I was able to visit Jim Morrison‘s grave located at Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris. There, barriers surround the tombstone while a few guards wander around the site for added protection. A docent mentioned that nearly 50,000 visitors at one time would haunt the location, disturbing other grave sites. While milling, I caught a glimpse of other notable graves, Edith Piaf, Isadora Duncan, as well as that of Oscar Wilde, which also had a protective structure surrounding the site.

Walter Benjamin pointed out the role of aura in creating resistance through proscribed distance between the viewer and an object the viewer aims to hold at close proximity. This tension was on display at Morrison’s grave, where distance to the tomb provides a calculated experience. There, viewers reached over the barrier as far as possible before casting flowers toward the grave site, as if to get as close as possible before releasing their symbolic deposit.

Distance to artwork may be expressed in a gallery or museum in a similar manner, as in the above examples, where on display at the Musée d’Orsay I went to measure the paces that separate the curator benches from wall paintings.

3.30.17: Heizer sculptures at Rice U engineering quad — revisited.

9.10.16: A story on Michael Heizer appearing in August issue of The New Yorker describes his recent visit to Manhattan where he began his career five decades ago as an artist/sculpter. Reading the article over steak and baked potato at Del Frisco’s in Houston where the lighting is better at the bar than the dining tables, but not by much. I held the paper copy up close — a 5-page cutout that arrived in my mailbox today from Dr. Traci Speed, of California — in-between bites of steak slathered in potato scooped out from the skin.

What surprised me was that Spiral Jetty was the work of Robert Smithson, and not Heizer, with whom I had credited that earth work. Author Dana Goodyear notes that Spiral Jetty is an essential of twentieth-century sculpture; an artwork completed in 1970 that continues to dominate among reputation-makers & art historians who use the image as shorthand for earth works generally.

Here in Houston and on campus and going over and to take a fresh look at Heizer’s angles (45°, 90°, 180°) sculpture installed at Rice U. Be back in a moment!

Rice2.28.14: At Rice U in Houston, I was able to locate the Michael Heizer sculptures, which appear advertised on the website. At the engineering department, looking for their location, a administrative personnel responds: “Oh, you mean the sculptures”. With raised arm, she pointed with her forefinger toward the courtyard. Paparazzi Ethnography readers are aware of a recent visit to the Levitated Mass exhibit in November.

Here, above, is a collective image of the angles (official title: 45°, 90°, 180°) sculpture.

Reflecting on the rock sculptures — now realizing how well they would look if relocated to the Marin Southern Cone — a different version of appropriate installation of Heizer’s Rocks Relocated:afargoldybeachroadtennesse



Paul Wassmann contemplating images of Norwegian scientist, Fridtjof Nansen.

LysakerAn encounter with a painting of Fritjof Nansen begins with a visit to Lysaker, near Oslo, at the palatial home (and now research institute) that bears the name of Norway’s first modern scientist.

Incidentally, during an ARCTOS field trip to Svolvaer, Norway, Dr. Wassmann lectured that no amount of impression management can adequately address the risks of industrial society. He also mentioned a “second” oil painting of Nansen, available and locked away somewhere in a room in Tromsø, Norway.

Blix Some weeks later, Dr. Wassman afforded me a private viewing.


The floating iceberg image below was photographed by Daria Shapovalova (above middle) from the window seat of a puddle jumper arriving at St. John’s from Labrador City and Wa-bush, the latter iron ore mining towns near Quebec border — and including a few landings to Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Eastern shore, Labrador, and Deer Lake on Western shore, Newfoundland.

t1 All told, it was a long ride as inferred by Daria who, upon arrival to London the next morning, having taken the red eye from St. John’s, stated that she would have taken five such flights in exchange for one St. John’s-Deer Lake-Happy Valley-Labrador City route.
Breakfast Before departure:breakfast And one last stroll down George Street in St. John’s Wednesday through Saturday evening — a tough gig that grinds till dawn.
last night

Toward Frisco


Data Management

12/21: Organizing files of key events in the shadow of Frisco Bay. Data managementsaladGoldenGatetennessebridge

Neryungri Coal

Happening across a lump of coal brought back from Neryungri, Yakutia (Russian Siberia), I recaptured for myself some of the drama of unwrapping the black bird from the movie Maltese Falcon — a fitting holiday gift from a wonderful location on the planet.