Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Feeling of Being Watched

Late notice, but if you are in Chitown tonight, friend of the family, Assia Boundaoui, is sharing a sneak peek of her documentary, The Feeling of Being Watched. It is in Wicker Park at Taxim, starting around 6pm. Please join me there, if you can.

Most of you will not be able to make this, of course. You should know about this project, however.

Assia grew up in an Arab American neighborhood in Chicago that has been under government surveillance for decades. In her own words,

"In this film, we tell the story from the point of view of my community, and take you along our filmic journey as we investigate the FBI’s presence in Bridgeview. For the past three years we’ve filmed extensively in the Bridgeview neighborhood, now we’re ready to start filming with those on the other side of the lens — the government officials and agents connected to this story."

I have been to previous sneak peeks, and the footage, the story, is heart-rending.
I encourage everyone to check out their kickstarter and to support the film in any way you can.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Good night, sun

Hello, meandering sky stream

Hello, cloud line

Hello, ivy line

Hello, tree line

Our wool carder bees

Mating in the salvia flowers. As my wife observed, "who wouldn't?"

Elsewhere on the salvia

This is one of the many other bees that visit our garden. And I should mention, with the wool carder photo I got up to photograph the female bee, the male was so busy flirting about protecting their territory that I thought I could never get a picture of him still, and he literally flew into the shot.
Anyway, the bee in this photo has been trying to gather pollen all morning, and the wool carder male has chased her away repeatedly for an hour.

Good morning, earth

Friday, September 25, 2015

Lovely low clouds tonight

A control shake this morning

Looking west as the sun rose, casting the shadow above the contrail. If your heart is explosive with love for this life right now, perfect joy and awe, true wondrous amazement at the incredible experiences we live with here I earth, I will understand.

I spend my days at sea though my body never leaves the ground

The striated seascape I love

A map in the ocean above

cross hatched sky courtesy slow motion jet liner wakes

Good morning, Chicago

Good morning, sun

If you are in Chicago tonight

come out to the Experimental Sound Studio with me to hear Fonema Consort perform a work by one of my favorite composers, Salvatore Sciarrino.
Sciarrino's use of extended technique, sparsity, and silence is astounding, inspiring. He leans towards sparse instrumentation, airy orchestrations. Each instrument a composition breathes, exploring its acoustic space in the environment of the composition.
I was going to attend this concert even before I read that it "sound-paints the colors of the sky at sunset." Hot dog! That's for me!

Earth, Sky
Presented by the Experimental Sound Studio
Friday September 25, 2015 | 7pm
5925 N Ravenswood, Chicago

Earth Sky

Embracing the operatic spirit of Sciarrino’s La perfezione di un spirito sottileExperimental Sound Studio (ESS) presents Fonema Consort in an outdoor musical experience within the private atmosphere of the studio’s garden. In this program, the ecstatic crescendo of James Tenney’s Having Never Written a Note for Percussion for solo tam-tam functions as an overture to the spellbinding atmosphere of Sciarrino’s quasi opera. This program sound-paints the colors of the sky at sunset with an extensive but focused immersion in the sound properties of the instrumental medium. Featuring Nathalie Colas (soprano), Dalia Chin (flute) and Ryan Packard (percussion).

Salvatore Sciarrino | La perfezione di un spirito sottile
James Tenney | Having Never Written a Note for Percussion

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Good night, neighborhood

The cosmic spider descends

Good night, sun

The self portrait is all me, though

The sun sent this artwork, as well

The sun sent me this artwork today


The effects of disruption on daily routine and surroundings can pretty astounding.  My partner and I in California have had to completely re-orient ourselves during our current home repairs.  With the removal of the steady fixture that was our roof, I'm having moments of awe and curiosity that I associate with experiencing a remarkable creative work.  These moments, while sometimes dizzying, seem so essential to understanding the world that we have created for ourselves.

