Can eye get a witless?

Guanyin blesses the New Year of Ox 2021
“Good Propitious, Health, Happy-吉祥安康幸福!”

Alokiteshvara (India), the self-born eternal Buddha Amitabha who is the compassion of all Buddhas may artistically be represented as male or female. Avalokiteshvara is also known as Guanyin in China,  Kannon in Japan, Chenrezig in Tibet, and Karunamaya in Nepal. 
The Heart Sutra is Avalokiteshvara  explaining the fundamental emptiness to Sariputra, a disciple of the Shakyamuni Buddha.
Drawing of Guanyin by Janney

At Sensoji (temple) in Asakusa, Tokyo, dedicated to Kannon, early in the morning local residents volunteer to keep the temple grounds clean.

Before reaching the temple is an incense burner where pilgrims can expose their ailing body parts to the smoke of healing incense. I don’t know any scientific knowledge which would support the efficacy but they do it all day, at the least it must be fun.

Visitors make a lot of photographs here; enabling people to make creative quality images was one of the visions of Steve Jobs. Everywhere people carry a personal computer around with them, who cares that is not running Word or a Excel or taking inventory, people like the small computer-phone.

Art it fun, We1 enjoy it. Would you think a man who is a murderer and also a father enjoys taking selfies with his child? Should God allow murderers to enjoy happiness? I don’t sit around and wonder about this all day, Who am I to tell God what to do? But my guess would be that murderers often enjoy being with their children and that if God wanted to prevent them from feeling happiness God would do it, or have done it at the beginning. Or how about in-between?

Alameda Creek

Sometimes it seems easy to confuse a medium’s technical qualities with an artist’s style. Like any graphic art, a photograph has its own unique technical qualities which the eye identifies by feeling—categorizes and classifiess without thinking. Technique generally has a protocol, a standard, which the eye can “feel.” When this happens the eye feels its a photograph, or a silk screen, an etching, or a tree or a house, a blade of grass, etc and the brain moves onto the content. It finishes by giving it a name and judgement.—Its danger!, its a joke. its the right moment . . .. To know something by feeling.

The eye sees what it is, and then later the brain tells you what it is. Sometimes the eye is confused and unwilling to admit the image, it may ask:
“Is this a real thing? I cannot find a match to any of the categories of things in the universe that this brain knows.

If known things can not fit, the eye declares an alarm to the brain—what is this? Think of this as visual tension. The experience of visual art usually begins with a visual tension/attraction, especially in advertising, which works to attract the eye like rubber necking on the highway attracts almost everyone and forces the others into line.

Sometimes a style can be a violation of the standard which the artist has used as a technique. In “standard photography” people expect to see “reality,” or a violation of the reality standard which is some kind of artistic statement.

Its not just black or white, there is continuum between first seeing and judging which seems like it is traversed in instant time because this human ability to respond is what it means to know some thing. What we know is more easily measured by our automatic responses which act naturally than our brain which requires human skill to use or measure.

Unfortunately our “natural knowledge” is based on our perception of experiences. Things change, and those conditions of the situation of those experiences have changed which can make the knowledge no longer applicable. All the time we are learning, and later discarding age appropriate behaviors.

Photographs can have different kinds of information and generally people are comfortable with that. With words for example, (words as things) which can have variable meanings we learn to moderate the literal meaning to fit the situation—“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” In the same way we learn to moderate our experiences with photographs.

One of the features of the photographic process is its ability to express continuous tone. Most pre-digital printing techniques needed halftones to express the photograph, but electrical media only needs light on a surface —but a different kind of media surface. As ink needs paper electric information needs it own kind of surfaces.

The film and ink image printed on paper needs the printer to bring the paper to the printing press and later to deliver the paper to the reader. The digital image can go to wherever the printer is, can be printed by many different printers inlay different locations and in the case of the cell phone, the printer may be personal property of the reader (the cell phone screen) which makes the person available anywhere and anytime . . .

. . . as long as there is electricity. Then, there are always Plan B, Oracle Bones from the Shang.

