Be fearless . . .

I am so used to having something else to do

that I am off-balanced by leisure.

Use time; not take it.

Keep the path flexible.

20150713-2001-31 HC Front Overview


Grafitti Jay: Basically it’s a whole new world.  Everyone knows, we’ve only got a couple years left.

Order and Chaos (from concentrate)

I built the book – with the tolerance and support of my roommates and landlord – in the middle of the common area (ie multipurpose dance floor, living room, performance space, indoor playground, art gallery) of 660 Studios.

I cut, sanded, and stained more than a hundred fifty feet of 2x4s; brooded on ideas and executions; spoke to collaborators, and generally wouldn’t shut up about the project for 8 months, all in a literal spotlight – which my roommates and 660 guests had to accommodate and pass through each day.

Like a huge dream catcher, the book became a magnet and filter for ideas, feelings, ambitions, interactions, and energies.  By it’s very nature as a collaborative and interactive piece, it collected these energies not just from me, but from the many collaborators and many viewers.  By the time it was to be moved to Governor’s Island on June 3, it felt like a safe – heavy, impenetrable, and rigid.

What was in it? I was told that my roommates experienced primarily it’s chaos – the tools and hardware and art   scattered throughout a space intended as an empty field – like a redneck backyard.  That chaos of the waste was blatant and gross – the concentrated product of a disordered mind. 

But the chaos WITHIN the book was contained within a quite rigid structure – 3 drafts of blueprints for each of the 5 4’x8′ panels that make up the physical identity of the big book, about 200 pages of handdrawn ideas, philosophy, brainstorming, drawings, marketing plan, drawings of the nested books.  In other words, the chaotic infrastructure was allowed free reign – but contained by an ordered meta-structure.

If the medium is the message, the message would be an examination of the fundamental interactions between order and chaos.

The books is a perfect medium for this message – the book structure becomes almost invisible once populated with ideas (think of most library books), but creates a sequence, a familiar form of interaction, and imagination-safe context in which to experience chaos.  The books formal order permeates the chaos – no matter the chaos, it contributes to order – and is supported by order.  

The medium is the message.

I wondered if I had brought the chaos to the space.  Looking at the book in a new habitat (the white walls in a former army officer’s living room on an isolated island), the predominant mood of the book is not chaotic, but exploratory, intimate, and transparent.  Rather than bringing the chaos, I think I concentrated the chaos – squeezing it into a ghostbuster-like trap – to create order.  

Strangely though, the integration of many pieces of order seemed to create chaos.  I was told by a collaborator that it seemed like the book included everything – paintings, sculptures, Carl Sagan, Jung, Pac-Man, and who the hell is Helga anyway?  Though each component had its own order, it’s own medium, it’s own message, the combination of orders too too became chaotic.

So order and chaos seem less like positive and negative numbers, and more like AM and PM.  The book is no more one than the other, with each meta-level revealing an alternating predominance of order or chaos.

The medium is also interaction – the message being an encouragement to interact both with chaos, and order – to enable surprise, to discourage judgment by encouraging the viewer to contribute and invest in the medium/message of the final piece.  The author thus becomes more than an other – the author is a we more than a he.  This carries an important message – a product is the sum of the individuals’ processes interacting.  In other words, an individual creation is nested inside a communal creation, which too can be nested inside an individual creation. The connection between the relationship between an individual and society is analogous to the relationship between order and chaos.  In other wods, the meta-identity of an individual is society, just as the meta-identity of chaos is order (and the other way around too).  The message thus grows to the identity of opposites – a step towards zen.

Nevertheless, the book form creates a definite sequence – in this case highly determined by the individual viewer.  The sequence coupled with the final identity of the component moves leads to nihilism through a western lens, but seems to lead to zen through the Eastern lens.  I am far less interested in the Western – but the zen perspective seems to me to be similar to the koan:

A novice monk asks the master, “what is zen?” And the master answers, “when you’re hungry, eat.  When thirsty, drink.”  The novice says, “I don’t understand.” And the master replies, “if you don’t understand, when you’re hungry, eat, and when you’re thirsty, drink.”  

There is this thus nowhere to get to on the spectrum of order and chaos, or individual and society, or consumer and creator – each duality folds in on itself.  This, I think is an underlying medium of the book – and an underlying message.

As Crowley would say, The message is both true and false, and it is both true and false that the message is true and false.  

What happens in the meadow at dusk? Selah. Amen. Hallelujah.  Everything. Nothing.  Helga. Carl. 


The Story Continues

Thank you to everyone who came, saw, collaborated, and participated.

Helga + Carl is a continued collaboration that will continue its voyage from Jersey City to New York and then ultimately across the country. You are invited to expand the story through the month of May at 660 Studios.

Gallery hours are by appointment and on Thursdays from 11am to 8pm.

This will be replaced with the Google Map.





If we would harvest…

… all the energy we put into ignoring advertisements into materializing dreams?

#carlsagan #helgaandcarl

Getting Close

1. HC Overview

I remember when  things   were different

(or Irish Goodbye)    

Tonight is the night

 The week before a show – the most wonderful time of the year. 

See it in technicolor – May 16

DPP_0031 ed 1 BW[View through the door in the front cover]

[photo by Mickey Mathis]