Michael Garfield's Love Without End Tour Newsletter

30 August 2021

An Entire Summer's Worth of Explosive Creativity (Part 1): Indigenous Systems Thinking, Psychedelic Folk, Time Travel, Painted Dinosaurs, Cyborg Cuttlefish...oh, and I had another kid!

"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
- J. Krishnamurti

“My point of view is marginal, even in my own community. But there is fertile ground at the margins.”
– Tyson Yunkaporta


Hello, friends! This "biweekly" newsletter last went out on June 19th. 🤦 While routine has never been my strong suit, I'd like to apologize for gathering an entire summer's worth of news into two updates and explain that my silence had good reason — or, two reasons, really:

1) 🐙 This summer I was picked to participate in the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute, an amazing international program that brings promising young scientists and inspiring media creators together for a month of intense study and collaboration.  The fruits of this immersion will be falling from my tree for quite some time, starting with this update and proceeding with a steady stream of new art, videos, podcasts, possibly music, maybe even peer-reviewed publications over the next year.

And:

2) 👶 My wife and I just welcomed Ian Taylor Garfield to the family on August 9th!  There are four of us, now, and his arrival catalyzed a period of massive change equal in amplitude to our first child Ada's. I've had to take some time away from the grinds and hustles I've been locked up in for the last fifteen or so years to get perspective and allow the inner transformations to unfold while caring for this growing family amidst a world that seems to make less sense with every passing day.


In spite of working harder than ever while staring into the abyss of even greater responsibility for the well-being of innocents while the whole world waltzes off the plank into total madness, I nonetheless managed to spent a lot of time this summer making art — in part because I need this now, to cope; in part because I somehow only sleep 5-6 hours a night, these days; and in part because I would rather do this than my day job anyway, and must, so here we are.

The hard part has been finding time to share it. Out of respect for your time and attention I will split this update into two parts and send Part Two out next week.  Stay tuned and thank you for sticking with me through all of our mutations!

🎸 NEW SONGS:
HOUSE SHIP ON A HILL


"It takes a certain ability and passion to be vulnerable to release artwork as raw and iridescent as these songs...they came as a complete surprise to me. Hearing ["Autonomous Zone"] filled me with much unexpected emotion. It made my heart hurt, if I’m gonna be honest..."
- Sandra Lam

Three new songs (and four more on the way) — some of the most emotional and mysterious I've ever recorded — about confinement and liberation, hope and anxiety, love and loss, joy and mystery. They haunted me, at length and vividly, and wrote themselves after almost a decade of slow currents, just one song a year. The all-at-once-ness of this inspiration was unusual, but no less than its circumstances...I hope you hear in these a record of the tragic beauty and uncanny brilliance of a time and place.

Life hasn't stopped and 2020 gave me more songs than time to record them, so buying these songs subscribes you to the rest of them as soon as they are ready. Rather than wait until I can get all seven down, I felt like sharing what I have so far...the rest will come, along with more new songs, but I owe it to the muse to get these out now. I hope they help you, too, abide in the complex, diaphonous, and potent energies that animate these times...

For anyone who'd like a deeper exploration, I just shared extensive patrons-only liner notes, with a photo album and a 45-minute exegesis of these songs and their backstory, on Patreon:


🎨 NEW PAINTING:
GMO WATERMELON TOURMALINE PARASAUROLOPHUS

paint pens on canvas
18" x 24"

My friend and original Future Fossils Podcast cohost Evan "Skytree" Snyder commissioned this piece as an engagement gift to his awesome fiancée. Loosely inspired by Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous' fluorescent designer dinos as well as religious iconography (namely, Tibetan Thangka paintings - you can see it in the eye - and patron saint prayer candles), this piece is loose, stylistic, and playful...not terribly precise as an exercise in perspective or anatomical accuracy, but working on this piece has inspired me to keep going with more of attention to accurate paleoillustration reconstructions that retain this psychedelic art flair. Stay tuned!

🎨 NEW PAINTING-IN-PROGRESS
DIVERSE INTELLIGENCES (WORKING TITLE)
paint pens on masonite panel
48" x 32"

After eleven years of live painting at concerts and festivals that built on a lifetime of doodling in class, working on this large piece while listening to the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute's remote lectures at home in my office felt like landing a successful turn up the helix of personal evolution. This is by no means done, however, and I still have several lectures left to absorb, so it might be a month or so before I have a finished work to share...follow the progress on my Instagram account.  

