Michael Garfield's Love Without End Tour Newsletter

29 November 2022

Mind-Expanding New Work Guaranteed To Get Lost in Your Holiday Inbox Hurricane: New Painting & Song & Future Fossils Episodes, Fun Public Appearances, Deep Threads on Art & Economics...And Yes, The End-Of-Year Kitsch Flood

Happy Holidays, everyone!  For the five of you who see this overdue update amidst the avalanche of promotional nonsense, thank you so much for taking the time to scan the news and absorb what I have to bestow upon you.

I hope you find real value here, and appreciate the change of pace — the new work is this update are REAL offerings, not just a blitz to score your year-end dough.  I don't have the heart to beg like that.  But if you DO want to help me keep my family warm and fed this winter, there are many good ways to do so.  More on that down below...

Onward! Major new works in just about every quadrant, starting with a temporary return from live painting retirement for the Santa Fe Institute's InterPlanetary Festival:

First New Live Painting Since Before The Pandemic


Painted live with DJ Astrofreq and Rob Schwimmer at the Santa Fe Institute's InterPlanetary Festival at SITE Santa Fe, inspired in large part by SFI Professor Chris Kempes’ work on biophysical constraints on exotic and undiscovered plant forms and more broadly by thinking on dissipative structures, space exploration, and the interrogation of a conceptual boundary between biology and technology.

(Original painting is up for grabs if you want a piece of SFI history — I'm fairly certain this was the first time in 38 years anybody painted live at one of the Institute's events.)

New Song & Unplugged Performance:
"The Luminous Night"

Enjoy this demo of a new song written after a soak in the healing hot mineral springs at Ojo Caliente, New Mexico — and performed live for the first time at The Santa Fe Institute. This is the last studio recording with my beloved 2001 Martin D-35 "Marianne" before boxing it up to send to its new owner. 

This take is rough as hell, but so too have I been. (Recorded not long before my surgery for a premature cataract...) At least I have the song on file and can promise a cleaner official studio take on the horizon — but first, demos of TWO MORE new songs coming soon! Hardship is indeed great fertilizer for the muses.

Find the lyrics — and the story about parting with a beloved legacy axe that has appeared in my videos and albums since I started recording in 2001 — on Patreon:

New Future Fossils Podcast Episodes

First, some big news: I just poured sweat and blood for two full days — while staying up all night to help care for a sick infant — into applying for this podcast grant for Future Fossils Podcast. Working with PRX Public Radio Exchange and John Templeton Foundation would be TWO dreams come true.
Wish me luck or say a little prayer if you're inclined. This opportunity would be transformative — and finally empower me to hire a whole web of awesome friends to help build out the show as the immersive, community-focused transmedia project it was always meant to be. Cheers to BIG questions!

And now SIX very potent new episodes:

How much of natural history is inevitable, and how much is the result of chance? Do mass extinctions slow the evolution of the biosphere, or speed it up? These are two of the six great questions of biology explored by Simon Conway Morris, famous evolutionary theorist and Cambridge Emeritus Professor, in his latest book. From Extraterrestrials to Animal Minds: Six Myths of Evolution (Templeton Press) is a meticulously researched, cheeky and inspiring romp through both the living and extinct worlds, challenging a handful of widespread beliefs and offering provocative alternatives. Conway Morris is a character, even amidst the strange ranks of his fellow natural history researchers, and his arguments bear careful scrutiny. As someone drawn to mavericks and weirdos and enamored by contrarian perspectives, I can’t help but like his work — and reading him forced me to reconsider some of my assumptions even as it validated other long-held hunches.

In this episode, we talk about his book and what his work implies — and I get fanboy on him and assault him with a bunch of lengthy questions like Tim Murphy in Jurassic Park. Strap in for a deep dive into evolution’s laziness, complexity and process, cooption and repurposing of novel traits, great puzzles in prehistory, ancient food webs, evolutionary radiation, symbiosis, flowers, death, and more… And when you’re done, go read his book and dig a dozen more related episodes in the show notes!

