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today ::
posted :: 05-June-2001

S T A T S
HOUSTON, TX:
N 29.45.17
W 95.23.146
ELEVATION 452
1540 miles to the Man.


C R E D I T S
READING MATERIAL:
"The Gift, Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property"
by Lewis Hyde.
An analysis of the relationship of art and commodity, which addresses our spiritual and emotional needs and explores the concepts of a gift economy.

:: the journal :: < last :: next >
* Danger samples car culture Houston-style.
[06.03.01 EN ROUTE]
On the way to Houston.... [BIGGER]

[HOUSTON, TEXAS] :: The machines of production that were unleashed during the global wars of the last century have not been turned off. They are still running. There is more stuff than we can possibly use. Commercial advertising now drives the desire to purchase and consume. The automobile is probably the greatest example of this conspicuous consumption. It uses more resources, burns more energy, and generates more waste that any other human activity.

Houston is a city on wheels, built with oil. It's the location of the annual Art Car Parade, where more than a hundred highly decorated and altered vehicles parade through downtown. It is also here on the rooftops of various parking garages, that the Art Car Ball is held, a really large party with inspired costumes made of car parts that blurs the line between participant and spectator. And, it is also in Houston, that you can find the Art Car Museum and the Texas Junk Co.

[06.04.01 HOUSTON]
Artist's resource [BIGGER]

The first stop for the Silver Seed was the Texas Junk Co. at 215 Welch St, a warehouse crammed with an incredible array of stuff. The place is run by an individual that we know as Barter Bob. At Burning Man, he has a theme camp called "Bob's Barter Town", where you can find almost anything. Here, in Austin, he provides a source of materials for local artists.

[06.04.01 HOUSTON]
Pepper. aka Captain Cocktail. [BIGGER]

The second stop was the Art Car Museum, a private institution which celebrates the spirit of postmodern car culture, in which individuals have remolded the factory-model sameness of their automobiles to the specifications of their own idiosyncratic images and visions. At the gallery, I connected with Raul and Tom and Pepper, all art car creators, who were at Burning Man last year. Pepper is also known on the playa as Captain Cocktail, the creator and sharply dressed pilot of the Mobile Living Room. A unique art car environment, where where scores of happy couples have qualified for his 18-inch high club pin.

[06.04.01 HOUSTON]
One-Eyed Wonder [BIGGER]
[06.04.01 HOUSTON]
"What the hail!?" [BIGGER]

Tom is a regular at Burning Man with "Ripper", the friendly shark car. I went for a ride in his new creation, "The One-Eyed-Wonder", a stylized 1951 Nash, equipped with a pneumatic cannon. There is something very surreal about riding down the freeway in a yellow Nash Rambler with a giant eyeball on the roof, while listening to the sound of un-tethered cylinders of pressurized gases banging against each other in the trunk. That line of reality hacking can be pushed even further when committing random acts of ontological terrorism by firing salvos of Twinkies into crowded shopping-maul parking lots or by driving through posh, upscale neighborhoods while emitting 20-foot flames from the rear of your vehicle, prompting residents to leap to the window with a "What the hell was that?!!"

Several hours and several beers later, we were sitting on a crowded outdoor patio at a place called the "The Mausoleum", an old 2-story house, converted into a bar and filled with big art pieces. The evening was capped off when Raul put on a metal stovepipe hat, which was loaded with fireworks, stood up and lit himself off.

Houston is now go for launch

Learn to swim in the flow of stuff. Take only what you need, desire only what you take.

Everything is free, except your attention.

-Danger Ranger

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