The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Labyrinthine

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Claudio Parmiggiani Broken Labyrinth, 2014
‘The Claudio Parmiggiani installation, which is located in Bologna, takes on the form of a stunning glass labyrinth. Although this may seem to defeat the purpose of such a maze, it could arguably make the experience even more frustrating. The transparent walls would theoretically trick people even more as they blend together to form a big glass case around its victim. Lab rats are often put into similar mazes, after all.

‘But what makes the Claudio Parmiggiani installation particularly intriguing is what happens after it is built. The artist, who lives and works in Parma, Italy, shatters it. The clear labyrinth was so puzzling because it could only be broken out of, not walked as is the case with traditional mazes.’

 

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Richard Long Walking a Labyrinth, 1971
‘‘Walking a Labyrinth’ was first created for Modern Art Oxford in 1971. The work is an enormous rectilinear maze-like ‘floor drawing’ made from earth, it invites visitors to walk along its miriad of paths.’

 

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Scott Hove & Baker’s Son Giant Cake Maze, 2016
‘On the upper floor of an unassuming old-timey building in Downtown Los Angeles, artists Scott Hove and Baker’s Son (Keith Magruder) have quietly transformed Think Tank Gallery’s entire premises into a 7,500-square-foot maze of cake. Their epic, immersive sculptural installation takes the form of a pink-and-white frosted, crystal-encrusted, confusing temple of decadence.’

 

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Denise Higgins & Gary Smith The Barbed Maze, 2015
‘Denise Higgins and Gary Smith’s The Barbed Maze focusses on the issues of confinement, interrogation and surveillance. Audiences are herded and displaced by the installation, which features chambers made of barbed wire panels and mirrors. In the chambers scattered throughout the maze, audiences are confronted with glimpses of confinement, surveillance and interrogation throough the used of sound, video, tableaux and objects.’

 

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Robert Morris Various, 1974 – 2014
‘Looking back to the stockyards where his father worked, one Kansas City labyrinth of his childhood, Morris recounts his own dangerous navigation of that razor’s edge. “I was stopped from taking a short cut through a pen containing a single bull. “Don’t go in,” a man said. Retracing my steps half an hour later I came upon a group of men discussing the best way to extract the body of a man who lay dead at the feet of this massive black bull in the pen I had nearly entered. He had not heeded the warning and had been gored to death.”‘


Untitled (Labyrinth), 2012


Labyrinth, 1974


Glass Labyrinth, 2014


Labyrinth, 1982

 

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Jeppe Hein Invisible Labyrinth, 2005
‘The work is an imaginary labyrinth without physical walls directing the movement of the visitors. Instead, the maze structure is organized by infrared signals. In a big space, a fixed number of infrared emitters are mounted to the ceiling at equal distance to each other, forming a grid pattern. Each emitter can be switched on and off separately via a control board, allowing the creation of a new maze structure every day. At the entrance, the visitor finds a board with printed diagrams of the different pre-programmed labyrinths performed on different days during the week, and attached infrared sensor headsets, which react with a vibrating alarm when an infrared signal, equivalent to an invisible wall, is received. The visitor thus combines the visual information with the technologically produced invisible leads, recreating the labyrinth in his imagination.’

 

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John Miller Lost, 2016
‘If mazes weren’t confusing enough already, American artist John Miller has built one from mirrors to further bewilder lost visitors. Covering approximately 74 square metres, the site-specific maze is built from acrylic mirrors mounted on wood frames. With the mirrored labyrinth, Miller creates an environment that disorients by creating reflections of the self. Both the external walls and internal partitions are covered in mirrors, arranged to encompass the room’s structural columns and create a winding route. At the centre of the maze is a sculpture created to look like a person covered in fruit, with only their arms left on show.’

 

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Regina Silveira Escada Inexplicável II (Inexplicable Stairs), 1997
‘A near two-hundred-square-meter installation which explores geopolitical frontiers and is activated when you put on virtual reality headsets and “walk” through a maze generated by algorithms that recalls the anguishing labyrinthine system that has fed mankind’s imagination since ancient Greece to today’s physical and psychological frontiers.’

 

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Michelangelo Pistoletto The Labyrinth and the Well, 1969 – 2010
‘The work features an elaborate labyrinth constructed from cardboard and at its centre lies a mirror with a symbol laid out in coins. The symbol, which is the infinity sign altered to add a central loop represents The Third Paradise. According to Pistoletto’s manifesto written in 2003, The Third Paradise seeks to reconcile the conflict between the first and second paradises of nature and human artifice. This conflict has led to globalized, destructive problems and by imagining a third paradise representing a socially responsible path to a new planetary civilization, Pistoletto aims for a resolution that will save the planet and humanity.’

