Weekend links 84

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Regeneration (2011) by Toshiyuki Enoki. Via.

HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the art exhibition that caused such a fuss last year at the Smithsonian Institution, opens at the Brooklyn Museum, NYC, on November 18th. Among the events associated with the show is a screening of James Bidgood’s lusciously erotic Pink Narcissus. David Wojnarowicz’s video piece, A Fire in My Belly, is still a part of the exhibition so the New York Daily News reached for the outrage stick to prod some reaction from people who’d never heard of the artist or his work before. Will history repeat itself? Does the Pope shit in the woods? Watch this space…

Magic is not simply a matter of the occult arts, but a whole way of thinking, of dreaming the impossible. As such it has tremendous force in opening the mind to new realms of achievement: imagination precedes the fact. It used to be associated with wisdom, understanding the powers of nature, and with technical ingenuity that could let men do things they had never dreamed of before. The supreme fiction of this magical thinking is The Arabian Nights, with its flying carpets, hidden treasure and sudden revelations…

Marina Warner, whose new book, Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, is reviewed here and here.

• Those Americans who adore big business but loathe the idea of gay marriage will be dizzy with cognitive dissonance at the news that 70 major US companies—including CBS, Google, Microsoft and Starbucks—have signed a statement saying the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is bad for business. Mark Morford at SFGate says this now means that real homophobes don’t Google.

Divining with shadows and dreams, tears and blood: S. Elizabeth talks to JL Schnabel of BloodMilk about her “supernatural jewels for surrealist darlings“.

Earth: Inferno (2003), a short film by Mor Navón & Julián Moguillansky based on the book by Austin Osman Spare. Via form is void.

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Illustration by Virgil Finlay for A. Merritt’s The Face in the Abyss. From a 1942 Finlay portfolio at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

The Mute Synth as created by Dirty Electronics & designed by Adrian Shaughnessy.

Phil Baker reviews two new Aleister Crowley biographies at the TLS.

A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design

The Most Amazing Room In Queens, NYC.

Brian Eno on composers as gardeners.

Alan Turing is Alan Garner’s hero.

• Paintings by Guy Denning.

Static (1998) by Redshift | The Owl Service (2000) by Pram | Lover’s Ghost (2010) by The Owl Service.

Weekend links 44

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Poster by Will Bradley for Victor Bicycles (c. 1895).

• G. Wayne Clough, chief exective of the Smithsonian Institution, finally admits that he made a hasty decision in removing David Wojnarowicz’s video from the Hide/Seek exhibition of gay art. Related: “Finland’s cultural gifts to the world include Sibelius, the Moomins and an artist that the country has been less eager to celebrate.” The belated homecoming of Tom of Finland.

The Fiend with Twenty Faces: Jonathan Clements examines the legacy of Edogawa Rampo (Hirai Taro), the Japanese master of mystery and imagination.

• RIP Susannah York. The Guardian posted a selection of clips including one from Robert Altman’s Images (1972).

• More mixtapes: Trish Keenan’s Mind Bending Motorway Mix and a selection for Quietus by Chris & Cosey.

• “Ruin photos speak to our desperate desire to have our world re-enchanted.”

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Promo poster by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat for My White Bicycle by Tomorrow (1967).

The Raging Peloton: Iain Sinclair on two wheels good, four wheels bad.

The unknown Jorge Luis Borges: five new anthologies reviewed.

The French house untouched for 100 years (and also here).

Electrotypes on Drugs: old chemists’ labels.

South China Sea Pishkun by Dinh Q. Lê.

Bike (1967) by Pink Floyd | My White Bicycle (1967) by Tomorrow | Trip On An Orange Bicycle (1968) by Orange Bicycle.

Weekend links 42

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Blasphemous Rumours (2009/2010) by Ryan Martin. The artist now has a dedicated site for his paintings.

The Museum of Censored Art, a mobile gallery, will be showing the withdrawn David Wojnarowicz film outside the National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, until their contentious gay art exhibition closes next month. Related: Bishop of Mallorca criticises calendar—which shows Catholic youths posing naked—for ‘not respecting Christian symbols’.

• Didier Lestrade published French gay zine Magazine in the 1980s, and later co-founded Têtu. He’s interviewed at BUTT and has started uploading the entire run of Magazine about which he says: “I don’t want to stamp some kind of logo on this material. It’s gay. It’s gay history. It belongs to everybody. If you want to take a piece of it, please try to mention the origins of it, a simple code word “Magazine” will be enough. If you wanna be more specific, be my guest.”

