Friday, January 29, 2010

i&p 1/29

i just realized that i still have photos on my phone that i took at the field museum in chicago over break.
taxidermy, insects, native american things, and other stuff i love.

dead owl

dead bat

fake storefront that looks real

i don't know what these maps were for but i like them.
something to do with rocks maybe.

bean display

adorable educational figurines for kids, of native american gods

my favorite (right), and my brother's favorite (left)

native american textiles are beautiful beautiful beautiful


BUGS. IN AMBER. (probably super old)

taxidermy deer

warthogs are one of my favorite animals.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

i&p 1/25

i just discovered the work of raul teodoro.
i love love love it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

i&p 1/24: taxidermy

when i'm in chicago, i sometimes spend hours in the "nature walk" exhibit at the field museum, which features hundreds upon hundreds of glass cases filled with taxidermy animals in simulated natural environments. it's strange that humans are so cut off from the natural world that we would choose to spend time in an artificial one, ironically located in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the country, in order to better understand it (or simply marvel at it).

the very idea of eternally preserving parts of the world around us, whether as trophies or for educational purposes, is unique to humans. it's a practice which sets us apart from animals, but also forces us to think about them.

on a lighter note, my brother showed me this website today,
here are some images from the site:

..people are weird.

i&p 1/24

Thursday, January 21, 2010

i&p 1/21: quote day

i think my topic is going to be (to put it as vaguely as possible): humans & animals.
to be more specific: the way human life effects animal life and vice versa, the way humans view and respond to animals, the struggle as a human of coming to terms with being both an animal and something entirely different, etc.

this may manifest in something that attempts to directly address one or more of these themes in a serious way, or i may end up mostly doodling adorable animals.

i obsessively collect quotes, which i feel inform all of my work. due to the openness of this project right now, these quotes are threatening to appear all too often in my posts, which i'd prefer to be more visual, so i think i will instead get them off my chest all at once.
here's everything that i feel even loosely relates to my topic.
(it feels strange to post something this personal. i'm not sure whether it's therapeutic or just a little embarrassing.)

"The horse at the bottom of the river, shrouded by the sunken night sky, closed its heavy eyes. The prehistoric ant in Yankel's ring, which had lain motionless in the honey-colored amber since long before Noah hammered the first plank, hid its head between its many legs, in shame." jonathan safran foer, everything is illuminated, 11

"You will remember when a bird crashed through the window and fell to the floor. You will remember, those of you who were there, how it jerked its wings before dying, and left a spot of blood on the floor after it was removed. But who among you was first to notice the negative bird it left in the window? Who first saw the shadow that the bird left behind, the shadow that drew blood from any finger that dared to trace it, the shadow that was better proof of the bird's existence than the bird ever was?" jonathan safran foer, everything is illuminated, 38

"We consider the animals to be lower, and to me, that makes no sense at all. If you look at a tree or a mushroom or a squirrel, it's perfectly in tune with itself. It has no problem being exactly what it is, and it does what it's meant to do without any complaints or problems. Because we create all these problems in being, we think we're somehow higher than the animals. But it's we humans who have a difficult time even caring for our children, or anything."
-jeff mangum

"It's everybody, I mean. Everything everybody does is so--I don't know--not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid, necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless--and sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you're conforming just as much as everybody else, only in a different way." - JD Salinger, Franny and Zooey

"The human voice conspires to desecrate everything on Earth." - JD Salinger, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

"there was no such thing as society and even if there was, i most certainly had nothing to do with it." -trainspotting

"Somewhere in the far north of Canada there would be snow, falling soundlessly over the Beaufort Sea, falling over the Arctic without a soul to see it. What kind of weather was that, Samson wondered, and how was one to use such information except as proof that the world was too much to bear?" -nicole krauss, man walks into a room

"Would the last animal, eating garbage and living on the last scrap of land, his mate dead, would he still forgive you?" - barry lopez, emory bear hands' birds, a convergence of birds, 21