 

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Tony Oursler Mirror Maze (Dead Eyes Live), 2003
‘Oursler’s fascination with certain mental disturbances in which the body is experienced as fragmented, and with the multiple nature of personality, is expressed in the Eyes series, which he began developing in 1996. The video installation that he has made for Yanomami: Spirit of The Forest is a monumental extension of this. Using footage of shamanic cure sessions shot by Geraldo Yanomami, but also an extraordinary bestiary drawn by the youth of Watoriki, the artist sets these images against others that reveal his own work on the imitation of mental images.’

 

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Es Devlin Mirror Maze, 2016
‘I had an idea for a film about a mirror that gets crafted into a maze, a film with a hole you can climb through into a maze-like backstage architecture of self that you can get lost in. But I was stuck on how to evoke that feeling of a scent that transports you through time. Scent itself is so personal to individual history – what is transporting for some would be meaningless for others.

‘I opened the cupboard door in my hotel room in Belfast one evening, and fell straight through thirty-five years into my nine year old self in an attic room in Cross Keys, South Wales: the smell of Cedar wood fused with linen and naphthalene mothballs plummeted me through time back to a former self. This is what I wanted to make people feel – falling.’

 

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Roberto Villanueva Cordillera’s Labyrinth, 1989.
Runo reeds, stone, wood, etc., 150′ wide 2,000′ long feet.

 

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Benjamin Nordsmark The Labyrinth Table, 2015
‘Designed by artist and cabinetmaker Benjamin Nordsmark, the Labyrinth Table is a minimalist rectangular coffee table that contains a maze underneath a glass top. The piece contains a set of six metal figurines that can be moved with the help of magnetic knobs.’

 

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Motoi Yamamoto Labyrinth, 2012
‘Motoi Yamamoto meticulously sculpts large scale installations formed from salt, tiny lines delicately arranged on the floor of galleries and museums. “Labyrinth” is arranged in a stone passageway within a castle’s ramparts. The appearance of the work mimics the title, a maze that becomes more detailed the further it grows from a mountain-like pile of salt towards the back of the installation.’

 

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Alice Channer Elon Musk, 2019
Elon Musk. It consists of tightly pleated lamé material packed into a flattish metal structure designed to be fitted low down on a wall, jutting out from it like a bracket. The sculpture is meant to recall bracket fungi, those mycological wonders that protrude shelf–like from the trunks of trees. At the centre of the intestinal, coiling mass of fabric sits an ammonite, another form, this time ancient and natural rather than new and hi-tech, that spirals and winds.

‘As for the work’s title, she regards it as deliberately “outrageous and mischievous” to name her modest sculpture after a tech entrepreneur who is an “overblown masculine ego in freefall”. Musk, with his dreams of commercial space travel, is a damaged Daedalus for our times, perhaps; or maybe an Icarus, tumbling out of the sky having tried to fly too close to the sun.’

 

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Bjarke Ingels Group Big Maze, 2014
‘Located inside the west court of the National Building Museum’s Great Hall, the BIG Maze is an 18-square-metre maze built entirely from Baltic Birch plywood. “The concept is simple: as you travel deeper into a maze, your path typically becomes more convoluted. What if we invert this scenario and create a maze that brings clarity and visual understanding upon reaching the heart of the labyrinth?”‘

 

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Franco Maria Ricci Labirinto Della Masone, 2015
‘Spanning seven hectares of land, this maze is made entirely from bamboo and is the largest in the world.’

 

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Dede Eri Supria Labyrinth, 1987 – 1988
oil on canvas

 

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Gijs Van Vaerenbergh Steel Labyrinth, 2008
‘The architect duo known as Gijs Van Vaerenbergh experimented with the classic form of the labyrinth for a sculptural installation at the center of the C-Mine Arts Centre in Genk, Belgium. The design, made of 5mm-thick steel plates weighing a total of 186 tons, is envisioned as a composition of walls and voids that strategically frame various areas with cut-outs. An accompanying tower outside the maze allows visitors to get a bird’s eye view of the entire thing.’

 

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John Duncan Maze, 1995
‘What happens when you’re left alone with your own mind without any distractions and don’t know when it will end? Seven participants and I are locked naked and completely blind overnight. The other participants have no knowledge of what to expect, or information about how long the event will last.’

Watch it here

 

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Phil Pauley Cubed Maze³, 2012
The Cubed Maze3 by Phil Pauley adds a third and fourth dimension to traditional mazes, and it is designed to be constructed out of a 100% recycled (laminated) flexible glass based polymer. Covering nine floors, multiple stairs, glass ramps and transparent walled partitions, this mega maze will challenge all who attempt its summit. Each of the nine levels represents the complexity of an equivalent single level maze, and stairs and ramps may offer assurance, but sometimes you will have to go back down a floor or two to reach the higher levels.’

