are packed into the absolute,
(Even messages lost on overdue digital clipperships)
Bedding down thereabouts with all their extended relationships
In tow, then all things into that accommodating pouch many times over
Are stuffed. Could be that's the most crowded of plethoric venues.


(High or low the repute,
Who/what to elude this all-include sufficiently astute?)
How with, like whisky and soda,
Those locked-in items for room jostling strenuous,
Does the absolute stay sober?


Swill-sotted its loop-the-loop veins crypting extended branchings
And flow of plentiful interfaces short of stanchings
(Whatever what is between a Moebius strip's side lets slip)
Before it turns vinous,
Does the absolute put labels on the labels?

When too often a paperclip
Can eclipse a galaxy as easily as an ellipse,
Taking stock of its inventory, its every last attribute,
Does the absolute to set the trig tables
Use slurplus napery? Could be, when over it tips,

Presuming amid such density none could note their absence,
Cuppla getaway incidents (for philosophers words too cute)
Showing they don't give the all and sundry a hoot
Team up, form, coast out, their own chute-the-chute.
Plunk down a teasing-the-absolute-more-than-us, coincidence:

That relativity-riddled,
Less than random-chance-diddled,
Metaphysical galoot:
Synchronicity, however much zigging,
Never sagging; largely proving the most intriguing

Case dismissed for lack of evidence.
Coincidences? Who says a conspiratorial leaguing?
A fork in our road whose arms resist detection.
A breeze that escaped the currents of its convections.
Duetting birds not seen but heard from their shared direction.

Two puzzling sweets blended into an indistinguishable confection.
A coincidence, ourselves not necessarily the object of its affections
(And can we always claim we're very excited,
Ready to show its attentions are requited--
Perhaps most often we leave it feeling slighted?)

Plays peekaboo. Exploits the most innocent connection
Into happenstance.
Yet every last coincidence,
Its timing an instance
Of absolute perfection.

_______________________________________

Confucius (551-479 BCE):

Standing by a stream, he said, "It passes on like this, never ceasing, day or night."

_______________________________________

Mirrors photo

Robert Smithson, SEVENTH MIRROR DISPLACEMENT, Mexico, 1969. 12-inch-square mirrors installed (temporarily) at nine (consecutive) sites.

This is one of nine colour photographs accompanying the artist's essay, INCIDENTS OF MIRROR TRAVEL IN THE YUCATAN, Artforum, September 1969.



Robert Smithson (1969):

The mirrors were balanced in a tentacled tree. [...] Sunrays filtered into the reflections. The displacement addressed itself to a teeming frontality that made the tree into a jumbled wall full of snarls and tangles. The mirror surfaces being disconnected from each other "destructuralized" any literal logic. Up and down parallels were dislocated into twelve centers of gravity.

_______________________________________

George Santayana (1923):

Living beings dwell in their expectations rather than in their senses. If they are ever to see what they see [...] they must photograph the idea that is flying past, veiled in its very swiftness.



Marshall McLuhan (1973):

Speeding up of the components of any visually ordered structure or continuous space pattern will lead to breaking its boundaries. They explode into the resonant gaps or interfaces that characterize the discontinuous structure of acoustic space. The visual perspective becomes an acoustic wraparound. Repetition of any visual pattern or modular form creates a mosaic of nonvisual effects, as the single point of view becomes a multiple, iconic representation. History becomes "mystic" through time-compression and juxtaposition of events as past, present and future merge in electric newness.
_______________________________________

Aldous Huxley (1962):

"It isn't a matter of forgetting. What one has to learn is how to remember and yet be free of the past."
______________________________________
______________________________________

JUDGEMENTS OF PERCEPTION/感知的判斷

Posted March 30, 2017

_______________________________________

BRIMMED WHOLE

by Tu Fu (712-770)

A river moon only feet away, storm-lanterns
alight late in the second watch ... Serene

flock of fists on sand --egrets sleep when
a fish leaps in the boat's wake, shivering, cry.

_______________________________________

ARTIFICIAL POPULATIONS

by Wallace Stevens (1955)

The center that he sought was a state of mind,
Nothing more, like weather after it has cleared --
Well, more than that, like weather when it has cleared
And the two poles continue to maintain it

And the Orient and the Occident embrace
To form that weather's appropriate people,
The rosy men and the women of the rose,
Astute in being what they are made to be.

