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Exchange of Values

Exchange of Values
acrylic on board 48'X96'

"Structure of Color Perception"

"Structure of Color Perception"
48'X96' acrylic on board

Thursday, July 26, 2012

“Murmurs From Earth”
Here is an update from a previous post on Voyager 2 along with my recent painting project.  I have been listening and practicing some of the songs of Blind Willie Johnson again.  My favorite (which I don’t even attempt to sing) is “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground.”   You have probably heard it before, and I think the images chosen on the video are ok, but they can also be distracting and superfluous.  Now if you have never been to a place beyond words, caused by either profound joy and astonishing beauty or else the unspeakable anguish of soul deadening pain, then that particular song by Willie may not mean much to you (but you should remember it anyway for someday in the future).  There are no lyrics to this song and I won’t clutter it up with my own ramblings, but, let me just add this; some extraordinarily insightful person chose this very song to go aboard the unmanned Voyager spacecraft that was launched into space in 1977.  That song by Blind Willie along with some books, drawings, mathematical equations, religious symbols, a greeting from President Carter, etc., that NASA called “murmurs from earth” is inscribed on that  “golden record,” above, and were sent into space to represent all of humynity to any advanced life forms that the Voyager encounters, along with directions and a map to earth (though I don’t know how smart that was).  
That space ship is still heading into outer space and I marvel at the idea that maybe 100,000 light years from now in a galaxy far far away some alien sisters and brothers (and whatevers) will discover and listen to this amazing song by Blind Willie and they will know something profoundly important about who we earthlings are; something more than all our philosophy/theology, dictionaries, diagrams of ovaries and testicles, nature pics and a portrait of Carl Sagan, could tell them about us. 
Of course, I am assuming that any extraterrestrials may already exist in a perfect, or at least a much better relationship with God.  But when the “aliens” find voyager they are going to know that we are the same sons-a-bitches that killed God’s son Jesus (who probably was loved and welcomed to their planet and visits there from time to time when he needs a break from us).   However, at least when they listen to Willie they will also know something of our own capacity for suffering, sorrow, and compassion, and that we are not a species of completely worthless skank-bastards, thanks to Willie that is, an old blind black man who died laying on a soggy mattress after being turned away from a white hospital.  He was broke, hungry, and living in the ruin of his burned down house in Beaumont Texas.  Do you think the folks at NASA included that bit of info on the ‘Golden Disc?’  (I kinda hope that they didn’t, let’s give ET a chance to know us better first).   Obliged.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

“BE FREE!!!”  An in--dependence day reflection.

One possible definition for freedom is the ability to name anything we choose as ‘freedom.‘  Then again, our imaginations are also like colonies.  Foreign masters have sent forth emissaries, priests, soldiers, and moneychangers, with shiny baubles, exotic sweets, and magic words from unknown gods; and the power of those words is in paper, gold, steel, and lead.  The new gods are bloody gods and those that serve them take delight in death.  And so they call it “freedom,” these new gods and their killer angels, and they proclaim ‘freedom or death,’ freedom and death, freedom; death.  And when all that we once had has been given over, all our sacred places, our sons and daughters, all our ancient affections, then even our shadows must surrender the ground they fall upon, must surrender to this freedom.  Yet still they come, they have never ceased coming, the gods of this world/word, whose greatest commandment is to “Be Free!”

“Be Free” is the title of that life size sculpture of myself I constructed from paper, plaster, bronze and barbed wire about 15 years ago.  That face is my own ‘death mask.'  The title "Be Free" inscribed at the top in gold leaf I borrowed from Louis Althusser and his philosophical concept of 'hailing' and  ‘interpellation.‘  Obliged y’all, happy in--dependence day, be well, be happy, be thankful.

A "life size" perspective.  And following is a picture of the other or back side, depending on what you choose to call it.  Again, obliged.