Back in ’94

22 Apr

Misrach’s work provokes controversy in the West Coast photography community because there is no ready correspondence between what is beautiful and what is good in his landscapes, in that what is beautiful if often deadly, damaged, evil, wrong, sick. Their reading is that Misrach is glorifying the wrong things. His reading seems to be that the relationship between appearances and values is a marshy treacherous one (a particularly appropriate issue for ecologists, who deal largely in invisible poisons).

- Rebecca Solnit, Savage Dreams

Back in ’85

20 Apr

An irresistible refrain.

I’ve yet to make up for all that time in the ’80s I spent as a larva.

Jochen Klein

18 Apr

Jochen Klein

Matt Lipps II

16 Apr

Matt Lipps

Matt Lipps I

14 Apr

Matt Lipps

Thus begins the spring and summer of educating myself about contemporary art outside of photoland. I’ve got 4 months to shore up knowledge of current work in installation, social practice and performance/video – yikes!

Noh Suntang II

10 Apr

Noh Suntang

Noh Suntang I

8 Apr

Noh Suntang

From State of Emergency.

Be Good / Get Better

6 Apr

People approach any task with one of two mindsets: what I call the “Be-Good” mindset, where your focus is on proving that you have a lot of ability and already know what you’re doing, and the “Get-Better” mindset, where your focus is on developing ability. You can think of it as the difference between wanting to prove that you are smart, and wanting to get smarter.

The problem with the Be-Good mindset is that it tends to cause problems when we are faced with something unfamiliar or difficult. The Get-Better mindset, on the other hand, is practically bullet-proof. When we think about what we are doing in terms of learning and mastering, accepting that we may make some mistakes along the way, we stay motivated despite the setbacks that might occur.

- Why You Should Give Yourself Permission to Screw Up

The quote is from the written piece, but in the video, she cites data that shows that Get Better people tend to persist and this tends to lead to better performance. They also tend to take action when things are going poorly whereas Be Good folks tend to mope. In her words, “because [Get Better people] thought the point was to improve, they found a way to improve.” The one-line take away is to always compare yourself to your own past performance, not to other people. At all. Even though the entire world wants to evaluate you. That’s not to say that performance markers don’t matter in real life, but her point is that if you focus too much on them, you actually perform worse, so it is self-defeating.

I’m starting to like 99u more and more. They are trying to be TED for creatives. Sure, 80% of what they publish is fluff, but occasionally, something really helpful pops up. Maybe this is only because I am speaking from the perspective of a former raging perfectionist…

Rebecca Solnit says

4 Apr

Often, recorded images seem to be a substitute for memory. There is the vacationer videotaping his experience out of both abhorrence at the fleetingness of all things and an often-mistaken sense that he will watch it later and truly know where he has been.

There is the modern state of seeming to remember as experience what has been known only as image or footage. There is the way that photographs become repositories of memory, and by that token our memories cease to be such repositories. That is to say, that the photograph is not augmentation of the mind but replacement of it in some sense, as all material recordings of knowledge, information, and appearance are, since drawing, since writing.

- Rebecca Solnit, “The Ruins of Memory,” After the Ruins: 1906 and 2006

Garrison Keillor says

2 Apr

I don’t think that one should sit and look at a blank page. The way around it is to walk around with scrap paper and to take notes, and simply to take notes on the observable world around you.

I think everything – everything – starts with the observable world, and even though you may cut that out of your final go, nonetheless I think this is where it always starts, and with overheard conversations.

- Garrison Keillor