This artificial population is like
A healing-point in the sickness of the mind:
Like angels resting on a rustic steeple
Or a confect of leafy faces in a tree --

A health --and the faces in a summer night.
So, too, of the races of appropriate people
Of the wind, of the wind as it deepens, and late sleep,
And music that lasts long and lives the more.

______________________________________

Mountain landscape painting

Guo Xi, EARLY SPRING, 1072. Hanging scroll: ink and light colours on silk. National Palace Museum, Taipei.



"Art is the perfection of nature."

-- Thomas Browne (1642)



"Artists are the antennae of the race but the bullet-headed many will never learn to trust their great artists."

-- Ezra Pound (1920)

_______________________________________

"All language is metaphorical because metaphor is the seeing of one situation through another."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1953)
______________________________________

Spring flower

" ... (...) ...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



"There are no components of experience which are only symbols or only meanings."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1927)

______________________________________

Observatory photo
Alvin Langdon Coburn, OBSERVATORY, 1911. Gum platinum photographic print.



Marshall McLuhan (1971):

Was it not the great innovation of the Symbolists that they suddenly turned away from cause and effect in order to look at the effects minus the causes? Accompanying this strategy was the discovery that there was a pattern in the effects which revealed the total process rather than an isolated cause.

______________________________________

Yang Hsiung (53 BCE-18 CE):

The Supremely Profound Principle deeply permeates all species of things but its physical form cannot be seen. It takes nourishment from vacuity and nothingness and derives its life from Nature.
______________________________________

Flower and Cloisonne

" ... 'Immeasurable'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



"The flesh of the world is not explained by the flesh of the body, nor the flesh of the body by the negativity that inhabits it --the 3 phenomena are SIMULTANEOUS.

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964)

______________________________________

Wang Ch'ung (27-100?):

How do we know that Heaven has neither mouth nor eyes? We know it from earth. The body of Earth is made up of dirt, and dirt of course has neither mouth nor eyes.
_______________________________________

Red tree painting

Piet Mondrian, EVENING: THE RED TREE, 1908-1910. Oil on canvas. Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, The  Netherlands.



"It seems to me that the clarity of ideas should be accompanied by a clarity of technique."

-- Piet Mondrian (1909)



"There never has been any substance which is nonexistent. Nature means examining and practicing the substance."

-- Ch'ang Tsai (1020-1077)

______________________________________

Undergrowth Painting

Emily Carr, A RUSHING SEA OF UNDERGROWTH, 1932-35. Oil on canvas. Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr Trust.



"Real Art is Real Art. There is no ancient and modern."

-- Emily Carr (1935)



"In reality, the most significant and comprehensive creations of the human spirit are hardly ever the result of a deliberately willed, straightforward development directed towards a final goal from the outset."

-- Arnold Hauser (1951)

______________________________________


A CYBER-SPACE GETS THE GOVERNANCE IT DESERVES

M.K. Morton

"Job, jobs, jobs" mantra finances suspect licenses.
Believing ignoring the wages of sin trite,
For airfields, prime farmland auctioned off lucriest.
Environmental-impact panels range secrecy-zest.

In state-sponsored silences
The source of the Nile ends.
As we depart the highlands,
De-regulators, maintaining the speed of out-of-sight,

Gold travelling light,
Hope to make cornfields produce diamonds.
Rainforests left to less than their own devices.
Anything among the marketables

More pre-booked than lurid crisis?
Now that --the academic untouchables
On bass, flanked by the political uncorrectibles--
The Internet with Vegas-man rules,

Who cares what tame aging politician juggling schedules,
Sweats unsound bytes, tweats us to drools.
Scot-free seniority most desirous in his iris,
Faster than clear-cutting he shreds papyrus.

Too old to grasp blatancy is the better part of publicity.
What counts is how manage a scandal.
Unless you put a vandal in a sandal
In charge of damage-control, the judiciary

System, if you display sufficient elasticity,
Will let you flaunt pulchriticty.
On the head of your spin how many dances a perfumer
Can-can? Huddling, massing its misalliances,

Every last one of our sciences
Hankers for a deep-pockets super-collider consumer
Awash in a bouncy matchless max-less affluency
The statistical-probability dating agency heedlessly affiances.

Never saw a branch of the guild of the paparazzi
Who didn't to the highest grade karma assign priority.
'Twixt shunts, sidecar shuttling doggedly stokes
Infinitely expedited wait-and-see.

(But no cutting some slack to slowpokes.)
Sleek clowns spur mentality insolvency with tabloid latency.
Each day a fresh, thoroughly unsubstantiated rumour.
More than enough to keep us in good humour.

