Weekend links 625


Hand (1940) by Jindrich Styrsky.

• “I love very much Symbolist painters like Odilon Redon, Ferdinand Knopf or Léon Spilliaert. Or Nordic European painters such as Munch or Gallen-Kallela. I like the way they often mix nature and mythology. Some Surrealist painters are very inspiring too: De Chirico, Tanguy, Toyen, Styrsky, or Dorothea Tanning, for instance.” Lucile Hadzihalilovic talking to Mark Cousins about her new film, Earwig, and her approach to cinema.

• “It was no accident that Mishima chose to experiment with science fiction. It was a genre he had long admired. He adored Arthur C. Clarke, and lavished praise on Godzilla…” Alexander Lee on Yukio Mishima’s sole venture into science fiction, Beautiful Star.

• Old music: Roforofo Fight by Fela Kuti, a great favourite round here, is receiving a 50th anniversary reissue.

Readers of Berlin’s Third Sex were confronted with a whole fête galante of misfits, deviants, and sexual mutineers cavorting on the legal edgelands of society. There’s the “gathering of obviously homosexual princes, counts and barons” discussing Wagner, the women-only ball where a “dark-eyed Carmen sets a jockey aflame”, the drag act burlesquing Isadora Duncan, a café in the city’s north where Jewish lesbians play chess, gaggles of gay labourers meeting up to gossip before tending to their needlework, the Russian baron distributing alms to hustlers in the Tiergarten, a canal-side tavern where soldiers from the nearby barracks find gay men only too willing to pick up their tab, and the encrypted classified ads with which the lonesome and horny sought to make the vast metropolis just a little smaller.

James Conway on the pioneering sexology of Magnus Hirschfeld

• At Aquarium Drunkard: The Miles Davis Septet playing live at Chateau Neuf, Oslo, in 1971.

Industrial Symphony No. 1 by David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti featuring Julee Cruise.

• Mix of the week: Ghosts & Goblins 1 by The Ephemeral Man.

• New music: The Homeland Of Electricity by Scanner.

• Steven Heller’s font of the month is Pufff.

• Galerie Dennis Cooper presents Ilse Bing.

• RIP Paula Rego and Julee Cruise.

Teacher Of Electricity (1970) by Old Gold | Electricity (1980) by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark | Night Electricity Theme (2017) by Dean Hurley

Weekend links 624


An alphabet designed by Ben Griffiths. Via.

• “From the cellular to the galactic, via Paleolithic cave markings to the trace impressions left by drone photography on our mind’s eye, incorporating dancing plagues, communist psychedelic witches, hyper-sexual fungi, chthonic descents, and skyward ascents, The Neon Hieroglyph weaves together a series of painterly and poetic considerations on a feminized history of the rye fungus Ergot, the chemical basis of LSD.” Coming soon from Strange Attractor: The Neon Hieroglyph, a book, LP and folio of prints by Tai Shani.

• “3rd From The Sun was the last album of Chrome’s imperial phase, and it cemented their status as one of the most inhuman and superhuman rock bands that America ever produced. More people need to recognize.” Agreed. (previously)

• “People often say, ‘How can you be so disciplined?’ It’s easy. Otherwise, I would have to go work for somebody else!” John Waters (again). Also here.

I’ve always thought that literature should be entertaining as well as instructive—a very old-fashioned idea but one that I adhere to. When I set out to write in this way—particularly in this way, a political way, if you want to call it that—I intend to make a donation, to try to give something. There doesn’t seem to me to be any point in giving more misery or exacerbating unhappiness through some kind of hyper-intellectual, pyrotechnical writing about unhappiness and the shit that we all find ourselves in. That’s been done plenty. I think first of all that it doesn’t need to be done any more and second of all there’s a kind of reactionary aspect to it which is that the emphasizing of misery without any anti-pessimism, as you put it, would be simply seduction into inactivity and political despair. In other words, to do politics at all on any level, especially on a revolutionary or on an insurrectionary level, there has to be some anti-pessimism—I won’t say optimism because that sounds so fatuous, futile; but anti-pessimism is a nice phrase. And there’s a deliberate attempt at that in the writing. Then again it’s a matter of my personality, I guess, inclined towards the notion of the healing laugh to some extent. We have an anarchist thinker in America, John Zerzan, who wrote an essay against humour which maybe is one of the things I was reacting against. Even if irony is counter-revolutionary which I think it might be to a certain extent I don’t see any way in which you could say that laughter itself is counter-revolutionary. This doesn’t make any sense to me unless you mean to get rid of language and thought altogether, which is just another form of nihilism. So as long as you’re going to accept culture on some level you’re certainly going to have to accept humour. And as long as you’re going to have to accept humour you might as well see humour as potentially revolutionary.

