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  • DeepTime, DreamTime, BoomTime

    Cracks are material events that emerge as the result of force contradictions. They progress along paths of least resistance, exploiting and tearing through different material substances where the cohesive forces of aggregate matter are at their weakest. Each crack is a unique result of a specific disposition of a force field and material irregularities on the micro level. … Leonardo Da Vinci filled his notebooks with the studies of cracks. Elsewhere, he recommended staring at cracks for training the imagination.
    Eyal Weizman, Forensic Architecture: Violence at the Threshold of Detectability. (Zone Books, 2017)


    I’ve just returned from roading hiking camping out in/in out the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge/Warner Basin area.  As testimony and visual material, I offer observations and images of landscape and petroglyphs.  (Skip the words and see the pictures:  Hart Warner Imagined )

    Climatic imagination.  From patinaed figures, to cracking ice-shelves, to congealing plastic bottles, to precision drone strikes, all action becomes geologic.  Assimilate?  No, no need for that burden.  Articulate:  Lament, inspire, deny, confirm, confront, resign, reflect — visually apprehend presence, the beating heart of imagination.   

    An excerpt from the recent article The Uninhabitable Earth (David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, July 10, 2017):

    Early naturalists talked often about ”deep time” — the perception they had, contemplating the grandeur of this valley or that rock basin, of the profound slowness of nature. What lies in store for us (with climate change) is more like what the Victorian anthropologists identified as “dreamtime,” or “everywhen”: the semi-mythical experience, described by Aboriginal Australians, of encountering, in the present moment, an out-of-time past, when ancestors, heroes, and demigods crowded an epic stage.

    How to imagine an everywhen or an everyhow in clear view of the now. DeepTime, DreamTime, ever will be.  Today, shrouded in “fossil capitalism,” my view of past time and future time emerges as a melancholy vision of personal and planetary demise:  BoomTime. Anchored in 1945, marking the uplift of a sharp and devastating increase in emissions of carbon into Earth's atmosphere.  Coincidentally the year the first atomic bombs dropped; the following year the Boomer Generation swept forth with unrelenting desire.

    Hart Warner Imagined 

  • Rock Paint Lake

    This collection of rock paintings from Lake County, Oregon, represent a variety of places, designs, and expressions. In most examples some of the context is shown, then a close-up.  All the close-up painted images have some digital color enhancement.  This abstracts and distorts their appearance. Yet it may open a better understanding of the original painting.

    OK, this is about as technical as I will get.  If you simply wish to enjoy the pictures, click Rock Paint Lake and take look. 

    I use Aperture* to adjust because I can maintain some sense of the natural stone.  However, two remarkable enhancement software tools are available and both can produce wonderful benefits. They are intended for paintings, though not all will be happy with the sometimes garish, contrasty colors. Nonetheless, they are frequently used as study tools and can be quite revealing, even delightfully shocking. I will welcome a comparison of the two.

    DStretch, the classic for PCs by Jon Harman, is now available as iDStretch for iPad and iPhone for $20.  www.dstretch.com/iDStretch/index.html

    LabStretch & LabStretch2, recent –free- offerings for iPad and iPhone from Rupestrian CyberServices, was developed by Robert Mark & Evelyn Billowww.rupestrian.com/labstretch.html

    I now use the iPhone 6s for all photos in "normal" distance and find the results excellent. iPhone zoom photos are not useful**.  So, now I will use the light-weight ultra-zoom Canon SX60; sensor is small, but with RAW and JPEG capability. (All the photos on this album are with a Nikon D5100.)

    * A note on Aperture. Apple has ceased further development though v. 3.6 works fine.  I am switching for simplicity to Apple OS’s newer PHOTOS and work on an iMac. If you love full-frame DSLRs and Photoshop my choices will not work for you. But for excellent results for online networking with some print capability, iPhone and PHOTOS is nicely integrated. (** iPhone 7 promises to go even further toward DLSR/zoom capabilities.) 

    Click this deep-shadow image to see photos.

  • Faster than the eye can see

    Everything perdures by ceaselessly generating fresh variants of itself, even apparently inanimate objects move faster than the eye can see. Kaja Silverman {1]

    The stone, the lichens, the images, indeed, the light slip by faster than I can see.  With this basalt rim in Lake County, instances of impressions shifting before my eyes. 

    I do not recognize the place in these fleeting moments as much as the place and its beings recognize me. Still, I will seek to interpret through the camera and later through editing, inevitably inhering a "grand capacity for deliberately forgetting."

    Photos:  https://plus.google.com/+DouglasBeauchamp

    Or:  Impressions 

    [1] Silverman’s consideration of Paul Valéry, drawing from his "Introduction to the Method of Leonardo," continues:  "The armchair decays in its place, the table asserts itself so fast that it is motionless, and the curtains flow endlessly away,” Valéry writes in an important passage.  The only way we are able to regain our "control" in the "midst of the moving bodies, the circulation of their contours, the jumble of knots, the paths, the falls, the whirlpools, [and] the confusion of velocities" is by resorting to our "grand capacity for deliberately forgetting." Kaja Silverman in Flesh of My Flesh (2009, p.35).

  • Black Glyph

    Beautiful baffling petroglyph.  Black. Appears as natural aging of the stone, not paint. With dots, an old glyph.  In the second of the three images here, it is easy to see two ochre paint markings, enhancing dimensions of this place.
    Hart Plateau, Lake County, Douglas Beauchamp 2014.

  • Of Slicks and Glyphs

    One’s experience deepens when encountering bedrock boulders with grinding slicks and attendant petroglyphs. The dimensional surfaces of the in-place stones reflect material processes of habitation. Which came first, how and why, is not as important as recognizing these as layered markers of peoples living in and moving through this landscape.

    Photos: Slicks and Glyphs

  • The Probability Landscape

    Over the edges and horizons of the probability landscape, waiting for us, are the unseen, unthought forests and deserts of the visible. Finn Brunton [1]

    Brunton’s statement is a bit out of context, but I couldn't resist its topographic poetry. It called to mind a site visited earlier this year located near Lake County's Warner Valley. This selection of photographs of archaic petroglyphs attempts to capture an instance of a “probability landscape.” Warner Valley 

    [1] Brunton discusses visual analysis of paintings by computers using algorithms. The materials, strokes, lines, and marks are “decisions made against the backdrop of all others possible marks not made.” For him this means, “every painting becomes a landscape painting.” Hence, a probability landscape. This stylistic and material analysis leads to discerning authenticity, attribution, and dating. With rock art, variables may include pigments, application methods, pecking and abrasion, and the characteristics of the stone and its coatings. Finn Brunton, “The Hidden Variable.” Artforum, November 2014, p.120.

  • Ancient Rock Art = Today’s News

    Today’s Herald and News (Klamath Falls) newspaper’s Outdoor section featured a rock art story about my research and photos with a focus on Lake County.  

    Lacey Jarrell, the H&N’s award-winning environmental reporter, attended last month's Desert Conference in Bend and contacted me. I recommended she talk too with Eric Ritter, the BLM archaeologist in Redding who’s done a lifetime of fine work.  Always interesting to see how a reporter kindly, and asutely in this instance, extracts a story from all your carefully honed and nuanced wisdom… aka ramblings. 

    For story and photos: Ancient Gallery

  • Held still and moving through time

    As we look with rock art, how do we experience the multiple dimensions? Perhaps start with this from Edward O. Wilson

    “The basic goal of activity mapping is to connect all of the processes of thought – rational and emotional; conscious, preconscious, and unconscious; held still and moving through time – to a physical base.” [1]

    I find this provocative and expansive in a way that challenges me to see-with and perchance open re-cognition. Wilson’s statement references mapping brain activity. It suggests to me a wider landscape of attention.

    When we see an apparent two-dimensional human-made image it is always already in the third dimension of material and place.  Though flattened and abstracted by the photograph, we can yet imagine this textural and spatial dimension.  Further, “held still and moving through time” introduces the fluidity of the fourth dimension – from the action of making to the changes of the stone and its environment, with the possibilities of subsequent markings and narratives.  “Connecting all the processes … to a physical base.”

    The image below: From a rim edging a seasonal lake-playa in the High Lakes region of Lake County, Oregon. Click for Album

    [1] Edward O. Wilson.  “On Free Will.”  Harper’s Magazine, September 2014, 49-52.

  • Chocolate-colored basalt and other impasses

    Ruiz and Pereira recently lamented the “arbitrary naming” to describe color in rock art, such as “wine-coloured red.” They also viewed the scales (including IFRAO’s) and charts used by rock art researchers as limitations and at an impasse. [1]

    Why is this important?  Well, they say, to create better understanding and to assist preservation.  All for the good.

    Still, as the science of color in rock art inevitably advances with digital technology, it seems to me this is a sweetly fitting moment to recall Heizer and Baumhoff’s 1962 call for further research in “determining the importance of chocolate –colored basalt in providing proper surfaces for inscribing petroglyphs.” This basalt was, in their opinion, an ideal material. [2]

    Plew described a similar distribution pattern in SW Idaho.  Many petroglyphs occurred in areas where chocolate-colored basalt was available and where it was “limited or absent, few petroglyphs occurred.” [3]

    So, may I offer – as an album of boulders from a Lake County rim - an indulgence of petroglyphs on richly-patinaed, chocolate-colored basalt? Best viewed with a cup of wine-coloured refreshment in hand.  All with fond remembrance to the subjectivity of “human differences/acumen in identifying colour.” [1]

    NOTES

    [1] Juan F. Ruiz and José Pereira. 2014. The colours of rock art. Analysis of colour recording and communication systems in rock art research.  Journal of Archaeological Science. Vol 50 (Oct 2014): 338–349.

    The authors propose, “a reliable solution for recording of the colours of rock art, ” with the aim to “ produce an objective description of colour are essential to describe rock art colour in an accurate and reproducible way, even in complex recording environments such as open-air rock art sites. Human differences/acumen in identifying colour will always lead to subjective and potentially non-repeatable identification in the field.” (348)  Pereira’s Digital Heritage website offers a rich portal into this realm:  www.jpereira.net

    [2] Robert Heizer and Martin Baumhoff. 1962. Prehistoric Rock Art of Nevada and Eastern California. University of California Press, Berkeley.  Of course, the term “chocolate–colored basalt” did not originate with H&B, though it’s likely they first applied it to rock art.  Indeed, the San Francisco Theological Seminary, built in the 1890s just across the Bay from Berkeley, was constructed of “stone of a chocolate-colored basalt.”  SFTS remains a distinctive 14-acre complex and is a favored setting for weddings.

    [3] Mark G. Plew. 1996. "Distribution of Rock Art Elements and Styles at Three Localities in the Southcentral Owyhee Uplands". Idaho Archaeologist, 19(1), 3-10.

  • Petroglyph Lake attracts lightning and visitors

    Petroglyph Lake, at the northerly periphery of Lake County’s high dry lakes region, is a popular and instructive place located near the northwest corner of the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge.  A marked, two-mile easy road and a half-mile hike leads to the distinctive basalt rim on the western edge of a year-round desert lake.  The site holds what appears to be at least three distinct traditions of petroglyphs: recent “loose” figurative spirit motifs; archaic abstract, often deeply carved and patinaed; and a carefully articulated anthropomorph-lizard style. 

    In addition to Weides’ and Lorings’ descriptive documentation (site 146), Jon Daehnke and Anan Raymond of the US Fish and Wildlife Service published a thorough report in 2008 based on a detailed recording in the late 1990s of 65 panels with more than 360 design elements.  They also mapped rock structures such as cairns and rings. (The Archaeology of Petroglyph Lake: Landscapes, Publics Past and Public Present. )

    Arlene Benson and Floyd Buckskin conducted an unusual study in the late 1980s assessing possible relationships of petroglyphs to lightning strikes.  Their study was thorough but inconclusive.  However, they provide interesting ethnographic details, for example about lizard power (Achumawi, or Pit River) and the power of thunder and lightning recognized as spirits to many native peoples.  ("Magnetic Anomalies at Petroglyph Lake." Rock Art Papers 8 (1991): 53-64.)