Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where We Begin

(I Can't Escape This, Reminiscene, 2008, 30x40 inch c-print)

Can we end it right now? Just moments ago you said you were alone. And just after you said that I said you weren’t. We were together on this. Right now, and right here, it was all happening, just before our eyes. The cliff was scary, but it was the only place in the world you can see a sunset like this. We promised each other we’ll never leave and if we had to do, we’d return in exactly one year from this day. It has been three years since and I haven’t seen you since. I wasted $785 dollars on a flight to the Dublin, then the car rental, another $34, and the bed & breakfast, $28, to come here and to wait for entire day, when camping out, waiting for you. You never returned, and your promise to me was lost, it probably fell off the cliff like the rocks I threw over after the first two hours of waiting. Damn it, I thought, it made me feel so empty, but more importantly, it made me feel like a fool. By the time the sun had passed overhead I was feeling better. In a place like this, you can’t help but feel lost, lost in all the good ways of being lost. I don’t think lost is the right word, how about the feeling of having escaped. When we first came here, we really did escape, we were on the run, and this place was the perfect hideout. Of course it has been three years, and the people who were looking for us had probably forgotten of us, or still have pictures of us in the pubs they frequent, and have become so familiar with the wanted posters of us that they no longer see us, just another ad that shouldn’t be up on the walls of their favorite pubs.
The first time I came here for our one year anniversary I wore a disguise; a real thick moustache and thick rimmed glasses. I even had a fake gut over my smaller gut to throw off any resemblance of my bandit self. I even packed my fly-eye plastic aviators and bandana with me, the same aviators and bandanas we used for our Dublin heist. After I was pissed off about you not being there at the cliff, I wondered if you still had the bandana and metal aviators I gave you. I wondered if you had been caught by the Mooney Brothers, and if I was wrong for cursing your absence. Maybe you were even cursing me for not coming to your rescue. I have always thought of you as the person I originally met on the train leaving Paris; a mystery. I never received any means to contact you; you would just be there when you said you would. I liked that, and I think that is why I asked you if you wanted to be my partner in the first place, you were reliable. But then we have this situation with you not being here, right now, I needed you here, so I knew you were safe, that we both were safe, one year, two, and three years after our first job together. I was left with questions, I wanted answers, and I wanted you here.
We planned our first and only heist in a coffee shop, and we were so set and so turned on by the fact we were two normal people turned bank robbers that we couldn’t wait the next few days to rob someone or something, we just had to try out our newly purposed lives out, right then and there. But a coffee shop wasn’t a great place to rob, and we had already been seen without our disguises on, so we decided on the bank across the street. I was a little nervous but not as nervous as excited. And I kind of fell in love with you right then and there because you were down for robbing people. I had never known anyone that would do that with me, or at least, I had never asked. I wanted to believe that there is only one person you are meant to rob people with, and the reason you get caught with any other partner is because they weren’t your soul partner. We were invincible I thought as we were changing into our disguises in the alleyway. We had guns, which were bought two days earlier as souvenirs for your uncle, who asked for nothing else but guns from France. We both were also buzzing from the coffee since we aren’t regulars of the caffeine fixture, which made us even more impatient and excited; impatiently excited. We decided to tie each other’s shoes, pressing down on the strings to make sure they were snug, asking each other if it was too tight or loose, we had it just right like the soul bank robbers we were. I double knotted yours because I doubted myself in my knot tying but I trusted yours. We placed our guns under our sweaters, and I gave you your bandana and wrapped inside was some aviators, and we both tied the bandanas and put the glasses on and with closed fist, we said three, two, one then you kept your hand as fist and I made scissors. I wasn’t sure what that meant but I took the first couple of steps to our future as we walked smoothly out of the alleyway across the street without anyone really seeing us. It was time.
I didn’t feel there, like I was living a life through someone else’s eyes, maybe they were your eyes. Did you have that feeling, it was sort of unreal. That feeling, I’m robbing a bank, like in the movies, but my hand is gripping a piece of steel that could kill someone, I didn’t even know if it was loaded and I checked the safety, guns had those things right? I thought it would be hard to point an potentially loaded gun at someone but when the guard came close to unclipping his hostler I didn’t hesitate, his face was point blank. I yelled beneath my bandana in a Mexican accent, and you looked over, having your gun pointed at a teller, and beneath those huge black eyes I could see your real ones, you were happy we had this going good. Our first should be a good and uncomplicated thing.
We made our demands clear, getting all the larger bills, in two big, but manageable, sacks. You went back with the bank manager and made sure things went well back there. I stayed up front, panning my gun as if I conducted the scene of the crime, one wrong move and I’ll cap you, not in the face, but maybe in the leg if I could aim, or even just close by to scare the crap out of you. I felt dangerous, I was dangerous. And for the first time in my life I was doing something really bad, and it felt great. I thought of all those old people going skydiving, or on an African safari, and I thought how much they are missing out right now, having guns and robbing people, it felt bad and good all at the same time. And I had to just check myself for a second, that I was actually doing this, and how bad this is, but you made me feel like it was the most passionate thing I had ever done in my life. We were forcing ourselves to have to run away from all of this. That we didn’t have a choice, we were on the run, leaving everything behind.
You came back with our sacks of money, you threw mine at me, and I caught it like a baby, being absolutely gentle, all without losing my gun’s position as we made out getaway. Of course, this being an impulsive thing we didn’t think of a getaway vehicle, so we smashed and grabbed the prettiest car outside the bank, a newly restored 1966 MG in a dark green finish and license plate that says Mooney.
We set out on our new lives, as the wind blew through our hair and the air around us was telling us, this was all right. I thought of all the days I spent on the planet living so far from all of this, and how one little change can make everything fit so nicely in place. But the truth is, it wasn’t a small change, it was you, right now, driving at 120 km/h and constantly checking the rear view. You smile at me when you start feeling safe; I wondered if you felt safe with me. I felt safe with you. And the car continued, going passed all the direction signs, leaving civilization, and rolling into endless fields of green hills. I wanted to say, “We are home.” But instead I said, “So this is where we begin.” You look at me, at first contemplative on what I said, then you look serious for a moment, crack a smile, and let out a loud and energetic laugh; half delusion and absolutely wonderful. You were right; there are no words for this feeling right now. Drive.

