Primarily a writing exercise, this dream journal-inspired blog is a quiet introspective sojourn into the process that we traverse in going from private dream to public art. I see our dreaming as an internalized mythmaking. As I philosophize and expressively exhibit dreams, both private and public, I encourage and delight in creative language as a way to practice experiential metaphors through a “public dreaming." Writing Theory: Creative Dream Fiction

Monday, 25 March 2013

Experimental Cave Art: Philosophies in Word, Vision and Sound

Aboriginal Rock Art, Ubirr Art Site, Kakadu National Park, Australia
Photo: Thomas Schoch
When your night becomes day, then that which is dreamed is on earth. Do not be too high-spirited, but go, and go alertly.” Aborigine Saying

In continuity with the theoretical writings on the natural sleep cycle as expansive beyond the twenty-four hour day, and especially beyond the programmatic workaday cycle, it is not only the activity of waking activity that might define the energy experienced by the mind-body based on sleep cycles but the content of dream itself.

For example, we go through cycles of remembrance and forgetting, this is a fundamental attitude of the cosmos, as we see in the natural tendency to the peek-a-boo gameplay in all children. Similarly, as this is reflected in our conscious and unconscious experience of life, so this is true with the content of our dreaming. We will go through periods where dreams are not remembered, and then after a time, will begin to remember again. These periods of remembering the content of dreams ultimately point to an unresolved momentum of energy building up in the psyche as a consequence of either personal or collective unconscious activity that one becomes susceptible to in their daily life.

Until this mode of consciousness is directly confronted and transformed through creative insight and practical application in thought, reflection and in some basis of continuity in consciousness, e.g. imaginative outpourings based on the theme and nature of dreaming, where all suppressed and repressed energies are focused and shifted into full view, the involuntary sleep or unconscious REM will continue to emerge and take shape in the psyche through imagination, emotion, intellect and every exhaustible mode of subtle activity.

Every time a dream is remembered, the remembered content, whether imagery or emotion or otherwise, is part of a string of remembrance leading back to a source of reflection deep within the whole being of both the individual dreamer and the society throughout the entire spectrum of its history, propaganda, knowledge, media, relationships, etc.

Oftentimes, the strength or immediacy of memory, the lucidity of the dream state as it interweaves through the waking mind, forecasts the urgency of attention to the subconscious. For example, I have experienced lately that the instant I am ready to sleep, as fast as I close my eyes, I see the content of my dreaming, the imaginations is teeming with life and energy, needing to be witnessed, calling out over the margins of consciousness.

The only way to resolve the inception of remembered dreaming is to confront the subtle impulse to emote or inspire a certain inborn expression, metaphorically illustrated in the dream itself. When dream and life are subsumed into wholeness, undivided by the normative values of structured time and analytical thought, the subconscious and the conscious merge into a healthful surrender of the cosmic unconscious faculty of Being, as the great mystery of self-awareness. As reads the motto in Athanasius Kircher chiseled over the alchemist's doorway, originally in Latin, it says, "While Sleeping, Watch'. See previous post: Alchemical Poetry of Terence McKenna
Breathtaking hot night. The empty dark dream of memory. Narrow canals, irrigation trenches in the backyard under a pitch-black sky, a starless new moon. The seizure of domesticity; fencing blinds besiege all passage to horizon’s beginning, and a house cat skits through the mud with a silent flit of dusty soil. A chase begins, until I grab the fickle creature by its muzzle, and in the raw and ruddy brown earth, I tangle its fibrous backbone, cracking the living spine with the brute edge of my wrist. The sky clears like a strong exhale, and the ground takes formless cover of the starless sky above. I drift away from a mind to a life as inert as the swift welcome of death.

An Australian mangrove, ebb tide by WC Piguenit 
Worshipful room of sweat and lust, the emotive spring of music keeps us swinging to a joyful noise, the urban sound of pain alleviated before closed eyes, staring inward to hear the sight of the muses, invoked by the musician hosts sweltering mad before a small though dedicated crowd of movement. And the headline group enunciates first note with strength unseen; the crowd has since escaped into the bleak, old night. A few straggling local friends stand by the stage, amused and apologetic. One song passes in the silent hollow, a space deemed fit for thousands reduced to pin drop nothingness.