Straight up cool

I mentioned Val Britton was in Harper's this month. Here it is. That is pretty bad ass.
Why, you ask?
Well, this is particularly cool to me, even though I don't know Val -- for all intents and purposes, we were barely acquaintances in school, she being a serious artist and me a hobo dilettante out for a lark -- because Val was one of the very first artists we thought of commissioning for EbM. That was tasked to someone who knew her better than I and I think maybe never happened. The commission was for one of our first, actually maybe our very first, speculative projects. She was definitely the first artist whose work I photoshopped onto a landscape in an effort to share the scope of our vision, back in the early days of the project.
Val creates these stunning, complex, beautiful collages. Each is a map, a very personal map, as you can see. A map, nonetheless. She maps time and space and experience. Well, obviously, an artist who can do that and do it so beautifully and intelligently is going to be a hero of mine. I spend a weird amount of my time trying to map these things in words and images in my brain. She gets them out of her brain, something I can only truly succeed in doing conceptually, sometimes performatively, not physically. I am always struggling, but rarely do I succeed, I fear.
Someday EbM intends to commission Val. In our business plan I have her scheduled to travel to hundreds of beaches around Earth in the near future, collecting the different colored sands(tons of sands) of our planet as they disappear under the rising seas. Then, using two teams, each consisting of a boat, a few helicopters, and her blueprints/instructions, I am hoping Val will create a diptych: two maps, one on an iceberg in the antarctic sea, one on an iceberg in the arctic sea. Her maps will slowly drift towards each other, dissipating as they do. That's my fantasy, anyway.
Oh, and don't hate me because I photographed Harper's on top of a pile of other magazines I won't find time to read... that's the best light in the house, hence the reason we keep stacks of magazines and print-outs and books in there.

Edgewater Historical Society last night

Greg Borzo's presentation last night, presented by the Edgewater Historical Society, was a delight. Greg is a reporter and historian. he has a few books out on Chicago, two on its history and one on biking in the city. One of his histories is on the cable cars of Chicago. Like most human beings, I had no idea Chicago ever had cable cars.
There is something incredible, and also overwhelming, when you think about how many events like this happen around the world at little museums and arts centers and community clubs. The sheer volume, the imponderable scale of history, as experienced by a single planet alone, is breathtaking. Literally. Oft-times I ponder the vastness of time, as peripherally experienced by the historical and object record, as deeply experienced in each personal reality, and my heart races, my breath grows short. The incredible expanse of time feels even greater than the soul-dwarfing expanse of space. I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to wrap my mind around space and time and their quantum fabric. Holy mackerel, I am short of breath just writing about it. A mere 110 years have passed since the last cable car glided the streets of Chicago, yet they are essentially lost to the dust of history. If we could escape temporal linearity we could step off the curb in Chicago's loop onto a cable car passing by in the timesea, but we can no more escape linearity than we can escape physicality and step out our front door onto the surface of an exoplanet.
This awe, feeling subsumed within a greatness, a wholeness, a realness beyond the abilities of the mind, the physical sensation of feeling your brain pressing against the restraints of the skull, of the flesh, are what we hope to inspire just once, in just one child, one soul, with our projects, with Earthbound Moon, with RIME, with upcoming ESP and EbA  programs, with our 100,000 year business plan, with our proposed educational curriculum.
Awe, laughter, curiosity, these experiences, if we can inspire or stimulate them in a handful of individuals, we will have accomplished small, yet powerful and meaningful, miracles. We will have changed lives for the better. We will have given a gifts to a stranger, we will have given of ourselves to others, the greatest possible reward I can imagine.
okay, actually, as a reward, being able to comprehend even a little bit more of the colossus of time and space would mayeb be a greater gift.
Maybe not.
I can't think too much about that.


