Divination by Max Chu

When you google the definition of divination, what pops up is the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means. As always, the dictionary is half right. In life, there is a natural forward entropy, or fally-apartyness, that everything animate and inanimate possesses. Everyone will die, every country will fall apart. Every mountain will crumble, and every star will fall apart or brilliantly detonate. In this pessimistic way to view the world, there is no point in reading the future, learning from the past, or even existing at all. When you look at things in the grand scheme, most everything is pointlessly pointing in circles. Life points to death points to life. Or if you will, creation points to destruction points to creation excetera. It’s all just circles.

However, we live in just one circle of this everlasting cycle, and so theoretically everything happening to us should be all new. In one lifespan, the future is as blind as the past, or it technically should be. However, we have writing and speech and such, and so we as humans have begun to analyze the past. And such is a form of divination: looking for patterns in past things that repeat over and over again to tell where and when they will repeat in the future. This can be politically, socially, anything with a broad, well categorized history. This is the stuff that is touched upon in all the pop culture cliches about immortals. They’ll say something along the lines of, “I’ve seen this all before! History Repeats Itself™!” and the protagonist will be like, “No, it’ll be different!” The good novels and literature will then eventually circle back to the beginning at the end of the book, with some easy poetic closure.

Now there are of course other ways to tell the future. One way is through the Chinese I-Ching. The I-Ching goes as such: one throws two coins, and if they’re the same, you mark even. If they’re different, you mark odd. One does this six times, then reads the proverb and prediction for the corresponding series of evens and odds. Another method is through Tarot cards. Another is through divining tea leaves. There are many ways to tell the future, but the most reliable (in my opinion) is ones that utilize chance.

The idea of looking at the future through something that can be different or the same any time that you do it is the idea of tapping into the natural entropy in the universe. The idea of randomness is the exact same idea that is slowly building the future, as well as pulling apart the universe. So it only makes sense that when you throw coins, the result will have something to say about the future.

And finally, it is important to note that when you seek out the future, nothing is definite. Any “prediction” that you can receive can only ever be a lens in which to see events unfold. For an analogy, imagine a beam of light shining on a painting in a gallery. The beam is clear and you can make out the ocean and men and women in this painting. However, someone comes along and holds up a red colored piece of glass to the light. Suddenly the painting is bathed in red light. It is still the same painting, with the same strokes and frame, but the ocean looks like it’s full of blood and the people’s skin have changed color. There’s a different perspective on the same situation. This same idea can be applied to divination.

Next time you throw the dice, or get a Tarot reading, remember the natural entropy in the universe is giving you a lens in which the future is recommended to be viewed. The recommended setting.

Max Chu, class of 2020

On the Nature of the Decision… by Max Chu

on the nature of the decision of a medium in which to create art, the nature of the title and why it is important, and the word cloud at the bottom of this website (with a side note about the not quite widely known artist Lee Lozano):

 

1.

  1. sometimes it comes and goes with my mood, i think. per request pieces are the most difficult, as most often always i do not have any clue as to what to write about. or make about. I have a big box of old magazines in my room, with a glue gun and pages and pages of blank notebooks and colored pencils and paints and i think the untapped potential sneaks peeks at me while i sleep at night. sometime, i say. someday.
  2. but i must say, art is what id like to do for the rest of my life! creating and sharing are what i live for, i think, and i think that is the case for most everyone in the creative writing department. ive just watched a TED talk about procrastinators, and by the end the TED talker had accused everyone of being procrastinators, and so by the end of this blog post, i shall accuse you all of something (in an attempt to draw the reader to the end).
  3. there are three different types of art i personally can create: visual, written, and audible. i do believe that writing is necessary in most anything that anyone wants to create, but in this instance writing holds a concrete space in my artist’s mind, and such has a different feel than the visual feeling (which i might only choose to create something visually pleasing), or audible (which i might only choose to create something audibly pleasing). i suppose that if i were a chef, i might then think of ideas that could only be characterized through taste. for now, all of my ideas can be characterized within the three senses of the mediums i can work within. i do not come close to having ideas that without work can become some form of art, and such is a blessing i think, although may be inherent.
  4. make art, for sure. and yet, art is widely defined, so find a feeling < a sense (physical) < a medium < a time. this is a formula that might help some linear thinkers.