HMV, Britain’s last big music chain, is closing 60 branches. Yet a new wave of CD stores is thriving. Oh, HMV, how I’ll miss your £17 CDs (and double-CDs at £34)… On second thoughts, no I won’t, your wretched retail barns always exemplified the greed endemic in the music business.

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Love Comes/Destroyer by Stephen Kasner.

• Artist Stephen Kasner‘s work has adorned music releases by Sunn O))), Isis and others. He’s currently another American creator in need of assistance with medical expenses. Details here.

The Ghosts of Old London: the gloomy Victorian metropolis in all its deteriorated splendour. See also: In Search of Relics of Old London.

• “It’s time to recognise [Sandy] Denny as not simply a folksinger but one of Britain’s great poets of song,” says Rob Young.

Louis Pattison talks to Locrian about JG Ballard, old VHS tapes and their new album The Crystal World.

The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of: Lebbeus Woods’ big drawings.

Hannes Bok portfolios at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

An Iranian rapper named Salome. Also here and here.

A Moment of (Alan) Moore.

RIP Mick Karn.

Book Worship.

Sons of Pioneers (1981) by Japan; Tao-Tao (1982) by Masami Tsuchiya; Glow World (1983) by Bill Nelson.

Weekend links 41

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Being an inveterate Kubrickphile I was naturally pleased to hear that some of the excised scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey have survived in a watchable form, even though I’m often ambivalent about the restoration of such material. While it was good to see at last the missing French compound sequence of Apocalypse Now, for example, that sequence added nothing to the film as a whole and its inclusion was spoiled by music which Coppola used for sentimental reasons. In Kubrick’s case, there’s a longer version of The Shining which the director allowed to be screened on UK TV in the 1980s but, again, most of the unseen material was incidental and added nothing to the film.

• Related: Roger Ebert’s review of 2001 from 1968; Olivier Mourgue, designer of the Djinn chairs seen in the film’s space Hilton scenes; Magnificent obsession, a Vanity Fair piece from 2002 about the search for the missing scenes from The Magnificent Ambersons. Meanwhile, the trailer for Terrence Malick’s new film, The Tree of Life, features some surprising cosmic moments among its scenes of family life.

The separate history [of gay and lesbian artists] has been kind of edited out of art history but in fact art history is very much interwoven with gay or queer history. In a way the two can’t be separated. America doesn’t like anything uncomfortable. I find in my dealings with museums that if I ask a question and the answer is ‘no,’ they don’t answer. If the answer is ‘yes,’ I get these amazingly enthusiastic responses. I find it sort of strange sometimes, not being American myself. In a way what they’re doing is editing out the uncomfortable. David Wojnarowicz’s work can make you uncomfortable — and they’ve edited out that possibility in the show.

Canadian artist AA Bronson (see below).

• More on the Smithsonian versus David Wojnarowicz affair: Frank Rich examined the train of events in a comment piece, Gay Bashing at the Smithsonian, for the NYT; the Andy Warhol Foundation threatened to withdraw their funding for future Smithsonian events unless the work is reinstated, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation will be doing the same; another artist featured in the National Portrait Gallery exhibition, AA Bronson, requested that the gallery withdraw his work from the show in protest; the NPG refused, citing a contractual arrangement; among the increasing number of galleries showing support for Wojnarowicz, Tate Modern, London, will host an event in January which will feature a screening of the contentious video; lastly, there’s a protest event in New York City today (Sunday, December 19th) at 1.00pm, details here.

• More censorship in America: Jeffrey Deitch Censors Blu’s Political Street Art Mural. In the book world, writer Selena Kitt finds her erotic incest stories removed from Amazon’s Kindle store. Other authors, Jess C Scott and Esmerelda Green, have had their erotic titles removed from the store. Selena Kitt says:

When some of my readers began checking their Kindle archives for books of mine they’d purchased on Amazon, they found them missing from their archives. When one reader called to get a refund for the book she no longer had access to, she was chastised by the Amazon customer service representative about the “severity” of the book she’d chosen to purchase.

Can you imagine buying a paper book and the bookstore then paying you a visit to forcibly reclaim it? To date no adequate explanation from Amazon has been forthcoming but they’ll be happy to sell you a Kindle edition of the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom.

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Galaxy M51 aka The Whirlpool. One of the Top Astronomy Pictures of the Year from a selection by Bad Astronomy. Photo by the Hubble Heritage Team & Robert Gendler.

