Friday, January 25, 2013

Making Meaning

A stream coming out of a wall
concrete wall
that goes way high up to the highway.

The stream pours out through rotting leaves rotting trees
and quickly disappears again into another culvert.

I don't know if you would consider it a stream, any more.

I don't know if you would consider it a place, any more.

There would be no reason for people to stop there
I did stop
and why did i?

And so I've been doing drawings of it
and including myself in those drawings
and drawing it inside myself
in an attempt to get a sense of it
and to understand my participation in defining it.

With all this thinking,
the area is gaining importance for me
It's turning into something.
Maybe it's turning back into a place.

The drawings have turned into a figure
that the place is within.
But the place also extends beyond the figure.

The next experiment is to go back and imprint this back onto the concrete wall
and I don't think anything more needs to be said about it right now.

Except that it's a fairly clear night,
Full Moon
That has already risen so I'll be in the shadow of the wall.

I'll be starting at around 11:00
I'd like to see if I can stick around until sunrise
and just see what happens out there.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ready to go

This animation setup has been in my head for over a year. I can't believe it's taken so long for me to buy all the equipment and get it going. I know that holding off on this setup has has been blocking certain fields of exploration. Ideas would come into my head, and the thought-process would arrive at this setup, and I'd shelve the idea. I have a hard time spending money on myself for this kind of thing. I'm glad I finally went out and did it. The floodgates are open.

The camera tripod will be bolted to the wood that the watercolour paper is stretched on, so there's no problem if I jostle the table. The camera will still be in the same place relative to the paper.

The lights are really important - I need even lighting over the entire sheet of paper. I've muddled around with all kinds of cheap lighting setups in the past, but this is going to be so much crisper looking - and it's simple to pack up and move, too.

When I'm working on the paper, I'll have a remote for the camera so I don't have to stand up and press the "take picture" button. Using the remote also prevents me from jostling the camera, so everything stays nice and still.

I also have a USB cable that connects the camera directly to my laptop, which runs a piece of stop-motion software called Dragonframe. I can have another little table beside me with my laptop on it, and while I'm working I can play through the animation I'm creating.

The watercolour paper is drying right now. Once that's done, I'll bolt in the tripod and get working! This is very exciting. I haven't animated since I started my Master's program at Emily Carr. Partly it's because I didn't have this setup, and partly it's because I hadn't found anything worth investigating with animation until recently.

I'll explain more about the object(s) of my exploration eventually.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Next Project, Maybe, With Dog

The third iteration of Walking East will take place between February 17th and 23rd.
This time, I hope to bring a close friend along as a research assistant :
Rowan has been one of my closest companions since I first brought him home from a Whitehorse animal shelter, seven years ago. He now lives with my parents, where he gets more exercise and access to open space than I can offer him.
My way of perceiving my surroundings when I walk with Rowan is difficult to describe. It often seems like we’re a collective sensing body. I see him smelling the air, and so I stop to smell the air. He perks his ears and halts suddenly, and so I halt and listen. I can rarely hear what he heard, or smell what he smells, but I can imagine it, and I react to it regardless.
In the same way, Rowan will stop and look around attentively when I stop to look at something. I am his long-distance colour-detecting eyes at a six-foot height; he is my ears and nose and motion-sensing eyes at eighteen-inch height.
I feel him bounding through the ferns with my own legs; his joy becomes my own, and transmits into my own legs. We often find ourselves lost in the woods, jogging, crawling, climbing, or sitting watchfully for long periods of time.
I am already feeling the urge to start this walk further outside of the city. The incessant sounds of the traffic and the hard sidewalks are going to be doubly uncomfortable with Rowan alongside.
I suspect that the rules of this walk will change somewhat to accommodate Rowan’s comfort levels and sensitivities (which are different than my own), but I suspect that the way I perceive my environment will be far richer, far more sense-conscious, than in the previous walks. I had a glimpse of this towards the end of my last walk (see my previous post).
In the meantime, I’m doing more work that reflects and builds upon Walking East 002. I’m looking forward to sharing some of that soon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Walking East 002 - Results

(see previous post for a description of the parameters of this project)


Digital Photograph

Site For Dialogue

Digitally Manipulated Digital Photographs

Swimming With Sea Turtles - Call From Hawaii

Digital Photograph


So I’ve decided that this is not weather to move in, or at least not weather to move fast in. I’ve got a can of chili for lunch. I have a whole bunch of Cup-A-Soup, I’m going to have some right now, and I’ve got Kraft Dinner. So I think what I might do is just hole up here a while longer because that feels like… the thing to do. Moving on means what, uh, getting into the rain, the wind, and that’s just going to… I think things are going to end quicker down there. This – I can be comfortable up here. So that’s what I’m going to do.

 Origin of the above thought: 

I was standing tightly under the lee side of a hemlock, out of the wind and rain. I stood for a long time and drifted off, daydreaming, half-looking, semi-conscious. I was reminded of deer that I’ve observed in the past – I thought about how I was like a deer standing under a tree in the rain. I wondered how similar their perception of this kind of moment would be to my own – a kind of alert quietness, shifting weight, aware of the moisture in the air and the temperature, thinking about food and water, but content to just stand for the moment. 

My breath, a cloud of moisture.

 And that led me to consider that what I should probably do is to stay put like a deer does. To act like a deer. To stay dry by staying put. 

This was contrary to what my habits told me, which was to get down off this hill and get back into an area of human habitation. 


 Deer taught me something – to listen to the weather, to act according to what it tells you.

Waiting out the Rain - Deer Teaching
Digital Photographs


Digital Video

Light is Falling Batteries are Dying

Still From Digital Video


There is a fascinating negotiation between species happening here. I’m sleeping in a large undeveloped lot, big cedar and ferns, in between houses. I can hear dogs barking all around. There’s sign that some large animal has been through here – the ferns are trampled rather than walked-around. A lot of animals having been sleeping under the cedars here – the ground is smoothed into hollows – and there are more trails than I think dogs would make. There’s chewed-up-and-shat out cardboard on the other side of the tree I’m camped under – I can’t tell if it’s bear shit or what, there’s deer shit, and there’s also the dogs in peoples’ yards. So I’m thinking about what the dogs are barking at, whether the dogs are doing to hear me, and whether the dogs keep away the bears. I have to cook, so I have to consider whether bears or dogs will smell it, and how I have to ‘bear bag’ my food now.

Whereas most of my conscious decisions were based on visual sensations in the city and suburbs, now I’m consciously negotiating on visual, olfactory and auditory levels.

The sun is setting now, the light is changing and a police siren is going off in the far distance. I don’t know if it’s the howl of the siren or the falling light that started it, but the coyotes just started howling (their sound is in tune with the police siren) and the dogs in backyards are barking in response. Now I realize that the trails and hollowed-out areas under logs are from coyotes. They obviously sleep in this lot. It’s going to be an interesting night.



Coming back is really fuckin’ hard, I tell ya.
Standing here, waiting for a bus and being completely inactive and passive and waiting for something else to transport me, something beyond the actions of my own self.
I haven’t done that in the last four days.
Time is completely different as well.
It’s all one big time.
Now I’m whipping by in one of these same vehicles that have been battering me with their sound and movement for the past four days.
Time is no longer subjective.
I’m back in this big illusion of a ticking clock that’s subject to nothing but itself.
No weather, no sunrise, no sunset, no tired feet, no wind.