Sunday, October 26, 2008

the strange case of the vanishing lookout

how often are we willing to throw our identity up in the air, to scatter the cards, let them fall where they may? it's not really easy to do. one has to be mad, or careless, desperate, or in high spirits. if i can't play with who i am, i am not doing very well.

in a place and time long, long ago, i realized people give up being artists for basically two reasons: 1. they don't want to spend so much time alone. 2. they don't want to reveal themselves.

since we're primates, we tend to hang out with others. freud, in his later years, decided the strongest human urge was to be part of a small group. and way, way back, as soon as a tribe got too large, they split in two. we see this happen yet today, everyday.

yet, can a creative thought emerge without lots of dreamy time in isolation? if we're trying too hard to solve our problems, we wake up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. without letting go into the land of illogic we can't even rest. many have said we die alone. perhaps eternal peace requires it.

as for revealing ourselves, it's part of the same plight. to be too odd is to be cast out into exile. luckily, these days, we can fit in somewhere. anything seems registered on the web. for example, you have a fetish for steam-pipe fittings. google it and you're no longer alone. around the world, out of six-billion plus people at least a dozen have a passion for crawling through passages underground, despite the claustrophobia and the heat.

in fact, it's almost impossible to be completely alone these days. even the mad have their many friends. and hermits tune into the internet without even knowing it. once you've been acclimatized, it's damned difficult to drop out of the human weather.

still, from time to time we try. two nights ago i ran around attempting to take pictures of my own ghost, dividing into multiple characters. they look like me, but... was i simply bored with thinking i'm always the same, that i know myself better than i should?

buddha said we live in a world of illusion. well, our world couldn't be more buddhist, more 'virtual.' trying to escape ourselves, we find ourselves. seeking ourselves, we run out of gas in a dali desert.

these pictures are a typical case: during a few moments last summer, after reading six books on francis bacon, i decided to find out what the bacon persona existed of. is that me i see? good gravy, it's a shame, but i can really allow myself only to distort myself. i'm too conscious of hurting other people (most of the time) to do the same to them. even bacon painted from photographs of friends, knowing how disturbing they'd find his images of them to be.

a final note: c.g. jung felt much of our energy a prisoner of our 'shadow' side. that darkness might hide goodness or evil, whatever we personally dare not express. perhaps you get energy from being swept along with the crowd. on the other hand, maybe there's merely a limpness and distance in you which allows this to happen.

certainly, if you show the sides nobody knows, you risk ending up alone, cast out of the tribe. these days you may not die, but it still doesn't necessarily feel great. even the unibomber sent out destructive messages in order to connect with the weird world he envisioned.

you can find more new summer photos at

the forecast is for snow on friday, six days away. i'm pretty much packed up, though today is warm and cloudless. see some winter lookouts from the air at