Musical entertainment at the spinet by Johann Heinrich Schönfeld
The emptiness is as palpable as the heartless mind, rounding off pales shots into the murderous pangs of repeated history, the bitter angst of adolescence returning in a white noise of a flushed and ruthless voice, the weird ground rumbles and quakes with burning trust; that a future still opens ahead – full and potent with renewing vigor, to wake again, and live the day from the start, even if our rise coincides with dusk. A silent vision unearths our eternal belonging with grace, and the human community within, where the heart is still in its constant beating, in its rhythmic patience with a more sacred trust.
An elegiac satire on split vein of domesticity, as it unravels and spurns the knowledge-creation of a more unstructured style. The home is the centrepiece of domestic life. Yet, for many thousands of years, there is evidence that we were in fact cave-dwellers. "Caveless" muses on nostalgia for those cavernous days through a reading of "Cave! Home", about a time when petroglyphs and charcoal painting were more important than off-white, beige and any number of dull, and sterile wall aesthetics, and the great-image language of visionary rites were outweighed the significance of antique literature. How can we resurrect the idea of the cave in the context of the modern home, with its womb-like contours and living light that curls throughout our waking minds like breath, and infiltrates our dreams like a warm lover enduring a midnight meditation at our feet?

"Placeless Human Society" is also read here to recognize the dramatic shift from our ancestral pre-history as cave-dwellers of imagination and earth, where suburbia (and its non-subordinate counterpart: the city, for that matter) has essentially uprooted us from this inborn life as a dweller from the earth. On a mass scale, we now dwell on earth abstractly, our imaginations have breathed on, yet the umbilical cord to the womb-cave-home from whence we emerged has long been cut.

"Cave! Home" was published in 3:AM Magazine on September 17, 2012 and is also featured in the most recent chapbook, "Creating in the City" which was released with "When No Stars Appear".

"Placeless Human Society" was published in Outward Link on November 7, 2012. The "Caveless" track release marks the release of the chapbook, "Suburbia to Suburbia: America-Egypt".

Monday, 18 March 2013

Evocations of the Urban Creator: When No Stars Appear, Voices Are Heard

Evocations: Cyclical Wordplay (album art)

“So, dear state, you are a very nice word from a dream. There are fine sounds in the word, much comfort and much freshness, you grew up in a forest of words…ashtray, match, cigarette butt, an equal among equals, but why state do you feed on people. Why has the fatherland become a cannibal and the motherland his wife…If the states be truly bad then who among us will lift a finger to prolong their dreaming under the blanket forever?” Allen Ginsberg reading the work of Paul Klebnikov’s Manifesto of the Presidents of the Terrestrial Globe

After hearing many songs and stories of the dramatic sights seen by survivors of the great natural disasters of the early 21st century; the tsunamis and earthquakes that buckled cities and civilizations to their knees, I have heard many refer to the reversion to a clear sky.

The clarity of sky is an enduring metaphor for the wildly obscuring potency of modern technological electro-civilization. What has been more subtle, and more dramatic a transition, is how the skies under our human settlements have become opaque and starless over the past century. In my mind, this is more traumatic and in need of reflection.

The stars and constellations are being called into the blinding stretches of the ephemeral; of human memory, abstracted through an archaic imagination. Beginning with the wealth of ecological terror that might strike any human being living in a modern Western city, who looks up to see that not only have they left the stars, but the stars have left them.