______________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1966):

As our data become more inclusive and ecological, we naturally begin to look at the environmrnt as a huge teaching machine that can translate us out of the human dimension altogether. It then occurs to us that we might be able to translate, or program, the environment before it translates us.


______________________________________

Julip Tree

" ... 'Aquaintance'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



Lao Tzu (d. 531 BCE):

To be ahead of the worldly by
forsaking following
behind --
This is fatal.

______________________________________

Jonathan Schell (1982):

Politics, as it now exists, is even more thoroughly compromised than personal and social life by the peril of extinction.

[ ... ]

As long as politics fails to take up the nuclear issue in a determined way, it lives closer than any other activity to the lie that we have all come to live --the pretense that life lived on top of a nuclear stockpile can last.

______________________________________

Hsüan-tsang (596-664):

Does the storehouse of consciousness come to an end or is it eternal? It neither comes to an end nor is it eternal, for it is in perpetual transformation.


_____________________________________
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PROPRIOCEPTION & KINESIS/ 本體感受和室壁動態

Posted March 1, 2017

_______________________________________

"Only the transforming power which leads from the old to the new can give meaning to both the old and the new."

-- Alexander Dorner (1947)

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Ma Yuan Painting

Ma Yuan, VIEWING PLUM BLOSSSOMS BY MOONLIGHT. Fan mounted as an album leaf --ink and colour on silk. China, early 13th century. The Metropolitan Museum.

Museum Record:

The thatch roof of a pavilion identifies the place as a garden setting. [...] Recalling a yin-yang cosmic diagram with its implication of positive and negative, light within dark, solid within void, the painting may be read as an emblem of man's dual nature: tied to the physical world, man's spirit is not contained by it, but, like the plum, reaches upward to partake of the infinite.

______________________________________


"To the primitive mind, everything is either friendly or horrible; but experience has shown that friendliness and hostility are not the conceptions by which the world is to be understood."

-- Bertrand Russell (1917)

______________________________________

Socius text

_______________________________________

Garden photo

" ... 'Feedback Loop'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



"A stepping up of visual values makes a new dichotomy between the spiritual and the material."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1968)

______________________________________

Gilles Deleuze + Félix Guattari (1991):

In its production and reproduction, the concept has the reality of a virtual, of an incorporeal, of an impossible, in contrast with functions of an actual state, body functions, and lived functions. Setting up a concept is not the same thing as marking out a function, although on both sides there is movement, and in each case there are transformations and creations: the two types of multiplicities intersect.

______________________________________

Wyndam Lewis text


______________________________________

Smithson Language Heap

Robert Smithson, A HEAP OF LANGUAGE, 1966. Pencil on graph paper. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.



Walter Ong (1982):

Without writing, words as such have no visual presence, even when the objects they represent are visual. They are sounds. ... They are occurences, events.

______________________________________

Bertrand Russel (1914):

In looking at a given thing and approaching it, one sense-dictum will become several, and each of these will again divide. Thus ONE appearance may represent MANY things, and to this process there seems no end. Hence in the limit, when we approach indefinitely near to the thing, there will be an indefinite number of units of matter corresponding to what, at a finite distance, is only appearance. This is how infinite divisibility arises.

______________________________________

Rothko  painting

Mark Rothko, NO. 5/NO. 22 (1949/1950). Oil on canvas, 9' 9" x 11' 1/8". The Museum.of Modern Art, New York.

Museum Record (2008):

The rectangles within the painting do not extend to the edges of the canvas, and appear to hover just over the surface. Heightening this sensation is the effect of chromatic afterimage. Staring at each colored segment individually affects the perception of those adjacent to it. [...] Despite the color relationships, Rothko did not want his pictures appreciated solely for their spectral qualities. He said, "If you are only moved by color relationships, then you miss the point. I'm interested in expressing the big emotions --tragedy, ecstasy, doom."

______________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1968):

Beauty juxtaposed, but not connected with cruelty or suffering is the formula for horror and madness. Anybody in a state of pain finds beauty of aspect or sound an intolerable experience.

______________________________________

Spiritual flight text

Attributed to Zhong Shaojing, SPIRITUAL FLIGHT SUTRA, ca. 738 CE. Album of nine leaves, ink on paper. The Metropolitan Museum, New York.



Museum Record:

The copying of sutras, the sacred texts of Buddhism and Daoism, was an act of devotion as well as a means of propagating the faith. It required a special brush, paper of a conventional size with a vertical grid, and use of the strictest, most formal script. This hallowed fragment of a Daoist religious text meets all of those requirements yet has an elegance and fluency that elevates it beyond normal sutra writing.

