The Scale of Now

stereo sun nasa

Stereo view of the sun by NASA, showing magnetic fields

As I develop a new body of work in wood, I find myself seeking the simple pleasure of being present in the moment with my material and tools. It’s the ultimate luxury for any artisan to act as one’s own client, which is where I began over twenty years ago. I’ve since internalized the rigors associated with producing ‘work for hire’, however free I’ve been in generating ideas along the way. Like all of my projects with wowhaus, my new body of work begins with a research phase, where I attempt to tap a set of commonly shared goals and parameters that ultimately shape a thing, place or situation, most often under strict constraints of budget, functionality and time.

Though I now have only occasional windows to indulge in exploring new ideas, I’ve earned the luxury of beginning at the beginning, which for me has to do with trying to understand what it means to ‘be present’; what exactly does ‘now’* mean when the usual constraints are removed almost entirely?

(*‘Now’ requires scale to convey meaning. Viewed as a conceptual sample-and-hold of everything happening simultaneously in the universe, the idea of ‘now’ at this scale would be meaningless, ironically resembling something more like eternity. The idea of ‘now’ needs to be understood at a human scale, in some ways as an attempt to frame or reset said scale in temporal terms. ‘Now’ does not and cannot actually exist, the flow of time and energy being in constant motion. Perhaps ‘now’ is more like an expanding membrane that defines what is perceived as ‘the present’, an edge, the shape of everything in flux at any given time. Regardless, ‘now’ can only ever be understood as a singular perspective, a consciously framed viewpoint of consciously moving in simultaneity with the rest of known reality. The perspective of ‘now’ carries most meaning when it is a consciously shared state with others, hence the value of memories and their proxy as photographs, music, or any experience of art.)

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