BETTER THAN EXPECTED

i met patrick nagatani today.
he was giving a talk at kcc on his body of work.
i almost decided not to go-
i had only heard of him briefly before (at a talk at the tcmhi)
and i was going to miss the first 45 minutes due to immunology class.
but i decided to check it out anyway.
i was 75 minutes late from immunology class and missed most of his slides
from his main body of work on chromatography and cancer.
but the parts that i was there for was amazing.
his work is very thought provoking.
lots of hidden meaning in the photos
and he is a good photographer as well- he manipulates the pictures so you see what he wants to see.
he gave a lot of commentary
and we could ask questions.
i learned that he used to work for JPL 
(OMG AWESOME X 10000000000000 !)
and i asked him about his experiences there at the end of the talk.
i mentioned that i was a HUGE science enthusiast
and he mentioned his partner was/is (?) doing a series on juxtaposing the cosmos with the human body.
she would do photograms with clear plastic forms and flashlights to make cells.
(OMG EVEN MORE AWESOME.  WHAT AN AMAZING IDEA.  I THINK CELLS ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PHYSICAL THINGS IN SCIENCE... OR IN THE WORLD.)
and she would also do things with xrays, and NASA photos.
his main work shown today was on chromatherapy and cancer.
it was sciencey
just as i like it.
and he had a few ghost-image pictures of himself
(OMG.... I CAN'T BELIEVE I WASN'T EVEN GOING TO ATTEND!)
and science fiction looking pictures with colors and charts.
then he showed some work of TAPEstry 
which i had actually heard of before on soko ga shiritai-
although never in such scale and grandeur.
his tape pictures are beautiful.
and full of symbolism as well.
thanks to last semester's religion class, i could recognize avalokiteshvara.
then he talked about how he learned to appreciate art.
such an amazing story-
he was originally a draftsman and was talented in that he could do picture-perfect drawings in art class.
he could mimic still life almost to photographic precision.
but his teacher was upset that he had no gain in feeling.
there was no meaning behind his work.
and consequently made him complete the remaining assignments by taking photos.
photos made him ask himself why he took a picture in a certain way and what it meant.
i always longed to have a similar experience with art- or other tasks.
alas, i am still searching.
i feel almost anemic sometimes, just doing things for the sake of doing it.
i want to have a connection with something.
he progressed onto speaking of social media/networking
and said he likes to be an observer but not interact.
he said some strong things about how it's so trendy, etc. and he didn't like it.
he even said he liked hackers because they are the "anti" people.
he proclaimed that he would like to get rid of all the modern things and just have a cell phone for emergencies.
then he said something to the extent of "you won't see me for months... and maybe even wonder what happened to that guy... and i'll just dissapear".
at first i thought it was snobbish to say such a thing.
then self pitying, when he talked about disappearing.
and then i grasped the idea of connection.
people in social media are putting themselves out,
trying to make connections with other people.
even by talking on the phone or texting.
by cutting yourself off from the modern communication methods you are losing the connection to others
but you are also creating a smaller group-
ultimately, the people who seek you out are only the ones who are interested in you
and will make an effort to make a connection.
this is something that i have thought about for a long time.
even if i try to make a connection with others, why would anyone want to make the connection back?
by putting myself out on twitter and facebook, etc. i am announcing to others what i am doing.
but it is also a meaningless process unless you are continuing a conversation or other activity.
doesn't receiving a letter through the mail feel more meaningful because it is a physical note from a person?
you could say that modern communication is the same thing in advanced form
(and not to be rejected. did you know ansel adams tried to speed photo drying by putting pictures in the microwave after it's invention?)
but social media that allows you to just announce to the world your current meaningless activity seems unfair.
it is not a connection because it has no relevance to others- it is not personal.
i am on the fence about this one.
i quit facebook many times.
i quit gaia for a while.
and i am trending toward quitting xanga.
why should i be throwing my ideas out to the world?
maybe if i keep to myself, more interesting people will come to me.
yet, how will they find me?  how will i find them?
i guess that is why he mentioned being a bystander to social media.
better to observe than interact.
yet, it is my desire to become active in the things you believe in
and i want to tell others!  i want to tell people about all the amazing things happening in the world!
these are the thoughts that keep me up at night.
what's right and wrong?
what is philosophically right and wrong?
(damn samsara.  back i go....)
i'll have to think about this a little more.
technology is a major part of my regular communications now
so it is not easy to just drop it.
he also talked about his work process and transformation of work (how photos, painting, TAPEstry are related).
again, i thought he was one of those snobby, weird artists
when he mentioned that he listens to a lot of pakistani music and tibetian music and brian eno...
but then he said he also likes to watch football while working and also loves earth wind and fire.
("i'm from the 60's, you know.  can't help it.  i also like kool and the gang".)
saying that made him seem more approachable.  

as you can tell, i really enjoyed this talk.
i am so glad i attended!

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