End Pieces

Real and fake people come together along the river in Asakusa.

Real and fake people again, , but if you consider the boys in the advertising photo as Fake then what about the whole image itself Is not it all fake people? A photograph is not a real person but in this image we can sort out levels of Fake people, some are more Fake than others, we understand that the photo is a Fake image of real people standing in front of Fake people.

What difference does seeing this image make in my life. I will never see this girl again, she will never have seen me . In a photograph, the subject—the photographer and the object come together as one.

Are these moments of my life, the life of the person in the photo, or the moment of the two of us interacting together, never to come together again. Most of these images are not answers but questions about is being seen. Maybe I saw something, pointed the camera, clicked the shutter, and just maybe got a lucky moment.

Perservance landed on Mars and we communicated through photographs. Here are two photographs used for communication between people and Perservance. The first is a “regular human sensitive photograph”;

The second is a visual map for Perseverance plotting the danger risks for landing locations. Two images of the same place do not appear the same to the human eye while enabling precise communication between men and machines.

People have five senses and technology enables us to extend those five sensual capabilities—as quantitative extensions of a specific quality. Can we create a technology which enables us to experience a qualitatively different sense? How would we know it? Only through the technology?
And if that technology was digital, we would need electricity to use it . So if we ever established a relationship with “life from another dimension” using electric technology and then lost access to electricity!! What would happen.

How often do we do what we want to do. Is what we want to do worthy of being done? Is satisfied with everyday doing some stuff that is not satisfying, as well as doing some stuff that is satisfying satisfying enough or do we do it anyway.

Did the Universe create human beings to study itself, to see what its made of, so to speak. Suppose suddenly you are aware you are the Universe, You don’t know your history and as you evolve you are trying to learn more about yourself, or you evolve because you are trying to learn more about yourself and evolving human beings increasingly speeds that up process.

The Universe is trying to find out who it is, or what it is or even when it is, who wants to even try What is it?
Or, perhaps its seen its own death and is trying to stop it.
Wonder? Did the Universe create itself to fail?
Or did it just create itself.

It seems people have many questions which cannot be answered but if they seek an answer they will often find one, kind of the place where religion fits into human society. Why do we have questions for which we have answers? Is something wrong with our language that we have words to make questions but sometimes there no words to make answers.

Krishna and Radha—Try this, question, Why did Krishna and Radha never marry?

What happens when you compare Buddha, Krishna, Avalokiteshvara and Daruma,? Is it better to have some Gods or one God? In Tokyo there many shrines, temples, and many small shrines. Many people in Tokyo do not have cars, they often walk past, or cut through, temples and shrines. Sometimes they stop, others may just bow their head as they pass through, but their daily lives ar imbedded.

Erasing hard drives will become like book burning.

Quest, shuns, and sir

Graphic means a printing process where the same  image can be consistently  reproduced multiple times.

Since computers “a graphic”  has become a common term referring to a visual image often which  appears on an electronic device screen or some kind of a “designed” image unprinted materials, such as a logo.


What about content? Professionally I was a graphic designer, pre and post computer, and for  the  offset printer “the art” were the materials I supplied (into the work flow) called “camera ready art”  which  the printer  used  in another photographic process to make film  used  to expose on the printing plates which were photographically processed, mounted the press, inked and used to print (transfer the ink)  the same image over and over called the press run. It different than the “Art”  in History of  Art class.

/*This was made as a large poster so you cannot see the green sign in the bottom row, second column, which says “No Dogs Allowed.”*/


When people think of a photograph they do not think of a “ printing process” but as an image of something “real.”When most people experience a “photograph” their response is to think “What is it?” Or more precisely, What is it that is REALLY happening in this “REAL MOMENT” of time?

In that sense also the photograph is not something that will happen, but something that has happened, different  from an image printed  on a Tarot card  or naturally appearing  in your tea cup which may be  interpreted to predict the future.


Am I measuring a moment in my life,  doubling it  or just so busy making it  that I miss the experience of life?