• More cosmic events: there’ll be a total lunar eclipse this coming Monday, visible in much of the Northern Hemisphere.

• “Heterosexuality is the opiate of the masses!” The Raspberry Reich (2004), a film by Bruce LaBruce.

New editions of Borges poetry. Fine so long as you accept that the translations can never truly satisfy.

• Just the thing for the winter weather, illustrations for Pushkin’s Queen of Spades from 1966.

• Another Ghost Box download: Radio Belbury Programme 1: “Holidays & Hintermass”.

Monsters, Inc: Arcimboldo and the Wunderkammer of Rudolf II.

• Silent Porn Star found some burlesque lamps.

Giant airship powered by algae.

Space Oddity (1969) by David Bowie.

Weekend links 40

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Manchester, August, 1819: yeomanry on horseback charge a crowd of demonstrators; London, November, 2010: Mounted police charge demonstrators; London, December, 2010: “…police horses have charged the crowd once and appear to be about to do so again.”

Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable NUMBER!
Shake your chains to earth, like dew
Which in sleep had fall’n on you:
YE ARE MANY–THEY ARE FEW.

Percy Shelley, The Masque of Anarchy (1819).

• Amid the rest of the week’s tumult, discussion and activity around the censoring of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly film at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC, continues to rumble on. I’d missed this appraisal of the exhibition at The Smart Set. Hide/Seek: Too shocking for America features an interview with Jonathan Katz, co-creator of the exhibition in the eye of the storm:

“When,” Katz asks, “will the decent majority of Americans stand against a fringe that sees censorship as a replacement for debate?” Hide/Seek sought to conquer what Katz calls “the last acceptable prejudice in American political life” – but the conservative right, rampant after last month’s midterm elections, won’t relinquish their prejudices without a fight. And so, “an exhibition explicitly intended to break a 21-year blacklist against the representation of same-sex desire,” says a dispirited Katz, “now finds itself in the same boat.”

Related: Q&A with Hide/Seek curators Jonathan Katz and David C. Ward. The Smithsonian Institution issued a fatuous statement saying they stand by the exhibition despite having forced the removal of one of its works. One of the NPG commissioners resigned in protest at the gallery’s capitulation to political pressure. Other protestors were banned from the Smithsonian after playing a video of the work on an iPad. There’s video of the iPad protest here and the protestors have their own blog. In my earlier post on the subject I noted that the actions of censorious Catholics have given Wojnarowicz’s work far more public exposure than it would otherwise receive. The LATimes has details of some of the galleries throughout the US showing the video as a result of its removal in Washington.

• Related to the above, Bruce Sargeant and His Circle: Figure and Form, a book by artist Mark Beard about the work of his “Bruce Sargeant” alter ego. Homotography has a preview.

• “We focus most strongly at the margins, on the music that others may be blind to. We don’t care whether it is electronic, metal, jazz, folk, classical, noise, world music or whatever. We are as excited by the experimental, as we are exhausted by the ephemeral. We listen. We mosh. We think. We dance. We write words. We capture images. We hope to do justice to the art which inspires us. We are The Liminal”.

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Rotary Signal Emitter, a vinyl zoetrope by audiovisual duo Sculpture.

Rest Easy Sleazy, a small mix dedicated to Peter Christopherson. Related: A Peter Christopherson tribute mix. Another mix: Mixhead was a 1997 promo CD by Portishead.

• Related to the above: What if we could touch our music again? (Hello? Some of us still play—and create—CDs and vinyl…) Is the mix tape as object-of-seduction a dead concept in a virtual world? “We traded connection for convenience,” says I Miss My Pencil. Their proposed solution, C60 Redux, is an RFID reader plus speakers, packaged in a smart 12-inch case.

• Iannis Xenakis: How an architect took music back to mathematical roots. Related: the Xenakis exhibition at MOCA, Los Angeles.

The Body Electric at Ikon, Birmingham, is the first retrospective exhibition in the UK of work by New Zealand artist Len Lye.

Hayley Campbell has a blog. This week you can read about her contribution to Jamie McCartney‘s Great Wall of Vagina.

More David Lynch: he really does love cherry pie but isn’t 100% sure how magnets work. I sympathise on both counts.

2019: A Future Imagined. Visual Futurist Syd Mead reflects on the nature of creativity and how it drives the future.

Quashed Quotatoes by Michael Wood, reviewing a new edition of Finnegans Wake.

New Weird Australia.

• Portishead’s 2008 performance for the Canal+ show Concert Privé is one of their best filmed concerts. YouTube has the whole thing.