I am not afraid of death, not just applying to myself, but to anyones death. Life is, that is how it works and when it stops working you are dead. Everybody dies. Not that I have some disregard for my own safety, just that when the time comes it comes.
What I fear is pain, or that stateless existence that should be full of pain but you are so drugged out of your mind that you dont care. The slow modern way to die. Surrounded by bright lights and people with opinions and crying people all full of remorse because they have no idea what is beyond death.
Years ago we would die at home, with our family. If we had any money at all it would mean a single other person would come to our beside briefly before then very end. Be he priest, doctor, or shaman. But any kind of slow death was a private thing, full of pain but never lingering very long really.
Modern death takes its time. We continually probe and destroy anything in our bodies we think of as bad. Anything that causes death in the body is bad. This is as ridiculous as thinking that death is bad. Death is, there is nothing you can do and it does not judge, everybody dies eventually.
The ancient Viking peoples believed that one who died in battle would go on to Valhalla – a palace of warrior kings. But maybe the reward of dying on the battle field is that death is often over very quickly.
I miss my place in London. Its funny to miss a place really, but I do. I have been so busy with things since I got back and its only just begun. (producing a new Rob Mazurek record, booking a lecture tour, going to NYC next week to film Wolfeyes and Absolute Body Control, preparing Rites of Eleusis for a dvd release, and many other things) But somehow I keep thinking about London and how much more comfortable I am there.
Someday I am going to release my feature film the Philosophers Stone, find the lost Bog sessions, find a home for Sigils of the Heptameron, and many many other things.
Oh well, back to work.
Such fog filled streets of chilly slumber
like a ghostworld illuminated windows
erase all sleep.
Modern cobblestones and memories
everywhere a shadow of its past
but future still holds
more reason than doubt.
What names have been given the trees
that so long they sleep in green covers
their arms giants that hold up the sky.
Too soon I left to return to colonies
consumerist cultural wasteland
possessions hold me still to
that place I once called home
But when tides turn and west winds blow again
I will return to haunt your parks and fields
your stars signed skies and sleepless nights
I will hold you, and in your arms
I will be free
There is something about returning to the place which you have left behind. Something about the shape of your movements there that are somehow awkward and irregular. A hesitation on the part of yourself and the people you know to face the reality that you are gone and are now just visiting. I have reached that point with Chicago. Somehow disengaged from the people and the places I wander through the night with only my studio to bring me comfort, a place apart from the world in which I can still return to create. I feel as if I am in some transition phase of my life. Not quite here, not quite there, I am still on the road between. I miss my place in London, its charm holds me here while I watch it snow in Chicago on the second day of spring. This cold typifies Chicago, a slight delay from the rest of the world, just behind everything else it sleeps for a month or so after the rest of the world has awoken from winter. Chicago rolls over, hits the snooze and the snowflakes continue to drift downward and cover the ground like a comforting blanket in the last hours of its slumber. Nice place to visit, but living here is as grey as the midwestern sky.
Rites of Eleusis – Rite of Mercury clip
This is a clip shot by someone in the audience of my performance on March 7th at the Horse Hospital.
Raymond Salvatore Harmon
In the past year almost all of my short films have been shot on a camera phone. These totally low res images yield a contrast level and saturation detail that takes hours to get out of conventional dv cameras. Looking back at the various pieces I find myself more and more reluctant to soften the pixelization of the image once it is blowup to dvd quality.
As I stare out across the last day in London until I return in May I have been considering the role of the pixel in the future of making art. Our tendency is toward a higher and higher resolution image, constantly searching for better quality technologies. But this harsh edge of information, the artifacting of compression and data transfer as part of the moving and still image is becoming a functional part of the lives of every person in modern society.
Like the brush stroke the pixel is a point of reference and much like the impressionists those who deal in the digital capture of color and form have to face the certainty of artificiality in their creation.
When we begin to embrace the hard edge of the pixel, utilizing the mathematical structure of compression as a form of visual expression we will be moving toward the next jump in the evolution of art. Embracing the form of technology and its role in creative thinking is the first step toward developing something that is totally new and without precedent.
Once painters had to deal with the photographs ability to replace them as the counterfeiter of reality, now as the film grain and the brush stroke are replaced by the pixel we must confront and embrace this new form and take it to places it has yet to be.
Where to begin?
After a night of transcendental light at the Horse Hospital in London I gathered myself and headed off to Rome. Wandering these ancient streets was perfectly what I needed after the journey in the darkness of Crowleys Rites.
Italian culture is so settled into what it is, a perfect blend of old and new, youth spraying graffiti on the ancient temples of the past. Everything is sacred, nothing is sacred.
I strolled through the temples of ruined past, visited the center of christian faith and even made it to the Disneyish home of the Pope. I found much more spiritual places in Rome than the Vatican. (particularly the Santa Maria Maggiore) Stood on the hill or Emperors and slept in the shadows of ruins.
The AMM performance that had brought me to Rome in the first place happened my first night and was astounding. Eddie Prevost and John Tilbury are a sight to see. Following the show I went to dinner with them and some Italians involved in the show. Great conversation and lots of wine.
After that the city was just one long walk. Right next to my hotel was one of the oldest and best Gelato places in Rome. Breakfast of cappuccino and gelato for three days is so nice.
There is something in the sky of Rome, a color that is unlike anyplace I have ever been. A bright blue azure dome that is more like a painting made of light than anything I have ever seen. I think this sky defines what Rome is, a place apart from the world. A doorway into which we may pass and visit but in which nothing is impossible.
The last day I spent lounging on the lawn of the Villa Borghese, an enormous park once frequented by Byron and Shelly. The perfect end to the trip and then a bleak ride home and back to the modern world of London.
Like a dream, a holiday I have needed my entire life.