 

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Ken Lum Mirror Maze with 12 Signs of Depression, 2002
‘The attempt to bring ineffable internal phenomena into standardized language is the basis for Mirror Maze with 12 Signs of Depression, made for Documenta 11 in 2002. A viewer enters the maze and immediately confronts self-reflections set at multiple angles, finding the space difficult to navigate without continually crashing into the mirrors. Expressions lifted from a diagnostic test for clinical depression are etched in the surfaces, serving as generic statements that viewers might or might not identify with.’

 

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Jason Wee Stand. Move. (A Labyrinth), 2017
‘The installation comprises two dozen cloth panels printed over with photographic images, arranged in the shape of a tall maze. This labyrinth recalls the dark rooms and other lurid dimensions of queer cruising, as well as a theatrical experience of barriers and walls. Playing up the eroticised pursuit of signs and misdirection, sexual ‘orientation’ in Wee’s installation becomes a literal search for direction in the cities he’s intimate with. Photographic images printed on chiffon and polyester silk are pushed to the edge of illegible abstraction, provoking questions of recognition and misrecognition in our navigation of queer spaces.’

 

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Margaret Diamond Labyrinth, 2003
‘Interactive moving table top Labyrinth game made reacting to a proposed ring road extension. The stainless steel ball is navigated through the maze hinting at the nightmare of prohibition and access within inner cities.’

 

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Italo Lanfredini The Labyrinth of Arianna, 1990
‘The Labyrinth of Arianna is located among the Nebrodi mountains, near the small town of Castel di Lucio, in the province of Messina. The Labyrinth was built on the crest of a hill in 1990 by the artist Italo Lanfredini and it is inspired by the Greek myth of Arianna and the Minotaur.’

 

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Yoan Capote Mente Abierta, 2008
‘Cuban artist Yoan Capote’s stunning “Mente Abierta” (Open Mind) is a steel, bronze, sand, and optic fibre maquette for a major scale park-like space designed for public use. The maquette fills an entire room, and presents the concept of a brain excavated on the ground, creating a maze wherein the movements of the public resemble neurons moving within the sphere of archi-tectonical space.’

 

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Lee Bul Labyrinth of Infinity Mirrors: Via Negativa II, 2014
‘For Via Negativa II, Bul crafted an elaborate, immersive amalgamation of mirrors and metals which forces the viewer into direct conflict with her or his own perspectives, and echoes both the promises and fallibilities of technology. Perfect and imperfect, at once whole and fragmented, Bul hijacks the zeitgeist to create a sculptural commentary on technologies that are at once as objective as they are subjectively experienced.’

 

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Puppies Puppies Barriers (Stanchions), 2017
‘I think this maze of barriers is the line after a flight, not the one before it. The relief of home is somewhere around one of these corners, but it feels like I’ll never actually reach it. This exhibition is not a repurposing. It is not “retractable belt barriers arranged in the shape of maze.” These stanchions are always establishing the shapes of labyrinths. A labyrinth can be an infinite number of things (a weapon, the mind, a confusing novel that echoes the world) but it is certainly used as a mechanism for slowing down the people traveling between its entrance and its exit. We can’t all be interrogated about the purposes of our travel at once, so we wander and explore until it’s our turn because the sides of a room alone aren’t long enough to hold us next to them. It was such an awful flight, and even if my legs are relieved to be standing the overstuffed backpack is poisoning my shoulders and my back. We’re still completely mired in the proximate bodies of strangers, packed in with them like the corpses of small fish.’

 

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Sharmaine Kwan Maze, 2016
video

 

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Nova Jiang Landscape Abbreviated, 2011
‘‘Landscape Abbreviated’ is a kinetic maze that doesn’t look too complex from the outside, but once you step in, the components rearrange themselves around you, making it a lot harder to get back out. The planters are controlled by a software program that continuously generates new maze patterns based on mathematical rules.’

 

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Jon Rafman Sculpture Garden (Hedge Maze), 2015
‘With his complex work Sculpture Garden (Hedge Maze) the thirty-four year-old Canadian artist Jon Rafman gives us a look at our future. As one of the pioneers of post-Internet aesthetics, Rafman offered for the first time a taste of the potential of as yet unexpressed lyrical new technologies with the exhibition “9 Eyes of Google Street View” at the Saatchi Gallery in 2009. Instead, with Sculpture Garden (Hedge Maze) that almost shy and intimate attempt at wanting to lay bare the poetry of the new digital world takes shape and substance through the use of Oculus Rift technology, a mask that you put on your face to experience a virtual reality that guarantees an almost total immersion in digital space.’

