I watched a documentary on Sundance Channel last week called The Unforeseen. The documentary was bleak and mostly boring, but I was completely stirred by the opening scenes of West Texas fields, farmers spliced between unfinished skyscrapers and grid-line streets. You can see an overview here. These interspersed images were backdrop to a poem that captured me. Research showed it to be “Santa Clara Valley” by Wendell Berry. Excerpted below, I hope you enjoy!
From SABBATHS by Wendell Berry
III. (Santa Clara Valley)
I walked the deserted prospect of the modern mind where nothing lived or happened that had not been foreseen. What had been foreseen was the coming of the Stranger with Money. All that had been before had been destroyed: the salt marsh of unremembered time, the remembered homestead, orchard and pasture. A new earth had appeared in place of the old, made entirely according to plan. New palm trees stood all in a row, new pines all in a row, confined in cement to keep them from straying.
New buildings, built to seal and preserve the inside against the outside, stood in the blatant outline of their purpose in the renounced light and air. Inside them were sealed cool people, the foreseen ones, who did not look or go in any way that they did not intend, waited upon by other people, trained in servility, who begged of the ones who had been foreseen: ‘Is everything all right, sir? Have you enjoyed your dinner, sir? Have a nice evening, sir.’ Here was no remembering of hands coming newly to the immortal work of hands, joining stone to stone, door to doorpost, man to woman.
Outside, what had been foreseen was roaring in the air. Roads and buildings roared in their places on the scraped and chartered earth; the sky roared with the passage of those who had been foreseen toward destinations they foresaw, unhindered by any place between. The highest good of that place was the control of temperature and light. The next highest was to touch or know or say no fundamental or necessary thing. The next highest was to see no thing that had not been foreseen, to spare no comely thing that had grown comely on its own. Some small human understanding seemed to have arrayed itself there without limit, and to have cast its grid upon the sky, the stars, the rising and the setting sun. I could not see past it but to its ruin.
I walked alone in that desert of unremitting purpose, feeling the despair of one who could no longer remember another valley where bodies and events took place and form not always foreseen by human, and the humans themselves followed ways not altogether in the light, where all the land had not yet been consumed by intention, or the people by their understanding, where still there was forgiveness in time, so that whatever had been destroyed might yet return. Around me as I walked were dogs barking in resentment against the coming of the unforeseen.
And yet even there I was not beyond reminding, for I came upon a ditch where the old sea march, native to that place, had been confined below the sight of the only-foreseeing eye. What had been the overworld had become the underworld: the land risen from the sea by no human intention, the drawing in and out of the water, the pulse of the great sea itself confined in a narrow ditch.
Where the Sabbath of that place kept itself in waiting, the herons of the night stood in their morning watch, and the herons of the day in silence stood by the living water in its strait. The coots and gallinules skulked in the reeds, the mother mallards and their little ones afloat on the seaward-sliding water to no purpose I had foreseen. The stilts were feeding in the shallows, and the killdeer treading with light feet the mud that was all ashine with the coming day. Volleys of swallows leapt in joyous flight out of the dark into the brightening air in eternal gratitude for life before time not foreseen, and the song of the song sparrow rang in its bush.
Came across this blog today touting Ernest Ellis. The video capture had the look of something I might like—indefinite and vague in the backyard of a country home someplace with interesting light. I listened.
This Is The Thing that is rocking my world right now (the song, not the video). I can’t explain it—just is: over and over and over. Sorry it’s not working on YouTube anymore. It works again, but with an annoying commercial, courtesy of DailyMotion:
Until I saw the last episode of Lie To Me, I’d never heard of Fink before (glad I watch tv!).
There’s a bit of connect-the-dots required for interpreting this book thru the eyes of a leadership seminar, but they’re there. Many great excerpted quotes also typed into the comments area under the video on this page… I think you’ll like. (Don’t tell me if you don’t—I enjoy a certain amount of blissful ignorance).
Here are a few of my fav quotes:
• “You are the leader, but you are not alone. The other artists are there to contribute. Use them.”
• “Actors and others will follow you even if they disagree with your direction. They will not follow you if you are afraid to lead.”
• “Directing is mostly casting. There is not a more important single decision you will make during the production than who you will put into a role.”