 

1a.

My favorite artist of all time is Lee Lozano. Lozano is remarkable for she brought up questions to what it means to be a person and an artist at the same time. Born November 5th, 1930, she lived most of her artist life in New York and Texas. Might I say something strange and unruly? Mostly, Lee Lozano exists beyond written word within my mind, which of course is uncouth to say as I am in a written department, but that of course is why I do not talk about Lee Lozano. So instead of telling you why Lozano is important to me, I’ll try and paint a picture of the circle around why she’s important, and maybe she’ll become important to you. No pressure, though.

  1. I first stumbled upon Lee Lozano in the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain. Lozano holds the entire top floor, for she created lots of physical art, large enough to take up gallery(s). Most all of her art is vulgar and full of rough edges and messy lines. This is unusual because the fine art world, in which Lozano was keenly aware of, is interested in just the opposite (mostly). From first stepping into the gallery, I saw her Waves series, which without context is underwhelming. From there, I read her journals, and I was changed.
  2. Lozano lived in such art she called “Pieces,” which ranged from smoking grass for a month straight to refusing to talk to women to boycotting the “UPTOWN FUNCTIONS” to living wholly as an artist in every being and fiber, every moment and breath.
  3. This is where i leave you, and you do not need to go to Madrid to fall in love and you do not need to paint to be an artist.
  4. Being an artist is the experimentation with life; art is the recording of life through the lense of the individual’s soul.

 

2.

Part two, or,  the nature of the title and why it is important.

 

  1. In recent days, titles have become less of an art and more of a way of classification, or tagging within the art scene. I believe this is because people still want to convey meaning in titles, but they don’t want to be penalized for “wrong titles,” which most oftentimes are simply not conducive towards the format. Artists should have the freedom to title art whichever they like, although I do enjoy a good informative title. In fact, those pieces that don’t make sense without a title are some of my favorites!
  2. Those pieces which are untitled are the worst offenders, as the artist had given up. I do not like Kendrick Lamar’s album untitled unmastered. on principle.

 

3.

I want to be in the word cloud at the bottom of this blog. There are other students who have their own tag, and so I would like one. However, this is not a blind request, as I am aware as to they are exceptional or have lots to write about, and so I propose this: I will write many blog posts to get my own tag. Look forward to more of what’s here!

 

  1. (redux)

I accuse all of you reading this of participating in an art project for these minutes we have shared, and such makes you an artist.

 

  1. (redux) (part 2.)

You are all artists.

Mac Chu, class of 2019

Where I Get My Inspiration, by Max Chu

There’s something about holding a cold glass bottle that makes me feel sophisticated. When you pinch it by the rim with two fingers, how the glass on my finger somehow feels exactly like when I first perfected me card shuffle bridge. Suddenly I’m on the deck of an ancient house in the middle of the midwest (middle of the middle of the west) at sunset. Some jazz record is playing on the record player back in the house, and I can faintly hear it. I got one arm back on the railing, and you’re not afraid of splinters because I;m too cool for that. I got a cool bottle of something delicious in my hand. Nothing can flip my groove. Now I’m not talking about any alcoholic beverage here, folks. I’m talking about the pure stuff. The ginger ale at BiRite that costs $1 for ginger ale and $4 for feeling cool while I hold it. I’m talking about the cream soda that goes down like a freshly laminated comic book. I’m talking about the Trader Joe’s 100% Pineapple Juice, the acquired taste of acquired tastes.