 

 

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p.s. Hey. ** Dominik, Hi!!! First, so sorry and scary for you (and the rest of world) that Orban won. Was it a fair election? I don’t understand how so many people could vote for that monster. It’s shocking. Anyway, ugh, … the RHCP vocals have never been their strongest point, to me at least, except maybe back in the days when he used to just chant. Happy it’s largely hitting your spot. The interview was nice, thank you. Love did his job, it seems. As did your startling yet comely love of the weekend, surely needless to say. Thank you! Love doing a make over of your worst enemy’s toilet into the labyrinth of your choice, G. ** David Ehrenstein, Ah, well, I already know that about the Republican party without the NYTimes telling me. Me no like Rufus Wainwright, but thank you for the thought. Everyone, If you’re in SoCal Mr. E has ‘a considerable number of CDs , DVDs and books for sale’. Contact him @ cellar47@yahoo.com. ** Misanthrope, Yep, that was the third blog spotlight post on her, forgetful one. I think the instantly spotted thing probably just means I have a recognisably big nose and unchanging haircut. So … you finished your novel fixings on schedule? Ha ha, that David, gosh darn it. ** _Black_Acrylic, I loved the new PT episode. It seemed really rangy and more moody than even usual? Or I was especially moody-sensitive maybe? Anyway, it was a joy! ‘Boiling Point’, huh, interesting. I don’t have Netflix, but maybe it’s on my go-to illegal place. Thanks! ** Steve Erickson, Whoa, the big drop! Congrats, man! Everyone, Mr. Steve Erickson just dropped his first album! Time for ya’ll to get on his tuneage’s bandwagon if you aren’t already. Stream that sucker aka ‘Very Special Episode’ here. I’ve seen ‘Atom Heart Mother’, though not for quite a while now, but I think I remember being positively perplexed by it. Zemmour is sinking in the polls like the veritable stone, now expected to come in 4th or 5th, but Le Pen is rising on the other hand, and it looks like it’ll be Macron vs. Le Pen again barring a seemingly impossible surge by the far left Melenchon who’s rising too but not high enough. Nah, the snow only lasted one day, but that’s okay. I really didn’t think we’d get any at all this year. ** Bill, ‘SLC Punk’ is mildly charming if you’re in the right mood. Yeah, Puce Mary was great, and it seems as though I didn’t even get Covid at it! Wouldn’t surprise me if the blog had tipped you to ‘Unmapped Country’. ** l@rst, Yeah, let me know. I doubt it, but … Yep, your Brautigan Day already had the restoration deal. I think there are a few others of yours that I’ll ferret out and give CPR to over time. Happy Monday! ** Rennis Wooper / Dyan Cilkinson, Ha ha, nice new name. Being excited and inspired is the best excuse. And, yeah, you really do sound inspired and revved up. Best feeling ever. The feeling of you telling yourself the truth. Thanks for the PJ Harvey track links. I didn’t see them until today, i.e, post-weekend, but that don’t matter. Stylin’! Hugs from across the whatever you call it, channel? ** Aaron N, Hey, Aaron! Awesome to see you! You’re coming to Paris! Very cool. I’ll be going to LA soonish to start working on Zac’s and my new film, but I feel pretty sure I’ll still be here when you’re here, so definitely hit me up and give me your coordinates. Great! ** Conrad, Hi, Conrad! You were there at the gig? I didn’t see you, but it was packed. Yeah, nice venue. My first time there. I don’t think I know Elvin Brandhi, but I will investigate immediately, all thanks to you and your linkage. Oh, maybe I’ll see her on the 22nd then. Ace. Yes, many are remarking on the translation choice of the title. What do I know, ha ha. Great to see you, sir! ** Okay. I thought I would give you today’s conceptual playground or whatever it is to pick apart with your eyes/brains if you are so inclined. See you tomorrow.

12 Comments

  1. Dominik

    Hi!!

    You know that scene in “Trainspotting” when Tommy tries to make his friends take a walk in the “great outdoors” and Renton tells him, “We’re the lowest of the low. The scum of the fucking Earth. The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization.”? That’s exactly how I feel at the moment. It’s time to leave this country for good. Mostly because, yes, this time, it did look like a fair election. This is what most of Hungary wants.

    Red Hot wouldn’t be Red Hot without Anthony, but I have to agree with you.

    I’m glad the interview went well! Do you know when it’s getting published?

