“In the library, Iyer found records by Thelonius Monk, and was affected by his ‘staggering empathy, those pointed voids that he would finish with such a different sense of completeness.'”

– “Time is a Ghost,” Alec Wilkinson

the mine (upcoming exhibit)


“…culture and nature are intermeshed and mutually constituting.”  – Nicole Boivin

Excited to be taking part in an outdoor art exhibit happening this June 26th, on the site of a former cement mine surrounded by industrial ruins in the Catskill region of New York.

Here are the details:

IN:SITE is a summer-long outdoor art exhibit at the Century House Historical Society (CHHS) on the Snyder Estate in Rosendale, NY, home of the Widow Jane Mine. Curated by Jenny Lee Fowler and Natasha Maria Brooks-Sperduti, fifteen artists from the Northeast present site-specific sculptures and performances engaging the location’s rich natural and industrial histories.

Show runs 6/26 through 9/9/2016, open 7 days a week sunrise to sunset

Opening: Sunday, 6/26/2016, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Closing: Saturday, 9/10/2016, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Where: Century House Historical Society (CHHS), at the Snyder Estate, 668 NY-213, Rosendale, NY

My contribution will be a short visual history of the site in the form of a visitor’s booklet.  There will be lots of other work on display too: sculpture, dance and sound installation, all engaged with the mine and environs as a living presence.  Take a look at the artists’ profiles and past work at : http://insiterosendale.com/

Photo: room-and-pillar mining (detail of illustration of F.O. Norton Cement quarries at Binnewater, Ulster County, NY).  Courtesy of Century House Historical Society.



” People use the world and its material richness to think with, not just to re-create thoughts they already have…

…Thus, Barth emphasized human engagement with, as opposed to distanced contemplation of, the material world as critical to the process of meaning production.”

– Nicole Boivin on the work of anthropologist Fredrik Barth in Material Cultures, Material Minds

With legs like wire
Snaking towards the belfry

Freedom god damnit

The fossiliferous bloom
Trains my attention to the knots in my back
and the orogenies

I sprint towards the funnelesque point of entry
but too big to enter
and causing a sprain.

the doer

At the end of a long work shift, I walked home in the oddly warm December rain.  I looked up through branches lit by streetlights and very sincerely said “Praise God.”

Is it paradoxical to identify with the godhead, as so many mystics do, while giving thanks to God?  Does not the gesture of giving thanks re-establish the division between the self and the divine that so weakens the spirit?

No.  But it does suggest that divine agency lies beyond the boundaries of ego.  And in search of that divine agency, the act of giving thanks trains awareness upward through ever-larger constellations of mind—family, community, species, biome—to the oneness that is called God.  The spirit catches homeward winds and feels gratitude.

“The true devotee always says, O Lord, Thou art the doer (Karta).  Thou doest everything.  I am a mere instrument in Thy hands.  I do whatever Thou makest me do.  All this is Thy glory.  This home and this family are Thine, not mine; I have only the right to serve as Thou ordainest.”

-The Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna, p.47

fragment on the city as symbolic communication


By day, the city is made of flesh and stone.   

It is a binary field of openings and constraints.  

It is produced and programmed by a social order in which phenomena—whether the rise of a new parking garage or the opening of a soup kitchen—have contingent but no less definite sets of meanings.  

It stares back, and it anxiously resists a sense of play,

The temporal signature of the daytime city is flux.


The nighttime city is a web of electric lights.

It invites stochastic, incidental correspondences of subjective meaning.  

When I was a child, my mother warned me that there was a giant gorilla living in the blue lantern at the top of the Industrial Trust Building.  I worried that the beast might wake in a thrashing rage at any moment.  

It is half-blind, and lends itself to imaginative re-inscriptions.

The temporal signature of the nighttime city is the flicker.