Sunday, July 12, 2020

Video of Dementia

A new work stemming from my poem Dementia
Video Martyna Kita
Music by Marcin Maślanka

Thursday, April 23, 2020


My father passed ... gone
and within his wake
my mother took up residence, with an
obscured assassin.

Immune he is protected in her house
the darkest of nights

unbeknownst to her
he's carving her brain a sliver a day

ingesting it ... smiles
content with arrogant entitlement.
Belching from his bowels
the pieces of her sweet identity
fluttering away with the morning sun
waiting ... father collects them in his heart
like cupid's quivers.

My sibling and I are wringing our hands
circling this vortex with drowning child ...

She is ninety-four going on fourteen
with anachronistic vanity she
fluffs her naturally charcoal grey hair
Oh yes - oh no! Does my lipstick look right?

The current state of morning
at my parent's lonely bed

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

"10,000 Dharmas Return to ..." Receives Award at Art San Diego

I am grateful to have received an award at the "Art San Diego" art fair.
(Left) Kaz Maslanka (Right) Oceanside Museum of Art Curator Vallo Riberto

Some background and tools to access this piece:   
        I am fortunate enough to have married a wonderful Korean lady who has given me the ability/access to study Zen in the temples of Korea. Chun Jin Sunim and the Tongdosa monastery has been instrumental in inspiring me to research and apply to my practice.

       One of the most important experiences I have had is studying the Diamond Sutra as taught by Hyon Gak Sunim. It is chapter thirty-one of the Diamond Sutra that inspired the work shown in the photo and it is chapter thirty-one that inspired me to concern myself with the concept: "We are all made of the same substance." The great Zen master Seung Sahn Sunim puts it this way:

       "In the big cookie factory we call earth, there are many kinds of cookies. They take many different shapes and have different names, but they are all made from the same dough. Because they are all made from the same material we can make God, we can make Buddha, we can make Demon, we can make Satan. The myriad things in our world all have different names and forms, but the taste is the same. Even people come in many different shapes and colors: western people, Chinese people, Korean people. They all have a different appearance, but their substance is the same. So, the Buddha said, "Above is the dwelling place of all Buddhas, below is the six realms, and all have the same substance. One by one, everything is complete; one by one, everything has it. One by one, everything interpenetrates everything else. One by one, each thing is complete." 

       The thought crossed my mind that even the most disgusting creatures are the same as myself. So I was inspired to make this mathematical visual poem to point at this transcendent idea. If you think about five divided by five equaling one, or a million divided by a million equaling one, then you can see that anything divided by itself equals one -- including a cockroach divided by me.

       On a side note, a few years ago I took a Tongdosa Korean Monk to Mount Whitney so that he could hike the John Muir Trail. It was summer and the nights were beautiful -- black and saturated with stars.  One night, I looked up into the south and could see Sagittarius and Scorpio adorning the firmament.  My mind went to the fact that located between those two constellations is a big black hole operating at the center of our galaxy. Inspired, I shot a photo of the vista and used it as the background of this piece such that the center of the image is the center of the galaxy.  The orange-blue frame of the piece is a photo of a sunset that I used to run the perimeter to create a portal pointing inside. In addition, the Chinese character drawn inside the number "1" is the pictograph "Buddha's Mind."

       I recently showed this piece in Osaka, Japan. But before I sent it, I pondered the dubious title, "One" --  it seemed tautological. I contacted Hyon Gak Sunim and explained my dilemma and the need for retitling. He found it interesting that I contacted him on this piece for he said this expression was his favorite piece out of all my work. I thanked him for his gracious words and asked him if he would be kind enough to re-title this piece. He immediately said, "10,000 Dharmas return to ..." and explained that the title comes from the ancient Chinese Kong-an: "10,000 Dharmas return to One. Where does the One return?"

     Hyon Gak Sunim said that this piece points directly to this ancient Chinese Kong-An (Zen Koan). 

    [Note: 10,000 is the equivalent concept of infinity in ancient Chinese]
An interesting thing to ponder is what happens when one puts themselves (self) in the denominator and "take the limit" of self approaching zero?  In other words, when one makes the value of the self "zero"* the resulting "one" (Buddha's Mind)  turns into infinity - thus returning infinity to the one.

