Michael Garfield's Love Without End Tour Newsletter

04 January 2021

🎉 Happy New Year! Lasers + Dinosaurs + Singularities

Now that we're TRULY over the rainbow...

Happy New Year, everyone!  My birthday comes two weeks after Christmas, so this time of year is always hopeful and uplifting in spite of — or rather in juicy harmony with — the vibe of wintry contemplation, holiday burnout, and bare-treed, sky-wide reflections on time, life, and everything.  02020 gave us all so much to think about and learn from, recover from and build on.

Like I imagine you are, I'm looking forward into 02021 a little battle-worn but clarified and eager to explore some new horizons. This year is going to be different — I'm not quite sure yet how, but I am always grateful for this moment when our culture calls us to reach into mystery and possibility each year. And in the meantime, I have a trove of unpublished work I'm eager to share in the months to come.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart to everyone who bought a painting in my moving sale and helped us fix up and furnish our new family home!  Still some time left to contribute and score art at wholesale prices — I have just a handful of originals remaining, and I'm at work on a raft of new small studio pieces, but I'm also open for commissions — email me with inquiries.

And now here are a few new things. More soon. See you in the Future Fossils Discord Server...!



"Urvogel" (First Bird) Archaeopteryx Wood Ornaments

I made these on my Glowforge as Christmas gifts — short philosophical musing below on what it feels like to try and translate the analog uniqueness of painting to this digital medium.

They're not currently available for sale but I'm happy to talk about commissioned laser-enabled designs, if you're interested! Scheming about additional perks for Patreon supporters and happy to take suggestions for the best possible applications of my artwork to laser cut and engraved merchandise.

Sometimes I think there must be something like ASMR for eyeballs, looking at very tiny things or seeing things in neat rows, that satisfies the brain's prediction reward circuitry and is partly responsible for the mechanized aesthetic that dominates modernity. It feels like an ironic hijack of biophilia and our biologically innate love of forms like tree branches and river deltas: the fractal order of our evolved life-world swapped out for a lower-dimensional shadow of the ancient mystery of reproduction.
Walter Benjamin explored this, and asked about what sacredness still lives in mechanically-duplicated art forms, in his most famous essay; WJT Mitchell updated that essay for our biocybernetic century. And as technology evolves according to the same rules as everything else, it looks and acts more and more like the kind of living systems we're used to: dynamic, mutable, branching, turbulent, unpredictable. 

Something of that was captured in these laser cut Archaeopteryx ornaments I made to break in my Glowforge this year — like (but admittedly much simpler than) printing Leeloo in The Fifth Element, seeing row after row of echoes of one of the world's most unique and precious fossils feels to me like a portal into a future in which human and nonhuman life alike becomes both more ephemeral and priceless, and we develop a more nuanced understanding of individuality and selfhood.

(When you can be copied like any other computer file, what makes you unique? Your context. Your history. What cannot be copied. See also Westworld, which I discussed with Michael Phillip way back in Episode 14 of Future Fossils Podcast, and Episode 65 with John David Ebert and I unpacking the mythical and spiritual themes of Blade Runner 2049.)

Mid-Singularity Trialogues with Ramin Nazer & The Teafaerie

Reporting from mid-singularity, friends and returning guests Ramin Nazer, The Teafaerie, and I run for several full-court passes on augmented reality, telepresence, simulation theory, the science fiction of Charles Stross and Hannu Rajaniemi, how to enjoy the rapids of change, and much more.

If that doesn't satisfy your thirst for weird sh*t, go listen to more about virtuality, artificial consciousness, and neuroscience, in my appearance on the Voices in the Dark podcast.

Book Club Recordings Now Free For Everyone

ICYMI I've made all of the Future Fossils Podcast Book Club recordings entirely free, moving them from behind the Patreon paywall so everyone can appreciate the deep and illuminating discussions we've had about some of the coolest books I've ever read. Enjoy!

Follow My Chill Spotify Playlist (Recommendations)

This is where I share all of the cool new music I discover. Chillout, electro-folk, acoustic instrumentals, avant-pop, film scores, and more — it is as everywhere as I am, but I hope that you agree it all coheres.

If you have tracks you'd like to add, please share them in the Future Fossils Discord Server!

Follow me elsewhere:

Spotify | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Soundcloud | Bandcamp

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18 November 2020

1.Buy House 2. Sell Art 3. Paint House + Stuart Davis + Mantis Aliens + Complex Systems Conversation


We bought a home in Santa Fe (!!!) and so I am putting all of my remaining original paintings and canvas prints up for sale at a negotiable discount in order to help my family afford the once-in-a-lifetime costs.