I continue to work on the EbM mixed drink for Tavern on the Grouse. Two nights ago in the moon (top) I tried a combo of sour fruit juices with vodka, with frozen mango as the ice cubes. Only passable.
Last night's drink, in the sun (bottom) used the ingredients from the middle photo. This was a much better drink. The scotch and B&B blend quite nicely, the B&B providing an astringent quality to the edge of the scotch. I really like that quality. Paired with the sour cherry, grapefruit, and cranberry juices, the alcohols become a fourth side of cutting flavor. There is a distinct sense of drinking a cube with sharp edges. The fresh pepper, in this combination, does not heat the drink so much as provide the strong fifth edge. The drink has no quality of spiciness, instead having many sharp edges that you feel with your mouth more than taste. The ghost pepper salt activates similarly. This salt includes cocoa. The mix of cocoa, salt, and ghost pepper combine perfectly in this drink (they do not combine perfectly in too many other foods or drinks, sadly.) The salt provides the sixth edge, a powerful hint of cocoa aroma dominates the nose of the drink, it never tips into a cocoa or spicy flavor or burn, rather the salt provides mere hints and glimpses, the ghost pepper a sensation that accompanies the tart flavor-burn of the sour juice trinity. With this drink, I am on to something.

Good morning, sun ii

Good morning, sun

10AM PST, should you be in the bay area...

I yanked this photo of Duane Deterville, on the right from the Hipster Sanctuary blog (edited by Robert J. Carmack, left.)
If you are in the bay area today, Duane is speaking at the California College of the Arts Visual and Critical Studies program's Wednesday forum.
10 AM at the SF campus, in the boardroom.
I was in VCS with Duane in 02007-02008. He is a true Renaissance man. He is a gifted photographer, musician, artist, writer, historian, critic, and cosmologist. He never failed to educate and inspire me in and outside of class.
He will be talking about his presentation, "Thompson’s Flash of the Spirit and The Afriscape Ghost Dance on Film," which he delivered last year at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans.
If you can skip out on the day job, you will not regret going to hear him speak.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


I am very excited to head home and read this tonight. We have this issue on the bed stand at home!


I also go here most every day, Gif Artists Collective tumblr.

I'll probably share these periodically, as well.

One of our dreams for EbM is to establish a connected presence at or near or associated with our sites. Obviously, we are still in the dreaming phase. From the beginning we envisioned an array of sensors that would allow anyone on Earth today to visit the sites virtually, by webcam, webmic, atmospheric readings, satellite photographs, helpful automated gif collectors, and the like. We have a long way to go before we can invite any web browser to experience all our sites any time of day or year. Giving them a digital presence is, however, one of our dreams.

Hey, here's today's APOD!

I visit Astronomy Picture of the Day every day. I have for many years. These images let me look into the depths of the ocean above, look back into time itself, and every day take my breath away.
When I think about it, I will post the images here or a link...

Excellent questions

This morning my wife asked me the excellent question, "Is it okay for you to blog so much personal stuff on the EbM blog?"

My thinking on this is, yes, until someone tells me to stop.

The Board of Directors can request I make this blog more professional. EbM, however, still isn't a professional collaborative. We are a not-for-profit corporation, but I don't think that means we need to are professional just yet.

This blog will be more personal than professional because that is the nature of EbM. We are a collaborative of individuals, and the blog reflects that.

We love this project, we love dreaming it and creating it. We love the time spent in each others' company trying to understand how to make Sculpture Park Earth happen. We love the artists and communities we meet working on it. We love sharing what we do as EbM through this blog. We don't do a lot that is EbM dedicated most days, though. Not installation-wise, anyhow.
Every single day, however, we do engage in activities that are deeply EbM-centric. I read voraciously, always saving articles that I feel are relevant to the project. I have been doing this for years and years. This blog will become, I hope, a place where I can begin sharing those archives with others, providing links or text alongside the reasons I was moved to keep the article. For people curious or excited about EbM this will, I hope, shine light on our motives and the larger ecology of the project. This may shine light on why we are investing so much time and money into what must seem from the outside like a deeply absurd and pointless project.

For instance, tonight's EHS sponsored Chicago Cable Car lecture is terribly relevant to EbM, as the EHS is one of the museums who have expressed an interest in RIME. Supporting their mission while learning more about the history of my current home is an incredible blessing of an evening.

