Market Day, April 1, 2021

On April Fool’s day, Iria, Ana and I went to Monterroso because Ana said there was a livestock market there.  Not any more.  When I mentioned the trip to Carmen she said there is a livestock market there.

Monterroso is in the middle of the province of Galicia.  Since the middle ages it has been an important agricultural center.  The only parts of the old town still standing are several noblemen’s houses.  The smaller houses have all been demolished in favor of drab apartment buildings.  It is more normal for the old cities to have survived more or less intact surrounded by modern buildings.

When we arrived at about 11am the town was buzzing.  There were hardly any parking spaces left.  It was in fact market day but a more contemporary market.  As you can see in the video the market has a bit of everything, food, plants, clothing, toys and even some farm equipment.  

Impermanence

Nothing is permanent except change.   As I watch the seasons evolve, I am always struck by the impermanence of the trees in Spring.  Yes, they change in the autumn but the leaves fall off slowly.  From one day to the next they look the same.  One leaf  more or less is hardly noticeable.  In the Spring the situation is entirely different.  A day makes a difference.  One day they are bare.  Their color is muted tones of black and brown. Their structure is on display.  The next day, the best of both worlds.  You can still see the negative space between branches but there is a delicate color on the twigs.  The leaves are bursting.  The next day, the leaves are big hiding the structure.  They stay more or less the same until fall.  

I feel fortunate after many years of trying to capture the brief time before the leaves are full blown to finally have fixed the moment in a digital format. In this short silent video I am trying to make the impermanent permanent.  It is silent because silence doesn’t change.

Stillness

There was a goose sitting very close to the sidewalk moving twigs around.  I hesitated to take out my camera because I thought what she was doing was not very interesting.  Then I glimpsed an egg in a depression.  I whipped out the camera but too late.  Nonetheless, I decided to video her.  I was drawn into her stillness.  Cars passed.  People shouted.  Seagulls screeched.  She never moved.  She felt centered, focused, calm, assured, a sitting Buddha.  I kept expecting her to move.  Other than the motion of her breath, she was perfectly still.  I videoed her until my arms became tired after five minutes. 

I went home, made lunch, did chores.  Would she still be sitting there. I went back.  When I returned, she had left her nest.  She had been sitting all the way across the pond from the other geese.  She was alone.  I went looking for her and her chick.  They were  not with the others.  

Children should be seen not heard.

When I first saw the three mazes, I thought I must bring my grandson, Atila, here to play.  That was 6 years ago.  The camellia, which have been trimmed into shrubs, were much taller then.  Atila was totally invisible as we played hide and seek.   Several weeks ago the park service trimmed the camellias because they were becoming leggy.   Children could slip under the bushes spoiling the effect of the maze.

Today as I was walking home from the qi gong class, I heard all this yelling and screaming.  Children.  At first I couldn’t see them because they are just a tiny bit higher than the shrubs.  I stopped to video them.  I remember that old saying “Children should be seen not heard.”  These children were not seen but heard.

Without Permission

This is both a mind dump and a rant.  I just loved the geese.  When I sent out the soccer players I forgot to say that they did not complain about an invasion of their privacy.  Here I have captured the geese in the intimacy of their bathing.

Many times when I video work at construction sites, some worker complains that I am invading his privacy.  I have tried to explain that if he owns a smart phone, he has relinquished his privacy.  What is more invasive, that some one knows your national identification number, age, location, purchases, telephone calls, messages etc or that you appear is someone’s video about construction.  

Soccer Players

Since I have become more in tune with nature, thanks to taking solitary walks.  On January 27, 2021 I saw some ladies feeding the pigeons.  Instead of giving them finely broken up bread, they gave them big chunks, by bird standards.  The pigeons in the Alameda are completely tame.  They were at my feet.  I started watching them.  

They were not fighting with one another for the bread.  This was something I had seen when there were sparrows and a swan beat them up so she could eat the crumbs.   I took a picture of the swan swatting a sparrow.  I was furious not so much with the swan but the fools who give birds worthless food.  Birds need to eat seeds and insects.  

Finally I started videoing.   A spastic soccer team might look like these pigeons.  I loved the way they passed the food from one to another.   

Then I needed music since the pigeons were very close to the road.  The pigeons were not cooing very often or loud enough to drown out the traffic sounds.  Fortunately I have been collaborating with Herbert Elsky.   He sent me some more music.  

This is what he says about  how he makes the music: “All of the sounds that I sent to you were made by guitars that I play with oscillating fans. Often the music does not sound like guitars at all. Sometimes the rapid vibration invokes a third “voice” which is made by the overtones. Sometimes I overlap the sound of several guitars playing at the same time which creates another dimension of sound.’

Since I have become more in tune with nature, thanks to taking solitary walks.  On January 27, 2021 I saw some ladies feeding the pigeons.  Instead of giving them finely broken up bread, they gave them big chunks, by bird standards.  The pigeons in the Alameda are completely tame.  They were at my feet.  I started watching them.  

They were not fighting with one another for the bread.  This was something I had seen when there were sparrows and a swan beat them up so she could eat the crumbs.   I took a picture of the swan swatting a sparrow.  I was furious not so much with the swan but the fools who give birds worthless food.  Birds need to eat seeds and insects.  

Finally I started videoing.   A spastic soccer team might look like these pigeons.  I loved the way they passed the food from one to another.   