We love it here in New Mexico and after a very tumultuous life of move after move after move, I'm so grateful for the chance to make a steady and secure and lasting Nest of Peace and Creativity where I can host friends and family and make as much beauty, truth, and goodness as possible in all available media. But this is a daunting endeavor and it's taking all we have and more to make it work. We live as frugally as possible but still need to secure some basic amenities to make this transition comfortable. 

In short: 

If you would like to bring some color/love/deepweirdness into your own life, now is the best time ever!
Please drop me a line if you want to talk about acquiring any of my work

There are, of course, much easier ways to show support - like Patreon, Bandcamp, or Substack subscriptions, or Venmo transfers, or grabbing paper prints. I am immensely thankful to anyone who offers anything, and everyone who has, and I promise to show it by living up to my potential (like, for example, finally lighting up that laser cutter I have not had space to use since I acquired it! Oh yes, I have PLANS.).

That's all. Thanks for reading this. My love and blessings to you and you all. 💜🥳🎉

Epic New Podcast About Aliens

I’m not going to waste your time trying to explain Stuart Davis. He’s been a guiding star for me and presumably many other irrepressibly nondisciplinary artists for over a decade, one of the founding figures of my adult psyche in its pluriform contortionism. Musician, painter, poet, talk show host, stand-up comic, film-maker, and depth psychologist, the man knows no bounds and it’s all I can do to follow closely and listen carefully, which I have since I first encountered his work in 2004.

Stuart is long overdue to be on the show, but the timing is perfect, because we’re here to talk about ALIENS. Not the admittedly excellent film, but the living reality of them and their astonishingly intimate relationship to us, as disclosed by the growing archive of guests on his show, Aliens and Artists.

We discuss the ethics of withholding advanced technologies like zero-point energy from the general public; Rick Strassman getting kicked out of his zendo for psychedelic research; circadian rhythms, sleep disruption for dream yoga, and parenting sleep deprivation psychosis; when Psyche argues with the Mantis; the self is a choir; daily banishings and welcomings; and why we implore you to only work with the visitors that respect human sovereignty.

I’ll stop now. Just listen and be amazed.

PS – My two-part interview is up on Aliens and Artists now as well. I haven't heard the final product yet because of all the things, but word is it's a banger. 📣🔥🎶🐙

~ Man Meets Mantis ~

Since we're having fun being weird,

This is my first ever collaboration painting with Ada Taylor Garfield, my daughter:

It's dedicated to Stuart, obviously, and available for sale, I suppose, but honestly I'll be surprised (albeit delighted) if anyone bites. Who are you? People who learn the intimate weirdo stories of my paintings sometimes get all "but I can't take your holy object" on me. Ultimately, though, I let them go and if they stay it's meant to be. But this one's definitely special: Ada drew the grass with the blue marker.

Know someone who might benefit from an awkwardly intense mantis reminder? Prints are all yours.

And One More (Awesome) Thing

Last month as part of the latest Complexity Weekend hackathon, I hosted a live panel discussion with four unique and fascinating minds — complex systems researchers Tom CarterJenn HuffPietro Michelucci, and Richard James MacCowan— and discussed archaeoacoustic design as a form of extended cognition, the continuity between the ancient and postmodern worlds, biomimicry, and many more interesting threads at the intersection of complex systems research and creative innovation.

It was awesome. I hope you enjoy listening to it half as much as I enjoyed participating.

Ironic Reminder: You Don't Have To Move

03 November 2020

And Now For Something Completely Different! New Music, Art, Writing, & Talks To Get Your Mind Off The Apocalypse

Hello, beloveds. It takes almost no effort at all to double down on the spookiness of this time of year, so let's at least have some fun with it, zoom out, and let me help remind you of the deeper currents in which we're all swimming with some of the best work I have ever produced.

I am honored to share with you, in this edition of the newsletter:

a new psychedelic folk song it took me over twelve years to write and produce;
a new electronic guitar improvisation I made as part of a peer-reviewed archaeology paper;
the final (?) installment of my essay series on augmented reality and evolutionary arms races;
my presentation on deepfakes for The Long Now Foundation's Ignite Talks;
— my logo design mockups for the South West Science Writers' Association;
— two excellent Future Fossils episodes on the pro-social and anti-social applications of deepfakes;
— my guest appearance on the delightful Talk of Today podcast; and
— my guest appearance on the equally delightful Plutopia News Happy Hour.

Lastly, as a pure and unadulterated offering, check out the extensive Future Fossils Wavescapes Spotify Playlist I've been secretly brewing for you good people over the last couple months. It's excellent.

I suggest optimizing for synergy by listening to my new tunes while you read the new pieces and then listening to the podcasts while you do whatever urgent work you assuredly have to do right now...

Let these be not bids for your attention but gifts to help lift you into a better state of mind, an invitation to enjoy some highly-polished and substantial treats — nourishment for your mind, heart, and soul.

Thank you and wishing you the best through all the turbulence.


