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Sunday, 29 December 2013



Intersection, Helvetia, Oregon: photo by Austin Granger, 23 December 2013

Even in the middle of nowhere
there are words

Great Trees, Helvetia, Oregon: photo by Austin Granger, 13 December 2013

Words turn a nowhere into a putative somewhere

Animals, Helvetia, Oregon: photo by Austin Granger, 14 December 2013

Like the arena exhortation at sports events to CHEER!
still flashing in the dark long after the partisans have departed

Credit Cards, Helvetia, Oregon: photo by Austin Granger, 14 December 2013


ACravan said...

This graceful, funny, touching and rather beautiful piece immediately made me think about a book that's somewhere on my shelf (I think I know where) that has a corrugated brown cardboard cover and contains nicely presented photos of various Conceptual Art pieces by Weiner, Huebler, Barry, Kosuth, etc. The works, which discourse in various ways about language, essentially pick subtle and fairly uninteresting fights with the viewer, asserting superiority while pretending to engage him, and have always mostly left me cold. At some point or another in the past, I realized that I did not wish for artworks to leave me cold. I suspect the artists in question didn't feel that way about the works that inspired their own creations. Anyway, a lot of those pieces seemed, as they say, complicated without being complex. I like Words very much and would happily hang it on my wall or pay to see it in a museum. Curtis

Nin Andrews said...

I love the ending, the cheering that flashes long after the partisans leave. Though I prefer the words to laugh tracks
or the background of talk that is incessant now in public places--everyone on a cell
and I can't tell which is a crazy person talking to himself and which is just everyman.

TC said...

Thanks, Curtis.

Sometimes these posts are the product of obscure nocturnal notebook scribbles (often literally in the dark, thus equally often illegible later), which then conduct the subsequent photo searches in some approximate direction or other...

And then sometimes the process works in reverse, images preceding text.

This is one of those latter cases.

The literature on that eight thousand ton culture industry gorilla known as Conceptual Art, along with those academic specimens of same included in all the current corrugated cardboard pantheons, leaves me cold, too.

I suppose I would consider Austin Granger a master of darkly comic irony rather than a conceptualist.

He is a formalist, in a good way.

His work is beautifully observed, carefully thought out, relevant, elegant and funny.

TC said...

... and thanks, Nin.

What a bonanza. Two actual live humans, in the middle of the night. This is getting so nonconceptual I can almost warm my numb digits by hunt-and-pecking away here in the dark.

The poem involved one word choice, upon which, in my obviously not disinterested opinion, whatever action was going to be happening was going to hinge.

And that is the one you've pointed out. The "partisans" were originally mere neutral "spectators" at the arena dumbshow. With the word change it became possible to see them for what they are, and to know which side they are on.

Poet Red Shuttleworth said...

"Even in the middle of nowhere..." Yes. Words... as doorways into emptiness... each letter half dead as we learn and learn again... as we are stopped short. "Even in the middle of nowhere..."



Words turn a nowhere into a putative somewhere . . .

Great photos from Austin Granger, hot off the press.
Helvetia, Oregon looks to be in the middle of nowhere but the map shows it to be not far from Portland, OR (no GREAT TREES to be seen though the sign says they're there) -- three cheers !

Anonymous said...

Words tinge the vast blanket of silence into meaning. And you are a master of words, sir.

Tons of light and joy and laughter for the year to come, dear Tom.

barkstry said...

many thanks for the nighttime read

TC said...

Thanks to all... many words everywhere and but a few good friends who are worth more than a million words, and presto! here they all are, y Lucy tambien, gran milagro!...

... and yes, Steve's right, Helvetia is a real place, not far from Portland, where, I surmise, Austin Granger lives.

And there are, it seems, real great trees and real animals and real credit cards there, even though we can't see them.

Indeed I suspect it may have been the humouresque possibilities in the Great Trees sign that got the photographer started on this series -- as that shot came first.

What's not there always came before what's there, said old Parmenides.

A minimalist sees through a minimalist's eyes.

In fact, however, there turns out to be a fair amount of actual stuff, there, in Helvetia, a nice little unincorporated community settled back in the 19th c. by Swiss immigrants from the Bernese Oberland.

Every year, as we now discover, the Helvetians celebrate the 1st of August, Swiss national independence day and holiday, by having all sorts of actual life-size fun.

Indeed perhaps larger-than-life-size, as in the case of the musical instruments chosen to herald the holiday.

The fellows toot their very large horns.

The girls sort of like it... maybe... or perhaps, being sensible girls, they haven't yet decided.

And as for the clearly present but evidently very patient Great Trees... earplugs in the knotholes, anyone?

Meanwhile... a rousing totally-out-of-season happy birthday to Switzerland and to that other country where everything's always super-sized!!