Whose In Control?

 

The Goddess Indica Enters the Garden. But, Whose In Control?

Mixed Media Sculpture by Steve Wilson

Whose in control?  If you’ve been asking yourself this question lately, this music video might be for you.  It was inspired by a mixed media sculpture I made recently.  Typically, I resist giving names to my art pieces, but the name for this one came mid-production.  I hope you enjoy it.  Follow this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9JpddBh8RQ&t=119s

“Wunjo”: A Music Video for the Times.

Have you been feeling confined lately and in need for a trip?   Today’s video from Shrink Wrap/Wilson Bros. may be the ticket.  But, first the back story.

Last Fall, I invited my brother, James and his wife to visit us in March 2020 in order to escape from the harsh Minnesota weather. I also suggested that we plan an event where our band and others would play.

Over time, the date got pushed back to April 11th and the event became what I called a “Happening” where a handful of visual artists, word artists and musicians would creatively interact.  The number of participants was kept small since this was seen as an experiment that might be done on a larger scale, if successful.  Needless to say, something happened that prevented this Happening from happening.  Maybe another Happening will be planned down the pike.  For now, I feel like I would like to try release some videos that might come close to capturing what I imagine might have been the “feel” of such an event.  I am posting this on the day the Happening would have happened.

As part of my preparation for the event, I created a 50 min. video that I planned to project in a loop, during the event.   A couple of weeks ago, my brother sent me a new tune called “Wunjo” so I could provide some feedback.  As I listened to this tune, it occurred to me that it might work with some of the video material I had planned for the Happening.  Both the music and the video conjured up for me a Journey to places and times beyond the ordinary.  So, the video below incorporates my brother’s music with a small portion of the larger video I had prepared for the Happening

The videos I will be releasing in the future have incorporated some images by the artists that had committed to be part of the Happening.  In Wunjo, you will see some digital images from Jake Gage’s Buddha series, a video of a swinging Buddha by Annie Pirruccello and a painting by Barry Robson. For the best experience, watch on “full screen” mode with headphones.

I asked my brother to provide some insight into the title Wunjo.    Below is his response.

“Wunjo” refers to a letter in the Rune alphabet. Runes in general, reference an alphabet that was used in Northern Europe before the eventual adoption of the Latin alphabet.  The earliest runic inscriptions date from around 150 AD.  Each rune, often made of bone, wood or stone was imprinted with a carved symbol, has a name and a sound, as well as a given meaning.  Like Chinese characters, Runes can represent a letter as well as a “concept “, or a word, and thus sometimes used for fortune telling and divinations, much like a Tarot card.  Wunjo was used to symbolize emotional satisfaction, happiness, and/or light, i.e., a generally positive state-of-mind. 

Use of Runes is tied to Celtic cultures.  Today, the term Celtic generally refers to the languages and respective cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Brittany, also known as the Celtic nations.  The vocalist you hear on this track, Celica Soldream, calls herself “Celtia”, and has focused her talent on evoking a “Celtic feeling” with her singing.   I personally find Celtic vocals mesmerizing and even transcendent, which is why you will hear Celtia’s vocals on a number of my tracks.  I believe it lends an overall “other worldly” feeling to the music.

I hope that Wunjo will carry you away to distant times and lands, but most importantly, clear your mind, relax, and enjoy!   Peace.

James Wilson

Here is the link to “Wunjo”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WvF3Dq0CxA

Eureka Garden Episode #5: Language of the Birds

Over the past couple of years, sculptures that resemble what I imagine might be produced by the very first artists on earth, have passed through my studio.  Many who see them either ask me why they were created or suggest that I undertake some sort of inquiry as to why they have appeared in my life.  While the idea of having some sort of dialogue with these creatures appeals to me- after all, Carl Jung did this with his art during the development of a process he called “active imagination”- I’ve yet to follow through on such a project.  I’m not sure whether it is because I’m lazy or because I am in accord with Thomas Moore who wrote:

Usually when we explain a painting precisely, its mystery vanishes

along with its value.  The very point of a good painting is to keep

us wondering, asking questions, offering interpretations and

contemplating.

Who knows?  I may eventually end up doing some of this Jungian analysis where I treat these creations as archetypes and inquire into why they exist.  For now, I am having fun creating new art using this strange cast of characters.  I invite you to follow the link below to a video where some of these creatures show up.  It’s called Eureka Garden Episode 5: Language of the Birds. I’d suggest listening with high quality headphones.

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Eureka Moments Episode 4: Collaboration with Artist Charley Taylor

 

 

 

Those who have seen earlier videos from Eureka garden know that “collaboration” is a recurring theme.  I am interested in this topic, not because I am an expert, but because I feel like I probably could learn some important life lessons by being more collaborative.  Collaborations of all types require that one enter into relationships where one’s ego is on the line, so to speak.  Once you are involved with other people, you are not in complete control; you have to become flexible.