[End of Part One]

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm Bad At Goodbyes

(I'm Bad At Goodbyes, Final Words, 2008, 20x24 in c-print)

I'm sick and I need your help telling me this...
Yesterday I got my first disgusting moment with this series when I was photographing the fifth roadkill. I stick my hands right in there and my fingers come pretty close to touching something that has been shouldn't be touched without a 12 ft stick, and I write with clalk what I think could be its final last words.
I have been obsessed with the idea of leaving flowers behind for those we have lost, and though dead rats and pigeons aren't usually missed, or cared for, we see their death more than any other kind of death.

(It Doesn't Hurt Anymore, Final Words, 2008, 20x24 in c-print)

Sometimes I feel pretty sick from seeing some really gross roadkill, and it is so clear in my memory that I could still see it, years later. I thought of changing the context of that image I have in my head by making something humorous about roadkill. And in the process I thought I'd even play on final words, and how they too, can be humorous as well.

(I Learned My Lesson, Final Words, 2008, 20x24 in c-print)

And like the act of leaving flowers behind for those we have lost, I leave these little captions for the little guy, or little guys. Farewell.

Monday, October 20, 2008


(Polaroid Family Tree, 2007-2008)

I don't really have a story for this week, but I'll try to pull something out of somewhere here goes....

Nothing. You know when there is nothing around and you can hear that static noise. It's weird because your ears ring from the silence and it almost hurts. When I was traveling the land on my snail, we encountered many things, such things as wolves, big and scary, to normal; non-fantasy-sized wolves, and then when I thought I saw every creature this land had to offer I see a giant made of boulders. He wasn't very bright, but he was kind, and to spite having a heart made of stone, he had the biggest heart I have ever seen, both literally and emotionally. He was the first one to tell me nothing. He said nothing and nothing was going on, all around, that I should watch out. I asked, for what? He corrected himself with more loud and rocky sounding clearing of the throat and told me, yes, "Nothing". So we said our goodbyes and made out separate pathes, probably bond to see each other later towards the climax.
On the path to nothing you don't really know where you're going but you know you're going the right way when you see everyone and everything running the opposite way, this is how I will learn entirely nothing. I had been given many warnings of my course of direction, and even my snail was feeling unsure of where we were going but he still pushed on without slowing pace, we were looking for nothing. The trees were split, rocks thrown then smashed and I feared we were too close to nothing, but still the snail and I carried on. A young indian boy came to ride beside me, said I was fearless if only I knew what I was going against. I said I wasn't going against anything really, just curiousity, there was nothing else to do. He didn't look to happy but like my snail he continued to the path of nothing. He told me of his land, just beyond the dark scary clouds with the lightning bolts and rain, how it was far different from what it was now, that he never even seen lightning before nothing happened. His people were kind folk, that they were great musicians, and invented the first electric piano synthesizers, and the mohawk originated from there, and leather pants too, they were totally his tribe's gear before the fad. I was rather lost on what he was talking about but he was better entertainment than nothing. So we continued, I minded my stories of my land, couldn't really relate to the young indian boy since my land was probably still standing, having nothing to do with nothing, it was a boring place and so my people called it, Porage. But since you're listening, and I have built all this up about how boring it was, I might as well give you my two cents