Could you please not be so definitive
But where are you? Just sand and mountains in the distance. A figure enters the picture. He settles in, relaxes, takes a long look. It's a nice place to speak out loud without somebody talking back. He's talking and listening; a beautiful composition in white and blue. While the landscape is real, it is an image with a recorded sound. He is placing his voice from a while ago in response to a picture that is now, a representation of a landscape. He places himself within the picture, his back to us. His monologue, carefully punctuated by single notes, is a prologue to a fragmented orchestra, finding a rhythm over time.
Allow me to hold on to this and look at it so I can see what it is
An address to an unknown you is the call for a love to be reciprocated. In life this is hard to achieve, and harder to sustain. In art and music, this love happens from time to time and when it does it can resonate for a lifetime. Words can open doors to our inner selves, and music can touch us in ways that words can not. We reciprocate, we wander and watch, read and listen.
it would be good to be able to bypass cliche
His longing is taking him on quests to find the embodied images and emotions held within the landscapes of the West – a geography that cannot be detached from its mythology. I hear a melancholic Sterling Hayden playing Johnny Guitar in Nicholas Ray's eponymous classic Western from 1954. The Western genre had turned into pure theater and stage, a quotation of its celluloid past. The cliches can only be encountered head on.
There are these moments, these gestures that happen, that occur, that are very intangible, very slippery
The sublime and chance do not meet often, but they might if the constellation is right. Throwing stones at an instrument is motivated by the simple hope that it's going to be a hit. The guitar has one string left, and the reward is a simple utterance that resonates around a vast open space – a brief moment that resonates with who we are.
Allow things to coalesce and not just stumble around bouncing from object to object
In this open studio throwing stones is a skilll one can practice to capture gestures that might produce meaning. He believes in a moment of beauty held within the chance encounter between a rock and an instrument, or the desert and a sound. It's neither a pathetic ephiphany of the sublime nor an ironic gesture, it's a sincere attempt at coming out on the other side of paradox, affected by this experience.
Sometimes the moments and the parts work well in accordance with things
Mythic shadows loom large – Samuel Beckett, John Cage, Caspar David Friedrich, Ansel Adams, John Ford, Richard Long, or the simple folk music of troubadours such as Pete Seeger. Their artistic voices are all out "there". Walking into such a charged picture is thus more than a visceral experience, it is a walk towards a work, an exhibition, a performance; towards some “thing" that might coalesce to become something else.
It seems that everything fails at becoming something most of the time
One can get lost in this "predicament of always"; trying to relate to something, trying to work through what has been said, played, painted, and pictured in so many ways before. Trying to find his own voice, he is all alone out there in search of "possible truths" among contradictory statements – the definition of paradox. The continuity of the staged grandiosity of the landscape is broken up into a series of fragmentary scenes and single notes, gradually recomposing into a larger picture that never becomes 'whole' but evokes a palpable sense of being somewhere else stretched over time – of not being lost.
And then I introduce myself again and again.
Starting all over again, "something" always starts with "A" – in texts as well as in music. Here he is tuning landscapes, instruments, pictures, and words "in A", like Terry Riley’s "In C." There is a harmony out there, but on this side of the paradox, we need to introduce ourselves to it, too, again and again.
There are parts and then there are moments.
This is his and our predicament, always. But it is "as it is" and "as we are." It's hard but not impossible. One can find accordance, we just have to walk and enter the picture. Let's respond.
- Rudolf Frieling
Curator of Media Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
[Quotes in italics are taken from the original soundtracks of the predicament of always (as it is) and the predicament of always (as we are) (2014)]