I've recorded over 300 podcast episodes and this one is for sure the most deep-diving and far-reaching conversation I've had about evolutionary theory on ANY of them. Certain that there is new material covered here even for people intimately acquainted with Simon's work — I use the extensive research reviewed in his latest book as a springboard to posit some of my own most provocative and long-brewing hypotheses about prehistory and the nature of evolution and extinction.

Very eager to share this — and amazed that Templeton Press reached out to me to have him on Future Fossils Podcast, and glad we finally made it happen! And YES this is an invitation to listen and offer your reflections, because it's clear to me now that these questions are FAR too big to be settled in the span of a 90-minute dialogue...

This week I talk with environmental philosopher and Santa Clara University Assistant Professor Kimberly Dill, an old friend of mine from Austin, Texas whom I met at Bouldin Creek Coffee over lemon maté sours and a deep dive into Eastern nondual traditions while she was in school studying arguments against free will under acclaimed analytic philosopher Galen Strawson. She has since grown into a formidable scholar and ethics instructor in her own right and positively exudes a studious, diligent, caring, and starry-eyed vibe at all times…an utterly unique and finely-honed heart and intellect who stands out from the rest of my belovedly strange cohort of Austin festival-going slacker friends.

I’ve been chasing her down to be on the podcast for years and am delighted she and I finally managed to link up to record this potent dialogue on the relationality of humankind and the wild world in which we are inextricably entangled, the substantive differences between our simulations and the originals they fail to fully reproduce, the importance of forests and dark skies to our psychospiritual well-being, where modern Western festival culture fails in its declared goal of delivering us back into right relations and ecstatic harmony with our kosmos…plus much else.

My big, BIG thanks to everyone for being so patient with me while my family and I suffered through some extraordinary challenges over the last months. I can’t tell you enough how much it means to me to have retained nearly everyone’s Patreon support while my wife and I dealt with two constantly sick kids, a number of our own health issues, and major upgrades to our home and big transitions at work.

So, again, thanks for your subscriptions, your glowing Apple Podcasts reviews, and your engagement in the Future Fossils Facebook group…and stay tuned for several exciting big announcements soon!

And if that's not enough, I just appeared on two superb podcasts —starting with SEMFILOQUIA with host Carlos Zapata and co-guest Curt Jaimungal of the Theories of Everything Podcast to discuss the rise of science podcasting:

...and then there's my "Lost Episode" of the Self Portraits As Other People Podcast, hosted by my wonderful friend Michael R. Jacobs aka The Ungoogleable Michaelangelo. This is a patrons-only deal but his feed is definitely worth your subscription — a kindred spirit and wonderful weirdo genius:

Extra Credit:
Three Social Media Threads Worth Bookmarking

In hindsight it's strange that some of my finest work in the last seventeen years to curating public discussions on Facebook and Twitter and yet I haven't bothered to archive those anywhere for posterity.  Here are three threads I guarantee to enrich your thinking on art, technology, and economics if you ever find the time for them. And if not, feed them into your digital clone for later enjoyment!

And then, amazingly rich Facebook comments threads on AI artwork, capitalist expropriation, the restoration of the commons, and the future of the creative economy:

And that's that. Thanks for reading!

Stuff Worth Grabbing If You're In A Grabbing Mood

Prints & Originals

Various Print-On-Demand Items

Original Music

Ever-Flowing Fountain of Cool Stuff

"Task: to be where I am.
Even when I’m in this solemn and absurd
role: I am still the place
where creation works on itself."
- Tomas Tranströmer, "Guard Duty"

05 October 2022

New Chill-Out EP + 1:1 Print Series • My Cataract: An Initiation • Upcoming Show in Santa Fe • Custom Hats Are Back!

Life has handed me some lemons, lately. This is my lemonade:

New Instrumental Cyberguitar EP Ephemeropolis

"Home means a lot to moralists, but the mystic is society's alien and is not allowed to have a home smaller than the universe, and any time he tries to settle for less, to settle down, and to set up fences, God appears as the moving whirlwind."

