Sunday, May 31, 2015

From The Bell Jar (1963)

The city hung in my window, flat as a poster, glittering and blinking, but it might just as well not have been there at all, for the good it did me.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

"Look Through Any Window" (1965)

Fifty years ago this past March, the Hollies performed "Look Through Any Window" on the BBC's "Sunday Night at the London Palladium." Not sure who did the set design, but the influence of post-painterly abstraction is duly noted.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Teck Gallery

Neil Campbell's Interior (2014) on the east and west walls of the Teck Gallery.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A small room inside a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

In my mailbox today, news from SFU Galleries. A program guide for Through a Window: Visual Art and SFU 1965-2015.

SFU has three visual art galleries. The one at its Burnaby Mountain campus does not have a window, while the window at the Audain Gallery looks onto (and in from) West Hastings Street. The Teck Gallery is pretty much all window.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Two Covers, One Spine

In 2005 Arsenal Pulp Press published Clint Burnham's Smoke Show, a book based on the author's eavesdroppings while on public transit. Perhaps because of its contents, the artist Tim Lee designed a cover that features two (empty) cassette cases: one with the title of the book handwritten on its face, the other with the name of the author handwritten on its spine.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Cassette Player

On May 23, 2015, Eileen Myles tweets: "I can't go much longer without a cassette player."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Kingsway (1995)

This November marks the 20th anniversary of Kingsway, a collection of poems I wrote that concerns itself with a Vancouver road that existed prior to European "contact." Because the book is almost out of print, Arsenal Pulp Press asked if I would write an afterword for a new edition, to which I said yes. APP also suggested I take some new photographs, and that I consider a new cover.

Here is the first cover, designed by Dean Allen:

The cover concept I came up with (atop this post) is based on the old Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Records (WEA) cassette formats from the 1970s and 80s. Because vinyl LP covers are square, and cassette cases are rectangular, the preservation of the square record cover necessitated the black space below it. I am interested in this adaptation, this necessitation, and so was Brian Lam, the publisher, and Gerilee McBride, the designer.

Here is the referent cover I gave to Gerilee:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Iran-U.S. Relations

The first three-quarters of this report provides a grounding in U.S.-Iran relations.

For more on the last democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, click here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pump House Gang

Critical Past bills itself as "one of the world's largest royalty-free archival footage collections."

In the footage above, workers at the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (formerly the Anglo-Persian Oil Company) man the pump house.

Not sure whether these workers are loosening or tightening their grip on this product. Not sure why they are not wearing safety gear either. If this footage was shot today, you can bet they would be wearing hard hats and gloves.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A small room inside a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

By my bedside, a coverless 1972 Ballantine edition paperback of Raymond Chandler's short story collection, Trouble Is My Business.

In the book's "Introduction", the former Depression-era oil executive tells us that it is "the smell of fear," not "violence," "originality of plot or character," or "fine writing" that makes the stories found in detective magazines from the late twenties and early thirties so "powerful."

(Something about the smell of old paperbacks, how they return me to my teenage years, when fear and being afraid were as different from each other as rain and sleet.)

What did Chandler learn about fear as an oil company executive? Surely he was aware of what the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was up to in Iran back then, the tactics they employed. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I, Supercommunity

Last month the editors of e-flux launched a rolling anthology called Supercommunity at the 56th Venice Biennale.

Click below for a collaborative text by Allora & Calzadilla and Ted Chiang.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pursuit, Plunder & Fleece

Robert Arndt has a terrific exhibition at Macaulay & Co. Fine Art. Entitled Pursuit, Plunder & Fleece, the work consists of a larger room filled with two- and three-dimensional objects and a smaller room where their story is told in a compelling 12-minute video.

Gallery hours are Thursday and Friday noon to 5PM, Saturday 11AM to 4PM, or by appointment (604 764 6706).

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Everyone working as an engineer at one point attended a post-secondary school and studied engineering. When I was a boy, engineering students were infamous for suspending a Volkswagen Beetle from underneath the Lion's Gate Bridge. Then, at some point on the afternoon of December 6, 1989, one of them -- a man -- entered the École Polytechnique de Montréal and killed fourteen women, all but two of them engineering students.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Shauna > Shawn

The story is told of a female television news reporter who tired of being a microphone holder for a game called Fuck Her Right In the Pussy and, in spontaneously making this game the subject of her report, allowed male sports fans to act out their favourite cartoon characters on camera.

Among this group was a young engineer who, after he was identified by that participatory surveillance system known as the internet, was taken by digital hay wagon to the digital guillotine at the centre of his digital town and fired from his six-figure job.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

"I feel like it's … quite substantial."

Interesting how often the media apologizes for these instances of audio graffiti.

In the clip below, a Toronto reporter interviews a group of drunk young men whom she believes are waiting their turn.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Three Dog Night

A song released the same year as my trailer.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Three Jellies

Helmut's Sausage Kitchen in Vernon is my favourite place for candy.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Three Pictures

Between the garden

the trailer

and the henhouse

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Poem by Rachel (Bluwstein) (1890-1931)


Conspiracy of spring
a man awakes and through the window sees
a pear tree blossoming,
and instantly the mountains weighing on his heart
dissolves and disappears

O you will understand! Is there a grieving man
who can hold on stubbornly
to a single flower that withered
in last year's autumn gale,
when spring consoles and with a smile
presents him with a giant wreath of flowers
at his very window?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Two Pears

Suttles's analogy did not account for the stem.

I have another idea.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A small room inside a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

Funny how certain books keep showing up at the head of my bed. I remember bringing them home, putting them on the shelf, then bringing them to my bed side; but I remember returning them to the shelf as well.

A frequent visitor is Indians of the North Pacific Coast (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1966), an anthology of essays edited by anthropologist Tom McFeat. Seems every time I pick up this book I am reading Wayne Suttles's "Private Knowledge, Morality and Social Classes Amongst the Coast Salish," where he writes:

I suggest that the structure of native society was not that of a pyramid. There was no apex of nobles, medium-sized middle class, and broad base of commoners. Instead, native society had more the shape of an inverted pear. The greater number of people belonged to the upper or respectable class, from which leaders of various sorts emerged on various occasions. Mobility within this group was fairly free.  A smaller number of people belonged to a lower class, upon which the upper class imposed its will and which it treated with contempt. Movement from this lower class into the upper class was probably difficult. A still smaller group of slaves lived with their masters, who were always of the upper class. p. 170

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Venture Philanthropists

Michael Audain is our "Noah Cross."

Friday, May 1, 2015

"He owns the police."

An allegorical ending if ever there was one.