Friday, June 27, 2008

Holding Things Together

This studio employs CA for projects. Cyanoacrylate, as most makers know, is the best adhesive out there for most projects. There's an art to using it properly. There's no repositioning once the process starts.

The spell is easily broken.

It requires sitting motionless for a full three minutes.

Sounds easy to anyone who hasn't done it.

Sometimes this Poppet Planet hydra I've created overwhelms me. It happens. It's not always apparent from the outside, so mostly goes unnoticed.

But once in a while, it's very, very difficult. So many choices to make, so many voices, so many distractions, so little time to work things out.

And then there are the larger questions at the edges.

Whether. Whether this or that.

Weather. Mental tornado inside, blinding light outside.

I hold two tiny parts together, waiting for the magic chemistry I can't see, but have learned to trust. I wait. I breathe. I clear my mind.

Three minutes.

I am sane. The glue holds. So far.

If I still feel like crying after the three minutes, a bit of perspective helps.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Little Black Poppets

are back...
sort of.
A little more edge,
for Anti Summer.
We're so engrossed in studio work it's not terribly hard to ignore the sun's hammer. Until we go outside.
Multiple projects, multiple media. We're under the gun to finish Pete's costume for High Sierra, his No-I-am-Not-a-Cop, bizarro, mystical weirdness that includes a top hat arrayed with LED strangeness.
Photos will emerge eventually, no doubt.
We swim mostly at night now. I can't help thinking about how weird it gets here in the thick of summer. There must be some cool story that would fit such a strange setting. Anyone want to take that one on? I'll be happy to consult on Palm Springs life in summer.
gotta go. Little Black Poppets. Brains. Lights. Sounds. Motion.
We're all over it.

Monday, June 23, 2008


George Carlin is gone.


Just a couple of days ago I made the Bill Hicks poster for the sidebar. Pete introduced me to Bill's work several years ago. I'm very sad I never saw him perform in person. Bill was a quiet sort of savior, born in an unlikely place for a savior, who grew up with his eyes open, then traveled day after day after day to nudge the common man toward the light. He entertained not with miracles or magic but with language and laughter. He was misunderstood by the mainstream, crucified by the media and left us at the age of thirty two.

Now George, who was a tremendous influence for me in an earlier life. A life of college on a scholarship, working in a morgue, driving an aging MGB and stealing crackers from the school cafeteria to get by. George was there for me in those days, making me cry with laughter and teaching me more about humanity and language than in any humanities class.

I'm a card-carrying atheist to be sure. But I can imagine George awakening in some eternal place, where he'll evolve further or go back for another round, or do whatever it is souls might do upon waking from life's dream.

Possibly Bill is there to greet him. Possibly he just left a note.

Whatever is, that imagining makes me smile, and I'm extremely grateful for these talented and excellent human beings. George, bon voyage.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

The State of Anti Summer

I know I live in a desert. I get that. I knew it was a desert when I moved here.
I didn't fully appreciate what that meant.
I do now.
Leave, you say?
Why, yes! Of course! Let's!
Then, our eclectic group continues to grow. Eventually, we might have enough skills between us to make and or do anything we wish, outside of things like, say, leaving the actual planet.
I'm not leaving this desert until I can take them with me.
And therein lies the word for the day. How to survive another summer in a place where it's possible not to survive summer.
We will stay safely hidden in our caves, we will use our brains and we will live in our heads.
Poppets and other art will reflect this mentality. It can't be helped. What we create mostly always reflects our current state.
Solstice? Oh yes. We have entered the state of the Anti Summer.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Algernon's Poppet

Today, from the perspective of its end, was more like three days than one.

I'm extremely glad to have experienced... them.

And we're left with these two, who seem as likely as any of us humans to figure things out.

We can only hope, silly humans.


p.s. Cookie Monster makes an appearance on The Colbert Report. If you didn't catch it tonight, catch it tomorrow. Don't miss it. Focus!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Virginia's Corset

I sent Spencer a basic brain. He modified it a bit and added an LED array.
Then he gave it back.
Just as with any sort of collaboration, I was surprised at what I got back, and intrigued by the challenge of making it mine.
I think the coolest thing about her is that she makes even me slightly uncomfortable.
The other coolest thing is that the cobalt glass sphere rolls, creating a strange tactile sort of interaction.
I cannot stop touching her.
The other coolest thing is that there's a soft button under her 'belly' that, when touched, sets off a series of lightning-like flashes inside that vary depending on the duration and cadence of the touching.
She seems alive to me.

