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Good Books: Jeff Düngfelder on Absence & Silence

Jeff Düngfelder is a filmmaker, photographer, sound artist and designer living in New York. His designs appear on entertainment packaging, posters, websites and environmental graphics. Düngfelder spends his days working as a One to One Creative Trainer for Apple at the Fifth Avenue Genius Bar, a store that draws 30,000 people daily.

Themes of absence and silence inform his art work, as seen at Ümlaut, where he each day he posts a photo accompanied by literary excerpts and music influences. The results are both profound and pragmatic, and offer an evocative look at daily life through a creative lens. 

"Within the frame of my work, I seek to capture the ineffable dialogue between viewer and image," he says, "to freeze in time split-second intervals of meditative stillness within an ever-changing landscape."

Jeff Düngfelder recommends three good books on absence & silence:


Be Here Now
by Ram Dass

This 1971 book on meditation, yoga and spirituality launched my life long interest in absence & silence. One section of the book called “Painted cakes do not satisfy hunger” turned me on to explore many other inspirational source material such as “The Bhagavad Gita” (Sivananda); “The Voice of the Silence” (Blavatsky); “The Perennial Philosophy” (Huxley); “Tao Te Ching” (Lao Tzu); “Raja Yoga” (Vivekananda); “I Ching: Book of Changes” (Wilhelm); and “Autobiography of a Yogi” (Yogananda).


Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Music
by Leonard Cohen

This 1993 book of beautiful and terrible visions is a great collection highlighting Leonard Cohen’s work as a poet, novelist, and songwriter. I was drawn, first, to his music. His songs, their words, his themes of love, sex, religion and politics, opened up new ways for me to look at the world.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, 'You must not ask for so much.' 

And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, 'Hey, why not ask for more?'

Brian Eno: Visual Music
by Christopher Scoates with Brian Eno

This 2013 book is a comprehensive monograph covering Brian Eno’s creations of Music, Light, Film, Sound, Video, New Media and Art. I think this is the first book to give insight into his process, and his quest for art that creates a quiet space for contemplation. I first became interested in him through his music, particularly with the album “Another Green World," which, for me, connected the dots between absence & silence. The first song that hooked me was “Everything Merges With the Night.”

Santiago, under the volcano,
Floats like a cushion on the sea.
Yet I can never sleep here
Everything ponders in the night.


Reader Comments (1)

How wonderful to be in this world of yours - I wish to go - I have to start now. The comparison between the beggar and the pretty lady of their wants let me think -Leonard Cohen book, Stranger Music.
Thank you for sharing.

November 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargit

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