We are without higher purpose, the signs directing us to a sense of greater belonging in the universe have since faded into the mindless wash of electro-magnetic consumerism and the ecological disturbance of human egotism; a symptom of our technological worldview.
Lost by RK
Shadow of Mother Earth by RK
Gutless City by RK 
Wormhole Cafe by RK
Parting the Starless Night by RK
The voicing, "When No Stars Appear" is an excursion through the faded mind, a search for meaning in the depths of human language, abstracted and diluted by the hotbed movement of inorganic noise, and the harmonious serendipity that emerges with the simple act of listening; the inception of self-knowledge, wherefrom the fog clears to reveal novel human experience, metaphorically illustrated by the final lines in the voicing. At the narrative resolution, a fugitive of modernity emerges from a waterfall consciousness of humility, as a child in a traditional Mayan home, looking up into the vast network of a more universal light. And the sounds of the starlit sky become a nightly renewing gift clarity, humility and strength. "When No Stars Appear" was originally published online by PressBoardPress in September, 2012.

Also featured in this post is the release of the chapbook, "Creating in the City" from the Cyclical Wordplay collection, to commemorate the release of another sound evocation! Enjoy!

Monday, 11 March 2013

The Art of Freedom: 2 Years Since Fukushima in the Post-Scientific Era

"The existence of nuclear weapons means we could potentially create a disequilibrium, an imbalance, on the planet and the atmosphere by the launching of some of these systems, some of these systems. There are 27,000 of these systems. This is more than enough to wipe out the whole planet. You also got people working to say, 'you know you gotta save the planet.' Well you're right, we've got to save the planet. And so the whole environmental effort, as laudable and as absolutely critical as it is, can be for absolutely not in the space of hours if these guys actually went at each other." Lt. General Romeo Dallaire (Ret.) Pugwash Canada

Today is the two year anniversary of Fukushima Daiichi disaster. In my previous post, Hatsuyume of Peace, I kicked off a new paradigm in the life of this blog with reference to the apocalyptic transition that nuclear energy essentially means for life on earth. This is an enduring creative metaphor, a source of reflection that begs to be heard and never left in the silent empty ignorance. For, as the unrivalled Persian poet and filmmaker Forugh Farrokhzad said in her landmark film to inspire Iranian New Wave Cinema, a groundbreaking force of thought, emotion and impeccable insight, "There is no shortage of ugliness in the world. If a man closed his eyes to it, there would be even more." Her film, The House is Black is about a leper colony, and the humanization of treatment for a disease that simply requires attention. While the impacts of a nuclear disaster do indeed course through the blood and infect the children of the victims, there is even more recourse to action, to look, and with the kind of remembrance that breathes in the present moment, to see the eyes of the victims as through the eyes of our own children, our own mothers, fathers, and siblings. For there is evidence that it could be forty years or more to clear up the Fukushima disaster, which is the worst of its kind since Chernobyl. The transition of nuclear energy as a weapon, the atom bomb, has essentially moved the world from the era of World War, into an era primarily defined by war over intelligence, the post-cold war era. Vietnam is an example where the government authority of the United States actually never declared war, incapacitating the ability to detonate another atom bomb on a human population in Asia. We are now living in the post-scientific era, and the Age of Reason is long past. Our existence is not defined by scientific knowledge, but of technical know-how.

On an investigative bend, I took the time, as part of the research praxis of a literary arts journal, to go to photographer, Arthur Nishimura's exhibit, "Dream Country" at the largest university in town. In the exhibit, Nishimura creatively interposes landscape photography with prepared or rendered film. I went for the purpose of interviewing others who happened to stroll through the exhibit about the significance of today's anniversary remembrance of Fukushima, not only as a Japanese disaster, but as a world disaster. What do the photos of a globetrotting Japanese nature photographer say about the remembrance of Fukushima? My questions, and my approach to a conscious public as an experimental journalist fell on a silent room. In the last hour of the gallery's opening today, not one person visited Nishimura's exhibit. Instead of heading into abstract philosophic directions regarding the nature of public ignorance, I peered deliberately, patiently and acutely into the breathtaking symbology of a master photographer.