"Or maybe what he fears is just the opposite: that nobody is looking; that his death, like his life, is without purpose; that there is neither greater good nor evil--only people living and dying because their bodies function and then do not; that the universe is a rip." - Jonathan Safran Foer, If the Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe, a convergence of birds, 217

"Someday you will die somehow and something's gonna steal your carbon." - Modest Mouse, Parting of the Sensory, We were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

"Our laughter kept the feathers in the air. I thought about birds. Could they fly if there wasn’t someone, somewhere, laughing?” (78) Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

"There's even a moment when it becomes exhilarating to realize just how little needs to stay the same for you to continue the effort they call, for lack of a better word, being human." - Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

"The person you love is 72.8% water." - Alan Fletcher

"What lingered after them was not life, but the most trivial list of mundane facts: a clock ticking on a wall, a room dim at noon, and the outrageousness of a human being thinking only of herself." - the virgin suicides

"An average of seventy-four species become extinct every day, which was one good reason but no the only one to hold someone's hand."
— Nicole Krauss (The History of Love: A Novel)

"The breeze is keening in the high trees but this is nothing personal. The time draws close and it's all coming to a head but this is nothing personal." - tMG mini-site

"somehow the blood-rich light has drained away from it and you realize that things don't make bad scenes, people do." -john darnielle

"Don’t eat meat. Be as passionate as you can all the time. Work for social justice. Cuddle your beloved more than seems reasonable. Write. Give money to charity as often as you can, and give a little more than you’re comfortable giving. Remember the homeless always and everywhere. Thank whatever God you worship for your inestimable good luck in being loved, and if you are not loved, love someone as best you can." darnielle

"I had a teacher who said the moment when man wrote things down, life becomes a production instead of pure." - darnielle

"i'm struck with a terrible feeling this morning--terrible! wonderful!--that this is basically as good as it gets. to want anything more is greedy, to buck the fact that orange trees and their ilk are pretty much always going to make me crumble for obtuse poetic reasons is, well, a spit in the face of something much larger, much more inert, and much wiser than me." -ek

"When buck fever struck,
you stood stiff, unable
to pull the trigger while the herd
crashed past you and
into the woods.

Your cousins - who, one night
when you were all boys, scared
you in a pine grove with a candle
in a cow skull - carried
you to a clearing; they loosened
your hunting vest,
gave you a flask of Jack Daniel's,
and you remembered nothing.

* * *

Last night you dreamt of a room -
a room full of fish,
and a swimming pool
where you waded knee-deep
and hauled them all in

except for one, already dead,
a large bluefish wedged
into a corner, its back stiff.

You remember it later: its eye
like a button,
a button on another person's coat."

-- You Don't Know What Happened When You Froze, Talvikki Ansel

"Whales fall slowly to the ocean floor
after dying and feed the vertical nation
for years, Like Christ, who feeds us still
they say, though I don't know.
But imagine it:
fish chasing through the bones
or nibbling what's left, the whale,
when it finally touches bottom,
an empty church.
Forget all that,
it's intended to soften
the skin, like apricot seeds and mud, or boredom.
The drift of worlds in a given day
can turn a telephone to porcelain,
open graves in the sidewalk. So that
who knows why thinking about thinking
leads to new inventions of grace
that never take, never lead to, say, what to do
with Grandmother, who is determined to live
"beyond her usefulness," which is fine,
but why won't she relax and watch the sea with me?
I wish someone would intrude on all this.
People grow tired
explaining themselves to mirrors,
to clerks administering the awful perfume.
I ask a Liberace look-alike,
"Why do you dress that way?"
"What way?" he says,
and he's right.
Who taught us to bow our heads
while waiting for trains? to touch
lumber without regret and sing privately
or not at all? To invest the season
with forgiveness and coax from it
a hopeful omen? Lord knows
the hope would heal this little fear.
But who taught us to fear?
Soon branches crackle in the windy heat
like something cooking too quickly,
dogwood lathering the empty woods
and everyone looking for a commitment
of permanence, from summer, from someone else.
Two deer the color of corn disappear
into an empty field, and I wait beside the road
for them to move. I want to see them again."

