Friday, October 15, 2004

Scottsdale calling...

Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats free because the sound of gratis is akin to "cha-ching!" So to be connected in such a place only compels random thoughts about the place in general. A somewhat tough proposition given the red-eye timing of arrival, complimentary shuttle and mad dash to the bar for a rather disappointing interpretation of something foolproof like a rib-eye steak sandwich.

Still, passing by the silhouetted mesas even in the pitch black darkness recalls Monument Valley and the specific cinematic vision one learns by constantly watching classic old John Ford westerns. Aside from the nouveau riche, where do the cowboys reside? And such is the dichotomy between manufactured memory and great expectations as the reality of the old frontier being yuppiefied by retirees versus the fantasy of Ponderosa and Adam, Hoss and Little Joe. Be quick on the draw, Marshall because God only knows when every which way is loose.

And this romanticism with family but maybe a few long hours drive northeast away. Indeed, to set foot on his land so many years removed from the gray concrete of cramped inner city claustrophobia in contrast to the plethora of low horizontal architecture which rules the desert landscape, mimicking a stark and arid rendition of suburban mall sprawl. To see such juxtapositions of cultures once indigenous, proud and independent now just figments interspersed and coopted by Manifest Destiny causes one to pause about how absolute is the whitewash that expunges and dominates any will.

Yet, he managed to raise his children here who as it were choose either to fly the coop eastward forsaking the mythos or to embrace its Hispanic roots staying close to the roost. Was it the promise of winterless weather that drew him or the call of the wild, uncharted territory unbuilt by Chinese railroad workers? That per se might be reason enough to justify his pioneering spirit, seeing how his black sheep status broke traditions, ignored rules and blazed new trails that ironically some of us followed. Sure enough, he absorbed the blows and accepted the blame to some degree but his definition of self, though inherently selfish, never strayed.

So within family history will he be the scapegoat or the visionary? Only his legacy can tell.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Notes on achieving masterhood, part one

Originally the plan called for flimsy rice paper to lead a path to Enlightment. But treading softly enough so as to not rip its surface betrayed heavy feet borne of a carnivorous diet and an unsteady step. So the alternative is to find a shortcut instead. Rather than suffer the pain of arduous and lengthy apprenticeship (who can really invest the time anymore?) to master said feat, newer configuration circumvents lower body balance and center of gravity for pure upper body strength. Build monkeybars over the test strip in question. Climb over as opposed to stepping through. If Kirk can rely on guile to overcome the Kobayashi Maru simulator then changing the rules or context in this case is justifiable by reason of exhibiting initiative. A simple matter of brain over brawn maybe. Or of overintellectualizing the intended purpose as something else. Such is the zeitgeist the work hopes to portray. That the easy route is, well, easier.

But often the deceptively simple disguises the overtly complex. The linear, or that which heads inexorcably in a singular albeit straight direction, can also involve tangents which shift, rotate and figure-eight between points thus mathematically speaking, the distance from point A to point B is the endless road much travelled and rarely completed. So to punctuate this point requires either purchasing old-fashioned wooden ladders perhaps twelve to fifteen feet in height be suspended from the ceiling underneath which runs the Japanese paper runner or handcrafting a variation to reference and indeed lampoons the particular functionality or lack thereof of the object. The latter offers additional breadth and depth though.

A knotted looping open conduit if you will whose purpose confounds the philosophical and physical as it resembles a snaking stepladder gone awry; each step, a potential leap of faith. Such a Minimalist structure overall emulates an intricate latticed Chinese screen except for its chaotic dysfunctionality. Perhaps cover the gapped spaces with the rice paper itself to enclose its form but doing so may evoke the Isamu Noguchi lamp too readily which goes against the grain in terms of aesthetics. Fragile versus sturdy, fragile in spite of sturdy, fragile in unison with sturdy strikes an appropriate yin and yang.

Now revise the official paperwork.