Let me take you through an abbreviated version of the exhibit, and how I related my experience of "seeing" to the memory and lasting impact, and future legacy of Fukushima. Firstly, Nishimura's piece, "The Book of Flatland Dharma - Of Two Religions: Conclusion" (1978) captivated me. It is a juxtaposition of a sacred Japanese temple, as a diptych next to a silo in the Alberta countryside. This struck me first, because Nishimura captures the elegant majesty of mystery and beauty all over the globe, yet Japan and Canada have sacred significance, yet the cultural dissimilarity could not be more clear in the way that aesthetics are a reflection of social expression. Next, in his Homeland Tourist series, "Higashi Honganji Temple (1978) flattened me with its elusive doorway of symbolic insight. The bicycle in the foreground, outside of a sacred temple in the background, emphasizes that while there is a sense of the infinite within us, we are after all impermanent, and as we ride the mundane bicycle of worldly experience to its end, the higher awe of spirituality lives on, with or without us. Finally, while there were others that struck me uncannily, I will leave off with one last one that took even more time to set in than the rest, however after peering into its silvery textures, and its striking imagery, I latched on to a hint of perennial truth. The work, "Pre-dharma Sentience" (1978) in The Flatland Book of Dharma - The Singularities series, a stone lies in the foreground. In the background, an open landscape, with a path leading to the horizon, to nowhere. What this says to me is that, essentially nature, as with our nature, is fundamentally meaningless. Nature, in its raw, open and original forms do not offer the human heart a rest stop on which the mind may imagine and conceive a reason for being. The meaning of no-meaning is the great point of flux in realizing our humanity as vulnerable, fleeting, and if at once emergent with direction, also futile and unimpressive. As Paul Valery said, "God made everything out of nothing, but the nothing shows through."

On my return home, on this unusually warm Canadian winter day, I read a very short Associated Press article buried in Metro Calgary on the legacy of Fukushima. In the article, 'Outlook bleak two years later' a quote read, "Everyone, from bureaucrats to construction giants to tattooed gangsters, is trying to prey on decontamination projects. And the government is looking the other way," said Nakamura, who refused to give his first name out to the press for "fear of retaliation". As I reflected on my train ride home through the downtown corridor, passing above rivers of melting ice and the glare of the profound midwestern sky, where the rich sunlight exposes the midriff of an aging humanity, I had a realization. Being human means taking the responsibility that we have as stewards of the land, as a conscious potential unmatched in the known universe. If we do not take responsibility for being human, then there will soon be no more human beings. We do not write the highest law, and we can not speak the highest truth. 

She sets the stage with a sweeping introduction. In the impeccable garb of a beauty queen in love with life. The public gushes with heart-sleeved pandering. The world is set like a red carpet before her.

Queen by Sten Porse
The musical ambiance, the tone, is grandiose and emergent as the Jonah-swallowing fish of all-conceived breathtaking wonder. Her introduction is the mindful worship of momentary repose, for the elemental truths to seduce all through her sonic dance of grace.

Female Musician by Anonymous
She continues ever on, without me. Frustrated by my own deviance, and in the backwash tunnel of personal failure, I triumph in disaster. The airs of isolation breathe a sad remorse, the regret of guilt itself takes over like an icy bath.

The Ambassadors (detail) by Hans Holbein the Younger
I strain over my broken instrument, and snap its neck in one fell swoop. Not even a ping from the cracked strings are heard in the overarching foment of fanatic bursts and swoons of delight as the mob breathes down the throat of my love the kiss of popular contagion.

Interesting enough, the short dream sketch narrative above, and that described in my last post, where I exhibited a noetic travelogue through Sudan, have coincided with the events of the days to follow. In the previous incident, I had dreamed that I was traveling through Sudan, and had born witness to the social resurgence of positive forward movement. So, on that day, I met and interviewed Emmanuel Jal, as he accepted the Calgary Peace Prize on behalf of all South Sudanese people. Similarly, though without such heavy global precedence, the events within the dream sketch illustrated here preceded a botched concert appearance by none other than myself to accompany my Love onstage.
My first exhibition of an original "sounding" in the internal collaboration of creative music with creative writing. Improbability in Upswing, was published at poeticdiversity: the poetry zine of los angeles in December 2012. In my reading, with relation to the content of this post, I am taking off towards the eye of the sun. The teeming cloud-born sky quakes with the burning rush of human flight. Riding through the energetic outpouring of modern rocket fuel, I feel a beneficiary of similar technologic might that burned the bodies and fuelled the fires of war. Nuclear energy is not far distant, and my body begins to churn with the physical imagination of experiential interdependence, smouldering at the cusp of freedom and death.