-James Harms, The Joy Addict

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

i&p 1/20

an image i found today:

an image i found a while ago:

something that makes me happy:
people who cover their mouths when they yawn even if there's no one else around; and people who don't.

a quote i found a while ago:
"In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge they cannot lose." - Oppenheimer, on the physicists responsible for the development of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki, 1948

ideation&&&process: go!

so for my ideation* & process class, we're supposed to keep a sketchbook or some other type of visual log to help us investigate a chosen topic.
i'm making a real sketchbook, but i also don't want to waste ink & paper printing out the dozens of influences i find digitally every day, so those will go in this blog for now.
i'm going to try to update it every day or so, with both new discoveries and old obsessions.
i don't know my topic yet, but knowing me it'll be something along the lines of human/animal relationships, decomposition, old things, or the mountain goats (indirectly).

*(did you know that firefox's spell check doesn't recognize 'ideation' as a word? it doesn't recognize firefox either, though, so i'm not super worried.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


i forgot i had a blog. mostly because it was ugly. /fixed!

here're some pictures i took recently at Anthropologie, where i will never be able to afford to buy anything ever ever ever but at least i can take pictures.


it's "apocalypse week" or something equally lame on the history channel. i was watching one of the programs last night with my family -- basically a mockumentary of life after a pandemic. anyway, all of these self-proclaimed "survival experts" (i assume they're self-proclaimed because i can't deal with the absurdity of someone handing out certificates for the mastery of post-apocalyptic survival techniques) seem to believe that it would take only a few days for the facade of society to crumble under the stress of a national or global disaster. they imagine total anarchy, people shooting each other for a bit of food or water or fuel, people whose desperation completely overrides any morals or ideals they may have once had.

maybe (definitely) i'm just a hopeless idealist, but i would like to think that humans are better than that, and that the morals we follow now could still be applied in less comfortable situations. (otherwise what's the point of having them?) i'd like to think that there will always be selfless acts of kindness, and people willing to die knowing they did what was right, rather than trying to live a little bit longer through selfishness and cruelty.

historically, yes, there are plenty records of people being downright cruel, with or without reason. but there are also records of people risking their lives for others, with or without reason, and i'd like to keep those ones in mind.

i'm reading Jonathan Safran Foer's new book, Eating Animals. the passage below is told to Foer as a child by his grandmother, a holocaust survivor, and i think it's relevant to the topic above on several levels.

"During the war it was hell on earth, and I had nothing. I left my family, you know. I was always running, day and night, because the Germans were always right behind me. If you stopped, you died. There was never enough food. I became sicker and sicker from not eating, and I’m not just talking about being skin and bones. I had sores all over my body. It became difficult to move. I wasn’t too good to eat from a garbage can. I ate the parts others wouldn’t eat. If you helped yourself, you could survive. I took whatever I could find. I ate things I wouldn’t tell you about.
“Even at the worst times, there were good people, too. Someone taught me to tie the ends of my pants so I could fill the legs with any potatoes I was able to steal. I walked miles and miles like that, because you never knew when you would be lucky again. Someone gave me a little rice, once, and I traveled two days to a market and traded it for some soap, and then traveled to another market and traded the soap for some beans. You had to have luck and intuition.
“The worst it got was near the end. A lot of people died right at the end, and I didn’t know if I could make it another day. A farmer, a Russian, God bless him, he saw my condition, and he went into his house and came out with a piece of meat for me.”
“He saved your life.”
“I didn’t eat it.”
“You didn’t eat it?”
“It was pork. I wouldn’t eat pork.”
“What do you mean why?”
“What, because it wasn’t kosher?”
“Of course.”
“But not even to save your life?”
“If nothing matters, there’s nothing to save.”