There are different levels of collaboration and most of us collaborate at elementary levels.  For instance, I have the good fortune of being a member of Art Group of North County (https://artgroupofnorthcounty.weebly.com/) , a group that meets weekly to critique one another’s creations and to jointly promote exhibitions.  What I call “higher order collaborations” are rarer in the arts and entail creating projects jointly.  In these cases, each of the participants must listen to and consider ideas from the others and this means they may have to “let go” of pet ideas or insights.  From what I have read, those who engage in such collective creative processes find them extremely challenging and also extremely satisfying.  Understandably, artists from different disciplines (e.g. music and visual arts) find collaborating especially difficult, as well as rewarding.  Interestingly, those reporting on such experience all say that just sitting down and getting to know the other person is the most important part of collaborating.

One of the reasons for establishing “Eureka Gardens”, (which mainly entailed giving a name to my back yard), was to set up a way of practicing collaboration in a semi-formal way, with someone I trust and feel comfortable with; namely my wife.  By thinking of our joint effort as an artistic collaboration, I believe I have become more mindful of how my ego works and how it often gets in the way of maintaining harmony in the garden.  I have no clue of what the future will bring, but I would hope that the Eureka Garden concept may lead to some “higher order” collaborations with various artists.

You can see a small step in this direction in the 5-minute video below.  In this case, we collaborated with artist Charley Taylor- whose painting we purchased- to find a suitable context for viewing her piece.  There are no blank spaces in our house or garden, so when looking for a place for new art we have to give some thought as to how it will interact with surrounding elements. This is something I had not paid much attention to in the past and I’m finding it to be an interesting challenge.  In this case, we thought the artist should have some say in the process and this is what the video is about.

https://youtu.be/RJOL9krwBO0

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Eureka Moments Episode #3: Modern Mud Men Remixed

“In some societies, adults don’t seem to be nearly so different from children, or to have forgotten the values of childhood. They may paint their faces the way children do and ritualize all of life in dance, song, story, and many forms of play.”

                                                       Thomas Moore

What do adults wallowing in the mud in Youtube videos say about the state of affairs in Eureka Garden?  Whether or not you’ve already seen the video “Modern Mud Men”, check out the video below to find out how and why I  decided to “clean it up”.

To see previous episodes or other videos on the ART AND ZEN TODAY Youtube Channel, click on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKjCTdN9J7bhP7QCS16d1sA

 

To see previous articles published since 2012, scroll down to the bottom of the page.  You can also search by topic; write your search term in the box and hit “enter”.

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EUREKA MOMENTS: EPISODE 2, EVERYDAY COLLABORATION

Most days my wife and I will have several conversations about changes we want to make in the garden; changes in planting or the placement of art objects.  Most of the time, I do not have my video camera at hand.  The video featured in today’s post consists of those rare times when I did remember to record our efforts. Most of the “collaborations” captured in the video are continuations of earlier conversations and so the full context may not always be evident.  However, I hope you enjoy “Eureka Moments #2: Everyday Collaboration”.  You can see the video by clicking on the link below: https://youtu.be/z6ncpQcCrvE

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A Brief Shamanic Tour Through Eureka Garden

Today’s post is a video entitled “Eureka Moments, Episode 1: A Brief Shamanic Journey Through the Garden”.  This is the first of a series centered around our Eureka Garden.  A recurring theme in this new series will be “creative collaborations”.  The producers of this video make no claim that the Journey depicted represents an actual Shamanic Journey. This video was made for entertainment purposes only; mainly our own.  Our goal at Eureka Garden is to foster creativity and fun through collaboration.

To watch the video, follow the link below.  Please use headphones for optimum audio quality.

https://youtu.be/h0hj2W4L1BI

To learn more about the history and meaning of the word “Eureka”, check this link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eureka_(word)

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“HOW DOES JESUS SAVE US?” : NEW RELEASE BY WILSON BROS/ SHRINK WRAP

 

 

 

Today’s post consists of an audio and video experience.  The first is Wilson Bros/Shrink Wrap’s newest release “How Does Jesus Save Us?”  Also included is a video where I describe the process of teaming up with my brother to create a music that is related to increasing our awareness of death and dying.  I’d suggest scrolling down to the music first and then viewing the video if you are interested.     

Link to Video Entitled “Some Thoughts on Music and Death”

https://youtu.be/jZqEHGJ9h04

Here are some suggestions for listening:

1) Play the music when you have enough time to mindfully listen without worrying about being distracted by other issues.

2) Use whatever rituals you usually use when preparing  to move out of the  flow of ordinary life.

3) The music was especially created to be heard through headphones.  Try to avoid earplugs, if possible.

4)  As you listen, focus on your bodily reactions (i.e. sensations, feelings, emotions etc., whether positive or negative) rather than the meaning of what you are hearing.

5)  Try listening to the piece more than once be open to having different experiences with each exposure.  Try dancing/moving while you listen!

