Michael Garfield's Visionary Art & Music

02 August 2016

On The Eve of My Most Epic Journey Yet: Little Bird & The Eschaton. Virtual Portugal. Live Art Tutorial. Three New Paintings. New Future Fossils Episodes.

On The Eve of My Most Epic Journey Yet

This blog's been going for over eight years now, and I still think this update is the best I've ever sent.  I can't wait for you to see this art!  To hear this music!  To soak up all these great ideas!

But first I have to tell you about my biggest adventure yet: A VIRTUAL REALITY TRAVELOGUE OF PORTUGAL.  I've been booked to speak and play guitar at Boom Festival (next week!), an internationally-renowned week-long electronic music and visionary art event.  This is my first trip to Europe and I want to make it as amazing for you as I can – so I'll be capturing and sharing both my talk and musical performances, as well as interviews and travel shots, in VR-ready full 360º video and spatial audio.

It wasn't cheap but damnit, there are spiritual rewards to being on the front lines like this.  Read more on my campaign page to learn about my inspiration for this project, and contribute something if you can.  But please know, this is not a plea for your support – it is about me giving you and everyone the best I can, and then inviting you to join me in the fun.  It is about declaring fearlessly:

The future is already happening just over the horizon, so I'm going to act like we are all supported in our work already.  I am going to behave as though the future I believe in is already here.  And that means sharing with you joyously, prodigiously, all banners waving.  Living as a work of art and knowing there's no need to fear.  

I love you and I cannot wait to show you all the beauty I discover on my travels.

But for now, the errands.  Hit me up for any reason, as per usual...


Proudly Presenting My New Album:
Little Bird & The Eschaton
Download/Stream Link

Live electronic improvisations on acoustic guitar and voice, or what I started calling "cyberacoustic guitar" in 2011.  These are the most realized and mature performances that I've recorded in the ten years I have consciously been trying to amend the painful absence of this music in the world.

This is musical performance as a sacrament and exploration of the intimacy between human and machine.  Between the flesh and wood and steel and digital devices, something else emerges.  It's like collaborating with the future, singing anthems of an age in which the human mind and body are remixed into the networked electronic wilderness of planetary culture.

(Hence the title: Little Bird & The Eschaton are pet names for Yours Truly and what Terence McKenna called "the strange attractor at the end of history," drawing all of us into its bosom.)

Note: You can also listen to these tunes on Spotify (Because even though paying them to listen to me isn't as good as paying me to listen to me, you already paid them, so it's moot; and who am I to stop you from enjoying music that I love and want you to enjoy?)

Three New Live Paintings

40"x30" – paint pens on canvas

The word "chreode" was coined in the 20th Century to mean the path a cell takes on its way to differentiation as part of a specialized organ – but I first encountered it in the trialogues between Terence McKenna, Ralph Abraham, and Rupert Sheldrake, in its expanded sense as a channel in the landscape of potential futures, a path of likely action in a field of possibility. A chreode is the tributary system through which we flow mostly unaware, like water down the side of a hill; it's the invisible geography in which we are embedded, the plastic medium that every action subtly reshapes, each moment of our lives constrained by all our past decisions. We all take a different course, but we're all rolling down the golden thread of destiny to meet each other in the ocean...

Original piece painted at the Highberry Music Festival on July 1-2 to the music of John Wayne & The Pain, Wookiefoot, Papadosio, Kaminanda, Cornmeal, Yonder Mountain String Band, TAUK, Desert Dwellers – and "in studio" (while traveling through Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas) from July 5-19 (finished on the Full Moon).

20"x20" – paint pens on canvas

What we think of as technology today is very limited: just, mostly, metal tools and implements. But language is technology. A lot of soft and squishy things are, too. And as society evolves to keep pace with accelerating change, our tools will speed up too, and liquefy, no longer merely rocks but flowing substances that live and breathe and change as rapidly as we require of them. Think of the black ooze in Prometheus, the über-tech that isn't merely one thing but a process of becoming, an accelerant to evolution. We are moving out of nouns and into verbs, from things to actions. This will be obscene to many – living tools will trigger the disgust of sanitation-crazy modern minds – but in that monstrousness is something luminous and beautiful (to "demonstrate" is to reveal what lies within, the "monsters" merely the repressed angelic forms of our unconscious mind). Enjoy the glistening, metamorphic future and its violet psychofluids...

Original piece painted with oil & acrylic paint pens at the Highberry Music Festival on June 30th to the music of Magic Beans, Dopapod, and Buckethead.

40"x30" – paint pens on canvas

This one is dedicated to Randal Roberts, Kaliptus Ohm, and Jack Shure - three fantastic painters whose influence is clearly felt in this alien still life, first "xenoscape" in a planned series, inspired by the ineffable neither-alive-nor-dead extraterrestrial "Hypotheticals" from Robert Charles Wilson's Spin/Axis/Vortex science fiction trilogy. I spend a lot of time thinking about how people are also places are also things and around we go, each one of us a location, an ecosystem, a mostly vegetative bio-intelligence more ancient and bizarre than we let on...

Original piece painted at the Switchboard South Music Festival in Houston, Texas on 26 & 27 June, 2016 to innumerable 15-minute live band concerts by emerging artists.

My First Live Art Videocast!

I webcast a live painting session and tutorial last week on the Acidmath'd Facebook Page – even though I've talked about this very thing for years, somehow I'd never actually done one.  It was extremely fun.

If you would like to know how I bring a piece together with paint markers, what I think about while painting, or how awkward I can be when talking to a faceless audience, then look no further:

New Future Fossils Podcast Episodes

My buddy Evan Snyder and I host the Future Fossils Podcast, in which we try to help folks take a wider view of things. The premise is this: it is a fact of math our greatest audience is yet unborn, and so these conversations may one day become an artifact of interest to future archeologists.  What do we believe is worth communicating down the halls of time?

We have some amazing guests to offer their perspectives to the digital museum.  Here are author Tony Vigorito and space scientist Bruce Damer's interviews, in which we wonder out loud about synchronicity (Is it for real, or a hallucination?) and wax eloquently of our species' need to organize around Great Projects that inspire us to work together on a common dream...

(iTunes and Stitcher syndication coming soon, we promise! In the meantime, here's our FB Group.)

Upcoming Things & Stuff

Full calendar right here.  (Feel free to make suggestions.)

A Final Thought

“There’s not the future, there’s a future. Every single living being has a different future. There are billions of futures and that’s just right now. And now it’s already gone and there’s another one. It’s a deeply responsible job to choose to be creative.”

08 July 2016

Big Summer Update (Part 1): New Music Video, New Live Paintings from Sonic Bloom, Moogfest Technoshamanism Talk

Part 1 of my Big Summer Update!

Hello, friends!  Summer is always the craziest, most productive time of year for me – a time of festivals, wide rambling, big plans, and major changes.  A lot of new readers, too!  Whether this is your first time getting one of my updates, or you've been getting them for years, thank you SO MUCH for taking in all that I have to offer.  I don't think the muse would speak to me so frequently if I had no one to sing to, or to paint for...

So here goes.  In this update: I rededicate myself to music; share two sweet paintings from Sonic Bloom Festival; and link you to the most important and high-profile talk I've ever given...

Check out my new press reel featuring previously unreleased footage from my history-making 2013 concert with Google Glass and my full-band experiment with the AI music visualizer Synesthesia!  This video is my love letter to the music career that I've neglected for the last few years, and my battle cry for getting back in there to serenade and rock you, my friends, as hard as possible.

To support the soul-work of my music, I'm now offering folks the opportunity to join a small group of backstage subscribers who get early access to new albums, as well as exclusive tracks and live sets.

Subscribe to me and you'll help fund a constant stream of anthems, ballads, instrumental voyages, inspired collaborations, local residencies, visionary ventures, and extensive touring that began for me in high school, and will hopefully continue until death.

With your support, I'll get creative in my giving. I'll send you special treats throughout the year reserved for this community, and you'll get to bask in satisfaction knowing you're a patron for a true and dedicated artist, helping me inspire people without worrying about how I'll sustain myself.

Thank you for listening, for sharing, for subscribing, and for anything you do to help me share the music in my soul!

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New Live Paintings From Sonic Bloom Festival

A moment of surprise, a burst of color, dinner interrupted by – what? Tyrannosaurus turns to see the unexpected, just off frame. Is it the UFOs that haunt the background of this ancient scene? Or were they always there, and something even stranger lurks just out of sight?

Alternatively, our protagonist has waited long and hard for his ET compatriots to land and save the last few dinosaurs by lifting them off-world. The Earth has suffered for two million years' of asteroid impacts, volcanic eruptions, mass disease, and other catastrophic changes. Those who still survive will find a new home somewhere else, another planet orbiting a distant star – and possibly return, one day...

Painted live with oil and acrylic paint on a 3'x4' canvas at Sonic Bloom Festival 2016, to the music of Seied, Cloud D, Milky.Wav, Space Jesus, Insightful, Giraffage, Louis The Child, Living Light, Prophet Massive, Quixotic, Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution, Phadroid, Tipper, Clozee, Phaeleh, Govinda, Djunya, SoDown, Fort Knox Five Feat. QDup, The Cat's Pajamas.

Painted at the SolPurpose Visionary Art Academy at Sonic Bloom Festival 2016 with oil and acrylic paint, spray bottle, and paper towels on a 24"x18" canvas, under the tutelage of Martina Hoffmann, Randal Roberts, and Morgan Mandala.

I already knew they were great people, but it turns out they're all amazing teachers, also, and I was inspired to FINALLY see this kind of learning space facilitated in the festival community, which has in ways assumed the burden of the University without actually living up to it. To start the week with intimate, hands-on initiatory craftwork - Music, Visionary Art, Flow Arts, and Permaculture sections, running parallel - transformed the whole event and I am now excited for the prospects of real lineage transmission in that venue. I have hope for festivals as a rhetorical device to lure our culture's pollinators into curious communion, in a way I haven't had for years.