🎧 NEW FUTURE FOSSILS EPISODES

This show just keeps on getting better — probably because Complexity, the show I host for the Santa Fe Institute, demands so much of me as a scholar and conversationalist and it's honed my work with my own independent podcast. Future Fossils has become the home for conversations I can't have at work — about Indigenous thinking, about time travel and precognition, about visionary art and behavioral design and weird philosophy. But it would be much less without the awesome guests that I've roped in — if you don't recognize these people, let me promise you you're doing yourself favors by absorbing what they have to say.

You can subscribe to Future Fossils anywhere, and join the conversation on Discord and Facebook.





That's it for now. More to share next week. Thank you for reading, reach out any time, and be well!

19 June 2021

Life Finds A Way • Hyperstition • Freak Flag Mailbox • Psychedelic Book Club • Post-Covid Festivals • Art & Science • The Future Is Disgusting

"We're in a freefall into future. We don't know where we're going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you're going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It's a very interesting shift of perspective and that's all it is...joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes."
– Joseph Campbell

Consummations and conversations: I've been very busy lately in the Future Fossils Facebook group and Discord server but have nonetheless brought these works — some very long in the incubator — to completion. The relief is real, the resolution deep! Here are my latest psychoactive brain treats to augment your navigation of the weirdness that is 2021:

NEW MUSIC 65 MILLION YEARS IN THE MAKING




"Life Finds A Way" (and the one-minute instrumental coda "Hyperstition") have been in the works since my dorm room days in 2002 — so not exactly the Cretaceous, but might as well be.


This latest addition to my ongoing album-in-progress The Age of Reunion (which you can scope out and pre-order here) brings acoustic guitar, synthesizer, Chapman Stick, organ, electronic drums, and four-part vocal harmonies together into something appropriately bombastic, groovy, operatic, and apocalyptic to serve as the vehicle for proggy epic pop adventures into the pre-and-post-historic.


Here are a few different ways to engage.  Get out your headphones and hold onto your butts:


🦖 Soundcloud (for time-stamped commenting) 🦖

🦖Bandcamp (for lossless audio downloads) 🦖
🦖 Spotify (for saving to playlists) 🦖


Patreon supporters get some sweet exegesis with an extra half-hour of my Ian Malcolm-esque ranting on the inspiration behind this song: technological evolution, complex systems, accidental magic, reality ruptures, and the end of the world. If you're "like me...a digger," then dig into all that here:




UPCOMING BOOK CLUB CALLS


Speaking of awesome science fiction and general weirdness, we're discussing two amazing books in the Future Fossils Book Club this summer.  I hope you can join us!



I PROMISED YOU I WOULDN'T STOP PAINTING


And now that I have a place I can customize however I like (the pressure!), I started small by upcycling our trashy old mailbox into something that screams "weirdos live here."  Next up: my closet doors...




NEW FUTURE FOSSILS EPISODES


Lastly, while I'm not toiling away at my admittedly-excellent (4.8 stars on 147 Apple Podcast reviews) day job show, Complexity Podcast, I've been knocking out some wonderful conversations and solo casts for Future Fossils. And here they are:


I talk with Mikey Lion, music producer and co-founder of Desert Hearts, and Malena Grosz, creator of The Party Pro Toolkit and director of Stargate Reunion, about the pandemic’s distortions of time and community, flow states and festival time, gatherings in the No New Normal, the impact of stage design and architecture on how community events shape individual experience, the tension between intimacy and scale, DMT and other life-changing experiences, the good parts of tribalism, psychedelic integration, and the future of festival economics…


On 23 May 2021 as part of the latest Complexity Weekend hackathon, I hosted a live panel discussion with four unique and fascinating minds: 

Michaela Emch is a communication and marketing specialist, translator, cultural mediator, biomimicry practitioner, safari guide, keen naturalist and biology enthusiast. Andréa Naccache is a psychoanalyst and a doctoral student in philosophy of law at the University of São Paulo, with an MBA in finance. Meredith Tromble is an artist and writer who makes installations, drawings, and performances. Timothy Clancy work ranges from sophisticated simulations of violence & instability to systems thinking for business.