To set forth another tradition of self-publishing, every week from now on, as I offer a "sounding" of spoken word and original music, I will release a chapbook of the section from which the "sound poem" derives in the series of collected experimental writings. Enjoy and ponder the experimental imagination through visions of "Aircloudsky".

Monday, 4 March 2013

Electro-Acoustic Improvisations II: A Sonic Narrative from the Far West

Electro-Acoustic Improvisations I (Album Art Remake) 
Electro-Acoustic Improvisations II (Album Art)
"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason." John Cage

Essentially one album, Electro-Acoustic Improvisations I & II are to be listened to in continuity, as a single expression of seeking through sound as voice and agency for the soul of the word. Electro-Acoustic Improvisations II is conceptually the final track of I, divided into 4 parts for listening.

Experiment with your ear, and look to the bottom of this post for an aural transport to the Far West.

Electro-Acoustic Improvisations II

On the margins of the vast, interlocking web of technology and nature, with broken instruments (both acoustic and electronic), we are beginners on the road to merging technology with all of life in this the human experience of Earth and the inner world as an evolutionary being of conscious development. 

Imagine sitting at the edge of a fire in the raw, teeming wilderness. The forest is thick. The air is heavy with an unbroken gamut of vegetable breathing. Warming your hands by the fire, under cover of starlight and the faint haunts of a new moon, the mind seeps and seethes with memories, dreams and reflections on the world “out there”. Civilization and its discontented fires of electric madness pour into your brain like an acid flashback. The Earth is still, yet your hands shake. So, before you is the music of the muses, the bare wonderment takes its own course into the heavens and hells of your own nature. Through music, the seeker of solitude purges the concrescence of electro-social distension. Discordant dissonance marries with harmonic essence as the jeering subtle flesh of mad electricity merges in the mind, hand and heart of one in touch with the strings, blood and fire of creative sound.  

Part I - The seeker discovers music as a beginner. The instrument is slightly out of tune, and the playing is imperfect. The melodies are introduced with electronic music, featuring static electric synthetic effects throughout. The seeker gains mental balance by overcoming the first break beyond the shores of civilization into the open expanse of nature beyond, where other, even more trying challenges are to be had in confrontation with the self, exposed and untended.  

Part II – With emboldened consciousness, the instrument and its sound are clearer. A fire has been set and night opens to the gorgeous possibilities of the sonic imagination. Electric distension is transformed into unseen beauty. The grandeur of melodic instrumentation opens up with a new strength of diversity. As the clouds above part to reveal pure sky, memory and reflection are enlightened through joining with traditions of seeking, as with the sonic movement into Middle-Eastern influenced lute music, translated to guitar in creative solitude with the empty awe of all-potent Nature. 

Yet, the seeker soon realizes this is only the beginning of the journey, and there have ever been electric distension scattered throughout the night’s hearth. By the end, the celebratory feel becomes more solemn as the seeker attains the first seed of self-knowledge, and understands the need to set one’s own pace and prepare certain deliberation before embarking on the pathless sojourn ahead. The music ends with the realization that it is dawn, and the horizon welcomes ahead.    

Part III – Reprieve from the journey, alongside a mountain ascent, beneath a cliff. Cool air from a spring entices the cold march of winter’s coming winds to turn and wade in the lush mountain air. Without a fire, music is the warmth. Creative passion warms from the inside with the brightest of flames. At first, blowing hard into the hands and fingers for the warm breath to spread throughout and allow for the wealth of instrumental music to unfold, the seeker stops playing as soon as it begins to rain. As in Taoist tradition, when the rain makes rhythmic motion, and the melodies of the thunderclouds fly with the magical presence of wind, one is to listen, and be humbled by the music of the spheres.  