An Incantation to Time’s Disintegration of Memory: The Art of Gwyn Henry

 

Sudie by Gwyn Henry

I often feature artistists whose work seems to exemplify the perspectives on  art and spirtiual practices that I have developed over the years on this site.  As I have pointed out in previous posts, art practice can often be meditative in nature but it also seems to inevitable bring up “issues” which, if faced fully, can be transformitive.  A good example of this, I think, can be found in the work of Gwyn Henry of Excondido CA.  This post consists of a video, a series of images and a short statement  by Gwyn.  My suggestion is that you watch her short video first and then scroll down to see the still images and her account of how her work has evolved.       http://choctaw44.wixsite.com/gwynart

 

 

 Click on link to see Video by Gwyn Henry:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIKNnFjtKac&feature=youtu.be

 

“An Incantation to Time’s Disintegration of Memory”

                         by Gwyn Henry

When I acquired software that allowed my computer to communicate with an old-school VCR player, I was eager to put my parents’ vintage home movie footage into my film editing application for viewing. The footage was in VHS cassette format, and had been stored for over half a century. Once the frames began to move in front of me, I suddenly became aware of, and shocked by, the way those cherished images of my childhood, were decomposing. They had become a chaos of fragments, like shards from a broken mirror…. a disembodied head here, an arm there, torsos flitting briefly across the sceene. What images were still discernable held striations, static, their colors fading fast, and large sections were already and simply gone.

This disintegration struck me as a profound metaphor for what happens to human memories. In the same way one might discover, years after a loved one dies, calling their face to mind has become strangely impossible; or we have forgotten the ending of one of our life’s important narratives; or have confused one long-ago friend with another…

 

Watching my childhood flicker and sputter before me, it was as if the most fundamental connections to other humans… my parents, grandparents, brother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins… were literally, before my eyes, saying good by, breaking up & vanishing. More than a few times I reached to touch the screen, as if to stay them, as if I could hold them in my hand to keep them from leaving.

 

Yet even as I experienced this human aversion to the way Nature imposes a time limit on the stuff of this world, I must admit to finding Beauty within that disintegration and vanishment. The nascent Images of my life, preserved by this outmoded technology, reveal an eloquence that speaks to many things: the fading of the history of our lives as it exists in memory, the temporary nature of our lives, the physical decay of the tapes themselves, and just as much, the conceptual worlds of technologies that come and go with the quickness of ephemera: Today’s high-cachet iphone is tomorrow’s rubbish.

Immersed in making video art at the time, I created and produced a “video poem” from the home movie footage, presenting the images as art as well as artifact. The video poem was intended to be an abstraction, or embodiment, of the essential qualities of my discovery of the connection between the loss of memory, and the loss of the vintage tapes. An attempt to show the way I experienced it. It is titled, AN INCANTATION TO

 

TIME’S DISINTEGRATION OF MEMORY.

A few years later, I revisited the video poem, which resulted in me excising single frames, “stills”, from it (perhaps, unknowingly, another attempt to keep the images from disappearing!). After adding more digital effects, then printing and framing them, to my surprise they became icon-like in their stillness, images frozen for contemplation. Like icons, they offer entry to the world of the subject (my family and my childhood).. a world where discovery and revelation can be found and explored.

I have determined that not only traditional religious icons can lead to revelation. A single human life also encompasses its own world of personal iconic images which, if entered, offers a path to deeper knowledge and understanding of that individual world. Those images can allow us to see and feel even more keenly what we have lived.

—Gwyn

NOTE:

Some of the images carry a visual conversation between my inked traces, and the landscape of the image. I found this process to be meditative, and evocative of feelings and impressions that were often beyond words. Each ended with a sense of a completed entirety….something had been brought full circle. –g,

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1) “wow, I felt it as a dissolution of the Self…
thank you for this Steve”  A.

2)

Thanks for that Steve… I don’t often take the time to ponder and reflect regarding where I have been and where I am going as a result of where I have been… Yet, when I do, very much like Gwyn, I am apt to walk through doors which have been closed for years or perhaps doors that I never even stood in front of before – Deep stuff, my man!!! again, thanks for sharing.  S.
3)

I know Gwyn.
Jon

 

“MONEY (THAT’S WHAT I WANT)” FEATURING M.C. DONALD TRUMP

Over the past few months I have been using my Digital Audio Workstation to put my personal signature on some of my favorite dance tunes.  In one, ” Money (That’s What I Want)”, I used selections from some Trump speeches to create a “Trump Rap” section. Probably because the Republican Convention began today, I remembered this revamped tune and decided it might be interesting to post it on Youtube.  So I quickly downloaded a bunch of photos and videos that I thought might go with the music.

Here at Art and Zen Today, we tend to try to remain bipartisan or at least bi-polar,  so this is not the usual type of video featured here.  However, I just could not help myself and hope that you enjoy it.  Believe me, it’s huge!!  “Money” is a great dance tune, so if your going to listen to it, you might as well get up and dance as well. To watch the video, click on the link below:

 

https://youtu.be/sIhXrihI2QQ

 

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