on the land of Porage. My people were made of clay, brought to life by hands of thunder bolts and lightning, true story since we are a relatively new type of people, only 10, 000 years old, even the rock people are triple that, I can only imagine how old the indian boy's people were, probably the oldest, anyhoot, the other cent was that we believed in nothing, we even questioned our faith in our creation, but still acknowledged it. We just didn't like belief, sure we had assumption of things and the order of the world but we had no way of really knowing if it was true. So it didn't take long for the people neighboring our land to hate us, starting with the troll people, eventual even the giant turtle people, they all semi-hated us, just because we never believed in anything they said. We didn't believe in what we were even saying! And so that is my story of my land and of my people, I left them because I didn't believe in them, and now that I think of it, I'm not even sure if they existed in the first place, there's no going back now because it's probably nothing now.
The young indian boy stopped me when we saw the largest wolf we had ever seen in our whole lives and told me to run. I wasn't getting off my snail and my snail couldn't run, it was fast but it just did whatever snails do, roll-slide-fall-get-up. We just stood there, not caring for this big bad wolf, we had traveled too far and too long for this to end here. The wolf came closer, and then even closer, talking, yes, in human english, and when it spoke, it told us to beware. Of what? Nothing? He laughed then looked deep into our eyes, his eyes in brilliance blood red glow. "You are going to die!" "Silly", and then we started on our way again, and the young indian boy said to the snail and I, "I'll handle him, get out of here while you still can, go, run!" I said goodbye and to even take care, he didn't say anything back, and it felt kinda rude but I didn't really believe in manners anyways. And so we were off again, on the road, to nothing.

The rest of the story consist of a mighty battle between good and nothing, evil and nothing, nothing and nothing, and you can probably imagine how boring, Porage-like, that would all be, but the heroes, or antiheroes in this story don't live, they thought that would make a better story if they didn't. And so, nothing happens in the end of the story, and the moral of it all is...

And the giant rock man never ended up meeting back up with the snail and the man. He died of a heart attack somewhere along the way to the climax.
The End.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Something You've Been Waiting For

(Test from Bloor Cinema, Expansions III, 2008)

Eventually, I'll get around to finishing things. Hopefully these things will be completed before I decide to pull the plug and work on something else. Today I spent 90mins just biking around, most of it at night, looking, or rather, hunting for roadkill. More on this later, I just deleted a whole paragraph giving great detail of my reasons for documenting dead things. Right now I should probably write about the images for this week (I have lived my entire life think that the beginning of the week starts on Monday, I have now switched over to Sunday since my Outlook calendar starts on Sunday). The image above is a test for Expansions III, shot at The Bloor Cinema. Thanks to Victoria D., I was granted time and access to photograph a space in all dimensions. This test served to ground myself even more, and realize again, how hard this is going to be. And I might end up going from 4x5 using a 90mm to a dslr and stitch it all together, then cut it back up to form the shape of a cut-out cube. My only worry about this process is looking too much like Alain Paigment's work, and heartbreaking enough, I found out he also took a space apart and represented in the cut-out cube format. Hince, why I am working on three other bodies of work right now. I decided to choose the theater simply because it is a 3-dimensional space that represents something that is flat.
(A Failed Attempt, 2008)