[...]

The construction of the characters reveals an analytical process: different types of brushstrokes are seen as forces (shi) in a dynamic composition, each having a perfect form and a 'method' (fu) of interacting with the other strokes; each character ... exemplifies a model of physical equilibrium and spiritual repose.

______________________________________

Lunden Index card

Index card documenting instructions for a 'presentation' drawing by Duane Lunden, 1970.

[ Note:

A 'full-scale' version of this 'ephemeral' work was realized as part of a Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition --3 January to 8 February 1970-- curated by Lucy Lippard (in association with Seth Siegelaub).

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]



"I believe that art can increase our awareness of the world around us."

-- Seth Siegelaub (2013)

______________________________________

Bertrand Russell (1914):

Two 'places' of different kinds are involved in every sense datum, namely the place AT which it appears and the place FROM which it appears. These belong to different spaces.... No place in the private world of one observer is indentical with a place in the private world of another.

______________________________________

Thomas Cuneiforms

Lionel Thomas, SYMBOLS FROM THE CUNEIFORMS, metal bas-relief with (backlit) plexigas inserts, 1960.

[ Note:

The integrity of Thomas's structure entails 'continuous' visibility --in ambient daylight and artificial (dusk to dawn) illumination.

A lighting system (designed by the artist) functions to highlight the 'multispatial' conception/realization of this work. In 1956 --in recognition of "outstanding creative achievements utilizing architectural forms"-- Thomas was awarded the ALLIED ARTS MEDAL of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

SYMBOLS FROM.THE CUNEOFORMS is sited in relation to the entrance facade of the (now repurposed) main  Vancouver Public Library. This modernist building (completed in 1956) was designed by one of Vancouver's most important architectural firms --Semmens & Simpson.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]



Lionel Thomas (1958):

Most people today are not capable of making their own aesthetic decisions because the emotional requirements for this have not been developed. Consequently, the advertising agencies are shaping ... and making ... aesthetic decisions for most people, which results in conformity as we know it today."

[ Note:

In 1949, Lionel Thomas had studied (in San Francisco) with the painter Mark Rothko. Thomas shared the precise period of expermentation that locates Rothko's breakthrough into the constant motion of continually self-defining (fully self-contained),  independently mature work.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

______________________________________

INFORMATION [ TRANSVSI ]

Telegram --from Iain Baxter, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia --to Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax (September 18, 1969):

DARK VANCOUVER 230 AM PST
[Pacific Standard Time] AND
SAME TIME 630 AST [Atlantic
Standard Time] HALIFAX LIGHT

______________________________________

Buren Demi cylindre

Daniel Buren (Photo-souvenir): DEMI-CYLINDRE SUR DEMI-CIRCONFERENCE, striped cotton cloth --blue and white (each band, 8.7 cm).
Work 'In situ' (Vancouver Art Gallery), 8 July - 13 October 1986.



Daniel Buren (1970):

Every art is political and, whether one is conscious of it or not, the presentation of one's work is no exception. Any production, any work of art is social, has a political significance.



"Arborized paradigms give way to rhizomatic figures, acentred systems, networks of finite automatons, chaoid states."

-- Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1991)

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Chu Hsi Text

______________________________________

In the space age of information environments, art necessarily takes on a new meaning and new functions. All previous classifications  of these matters lose their interest and relevance.

-- Marshall McLuhan (1968)


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PROPRIOCEPTION & KINESIS/ 本體感受和室壁動態

Posted January 26, 2017

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This assemblage is dedicated to the memory of Vancouver architect and heritage activist Joe Wai (1940-2017).

_______________________________________

Carr Painting

Emily Carr, ABOVE THE GRAVEL PIT, 1937. Oil on canvas. Vancouver Art Gallery.



Ch'eng I (1033-1107):

Empty and tranquil, and without any sign, and yet all things are luxuriously present. The state before there is any response to it is not an earlier one, and the state after there has been response to it is not a later one.

_______________________________________

Albert Einstein (1914):

Nature only shows us the tail of the lion. I am convinced, however, that the lion is attached to it, even though he cannot reveal himself directly because of his enormous size.

______________________________________

Nature and man are basically not two. There is no need to speak of combining them.

-- Ch'eng Hao (1032-1085)

_______________________________________

Marshall McLuhan (1968):

Vision as our only objective and detached sense, when in high definition, discourages empathy.


