Studio Photographs and Notes: Here are a few photographs of my work environment. Notes for my Inventing Landscapes with Color Pencil class, offered through Ivy Tech Community College, are seen on my work table. The last two photographs are from classroom settings, where I regularly execute drawings for instruction. The first image is a chalk drawing, although I now prefer using dry erase markers, as seen in last image. I have drawn countless drawings over the years for my classes, and because I do not own a smart phone, I do not have a practical camera for recording these endeavors. I can only compare my drawings to Buddhist sand paintings, but someone other than myself erases them.
Google Streetview: Several years ago, I was walking home from the coffee house when Google Streetview drove up beside me and snapped a picture. I was heading uphill on 4th, almost to the gate entrance of Rosehill Cemetery, which, when I walk to class at The Waldron, I always cut through. I never thought to look for myself until today on Google Earth, but there I was, with laptop in tow, in considerably warmer weather than is presently had. I find this apropos since I have numerous places of dark interest pinned on Google Earth, and here I am within a half-block of a cemetery: 39°09'56.07" N 86°32'35.13" W
New Novel: My new novel is six-something years in the making, which is almost equal to the time it took me to reach the first draft of Icarus Transfigured. I slave daily on it, although my sluggish progress these past three years is due to poor decisions about my health and how to manage my anxiety disorder. Resultantly, this book, as with the first, evolves with my life and understanding, and as many disruptive events have occurred during this time, they need to be processed. (Do not look to me completing this work any time soon.)
Roll-over artwork from failed website ventures: Banner from Death by Algorithm, with some of its original text below. (I wished I had held onto that dotcom name!) WARNING: Clicking on these unlinked images will only return you to the top of the page!
The Road to Nirvana is Paved with Karaoke: Schopenhauer said that every generation believes it is the salt and summit toward which humanity has striven. The case is always strong, but clearly wrong if the next generation does not concur. Where seizing the reins of power (as well as the modes of production), we have not so much liberated the best and brightest among us as have been swallowed up by manifold vanity projects of plebeians. The New World Order of culture is Karaoke Culture; and where culture is left to its consumer to invent, one gets exactly the culture one deserves.
Too many eggs in different baskets: This banner was a favorite creation of mine but, thinking clearly on it, it lacks the ‘responsive design’ for smartphone viewing.
Art versus its admirers: The arts divide naturally between creators and community. Most artists, being socially lacking, aspire to a monk-like existence—or at least default to a reliable sanctuary when they want to define themselves in opposition to everything else. The community, by contrast, is attracted to the idea of the creator, although they may have little genuine interest in his or her welfare. Let us not forget that the community of art exists principally to be a community. It is social, so intends, by its meetings and get-togethers, to plan other events that look suspiciously like more meetings and get-togethers. The community loves its own company, especially in settings where art serves as a backdrop, or as something to be discussed in lectures where the attendees can be seen attending.
Losing Getting Lost, Part One: One untold loss in the new algorithmic age is that of accidental discovery, where one stumbles over new and exciting things. Nowadays, overly helpful cookies and spyware keep track of your movements online, and you see only those advertisements of places you have visited. You are effectively denied access to random unknown places, unless you actively seek them out. Of course, if you knew where you wanted go, it would defeat the point of going.
Losing Getting Lost, Two: Corporations and slick web designers have learned how to ‘game’ Google’s search engine algorithms; and between their pirate ship antics and the ghettoizing of social media, the Internet has become an overly familiar strip mall: No matter what your inquiry is, you wind up in the same cramped parking lot looking at the same Office Depot and Subway sandwich shop. Similarly, an image search unfailingly provides the searcher with the blandest landscapes imaginable: endless galleries of slick studio portrait pictures—all for sale and emblazoned with copyright. In desperation, the searcher jumps deep into Google’s listed pages, trying to unearth original and novel content buried in the pile of shiny mediocrity, but the strip mall follows you wherever you go. Like a specter, or detached retina, it is inescapable in your line of sight.
One reason for this drought is fear of copyright infringement and lawsuits. These outcomes have made web providers risk-averse in spreading images and other content of which they do not own. Resultantly, proprietorship previals, even where that property is patently uninteresting.
The work of artists and musicians can be found in social media, to be sure. But creators such as I aspire to find are, in a sense, walled off in these unintended ghettos: which is to say, the sheer number of individuals participating in social havens becomes an impediment to pinpointing any one of them. What is needed is an alternative search engine that excludes clever manipulation and searches only for ‘rich content,’ which would include unique images, text, audio, and video files original to a site. This criteria seems obvious on reflection, and how Google lost site of it has more to do with creating profits for its enterprise than seeding fertile ground.
*This is all predicated on the belief that artists, such as I describe who do not fit into popular styles or categories, are capable (or willing) to build websites to showcase their talents. My website is built of the simplest code, but maintianing a site that is not maintained for you is a challenge. Google rewards blogs and commerce sites, but has little notion or support for any other type of site. Regardless, working artists do not have time or money to spend on up-to-date, state-of-the-art websites, especially since theft of property from these self-hosted sites makes them unattractive as business models.
Neon Boneyard: Original Blender Kitty home page animated gif.
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