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm a Mess

(I Used To Love You, Reminiscene, 2008, 30x40 inch c-print)

Just after all the searching, everything was looking great…what happened? Well I can’t really explain it. Wait, sand on hands expands…or rather, have you ever tried to hold two handfuls of sand with your hands forming a cup, no matter how hard you try that sand will find its way through your hands and fall back to the earth. And so, here I am, in a swamp with all kinds of dangerous things floating, flying, and swimming by me, ready to strike any minute. I have little to say but to form my final words here. I should explain the history of my disposition that I haven’t just created a scenario that will never be explained but it is hard right now to do so, I am in immediate danger as I told you. I would like to thank my mother and father for the creation of myself, and for the talents and good genes to have gotten me this far. I feel sad that I haven’t made a legacy; that my condo in Florida and the 1987 Toyota Camry are all I have to leave for my daughter, who has lived with her mother her whole life and will only truly know her father after his death. I would like to write to her for a moment.
I am sorry. So sorry. I was never there, I know, I cannot tell you this and mean as much with me saying this to what I feel inside. I am nothing without you. And I am sorry. To hear all of this on my tape recorder I bring with me everywhere, something I should’ve done with you, I am glad that you will hear my last words.
When you were born I was not allowed to be there, nor visit, you were given a name that was not my decision, and you went to a school I didn’t decide on. And it was my fault. When your mother finally replied to my endless letters she sent me a Polaroid of you in hopes it would shut me up, it did the opposite of her desires as I started sending triple the amount, like an obsessed fan. I was your greatest fan, Claudine. And soon your mother had moved you somewhere else, somewhere without my permission or say so, and didn’t tell me. And I didn’t realize this until all my letters posted on the week of August 14th to 21th in 1991 returned to sender, me in this case. I didn’t know what to do, and so I went searching for you. I moved to Florida when the private detective told me you now lived there with your mother, Roxanne. She knew I hated Florida, how I didn’t like the elderly that much, and hated Disneyland. But I moved to be closer to you. And soon the private detective was discovered by your mother; maybe she hired a hitman to whack him. I hadn’t heard from him in weeks and then one day in the mailbox I received a box. Inside the box was an entire hand with exception the middle finger was missing. I stopped my search immediately for a long time. And I hid the hand in my neighbor’s yard (Bill, if you ever hear this, I am too, very sorry, it was four years ago before I knew you and if you’re curious to see the remains of the hand, behind the tulips underneath the gnome, dig for two feet).
Then after the search for you was lying dormant for three years I decided to come find you again. I didn’t care of the fears of death or having my hand cut off because at that point I forgotten the reality of the fear of those things. I just wanted to find you. And so I hired another private detective and told him to be extra careful since we were both on the line. He and I both bought guns and didn’t sleep much for days. Surprisingly it didn’t take long, just three and half days to find your location. The only thing the private detective wasn’t able to actually come close to the whereabouts, just locate them. And so I was left with just a location and little less. I thanked him very much for his bravery and his trade, and I should probably thank him here since he put his life on the line. Thanks Lucas.
When I search on map of the location I discovered why Lucas could not have possibly have made it to your location, you were located in an old castle in the middle of a swamp. A swamp in the Everglades that was notorious for alligator attacks and poisonous snakes, not to mention swarms of virus-bearing mosquitoes. And after I make it passed the swamp I still had a hitman or two, maybe even guards in black suits wearing black aviators waiting for me to come out of the waters. But I didn’t care anymore, I had watched the end of Apocalypse Now 30 times by now and even had the war paint painted on my face, you were the only thing I cared and lived for, my only purpose was to reach you.
I made it a few miles until I ran into alligators and realized I wasn’t Captain Benjamin L. Willard, nor Martin Sheen, I was me, Jerry Civilian, a nobody weighing 150lbs and standing 5’9’’ against 400-600lbs killing machine, a beautiful and misunderstood, killing machine. And at first clear sight of an alligator from 8ft away my heart raced, my left arm when numb, and I struggled to breathe feeling lightheaded and lost. I cursed all those happy meals my mother fed me as a child, I cursed all those adult-size “happy” meals I bought myself when I was too big for a child-size one, and then I just cursed at everything in general. I just wanted you to know that I will and always have loved…

And the lights fade, and the last thing I can hear is the sound of my body hitting the water then the water filling my ears and how sounds traveling through water are rather relieving.