_______________________________________

Ice on pond

" ... 'Reversal'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

_______________________________________

Ch'eng Hao (1032-1085):

Man is not the only perfectly intelligent creature in the universe. The human mind (in essence) is the same as that of plants and trees, birds and animals. It is only that man receives at birth the Mean of Heaven and Earth (balanced material force).

_______________________________________

Wyndham Lewis (1927):

If there is one thing more than another that is essential to provide a "sense of reality" --our sheer sensation that there is something REAL there before us --it is the deadness of nature. No "eternal object," or buzzing in our ear, or whiff of perfumed air, can give the sentiment of "the real," so surely as that.

_______________________________________

"Nonconformity is the highest evolutionary attainment of social animals."

-- Aldo Leopold (1949)

_______________________________________

Seated Jizo painting

SEATED JIZO, Japan, early 14th century. Artist/maker unknown. Hanging scroll: ink, colours (with cut and reverse-stamped gold on silk). Philadelphia Museum..

Museum label:

The advocate of souls facing trial in hell and a protector of children, Jizo is depicted sitting atop a lotus throne on a rocky bluff amid a sea of rolling waves.
_______________________________________

Redon Buddha Pastels

Odilon Redon, LE BOUDHA (THE BUDDHA), c. 1905. Pastel on paper. Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

[ Note:

This image of bodhisattva Jizo makes symbolic reference to a key philosophical concept of Buddhism:
the truth of the 'path' that leads to the 'end of suffering'.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]



"One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world."

-- Ch'an master Dogen (1200-1253)

_______________________________________

Shamans house painting

Joseph Beuys, IN THE SHAMAN'S HOUSE. Gouache, watercolour and pencil, 1964.



"The primitive magician, the medicine man, or shaman is not only a sick man, he is above all, a sick man who has been cured, who has succeeded in curing himself."

-- Mircea Eliade (1951)

_______________________________________

Ch'eng I (1033-1107):

A thing is an event. If the principles underlying the event are investigated to the utmost, there all principles will be understood.

______________________________________

Conical Intersect Photo

Gordon Matta-Clark, CONICAL INTERSECT (detail), 27-29 rue Beaubourg, Paris. 1975.



Nancy Spector (Guggenheim Museum curatorial record, 2016):

CONICAL INTERSECT, Matta-Clark's contribution to the Paris Biennale of 1975, manifested his critique of urban gentrification in the form of a radical incision through two adjacent, 17th-century buildings, designated for demolition near the much-contested Centre Georges Pompidou, which was then under construction. For this antimonument, or "nonument" which contemplated the poetics of the civic ruin, Matta-Clark bored a tornado-shaped hole that spiraled back at a 45-degree angle to exit through the roof. Periscopelike, the void offered passersby a view of the buildings' internal skeletons.

  ●

                Two Poems by M.K. Morton

THE CREATIVE PROCESS
 
To summon an overwhelmingly unique new manifestation,
Never mind your round-a-sail-boat train of thought's destination;
Just don't fail to get off at the right gestation.
But, given the comedy of discovery's essence is timing,
The trick is, since inspiration knows no schedule,


Never work to rule.
Your best bet is get into your stride free-style.
Stay savvy that, in your uncommon paradigming,
For fine tuning of such unprecedented rhapsodic chiming,
What's improvised is the better part of innovation's

Imagining an almost-here era, giving ours a new profile.
When working with fresh theories, daubs, metaphors or sax
Riffs--patches of those tectonic-alert massifs,
The future's daring formulations--
Slapping together lively facts,

Fable-arched, cascading but danceable motifs
And visionary striking artefacts unfolded minds to beguile,
Keep off the oft-beaten tracks.
You don't have to starve in a garret,
But get used to spelunking in the seismic cracks

Between the already awarded plaques.
Lest, speechless except occasionally "blimey"ing,
You find yourself reduced to miming
And self-parodied recycling even a pirate parrot
Would spurn. When priming your subliming--

Any thought of map, clock or index
Still on hold below undecodably stacked decks--
Keep agile 'mid a roistering plenty that's volatile.
Where, impatient for an ultra-legendary isle,
Unguessed appearance in tourist-class to them slumming,

Unicorns--and, if you can believe it, hippogriffs--frisk.
Deeming errors negligible mistrial, before bold hints, ripe inklings cool,
Pounce. Then, after-shock breakers scull brisk.
Synapses slung punt-wise, feed the muses labyrinthine spool
Awash. (Who said they domicile docile?)