Peter Lamborn Wilson aka Hakim Bey, who died last month. Many of Wilson’s writings are available at The Anarchist Library. From 2008: A poem for Leonora Carrington

• “It’s such a fundamental question,” says Midori Takada, “why do humans need to make rhythm, and the space that structure creates?”

• “14 Warning Signs That You Are Living in a Society Without a Counterculture” by Ted Gioia.

• A trailer for Earwig, the new film from Lucile Hadzihalilovic, based on a story by Brian Catling.

• New music: Aura by Hatis Noit, and Warmth Of The Sun by Pye Corner Audio.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…SE Hinton Rumble Fish (1975).

• “Hear tracks from the 1980s Peruvian electronic underground”.

Intermittent Eyeball Fodder at Unquiet Things.

West Tulsa Story (1983) by Stewart Copeland | Kála/Assassins Of Hakim Bey (1997) by Coil | Neon Lights (2000) by Señor Coconut Y Su Conjunto

Weekend links 620


Premonition (1953) by Remedios Varo.

• “Classical mythology, Arcadian idylls, occult speculation, and an interest in cultural curiosities coexisted in the grotto, allowing for the playful exploration of a new tension emerging between Nature and Artifice.” Laura Tradii explores the artificial grottoes of the Renaissance and beyond.

• “Some of the symbols and signs seem like bridges to nowhere, and perhaps Nabokov was lovingly teasing our endless quest to find patterns and generate meaning.” David M. Rubin on writing a response to a Nabokov short story.

• New music: “KMRU & Aho Ssan erupt in post-apocalyptic extremity with Resurgence“. I did the layout for this latest release on the Subtext label but I still haven’t got round to updating my web pages so you’ll have to take my word for it.

• Powell & Pressburger’s Black Narcissus “unleashes a level of eroticism that’s surprising for 1940s British cinema,” says Adam Scovell.

• “Premonitions are impossible, and they come true all the time.” Fiona Sturges reviews The Premonitions Bureau by Sam Knight.

• Between Hell and Paradise: paintings by Hieronymus Bosch and his followers at the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest.

• At The Collector: Olivia Barrett on the Voodoo Queens of New Orleans.

• Steven Heller’s font of the month is Astronef Super.

• Mix of the week: Isolatedmix 118 by Pan American.

TMP-01 Vintage Synth TV Series from Benge.

• Vale, A Year In The Country.

Premonition (1979) by Simple Minds | Premonition (1980) by Cabaret Voltaire | Premonition (Giant Empty Iron Vessel) (1987) by David Sylvian & Holger Czukay

Weekend links 619


A Moog on the Moon by P. Praquin, 1977. And a space helmet reflection to add to the list being accumulated by 70s Sci-Fi Art.

• RIP Klaus “Quadro” Schulze. I’ve owned many of his solo albums over the years, and while they’re historically important for the part they played in developing the kosmische sound in the 1970s I’ve never been very enthusiastic about the music. The albums I prefer are the ones where he was working with others, whether as a drummer in Ash Ra Tempel, an inadvertent member of the fake Cosmic Jokers supergroup, or part of the genuine Cosmic Couriers supergroup that made Tarot. The Tonwelle album credited to “Richard Wahnfried” benefits considerably from the presence of Manuel Göttsching and Michael Schrieve (also a rumoured Carlos Santana); I recommend it. For a taste of the synth-doodling Schulze, here he is in analogue heaven.