PS — Here's the jack-o-lantern that I carved this year, because how could I not:

My Crowning Musical Accomplishment:
"You Don't Have To Move" Finally Gets Studio Treatment

Twelve years ago I wrote a song on a trampoline at Burning Man inspired by UFO sightings and apocalyptic dreams I had after getting out of college and watching the plans I'd had for my entire life fall to pieces.

Since then I've carried that song with me and cultivated it across a 30-stop national tour, dozens of festivals on three continents, and half a dozen interstate moves...and it's grown ferns and gemstones, doubled in length, and continued to fold in all of the new guitar techniques I learned along the way to stand as a living record of everything I know about the instrument and how to plug it into electronics and transform it into other things entirely.

Until this year, though, it had no definitive recording. Never made it to the studio — my life just moved too fast. It was the flagship of an album I'd been promising the world for years but then I got a job and had a kid and had to stop the touring, and the timeline kept receding. Seemed like I would never get this done.

And then we all got quarantined for months and suddenly I was back in the saddle with recording — and NEW songs started coming faster than they ever have, and it's now all that I can do to get the old ones finished and the new ones down before the next batch tumble in and add another album to the FOUR that I'm now planning...

It turns out that this song had wisdom in it that I never heeded and I never understood until it came true in my life: that you don't have to go out there to see the world, but if you stay in one place long enough the whole world comes to you. You truly, truly do not have to move.

And so it's with immense excitement I announce today's the day that "You Don't Have To Move" is now complete and published on TIMEWHEEL, an awesome group that I've been eager to contribute to since 2012! With everything else that's been going on this year it's almost hard to savor this accomplishment but this weird autumn flower is a consummation of a lifelong process and a deep delight.

Löwenmensch: The Lion Man
A Cyberacoustic Deep-Time Sojourn

(including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram)

Performed by Michael Garfield for inclusion in an archaeological research project by Liane Gabora and Mike Steel about cross-domain knowledge transfer (how people translate a 40,000-year-old sculpture made in mammoth ivory into modern electronic media). 

The associated video is the best-yet showcase of my "cyberguitar" technique, using the acoustic guitar and hardware pedalboards in a kind of home-brewed modular digital synthesis to dream up a full electroacoustic orchestra with minimal equipment. You can read more about it at Guitar Moderne.

New Essays & Talks on Psychedelic Futurism

Beta-testing Google Glass was only the beginning. Uninstalling AR dinosaurs taught me no man’s an island…and that we must be far more careful about who gets administrative access to our minds.

Ignite Talks are five-minute lightning presentations with 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. It’s a fun and challenging format, and my invitation to present one for The Long Now Foundation seemed like a perfect opportunity to distill my thinking on a complex and difficult topic: the rise of AI-assisted forgeries and their social implications.

This week I chat with artist Stephanie Lepp, producer of Infinite Lunchbox, the Reckonings podcast, and — most excitingly, for me — Deep Reckonings, a stunning new project exploring the “pro-social” uses of AI-generated “deepfakes” and other synthetic media for education, therapy, and other beneficial outcomes. In this discussion, we explore how deepfakes can expand and enrich the potent benefits of earlier media like theater and the novel; why it’s so controversial to portray wrongdoers finally accepting accountability and moral leadership, even when it’s an explicit fiction; and how science itself is going to have to change to accommodate a more nuanced and multi-dimensional understanding of truth.

This week I chat with film-maker Michael Morgenstern about his latest transmedia project, I Dared My Best Friend To Ruin My Life, which takes young adults down a mind-bending and immersive narrative vortex about weaponized synthetic media to teach vital 21st Century literacies and the society-threatening implications of #deepfakes — including how synthetic media will turn the logic of waking life from something sober and tangible to something more like a dream or shamanic journey; and the ethical concerns they had to consider and enact in producing something intended to create good but capable of accidentally causing serious harm.

I sit down for a real barnstormer with host Sam Barton to discuss:

• Coronavirus and the epistemic crisis;
• Community and fragmentation;
• Evolution as a multi-billion year remix project;
• Psychedelics as training wheels for transhumanism;
• Restoring democracy, and regenerative communities;
• Rewilding the future; and
• The power of ideas.

"Deepfakes, sensemaking crisis, information warfare, surveillance capitalism, augmented reality - much to talk about! The Plutopia team speaks with our guest Michael Garfield, Community Manager for @longnow and host of the Future Fossils podcast. We'll work on better distribution of the future!"

Vote for My Designs!
South West Science Writers' Association Logo Contest

Vote for me in the Southwest Science Writers Association (SWSWA) Logo Contest! I cherish every opportunity to return to my roots as a scientific illustrator and while the (international) competition is fierce, you can vote as many times as you want. So please do vote more than once, and share this post.

Thank You Burning Man
for Including Future Fossils in Your Official Newsletter!