Michael Garfield – How To Live in the Future: 2018

23 July 2018

New Digital Art, Time-Lapse Video, & Several Awesome Conversations

Hey everyone!  I'm trying to keep my updates to you shorter lately, and keep pace with the Moore's Law-like miniaturization of attention spans.  Here's your most succinct newsletter yet.  Enjoy!

• I just uploaded all of my fan-favorite musical releases for your free streaming pleasure at Choon, the new blockchain-powered music service that pays playlist curators in cryptocurrency.  Go get yourself signed up and paid for sharing music!  Or just enjoy eleven of my albums, no strings attached.

Third Eye Drops Podcast had me back on recently, along with my friend Andrew O'Keefe, to talk about my super trippy essay, "The Future Is Disgusting" (and about a zillion other tangents).  Listen to it here.  Always a good time!

• A full-length transcript of Future Fossils Episode 75 with Santa Fe Institute's President, David Krakauer, is now available on Medium – along with one of my favorite short essays ever, "Being Every Drone: The Future of XR & Robotic Telepresence."

• I am still offering up to 50% off the list price for all my paintings – as well as taking payment plans and partial trades.  Deep gratitude to everyone who's purchased art from me so far!

• Oh, and THIS happened.  :)

New Digital Painting + Time-Lapse Video

This show just keeps on getting better!  And now there are more places you can tune in – including YouTube, Steemit, and soon Choon (currently adding the entire archive, five a day).  Episode 81 with Arthur Brock resulted in my most-successful tweet of all time.  All three of these episodes are great:

Read the show notes & stream this episode: PatreonSteemit

Read the show notes & stream this episode: PatreonSteemit

Read the show notes & stream this episode: PatreonSteemit

20 June 2018

Notes from InterPlanetary Festival • New Coloring Book Pages & Future Fossils Podcast Episodes

“Nations are Destroy’d or Flourish in proportion as
Their Poetry, Painting and Music are Destroy’d or Flourish:
The primeval state of Man was Wisdom, Art and Science.”
– William Blake


Last weekend I participated in one of the coolest festivals I've ever been a part of – InterPlanetary Festival was the starting pistol shot for the Santa Fe Institute's InterPlanetary Project, a new initiative to open up the esteemed complexity science think-tank's research and conversation about the future of our species to...well, the rest of our species.

I interviewed SFI President David Krakauer about it on Future Fossils Podcast Episode 75, and there will be many more interviews from SFI associates to come – and that's just it: this was the juiciest collection of brilliant minds I've ever seen come together for the purposes of celebrating something. And in this case, they were celebrating a new public era in which collective intelligence out-performs the ivory tower and we can start to think and work together on the biggest questions facing civilization – questions like, "How did life begin?" and "How can space exploration and sustainable stewardship of Earth's biosphere be pursued in synergy?"

This event gathered planetologists, science fiction authors, technologists, digital artists, and other genius weirdos together to entertain these questions as an annunciation of this newer, more inclusive phase for SFI.

I played concert of my own sci-fi-inflected songs – as well as offer something I have wanted to do for a while: live notes, projected on a giant LED screen on stage, during three panel discussions and one awesome concert. Inspired by Kelvy Bird's philosophy of "Generative Scribing," I wanted to go beyond merely taking notes on the panels to providing an additional idea channel during the talks to synthesize and surface additional insights.

It was a hit. Here are the results (along with my rapidfire live paintings from Rob Schwimmer's incredibly dope theremin and Haken Continuum sci-fi soundtrack concert):

I've been starting to put in maybe too much time on this coloring book project...making each page maybe too intricate, but naw, that's silly talk.

Patreon supporters get each page in print-friendly .jpg, .psd, and .pdf to suit your tablet/printer pleasure. Right now, $5 gets you access to all twenty pages and staying subscribed means you'll get at least a few more every month in addition to the podcast extras, music, and more. Thanks and enjoy!

04 June 2018

Rainbow Unicorn Xenomorph Painting • New Psych-Futurist Writing • Electric Ballads EP • Unplugged Peter Gabriel Cover • New Future Fossils Podcasts

“If you have a good idea, SAY IT, for God’s Sake!”
– Terence McKenna

Greetings, everyone – I hope your summer's going well!  (And that if you're in Santa Fe this week, you'll join me and a lot of awesome scientists and artists at the Interplanetary Festival...)