Now for the non-story related talk on a blog about ma photography...I'll try to make this portion worth your time.
First, the image, it's a reshoot of the same installation, done at a different time and composition, and express the mood and atmosphere better. The title is of a short story I wrote going off of the words, I Used To Love You. The reason why I didn't decide to include that short story to the image inspired from the story and memory, well I tend to be very absurb and arbitrary, like my writing.
And secondly, the fact of the week:
Apocalypse Now took 200 hours of footage to film over the course of 16 months, and was originally supposed to be film as a faux documentary taking place in the actual Vietnam War, which is the plot to the recent war (comedy) movie, Tropic Thunder. Martin Sheen had a heart attack during the filming of Apocalypse Now and Sam Bottoms was on drugs during his performance as hippie-gone-soldier and surf legend, Lance B. Johnson, who was also on drugs as well, method actor? It took Francis Ford Coppola three years to edit after several close calls with suicide, and is probably the greatest war film ever made to this author.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Nomirrors, CO

In a small town that meets the giant of rock and snow peaks a legend goes that the town has never once had a mirror. The occupants of the town felt there was no need, in fact, they probably never heard of a mirror. For the people of this town were from the forest, have always lived there until they discovered the gold in the mountain. With no care for the gold itself, they found the gold created a friendship made by the neighboring towns when they made their monthly trades, the town carried on just as before before the gold. Nomirrors with its lack of mirrors or culture of reflections, had to trust each other, to speak to each other and gauge a man or a woman by how their face looked upon telling them of their day, or how their livestock was coming along, to tell how they appeared that day. The weather was always of two conditions, sunny or rainy, and talk of the weather was a very popular subject amongst the people of Nomirrors.
Friends were the best, and the forest was an important part of everyone’s life here. During the gold rush the town went through its biggest struggle, keeping the forest alive. For all of the gold would never bring the forest back in their town. The fires to treat the gold, and the support beams for the caves took more than the forest had in mind for the people of Nomirrors, and as a result the forest choose to stay clear of the town. The uncut trees decided to uplift themselves approximitely one mile away from the farthest house. Those who have built new houses on the outskirts of town would wake the next day after their move and discover the forest had moved at night. The mystery of the walking trees has never been solved even to this modern day. And since this incidence the people of Nomirrors no longer mine the gold, and have planted new trees, which have become quite fond of its human caretakers. It has been some time since then, and the old forest still remains quite as far, but the new trees have reached up to the old ones and they seem to be kind to each other.
The wind sings a different song in Nomirrors, it is said if you listen hard enough you can hear the voices of all the people who are yelling right this instant all over the world. With each tree the voice is amplified and channeled, with a large enough section of forest you can hear sometimes a thousand voices at once, all yelling. Some of the voices are calling for their lost children, some cry for help, others say their last words, and then the wind dies and gets tired and cold. We will never know for sure why the wind carries these voices, some of which have been reported to be in foreign languages, ranging from German to Japanese.
Nomirrors has many wonderful qualities but its people are the greatest of all, with their means of communication. The town’s elderly never speak, but yet the younger inhabitants can perfectly understand them just from their facial expressions. They say the reason for this is because from all of their experiences they have learned how to read the face so well they feel humble not to speak anymore. Some find speaking a waste of time, and others find it to be something that we should never have to learn, that we lose something when we speak when the face can tell you with more clarity and truth. “We can’t lie with our faces “,writes on my notepad Anne Mooney, at 96, and looking as young as she did twenty years ago. She writes, “We, elderly of Nomirrors, don’t get all wrinkly since we stop talking years ago, our words leave us and all of the regrets and mistakes leave as well, we have no history but the town’s, we live amongst the trees, the trees!”.
My visit to Nomirrors has been one of the greatest experience of my life, and though I am unable to start keeping my silence like the elderly of the town, I feel one day I want to stop speaking, and have only my face to express how I feel. The town has since been lost from the map, and the mountainous road leading to the town has been lost as well, perhaps covered from a landslide and now appears as an ever-growing forest. I hope to discover my way back to this place one day.
The world can be discovered in the smallest of towns, and could be found without even leaving home. Can you hear it; it is the voice of the whole world, yelling in the wind.

