Wednesday, 30 September 2015

never leave the playground

This again from Stephen Jepson, because it's brilliant // Never Leave The Playground

I believe in the inheritance of skills and crafts—the inheritance of memory.

 Robert Graves

Egyptian jars with motifs of plants and water
Late Naqada II Date: ca. 3450–3300 BC
"For me if a beautiful memory could have a color that color would be light blue."
- Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Agnes Martin

clay memory

Something I was told this week...
You have to use your entire body weight when you are rolling out clay slabs...unless you have a press...and it is important to move the clay around as you go so that you roll it out in different directions and also turn it around at different intervals so that you roll both sides; otherwise tensions might occur in the drying or firing process leading to cracks. It's like the clay has a memory for the shape it began in and it's always trying to get back to that form. 
Like us! We need to move and be moved in all different directions to prevent tensions.

on handwork

'The use of the hands is vital for the human being, for having flexibility, dexterity. In a way the entire human being is in the hands. Our destiny is in the hands."

 I love the idea that through movement (more specifically here through working with our hands) we come into direct contact with our most human values, with the essentials that must be felt to be known... to be remembered.  I was thinking a lot yesterday about accessing memories through movement, and then about knowledge as memory, so I'm really seeing this video today through that lens.

a little more about Renate and her work here.

image found here
"Touch has a memory.”

― John Keats

Saturday, 26 September 2015

saturday poem

jump from dreams

Waking up is a parachute jump from dreams.
Free of the suffocating turbulence the traveler
sinks toward the green zone of morning.
Things flare up. From the viewpoint of the quivering lark
he is aware of the huge root systems of the trees,
their swaying underground lamps. But aboveground
there's greenery - a tropical flood of it - with
lifted arms, listening
to the beat of an invisible pump. And he
sinks toward summer, is lowered
in its dazzling crater, down
through the shafts of green damp ages
trembling under the sun's turbine. Then it's checked,
This straight-down journey through the moment, and the wings spread
to the osprey's repose above rushing waters.
The Bronze Age trumpet's
outlawed note
hovers above the bottomless depths.

In the day's first hours consciousness can grasp the world
as the hand grips a sun-warmed stone.
The traveler is standing under the tree. After
the crash through death's turbulence, shall
a great light unfold above his head?

Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robin Fulton.

Thursday, 24 September 2015


fears and dreams

As I explore the wilderness of my own body, I see that I am made of blood and bones, sunlight and water, pesticide residues and redwood humus, the fears and dreams of generations of ancestors, particles of exploded stars. 

~Anne Cushman

we told each other our dreams

We told each other our dreams. Nothing in art, even the most inspired mysteries of music, can equal dreams. The artistic perfection of dreams! How many lessons this nocturnal archmaster gives to us, the daily fabricators of dreams, the artists! In a dream everything is pregnant with a dreadful and unfinished meaning, nothing is indifferent, everything reaches us more deeply, more intimately than the most heated passion of the day. This is the lesson: an artist cannot be restricted to day, he has to reach the night life of humanity and seek its myths and symbols. Also: the dream upsets the reality of the experienced day and extracts certain fragments from it, strange fragments, and arranges them illogically in an arbitrary pattern. It is exactly this lack of sense that has the profoundest meaning for us: we ask why, in the name of what, is our ordinary sense destroyed. Gazing at the absurd as at a hieroglyph, we try to decipher its reason for being, of which we know only that it is, that it exists … Art, therefore, also can and should upset reality, take it apart into elements, build illogical new worlds of it and in this arbitrariness is hidden a law, which in disturbing sense has it, so that the madness that destroys our external sense leads us into our internal meaning. The dream reveals the abysmal idiocy of the task set for art by those classical minds that prescribe that art ought to be “clear.” Clarity? Its clarity is the clarity of night, not day. Its brightness is exactly like that of a flashlight that extracts just one object out of the darkness, immersing the rest in an even more bottomless night. It should be, beyond the boundaries of its light, dark like the pronouncements of the Pythia, veiled, not spelled out, shimmering with a multiplicity of meanings and broader than precision. A classical clarity? The clarity of the Greeks? If this seems clear to you then it is because you are blind. Go at high noon to take a good look at the most classical Venus, and you will see the darkest night.

Excerpted from Diary by Witold Gombrowicz, translated by Lillian Vallee, from Yale University Press, part of the Margellos World Republic of Letters series and found via the sphinx and the milkyway
 Image: Jean Renaud dancing on a Paris rooftop, 1950

brains and movement

This again because WOW

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

the limits of imagination

"If you can dream it you can do it! Well, according to a recent study, maybe not so much, at least when your dream is to rehabilitate an arm weakened by stroke.
I have written several times on this blog about how imagery and visualization can be used to build coordination and physical skills. For example, it has been shown that imagining playing piano can make you play better, imagining strength training can make you stronger, and just watching sports can activate mirror neurons responsible for performing the movements you see. The basic idea is that thinking about a physical skill will activate almost the exact same neural pathways as actually performing it, so that you can better at something purely by visualization. What an optimistic “feel good” idea!
So I was interested to see a recent study supporting the pessimistic “feel bad” idea that stroke patients receive no apparent benefit from engaging in imagined movement of their weakened arm. I think this may shed some light on an important limitation in the usefulness of imagined movement...."
Read the rest at Todd Hargoves blog better movement here...
(I'm steadily getting through all the blog posts on this you may have guessed!)

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


Drawings by D. B. Horowitz

things to be desired

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, Even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; It is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, For the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; Many persons strive for high ideals, And everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; For in the face of all aridity and disenchantment It is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, Gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; You have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labours and aspirations, In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, It is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
 --  Max Ehrmann (1926) 
 Desiderata - Things to be Desired

head in the clouds

Friday, 18 September 2015

Friday Cartoon

This again!

Katie Paterson

‘Fossil Necklace is a string of worlds, with each bead modestly representing a major event in the evolution of life through a vast expanse of geological time. From the mono-cellular origins of life on earth to the shifting of the continents, the extinction of the Cretaceous period triggered by a falling meteorite, to the first flowering of flowers, it charts the development of our species and affirms our intimate connection to the evolution of those alongside us. Each fossil has been individually selected from all corners of the globe, and then carved into spherical beads in a secondary process of excavation.’

Guy Haywood, Kettle’s Yard.
(See more of Katie's work here)

Thursday, 17 September 2015

how long is your neck?

...If the rotational movement of the head stops at your neck and doesn’t really reach the chest, then the movement in the neck will probably feel a little stiff, limited and awkward. But if the movement naturally flows down the spine to the pelvis, the movement will probably feel integrated, smooth and easy. In other words, you will be taking full advantage of the fact that you actually have a very long and powerful neck, just like my daughter...
Todd Hargrove (at observing his baby daughter. Click HERE to read in full, it includes a nice (free) movement audio that helps you explore spinal integration at the end.


Assorted Self Portraits by Frida Kahlo (with things around her neck)
I wear a necklace, cause I wanna know when I'm upside down.
Mitch Hedberg

Tuesday, 15 September 2015