Monday, March 31, 2008

Lynn Hatzius

This is some of the album art for Adem's 'Love and Other Planets' LP. The music's good but I'm finding the artwork even more exciting and I've been meaning to share it for a long time . It's by Lynn Hatzius, a print maker and illustrator from London. Here's her website. There's a lot more to see.

Jon Sarkin

I just heard this really sad episode of This American Life about a man named Jon Sarkin , who was a chiropractor and environmental scientist from Massachusetts, until he suffered a sever stroke, that effected every aspect of his life and caused him to have a disjunctive relationship with the outside world. in 1988. Unable to work as he did before, he became a visual artist. Describing his condition on his website, he writes:

Why am I unable to be reflective about how my stroke affected my work?
Our physicality and perception are how we access and negotiate and navigate our environment and surroundings.

When these were paradigmatically and physically altered, so too was my understanding of, and my relationship with, the outside world.

There exists a connection with the external world and my "internality" that is truly intimate. TRULY.

When this balance is disturbed, the resulting disequilibrium changes everything. EVERYTHING.

Here are some samples of his art (note the reference to Edward Said):

The Free Cheese Is In The Trap
Private (Margaret E. Weiberg) collection
14" x 17"
Comments: "best-
laid plans"

11" x 14"
Felt tip pen on paper

He's no longer able to fully connect to his family and friends in the way that he used to, and the show described him as resorting to a childhood state of mind. This is terribly said, but from his art he seems to lack inhibitions. I'm tempted to wonder if strokes, or the kinds of pathologies that have started to haunt us over the past few centuries, are our bodies ways of allowing us to escape our contemporary realities, by allowing the mind to disengage from the atrocities of our adult world. In interviews, his wife describes his children as slowly growing up to realize that their father isn't normal. Clearly, he's just not considered normal by the standards of contemporary adulthood.

The Blog that Almost Ate Itself

Hello Friends,

To start off, I'll try to give any prospective readers a sense of what kind of blog this is. My name is Jen. I'm a grad student at York University, and I'm teetering on the cusp of writing my Masters Thesis. It's almost April, and with a year of work behind me, I should be a lot farther along then I am. Against my better judgment, I've decided to document this process, in hopes that it will keep me writing and keep my focus in check. Some of my friends in my program have opted to grow thesis beards. As I'm quite unable to do so myself (and nick refuses to grow one for me), I'm feeling left out kind of left out, so this is what I've come up with. At leas this way, if I never finish my thesis, I'll have something to show from all this time spent alone in my room. And if I do finish, and I go on to write a PhD dissertation, then I'll have a document to tell me what not to do, or even what to do, for next time.

My blog development thus far, may be able to serve as a microcosm of my thesis progress thus far, describing it with greater honesty and clarity then I ever could myself (Case in point : I just spent five minutes trying to myself a better word then microcosm, but failed).

On Saturday night, I found myself drinking with an old friend, in front of my computer. Inspired by his passion project music review blog (which is wonderful and happens to be linked from this site), I decided to start my own, knowing full well that it would serve primarily as procrastination, and that it would most likely never be read (side note: the average readership of a masters thesis is 0.5). I struggled to sign up for the account, pausing nauseatingly over names and titles whose vague semi-permanence was daunting. And since then I've spent approximately 12 hours, (which could have been taking in my new thesis research book, which came in the mail last Friday: "Documentary Time: Film and Phenomenology") google bound in search of ways to make my blog look more meaningful. This required re-teaching myself to read and edit HTML, as well as hours spent scouring the wrong free web design tile site.

So here it is. Polished it's not, but it will have to stay this way for now until my next lapse in willpower. For now, here are some of the beautiful things I found along my way:

First, here's a website that gives out awards for the most useful web design websites. Unfortunately, most of the site is in German, but you can still link to the sites and explore them for yourself.

Then there's
Hooked on Design: web, interface design and usability for the lay person.
I'm pretty jealous of their header. Maybe if I read them enough I'll learn how to make something comparable.

Speaking of jealous, check out It's pretty breathtaking.

This stripe generator seems as though it might be useful to me someday.

Web Design Wall is both an instructional resource and a source of inspiration.

And I've found some interesting tile art at both

and Pixel Decor, whose work adorned my desktop and made me fell better for a couple of months this winter.

(For Future Jen: notice that the end result of this fixation today is a lot less impressive then a finished thesis would have been.)

hope to see you again.