I've been thinking A LOT lately about home, loss, wandering, fugitivity, transience, and the "new normal" of being forever in transition. None of this is entirely new — these themes have pervaded my entire life — but they've really come to the forefront of my contemplations over the last year, bringing into focus how much of my work emphasizes the temporary and fleeting beauty of our lives. "Castles made of sand," as Jimi Hendrix put it. This latest release makes explicit what has always been implicit in my electroacoustic guitar work especially: the Heraclitean revelation that we never step in the same flow twice...

(So far feedback is unanimously positive; my friends are calling this "a real vibe" and "vibey as fök," if you can see a theme developing...)

It was grown in the summer sun, reaped and winnowed under moonlight, bundled and shipped on the autumnal equinox. It is the harvest from two hours of live performance, leavened and ready to bake in your ears to rise and make fractals in your brain. Recorded live at the Santa Fe Society of Artists pop-up gallery in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico, on 27 August 2022. Improvised on guitar, voice, and electronics. Cover illustration prompted in Midjourney. Dedicated to the burners.

Listen to or purchase it at Bandcamp or add it to your playlists at Spotify or Apple Music.

40 Variations on "Ephemeropolis": An AI Art Collection

Unique AI-generated variants for the new EP's cover art. Each variant will only be printed ONCE as an 11"x11" signed print on glossy cardstock; select your variant number at checkout and I will delete the option as soon as I have received your order, guaranteeing you will remain in perpetuity THE ONLY person with that print.

The series is comprised of 40 unique HD designs in total. Think of these as analog NFTs...it's an experiment exploring the fascinating intersection of digital abundance and artificial scarcity, a performance of the flickering and transient nature of the temporary cities from which the EP draws its name.

Every print comes with a free download of the EP in both WAV and MP3 (preview it on Bandcamp, Spotify, or Apple Music) AND a link to the image file itself, in case you ever want to replace the original due to damage.

PS — If you want to learn more about my work with, and philosophical musings about, AI artwork, dig into my blog and recent appearances on The Jim Rutt Show and Third Eye Drops Podcast.

New Future Fossils Episode 192 Gets Esoteric

This week on Future Fossils I go solo and get reflective on age, noise, loss, mystery, stars and angels, dreams and seasons, modern science and the retrieval of magic...

Because I have a cataract. At age 38. What the hell?

cataract (n.) — early 15c., "a waterfall, floodgate, furious rush of water," from Latin cataracta "waterfall," from Greek katarhaktes "waterfall, broken water; a kind of portcullis," noun use of an adjective compound meaning "swooping, down-rushing," from kata "down" (see cata-). The second element is traced either to arhattein "to strike hard" (in which case the compound is kat-arrhattein), or to rhattein "to dash, break." Its alternative sense in Latin of "portcullis" probably passed through French and gave English the meaning "eye disease characterized by opacity of the lens" (early 15c.), on the notion of "obstruction" (to eyesight).

Join Me on October 14th Live in Santa Fe!

That's all I can say about this. I've wanted to play a show at Honeymoon since before the pandemic. Their kombucha is amazing. And my daughter is so excited to dance with me during my set, she talks about it every day. Even if it's cold that night, I'm glad to be outdoors for this because there's nothing like the sound of my guitar reflecting off of buildings, pulling in the unsuspecting passers-by, while I gaze into the distance at the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as they disappear into the gloaming. MMM.

If I can stream it live, I will.  Subscribe to me on YouTube if you want to know next time I'm live.

I'm Offering Custom Hats Again!

They're back! I was out of the business for years but am now making my custom-painted lids available, taking orders in time to bless up your holidays. I've painted 350 custom lids over the years and cherish the opportunity to make yours (or your loved one's) a totally one-of-a-kind fashion accessory you'll cherish for years to come. Learn more and order yours today.

Follow My Music Discovery Playlist

In parting, a reminder that I share the music that I find and love right here, and while this is a wildly diverse and very long collection you cannot deploy for a specific mood, I hope it serves as inspiration.

11 September 2022

Merch Avalanche + Psychedelic Rebrand, New Music + Paintings, Interviewing GPT-3 via Oscar Sharp, New Future Fossils Episodes with Roland Harwood + Lauren Seyler

"We ask our readers not for belief but for doubt of their infallibility.”

