Raw Dictionary
for Dana Ward




A – Age of Consent

B – Blowup

C – circadian rhythms

D – dormant profiles on social media sites

E – Ed Ruscha or Racehorse?

F – Farben

G – George Harrison

H – heat

I – ice cream from Margie’s

J – Josef K

K – kill switch

L – longitude

M – Monica Vitti

N – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s revision of his first Symphony

O – Oh As If

P – people-watching on the train

Q – The Q

R – rosemary

S – superheroes

T – thyme

U – Ubik

V – Vannevar Bush

W – wish

X – Xanadu

Y – yearbooks

Z – zeppelins


Age of Consent
I’ve lost you, I’ve lost you, I’ve lost you

Blowup
The protagonist here is loathsome as the film opens, a misogynist who points his camera at doss house transients to recoup human tragedy as profit. By the end though, I deeply sympathize with him. His photographic apparatus reveals death to him and he is traumatized by what he sees. The final scene is moving; the photographer tosses a pretend tennis ball to a group of mimes. In this gesture, he expresses a desire to become naïve again, to believe once more in the invisible.

circadian rhythms
The cadence of astral bodies becoming soluble in human biology.

dormant profiles on social media sites
Or, headstones for avatars.

Ed Ruscha or Racehorse?
A fun little game I preside over for now as the de facto quizmaster. Admittedly, the idea for the game was Connor’s. See edruschaorhorse.tumblr.com for more details.

Farben
The German word for colour. Also the vernacular for a sinister industry of chemical synthesis.

George Harrison
He was really the anchor between John’s borderline psychotic penchant for the melancholic, Paul’s happy-go-lucky boyish charm, and Ringo’s pensive stoner imagination. Harrison supposedly wrote “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with a method of divination influenced by his interest in the I-Ching. It’s as if this song is the ascent into some pop music ether, guided by sonic forces that have seen the past, present, and future of popular sound. Maybe pop music could have stopped there. But then you have “Something”, “Here Comes the Sun”, and All Things Must Pass which seem to be Beatle
George mercifully showing us a hint of the music he found on the other side.

heat
Don Delillo writes in White Noise that heat is the meaning of cities. It is a kind of foul medium that absorbs and transmits the information overflow of urban areas. As time passes we witness an entropic slide into heat death, a kind of paralysis of the movement of data. What then but to wander through the inhuman circuitries of the metropolis as culture grows stagnant.

ice cream from Margie’s
I have a sweet tooth often in the hours right before sleeping. On the nights when I have money and its sibling time to spend, I’ll walk to Margie’s on the corner of Armitage and Western and get a milkshake. This is massively comforting to my sweet tooth and all other faculties of the senses.

Josef K
The character from Kafka but also the 1980s English post-punk band. When I first graduated from art school, I was unemployed but still taking classes to oblige six credits of study I had yet to complete in order to officially get my diploma. This basically amounted to an awful situation in which I had no time to find work because of a commitment that also ate up a great deal of cash. After class I’d often visit Isabella at the grocery store she worked at in Gold Coast at the time. I’d maybe pick up a few items. Afterwards, to avoid spending money on public transit I’d walk down Division Street rather than taking the bus to get to the train. On the walk I’d listen to Josef K in my headphones. I felt a great deal like Kafka’s man at that time. I had awoken one day to find myself ejected into a reality that menaced me at every approach but still obligated me to a series of systems that had my best interests low in their priorities.

kill switch
One particular category of these mechanisms has great spiritual implications: the dead man’s switch. An operator becomes presumably incapacitated and a device leaps into action to perform a task. The soul of the former inhabits the mechanical void of the latter.

longitude
Unlike latitude, this striation of the globe is purely artificial. Latitude can be conceptualized by observing the tilt of the earth in relation to the sun. It’s a measurement that has its determining ground in a phenomenon that exists and operates outside of the realm of direct human influence. Longitude on the other hand is entirely arbitrary, determined at all times by human thought. Standardization of longitude is a real bitch. The use of extremely well tempered clocks onboard ships was the key to calculating one’s longitude at sea centuries ago. Look to the stars then check your watch to know where you sail.

