Weekend links 622

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Testa Anatomica (1854) by Filippo Balbi.

The New School of the Anthropocene is “…an experiment. But it is also an act of repair. In partnership with October Gallery in London, we seek to reinstate the intellectual adventure and creative risk that formerly characterised arts education before the university system capitulated to market principles and managerial bureaucracy… (more)”

• “Every once in a while, you come across old music that generates a shock of new excitement.” Geeta Dayal on Oksana Linde whose electronic compositions are being released in a retrospective collection next month.

• More Walerian Borowczyk: Anatomy of the Devil, a collection of Borowczyk’s short stories, newly translated into English by Michael Levy, and with a cover design by the Quay Brothers.

• Washing machines, garden snails, and plastic surgery: A stroll through the Matmos catalogue. Related: “Why scientists are turning molecules into music.”

• Coming soon from Strange Attractor: Boogie Down Predictions, Hip Hop, Time and Afrofuturism, edited by Roy Christopher.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Exploring Japan’s historical landmarks and shrines in the middle of streets.

• New music: Adrian Sherwood Presents: Dub No Frontiers, music by female dub artists.

Winners of the 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year.

• A Vision In Many Voices: The art of Leo and Diane Dillon.

Molecular Delusion (1971) by Ramases | DNA Music (Molecular Meditation) (1985) by Riley McLaughlin | Pop Molecule (Molecular Pop 1) (2008) by Stereolab

Quay Brothers posters

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This Sweet Sickness (1977).

Looking around for Quay Brothers designs turned up an item I hadn’t seen before, a poster for the UK release of a French film by Claude Miller, This Sweet Sickness, starring Gérard Depardieu. I’ve not seen the film either, nor have I read the Patricia Highsmith novel on which it was based although a copy of the book has been sitting on my shelves for some time, together with a couple of other unread Highsmiths. The poster dates from just before the Quays started to get serious about their own film-making.

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Nocturna Artificiala: Those Who Desire Without End (1979). The organ pipes, which don’t appear in the film, are an allusion to the improvised organ score by Stefan Cichonski.

Being graphic designers as well as film-makers puts the Quay Brothers in a very rare class, one where they not only make the films but also design the posters used to promote their films. Offhand, I can only think of the late Eva Svankmajerová as being in the same company so it’s perhaps fitting that her husband and artistic collaborator, Jan Svankmajer, was the subject of an early film by the Quays.

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Street of Crocodiles (1986).

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Stille Nacht: Dramolet (1988). An early use of Heinrich Holzmüller’s typographic designs.

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Quay Brothers record covers

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Institute Benjamenta (1998) by Lech Jankowski.

Continuing an occasional series about artists or designers whose work has appeared on record sleeves. Regular readers won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve had this one in mind for some time but it’s taken a while to put together. The main problem has been the Quay Brothers’ habit of using a variety of different names when they were working as designers; variations include “Stefen” rather than Stephen Quay, the Brothers Quai, Gebr. Quay, Jumeaux Quay, The Quays, Atelier Koninck (or Koninck Atelier), and so on. The catalogue compilers at Discogs do a good job of keeping up with the alternate names of groups or musical artists but stumble over those used by anyone else associated with an album’s production. Consequently, this collection of covers shouldn’t be taken as complete or final. Some of the discoveries would have been impossible without the checklist of Quays ephemera that accompanied the MoMA exhibition in 2012.

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Blood, Sweat & Tears (1968) by Blood, Sweat & Tears.

This must be one of the earliest of the Quays’ commercial works. As with other covers from the first decade of their career, the credit is for illustration alone, graphic design came later.

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Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 2 In D Major, Violin Concerto No. 5 In A Major (“Turkish”) (197?); Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Zino Francescatti, Edmond De Stoutz.

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George Rochberg: String Quartet No. 3 (1973); The Concord String Quartet.

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Fiction Tales (1981) by Modern Eon.

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11 Preliminary Orbits Around Planet Lem by the Brothers Quay

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Here come the Quays again with another short documentary for the Polish Cultural Institute. This was posted only a few days ago to acknowledge the centenary of the birth of writer Stanislaw Lem. It’s only the briefest run through Lem’s career as a writer of science fiction but it does include a sequence that lists the films adapted from his work which is a useful reminder of all the ones I’ve yet to see. And the piece ends with an extract from Maska, the Quays’ own adaptation of a Lem short story, and a favourite of mine among their recent films. (Thanks to Tomas for the tip!)

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VadeMecum by the Brothers Quay

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After mentioning the Brothers Quay last week it occurred to me that I hadn’t searched around for a while to see what they might have been up to recently. They continue to be productive, and only a couple of months ago released a new 12-minute short, VadeMecum, which was produced for the Polish Book Institute. This is the Quays in their documentary mode, presenting the troubled life of Polish poet and artist Cyprian Kamil Norwid, together with extracts from his poetry and examples of his drawings. Norwid’s existence was news to me so the piece successfully achieved its goal of informing the unenlightened. Last month the brothers talked to Mikolaj Glinski at Culture.pl about their fascination with Polish art and literature.

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Meanwhile, the Quays are no doubt continuing to work on their third feature film, Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass, in which they return to the writings of Bruno Schulz. Schulz’s story collection was adapted by Wojciech Has in 1973 as The Hourglass Sanatorium, a film I recommend most highly. The quality of the Quays version may be judged by this six-minute preview which immediately sets itself apart from the Has film with its puppets modelled on Schulz’s illustrations. I’ll be waiting impatiently for this one.

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