By now most readers of this blog already have a strong opinion about the impact of artificial intelligence on the art world. I've always handled my ambivalence about disruptive new technologies by diving deeper, trying to understand, playing and exploring...I've learned a lot this way, and see it as an integral component of my overall commitment to the complications and complexity of life on Earth. Discomfort is an opportunity for shadow work and curiosity is the antidote to fear.

But it has not been easy: people wrote me hate mail when I beta tested Google Glass; they wrote me hate mail when I minted my first NFTs; and I have similarly caught a lot of flack this year for exploring tools that have a lot of artists justifiably concerned in much the same way that composer John Philip Sousa worried about the economic impact of recorded music. (My friend Michael Jacobs has another, possibly more crucial caution: that, like television, A.I. artwork is a kind of "offshoring" of the human imagination to machines.)

And yet, as someone who has struggled as an artist in an economic system that is outright hostile to the vital work of dreamers, this is just another turn in the ongoing evolution of our synthesis and reconnection with the spirit world as it appears through minerals. (I chatted at some length about this with the legendary Android Jones, another artist I admire for his embrace of every new tool he can get his hands on.)

Those of you who are already members of the Future Fossils Facebook Group and Discord Server know it's now a constant conversation in those fora. I feel immensely blessed to have so many people in my circle willing to pursue this inquiry, unflinchingly and with enormous creativity. And I've been sharing all of my own A.I. art experiments with Patreon supporters, and dreaming up new visionary vistas in collaboration with members of the Discord server...there's something special happening here, quite unlike collaborative painting, more like consulting oracles and forming egregores together.

As fast as things are moving in this space, I'm sure that I'll have more to say on all this soon. For now, however, plenty new, exciting news to share — not just about A.I. but also simpler and more obviously soulful human things, like painting with my daughter, making music, and exploring liminality and depth with awesome people on my podcast.

Enjoy, and thanks for tuning in with me:

💅 Future Fossils Gets A Makeover

It's always been my goal to turn this podcast into an umbrella for my work in every medium, and this month I took one big step in that direction with an overdue rebranding. "Future Fossils" is intentionally plurisignative: it points not just to our mortality, to deep time and our role as ancestors-in-training, but to information from the future to which we might be oblivious. It is a speculative fiction game in which we dream up objects from the worlds to come, and a reminder that those speculations will one day feel obsolete, perhaps naïve or foolish. And it's simply fun to say; much like how I have failed to look the part on stage when playing super-trippy music, I have always felt the visual aesthetic of the show fell short in making clear just how intensely psychoactive it can be. Well: FIXED! 

Expect some stickers soon, and plenty more to boot. For now, this GIF:

👕 New Clothing, Home, & Auto Collections

Excited to explore the "art director" role with my A.I. experiments in this overdue collab with Acidmath! Pull-over and zippered hoodies, bedding, stairway decals, blankets, tapestries, jigsaw puzzles, rugs, door socks, cloaks, and more are all on offer now to help you rock next season. These are among my favorite of about 10,000 images machines have "dreamt up" at my bidding...just one small slice of four months of obsessive tweaking and discovery in "latent space" — a kind of plenum right next door and full of treasures, horrors, and sublime encounters. Come with me on an adventure into jellyfish metropolis and druid forest temple; play with steampunk insects, flowery dragons, and exotic alien botanicals. New items added all the time!

Quick note: I know I'm not alone in this, but I will say it anyway. This year has been a landslide of surprise expenses and I am immensely grateful for your purchases. If A.I. art is not your thing, I still have plenty of prints and paintings in my store, and would be happy to discuss commissions. Thanks for helping me (for instance) keep my family comfortable by adding heating and AC to our house after two long years without it!

