If you’re reading this anytime within the next few hours, get off the computer and head to Bryant Park for Trevor Paglen’s “The Last Pictures” co-presented by us and Creative Time! What better way to spend an evening than to see the images that will exist in space for millions of years? Plus, Werner Herzog and Tracy K. Smith will be there. And don’t forget it’s FREE. Hope to see you there!
As we’ve mentioned, we’re co-presenting with Creative Time a preview of Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures next week, and I don’t think we can emphasize enough how astronomically exciting this event is…
This fall, Creative Time will launch The Last Pictures, an archival disc created by artist Trevor Paglen, into outer space, where it will orbit the earth for billions of years affixed to the exterior of the communications satellite EchoStar XVI. To create the artifact, Paglen micro-etched one hundred photographs selected to represent modern human history onto a silicon disc encased in a gold-plated shell. The images contained in the artifact constitute what the artist describes as “cave paintings from the 21st-century,” as they will become one of the longest-lasting material remnants of contemporary civilization. Following its launch from Kazakhstan in late 2012, the artifact will remain in the Earth’s geosynchronous orbit in virtual perpetuity.
On September 19 at 7:00pm in Bryant Park, there will be a preview of the project’s 100 images, as well as a reading from Tracy K. Smith’s Pulizter-Prize winning book of poetry Life On Mars: Poems and a conversation between Paglen and filmmaker Werner Herzog about cultural artifacts, space exploration, and the legacy of human civilization, moderated by LIVE director Paul Holdengräber. Plus, there will be telescopes for some up-close stargazing! This event is FREE so you won’t want to miss it!
Don’t You Wonder, Sometimes?
by Tracy K. Smith
After dark, stars glisten like ice, and the distance they span
Hides something elemental. Not God, exactly. More like
Some thin-hipped glittering Bowie-being—a Starman
Or cosmic ace hovering, swaying, aching to make us see.
And what would we do, you and I, if we could know for sure
That someone was there squinting through the dust,
Saying nothing is lost, that everything lives on waiting only
To be wanted back badly enough? Would you go then,
Even for a few nights, into that other life where you
And that first she loved, blind to the future once, and happy?
Would I put on my coat and return to the kitchen where my
Mother and father sit waiting, dinner keeping warm on the stove?
Bowie will never die. Nothing will come for him in his sleep
Or charging through his veins. And he’ll never grow old,
Just like the woman you lost, who will always be dark-haired
And flush-faced, running toward an electronic screen
That clocks the minutes, the miles left to go. Just like the life
In which I’m forever a child looking out my window at the night sky
Thinking one day I’ll touch the world with bare hands
Even if it burns.
He leaves no tracks. Slips past, quick as a cat. That’s Bowie
For you: the Pope of Pop, coy as Christ. Like a play
Within a play, he’s trademarked twice. The hours
Plink past like water from a window A/C. We sweat it out,
Teach ourselves to wait. Silently, lazily, collapse happens.
But not for Bowie. He cocks his head, grins that wicked grin.
Time never stops, but does it end? And how many lives
Before take-off, before we find ourselves
Beyond ourselves, all glam-glow, all twinkle and gold?
The future isn’t what it used to be. Even Bowie thirsts
For something good and cold. Jets blink across the sky
Like migratory souls.
Bowie is among us. Right here
In New York City. In a baseball cap
And expensive jeans. Ducking into
A deli. Flashing all those teeth
At the doorman on his way back up.
Or he’s hailing a taxi on Lafayette
As the sky clouds over at dusk.
He’s in no rush. Doesn’t feel
The way you’d think he feels.
Doesn’t strut or gloat. Tells jokes.
I’ve lived here all these years
And never seen him. Like not knowing
A comet from a shooting star.
But I’ll bet he burns bright,
Dragging a tail of white-hot matter
The way some of us track tissue
Back from the toilet stall. He’s got
The whole world under his foot,
And we are small alongside,
Though there are occasions
When a man his size can meet
Your eyes for just a blip of time
And send a thought like SHINE
SHINE SHINE SHINE SHINE
Straight to your mind. Bowie,
I want to believe you. Want to feel
Your will like the wind before rain.
The kind everything simply obeys,
Swept up in that hypnotic dance
As if something with the power to do so
Had looked its way and said:
We’re happy over at LIVE because the Pulitzer’s came out, and we can still tout Jennifer Egan as the most recent Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction. AND, guess what? Today, Tracy K. Smith won the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry, Life on Mars, and she came to LIVE in November for Rolex Arts Weekend. Congratulations to all! (especially to us for being so prophetic)