Matthew Moore, Rotations: Moore Family Estates, 6/2005Ė7/2006; 35 acres; sorghum (homes), wheat (roads)

Wink to Winnipeg

Hills Snyder

Itís about 1,700 miles from Wink, Texas, to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Plenty of road time on such a drive to consider the topics raised in this issue of Art Lies. Plenty of good country to feed your mind and plenty of homogenous crapola to remind you that the creeping dystopia of convenience is always readily available just outside the spot where your best thoughts crash and burn.

Take just now for example. I had a really good chain of ideas linking up, and this made my smile about as wide as the Mississippi River watershed, but then I got a craving for a Snickers bar and a Country Time lemonade, pulled over into a Valero of the Dolls Superstore and forgot what I was thinking about.

Next time Iíll take a flatboat down that big river, all the way from Minnesota to the Gulf, then transpose the narratives and notations of the entire journey onto a subsequent drive up I-35, from Laredo to Duluth, while going through 100 lbs. of Artforum back issues, replacing every instance of the word ďpracticeĒ with ďpickup truck.Ē

And I would wish to see myself fixed below by a moment simultaneously mutual to the road and the river as I drive across the Saint Anthony Falls Bridge.
But for now I will wait and hope for the return of the Julia Belle Swain:

The Great River Steamboat Company, LLC, has made the decision to cancel excursions on the Julia Belle Swain Steamboat for the 2009 season due to the current economy.

Very sad.
John Hartford wrote about this boat and was sometimes her pilot on the Mississippi. Iím tuning in one of his songs now:

So itís goodbye to the sunshine, goodbye to the dew,
Goodbye to the flowers, and goodbye to you... Iím going to work in tall buildings.

Worldwide, more people live in cities now than at any other time in the history of the planet.

Wink is the hometown of Roy Orbison. Winnipeg claims Guy Maddin, not to mention Neil Young. Iím driving from one to the other, hitting scan at the editorís request, looking for more songs in the ether that is forever forming above the highway. Odd how it is attracted to the silver antennas of the vehicles that cruise through it. But first thereís this mid-Ď80s response to Dream West, the TV mini-series about Oregon Trail pioneer John Charles Fremont that aired in 1986 when I was living in Montana. And true to my current project, it was first penciled on a random I-90 dashboard scrap without stopping, only slowing to take it in as the scene with boat and pond came and went.

The Early Men
we had fire in our eyes
gusto in our mustaches
piss in our pockets
raw meat on our knife blades
treading in the tracks
of Lewis and Clark or
oh hell, either one
we saw a pointed motorboat
and its reflection on a still pond
biting the shore
Maximillian dreamed a bear
named Strongmeat
Hephalump, a rubberized birch bark canoe
and me
I dreamed a miniseries
with one fuck per episode

Just passed a charro on a Harley, heading south toward Socorro or maybe Laredo. He was hauling so I didnít really get a good look, but I could tell he was wearing some great pants. Later on, I dream that Iíd come upon his ride parked outside a Bar-B-Q. The seat of the bike is even more fantastic than the pants.

Matthew Moore, Mirage, (18 homes traced to scale in desert environment where a community of 85,000 units are zoned to be built 50 miles west of Phoenix); 4/2007Ė8/2007; 1/4 mile x 600 ft; mirrorized mylar; C-print; 24 x 30 or 52 x 60 inches; edition of 7; courtesy Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale; photo by Tim Lanterman

Time to sing

I ainít going back to correio da mŠ noticia
I ainít going to stick my finger
in that rubber and glue
I believe I lost my way
Iíll look for it another day
Iím going to get double undone
and do the double undo

I ainít going to adore no more no La Donna Lovista
I ainít going to find myself
in no monkey town too
I believe you made my day
I donít know what there is to say
Iím going to find a wonderful way
to work a wonder on you

I ainít going back to correio da mŠ noticia
I ainít going to fly my plane
where some funny time flew
I believe I lost my way
Iíll look for it another day
Iím going to find trouble in town
and pay whatever is due

Sometimes when youíre on the road you think of things. I remember these two guys in high school that were tormented mercilessly by the oxford-shirt crowd. I can remember specific days when their rural ways came to be harshly judged by that teenage mafia, which was euphemistically referred to by the school as The Student Council. They held sway. But no more. Turns out them, us, whatever, we were all hicks.

