Tag Archives: California

California++

200px-Flag_of_California.svgFor a couple of days I’ve been reading about a Silicon Valley rich person’s hilarious plan to break California into half a dozen new states. The six will be: Silicon Valley Eats the Bay Area, something, something, something, something, and who cares.

Now this is a kind of silliness I can get behind. It’s like the game we played in college thinking up terrible movie casts. Bob Denver in the title role of Hamlet. Sidney Greenstreet as Achilles in the Iliad. And as someone who has lived in California off and on for a quarter of a century, I can think up a hundred funner plans even before my first cup of coffee. So here is today’s pre-coffee counter-proposal. Please add your ‘yes!’ vote down in the comments, with name and address, and when we get to 808,000 votes, it will qualify for a statewide ballot.

Unlike Mr. Silicon Valley, I don’t think it’s quite such a good idea to quarantine the wealthy away from the rest of the state’s citizens. That’s just wealthist. So I made sure to make my six states economically integrated. And although the new maps might look rather odd geographically, remember that gerrymandering is a proud American tradition.

State 1: Berkvine. As a UC professor, I believe the University of California has suffered neglect from the state in recent years and needs to become a state of its own in order to exert political power commensurate with its intellectual standing. Territory: university real estate in Berkeley, Davis, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, and San Diego; plus all of San Francisco and Alameda counties.

State 2: New Colorado: An outdoors person’s mecca. Angelenos don’t have enough access to parklands for their population, so we’ll start with the Sierra Mountains and throw in all of Los Angeles. Territory: Los Angeles, Lassen, Plumas, Sierra, Nevada, Placera, Eldorado, Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mono, Mariposa, Madera, and Kern counties.

State 3: Desertia: Big largely desert area for turtles, off-roaders, drug lords, the military, star-gazers, environmentalists, the porn industry, and venture capitalists. Territory: Tulare, Inyo, San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, San Mateo, San Fernando, and Santa Clara counties.

State 4: South Oregon: The next big thing economically, poised for the emergence of a major marijuana industry. Territory: Del Norte, Siskiyou, Shasta, Modoc, Trinity, Humboldt, Marin, and Monterey counties. Throw in Fresno, Merced, and San Joaquin as storehouses of ag knowledge.

State 5. All Saints. Territory: San Benito, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Diego, San Luis Obispo. Because why not.

State 6: Orphania: The counties no one visits or remembers. E.g. Butte, Kings, Yuba, Tehama, Orange, and some others I don’t recall offhand.

 

Posted in 2014, latest | Tagged |

somewhere else

New York windowBack in December, I went to New York to visit my friend Beatriz da Costa. Walking from the Metropolitan Museum back downtown to my guest digs one evening, I passed this store window with its enormous, multi-monitor video display showing the waves breaking, live, on Huntington Beach, just a few miles south of where I live in the greater Los Angeles basin. It was that cool, enchanted December of New York, with Christmas lights netted over bushes and twining along the bare branches of every second tree. In drizzle and sparkle, a much-needed change from the unseasonable balminess of southern Calfornia. So it was odd to come suddenly upon what I had flown three thousand miles to leave behind, a through-the-looking-glass moment. But of course it made sense that our dreams should be reciprocal, I drawn to the magic city of the east even as its inhabitants longed for my mundane Pacific shore.

 

Posted in 2013, latest | Also tagged , , |

“Western Waters” panoramas

Blythe irrigation canal, 2009

Blythe irrigation canal, 2009

I’ve just added two new open-edition prints to the site. Blythe irrigation canal is a panorama created from a series of photographs I took on a road trip back in 2002, and the page for that print explains the “Western Waters” project in more detail.  Blythe canal diptych is a detail of that panorama spanning 2 of the image’s 5 subsections.

Posted in 2010, latest | Also tagged , , , , |

Blythe irrigation canal

Blythe irrigation canal, 2009

Blythe irrigation canal, 2009

Blythe irrigation canal, 2009, 5×19″ open-edition digital print on archival paper, signed by the artist: $175

Please inquire if interested in a larger, custom size, up to 36 inches wide.


detail of Blythe irrigation canal, 2002

detail, Blythe irrigation canal, 2009

In 2002, I took a trip through parts of the Southwest—mainly California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado—to photograph bodies of water for a project I was then working on. I was mostly interested in unglamorous water like ditches, small reservoirs, and irrigation canals, as well as creeks and rivers where they passed through urban areas. Almost the entire western part of the United States depends on these unobtrusive waterways, as well as the even less visible systems of pipes and pumps that move fantastic amounts of water from the mountains to the cities.

detail of Blythe irrigation canal, 2002

detail, Blythe irrigation canal, 2009

I photographed every site with the expectation of later stitching the series of images made on that spot into a panorama. I was not interested in creating something seamless and spectacular, so I paid minimal attention to the technology of panoramic photography (the camera’s axis, exposure balance, etc.). I was shooting with an early digital camera so that I could work with my image bank as I went along.

The project I started out on never materialized, but I have slowly been working on the “Western Waters” panoramas in the years since.

detail of Blythe irrigation canal, 2002

detail, Blythe irrigation canal, 2009

As its title suggests, the panorama above was made in the small city of Blythe, which sits on the border of California and Arizona, straddling the Colorado River. It was one of those hot, dry summer days when all life seems to have been sucked away except for a few sparse weeds. While I was photographing this site, I began to feel as if it could never change, and that I too might be there forever, gradually slowing down until I turned to concrete myself.

detail of Blythe irrigation canal, 2002

detail, Blythe irrigation canal, 2009

This panorama was composed of half a dozen individual images, with the black-line dividers placed to punctuate the visual rhythm of the piece and create five smaller images. I colorized and abstracted it as a visual analog of the mental effort I had to make to imagine the site as otherwise than it was then, a composition of austere mauve-browns, gray-greens, and muddy blues. What might it look like at sunset, at dawn, in the winter, under the influence of a fever or some other altered mental state?

This is the first of the panoramas to be completed, and hopefully not the last. I’m also offering, as a self-contained print, the second and third sections of this panorama. You can find the information about that print on its own page.


Posted in 2010, prints | Also tagged , , , , , |

Blythe canal diptych

Blythe canal diptych, 2009

Blythe canal diptych, 2009

Blythe canal diptych, 2009, 13×19″ open-edition digital print on archival paper, signed by the artist: $150


Blythe irrigation canal, 2009

Blythe irrigation canal, 2009

This diptych is the lefthand section of a larger panoramic print entitled Blythe irrigation canal— the details about this project are on another page that you might want to check out. I took the original photos in the late morning, and the diptych projects forwards in time to evening, and backwards in time to early morning.

Blythe-canal-panel2-detail1

Detail of the diptych.


Posted in 2010, prints | Also tagged , , , , , |