Does it matter whether it is 1/125 second or 1/500 second? Or which lens I used?  it might  if the light is different. But what if  I was using words to lie to you? Would you still know the truth just by looking at the image and ignoring the words? Would you consider  using an image in a photograph to lie to you worse than using words?


I could show you photographic images of  a “Real San Francisco,”  then again maybe you would not believe me, you would shout “Fake News, Fake News, Bias, Bias ” and I would say “Don’t look!”


Or close more lookly . . .a real event in a real place once afternoon


When you see a photograph you want to know what it is, you want to have words to describe the experience, but  I want you, when you see it, to just experience just the visual experience, that is for you alone but once you put it into words something outside of you is modifying your experience by giving you answers to questions usually before you have developed the questions—it is defining the experience for you before you can experience your experience.


In a sense this is OK, its the process of culture which arises from human behaviour  an homogenizing process which enables  people to behave similar enough that society can develop and maintain.

If I tell you yo , Chicago, Fall, 1969, SDS Days of Rage, does it make you feel any different about the image?


or  this one , a little earlier, just  around the corner . . .


Using a photographic image to make a pattern can create a different experience, it is a pattern made using an image of my shadow of me holding a camera . . .


Or using a photographic image of a screen capture  to make a pattern . . .


Is a screen capture a photograph?  Using  light it creates a digital piece of information which can be used  to “print” the same image consistently, not on paper but an image using light on an  electronic  “monitor.” And, as an added benefit you can send it to the printer and get a different image.


While electronic monitors may be basically the same, the appearance of the image printed them may be different from monitor to monitor because of many factors.

It boggles my eyes to think all this, maybe, just looking know thinking,  is less confusing.


And a “printed on paper” image while similar when printed from the same printer at the same time, will vary from printer to printer. Is the truth in an image just  in the unique personal experience or the culturally defined experience?  Or a unique combination of both . . .


Where then is there any truth in a photograph?


Which is the more important experience,  the experience of making the print—which the artist gets to do— or the experience of seeing the print? which both the artis and others share.


Is it any different,  for me, to experience my pottery by using it or experiencing  a photograph of it, or a  poster design of photographs of it?


There is the McLuhan story of two women who meet, one pushing a baby in a carriage. The first woman remarks,  “What a beautiful child,” to which the mother replies, “Oh but you should see photograph!”


Can you tell something about me when you see these photographs? Would I murder, steal or rob? Would I lie to you? Would I do a good job  if you hired me? Would you let in your cab? Would yolk me in your bed?

I too used to contemplate these questions . . .


Then again, and again, and again, I forget to remind myself to forget, I am just a passerby, a  mapless soul wondering from this moment to that, I to judge am whom?

There is so much more to appreciate in human beings.



Up so short it feels like down to me

Its always easy  to start the day  by looking down, no place to go but up


Once said, the karma of a person’s life expressed is their face when they are old


And the  hopes of ones’s life were  facially expressed  in youth.  On a street corner, waiting for the light to change the one word in English that we shared was “Bluegrass.”


My chants  steps in out of nowear  and  you miss it because you were working,


Whereas the Western child is early introduced to building blocks, keys in locks, water taps, and a multiplicity of items and evens which constrain him   to think in  terms of spatiotemporal relations and mechanical causation , the African child receives instead an education which depends much more exclusively on the spoken word and which is highly charged with drama and emotion.

Quoted from The Gutenberg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan who is quoting a  J. C. Carothers  article in Psychiatry November 1959


Please ignore the out dated “ human bias” aspects of the above quote where the author is trying to connect words in a concept expressing the act of  comparing oral media society to a  print media society by pointing to “real life example.”  Just consider the concept;  compare oral  and print societies and how they might generate a very different “Cultural Reality” for the individuals in the each population.


Of course you need to understand that “Cultural Reality” is where all of the people in the society share the same unified reality, there is no “fake reality”  or “Alternative Facts.”

McLuhan  wants to express that in a print society people use visual knowing at the with a reduction  of “knowing by other senses” compared to oral societies which are less dependent on visual knowing and more on an other sense or  combination of  other senses.

