FIVE WEEKS BEFORE the final ratification of the Bill of Rights in December 1791, the regular Army of the United States of America, under the command of Revolutionary War hero Arthur St. Clair, was utterly destroyed at the Battle of the Wabash by an alliance of Western Indians led by the great war chiefs Little Turtle and Blue Jacket. It was a worse disaster than the Little Big Horn. Only 45 members of St. Clair’s 1300-person expedition which included regulars, militia, and camp followers survived the ambush unscathed.
This is the real historical context in which the meaning of the Second Amendment must be interpreted: the national army had been annihilated, the First Nations had reclaimed the Ohio Valley, and the British were emboldened to retain the Western forts (Michilmakinac and Detroit) that they had agreed to surrender in the treaty of 1787. A “well-regulated militia” of armed people was the only thing standing between George Washington and the return of King George III. Or, between white people and successful rebellions of slaves and Native Americans.
Odd, to say the least, that the left-liberal media has so neglected this background, particularly since it speaks to “original intent,” that fetish of Scalia and much of his party. More importantly, why haven’t we taken advantage of the GOP’s Salafist interpretation of the Constitution to revive the classical (Charles) Beardsian critique of this slaveowners’ relic? The alternative tradition in American history, embraced by Jefferson, Lincoln, and Wilson, has always asserted the priority of the Declaration of Independence as the nation’s foundational document and natural law.
In January 1977, Miller furthered his career when he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra, led by his son trumpeter Mercer Ellington. Miller was recommended for the job by his friend saxophonist Bill Easley. The job with Ellington brought him to New York City where he began to make a name for himself in the city’s jazz scene.
Miller remained with the group until early 1979 when he joined the rhythm section of singer Betty Carter’s group alongside bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Greg Bandy. In late 1980, he joined trumpeter Woody Shaw’s group, performing with him until the summer of 1983.
After joining tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin for a brief tour, Miller joined drummer Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, making his debut with the group on 1984’s New York Scene. During his time with Blakey, Miller started to record with several up and coming young jazz musicians including trumpeter Terence Blanchard, tenor saxophonists Donald Harrison, John Stubblefield and Branford Marsalis, alto saxophonist Bobby Watson and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson.
In 1985, Miller made his debut recording Keys To The City for producer Orrin Keepnews’s label, Landmark. Starting in 1986, Miller became a member of drummer Tony Williams’ quintet.
While with Williams, Miller pursued a dazzling array of side projects. In 1987, Mulgrew formed the cooperative ensemble Trio Transition with bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Freddie Waits. The group toured throughout Europe and sometimes included alto saxophonist Oliver Lake as a featured soloist.
The same year, Miller began to perform with tenor saxophonist Benny Golson, appearing on his album Stardust. 1987 Mulgrew also performed on trumpeter Wallace Roney’s album Verses and also played with the group Wingspan on a self-titled album. In 1992, when Williams dissolved his group, Mulgrew further focused his attention on these other projects.
Miller toured with the New York Jazz Giants before performing with clarinetist Eddie Daniels and vibraphonist Gary Burton.
Miller continued to lead a trio while working as a sideman on various recordings. In 1993, Mulgrew performed with guitarist Ron Muldrow and tenor saxophone Joe Lovano.
The same year, Miller along with pianists Harold Mabern, James Williams, Geoff Keezer and Donald Brown formed The Contemporary Piano Ensemble. Initially starting after a performance at the 1991 Montreaux Jazz Festival, the group consists of four pianists, with one sitting out, performing simultaneously with a rhythm section. The group performed last in 1996.
1993 also saw Mulgrew performing on bassist Steve Swallow’s album Real Book with Lovano, trumpeter Tom Harrell and drummer Jack DeJohnette. On “Bite Your Grandmother,” DeJohnette plays an opening cadenza before the unison melody of Lovano and Harrell begins the top of the form. With the unrestrained performance of DeJohnette, Miller and Swallow prove to be a reliable and interesting rhythmic partnership with the two men utilizing the upper registers of their instruments to contrast with the dark sound of Lovano. Mulgrew’s solos offer brief, but poignant examples of his harmonic intelligence and aptitude.