*Mathematics forbids dividing by zero - but we can take the limit as a value approaches zero.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Analogue Sun, Digital Moon Opening Photos @LACDA July 13, 2019


Here are some shots of the opening at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. July 13, 2019
Show curator Jesse Russell Brooks and his daughter Maggie 

Show curator Jesse Russell Brooks and Oceanside Museum of Art curator Vallo Riberto

Los Angeles Center for Digital Art director Rex Bruce and Maria Turner

Writer/Gallery owner Mat Gleason and Artist Tiffany Trenda

Artist Tiffany Trenda

A visual poem by Bill Barminski

Artwork by Daniel Leighton

Daniel and Steve Leighton

Photographer Karen Turner

Artist Victor Acevedo

Artist/Gallery owner Toru Nakatani

Kaz Maslanka Lecture and Workshop @ The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art 8-3-2019

Image from the film  THE LAST KNOWN PERSON (2019)  director. Pat van Boeckel poet. Ester Naomi Perquin | Image of Hans-Georg Henke photographed by John Florea.Kaz Maslanka Lecture and workshop on Mathematical Visual Poetry August 3, 1:00PM @ The Los Angeles Center for Digital Art

Check out the schedule for all speakers at this link

"Analogue Sun, Digital Moon" at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art

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Kaz Maslanka @ 2nd Annual -- The Film and Video Poetry Symposium

I am really excited and honored to be a part of the second annual Film and Video Poetry Symposium - The symposium takes place in Los Angeles, New York City, and Moscow. Most of the Symposium will be centered around film, yet, there will also be a Visual Poetry show at the Los Angeles Center for digital art. I Have two pieces of my work in that show: "Newton Second Law in Karmic Warfare" and "Congenital Wisdom"

In addition, I will be giving a lecture and workshop on Mathematical Visual Poetry at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (Downtown Los Angeles). The purpose is to provide tools to access mathematical visual poetry and methods to construct it - I will supply times for this soon. The opening for the upcoming show is July 13th so come on out if you are in Los Angeles.I will be sharing this event with some extremely talented people for which some will be presenting lectures at "The Little Theatre" in Santa Monica. So there will be a lot to experience. Check out what is happening here at this link

I will be showing: Newton's Third Law in "Karmic Warfare" and "Congenital Wisdom"

Monday, June 10, 2019

"Golden Fear - 2019" Showing at the Los Angeles Center For Digital Art

I am happy to have Golden Fear showing in the group show @ The Los Angeles Center For Digital Art.

Golden Fear is a mathematical Visual Poem that incorporates the continued fraction describing the Golden Ratio. Furthermore, it metaphorically maps the concept of fear into the unit measure (Replaces 1 with Fear)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A work by Victor Valqui Vidal

Here is a piece by Victor Valqui Vidal

The following is a script of a chat Between Victor and Kaz had about this image:

Victor said:
One of my students added:
So two corollaries: 1) man equals his wife 2) man over his wife (or the other way around) equals one.

Kaz said:
These are great discussions. What happens when man divided by woman equals a variable? What would that variable be called? Please take that to your students - I would love to hear their response.

Victor said:
We agree on an equality level

Kaz said:
Man over his wife would equal one only if the value of the man is the same as the value of the woman - that works fine as a math poem, however, I think it is more interesting to leave it open. What happens when the value of the woman is more than the value of the man?

Or what happens when the value of the man is greater than the value of the woman? I would like to say that I like the poster you present here - your equation is a translation of the first statement - but a math translation for the second statement is also interesting: "Woman x man = The value of the marriage"

Victor said:
After sleeping on these questions, I like my first take on this the best.

Kaz said:
Thank you for submitting this Victor.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Basho Inspired Mathematical Poem included in the 2020 Calendar for the American Mathematical Society

I am truly honored to have the American Mathematical Society ask to use one of my mathematical poems for their 2020 Calendar. I was assigned April 23rd

to see the original blog post   click here

Friday, March 15, 2019

Kaz Maslanka in the "Prism" show --- Osaka Japan at The Contemporary Art Gallery

I am pleased to be a part of "Prism" a new show in Osaka Japan @ The Contemporary Art Gallery Zone. I will be showing a piece titled "10,000 Dharmas Return ..." A special thank you and shout out to the Venerable Hyon Gak Sunim who helped in retitling this piece. Also happy to have my Los Angeles buddy Brian Tucker in the show with me.

Not to forget a big thank you to Toru Nakatani for curating the show.

Below is "10,000 Dharmas Return"

Below is a show poster from the Prism show @ The Contemporary Art Gallery in Osaka

Unit Circle Words by Lawrence Mark Lesser

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Karl Kemptons New Book "A History of Visual Text"

The authority of visual poetics, Karl Kempton lays it all down for you. I am happy to share with everyone 6 years in the making ...

Click Here to download: A History of Visual Text by Karl Kempton

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Kaz Maslanka at Los Angeles Center for Digital Art

I will be showing "The Graveyard of Empires

If you are in Los Angeles - see ya at the opening. February 16th 6:00PM

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Graveyard of Empires

This is a proportional poem that can be read many ways including the following: "The value of Afghanistan is to the value of Hope as the value of The Graveyard is to the value of an Empire.

The piece was inspired by an Afghanistan general who said that his country is the graveyard of empires.

Visit the National Gallery of Writing