All the children sing

Iím a little sissy from way down south
glasses on my face and candy in my mouth
you donít like my shoes, I donít like Ďem either
but why every day do you have to always be there?

I remember swinging in the willow tree
everybody there looked just like me
my feet didnít really ever touch the ground
you walking away was the only sound

Iím a little sissy from way down south
glasses on my face and candy in my mouth
you donít like my shoes, I donít like Ďem either
but why every day do you have to always be there

the time of day might excuse your crime
your alibi is thin as a dime
you can blame them or the farmer in the dell
but your misfortune falls on me as well

Iím a little sissy from way down south
glasses on my face and candy in my mouth
you donít like my shoes, I donít like Ďem either

And a road song thatís not really about the road at all

thereís a wreck on the highway tonight
thereís a wreck in my town
thereís a wreck on my block, thereís a wreck in my house tonight
and the wreck on the highway is all right
we might walk away tonight from the wreck on the highway

Saturday morning we had big plans
throw some food in a basket and go to the country with our friends
we was gonna have some big fun you bet
I donít know why I put the .44 in with the cigarettes
I just didnít know it would play like a wreck on the highway

thereís a wreck on the highway tonight
thereís a wreck in my town
thereís a wreck on my block, thereís a wreck in my house tonight
and the wreck on the highway is all right
tonight we might walk away from the wreck on the highway

Saturday morning we parked the car
I remember the sun shining down but it looked like a star
when it happened I couldnít hear
I didnít see it coming not even in the rearview mirror
I just didnít know that day Ďbout the wreck on the highway

Yes, things can break down. Everything tends toward it, unless some sort of resistance can be applied. A windmill is a perfectly good example of this. The Tin Man works well too. But the windmill! Not only is it a ready-made analogy for entropy and its postponement, but the sounds it makes are practically lullabies.

I heard a sound last night
like a plea from the void
it was only crickets chirping
or a flea from the void
I like to try and convince myself
it was somewhat humanoid
last night I heard a creature from the void

a lonely hinge is squeaking
in some long abandoned shed
and up above an angel
counts the hairs upon my head
somewheres a horse is talking
and you know I donít mean Ed
no I donít remember anything he said

somewhere an angel whispers
with a pencil on a pad
and he donít really remember
all the good times he had
but counting hairs and wing repairs
donít exactly make him sad
I think he looks a little like my dad

the shedís got a hole in the floor
and the only thing thatís in it
isnít in it, anymore
so pass me over that oil can
if youíre heading for the door
weíll meet again someday
of this Iím sure

Thereís a scene in the film Michael Clayton when the main character, driving through the countryside to clear his mind, pulls his car over to check out some horses he spies on a hill. Heís a corporate hatchet man, jockeyed by guilt and a true wish to find some way to regain his own integrity. He climbs the hill to the horses. They regard him calmly. Heís in tears before their majesty.

He came into Brussels
like Doc McCord that day
He came into Brussels
like Doc McCord that day

window in his wagon
bullet in his head
a window in his wagon
a bullet hole in his head

body drained and leaning
straight up like El Cid
his body drained and leaning
he sat up straight just like El Cid

goat stood on a rock pile
sky felt like a lid
a goat stood on a rock pile
the sky felt like a lid

field of clover
falcon circled low
in a field of clover
a falcon circled low

thought I was having
fit just like hello
the thought that I was having
fit just like a hello

every leaf singing
veins full of blood
every leaf was singing
my veins were full of blood

Matthew Moore, Rotations: Single Family Residence, 11/2003Ė7/2004; 20 acre fieldĖfloorplan; barley; image 950 x 450 x 10 feet; C-print; 24 x 30 or 48 x 60 inches; edition of 7; courtesy Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale

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