 🎬 Collab with Film-Maker Oscar Sharp & GPT-3

…in which I prompt prospective Future Fossils Podcast guest GPT-3 via my delightfully weird friend, visionary film-maker Oscar Sharp, who notably directed Sunspring, the first screenplay written by artificial intelligence. This “conversation” took place in the summer of 2020, while GPT-3 was still in closed beta. In other words, before it became a part of the routine corporate toolkit for replacing call center workers, copywriters, and other white-collar precariates…before DALL-E and Midjourney and Stable Diffusion sent my artist friends into an anxious sweat.

(It was, however, three years AFTER I wrote about what was coming in my novelette An Oral History of The End of ‘Reality’ — which I’ll continue to harp on about like Cassandra until I can “hire” GPT-3 to do it for me with my UBI unemployability dispensation. That day cannot come too soon, because I’d really like to get back to writing and singing songs all the time. Musicians, at least the ones with duende, have long since disabused ourselves of the conceit of economic utility. We know the economy is blind to the labor that matters most. But I digress.)

It gets weird fast. Let’s begin! Read on at Patreon or Medium.

🎨 Collab Paintings with My Three-Year-Old Daughter

Teaching my daughter to paint has been not entirely dissimilar to how I work with A.I.: she's a source of chaos that gives me constraints within which to refine and focus a "random seed." It's been truly and deeply gratifying. Plus, it's been delightful to teach her about how making art isn't just about the intrinsic satisfaction but the (potential) financial rewards. We sold these two paintings to friends and she's earned her first toys for herself, as well as squirreled away her own seed savings.

🎸 New (& Old) Musical Adventures

Recorded live on solo acoustic guitar and hardware electronic effects at Cosmic Music Festival, Mesa, Arizona, 8 October 2021. The first edition in a new series combining live cyberguitar improvisations with psychoactive excerpts from my favorite texts and similarly sample-based inventive remixes for the eye: visual glitch, generative art, and digital collage.

Also available as an NFT on the Polygon blockchain at Mintsongs.

Recorded live at a secret island party on the then-invisible-to-Google-Maps Snake Island on Town Lake in Austin, Texas — a Mad Hatter's tea party to which all of us had to lug our equipment on motorized rafts (which made for quite the voyage back against the current of the Colorado River and nearly resulted in me and my wife losing our musical instruments in the water).

This is a time-edited 18-minute cut of a 30-minute performance, echoing with the carnival-cathedral atmosphere of this bizarre psychedelic social experiment amidst the oaks of a Lost World in the middle of a high-tech metropolis.

All three tracks feature my beloved Nicole Taylor for a rare guest appearance on viola, which I sampled and remixed into my looping rig with the Boss RC-505. Light some incense and enjoy!

Also available as an NFT on the Polygon blockchain at Mintsongs.

🎧 New Podcast Episodes

This week on the show I chat with the storied, insightful, multidimensional Roland Harwood — a “compulsive connector,” generalist, “failed astronaut,” pianist, Founder, CEO, Trustee, impresario of international collective intelligence projects, and generally fascinating person. In a conversation that already feels somewhat archaeological (it was recorded in November 2021 and references discussions that have already developed significantly over the last year), we explore the martial art of living in transition, of thriving in the in-between spaces, of dealing with the unpredictable and the fundamental uncertainty of our lives. We also rap on the subjects of innovation, global weirding, organizational evolution, technology, hope, and happiness...

This week we’re joined by Lauren Seyler, Assistant Professor of Biology at Stockton University, who studies the microscopic living world that flourishes in dark places: the mud of coastal marshes, inside rocks, and in sediments at the bottom of the sea. She’s also co-authored a number of publications on how scientists can work ethically with Indigenous peoples, and applies her scientific research to questions of astrobiology: the search for life and intelligence in outer space. In this episode, we discuss the life/non-life boundary, evolution as thermodynamics, anaerobic microbes as the invisible labor supporting all life on Earth, the origin of life: in the light, or in the dark?, the wonderful world of -omics, individual vs. Institutional agency and the necessary revolution of consciousness required for effective collective action at planetary scale, power and responsibility, best practices for working with the Indigenous as a scientist, stepping up to biospheric stewardship, and practicing right relations across scales (not just micro-macro but also across space and time).

✨ Parting Thought: