All things being equal, which they are not, never have been nor
never will be, I would propose here that at or close to the top of a long list
of things that are really very very hard to do, “NOT THINKING” is right up there.
How would that feel? What would it look like?
Bonus 5 points on your grade - who says?;
“Consciousness is a disease”
I was allowed by about age 12 to ride the subway unescorted.
In this 50 year interval, there has become for
me an affection for the blank billboards on the train platforms, prepared by scraping with a
plastering tool so to remove layers of old ads in readiness for new. Nowadays, video screens no doubt provide way higher revenues for the MTA
so if you're hunting for scrapes, the
outer borough local stops is where the hunting is best.
Out in one hour commute land, the old
wallpaper technique is still the fashion.
Sometimes if my train is delayed, I'll stroll
the platform end to end, half looking for a
scrape and half just ad shopping. Ads for
investment strategies and ads for aps and
cultural institutions and a cornucopia of
droll ads for psycho-mytho-apocolypto-sexo
changeo fictions in all mediums venues and
Long leg women and ruthless men, heads
turned contrary to shoulders and all competing for the most vapid stare.
Muscular men clutch spectacle women sporting vanishing point cleavage.
“A New Original Series” the sign says. But if I can gaze into a thing of no composition or design, no symmetry or sentiment, no memory or proposition, might I too, for a moment out of time, cease to think.
There is film footage of Jackson Pollock in his barn on Long Island,
painting on a large canvas on the floor. Sometimes he is outside
but the canvas is on the ground or floor. Movin' an'a groovin'
around the canvases, sometimes
he steps upon them. Here is Mr. Abstract.
“My three year old can do that” or “My cat can do that”. Of course
that is not true and I delight in Pollock and will defend him ever
and always. And I don't think he is all that abstract, whatever that means.
While we're here, let's stroll over to Mr. Dictionary and check out this
“abstract” biz. It has a range of meanings. I wont present them all. Let's
stick with the adjectives. Opinions are like adjectives.
What did Mark Twain say about adjectives? Abstract -
*Disassociated from any specific
instance or material object
* Not concrete
*Design or form that is not
representational Huh, very interesting. So I've seen a few Pollocks in my day. They're all different and a
little bit similar. Early Pollocks showed
some imagery but I'm not talking about those – I mean Pollock Pollocks.
He painted them and they're his – like big signatures. They have design
and repetition. He choose the colors and the means of application.
He made choices in his execution. Yes, no representation, yes, no narrative but where there is mind and a hand one may find intention and design.
That's okay. I love that stuff. Many – not all - of those guys are great
and their work should be taken seriously. Back to scrapes now;
Yes, they were produced by a hand connected to a mind but the intention
was to remove old ads, in a sense, destruction. Shapes, colors, the
occasional appearance of image and a touch of graffiti...all perfectly
random, undetermined. Not designed,
of no mind and, the collision of many
disparate minds negating the intention
of the other minds. And here is the best
part; someone will in a short space
of time be coming by with a new bundle
of ads and a roller and a squeegee and
some oatmeal glue and poof !,
the scrape is gone. To be born again.
Later, maybe. Primavera.
They must be organic – they exist in
These scrapes we show you here
were found on the E-F-M-R line
in Queens. If you find scrapes on your
routes and see their charm, well, take a
picture and we will post it. It stands to
reason that these would occur on roadside billboards as well and dontcha know we would love to see that. A great big one. Dig it!