Saturday, August 11, 2012

Contact Sheets

Contact sheets are when the photographer first takes a roll of film and develops multiple little pictures on a sheet in order to choose which ones to make into larger prints. No, I have no idea what they are. But that is my theory. About what they are. Yesterday I was at an art gallery in lower Manhattan where I was confronted.

The gallery had stuck a bunch of little wooden boxes on the wall. And put out these little magnification cones you could use to look at the contact sheets. Or anything I suppose. They didn't specify. Anyway it was nerdly fun to actually get involved like that rather than just drift past whatever large thing is on the wall like usual. Perhaps making a face or two as my contribution. Or maybe trying to impress someone? Probably myself? Perhaps recognizing one or two of the photos, out loud, from across the room. Even if I’m wrong, I can always walk up to the placard and go, “Oh yeah, of course, so and so.” It's a victory if I feel like it is.

But no, this do-it-yourself arrangement was even better than all that. What did I do with this new opportunity you ask? My first achievement was convincing a pair of (ethnicity withheld) tourists that what I was looking at was extremely interesting. I did this by emitting a variety of murmurs of ecstasy/delight/bewilderment while gazing intently through the little cone and thinking of some happy (albeit fabricated) memory from a childhood. Other memories would allow me to make a tiny old art crone pivot in place. A bald guy with a frontal fanny pack smile (though I cannot prove he wasn't smiling for some other reason; you can't prove anything; you weren't even there I was). And I think I may also have been the cause for a very pointed muttering. Very pointed.

Of course I immediately wanted to do something like that on the website, so other people could have the same fun time as I just did. But it wouldn’t work. You can’t look at a monitor through a cone and expect anything great to happen. They’re just aren’t the pixels for it. And plus nobody is walking around beside you. And this is what frustrates me so much about experiencing art, or anything, in life. Not everybody else gets to have the experience. Those people who couldn’t or wouldn’t or for whatever reason just didn’t go.

So my next plan was to send everyone I know a ticket to come to New York and see this thing. Which I did. But it still didn't work because I forgot that it dumped rain on us that day. Which forgot to recreate. So it just wasn’t the same.

New plan. I could get a contact sheet of my own and a magnifying lens. Then mail it to someone. They could have the experience, then mail it to someone else. And so on. Forever. Until somebody broke the lens. I told my lady friend who is sitting across from me in the coffee shop about this five seconds ago, and she has just reminded me how much everyone hates chain letters. Yeah. That’s true.

Anyway, here’s a link to a silly YouTube video.

August 2007

And when you realize that their activities are shabby, that their vocations are petrified and no longer connected with life, why not then continue to look upon it all as a child would, as if you were looking at something unfamiliar, out of the depths of your own solitude, which is itself work and status and vocation? Why should you want to give up a child's wise not-understanding in exchange for defensiveness and scorn, since not-understanding is, after all, a way of being alone, whereas defensiveness and scorn are participation in precisely what, by these means, you want to separate yourself from.

Think, dear Sir, of the world that you carry inside you, and call this thinking whatever you want to: a remembering of your own childhood or a yearning toward a future of your own - only be attentive to what is arising within you, and place that above everything you perceive around you. What is happening on your innermost self is worthy of your entire love; somehow you must find a way to work at it, and not lose too much time or too much courage in clarifying your attitude toward people.”


yes but i argue the DVD is a mistake then. if it is worse than vinyl then we should not have switched.

and then once we have switched. we must work with the tools of our time.

if not because they are better

but because that's what's available

and good luck finding everything you want on real film... or vinyl...


i’m repeating myself

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