Pace, syncopate and flex
Your paradoxically dipping phoenixtral instinct for the vertex.
Presto! A seemingly house-broken trans-Atlantis orbiting sundial
Salvage from kaleidoscoop-ambitious vortex
Tamed to rainbow whirlpool.

CAN EVERYTHING BE SWEPT UNDER THE RUG?

In the rule of the absolute,
Since nothing exists but the whole
(Which gulps its every last attribute),
If everything else is illusion,
How account for that interloper's emperor's new clothes role?

The absolute too overstuffed to do much more than loll
Comes in on little sloth's paws. Asleep its all-enveloping tongue to groom.
Enfin, when from gorged snooze awaken
It may, since unlikely you can catch it in conversation
Try interviewing it, Check whether, in any of its oneness, there is room

For the whole to be mistaken
About itself. Go figure how the absolute's unity
Can harbour with such impunity
The music of the sphere's bandbox variety,
Draw spectra-spinning illusion into its monolithic entirety.

When straightening multiplicity's convolution
Does the absolute contract out? Maybe this past master of inclusion
Could then squeeze in a vacation.
(Bubbling with inaction,
On the sly cosying up to a prime number for its denying the full fraction?)

Meanwhile the absolute and illusion both to a generalization
Barely amount. Who denies either one is sponsored by improvisation?
Hoist on its contortions to reduce each single off-green shaded focus
Once-and-future thought to a pea-green evade.
Every last Cheshire smile swallowed by this ultimate in osmosis.

Does itself the absolute outmanoeuvre?
Even if the lens were stereoscopic and Hubble-strength that zoom,
After the whole Big Burp Shebang always something left over.
Maybe the absolute needs a strayed strolling players charade trade
For some billiard pockets mislaid?

Does the absolute ever find itself downsizing making more room?
Hoping to catch an escape artist what didn't plunge its booby hatch
Straight through? Could appearance and reality be in collusion?
Any attempt by those two to communicate
A mismatch, but they may give each other a backscratch.

What say illusion's artfully dodgy presence lets us demonstrate
A sub-category holds much the absolute purports to subsume.
Echo-hankering, ready the rug out from under alertly, doggedly to snatch,
If not a recipe for mass confusion
Is illusion reality's nom de plume?

______________________________________


Ch'eng I (1033-1107):

The mind of one man is one with the mind of Heaven and Earth. The principle of one thing is one with the principle of all things. The course of one day is one with the course of a year.

______________________________________

Binary code image

IAIN BAXTER&, "Blur" (binary code), 2012/2017.

_______________________________________


"Attention spans get very weak at the speed of light, and that goes along with a very weak identity."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1977)

______________________________________

Daniel Brown, Nottingham Trent  University Observatory (2017):

We know for certain that our sun will end its life in 7.72 billion years. At this point, it will be thrown off its outer atmosphere to form a planetary nebula, ending up as a stellar remnant known as a "white dwarf".

[ ... ]

As the sun becomes older it will become cooler and larger. By the time it becomes a stellar giant it will be big enough to engulf both Mercury and Venus.

[ ...  ]

The sun will also create an extremely strong solar wind that will slow slow down the Earth. As a result, in about 7.59 billion years, our planet will spiral into the outer layers of the hugely expanded dying star and melt away forever.

______________________________________

Winter Tree photo

WINTER TREE --FRIDAY, 13 JANUARY, 2017. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)

Midwinter Poem

______________________________________



"The investigation of principle to the utmost, the full development of one's nature, and the fulfillment of destiny are one thing."

-- Ch'eng Hao (1032-1085)


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PROPRIOCEPTION & KINESIS/ 本體感受和室壁動態

Posted January 3, 2017

_______________________________________

Merwin Another Year poem

_______________________________________

Chuang Tzu (d. 295 CE):

There is nothing that is not the "that" and there is nothing that is not the "this". Things do not know that they are the "that" of other things; they only know what they themselves know.

_______________________________________

Voltaire (1733):

That there are squares of infinity, cubes of infinity, and infinite infinities, the plenitude of which is nothing in comparison to the last?

All this which at first seems the very extreme of absurdity, is in reality an effort of the subtlety and breadth of the human mind and the way of finding truths hitherto unknown.

_______________________________________

"If we are to take it as a truth that knows no exception that everything dies for internal reasons --becomes  inorganic once again-- then we shall be compelled to say that 'the aim of life is death' and, looking backwards, that 'inanimate things existed before living ones'."

-- Sigmund Freud (1922)



Elias Canetti (1971):

Freud's death drive is a scion of old, dark philosophical teachings, but more dangerous than they, because it is garbled in biological terminology that has a semblance of modernity.

This psychology, which is no philosophy, lives from philosophy's worst legacy.

_______________________________________

Susanne Langer (1942):

Nature, as a man has always known it, he knows no more. Since he has learned to esteem signs above symbols, to suppress his emotional reactions in favour of practical ones and makes use of nature instead of holding so much of it sacred, he has altered the face, if not the heart, of reality.

_______________________________________

Ocular Evidence photo

" ... 'Ocular Evidence' ...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

_______________________________________


ENJOYING PINE AND BAMBOO

Po Chü-i (772-846)

I treasure what front eaves face
and all that north windows frame.

Bamboo winds lavish out windows,
pine colours exquisite beyond eaves,

I gather it all into isolate mystery,
thoughts fading into their source.

Others may feel nothing in all this,
but it's perfectly open to me now:

Such kindred natures need share
neither root nor form nor gesture.

_______________________________________

Li Kan Bamboo Painting

Li Kan, BAMBOO AND ROCKS, 1318 CE. Pair of hanging scrolls; ink and colour on silk. The Metropolitan Museum, New York.



Museum Collection Record:

The author of an authoritative treatise on bamboo painting, Li stated that the painter must possess "the complete bamboo in [his] breast," and he urged statesmen to take up bamboo painting to discipline their minds and expand their breadth of vision.

_______________________________________


SETTING A MIGRANT GOOSE FREE

Po Chu-i (772-846)

Snows heavy in Hsun-yang this tenth-year winter,
riverwater spawns ice, tree branches break and fall,

and hungry birds flock east and west by the hundred,
a migrant goose crying starvation loudest among them.

Peeking through snow for grass, sleeping nights on ice,
its cold wings lumber slower and slower up into flight,

and soon it's tangled in a river-boy's net, carried away
snug in his arms, and put for sale alive in the market.

Once a man of the north, I'm accused and exiled here.
Man and bird: though different, we're both visitors,

and it hurts a visiting man to see a visiting bird's pain,
So I pay the ransom and set you free. Goose, o soaring

goose rising into the clouds --where will you fly now?
Don't fly northwest; that's the last place you should go.

There in Huai-hsi, rebels still loose, there's no peace,
just a mllion armored soldiers long massed for battle:

imperial and rebel armies grown old facing each other.
Starved and extended --they'd love to get hold of you,

those tough soldiers. They'd shoot you and have a feast,
then pluck your wings clean to feather their arrows.

_______________________________________

A MESSAGE TO PO CHU-I

W. S. Merwin (2010)

In that tenth winter of your exile
the cold never letting go of you
and your hunger aching inside you
day and night while you heard the voices
out of the starving mouths around you
old ones and infants and animals
those curtains of bones swaying on stilts
and you heard the faint cries of the birds
searching in the frozen mud for something
to swallow and you watched the migrants
trapped in the cold the great geese growing
weaker by the day until their wings
could barely lift them above the ground
so that a gang of boys could catch one
in a net and drag him to market
to be cooked and it was then that you
saw him in his own exile and you
paid for him and kept him until he
could fly again and you let him go
but then where could he go in the world
of your time with its wars everywhere
and the soldiers hungry the fires lit
the knives out twelve hundred years ago

I have been wanting to let you know
the goose is well he is here with me
you would recognize the old migrant
he has been with me for a long time
and is in no hurry to leave here
the wars are bigger now than ever
greed has reached numbers that you would not
believe and I will not tell you what
is done to geese before they kill them
now we are melting the very poles
of the earth but I have never known
where he would go after he leaves me

______________________________________

Lions and Eagle photo

THE LIONS [North Shore Mountains, Metro Vancouver], 8:15 am, 16 December, 2016. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)

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Two Poems by M. K. Morton

  WILL EXISTENCE EVER GET THE HANG OF SHAKING HANDS WITH REALITY?

The materials the ramparts at Elsinore
Are made with do not explain the story.
No pursuit of electrons will divulge the source
Of Perseus and Andromeda's glory.
Jack Sprat chance checking  bohemian cuisine could identify art's creative force.