• Next month, Luminous Procuress, a film by Steven Arnold (previously), is released for the first time on blu-ray by Second Run: “Exploding out of San Francisco’s vibrant late-60s counter-culture, Luminous Procuress is a psychedelic odyssey of unabashed hedonism. The only feature film by artist, mystic and polymath Steven Arnold, the film celebrates gender-fluidity and pan-sexuality in a voyeuristic phantasmagorical journey towards spiritual ecstasy.”

• “Whereas [Bernard] Herrmann worked predominantly with strings and [John] Carpenter with synths, Anderson wanted to evoke a similar atmosphere with guitars.” Greg “The Lord” Anderson talks to Dan Franklin about making an album of night music.

I am troubled by how often people talk about likability when they talk about art.

I am troubled by how often our protagonists are supposed to live impeccable, sin-free lives, extolling the right virtues in the right order—when we, the audience, do not and never have, no matter what we perform for those around us.

I am troubled by the word “problematic,” mostly because of how fundamentally undescriptive it is. Tell me that something is xenophobic, condescending, clichéd, unspeakably stupid, or some other constellation of descriptors. Then I will decide whether I agree, based on the intersection of that thing with my particular set of values and aesthetics. But by saying it is problematic you are saying that it constitutes or presents a problem, to which my first instinct is to reply: I hope so.

Art is the realm of the problem. Art chews on problems, turns them over, examines them, breaks them open, breaks us open against them. Art contains a myriad of problems, dislocations, uncertainties. Doesn’t it? If not, then what?

Jen Silverman on the new moralisers

• “The website is colorful and anarchic, evoking the chaotic sensory experience of exploring a crammed, dusty shop.” Geeta Dayal explores the Syrian Cassette Archives.

• New music: The Last One, 1970 by Les Rallizes Dénudés; Untitled 3 by Final; Blinking In Time (full version) by Scanner.

• Why was erotic art so popular in ancient Pompeii? Meilan Solly investigates.

• You’ve been reframed: Anne Billson explores the history of split-screen cinema.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Japanese era names illustrated as logos.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 745 by Wilted Woman.

Fun type

Split, Pt. 4 (1971) by The Groundhogs | Split Second Feeling (1981) by Cabaret Voltaire | Splitting The Atom (2010) by Massive Attack

Weekend links 616


Illustration by Virgil Finlay for The Face in the Abyss by A. Merritt; Famous Fantastic Mysteries, October 1940.

• “The pier was completely outside of the gallery system, which David loved of course. People were just working on the walls, nothing was for sale, nothing could really be bought, although people were coming in and trying to chip things off the walls.” Cynthia Carr on the love letters and legacy of David Wojnarowicz.

• “In pursuit of Pure Form, the Polish artist known as “Witkacy” would consume peyote, cocaine, and other intoxicants before creating pastel portraits.” Juliette Bretan on the artful intoxications of Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz.

• Kino Kyiv: Christopher Silvester compiles a list of notable Ukrainian films. I’ve not seen all of these but Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors is a great favourite.

Onscreen for nearly the entire runtime, [Laura Dern] pulls off the remarkable feat of being in total control of a scenario organized by undermining her identity, obliterating her characterization, and so scrambling the distinction between Nikki and Susan that one eventually comes to view Inland Empire not as a maze to exit, a puzzle to solve, an ouroboros to gawk at, but rather as both a generalized treatise on the enigma of acting and a very specific, exquisitely perverse mash note to one of Lynch’s most formidable collaborators.

Nathan Lee on Laura Dern, David Lynch and Inland Empire. I’ve always thought Dern’s exceptional performance might have been recognised more widely if Lynch hadn’t filmed most of it on low-grade video.

• New music: Golden Air by Sun’s Signature, a new project from Elizabeth Fraser and Damon Reece.

• Miranda Remington explores The Strange World of…Stomu Yamash’ta.

• Steven Heller’s font of the month is Boucan.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Labyrinthine.

Labyrinth (2010) by Chrome Hoof | Labyrinths (2018) by Jonathan Fitoussi / Clemens Hourrière | The Seventh Labyrinth (2019) by Pye Corner Audio