Daniel Mack               objects



Humans matter. 

We make things: tables, chairs…deals, dinner, trouble, our way, friends, good time, enemies, waves … the list goes on and on.  Making is our way of being in the world.  Making is a way of outering or uttering what we know, feel, believe, desire. Our objects --both made, bought and gifted-- become our milestones, and our millstones.

Making is creating order and --disorder-- patterns and --new patterns--on the materials around us.  These patterns, textures, forms are the ways we try to understand who we are and how and why we are changing.  Making is as fundamental as breathing. Making is both an in-breath and an outbreath.  doing and undoing.  It's a process, a practice, not an end in itself. It is a way to explore the less obvious, less accessible parts of ourselves.  We can make our way into the unconscious. We can develop objects and tools to help us know better the fleeting, shadowy, elusive parts of ourselves which nonetheless carry great power over our actions. As my teacher Al once said, "As above, so Below. Those  objects are the R&D of our daily life. Make more!"

Imaginal Artifacts are objects which resemble tools, furniture, art, but perform ambiguous and changing functions. They are the work of the bricoleur, that imaginal artisan who senses that certain objects are looking to get into the material world to do their work. He helps that process by finding the materials and the forms for that to happen. The objects are familiar and strange; precious and common; fragile and durable; timeless and ephemeral. Dan has been making such objects for years.  They were misnamed "sculpture".  He is currently exploring five forms: 


Since 2004, Dan has been collecting pieces of  water-worn bark from the banks of the Hudson River.  Working with the natural patina and textures of the bark, he carves away to reveal human-like features. 


These are playing card-size collages done in a light meditational mood. Someone called them "psychic flypaper".


Devices to explore, direct and concentrate enegy.  

These resemble tools and actually help identify the task they are needed for.

First, Make the Tool and then see what purpose it assists with.



Common small stones carved and shaped with a pocketknife and smoothed with sandpaper. It's another form of Intuitive Making: based in the casual, immediate, simple... er, "mindfull"?


I have been trying out different fillings. After Hurricane Irene demolished our local farming community, I put a rotting onion in a gumball machine and for a Quarter, you could get a handful of putrid air... (I raised $3.25 in Relief Money.)

In keeping with my interest in Surrealism, I have filled a one with do-dads.  For a quarter, you get between 10 and 16 of them.  It's a form of working with accident and chance...



These exercises are explorations in the power of making objects.  Nothing requires any special skills in construction, design, art or craft.  They do require the ability to recognize your own moods, feelings, distresses and joys.


First, Meet Your Gang, Your Posse, The Mob, Tribe, Pack, Cast.

Who are they?  What’s a very familiar voice?  Who’s always overlooked?   Why do they need Imaginal Artifacts? Are there other creatures of nature  as part of you?

Second, What are your Tasks? 

Develop a list of tasks that might benefit from an Imaginal Artifact.

Tools and Cards are simply ways to attract and concentrate energy to help with a task.    Do you need help to:

Remember                 BE Remembered                Forget              

Contact Someone      Finish Something             Get More Air      

Get Grounded           Get Started on Something  Get More    

Reveal an old s’elf    Reveal a new s'elf

Keep things the way they are             Make things the way they were

Make things the way they should be

Identify what’s missing         Find the missing

Make gifts for family or strangers  Make memento mori, grave markers

Make directional markers, compasses

Things you now know you’ll never do:  deliver milk in rural France

What’s the Other Side?

Memories of nature              Fears                          blessings

Third, Start by picking Materials, Colors, Textures and Shapes you like or really, really hate.  

"All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves."    Eli Siegel

STUCK?   Here are a few more suggestions