We discussed the relationship between the arts and sciences, conflicts of interest between systems and individual people, and many more interesting threads at the intersection of complex systems research and creative innovation.


The first in a new biweekly, patrons-only sidestream for author-read essays, commentary on current events, mailbag replies, and experimental format episodes. First up is a reading of and commentary on my Part Six of my book-forever-in-progress, How To Live in The Future: "The Future Is Disgusting."

Here's a teaser:

The future that I want, the only future I believe worth living in, is full of love — and love is all about relaxing boundaries. Erupting into our Italian gardens, smashing manicured taxonomies, and popping our extropian illusions of a better life beyond constraints, love is the greatest trickster that reveals distinctions in imagined unity and unifies apparent opposites, to hell with definitions; it is time for you to learn.

And that ensures the future will be positively gross, because as every set of paired antitheses resolves within the immanent-transcendent whole appearing as the herald of another era, nemeses are written into myth together; warring faiths combine their efforts to create economies; and everything you loathe today is indispensably a part of who you are, in truth, and who you could become if you survive and live receptive to the gnarly lessons of reflection offered up to you by love.

Someday all you hate will lose its charge within a greater truth — which, in a way, is even worse than knowing it will just persist. No: it becomes a part of you, and therefore worthy of your love; you learn to dig the things you feared; your brain adapts to shifting norms; we really are remarkable in our plasticity, and you’ll regard you-reading-now as hopelessly naïve, and small, and understandable, for all your ignorances are enshrined and glow within as relics of the origin of that more terrible and beautiful, awake and all-embracing thing you are.

MISCELLANY



19 May 2021

There is no path. The path is made by walking.

Traveller, there is no path
The path is made by walking.
Traveller, there is no road
Only wakes in the sea.
– Antonio Machado

Hey, everyone (weary smile). It's Spring, finally, and beautifully so. Some things are starting to feel like The Old Ways again and some never will. I hope this new work finds you well. I talk so much these days, I'll let the work speak for itself this time.

You can watch the time-lapse of my latest digital art explorations on Instagram, where I have also been playing the wonderful Chapman Stick almost every day, writing new short pieces that will fit the narrow format. It's an amazing instrument. It's kind of saving my sanity, lately. Speaking of which:


My most recent article to share with you, the first stabs at an essay for a compilation on the topic:

As artists, our improvisation with the dehumanizing algorithms of predatory surveillance capitalism is a kind of tango — an exploratory, open-ended, provisional, context-dependent, time-bound, blindspot-defined process of mutual adaptation. The economy — and the ecology of which it is a subset of dynamic interwoven agencies — is an evolutionary system, and evolution is improvisation via the appropriation of existing forms. The algorithms we design are just the visible tip of the algorithms we enact unwittingly, the action of distributed intelligence in a long, complex arms race with itself. The only way to win is to refuse the rules and act from true and nameless spontaneity.

Read the whole thing here.


My first concert in months! Freestyle explorations from within a tangled bank of musical electronics, far-out ideas, and intertwingled subjectivity, for your journeying pleasure. Live streamed on 2021.04.18 as part of the Mt. Tam Psychedelic Integration Jam, hosted and organized by Daniel Shankin, with a special live painting appearance by visionary artist Amanda Sage.

Download it for for free (or for tips) on Bandcamp or Patreon. Watch it on YouTube:


Also on YouTube: the full recordings from our recent Future Fossils Book Club discussions on Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta and Distress by Greg Egan, two of the coolest books I've ever read. We went deep!  I love the scrappy and profound community that has clustered around the conversations we have on the podcast. 

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch future book club recordings or become a Patreon supporter to participate in them yourself! Our next call will be on May 30th to talk about Dark Constellations by Pola Olaixarac, and then in June we're getting the author on the call to talk about Eric Wargo's Precognitive Dreamwork and The Long Self (!).

Meanwhile, excellent Future Fossils episodes continue to trickle out every two weeks:


That's "all" for now. Thank you for reading and for being. Reach out any time. Be well...

Until we meet again, here is where I put all of the cool new music I discover:


And where I sell art prints and original paintings — proceeds go directly to feeding children: