I’m not so sure why but I enjoy this plan a lot, I think it’s fun and would be really fun to move around in.

I’m not so sure why but I enjoy this plan a lot, I think it’s fun and would be really fun to move around in.

Just remembered this photograph from winter 2012 when I was in LA, at the Getty. Bob designed the garden. I took this right before going to take a nap on the grass heheEver present never twice the sameEver changing never less than whole- December 1997, Robert Irwin.

Just remembered this photograph from winter 2012 when I was in LA, at the Getty. Bob designed the garden. I took this right before going to take a nap on the grass hehe

Ever present never twice the same
Ever changing never less than whole
- December 1997, Robert Irwin.

From the bridge I cross every morning. I took this last fall, but it still looks like this. There is always a really soft haze over the campus here.

From the bridge I cross every morning. I took this last fall, but it still looks like this. There is always a really soft haze over the campus here.

Dear Julee,

I haven’t posted yet! A slow boyfriend. These days I often think about work and life in totally different ways; perhaps the most important one is that they are blending together. I used to think about what I did, who I talked to, where I went, what I read, what I ate - these things were all discrete elements that formed little rituals of my day. Lying in bed at night, I could compile those pieces and say: I know what I did, and maybe I then know something about myself.

Being in China, I don’t really feel like that anymore. It has a lot to do with learning Chinese and being removed from a lot of things that I thought I understood, or took for granted. I quite literally can’t name things here, I don’t know the words, and so I find myself grasping for different ways to understand and identify myself. I can lie in bed now in total silence, and in a lot of ways I don’t have much of a grasp on things I thought were solid any more. It has amplified some anxieties to be sure, but when I realize the cause of that anxiety - that I cannot identify myself solidly any more - that I begin to accept and overcome that fear.

I’m almost done with Tectonic Acts of Desire and Doubt and it contains an essay about one of my favorite writers, Robin Evans. Evans wrote The Projective Cast, a series of essays that reinterpret a lot of assumptions about classical architecture. In some ways he is a historical equivalent to Irwin because he fundamentally believes in the real. He looks, and he sees - not what he wants to see, but what is really there.

Evans writes,

"From what has been said so far it would not seem reasonable to regard the Renaissance world picture as especially certain or especially coherent; nor would it seem any more reasonable to regard the centralized churches as attempts to copy such a picture in all good faith. Is it not more likely that the delectable fancy we indulge ourselves in, looking back at these buildings as if what they appear to represent had actually been there, is itself an afteraffect of their original mendacity? … This then was not an architecture that reflects a culture in its fullness, but an architecture that supplements culture’s incompleteness with a compensatory image…" (Centrality)

This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite essays because it points to our need to constantly identify, project, and control our surroundings at the price of distortion. Now that I am here in China, a lot of things are distant: the person I love, my family and friends, my words and language. I try to ground myself with an understanding that I must look for myself here by seeing, to avoid distortion of emotion.

Robert Irwin – 1°2°3°4° – gallery view, San Diego, California 
Robert Irwin- Old Post Office, Washington D.C

I’m halfway through Seeing is Forgetting in New York. Although my parents are visiting right now, I find time to read it during the commute on the F train to work. Thanks bear, I’m glad I borrowed it before you left. It’s a wonderful book, and although I had it back in school and didn’t take much from it then, it speaks to me so clearly now. It’s really refreshing to read about an artist who is as naturally dedicated, optimistic, and confident about his ideas. I respect him for achieving such a level of honesty in his work. I find myself calm but reflective, savoring his every word.

Talking about his late line paintings, he says:

They are now addressing the root questions, which, as in philosophy and physics, are not about the play of superficial ideas or incidents at all. They’re about the basic relationships of the three or four primary aspects of existence in the world: being-in-time, for example, space, presence. When you stop giving them a literate or articulate read (the kind of read you’d give a Renaissance painting) and instead look at them perceptually, you find that your eye ends up suspended in midair, midspace, or midstride: time and space seem to blend in the continuum of your presence. You lose your bearings for a moment. You finally end up in a totally meditative state. The thing is you cease reading and you cease articulating and you fall into a state where nothing else is going on but the tactile, experiential process.

Slow clap. Tears.

j

We should get uniforms like Steve
j

We should get uniforms like Steve

j

I remember taking this the day I left! When we were scurrying around to make some breakfast: Scrambled eggs and sausages. 

j


As we finished, a young waitress with tangled, dirty-blond hair and a beaded headband began clearing our table. She stopped to listen to the conversation and finally sat down, abandoning her work. After a while, when there was a pause, she spoke to the Dalai Lama. “You didn’t like your cookie?”


“Not hungry, thank you.”


“Can I, um, ask a question?”

“Please.”


She spoke with complete seriousness. “What is the meaning of life?”


In my entire week with the Dalai Lama, every conceivable question had been asked—except this one. People had been afraid to ask the one—the really big—question. There was a brief, stunned silence at the table.


The Dalai Lama answered immediately. “The meaning of life is happiness.” He raised his finger, leaning forward, focusing on her as if she were the only person in the world. “Hard question is not, ‘What is meaning of life?’ That is easy question to answer! No, hard question is what make happiness. Money? Big house? Accomplishment? Friends? Or …” He paused. “Compassion and good heart? This is question all human beings must try to answer: What make true happiness?” He gave this last question a peculiar emphasis and then fell silent, gazing at her with a smile.
j

As we finished, a young waitress with tangled, dirty-blond hair and a beaded headband began clearing our table. She stopped to listen to the conversation and finally sat down, abandoning her work. After a while, when there was a pause, she spoke to the Dalai Lama. “You didn’t like your cookie?”

“Not hungry, thank you.”

“Can I, um, ask a question?”

“Please.”

She spoke with complete seriousness. “What is the meaning of life?”

In my entire week with the Dalai Lama, every conceivable question had been asked—except this one. People had been afraid to ask the one—the really big—question. There was a brief, stunned silence at the table.

The Dalai Lama answered immediately. “The meaning of life is happiness.” He raised his finger, leaning forward, focusing on her as if she were the only person in the world. “Hard question is not, ‘What is meaning of life?’ That is easy question to answer! No, hard question is what make happiness. Money? Big house? Accomplishment? Friends? Or …” He paused. “Compassion and good heart? This is question all human beings must try to answer: What make true happiness?” He gave this last question a peculiar emphasis and then fell silent, gazing at her with a smile.

j