I’m trying to get close to the language of thought. It’s hard to put into words what the mind does, but drawing can map those processes better than anything but music. It’s so agile. It’s like a cloth you put over some complex object and it takes on the shape of the object exactly.

Robert Horvitz

Black and White Counterpoint

Black and White Counterpoint

Burton Wasserman, Construction: Black and White Counterpoint (1963)
Silkscreen print, 19.5 x 14”

%s1 / %s2

The best version. Period.

Form is Still the Language of Time

Form is Still the Language of Time

Detail of drawings by Robert Horvitz.

Form is Still the Language of Time (detail), 1970
pen and ink on paper, 23” x 23”

Personal Domain of Freedom and Ecstasy No. 3 (detail), 1973
pen and ink on paper, 20” x 20”

Personal Domain of Freedom and Ecstasy No. 2 (detail), 1973
pen and ink on paper, 20” x 20”

Untitled, 1974

Form is the Language of Time

Form is the Language of Time

I had seen the name Robert Horvitz several times, but had never seen his work until curiosity, or perhaps procrastination, got the best of me after re-reading his 1976 Artforum piece on Chris Burden.

The room is haunted. Thoughts tumble forth, drawn out by the vacuum of his withheld presence. While Burden is fasting, two leaders of the Irish Republican Army are in the seventh week of their hunger strike in a Belfast prison. They say they will fast to death to protest the British occupation of their country. At the same time, thousands are starving in East Africa and India, not as a symbolic gesture, but because drought has killed their crops and livestock. The reality of hunger in other parts of the world makes a disinterested esthetic appraisal of Burden’s piece seem somewhat ludicrous, if not downright perverse. In this piece, as in his others, the motive has to be the key. His execution is beyond criticism: he need only endure the inactivity, isolation and hunger to carry the work through, and to large extent this process is concealed by the installation. The piece dominates its space effortlessly. Nothing is employed that is not absolutely essential. Even his timing, in terms of both his own oeuvre and the surrounding social climate, artistic and otherwise, seems apt.

The byline reads “Robert Horvitz is an ordinary housewife who draws.”

Indeed he does.

Since 1970, all of my drawings have been made with just one kind of mark. I put the pen on the paper and flick it. The split-second acceleration of the penpoint attenuates the flow of ink so that the mark tapers, then breaks into tiny skips, and then disappears completely. This leaves a straight comet-shaped track about 1-2 cm long. No two marks are exactly the same, but their diversity is strictly limited. Most of my drawings contain thousands of marks.

The drawings are based on systems devised by Horvitz, but they are not so fixed as to reduce the artist’s hand in the process. He explains in his statement from 1977:

I never make preliminary sketches. Instead, I work out systems of constraint that govern the evolution of the drawing without eliminating free choice. (A fully constrained drawing, where the outcome is determined in advance, would not be worth executing.) By systematically limiting my options, I can create specific ranges and types of freedom. The visual consequences are often unexpected.
There is no uniquely prescribed course of action. At every moment it is possible to imagine the drawing extending into a variety of futures. My decision to follow any one course closes off many others of equal interest and validity. Conflict and mediation. Some process of selection is called for that does not reduce to rules.

The rigidity of these systems appears to vary, compare the rather locked in work pictured above, Golgi’s Thing (1980), with the freer Personal Domain of Freedom and Ecstasy No. 3 (1973), containing a mosaic of varying rule sets governing pen movement. The latter looks as if the strategy organically mutated as Horvitz progressed across the paper from left to right, top to bottom.

Even in their shrunken, compressed format, I find this series of drawings from the last three decades captivating and wish there were some higher resolution images available online.

Bruce Sterling wrote of his work:

There’s an underlying logic to the work. You can sense him working from self-set rules, spinning out graphic algorithms. But it’s not mere order:
it’s not a skyscraper made of toothpicks. The work also knows chaos. This art takes place where life is: at the rim of order and chaos. The possibility of breakdown and loss is always there. It’s a game between virtuosity and wild inspiration…

More of Robert Horvitz’s drawings can be seen on here and here. There is a short interview from 2000 available online, and it appears he is also on Twitter.

Music and Dreams

Music and Dreams

I feel like I’ve seen this guy before. LP reissue now available from Mexican Summer.

