2003 Notebook: Weak XLI
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9 October 2003
No. 3,280 (cartoon)
No one cares.

I care.

No one cares.

10 October 2003
A Surprising Revelation
Things are very quiet here in Santa Fe, so I decided to update some of the neglected corners of my Internet site. I started with the Art index page, since the most recent work there was from 2001. I looked through my 2002 notebook, and was surprised that it appeared that I’d done almost no art last year.

Here’s what I found:

  • An ongoing series of cartoons, but I’m not sure whether or not they and/or my notebook(s) are art. (I do know, however, that it doesn’t matter at all whether or not they’re art, Art, or something else entirely.)
  • The portrait I made of Elizabeth that was the result of decades of dreaming, a piece that’s serving as the basis for large body of new work.
  • A passing reference to Of What is Adobe Made? without mentioning that most of the photographs from that huge project are online elsewhere.
  • And no mention of HTF or any of the other pieces I’ve been quietly working on for years.
The good news is that I still have a satisfactory answer to the question every artist dreads, the question I ask myself several times a day: “What have you done lately?”

The bad news is that my work on large projects doesn’t lend itself to presentation in my notebook(s).

The surprising news is that, for the immediate future, it looks like I’m mostly done making conceptual art that was designed to be downloaded and printed by the viewer. I can’t believe I never noticed that until now. I should have been suspicious when I showed a couple of pieces—Big Bad Brutal Baghdad Bully Boy Bamboozler Bang! and the jazz piece with the nine-hundred and ten character title—in my notebook but chose not to make downloadable PDFs available. And I really should have known that I’d changed directions when I wrote about the latter piece, “Until now, I’ve been satisfied with small prints, but this one needs to be huge.”

As Sherlock Holmes might have said, “This is a three-bowl problem.” I wonder what ever happened to my pipe?

11 October 2003
Another Piece Scuttled
Damn damn damn! A week after I had to scuttle my hand scan project, I just discovered that I’ll probably never realize Thirty-Six Quadrilles in Orbit.

Once upon a time, Teledesic LLC announced plans to launch two hundred and eighty-eight satellites into orbit in order to provide global Internet access. I decided to make two hundred and eighty-eight small art pieces, one for each satellite. I grouped the elements into thirty-six sets—or quadrilles—of eight that would interact with each other in orbit. I knew the company would go along with the project, so I didn’t bother telling anyone at Tesedesic that I’d be putting my art in their satellites.

After completing Thirty-Six Quadrilles in Orbit, I learned that the company had scaled back its plans, and would be using just thirty satellites. Damn! I couldn’t find a straightforward way to fit two hundred and eighty-eight pieces—or thirty-six quadrilles—into thirty satellites, so I put the project aside for a while.

Today, I decided to see what Teledesic was doing, so I visited the company’s Internet site. And that’s where I discovered that the company’s founder announced the “decision to suspend our activities.”

Since I have no idea where I’m going to find thirty—let alone two hundred and eighty-eight—satellites, it looks like Thirty-Six Quadrilles in Orbit is another of my stillborn pieces.

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12 October 2003
Talking with Lee Oskar Again
A quarter century ago, more or less, I met the harmonica player (harmonicist?) Lee Oskar backstage after I photographed a performance by War, an ensemble in which he played.

Lee declined my request to photograph him; he was tired after a long show. I understood, and told him that I wanted him to have a photograph I made of a couple we both knew.

“Where’d you get this?” he asked when he saw the portrait I made of Bill and Betty Koon.

I told him that they’d taken me in when I was a teenager stranded in San Francisco for a few days. (The story of a hiking trip gone horribly wrong is another story entirely.) The Koons recounted the story of how their daughter’s friend from Denmark had come to spend a night and stayed for six months. That friend was, of course, Lee.

Having established a common link, I again asked him if I could take a photograph to send to our mutual friends.

“I’ll do anything for the Koons!” Lee replied. If I recall correctly, this remark generated a few raised eyebrows among the other people in the dressing room, most of whom were black.

Today, I saw Lee again. I told him Bill died fifteen years ago, and we shared fond memories of the Koons. We enjoyed a pleasant conversation that generated no amusing anecdotes.

13 October 2003
The pResident’s Terrible Poem
This is the poem the pResident of the United States sent his wife.
    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    Oh my lump in the bed
    How I’ve missed you.

The verse is commensurate with the unelected official’s second-grade education; no surprises there. What’s amazing is that his wife, also known as “lump in bed,” chose to read the inane lines in public.

On second thought, I suppose it’s not too surprising; they each married someone on their own intellectual level.

After I showed George’s alleged poem to Pamela, she was unable to resist the urge to edit, and came up with this:

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    If I were married to George Bush
    I’d sleep in the loo.

14 October 2003
Go Cats Go!
Although I don’t really care for jazz all that much, I’ve enjoyed chatting with the musicians I’ve met here at the Santa Fe festival. They’ve all been very friendly, despite my ignorance of their music.

I’m surprised by the amount of drugs and alcohol I’ve seen backstage in the course of sixteen concerts: one bottle of wine shared between four or five people. That’s it. No whiskey and heroin, no marijuana and cocaine, no speed and beer, no pills, no powders, just a little bottle of red wine. Jazz is even less entertaining without the clichés.

And that’s why I was happy to hear that many of the musicians still use the word “cat,” e.g., “I saw this cat in Chicago,” “Joey was playing with some cats just outta school,” et cetera. Although jazz has so far failed to seduce me, I do love cats of almost any persuasion.

Go cats go!

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©2003 David Glenn Rinehart