Part IV – Beginning with a light touch of electronic moments, the music glides atop sounds of weather, especially as the seeker gets closer to the ocean. Following rivers, streams and tributaries, faring flash floods and rain-swept gullies, the seeker emerges from the wilderness with a great boon of discovery. A new instrument to behold! Notice, the music approaches harmonies with the natural way of impermanence and unity, as opposed to listening, where creative interaction with nature breeds a kind of musical kinship among humans and all life on Earth. As the seeker sights the ocean, the new instrument is played, ending the music and the journey. 

The new instrument is the xaphoon. Invented in the 1970’s in Hawaii, the xaphoon, also known as the bamboo sax, is a contemporary single-reed woodwind. The track ends with a homage to Jack Kerouac describing San Francisco, the very edge of the west, to crystallize the final xaphoon improvisation solo; a traversal of the “far west” in sound. 

Influences: Bill Frisell, Hamza El-Din, Vi An Diep, Steve Roach, Brian Eno, stones/minerals, earth, water/ice, winter, landscapes of the North American west, Jack Kerouac, fire, trees, reflection, solitude

See my previous post: Music of the Dream Author: Electro-Acoustic Improvisations I Release 
On a clean, medical train through Sudan, my Nilotic companion eyes me with a piercing grin as we pass south of Juba into the New South. We have arrived at his hard-won home, South Sudan. His smile is buried deep within the pain of intergenerational loss, the hellfire of war still sting his reddening eyes as he tears up, the pictures of his innocent family smolders into the soil. The land speaks with his voice.

Southern Nubia by Friedrich Otto Georgi
A number of tourists from Europe and America depart from the train stop, as we all exit to proudly march through the gates of the newly formed customs center. Before I ready myself to stand up and follow in the foreigner’s line, I see the winking horror of rats, spiders and snakes twice the size of my face, gnawing at my brains in the middle of the first night. I’ve read such stories. This is open country for sub-Saharan life-threatening insects and arachnids galore. If only they sold us preventive supplies before stepping foot on the blood-torched burial grounds of a still cold reconciliation between tribes and kin. The first thing I see is a smile, wide and innocent as the all-embracing horizon. Before I entered Sudan, an asylum seeking Sudanese refugee in Egypt told me, “Sudan is the easiest place to kill someone.”

Tornai Man from Sudan by Gyula Tornai
I heave a sigh of relief as the other westerners depart into the folds of pyramidal shopping and freewheeling nature photography. I journey on, to the heart of the people. My friend is ever stoic, silent, basking in the wonders of a new nation in its infancy, victorious after so many losses, after so many needless ends, there is at least one fresh start to be had, and one that all can have a part in. Concrete residential towers spring up almost before my eyes, fresh paint lingers and drips throughout the dry stinging horizon of African sun.

African Riddle by John Mainga
Men work diligently, with the force of triumph, erecting monumental stone structures, for future generations to thrive, for the plentiful, abundant optimism of the future. The complexes are almost identical to the substandard suburban housing of greater Cairo, where many must have returned from as once-neglected refugees, now with a determined hand and proud say in social affairs. They don sun-deflecting head coverings, and traditional footwear made with scarlet fabric and coins. Women are nowhere to be seen.

Battle of Tamai by Geoffrey Douglas Giles
We drive on, deeper into the south. The more south we go, the fresher the earth, the more bare the optimism, the more innocent the smiles. The more south we go, welcomes are heard with more sincerity. The air is full of potential. The energy is warm, and the harshness that once thrived now sees a chance of dwindling beneath the pulsing chests of hard work. My friend dissipates into the sunlight now flooding our vehicle; as the inimitable human spirit washes us clean of fear.  

The completion of this instrumental music project, "Electro-Acoustic Improvisations I & II " sets the ground for the next stage of my creative development, where I feature my experimental writing as spoken word together with my world music instrumentation. More art, music and writing next week!