When I met Daisuke Yokota for our interview in Tokyo's Shinjuku district, he said it was the earliest he'd been up in a while. It was already about 11:45 in the morning, and I wondered aloud whether he'd been working a late-night job. "Nope," he said. "Making work." Yokota has created a small image-making factory in his apartment, which he uses to create his haunting, distorted black-and-white images. Many Japanese photographers, led by Daido Moriyama, take black-and-white photographs with similarly strong, almost extreme contrast. At first glance, Yokota's photographs seem to fit neatly into this tradition. However, in talking with him, it’s clear that he hasn’t set out to copy this style because it looks cool. Instead, he’s been led there by electronic musicians like Aphex Twin, taking the musical ideas of echo, delay and reverb and applying them to photography. In practice, this means that to make the series "Back Yard" (featured in the gallery above), Yokota shot, developed, printed and re-photographed each image—not once, but about 10 times. That does seem like enough work to keep you up all through the night.
How did you make “Back Yard”?
At first I used a compact digital camera, and printed the image out. Then I photographed that image with a 6x7 film camera, using color film, even though the image is later black and white. I developed it at home, in a way so that imperfections or noise will appear—I make the water extra warm, or don’t agitate the film. Even before that, I let some light hit the film; I’m developing in my bathroom, so it’s not even a real darkroom, which helps, but I’ll hold a lighter up to the film, or whatever is around. I’m always experimenting—the goal is to not do it the same way twice. So then, to produce more and more variations in the final image, I re-photographed the image about ten times.
Ten times? You mean, you developed and printed and re-shot each image ten times?
Yeah, more or less. There’s no set number, but about that much. It’s not so much about realizing an image I had in my head from before, but finding something in the process. “Back Yard” was pretty simple, just that. “Site” was more complicated—taking digital photos of the same thing and combining them in Photoshop—that took a lot of time.
And re-photographing photos doesn’t take so much time?
I guess so, yeah.
Photoshop is not really about adding the noise then?
Doing that in Photoshop makes it look tampered with. Adding the noise with film, it looks natural.
In some of your other interviews, I see you’ve mentioned Aphex Twin and David Lynch as influences. Why is that?
There are two reasons. First, Aphex Twin has a lot of aliases, so his work is less about seeing his real name as some kind of symbol, and more about the songs themselves. There’s a sense that you can’t really see him, and this kind of confusion is interesting to me. Then, to speak about his music, there’s a lot of experimentation with delay, reverb and echo, which is playing with the way that you perceive time. Of course there’s no time in a photograph, but I thought about how to apply this kind of effect, or filter, to photography. I was definitely influenced by the idea of “ambience.” David Lynch is probably the same for me, in the way that he works with time and perception.
So how does all of this apply to your photographs?
If you look at music or film, there is time there. In other words, the work has a clear beginning and end, and in between, you shut out your daily life—you throw yourself into the work. There’s no element of duration to your experience of a photograph; it’s closer to an object. I felt that this was an extremely weak point of photography. So, I’m aware that photography can’t function in the same way as films or music, but I wonder whether it isn’t possible to create a way for photographs to carry time within them. When you’re going to sleep, you think about the stuff that happened to you that day, right? You might see some images, but they’re completely distant from what really happened—they’re hazy. You’re trying to recall something, and photography can also recall things in this way. Of course my photographs do function as some sort of record, but there’s no agreement between the photograph and my own recollection of what happened. The impression is completely different. I think using these effects of delay, reverb, and echo (in photographic terms, developing the film "badly" and so on) might be a way to alter the sensation of time in a visual way.
Jacob Robert Whibley creates collage-based works that foreground two histories, simultaneously: that of early modernist art, architecture and design, as well as that of the materials he uses. Russian Constructivism, the Bauhaus and de Stijl, and the artists affiliated with those movements – Wassily Kandinsky, El Lissitzky, Josef Albers and Piet Mondrian – come to mind when looking at Whibley’s work, but his collages do more than pay homage. Whibley skilfully, and with great sensitivity, exploits the pre-existing folds, tears, markings and discolouration of the vintage papers he uses, some dating back to the late-1800s. The result is work that manages to feel historical, contemporary and timeless all at once.
Based in Toronto, Jacob Whibley graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2005 and has been showing his work since 2007. His first solo exhibition in Europe took place in June 2014 at Bourouina Gallery in Berlin. In May, he was included in the group exhibition Space Squared at White Walls in San Francisco. He has also had solo exhibitions at the Wyatt Art Centre in Rochester, NY and at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. Group exhibitions in Montreal, Los Angeles and Portland have featured his work, as well. He is represented by Narwhal Art Projects in Toronto.