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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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20 February 2013

gratuitous image

No. 123 (cartoon)

You’re living in a fantasy world.

You can’t live in the present forever.

21 February 2013

Hard of Hearing

I have nine muscles in my ear. That’s not many, not many at all, so I don’t tire them by listening to other people.

22 February 2013

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Gratuitous Photo of the Weak: Kittens.

I’m the artist in residence at the Internet Archive. It is in large part an imagined position, and that’s fine. As Pablo Picasso noted, “Everything you can imagine is real.” Virtual reality predated computers by millennia.

On rare occasions, someone wants my business card, so I decided to make one. I started by compiling all the information usually featured on a business card, and realized it contained all sorts of useless and redundant data. The problem is that people treat the card as a magazine advertisement or an Internet site; it is neither.

The only way someone can get my business card is if I personally provide it. That minor epiphany was the catalyst for eliminating unnecessary words and numbers. I started by deleting the fax number and zip code which are rarely used, but easy to ascertain. Using the same logic, I did the same for the address and telephone number.

I then turned to information theory, and remembered Claude Shannon’s premise that no information is conveyed unless it eliminates uncertainty. Anyone who receives a card from me knows my name and my association with the Internet Archive, so I deleted that as well. After all my edits, “kittens” was the only word remaining. That’s when I realized that I’d gone too far.

I capitalized the word, added a period, et voilà! Almost done. For the final step, I enlarged the eight characters so that they were legible without the need for glasses, then spent half an hour kerning them. I may or may not have the perfect business card, but it’s close enough for art.

23 February 2013

Under Strange Skies

I’m experiencing strange weather in San Francisco today. Usually, the sky here is an either/or proposition, either foggy or clear. Today, however, puffy clouds are slowly puff puff puffing overhead, as if they were in Kansas or worse. The clouds are suspended above me in the exact manner that boulders are not, and I find this unusual occurrence most curious and somewhat troubling.

24 February 2013

Squirrels, and The English Problem

It’s easy to spot the English people in Golden Gate Park: they’re the only ones photographing the squirrels. What’s their problem; do they not have squirrels in England?

That was, of course, a rhetorical question; I know that furry relatives of said charming, rabid rodents exist—”live” seems too optimistic a verb—in England. An explanation of “The English Problem” would require more words that there are atoms in the universe.

25 February 2013

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Harriet, Grave of the Unknown Chicken
N 37.78218, W 122.47163

Today, I dug a grave and buried Harriet’s body by the light of a full moon. That’s how the story ends; this is how it begins.

Thirty-some years ago, Jeffrey Valance published a slim volume, Blinky the Friendly Hen. He bought a chicken from the butcher, treated it as a deceased companion animal, and buried it in a pet cemetery. Coffin, funeral, headstone, the whole nine meters. I thought it was a wonderful piece.

Chickens are ubiquitous and invisible. Butchers kill some two hundred and seventy of them every second, a small and huge number that’s almost impossible to imagine. I decided to remember one of these chickens, Harriet.

I bought Harriet’s headless and footless body for six dollars and seventy-five cents. (She was on sale for a dollar and twenty-nine cents a pound.) I buried her in an unmarked grave under the lawn of the Internet Archive. I didn’t need a coffin; I bought her in a sealed plastic body bag.

Here she is: Harriet, Grave of the Unknown Chicken N 37.78218, W 122.47163. Come by for a visit. I’m sure Harriet would love to see you, at least to the extent that a dead, headless, buried chicken can see.


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©2013 David Glenn Rinehart