At eight in the evening, Orion and I swam. It was 102 degrees F outside. We watched the bats come out.
Tomorrow is another day. Another brain.
Summer is here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

anti summer

Summer is upon us. We work like fiends,
--Angie, Bent, Spencer and I. Working and swimming a bit and mostly keeping each other sane. We try to ignore the light outside, so bright we can hear it.

And at the end of the day too tired to do much more than put our feet in the water.
We make some cooler, darker, damper and more visceral things, exploring their spaces and ours.
Here are some bits of work in progress.
Like diving into cool water, sometimes we dive into dark places, don't we?
I'm thinking such explorations under the surface could help us better understand light.
Now we are swimming.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Light, Plants, Spiders, Ouch and the Elusive Hat

What's going on today.... We are overrun with spider plants. How does this happen? It happens because your artist tends to be slightly anthropomorphic about things like poppets and plants. Hard to believe, isn't it?

What to do. I don't have the heart to abandon a single one. And these things are the rabbits of the plant world.

Likely a party is in in which everyone goes home with a basket.
Poppet helps me survey the situation. But we don't last long. It's mid-day and the light is blinding. I can describe the heat, but really, you can't understand it without the experience.

a closer look at our friend.

Quite bright inside too.

Poppet is bombarded by a storm of

strange light.
Not to worry. None of us were harmed, but we stood blinking for some time after.
Note to self: order more goggles
I continue to work intensely on projects that fall outside my comfort zone. The work is fun and mind-bending. The physical toll is not fun and actually quite sucky.
I'm thinking, as I'm standing there trying to brush my teeth by moving my head instead of my arms, that likely it's time to take a break.
Nearly time. I'm having way too much fun. Yes, I am a sad case.

And lastly, I could use a bit of help. I'm trying to find a top hat, extra large( to fit Pete's head) to geek /hack into costuming for High Sierra Music Festival. So far our efforts have resulted in well, increased wariness of ebay purchasing of hats and little else. I'm happy to purchase and/or trade for Poppets, and/or to return the hat complete with it's strange improvements.
Anyone got any good top hat resources?

Back to the laboratory, er, studio.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Maximillian is Six

The birthday boy.

Snapshots from his day, and of the people who celebrated with him.

Thanks for your discussion yesterday. Today was everything good about the marking of occasions.

Not so much writing tonight. Your artist has taken a day off.

Ahhh.... Palm Springs has its good points.


Friday, June 06, 2008

First question, work and water.

Alison and Logan were here for a few days.

Logan experienced his first swim.

or possibly it is his second swim.
Which swim is his first might be purely subjective.
We humans tend to mark firsts.
We crawl, walk, grow teeth, tell lies, have sex, drink coffee, get jobs, fight, try drugs. Why is it that we tend to document the "firsts" of these nearly universal experiences?

Some things get recorded in scrapbooks or video or family albums.Others are quietly and permanently inked into our private memories.
Is this noting of 'firsts' a cultural thing, or a human thing?

I wonder.

It seems sometimes we humans go to a great deal of trouble deciding which thing was first. Sometimes people get into great arguments over which thing was first. Sometimes those arguments involve great numbers of people and result in a great deal of suffering.

Is this the human race?

What is the root of the word "race?"
How does it apply to being human and to being first?
Let me know what you find out. I'll be back. I must get back to making things.

I'm in that place where I'm mostly working if I'm not sleeping. And I'm not sleeping that much. And actually, I'm beginning to feel as though I'm working in my sleep too. Possibly I am. Insanity is sure to follow without a break. Good thing I'm taking one soon.

We're hosting a birthday party here on Sunday for Orion's friend Maximillian, whom we've affectionately dubbed "Maxitrillion."

We'll celebrate with a pool full of kids. It will look like kiddie soup. With noodles.