SWIFT AERIAL HOUSEBOAT VETERANS FOR TRUTH

Totem II

Totem II

Tiny Showcase is selling the above print, entitled Totem II (Raven Steals the Light), by Josh Keyes. A portion of the proceeds go towards helping relief efforts in Haiti.

Another Disposable Item

Another Disposable Item

So, when it is very late at night and the brain is slowly unshriveling, or when it is morning and the daily ration of new sounds hasn’t started spinning on the stereo yet, we ask ourselves the inevitable “where the fuck is it all going??” And no simple answer has come up yet. Maybe it never will. Maybe it will go on developing, fusing and exploding without giving us the time to look back, look ahead, predict and analyze. Music for now means just that. You live it, you experience it, you consume it and you discard it. The record is a disposable item. The music magazine is another disposable item.

– Claude Bessy aka Kickboy Face, Slash #6, December 1977

Object Creation

Object Creation

Learn programming the easy way!

( via jeb)

interesting posting style. I got it from Apple’s Cocoa/Objective-C docs.

Internacional

Internacional

( via skot)

this is like some sort of poor man’s technical.

Remember the iWalk

Remember the iWalk

Let us take a moment to reflect on how long Apple Tablet rumors have been going around. Spymac posted videos of a tablet called the ‘iWalk’, way back in 2001, before the iPod was even announced. In fact, I think its fair to say that the crazy iWalk-type hype before the iPod was released had a lot to do with Slashdot’s famous “no wireless. less space than a nomad. lame.” post. People always attribute it to the Linux crowd’s failure to understand human factors (even, generally, when dealing with fellow humans), but I think it had as much to do with the millennial lather the blogs had worked each other up to ahead of the iPod’s release. Nothing could have been exciting enough to not be a letdown for CmdrTaco.

To my recollection, Apple has been dealing with both tablet rumors and the Internet echo chamber since before Taylor Swift was born. Deal with it, Vampire Weekend. You’re not that special, Harold Ford. Remember Taligent? Pink? General Magic? I guess, to be fair, its not just rumors. Apple has actually released a tablet device at least once, the Newton line of Messagepads, and possibly more times depending on how you count the various spinoffs’ products. Oddly though, in light of the current hype, these products failed to set the world aflame. All that’s left of General Magic is OnStar, that service that remotely locks people in their burning cars. (General Motors…General Magic? COINCIDENCE? Yes. That is exactly what it is.)

Part of the fervor has to be attributed to the incredible confidence people have in Steve “this stuff doesn’t change the world. It really doesn’t.” Jobs. I came across this Feb ‘96 Wired interview with Jobs the other day.
Its fascinating because half of it accurately predicts not only the future, but specifically, the parts of it Jobs and Apple are going to be involved in, but the other half, well, Jobs’ thesis is that WebObjects is going to completely redefine software development. WebObjects, née Enterprise Objects Framework, is perhaps the sole large piece of software inherited from NeXT that is not in some way fundamental to Apple’s current success.

And yet, I’m reminded of something Gruber wrote back in ‘08

[Jobs is] consumed by his work, and I think it’s only in the last two or three years that Apple has gotten to the point where Jobs feels he has a decent set of crayons at his disposal. In Jobs’s mind, the iPhone is only the beginning of what a truly flourishing Apple can produce.

But still: Taylor Swift has never lived in a world where Apple Tablet rumors did not exist (or a world where the Berlin Wall did exist, but we’re keeping our focus on the important things for now). If you know someone named Finn, say a nephew or a student in one of your classes, chances are overwhelming that he’s in the same boat. Let’s just hope tomorrow’s press event isn’t a letdown for Taylor, or for the Finns.

The Forest

The Forest

David Maisel, The Forest 3, (1986)
(Chesuncook Lake, Maine)

David Maisel’s name has come up recently, due to his beautiful Libary of Dust book and opening, but I’m partial to his aerial photography in works like The Forest and Black Maps.

The Forest depicts abandoned log flows from clear-cut zones in an area of northern Maine’s rivers and lakes. The forms of the tree trunks, set against the inky blackness of the water, serve to abstract the images. The trees have been uprooted from the earth by a machine called a “whole-tree harvester.”

i have been to that lake and i found a fossil there. it was when I was eight. i kept it on my desk as a sort of childish memento mori.