Did you think I was going to forget the fact of the week...well, I did. Here it is, moments after posting the first post of the week:
As some of you may know, the big bang is only one side of the story to the expanding Universe, in theory, eventually it will met the end of its cosmic stretch and start to reverse. And like the fates of many red giant stars (how many I have no idea, its a pretty big Universe, with two hands parting as wide as they can to express about 93 billion light years) they grow so large that they start collapsing under their own gravity, forming neutron stars, with all the volume compressed into a few miles, and some even turn into black I guess with all these facts I wanted to say, the Universe eventual, in theory, reaches the end of its journey and starts coming back in on its self until we have the big crunch. Remember at the end of MIB (Men In Bigwillystyle or Black if you want to be boring), when the Universe is in the marble (sorry to ruin a rather important plot to those who haven't seen the movie), well that can very much happen! And that's the fact of the week!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


(God's Lonely Man, Reminiscene, 2008)
If you hold my hand we’ll make it there even faster, it will be the thrill of being together on something just before we get old. I wanted to last forever, see the mountains turn to hills, and then see the hills turn to sand dunes, but not anymore. You were on your death bed and I wanted to be dying right beside you. I cursed my good health; my strong and young body, and then I started cursing your illness, your weak and aging body and realized I had no right nor will to do anything about it. You were leaving me, but we were still together. I had no control over what was happening and I’ll just watch you fade away like a time-lapse of rivers eroding the land into canyons. I wanted to say a million words but said nothing.

(I Used To Love You, [literally II], 2008)

All of sudden my heart kicked, my eyes opened, and I felt very much alive, and then I looked at you and you were, very much alive as well! Your eyes were now open, curious and dumb-founded to this new feeling of life within yourself, and you just jumped out of bed. You grabbed my hand, we looked at each other, almost drooling at the month with a fever for adventure, and we flew out of that hospital room. We ran down the hallway, each room was open and there were people coming back to life with the same rigorous energy as us, we were just ten steps ahead of them. Security went ape-shit with us and the rest, but saw us first. They had strait jackets and needles, some even had batons. It didn’t matter how big and strong they were, and as we dodged them with awesome speed like amazing counter backs of divine, we made our way through and onwards to the stairway. I felt sorry for the security guards, thought of them as just doing their jobs and now they might get yelled at for letting us go, but they tried, and we succeeded, that’s how it was.
Down the stairway in a flash, we were at the ground floor; there were cops now, with guns loaded with tranquilizer s and zappers (tasers) in every hand they had available. I couldn’t count the number, but there might have been a whole squared there, just for us! For one second there, just for one little second I thought we weren’t going to make it through, that this was the end and you’d have to die back there, in a death bed, and alone now, but then you grabbed my hand even harder and ran even faster making me run to catch up. We were going dead on to them, like mad wild rhinos rushing to their opponents with no care for them or if they crash, it was do or die at this point, and we had something to live for. I closed my eyes just before contact with the squared of cops, and started thinking of the pain from the tranquilizer bullets and the zappers, but I didn’t feel any pain, my feet felt light, my clothes felt gone, and the only thing my body felt was your hand. We were flying, and I didn’t want to open my eyes again, it just felt so good, like a dream that you never want to wake up from. But then I heard the sound of sirens and people yelling from a distance and I opened my eyes. We were sixty, maybe seventy feet from the ground, and everyone who wanted to stop us, that wanted you to die in that hospital were slowly turning into ants, we were now probably ninety feet above and I could see their faces, they all looked sad for a moment, like they wanted to come with us. And then more patients came flying out of the hospital, now they were rising above the rest, leaving behind their loved ones. Where were we going?

(Why Can't You Forget It., [literally II], 2008)