Michael Garfield's Love Without End Tour Newsletter

26 March 2020

Making Sense of the Pandemic • Free Coloring Book • New Music & Paintings

"The future is too interesting and dangerous to be entrusted to any predictable, reliable agency. We need all the fallibility we can get. Most of all, we need to preserve the absolute unpredictability and total improbability of our connected minds. That way we can keep open all the options, as we have in the past.” 
– Lewis Thomas

While in enforced isolation due to a plague, college student Isaac Newton devised our modern theories of both optics and gravity. What will YOU do with your social distancing?

This opportunity for a new creative chapter is upon us at all levels, right now. Our national and global systems were stuck on suboptimal solutions and have demonstrated their inability to handle the complex and evolving crises of our emerging planetary culture. We now have a chance to break out, dream up local answers in massive parallel, and come back together in a stronger, more resilient (and antifragile) place than where we started.

Here's a short audio essay on how to make sense of this in light of complex systems research, with dozens of links to useful information in the show notes. Hope it helps.

For those of you with a sudden surplus of free time, I've decided to freeware the previously patrons-only Future Fossils Coloring Book for your enjoyment. It's a 25-page PDF of trippy doodles (some abstract, some of a natural history persuasion) that you can print out or color on a tablet. My only request is that I get to see some of the finished results!

If you want the "full experience," here are hours and hours of free music for your streaming pleasure, with a confirmed track record of facilitating awesome art sessions:

SpotifyBandcampSoundcloud (fewer tracks there compared to the other two)

And now onto some new art!

I painted the top two pieces in collaboration with Jamie Baldwin Gaviola (@flowstatepaint on Instagram). She started the top two and mailed them to me to finish, and then I had a wild hair to "breed" the two paintings. My daughter had her first birthday this week and in the weeks leading up, the two paintings Jamie started seemed reminiscent to me of my partner (the softer pastel sunburst grid one) and myself (the edgier and bolder peacock circuitboard one). The third painting, the square of blobby motion and expressive dynamic gooeyness in the middle, is unquestionably our child.

But of course no symbol can be contained by a single interpretation, even for one (honest) person, and as with all artwork, new layers and associations will undoubtedly reveal themselves over time.  The "daughter" painting was finished the night I also completed a new studio arrangement of a song I've been kind of "pregnant" with for the last several years, a song that first started taking shape the week my partner moved to Austin to live with me in 2014 and I got lost in the Texas Hill Country on ayahuasca (but that's another story). That song, "Always Catching Up," has a lot to do with the network latencies in our nervous systems and how we're always responding to a state of the world that has already transformed into something else. 

When I first played the scratch mix of the studio track for my friends in Santa Fe, the only visible star turned out to be Aldebaran, which is associated with the Archangel Michael and with militant peacocking. It seemed like I was being drawn back into the synchronicity vortex that subsumed me for over a month in 2017 leading up to the release of the Pavo LP & Martian Arts EP (I talk a little bit about that particular Chapel Perilous in the public liner notes to those two releases). Anyway, the latest canvas finished itself that night, and now here we are.

All three of these paintings are available for sale, or if you're playing it safe with your money still want a copy, they're available as cardstock and canvas prints in my shop (Jamie and I split proceeds).

02 March 2020

Back on Tour, BioHorror, DeepFakes, Cosmic Evolution, Psychedelic Therapy, World Travel & Space Exploration

I'll keep this brief.

In summer 2017 I wrote a story about how AI would change the very nature of reality. I shared it with some friends and read it as an episode of Future Fossils, but I never tried to get it published. Then it started coming true, and I knew that I had to get it out there while we still live in a world in which the categories "real" and "fake" still make some sense.

Now folks are sharing it on Twitter. I heard today that it's effective horror. I hope it helps prepare you.

Here it is:

(Artwork licensed by Giacomo Carmagnola.)

If you find non-fiction easier, here is an essay about our accelerating evolutionary arms race with deep learning AI fakery, and why it matters that we start to take these matters seriously:

(This is not actually a conversation between Jeff Goldblum, Tom Cruise, Ewan McGregor, Robert Downey, Jr., and George Lucas. Allow me to explain.)

–––––   New Artwork   –––––

Since most of you signed up to see new paintings and an artless update might be mild betrayal, here are the collaborations that I'm working on with friends across the country, after baby goes to sleep.

None of these are done, but they're all getting close. If you want any of them, let me know...

This first one is a 24" canvas with Gregory Pettit that we started just before I moved to Santa Fe:

These next two are small (16") collabs with Jamie Gaviola

She began them both and shipped them to me to complete:

I feel extremely lucky to be working with these artists, both of whom are not just masters of their craft but awesome people. Check out their other work!

(And, obviously, follow me on Instagram to see more updates as we finish these and other pieces.)

–––––   New Podcasts   –––––

I know I always say this, but it's true: Future Fossils just keeps getting better, and I am convinced these latest episodes are some of the best yet. Here's what you've probably been missing:


The Future Fossils Book Club just had an AWESOME conversation about Borne, Jeff VanderMeer's amazing postapocalyptic biohorror novel, which remixes "cute" and "weapon," "enemy" and "family," and makes us ask important questions about personhood and love and beauty.