• “Rather than correcting your actors all the time, get in the habit of frequently telling them what they’re doing right.”
The GE website (previewed in the prior blogpost) has this amazing little hologram technology they’re using to amaze the world. First I’ve seen it. Check out the videos—there are others (and more everyday) showing this.
Branding is perhaps one of my favorite design elements to study, dissect, understand. The intellectual challenge of distilling an entire personality and presence into a single image is such a brilliant exercise! This execution has raised a number of eyebrows in the design community. I find it interesting—not necessarily amazing. Jut interesting.
Zack Arias is a photographer I’ve been watching for about 4, maybe 5 years. I think I first came across him in the forums on OpenSourcePhoto.net in the days when I was there nightly, asking questions and gathering up ideas and tips like Hansel & Gretel in the forest. His Onelight Workshop was my top choice for what I wanted to do for self-improvement. Of course, that was years ago when photography was a part of my job description.
But even now I follow him. For the learning, and for the connection. He doesn’t offer much pretense; just himself.
I’ve moved past wanting to host a workshop for him. I let go of scribbling ideas to help brand him. We’ve conversed, but only just. He’s busy and I’m a fan from afar. It’s totally cool.
And while in the past I’ve connected with his photography, what I’ve identified with is his person. It comes thru in one’s art if you know how and where to look. People I’m close with (and trust that they’re not just yanking my chain) say there’s something definable in my photos. Yep, that’s a Josh photo—you can definitely see it. I don’t even know what that means, or what they refer to. But it encourages me to think there is something there to define me. That I come thru in my art.
Much of that voice of mine contains struggle, contrast, moodiness. I wrestle with the artist in me. Fangs bang against claws, sometimes.
Into this foray steps Zack again. It’s encouraging to hear he shares some of these struggles. It’s interesting to hear his voice in words, overlayed to moving photos. I’ve followed him (via his blog) through some tough times, especially this year. I can’t even appreciate how difficult it’s been for him—but he brings it all into the discussion. He doesn’t hide it, like so many other artists I know who feel a need to project a continuously sterile smile. They’ve adopted the plastic surgery philosophy for life, but they’ve lost their elasticity. Following them on Twitter and blog leaves me feeling like they’ve really convinced themselves everything is always okay; every tweet and micro blog ends in four exclamations points and begins with “I met <insert famous name>” or “Just ate at <insert famous restaurant> with <insert famous name>” or “My new blog entry Roxxors <or insert your own newer, better adjective>”.
I grow tired of reading what feels like falseness to me. If this is something you identify with, then you’ll love Zack’s recent video. Watch it here.
More from Gems Sty, but this time a video prank in a women’s bathroom. From their site:
The mirror in the toilet was replaced by a window pane. The gray lady’s identical twin is in an identically set-up room on the opposite side, mirroring her every move. Everybody who walks in get ultra confused.
Pretty clever and hilarious to watch as these women process what makes absolutely no sense. :)
I just watched this awesome time lapse from the Genius blog (video Beached by Keith Loutit). They mention it in the specific entry, but there’s a weird depth of focus on this lens (tilt-shift), which creates a really cool (or weird) playmobile effect to the whole film.
Crazy. See the whole thing here. (I have no idea how to embed these things…)
Marketing: it’s all about how you present your story.
Check out this short flick I just saw promoted on Veer (which means it’s now ubiquitous in the design underworld—or is that the design overworld??):
It’s all, all, all about story full of the human element–building with some curiosity and suspense right to the end. Great camera angles, nice lite music–but a few well-chosen words can change the tenor of everything. This applies to everything and is the essence of marketing (and advertising, and, and, and …)
(credits: Alonso Alvarez Barreda’s award-winning short film Historia de un Letrero (The Story of a Sign) More from the Veer site here.
I saved this video to my hard drive the moment I first saw it, and only now re-discovered it to my total pleasure and enjoyment. I’ve often wanted to learn Flash for this VERY reason, to animate subtle environmental elements over my photos to greater, better effect. Still, seeing these in a video was even more alluring and I find myself watching this over and over again—not even sure why.
The simple child’s figure—back turned toward the audience—really grabs me. S/He is so still, so unmoving, so cold in environments with simple cues of life. It’s intriguing to me. I want to know. I want to make my own.