The more's to deplore
So many misguideds think those elements nail down core
Status. Taking fleetest defeatist flight
Far below realms where dwell prospects insight its freshest, ripest taste,
Might offer. These barmecidals' diet In the study of physics' narrow corridor


Squats immeasurably beneath low definition. Their appetite
Craving nuclear waste,
Satisfied with itemizing the ingredients for lobster thermidor
(Of cider no abider,
Sartori tatterdemalion at best, anti-satori,

Work-to-rule) it perpetually reduces its sorry quarry
To shadowplay. Those number-crunchers (no time to waste to baste)
'd probably lick their chops scenting a treat like the flavour of paste.
Less than nano-chance the speediest super-collider,
Rivetted by dead reckoning rock bottom--

That worse than winter from which springs no summer, autumn--
Could from stalactite and stalagmite
Squeeze the least hint of even stagnant light
At the sub-atomic particles' love-in,
(How many calories does it take to nourish a phantom?)

Nothing resembling a cordon-bleu chef's oven:
Mesons' emotions strictly encased,
The effects sauces produce untraced,
Equation and theorem garnish come fossil stew.
Never enough sky chicken to belittle, at most on the barbeque

A bantam, these gourmets of the proton strut their spectral stuffin';
Don't expect a pumpkin cream-cheese muffin.
At a loss once and perennial once faced with the exceptional
(Anything creative notoriously non-reproducible
In labs), sedulous to inter in their Nobel-grave column

The latest sullen formulae, what beyond solemn
Can the actuaries riding quantum--
The fruitful sublime is not their territory--
Tell us of the world gone gypsy?
Human rhythms every bit as aleatory as tellingly insoluble;

Festivals harlequining spiffy and columbining frisky.
Matched motley: among time's salagumundi treats most indubitable,
Scrumptiouszest, piquant, peacock. The delightfully uncommon,
The Ritz-puttin'on, the Savoy-stompin':
To the beguine that began the big shebang

The hunt goes on for yet more picturesque slang,
Cribbed from what all the morning stars together sang.
If you can relish the tang,
Although carnally intuitable,
To/from test-tube incommunicable

This multi-story sorcery.
How could beaker-hunkered random samples summon
The colourfully up-and-comin',
The unapologetically hodgepodge, the irreducibly subtle,
The aptly imaginative and the cornucopiously gustatory?

                           ■        ■         ■

A CHESHIRE CAT HAS MORE THAN NINE LIVES

If instead...Better outcome had we been mentored
Or at least monitored
By a temperonaut Prospero?
But in that case, then quite the different scenario;

When in that alternate stead we surface,
Nothing will be confined to what we took as simple preference terse:
For, somehow arriving the locus of some desired rearrangement,
We'd still clutch much of what we wouldn't want to give up:

Hence, with our juggling all sorts motley stuff 
Taken along when we went absent
(Considerably more than a bulging portfolio.)
Any alternative universe overlaps another alternative universe.

Factors common to that triple-play have to be taken into account.
Easily omitted; what chance, once keen to over-develop,
We'll suspect one world at a time may no longer enough
Of this fresh focus claim. Enfin, when you venture impresario

For your own casting, if you don't, loose in the stirrup,
Across terrain parallel but unknown, screen-test before you gallop,
Better rate this thought paramount:
Keeping a weather eye for calendars 'twixt metaphoric gazumping

And meteorological metaphysical galumphing
Dithering, prior the show opens he who rehearses
Least may not last. Consider, in your exercise of extreme versatility,
Cosmic hedgerow-jumping

Once mastered--straddled the gaps where gather to converse intersperses
Pursing their banks to engulf napping but grinning interstices--
Each identity encountered that new side spots its own interchangeabilty,
Zounds! With this treble superimpositioning giving these extra versions

Of everything, there may be no definite article.
Moreover, although even the odds, they're still astronomical
Against any chance all this improvising, not to say impersonating,
Should come up with proper nouns.

Well, perhaps, a trio of living-spaces inter-resonating,
Constantly shuffling your branched-off-world immersions,
Any illusion Is optional, optimal not optical.
Could be that's when some non-Cheshire cat frowns.

______________________________________

Lao Tzu (sixth century BCE):

To hold and fill to overflowing
Is not as good as to stop in time.
______________________________________

Gransci Motto Layout

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Tzu-ssu (492-431 BCE):

Only after knowing what to abide in can one be calm. Only after having been calm can one be tranquil. Only after having achieved tranquility can one have peaceful repose. Only after having peaceful repose can one begin to deliberate. Only after deliberation can the end be attained. Things have their roots and branches. Affairs have their beginnings and their ends. To know what is first and what is last will lead one near the Way.

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