A Global Armchair Field Trip

Jon Rafman is a photographer who does some of his hunting and gathering on Google Street View. Here are some of his selections therefrom, which exemplify his consummate taste.


Un Coin

For the rookies’ first project, here are some unique solutions to the prompt of describing a space.

“For a knowledge of intimacy, localization in the spaces of our intimacy is more urgent than determination of dates.”

Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space



Choose your level of artifice, and of belief.

W. o’ W.: Thomas Merton

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

Hmm… so, good photography=happiness!

W. o’ W.: John Milton Cage, Jr.

“I think society is one of the greatest impediments an artist can possibly have. At every point society keeps you from doing what you have to do.”

“Oh, Indie!”

From the Los Angeles Times Review of Books: “Ontologically speaking, there are few squirmier genre descriptors than ‘indie,’ that colloquial shortening of ‘independent’ that rolls so easily and unchecked from the collective tongue and onto the cultural operating table. Lashed to music and films and fashions and haircuts and God knows what, it’s become a code for an increasingly mild-mannered aesthetic supposedly derived from seventies’ punk and the network of fan-run record labels that followed in its wake. But in the age of mechanical reproduction, it has meant a lot of things to be independent. And in the digital era, it’s become a catch-all genus for anything outside the granulating monoculture. Which is to say; it means everything and subsequently nothing at all.”


This is the beginning of a (poorly-punctuated) review by Jesse Jarnow of Always In Trouble, an account of the 1960s-70s record label ESP-Disk, by Jason Weiss.

Read it all: http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?type&id=851&fulltext=1&media


Earl Lavon Freeman, Sr.





The Later Von: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azzAPY1–l0&feature=related

…and http://www.examiner.com/article/von-freeman-s-memorial-service-details-announced-for-chicago-jazz-star

Yay Science, Yes… But Everything Ain’t Science


“Every softer discipline these days seems to feel inadequate unless it becomes harder, more quantifiable, more scientific, more precise. That, it seems, would confer some sort of missing legitimacy in our computerized, digitized, number-happy world. But does it really? Or is it actually undermining the very heart of each discipline that falls into the trap of data, numbers, statistics, and charts? Because here’s the truth: most of these disciplines aren’t quantifiable, scientific, or precise. They are messy and complicated. And when you try to straighten out the tangle, you may find that you lose far more than you gain.”


Mr. Lewis’s Strategy

Where’d I get this (probably twenty years ago)?
“I witnessed a unique dramatization of the best service a John Lewis can render one afternoon last summer, when he coached three local saxophonists through a reading of his winsome “Afternoon in Paris” at a free workshop held in Philadelphia’s Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum. “You have to put yourself at the service of the melody,” Lewis kept insisting. “Your solos should expand the melody or contract it.” The young saxophonists initially approached Lewis’s melody as a succession of chord changes. To a man, they were haunted by Coltrane’s vigor but not possessed of his logic. (If Coltrane often sounded like he was clearing long rows of high hurdles, these Philadelphians—like most young Coltrane followers—sounded as though they were running in place.) but after an hour of tussling, they gave in to Lewis, and their solos gradually took on a lovely tone. Afterwards, they seemed visibly surprised that so simple and straightforward an approach to a melody could have put them in touch with such complexities of feeling, and the audience seemed to share their surprise. Only Lewis acted as though he knew it would work out that way all along. If every improviser were a Louis Armstrong or a Sonny Rollins, jazz would have no crying need for a John Lewis. But since few improvisers are blessed with Armstrong’s or Rollins’s intuitive sense of form, mediators like Lewis serve a crucial function.”

News From Mr. “Phil” Anthropy