Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: Echoes Of An Interstellar Meltdown

10 June 2009

Echoes Of An Interstellar Meltdown

> Imagery

These paintings are from my live art residency at Wakarusa Festival's Interstellar Meltdown, a festival-within-a-festival that featured sweet live PA and electronic rock acts all weekend. I was lucky enough to get "official" status for this one (artist's wrist band serial number 00002), so I basically camped at the stage all weekend, up until dawn with the late-night acts every night. It was a super productive weekend. My legs are only now recovering...

2009 06 04 Wakarusa (Studio + Gem, The Floozies, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey) - 24" x 24" masonite board
I've been reading Michael S. Schneider's excellent book A Beginner's Guide To Constructing The Universe. It's a tour of the numerical archetypes 1 through 10, how they manifest in nature, what they meant to the Pythagoreans and Freemasons...and how to construct each in 2D and 3D with a compass and straightedge. So in my last few weeks of living in Phoenix, I spent a few hours every day exploring the arrangement of circles and straight lines to decompose larger polygons into fractal arrays of repeating stars, diamonds, and triangles. I almost didn't want to color this one in, given how lovely and subtle the gloss black and matte black of the paint and board looked together. But I kept photos of that earlier stage and will be making digital stencils for further exploration. And jumping out of the car at Wakarusa to immediately get going on this piece was a blast.

available - 2009 06 05 Wakarusa (Pretty Lights, Praang) - 30" x 15" canvas panel
People have been telling me for over a year that I should try painting on a gradient...so I did. And it was great. Definitely expect a lot more of that...gradients make the appearance of depth even easier than using a black field. And I'm all about the depth.

available - 2009 06 05 Wakarusa (Studio + The Egg, Telepath, Heavy Pets, Heavyweight Dub Champion) - 24" x 24" masonite board
Another experiment pulled from the pages of A Beginner's Guide To Constructing The Universe – this time, the "harmonic decomposition of a square." My mom gave me an octagonal prism lens (kind of like the kind that goes on kaleidoscopes) right before I left for Wakarusa and I was handing it to spun kids all weekend so they could look at this painting. The gold outlines on every harmonic are really sweet in person...this one is so formal and linear that I don't identify with it as much as some of my other works, but that didn't seem to dissuade anyone at the shows.

2009 06 06 Wakarusa (EOTO, 2020 Soundsystem, Madahoochi) - 30" x 15" canvas panel
GOLD BACKGROUND! What else to be said about this one? Except that I threw the plants in kind of late in the process and then had to pull the cubes back out from the background...which reminds me of one time when I was at Clinton Lake in Lawrence KS and saw a UFO fly behind a tree, except that I could still see its lights as if they were in front of the tree, which was very puzzling. Also, I'm really satisfied with the electric sparks coming off the cubes. My friend Nathan who is a huge Futurama dork said this one reminds him of "space honey."

available - 2009 06 06 Wakarusa (Somasphere, Boombox, DJ Rehka) - 30" x 15" canvas panel
Back to black. Above-mentioned Futurama dork was drawing fields of cubes when I hung out with him last week, so figured I'd veer into the realm so skillfully portrayed by Kris Davidson and try to build three dimensions out of two. Freehanding those cubes is getting easier all the time...but barely. There's a bit of multi-perspectival head-twisting with this piece, because if you start from the corners of the trigram it appears that the center cubes are larger but farther away...but if you start from the center, it seems like the closest corner of a tetrahedron pointing toward the viewer. Either way, our confused brains don't want to register this as flat.

available - 2009 06 07 Wakarusa (Shpongle, Chuck Love, Ott) - 30" x 15" canvas panel
Speaking of confused brains, this is what happens on the third night I've desecrated my melatonin cycle in the name of art. Kind of a topographic map of a digital desert under blacklight. I'm eager to explore plenty more concentric lines in future pieces.

> Writing

I was recently given a great extended interview about my art and music by Austin music blogger Tyler Groover on his blog TwoGroove.com – probably the most in-depth any journalist has ever cared to go with me.
Part One - Background
Part Two - Artistic Process
Part Three - Miscellaneous Ranting


I've also been writing for transhumanist magazine H+, where the future of technological and ethical evolution is examined by a community of thinkers who agree we're all about to call into question our deepest assumptions about human nature and existence. My two most recent articles:

Let A Hundred Futures Bloom (on page 67 of their digital edition)
A "both/and" view of the so-called "singularity" that will transform everything we know...my look at numerous possible future scenarios that could bring about a posthuman world, which might not be mutually exclusive.

The Spooky World Of Quantum Biology (not my title!)
It turns out that the "spooky" behaviors of the quantum world – where teleportation, time-travel, and bilocation are par for the course – are the machinery of life. New research indicates that quantum effects might explain the mysteries of biology, finally provide a stable definition of life, and allow us to tap the incredible computational ability of living systems to steer the course of evolution – or fulfill our destiny as pawns of the vast "intelligent design..."