Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: September 2014

25 September 2014

My TED Application, Three New Paintings, Debating The Singularity, Collected Musical Works Volume I

"A man is a method, a progressive arrangement, a selecting principle, gathering his like to him, wherever he goes. He takes only his own, out of multiplicity that sweeps and circles round him." 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here's to change.  Now that festival culture is getting featured by The New York Times, perhaps it's time for me to move on...or at least grow, to include my last seven years' of work in the body of something greater.  Something that serves you better.

Let's start with my bid for the big time – an amazing opportunity to join a few dozen people selected from a worldwide pool of applicants to attend the TED conference all expenses paid, speak at the conference, and benefit from free professional coaching. Filling out this application was exciting, hopeful, inspiring, and deep.  Having to explain why you're a promising young human to The Wizard of Oz is a ripe moment of reflection...


Q: Tell us about your work.

A: The goal of my work is to heal the divide in people's minds between art, science, and spiritual practice – to help others see these three domains as lenses through which anything can be explored, in service of a map that marries disciplines and sees beyond the isolation of modernity into a world whose richness only deepens as we add perspectives.

I am a liminal creature, standing between cultures and traditions to help suture them together – speaking one world in the language of another, juggling metaphors and dancing in the flow of information. My work is an evolving map that links our generation's struggle to a cosmic story, and hopefully empowers people to be true cosmopolitans creatively engaged in our world's future. We need all hands on deck right now. I'm a life-as-art recruiter.


Three New Paintings

A series of chromatic explorations into the basic visual language emerging between microscopic life and antique vegetal design. Floral patterns, paisleys, and damasque collide with retroviruses, trichomes, and DNA in a self-organizing burst of juicy color...

Dragon Tail

Dragon Eggs

Happy Kraken

Global Brains & Singularities: Debating The Technopocalypse with Cadell Last

Cadell Last and I put a ton of time into this thorough exploration of light and dark potentials for our future. If you've ever gazed at the stars wondering what's in store for us, check this out.

It goes without saying, please share this. I think it's an important conversation.

"Humanity” will probably come to mean all kinds of wacky things – I know a bunch of people who are already camping in a proverbial line around the block for their new tentacles, gills, wings, computer backups, etc. But I seem to have a harder time than you do imagining that some watershed moment is ahead of us in time that marks an epochal break point into a radically different state of being than any previous radical shift. As far as I’m concerned, we’re already over the rainbow – it’s just become the new normal to us.
Collected Works, Volume I

321 TRACKS across THIRTY live releases chronicling my evolution as an avant-garde guitarist and singer-songwriter – including previously unreleased material recorded everywhere from underground caves to mountaintops – now exclusively available in this bundled collection!

FOR SUPER-FANS ONLY – if you're just getting started, turn back now. This collection captures some of my weirdest musical moments to date – tripping in the desert west of Albuquerque, jamming under tarps during a central Texas rainstorm – as well as improvs from the Costa Rican jungle and MAPS Psychedelic Science conference, radio broadcast performances, coffeehouse gigs, festival sets, and records of more wild house parties than you can shake a stick at.

New Art & Future Writing For Globalish


My big thing recently has been writing for the awesome website Globalish.com, covering visionary culture, technology, and perspectives on our ever-faster headlong dive into the future.  Here are my latest pieces on our strange and beautiful age:

Current Future

Visionary Culture

• Discover Liquid Stranger’s “Underwater Extraterrestrial Bass Music”
• Quixotic: Barnum and Bailey’s Circus for the 21st Century
• Desert Dwellers: Celebrating Tribal Culture with the Temple Step Project
• Eskmo’s New Track & Video Addresses California Drought
• Dance & Animation Merge in ARTheism’s Colorful Light Shows

And Now A Message From Our Sponsor

I couldn't do it without you...seriously.  If you have any suggestions for how my art could go on clothes, or gear, or anything – please let me know!  I am so dedicated to producing what you want.

That includes original art.  I've got a long season at home ahead of me and would love to make you something at a price you can afford.  Meanwhile:


My Next Big Gig

One of my favorite festivals all year, now even more amazing than before.  The lineup this year is incredible.  I'm putting a lot of love (and guests) into this very special set...and have some tickets at a discount if you'd like one.

05 September 2014

New Studio Tracks | Hyperspace Language | Phone Cases | New Hat | More Futurism & Visionary Culture at Globalish

“Perhaps musicophilia is a form of biophilia, since music itself feels almost like a living thing.”

This week I am proud to present my first studio recordings in six years.  I actually started these two tracks in 2009 as a follow-up to the Double-Edged Sword EP (still the closest I've come to realizing my full vision for integrating grace and grit in electronic folk music)...but life and time had other plans for me, and I went off on a great adventure in avant-garde guitar (highlights here, here, here, and here).

The Cyclist/Throwing Sparks is just an appetizer.  This fall I'm doubling down on my production study, committing myself (finally!) to recording my new compositions, and preparing to create the greatest thing I've made to date.  It's time.

Meanwhile, enjoy this sweet seven-minute token of my love for space and song.  It's a gift, for the time being.  If you like it, I hope you'll share it with someone.


You taught me to own my love 
but I cannot quite pin down that bug. 
Neither of us lives all that we say 
and lovely ideas spill out and vapor away. 
I'll take what I can get, give what you'll accept... 
I no longer fear there will be nothing left. 

Evolving Hyperspatial Language
(A Clip From February's Aya Awakenings Panel)

Another shining moment from my wonderful discussion with directors Rak Razam and Mitch Schultz following the screening of Rak's ayahuasca documentary in Austin.  (You can listen to our whole talk here.)  This bit's on my conviction that there are no sensory experiences fully past our languaging – just over the horizon, maybe, for this time and place:

"Most of what we talk about today was 'trans-linguistic' a hundred years ago...I don't think it's categorically 'beyond words,' I just think that the words grow to fill the space of our consciousness."

I Made A Lot of Cool New Merchandise This Week

Look...I'm not trying to hide my mercantilism, here.  I'm a freakin' artist for a living.  It's not advised.  I need all the help I can get.  Hopefully you just bought a new phone that could use a case, or want to pimp your laptop with some cool adhesive flair.  I get 20% on every sale.  That translates into tacos.  And I need tacos to live.  So let's be symbiotic.  

Custom Painted Hat #175

I have nothing fancy to say about this...but man do I love painting hats.  Hit me up if you'd like one of your own.  (You can see pics of the other 174 hats here.)

New Articles on Globalish

My new appointment on the writing team at Globalish.com gives me a fantastic opportunity to wax poetic about all of my favorite artists and to comment on the most amazing new developments in futuristic tech.  


After years of not writing very much, I'm now on a daily schedule – and have a new vehicle for sharing some incredibly inspiring videos.  Here are my most recent posts:

Visionary Culture