    I think we both know whose toilet I’d aim for right now, haha. Thank you! Love sporting eyes in the middle of his palms like the creature in “Pan’s Labyrinth” – pretty fucking impractical, Od.

  2. David Ehrenstein

    The Best Labyrinth is The Shining
    Here’s a versio you’ll like better

  3. _Black_Acrylic

    Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin put together this maze as part of their 2019 Whether Line installation in Milan. Think I would rather watch the YouTube vid than walk the entire thing IRL though, maybe that’s just me.

  4. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Hmm, I think the clear ones are the most horrifying. Of course, you could an Alexander-Gordian knot thing and just bust through the glass if you needed to, but still…

    The window installation…I got no help. I’m like, you wanna do this? Yeah, be right there. An hour and a half later (took forever to get the handle off, erp) and I’m finished. Where were you? I fell asleep and forgot. Fucker.

    Cut the living shit out of my left hand. It bled much worse than it ended up being, though. My car mechanic friend at the gym was like, um, didn’t you wear gloves? I’m like, nope, didn’t think I’d have to. He’s done it before too, though.

    Aren’t our noses and ears supposed to keep growing and getting bigger and bigger over time? Like everything else stops growing, even starts shrinking, but that fucking snozz and those radar dishes keep on going? I’ve never thought you had a big nose. Hmm.

    I worked on the novel most of yesterday. I have about 9 pages left. Should be finished today. Saturday, with the window repair and all that, got fucked or I would’ve been done yesterday. But yes, almost there. 😀

  5. Thomas Moronic

    Some of these really left me feeling woozy, which surprised me. Mind you, I remember being in some mirrored sculpture by the artist Lee Bul that got me confused and lost feeling for a minute. Surprised how this day got to me in that way, which of course has got me wanting to sit and dwell on that later on, which hopefully will prove interesting (to me, and no one else of course!).

    Thanks for the Trecartin link, Ben!

    Dennis – Drew McDowall is playing Instant Chavires while I’m in Paris! This is exciting news! I’ve not seen him play before. Also – if you’re around and up for Ethiopian food one of the days please let me know because I’ve been very tantalised by your mentions.

    How is writing going?

  6. Thomas Kendall

    Hey man,

    These are pretty spectacular … the ruins of the transparent one you have to break out of are so weirdly fairytale to me. Managed to send you an email!

    Hope you’re well man

  7. Tosh Berman

    Today’s blog is both fascinating and equally horrifying. I have odd vertigo attacks and phobias, and today’s goodies also left me woozy. The idea of being trapped in a maze terrifies me. I’m afraid of entering a space and not being able to get out of that location. I have a fear of prominent museums or exhibitions, due that a lot of shows are planned out as mazes. If you think about it, you enter a space, and you have to go through various rooms or other areas, and it’s very directed in a specific direction. And following that route gives me anxiety. But at the same time, there is beauty in these mazes. I’m really attached to the piece “Puppies Puppies Barriers (Stanchions).” That freaks me out when I enter an airport, and you have to go through a maze for security/passport issues. That particular work is a masterpiece to me. In other words, an excellent Blog Monday!

  8. Bill

    I love labyrinths, and there’s certainly lots to love in today’s gallery. I can totally get into helping to smash the glass one. And I’d be tempted to just eat my way out of the cake labyrinth.

    I’m a big Caleb Landry Jones fan, just caught his latest:
    https://letterboxd.com/film/nitram/

    It’s no Antiviral unfortunately, and the last 40 minutes or so is rather didactic. But Jones gives his usual intense performance.

    Bill

  9. Florian-Ayala Fauna

    Hey Dennis, meant to reply the other day but got distracted haha. I absolutely love today’s post! It evokes some intense emotions in my opinion. Very disorienting and even profound at times.

    Thanks for the kind words on my paintings!! I truly appreciate it, now I just need to find a home for them hahah. Glad you have a lot of neat projects going on right now, sounds like a lot collaborative work. What are you working with Gisele on? I couldn’t go myself probably, but I always love listening to the soundtracks by KTL. The stuff with Zac sounds good too.

    What did you think of the album? It’s on my bandcamp here: https://uncertain.bandcamp.com/album/dream-architecture-ii

    Hope the many projects are developing well, all the best friend

  10. Steve Erickson

    I saw a neurologist about my dizziness this morning. She’s the fourth doctor to suggest that it’s a side effect of my psych meds, but the first to do so after a thorough physical exam. She wants me to cut down on the meds (much easier said than done…) and look into physical therapy for living with dizziness. Hope my insurance covers the latter!

    Nice sentiment behind “Elon Musk,” but Musk probably thinks of himself as a grand mythological figure too.

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