(NOTE: Don’t get too hung up, its a concept).


And electronic media will generate a whole new “Reality”  at a time when the whole Earth will be in the process of a generating a “single global culture.”

Where previously the Earth was populated by different “cultures or societies”  with  their own view of reality—their culture— and the history of people was the evolution of larger and larger unified populations—caves and family, clan, village, polis, kingdom, nation state—electronic media generates forces of cultural homogenization which have the abilities  to generate a world culture.


Unfortunately without leadership with a vision, the past will be repeated, populists demagogues will eagerly emerge with their message of hate,  killing and revenge. The process will happen, no one wants to return to caves (almost)  but without leadership with a vision many people will suffer and die or more drastic, people will destroy human civilization.


Or you could just ignore it, maybe some alien culture will intervene or God will create a war that ends all wars saving two of each finding refuge in a bomb shelter ark.,


Can you find the mistakes? Are they mistakes because you think so? Would you give me an F grade for this effort?





When is day

If you saw me on the street what would you think? met me with some friends?  see my face,  who am I? ueno1553Det28%ppi100G700

I could be trying to fool you except you know you are too smart to be fooled by Ibe such as me . . ,


still or still,  simple is  less than it was befour (photo courtesy of my trip to Ikea one day).


imagine being this young and this alone,


And this old with a friend . . .


or this . . .


I did reach out,


and again and again but never a gain


I did know how to stand without you
but with you it was a greater dream
And you left me. with no way to reach out ever again
And maybe that was a gain.


still  my lack of wisdom is nature’s graffiti in the street,


Know one nose

When I first learned about string theory with the implication that there are more dimensions  than the ones we know— one dimension: a point; two dimensions: a line;  three dimensions; a solid; and four dimensions: time; or maybe all put together: space-time.


Yet, a point, a line, are not real, they are conceptual tools which we all use for communication with others, for designing and building, and so on. iI your room is 10″ x 12″  you don’t  go out and   buy a  rug which is 15″ x20.” Even Euclid in “The Elements” was definitive that a point and line are not real but concepts


So if the dimensions we know are not real then how can there be more of something that is not real? But  look at a shadow, the absence of light surrounded by light, it is indeed two dimensional and it is a real thing, we have a word for  it and everywhere there are people they have a  common  empirical experience and agree on what it is, a shadow.


Actually of course a shadow is three dimensional (as Bob’s wife pointed out to me),  we do not see its three dimensionality because  a shadow needs a medium , a three dimensional object on which to appear,  however in the space between the object and the shadow  it is dark but we d usually o not see it, although if you are hiking in the mountains or walking among the caverns of tall buildings in a city in the late afternoon you do experience this “in between” darkness.


So I thought I would make some images of my shadow  to explore this .


There was a famous satirical book titled “Flatland” written by Edwin Abbott in1884 in which he makes a story about the interrelations  between  “beings ” who are points, lines, two dimensional and solids and how they experience each other. There is a “point land” and a  “line land” and “polygon land“ mixed in together.


A line would experience a square as a line, a point cannot experience  a line,  polygon  or a  sphere and so in the society  these things have little or no ability to “know”  each other.


The result is much like the chaos we see in society where some politicians (demagogues) identify “groups” in society and try to establish their career by  generating antagonism and if successful, hate and violence between the groups.


One problem with politics is that lying, using violence, lacking compassion, empathy, remorse, integrity will appeal to man ypeople, its not like making a product which can be judged  by whether it works or not, in politics the promises of demagogues may often sound better than the reality of life.


But words are pretty empty, and unrealized words (promises) about a better future often sound more hopeful  than today’s reality to many people, and yet no matter how many times the promises fail to materialize, to many, empty promises sound better than today’s realities.


Perhaps even more interesting, even when the promises are realized there are those politicians who will deny that the promises were ever realized and they will still attract a following. Anyway while these Shado images do not promise anything, they are not making any promises to you.  Hopefully as you go out and  about your day there will be moments when you look around  and see your own shadow on a wall, on the top of car, and remember it will  always be there  with you and for you.