Indigenous Systems Thinking, Psychedelic Folk, Time Travel, Painted Dinosaurs, Cyborg Cuttlefish...oh, and 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 a single email 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.
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, diaphanous, 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.
That's it for now. More to share next week. Thank you for reading, reach out any time, and be well!