Next up we're discussing VanderMeer's Dead Astronauts, so get in here and join us!

(Artwork licensed by Pat Hughes.)

–––––   Upcoming Gigs   –––––

I haven't traveled much since I became a father, but if you're in Austin or Phoenix this month maybe we will see each other! I'll be playing music and giving a talk at Cosmic Music Festival in Mesa, Arizona on March 28th and speaking on complex systems and society at the SXSW Interactive party for EFF-Austin (March 14th) and hosting a live Future Fossils Podcast at The Technodelic Temple for Andromeda Entertainment (March 17th).

More info at the links below:

12 January 2020

When Papadosio Came To Meow Wolf: New Music, Art, & Conversation From An Epic Weekend

2020 is feeling very black and white: revenge or compassion, hope or despair...not a lot of room in the middle as the social centrifuge picks up speed. Without wanting to come off too heavy-handed, it seems like all of us future-shocked apes find it easier to settle into an extreme instead of constantly exerting the extraordinary (non)effort it takes to remain a Buddha in this bedlam...

It feels important to acknowledge that we're organisms with metabolisms and the even most awakened person I have ever met (his brain scans show no blood flow in the brain regions associated with ego activity) said he gets a little selfish when his blood sugar is low. So take it easy on yourselves and let it be okay for all this molten transformation to congeal into a person when your energies are low.

Me, personally, I'd prefer to land on "optimism" when the music stops. My friend Mark Nelson, one of the brave souls who lived in Biosphere 2, inside a giant greenhouse growing all of their own food for two years in one of the craziest and most precarious experiments humanity has ever ventured, told me on Future Fossils Podcast optimism is a yoga. It's a practical approach that's less about what your tired brain believes is fact and more about what science shows is good for you, the animal that needs a reason to keep going. It's the difference between a mouse that keeps on swimming in the bucket and a mouse that drowns.

I'm waxing purple on all this because I've spent a lot of time in some extremely dark spots over the last decade and feel like it is time to change my tune. Still love and flex that gallows humor, but frankly, if we don't believe we'll make it through we won't. As – dork alert! – Guinan said to Riker when Picard was captured by the Borg and all seemed lost, "When a man is convinced he's going to die tomorrow, he'll probably find a way to make it happen."

The other opportunity, the one that opens into iterative branching possibility and, obviously, is more fun, is to adopt the "as if" attitude that we'll get through this — even if our weary minds can't help but trace the pattern of defeat in all we see. That's why I so believe in how some of my friends, notably Anthony Thogmartin, wield their public influence in full awareness of emotional contagion and the practicality of hope. I feel like every time I talk to Anthony he sets me straight — just through the force of his enthusiasm and his curiosity and passion for the weird and wonderful times that we live in. It's so obvious in speaking to him that "the world" is mostly epistemic, so thoroughly inflected by our colored lenses that it's comic how we think we know what's what. And that is why I cherish every conversation that I have with him, and every opportunity I have to share his wonder with the world.

I just had Anthony on Future Fossils and think it's the best way I could have started out this year — the perfect tone to ring out in an annunciation of what I think matters and what I hope to encourage in this next ten years. I hope (ha ha) that you will find the time to listen and allow his optimism to osmose into you. Surely it's pragmatic, to invite this in and help it tune you, like it tunes me, so that when I can't maintain the Zen not-knowing, I'm at least convinced of something good.

Chin up, my friends. For real: your body steers your mind...

This was my opening set for Papadosio on their "Desert Dosio" mini-tour, the first time I've played a show with my beloved old friends since 2013. It was a beautiful homecoming. The venue is amazing, the sound engineer impeccable, the audience loving and attentive, and the vibes high. I got to test drive some new arrangements. Overall, my favorite live show since I got to play Boom Festival in Portugal in 2016.

These are songs about living in an accelerating and mysterious world...dealing with the transcendent opportunity, turbulence, and anxiety of our century. Some of these songs are over ten years old and are only now just finding wings. If you would like to hear their fully-realized studio versions later this year, follow me here on Bandcamp or on Patreon and I'll be happy to update you.

Because there was an unanticipated glitch in the recording for the last track that kind of ruined the second verse, I don't feel comfortable accepting money for this live album, and hope you'll enjoy it as my gift to you. Thanks for listening!

Painted live at Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return to the music of Papadosio on 13 & 14 December 2019. Acrylic and oil pens on canvas (16"x20"x1.5", gallery wrapped).

I have no idea what I was thinking, other than that the music was excellent and I was set up right next to the subwoofer and five feet from the drums (reading 96 decibels on my friend's phone app), so the more-than-usually intense and gestural take on live painting was very obviously a result of my environment. Some kind of fractal psychedelic seahorse sigil.

This is what happens when after eleven years of painting at concerts you decide to finally let the music speak through the paint. When you let the energies of a band in an experimental growth spurt and a very full and intensely weird venue carry you where they may...