Here are the things I've made for you in the last month:

New Painting:
"They Only Come Out At Night, Mostly...Mostly"

36"x24" - paint pens on stretched canvas
painted live at Cosmic Flux Festival (AR) and Tap Iñ 2 (TX)
plus copious studio time over April & May 2018

For anyone who loves HR Giger or Lisa Frank, or both, or unicorns and rainbows and pegasuses and chestbursters and biomechanical horror. Transgressive, suggestive, and downright queer (in the original sense: weird, strange, abnormal). Not intersectional, though – unless by that you mean the intersection of alien parasites and cuddly mammals (of which I will always approve, in fiction).

The title is a pun.  Guess I'm just in a "let your freak flag fly" mood...in addition to being WAY into skirting that edge between light and darkness, the sacred and profane, the happy and the horrible.  As should be evident in my latest piece of writing:

New Essay: 
"The Future Acts Like You"

The latest chapter of my book-in-progress, How To Live in the Future, this twelve-minute read explores our coming age of simulated digital persons and the merged analog-digital identities we may one day possess; the effect of human cloning on the War of the Sexes; and as much deliciously freaky psychedelic futurism as I can squeeze into one wild, jazzy riff.  Enjoy!

New Free EP:
"Electric Cowboy Ballads"

Three new recordings on voice and solo electric guitar (Oh electric guitar, where have you been all my life?), recorded in Austin and San Marcos, 2018.

My life as a singer-songwriter is understated, passionately soulful but not something that I flaunt around. It is, however, closer to my sense of self than being a live painter, or a futurist, or essayist. Playing guitar and writing music are, I think, the best ways I know how to get a point across. These songs say more with less than I seem to be able to in other writing, or in conversation.

I wrote the closest thing I've ever made to outlaw country, "Don't Fret," in 2001; I wrote the tender neuroscience anthem "Always Catching Up" in 2015 as part of the windfall from an ayahuasca mishap; and I never actually wrote "Electric Improvisation in D Major" to begin with, just attuned to its always-already-ness and let it speak through me. So you're hearing a wide swath of my inner life and musical identity in three relatively short movements.

New Video:
Acoustic Cover of Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up"

One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists. Peter Gabriel said he wrote this piece after seeing a collection of National Geographic's photographs from The Great Depression...since most Americans haven't benefited from economic growth since the 1960s, and my generation in particular got out of school just as the sub-prime mortgage crisis happened, I feel like many of us can resonate with these powerful lyrics.

This is my own arrangement, down 1/2 step from the original version. And yeah, I know I don't sound like Kate Bush, but hopefully you can forgive me. :)

New Episodes of Future Fossils Podcast

If you're not already in on this stream of amazing conversations, now's a great time to dive in.  As far as I'm concerned the guests and topics just keep getting better.  Image links are to the downloads and show notes for each episode, but you can find them on any podcast platform:

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts • Stitcher • Spotify • iHeart Radio


Stuff You Might Have Missed


01 May 2018

Too Many Wonders? You Decide: New Live Albums, Time-Lapse Video, Salamander Painting, Coloring Book, & Podcast Episodes

Whoops – I guess I went a month without updating everyone about the new work...you were probably as busy as I was so let's just call it even.  Hope that this newsletter stays inspiring, not overwhelming.  God forbid that I contribute to the distraction avalanche.

If you'd prefer a bite-sized update every time I make a new thing as opposed to monster digest updates like this one, there's always Patreon (and if you've been enjoying my emails for years, I hope that you'll consider making the migration – subscribers helps immensely and I make a point of showing you I love you).

As an aside, I just republished some of my old fan-favorite essays on Steemit: "Ode To A Paradigm Shift""Transformational Festivals Are A Symptom of Dissociation"; and "A Manifesto For Live Painting".  And I was on my friend's great podcast Third Eye Drops again, this time (Episode 102) discussing the evolutionary biology and mythological dimensions of MONEY.  I say a lot of things I haven't said on record anywhere else, on a topic that is pretty key for all of us.  (Don't know when I will say more on these things, but I really should...)

That's all for now.  Thank you for opening this message and I hope you benefit from what's inside.


New Coloring Book Time-Lapse Video:
"On James P. Carse's Finite and Infinite Games"

I have decided to make the coolest dinosaur coloring book ever – AND the coolest reptiles and amphibians coloring book ever.  At least those two.  As I complete each page I'm giving every Patreon supporter at $5 and up the PDF and PSD files for it, to print out or color on a tablet.

I'd love to make more integrated coloring book time-lapse + music + podcast excerpts videos like this one above a bigger part of what I do – but I'm stretched pretty thin right now. So to that end I've mademore coloring book pages and more videos the object of my current Patreon stretch goal (to make a clean $1000 a month on that platform, which isn't too too far away...)

Here are pictures of the first dinosaur and reptile coloring book pages, both of which have extensive backstories dating back to my childhood that you've been spared, here:

Derp Alert!  
New Barton Springs Salamander Painting
for the Save Our Springs Alliance
24"x18" – acrylic paint on canvas

This spring I took a part-time gig with Save Our Springs Alliance and I'm finally starting to feel like a citizen of Austin. You all know how much I care about the history of place, and it's awesome to sink into the decades-old lineage of conservation work this organization holds and continues. Austin's one of those rare cities that has not yet totally destroyed the natural resources that made it beautiful to live in in the first place...

Austin's Barton Springs is home to a totally unique salamander that exists nowhere else in the world. I painted this to raise awareness of the valiant efforts by Save Our Springs Alliance to preserve the habitat of this beautiful creature, and to alert people to the importance of the Edwards Aquifer in general – which is also the source for clean water for millions of people, and is currently endangered by both deregulated development within city limits and secret fracking about 40 miles west of Austin. This piece is the second I've made of the Barton Springs Salamander, Eurycea sosorum.

Wherever you live, take care of it. Other creatures depend on you. If you live nearby, you can support the Save Our Springs Alliance by donating here.

New Instrumental Album: Live at Flowstorm 2018
Spotify • Bandcamp • Feedbands • Patreon • iTunes

For those of you unfamiliar with my music, you're coming in at a very good time.

This set was improvised live on acoustic guitar, pedalboard, voice, and iPad Pro to an international audience of professional flow artists: hoopers, fire dancers, poi spinners, and many others.

This informal collaboration, as well as the glorious Central Texas wildflower eruption all around us, and the sweet song of the frogpond in the distance, led to what I believe is one of my strongest instrumental freestyle sets of all time.

(It also happened to be on the Eve of Easter and on the third anniversary of my first gig - also at Flowstorm - with my beloved guitar Charlotte, a Taylor 322e.)

All of the tracks are named after local wildflowers. The album art is from one of my greatest inspirations, the legendary Ernst Haeckel, author of Art Forms in Nature.

New Live Double Album: Live at Arcosanti

Recorded live on 11 and 12 November 2017 in the amphitheater of the legendary Arcosanti, Arizona – an historic experiment in ecologically-integrated architecture – for Convergence, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between visionary architects, artists, and permaculturists.

Arcosanti is one of the most inspiring places I've ever been and playing there was the fulfillment of a dream I've had since I first visited in 2005.  The vibe was high, the desert winter beautiful, the crew and venue incomparable. This double album is a landmark record of the sweet, ripe moment when it all came true – if only for a moment.

Most people have no clue that I've been a devoted songwriter since 1999 and that my music matters more to me than almost anything I do...the songs on this live album are the fruit of that long practice and I've polished each of them with love and patience over years.

This really was a magical concert and I'm glad I get to share it with you.

New Future Fossils Podcast Episodes
with Doug Rushkoff, Charles Shaw,
Tim Freke, & Steve Brusatte

Lastly – here are four of the best episodes of this podcast I've ever had the honor of releasing.  The show's on every platform, and you can find links to the show's page on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc. in each episode's show notes:

That's enough for now.  I'm sure that you agree.  ;)

Gratefully Yours,

28 March 2018

Rock Out! New Art & Merch, Music for MDMA Therapy, and Robot Love

It's almost April!  Subscribe to me on Patreon before this Sunday and you're on the list to get my first psychedelic coloring book PDF when it comes out next week.  You'll also get 27 other patrons-only posts, early and exclusive episodes of Future Fossils Podcast, my uncut (deeply psychedelic) interview with Visionary Art Australia, and an increasing share of the time I used to spend on Facebook, shouting into an abyss.

If, like me, you're kind of underwater with your money right now – I still hope that I can welcome you into some awesome conversations that inspire and enlighten.  If you are still using Facebook, join the Future Fossils Facebook group – there are 1100 of us in there sharing links about the future, awesome art, amazing science, deep thoughts, and hilarious asides.  It's where I share most of the cool news that I find, these days...

Thank you so much for staying with me as we grow and change.  And now on to the show!

Rock Out!  (Fighting Rooster)
18"x24" – 2018 – paint pens on canvas

A memorial from 2018 (Year of the Earth Dog in the Chinese calendar) looking back on 2017 (Year of the Fire Rooster) and last year's massive rooster painting, this piece sums up how it feels to me like creativity and raw belligerence so often go together – passion, fire, spirit, drive – to make is to destroy what was. Sometimes you just can't tell the difference between a fight and making love...

Also available for streaming on:

Last month I played a benefit for Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) at the home of Aubrey Marcus to help raise funds for the Phase 3 FDA-approved clinical trials for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

These new clinical protocols are the most successful PTSD intervention known to science, more than four times as effective as antidepressants, and they don't require a lifetime of medication. These are CURES, not treatments.  And in our anxious age of overstimulation and emotional bombardment, this is more necessary than it's ever been.

I'm honored to have music in the therapeutic playlists for these trials, thanks to the endorsement of my friend and MAPS clinician Saj Razvi.  I'm also working on MAPS to release these playlists to the public. But for now, here is an half-hour excerpt from the instrumental set I played last month...

Enjoy, and let me know if any of this makes it into your own therapeutic playlists!

This week’s guest is independent culture critic John David Ebert – mythologist, philosopher, art historian, and author of twenty-six books.  We talk about the rich mythological references of Blade Runner 2049 in light of the larger – and very urgent – matter of mechanizing human reproduction and the (actually rather ancient) male quest to appropriate the mysteries of the goddess…

This week we chat with the philosopher and sociologist John Danaher about the book Robot Sex: Social & Ethical Implications, a fascinating collection of academic articles on our sexbot future he just co-edited with Neil McArthur. Chances are good you’ve seen the “Don’t Date Robots!” public service announcement from the cartoon Futurama, and probably Björk’s “All Is Full of Love” music video. Maybe you’ve seen Heror Ex Machina or Spielberg’s AI. And let’s not forget the Femmebots in Austin Powers. But does any of this media, for or against, paint a realistic portrait of the impact of machines on human intimacy?

That's 50% OR MORE off any of the pieces you see here.  I'm taking an indefinite hiatus from live painting, so the picking's only getting slimmer...but I'm happy to take far less than the asking price if something speaks to you.  Check out the pieces I have left here, then just send an email with an offer, and I'll let you know within a day.

And last, here are a couple things I'm doing soon that you might like to know about:

Thanks again for reading and have a most blessed couple weeks!

“I think it is misplaced to argue for doing fundamental research just because of its technological spinoffs. Our current standard of living vitally depends on the curiosity-driven research that was done a generation or two before…the most important things that we know fifty years from now will be things we have no idea about right now.” 
– Lawrence Krauss

13 March 2018

Arkansas & Iceland • Psychedelic Komodo Dragon • Dippin Dots Singularity • New Instrumental Works for Guitar • Four Awesome Future Fossils Episodes

Greetings, friends!  I hope this update finds you well...

Before we get into it, I just want to let you know this weekend's romp at Cosmic Flux in Arkansas is going to be my last live painting gig for quite some time.  

Live art has been awesomely inspiring, adventurous, and brought me friendships that will last a lifetime...but it's not sustainable.  Time and experience invested do not translate into job security or better pay, and the systems aren't in place to support painters without regular collectors.  Ten years is long enough to know I'm not going to get a raise, and that I could be serving better in some other way.  

Not going to give up art entirely – just going to sink my roots in deeper, travel less, get more done, and align to the most valuable work I can be doing.  

Right now that is Future Fossils Podcast (huge thanks to all 101 of you supporting me on Patreon!); my work as resident philosopher for the Crypto Crew cryptocurrency web learning community; writing How To Live in the Future; and finally delivering that studio LP of psych-futurist acoustic-electronic love-songs I've been promising for years.

But in the meantime, see you in Arkansas this weekend!

I'm also totally excited to attend this seminar in Iceland with my graduate advisor, integralist Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, where I'll learn how to expand our ideas of "capital" and "impact" to perform magical and meaningful tweaks to organizations and their cultures.  

Tuning companies and governments to the accelerating transformations of our century feels like The Good Work and I'm honored that I have this chance to forge ahead and bring back vital insights to you from this seminar:

The overall mood this spring is "immense transition" – and hopefully I can inspire you by letting go of some of who I used to be to make more room for who I can be.  As always, I'm committed to a constant process of growth, learning, and discovery so I can bring it back to you...

I'm selling a handful of paintings at unprecedented discounts to afford this trip.  If you've wanted a piece from me but didn't think you had the funds, let's pleasantly surprise each other!  Drop me a line and I'll send you a list of what I still have.

That's all for now.  I love you.  Thank you and may all your work this week go smoothly...


"Living Fossil"
2018 • acrylic/canvas • 40"x30"
(Available – make me an offer! I'm raising money for to participate in this.)

Around this time last year I painted a giant rooster in the southern hemisphere to commemorate the "year of the fire rooster". I feel like I don't really control what comes through when - because I had it in my mind that I was going to paint a monitor lizard when I got to Australia and that so did not happen. So last summer, visiting my painter friends in Colorado, I thought I would double back and catch up with that lizard...and then I hated the painting I'd started and left it in the garage for 6 months.

Never one to simply walk away from something, though, I figured I might shine some love on this one at the Llano Earth Art Festival, an awesome little yearly gathering in Central Texas. It's gone on for the last 4 years but this year I got to invite four other painter friends to join the team. Live art is a team sport. Their warmth and friendship made it easier for me to love this piece again.

Shortly after I had the thought that a Komodo dragon, while not technically an Australian animal, is sort of like "the dog of lizards' and therefore may be appropriate as a "year of the earth dog" painting, someone came up to me and said it looked like a dog. So: vindicated.

Thanks to every one of my artist friends whose friendship made it into this lizard: Randal Roberts, Morgan Manley, Andrew Thompson, Martin Cash, Will Ross, Chance Roberts, Elliot Rogers, Dixon Stovall, y'all alright. :)

"Crystalline Rows (aka Dippin Dot Singularity)"
2018 • acrylic/canvas • 18"x24"
(Available – make me an offer! I'm raising money for to participate in this.)

Fact: In the future, ice cream will be revolutionized by the handicraft of mad inventor Charles Dippin, whose nanotechnological breakthrough will enable us to miniaturize ice cream scoops to the size of tiny "dots." These "Dippin Dots" then self organize into a quasicrystalline fluid lattice that adapts and learns by shifting frozen nodule matrices. This painting is a photorealistic depiction of the last image taken by the security camera at the lab desk of Charles Dippin on September 22nd, 2049 - the moment just before the core mass of streaming, undulating, flowing-but-faceted "Dots" all disappeared in a white flash, presumably into the past and who knows what fate...

The dots were organizing along invisible manifolds of influence, gathering at nodes and junctures of a gauzy floral sculpture that sang as it flowed together and apart, harmonics of the network chatter and evolving anatomy of a billion streaming balls of cream-based computronium. Dippin knew his work was then complete, and he surrendered his flesh into the vanilla-and-chocolate goo to be reborn as a submodule of the new metamorphic god-mind as it grew - so long as the time travel didn't damage its internal architecture somehow, so long as its impulses wouldn't be scrambled in the risky transit, rendering the baby god just senseless, mindless ice cream on the other side of time...

Garden Underground: Live at SquareRüt Kava Bar, 13 Jan 2018

My friend and frequent collaborator Will Ross called this the best set he's ever heard me play.  It's definitely chill and spacious, atmospheric and emotional, just how I like them.

I've been exploring the acoustic guitar as an electronic instrument for ten years...this is some of what's grown out of that.  (Some other fan favorite releases are here, here, here, and here.)

Patreon and Bandcamp subscribers get it free.  Everyone else can have it for the price of a latte.