I hope in the coming years to highlight events and happenings around the world that are relevant to EbM and our associated projects. I am also hoping to recruit a new blogger to share photos and words about the many parks, memorials, museums, and curiosities around America and the world. And I hope to encourage this site to be a place where members and friends of EbM can see what makes us curious, enthused, uncomfortable; what drives us.

For me, one of the great motivators in life is the ocean above us, for unlike the oceans covering our planet, I can look into that ocean nigh on all the time, filling my soul with wonder and awe. For that reason, you will see a lot of skies here.

Also, because I think awe and beauty are incredible motivators, and drive much of what I want EbM to be.

Holy mackerel, I need to get dressed and go to work!

First, let's look at the sky one more time!

But, Lee, what are you doing?

Oh, me? Other than looking at the sky?
I am going to be at the Edgewater Historical Society tonight. I love the EHS. Kelly and I are members. They are our local history museum. We don't technically live within the boundaries of historic Edgewater, but we live nearby and visit frequently. The EHS is a wonderful, small, non-profit, volunteer run museum dedicated to gathering and preserving the history of a few Chicago neighborhoods, hosting Chicago history events, and nurturing community in their vicinity.
Tonight they are hosting a lecture at the Edgewater branch of the Chicago Public Library: The Rise and Fall of Chicago Cable Cars. I am learnign a great deal of Chicago history for a project I am working on with a few friends, Aural Histories. More on that project later, perhaps.
If you are on the north side this evening, however, swing by the CPL at 6000 N Broadway and see Greg Borzo speak about his book Chicago Cable Cars, enlightening us to how they slipped into history.

Hey look! There's the Boston Store! The interwebs says this is Chicago, State and Madison circa 1900. Humans love going downtown!

If you are going to St Louis II

Then totally you need to go to Fort Gondo. I think this was my and Kelly's favorite stop in St Louis. On both trips.
On Saturday they will be at the St Louis Small Press Expo. They write on their website:

We will be presenting new artist zines by:  Lyndon Barrois Jr., Lauren Cardenas, Rex Elliot, Paul Legault & Edo Rosenblith, Philip Mathews & David Johnson, Emmeline Solomon, Sopearb Touch, and Maria Xia alongside our existing archive of zines, poetry broadsides and gondo publication series books.

St. Louis Small Press Expo Kick-Off Party
Friday, September 24, 7-10 PM
beverly (3155 Cherokee Street)

St. Louis Small Press Expo
Saturday, September 25, 11 AM - 5 PM
St. Louis Public Library's Central Branch

Well goldarn, you probably want to go to that.
As well, they have this show up for a couple more weeks

Richard Reilly
"Scenes from a Journal"
September 5 - October 3, 2015

"Scenes from a Journal" presents a collection of collages and photographs produced by Richard Reilly since last August, when 18-year-old Mike Brown was fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Chronicling the civilian protests and activist interventions throughout the St. Louis metro area in response to Brown’s death and subsequent police-instigated shootings throughout the country, Reilly’s imagery processes his involvement in this passionate and tumultuous collective outcry for justice and racial equality. While his photographs document immediate events as they unfold, Reilly’s collages, assembled originally in his private journals, cull together humble street detritus, daily newspaper clippings, and hand-scribbled notes in a ruminative attempt to negotiate these events' complex personal and psychic aftermath. As a life-long St. Louis resident who has continually been committed to social activism, Reilly’s pieces reflect the longer narrative amidst which the past year’s uprisings are situated — rendering freshly poignant their confounding rift and resonance with the everyday.