Then I needed music since the pigeons were very close to the road.  The pigeons were not cooing very often or loud enough to drown out the traffic sounds.  Fortunately I have been collaborating with Herbert Elsky.   He sent me some more music.  

This is what he says about  how he makes the music: “All of the sounds that I sent to you were made by guitars that I play with oscillating fans. Often the music does not sound like guitars at all. Sometimes the rapid vibration invokes a third “voice” which is made by the overtones. Sometimes I overlap the sound of several guitars playing at the same time which creates another dimension of sound.’

Herbert Elsky’s orchestra of distinguished musicians

Today’s Walk

This is another mind dump.  They are videos that come to me in a flash and that I make just as quickly.   

Our movements are being restricted again.  I cannot socialize with any one I am not living with.  In my case, that means no one but I can walk as much as I want. Today as I was going to the Alameda to walk, I thought why doesn’t Carmen go out to walk each day in the Alameda.  As you can see, today I could only walk the perimeter of the park.

The video is dedicated to Carmen because if I were not thinking about her, I would never have thought to make the video.  It started because I took a picture of the notice that the park was closed to send to Carmen.  I took another picture of the yellow tape.  Then I thought there are too many pictures to send in a WhatsApp.  I’ll make a short video. 

I used  part of Herbert Elsky’s  High Tones Good because it provides a sense of suspense or frustration.  Will I find an entrance that is not barred?  Will I get fed up and duck under the tape?  What will happen.

Short Deep Tones Overlay

This video was almost not made but I triumphed over the tyranny of technology.  I had made a three minute video of the truck motor with this footage, when I thought Podcasts were videos.  I have a hard time doing the same thing twice, hence a very short career as a hand collator.  When I decided to make a one minute Lullabye, I used different footage.  It was just too easy to chop off two minutes.  

Herb Elsky’s music reminded me of bus station video. The problem was that I could only find the video not the original.  I tried to use the video but the machine prevented me.  I was really upset and angry.  I am always throwing things out even digital things which I can’t see and shouldn’t bother me.  I went to my telephone.  Wonder upon wonders I had not thrown out the original footage.  Then I tried to upload it from my phone.  No go.  The geniuses who design the system only give you one chance.  Then I remembered something called AirDrop. I AirDropped the footage.  The machine did not recognize the repetition.

Fellow artist Herbert Elsky had sent me some of his music but it tended to be too long for me which is why the video is entitled Short Deep Tones Overlay.  The original composition is two minutes 40 seconds.  This piece was composed by putting a group of guitars on chairs and having a fan blow on them so they would make sounds.  I pulled out the most exciting part of the composition for the images.

Poultry Farm Pastorale and Turkey’s Requiem

I don’t know what’s going on with me.  Suddenly I am interested in animals.  It started by watching them.  Next came taking videos and photos.  Now I even mourn their deaths.  I am really glad I have been a vegetarian for the last 35 years.

Santiago de Compostela is in many ways still a medieval city.  There is a well defined urban core surrounded by forests and agricultural land.  It is a wonderful place for walking. I passed this poultry farm several times before I stopped to look at the fowl.  I would find myself engrossed in watching the birds interact.  The species tended to socialize with their own, sort of like people from the same country. I was impressed by the turkey.  They are large birds.  The feathers are beautiful.  If it weren’t for the head, turkey would be handsome birds.

Since I was stopping each time I passed the farm, I noticed that the turkey animated the farm.  They vocalized more. They moved more.  Then I had the thought when will they be killed, Christmas, New Year or King’s Day.  I went back right after Christmas and then again after New Year.  They were still there.  I thought maybe they won’t be slaughtered but after King’s Day, they were gone.

The pastorale features the turkey gobbling. The rhythm is probably a bit faster that a pure pastorale but a sound scavenger can’t be choosey.  The requiem is my tribute to the turkey, may their soul’s rest in peace.  You will notice how quiet the farm is except for the overactive rooster who is still crowing at noon.

Truck Motor Lullabye

What is a lullabye.  It is a lullaby spelled incorrectly but the audience that saw the rehearsal said the bye was appropriate because the images were a train station. People say good bye there.  

I hate compositions with titles like Opus 2.  I like to give the listener/viewer an idea of what I felt when I heard the truck motor.  At first it reminded me of a cat purring.  Notice the continuous low hum, the cat.  Then I heard the repetitive accents, the lullaby. Occasionally there is a sonorous rumble. The whole affect was soothing.  I could have fallen asleep. 

Since the truck was part of the construction modernizing the train station, those images came to mind.  By superimposing images I achieve a rocking effect, like singing and rocking a child to sleep.

Even though I have been a visual artist all my life, I am now finding entering into images from the perspective of sound exciting.  I am following sounds, seeing what is making them.  If I also find that I can make it visually interesting, I record.  Actually I record anyway because I never know when an image shot for another sound will be useful or the reverse.  I am not bound by literal reality or hampered by the need for large spaces for storage.

The digital world gives me a freedom I did not enjoy in the analog world.  When everything was physical, there were limits, 36 images per roll of film, hours in the darkroom.  Now it is something like 550 images, no darkroom and instant videos with the compact mobile phone.  

Once I was able to understand the power of the new technology I realized that it suited me.  I am impatient and easily bored.  I have chosen the one minute or less format for the videos because they give me rapid results, don’t bore me and suit the profundity of the subject matter.