Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: What do acoustic guitar, hand-painted hats, and the science of fractals have in common?

25 September 2011

What do acoustic guitar, hand-painted hats, and the science of fractals have in common?

"There will come a day when music and its philosophy will become the religion of humanity."
Hazrat Inayat Khan

“Music is everybody's possession; it's only the publishers who think that people own it.”
John Lennon

After three years of talking about it, I'm taking a leap of faith to more completely dedicate myself to a life of art, music, and performance philosophy...and finally moving from Boulder to Austin at the end of October.  If music is my religion, then Austin is Mecca, and this pilgrimage is the natural fulfillment of my faith.  Just maybe, it'll also be the next stage of my development as an artist in service to the planetization of human culture.

Between now and my official first gig there on 11/11/11, I'll be down in Austin for Art Outside Festival, and playing a few going-away shows in Denver on the 14th and 25th.  I've met a lot of wonderful people over my four years in Colorado.  Hope I'll see some of you out there!


While I'm getting ready to make the move, it's a good time pick up some of my original artwork at cut rates we can decide together.  I'm holding another art sale to help me fund this transition, and you can read all about it and browse the available paintings on my facebook art page.  Please share with anyone you know who's looking for some art to tie the room together...

In other, more gift-related news, editing the talk and concerts I gave at Burning Man is taking longer than I expected.  But while all of that slow-cooks to tender, delicious completion, I'm excited to share my latest live recordings, digital artwork, philosophy talk, live art video, and custom-painted hat.  Enjoy!


These latest live recordings strike a new balance between my jazz-inflected folk roots and more recent forays into improvised cyber-acoustic psychedelia...alternately tender and apocalyptic, it's a showcase for both sides of me: the performing songwriter and the hyperspace engineer.

Performed live at the extremely ironic Buddha Asian Bistro in Kansas City, Alive in the Zone of the Rose is a record of my attempt to transform the restaurant's hipster-chic spirituality into a genuine experience of the transcendent for a roomful of distracted weekend diners.  Did it work?  I don't know...but I got some good tracks out of it.  And an excuse to conjure up some intense new digital artwork for the album cover!

In the spirit of the gift economy, I make all of my music available for free.  Anything you can offer to support my work is greatly appreciated – even if that means simply sharing it with your friends.  Thanks for listening!


"If you ask three questions – 'Who are we?' 'Where do we come from?' 'Where are we going?' – any answer to those will give you a myth. You can give a Marxist answer, you can give a sociobiological answer, you can give a Christian fundamentalist or Moslem answer. So myth is basically macro thinking. Technical thinking is micro. It's saying, 'I'm a neuroscientist, I'm a geneticist and I'm not interested in answering the big questions.' If you step back and ask the big questions then you're beginning to think mythopoeically. Science is inherently mythic."

In this talk I gave at Tribal Convergence 2011, I examine the changing paradigm in modern science – articulating an emerging worldview that sees a fractal self-similarity between cells, organisms, and planets, and a correlation between the complexity of mind and matter – a worldview that highlights our participation in a cosmic superconsciousness which might eventually become a part of the everyday experience for humankind.

Inspired by poet and cultural historian William Irwin Thompson's "intellectual free jazz," this talk roams through chaos theory, developmental psychology, philosophy of science, and personal narrative to suggest a vaster world than any one domain provides...

"The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as to seem not worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it."

"As a poet, of course, I have a highly developed imagination, so I ask no one to believe in anything I write here."


My apologies for taking so freakishly long to publish this in our instantaneous culture, but here it is!  Working as live art director for Sonic Bloom Festival again this summer was so fulfilling – three days, two domes, and over a dozen artists made this one of the real standout live painting events of my summer.  Visit the video page for full information on the artists...

~ New Custom Hat ~

...lastly, here's the latest to show from this enjoyable new pastime.  Click on the picture to take a closer look at the layered design:

for Kyle Dietrich

If you'd like one of these, email me with your budget, hat size, and any stylistic preferences you have.  You can check out my full gallery of custom hats for inspiration...

~ In The Next Newsletter ~

• Full audio from my talk at Burning Man, "Evolutionary Transitions In Individuality;"
• Video from my forthcoming live album of Burning Man musical highlights, Rites of Passage;
• More hand-painted and digital artwork from the highest branches I can reach!