Monica Vitti
Italian actress perhaps best known for her work with director Michelangelo Antonioni between 1960 and 1964. Portrayed the blushing face of alienation in Red Desert.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s revision of his first Symphony
Rimsky-Korsakov finished the original version of this piece while still a composition student and seaman of the Russian Navy at the age of 21. He revised the work some twenty years later, making drastic alterations to the overall structure and orchestration of the piece and shifting the key up a half step. I’m not sure if such a reprisal of one’s juvenilia is an act of cowardice or bravery. To correct one’s art ex post facto would seem to be narcissistic, the action of one who is neurotic about appearing always in the right to their audience. But to revisit the art of one’s youngest years... I think that takes real grit.

Oh As If
A working title for the exhibition this text appear[ed] in.

people-watching on the train
I often will partake in such activities on the commute to and from work. In the morning I’m riding the blue line on the tail end of a morning coffee cigarette and a modicum of granola with milk or kefir. I’m sharp, using the last moments of the AM to study the contours of faces and figures. This is my last segment of aesthetic contemplation and repose before having to switch gears into the grind of a day job. In the evening I’m also on the blue line, bored and far looser. I think less about the immediacy of form, my mind wandering more towards things like... what stop will this or that person get off at and where to from there? Walker Evans turned this kind of mild voyeurism into a series of photographs, the title of which escapes me right now. I wonder what his routine was for developing that body of work.

The Q
An omnipotent species that oscillated between assisting and foiling the designs of Starfleet. Always portrayed by John de Lancie.

rosemary
Rosemary is a foundational flavor of an English cuisine that I’m forever being told by Isabella is a figment of my culinary imagination. Fair enough, on the outside it probably appears to the rest of the world that we are a people of little vision in sustenance. We will dine on fish and chips, takeout curries, a bizarre assortment of potato chip flavors that never made it stateside. Well, that being said... I went to a blues festival when I was about 13 in the grassy lands of Somerset and ate these sandwiches, the only contents of which were homemade applesauce and the meat of a pig turned on a spit, roasted over bare flame, adorned lovingly with local herbs.

Superheroes
Heroism, just noble acts without the prefix, is an antiquated idea now. Heroes are the characters that embody and perpetuate grand narratives, another idea that’s lost most of its real currency in the 21st century. Superheroes, on the other hand, there’s something I can still believe in there. I heard the phrase “grand metaphor” somewhere, a nice modification of Lyotard’s aforementioned concept. It fits nicely with superheroes. If heroism is to sustain in some capacity, it needs to exist on a plane that goes above and beyond reality. Superheroism subsists on a level of fiction but it is a fictional realm that we can still invest conviction and belief in.

thyme
See rosemary

Ubik
Aerosolized everywhere the preparation for becoming reincarnate.

Vannevar Bush
An American scientist that played a large administrative role in the Manhattan Project. He also developed concepts around a hypothetical device called the memex: a microfilm based filing system that would archive documents based on associations the human mind creates between texts as opposed to what he perceived as inefficient hierarchical archiving strategies of the time. Bush’s invention never went beyond an essay and a handful of accompanying sketches. Nonetheless, the memex was a conceptual influence on the later development of the Internet in the late 20th century.

wish
An onomatopoeia for the most delightful incantation.

Xanadu
An ethereal realm in a particular literary work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a place many
say was influenced by the poet’s habitual use of opium. Maybe that’s true but I’d like to
think Coleridge was influenced by the seaside agrarian landscape of North Somerset as
well. Xanadu also happens to be one hell of a tune by Rush.

yearbooks
Such magnificent compendiums of photographs and text. Entire university departments
could be dedicated to studying one’s senior portrait and the accompanying dedications.

zeppelins
the humanity,,,it’s just laying there