That's not to say that it was easy or one-sided. Lots of people worked through major darkness in that class and in the festival that followed. I was one of them - and while hurling paint at this dark emblem of my transformation, Martina chatted with me on the balance of the light and darkness of the artist's vision, Giger's fear that he would die to learn his afterlife is like his paintings, my conviction that creators have responsibility to those with less imagination to communicate the best of future possibilities (as agents of reconnaissance - for all of us, like Jews in Exodus, wander through the landscape wondering, and benefit from climbers in our tribe whose bodies love to see the view from nearby hills). This set the tone for hours of profound discussion later with the future-minded Adam Psybe and Robert Jacob Max, both of whom declare the need for, and embody, critics, jesters, and contrarians in the festival world's all-too-often cultish, caste-divided, and escapist attitudes.

This is the start of something beautiful - or, the maturation of a thing that desperately needs to find a master's stance and bear the weight of its identity in culture. The festival is more than just a party, people. We are seeing the emergence of a novel structure that transcends while still including both the city and nomadic people.

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My Moogfest 2016 Talk on "Technoshamanism"

"Easily the most mind-opening presentation Moogfest 2016 had to offer – a multidisciplinary monologue that rivaled Brian Eno’s Moogfest 2011 keynote for all the unexpected twists and turns it took. This one-man show saw artist-musician Michael Garfield take a captive audience on a vision-quest through the lands where metaphysics and emerging technology meet. Make no mistake – it was a ramble, but an insightful and fascinating one from start to finish that traveled from the ancient dragon god Tiamat to the Victorians laying the transatlantic telegraph cable to the Manhattan Project giving birth to a new age of fear and awareness. The 'psychedelic century'? That’s the here and now that’s just beginning, and the more our technology graduates us to the alchemical act of creation, the closer humanity comes to confronting 'the cosmic mystery that we are.' Heavy and heady stuff, and a pleasant counterpoint to the doom and gloom of the average transhumanist cybergrumps whose future-thinking seems improbably grounded in the limited perceptions of the present."

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"Our responses to psychedelic experience represent a case study in our response to a transhuman, transpersonal, or posthuman condition...a signature of these varied and incessantly ineffable experiences has been what I will call the 'ecodelic' insight: the sudden and absolute conviction that the psychonaut is involved in a densely interconnected ecosystem for which contemporary tactics of human identity are insufficient."
- Richard Doyle, Darwin's Pharmacy, pp19-20

01 June 2016

Launching Future Fossils Podcast | New Collaboration Paintings with John Speaker, Tourmaline Todd, and The Deer | Interview in Knew Revolution #1

"I just want to inspire curiosity in people, more than any specific question. 
Curiosity is the cure for depression and despair."

Future Fossils is the new podcast I cohost with Evan "Skytree" Snyder, a masterful electronic music producer and industrial engineer with whom I've collaborated regularly since we first met in 2012 as performers at the South By Southwest party for the documentary film, DMT: The Spirit Molecule.

It's about time!  All kinds of time.  Our first two episodes explore Chronos & Cairos – the measurement and felt experience of time, respectively – the quantity and quality – the numbers and the feelings.  Does time REALLY have a direction or a shape?  Maybe the Big Bang and the Black Hole are the same object seen from two different "angles" and time's actually a double helix.  We go deep and deliciously weird.  

Enjoy episodes 1 & 2 on Bandcamp while we get our iTunes/Stitcher syndication going, and weigh in with your thoughts in our discussion group.

New Collaborations with John Speaker & Tourmaline Todd
And New Live Painting for The Deer

Speaking of time, one of its consequences is new art!  Click on each image for the story of the piece, close-up magnifier view, and how you can order prints:

Feature Interview in Knew Revolution, Issue 1

From the feature interview in KnewRevolution Issue 1, in which I offer my best definition of "visionary art," discuss identity beyond names, and say more with less:

"You and I emerge from genius, like legged fish from oceans. We may think we're separate but nonetheless we're still made of genius. It’s the vast intelligence that guides our actions and transcends the subject-object language that we’re stuck employing to describe it."

"Festivals are supremely valuable as an opportunity to create spaces between spaces, places for people to meet in uniquely vulnerable ways and learn and share with one another in the discovery and creation of new forms of social interaction and identity. But too many of them are weaponized consumer pit traps, and even the ones that try their best to be conscious still have to play by the broken system in which they take place. So they’re not, as I once thought, a way to make a living, nor are they sustainable as a way of life. But neither are desserts or holidays, and they enrich our lives immeasurably. All in right proportion."

"The more popular something gets, the more easy it is to sell, and so the real fringe keeps on moving. The molten frontier of human evolution isn’t standing still waiting to be mainstreamed, and as a rule of physics it never will be, because it keeps moving. What’s normal today was revolutionary a generation ago."

Read the first issue of Knew Revolution.

Upcoming Adventures