One year at summer camp there was a girl with sunglasses that had reflective lenses. They shielded her eyes from the sun while at the same time concealed her motives. They had pastel blue frames with nearly perfect reflective lenses. She looked mysterious as she protected her eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun; the ultimate victory. At the time, my own glasses paled in comparison to hers (red wood frames with rainbow lenses) and so we traded. An hour later, I sat on mine. Four months later, she lost hers.

There’s a stall in a market in Bangkok that sells the most revolting shaved ice in the world. Shaved ice, for those who don’t know, is easier than scrambled eggs. Shave some ice into a bowl and throw some sickly sweet syrup on top and boom! Perfect shaved ice. The criteria for shaved ice is rather low, so a “perfect” shaved ice isn’t that difficult to come by. This place obviously didn’t get the memo, because their product tasted like greek yogurt, peach cough medicine, and a salty D- on a test you studied for. How they’re still in business is beyond quite frankly every living being above the mosquito. The locals obviously know to stay away, so they must have to apply even more goat intestinal fluid to attract the unsuspecting tourists with the colorful chemical green hue. Oh, “It’s a local delicacy” my ass! The omelette my sister forgot to eat but still put in the fridge five weeks ago has more culture and is more appealing.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that everything has a story, it just needs to be drawn out. And if drawing a story out means lying face first in a couch for twenty minutes to an hour listening to local news, then so be it (although my mom say the best way to draw something out is to soak it in hot salt water but I think she was talking about splinters).

Max Chu, class of 2020

Notebooks by Max Chu

My notebook, in which I write all of my prompts and poems and draw all of my stick figures and mindless doodles, is larger than most; or at least larger than the standard composition notebook that one uses in math class, with the ruler and metric conversion tables. The cover is vibrantly red, with a three sided black diamond drawn in sharpie and a looted bar code sticker pasted in the middle. The pages are blank, not lined, and presumably are intended for professional drawings and paintings, but are instead covered in multicolored ramblings about the ocean and interesting words or phrases overheard. Everything about my notebook is uniquely me. Every inch has been touched or written on, and it’s been shoved in my backpack so many times that the corners are all crinkly. There are many stories in my notebook, literally and symbolically and if you ever meet me, ask to see it, and I will gladly show you the place where there used to be a sticker, but I decided against it, or a list of books I’ve been meaning to read, or some drawing that looks like it took seconds, but in actuality took hours.

Kenzo’s notebook is small and black and a very nice Moleskine, which he’s drawn all over with gold sharpie. The front has his initials, K.F., in the center of a diamond. Every one of the pages in his book is taken up by a comic strip in which two detailed stick figures are forever fighting. In fact, there are more drawings in his book than actual writing. You’ll see a place where he finished detailing a prompt, and then in the last minutes, drew an entire comic book. Harmony’s notebook is large, but not quite as large as mine. It’s light blue and somehow gives off the feeling of being cloudlike and holy. The pages are lined with a block at the top of the page for the date, in which I’ve seen her put quotes, drawings, and on occasion, the date itself. Huck’s notebook is a purple variation on the classic black composition. It’s contents are very too the point, no doodles or drawings, only sentences in Huck’s scrawled handwriting. It gives you the feeling that he’s someone like DaVinci or Newton, someone who’s thinking great thoughts at a rate that’s too fast for his hand.

Every creative writer has a notebook like this, where they put their deepest darkest, most controversial fears, or where they are outlining the next great dissertation. Each one is unique and reflects the writer’s own style and aesthetic so well that if a stranger were to look through the notebook, by the end of the reading they would know the person as if they were a friend. Every single thing that we put in our notebooks says something about who we are, from the size and style of our handwriting, to what’s in the blank spaces of our sentences. The variety of styles that you could find in creative writing just goes to show how much creative wiggle room we have; how much ability we have to express ourselves as the unique individuals that we are. The painters have their palates, the musicians have their solos. We writers, well we have our notebooks.​

Max Chu, class of 2020