Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: New Digital Art & Live Album, "Rites of Passage" – and Custom Furniture

11 November 2011

New Digital Art & Live Album, "Rites of Passage" – and Custom Furniture

“Die while you’re alive and be absolutely dead. Then you can do whatever you want; it’s all good.” 
Bunan

We live in a culture that has forgotten its rites of passage – criminalized the psychedelic initiations we inherited from our ancestors, denying the scientific validity of adult psychological development and mocking the elderly rather than soliciting their wisdom.  But everywhere I look, I see people reconnecting to lost traditions and honoring life's transitions with newly created rituals.  It seems to be a basic and instinctual human need, to sacralize big changes – both to commemorate them and to give them meaning.

This week I'm writing from my new home in Austin, Texas – on the other end of a big and scary move away from a comfortable and familiar world full of friends and natural beauty, leaping straight into a hunch.  And I'm here to tell you, as the saying goes, that "death is absolutely safe."  Take the leap – because it'll never get any easier, you have people who love and support you, and the sky will hold your feet.  

It is in this spirit that I present Rites of Passage, an hour of live recordings from my performances at Burning Man 2011, as a gift to encourage your own difficult transitions – a friendly poke on the arm to let you know that everyone goes through it, and these changes only free the light we have inside us.  Download it for free now:


"Let your fears be the catalyst for change in your life, the motivator to go after what you want, not the barrier you build around yourself to stay safe."
Morgan Spurlock

"Remember, the water's always going to be cold. You might as well jump now."
Yehuda Berg

Enjoy!  And thank you.  Your sharing, reposting, and reviewing of this music is what allows me to keep it coming, and to find time for even more inclusive and ambitious collaborative multimedia projects.  A couple times a week I get a letter from someone I've never met about how I touched their life in some way.  It's because you help me get out there and into the ears and hearts of people who want depth, soul, and drive in their music...because it's time for songs that marry sincerity and smarts, heads and hearts.

Rites of Passage is a gift, in Burning Man spirit.  Please feel welcome to pass it on (or the live videos, available as a youtube playlist) to anyone you feel would stand to benefit.

But the music is just one part of what goes into an album, and making the cover art is always something I cherish.  This image in particular was such a treat to compose that I decided to make it available as a 1280 x 800 desktop graphic – just right click and "save as" or "set desktop background" for some new wallpaper:


Something to contemplate while looking at this image, and listening to my own modest human attempts at transcendence through music:

"If you draw a circle and you move to a second dimension of a sphere, it's possible to move out of that circle without crossing a boundary. If you have a sphere and you go from the three-dimensional to the four-dimensional you can also do that without crossing a boundary. So at three dimensions you can say I'm Euclideanly located here, but in the multi-dimensionality of my subtle bodies I'm involved with Andromeda. The whole notion of what is location and what is the body gets really dicey. What I break with in American culture is the notion that things are located in elementary particles, or in genes or in brains, and that by manipulating them through elite minds at Harvard or MIT, you can control everything. I'm much more involved in a diversity and an ecology of consciousness where an individual flame can't exist if there's not an atmosphere, that we can't exist if there weren't bacteria in our guts taking care of the poisons. The new theory about bacteria is that they're actually a planetary bioplasm and that we're inside them, they're not inside us – it's like a sheath around the earth. So the whole notion of location is becoming much more complicated – and much more interesting."

In other news, I got some totally cool commissions and spent my last few days in Colorado working up this custom end-table...and painting some new hats (full gallery here):


If these are giving you any ideas and you'd like me to ornament, decorate, illustrate, or embellish anything, drop me a line and we can get down to scheming...

Meanwhile, my rites of passage continue.  Nobody is ever completely "arrived," and now that I'm in Austin, I'm working to establish new collaborations – both visual and musical, intellectual and spiritual.  Here's to losing myself in something bigger...always a wonderful feeling.

For now, nothing really solid to report, but I'm going to hold myself accountable to you with the public promise that there will be full band and studio recordings.  I just have to find the band.

Next newsletter, more paintings.  Promise.