About the artist:

Richard Reilly is the co-creator of the Sunflower+ Project, an ongoing collaborative initiative that reactivates vacant urban lots in St. Louis City through the planting and cultivation of sunflowers. He is the Energy Programs Manager at the Missouri Botanical Garden, a Graduate Design Studio consultant at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, and an extensive lecturer on the subject of sustainable design. His projects have been supported by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, the Pulitzer Foundation and the Sustainable Land Lab; and his collage and photography has been exhibited at Subterranean Books, among other venues. Currently, he is the principal photographer for All the Art, St. Louis’ new quarterly visual arts publication. A native St. Louisan, he resides with his wife, Karen Norman, in South City

In Chitown consider

The Freedom Principle at the MCA. It is up through November 22, and is the satellite show to the Luminary's The Marvelous Is Free.

The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now links the vibrant legacy of the 1960s African American avant-garde to current art and culture. It is occasioned in part by the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a still-flourishing organization of Chicago musicians whose interdisciplinary explorations expanded the boundaries of jazz. Alongside visual arts collectives such as the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA), the AACM was part of a deep engagement with black cultural nationalism both in Chicago and around the world during and after the civil rights era. Combining historical materials with contemporary responses, The Freedom Principle illuminates the continued relevance of that engagement today.

More ad language, but I will make it to this in the next few weeks. I had the immeasurable pleasure of attending a slew of AACM shows in the early nineties when I first lived in Chicago. The truth is I am no reviewer or critic, so when I do go, all you will get is an anemic summation of my formless thoughts. That's cool, right?
I'll include soem pictures of clouds from the day, as well.

If you are going to St Louis

might I suggest a stop at the amazing and wonderful Fort Gondo?
When in St Louis last year visiting Heidi Hove and Ryan Pierce at their Luminary Arts residencies, Kelly and I had the good fortune to spend time visiting with the folks at Fort Gondo. The Luminary and Fort Gondo folks were so spectacular, and the St Louis scene so delightful and vibrant we have been discussing moving to St Louis ever since. St Louis or Sheboygan. Don't accuse us of being predictable on the relocation front.
Anyway, for reasons unclear to me, I am not on the Luminary mailing list. Fortunately, the always on internet can tell me that they have two shows up right now:

The Marvelous is Free
Curated by Anthony Romero and Matt Joynt
The Marvelous is Free is an exhibition of archival and historical ephemera that places St. Louis' Black Artists' Group, a collective of African American experimentalists working in theater, visual arts, dance, poetry, and jazz, within a network of like-minded artists and activists producing similar experiments in politics, form, and community between the late 60s and early 70s. Bringing together a range of rarely seen objects, films, and ephemera from personal and institutional collections, The Marvelous is Free presents a landscape of art and activism that includes the Black Arts Movement, Queer Liberation, the struggle for Latina/o civil rights, and more.


Sporadic Democracy
Politics exists in a literal landscape of streets and trees, parks and vacated lots, as well as in the speculative speech and continually reanimating acts of the populous. Democracy is also time-based, faltering and reforming. Like an exhibition, despite any attempt otherwise, it is not a stable form.
Could we posit that the unexpected emergence of an act - in this case, the act of art met with the acts of viewing and response - is a test of democracy’s image and that this image creates a residue we could call an exhibition?
Sporadic Democracy is a culmination of a year-long exploration of how communities come together and fall apart, how public space is shaped, and wide-ranging experimentations with artistic forms appropriate to these questions. Conceived as a cycle of actions, expansions and gathering points, Sporadic Democracy will contain independent, but interrelated projects within a single shared space, alternately occupying the gallery as an opening, an archive, a platform for discussion, a publication, a date, a street parade.
The exhibition includes significant contributions from The Luminary’s Fall Residents, including Tori Abernathy, Rebecca Conroy, Alessandra Saviotti, Antonio Serna, and Paul Shortt with additional contributions including a video program, entitled “Somebody Else’s Problem,” curated by Rachel Reese and an accompanying youth-led publication to be distributed throughout the exhibition.

Obviously that is all just marketing text from the website. Kelly and I will set a good example for you and go to these shows in late October. Then I will give you a more personal chitter chatter.
Both shows are Open Wednesday-Saturday from 12 to 6pm each week through November 6.