Weekend links 235

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Shadows (1974) by Pawel Nolbert & Lukasz Murgrabia, one of three images recreating Francis Bacon’s Triptych–August 1972.

Breaking the Code (1996), a BBC film by Herbert Wise based on Hugh Whitemore’s stage play about Alan Turing. Wise’s film has been linked here before but it’s relevant again thanks to the release of The Imitation Game. Derek Jacobi played Turing on stage and screen, and Whitemore’s script managed to deal with Turing’s life and work without insulting the man or the intelligence of its audience.

• “…if you listen to A Beacon From Mars by Kaleidoscope or if you listen to some Turkish taxim then something starts happening.” Robert Plant talking to Julian Marszalek about the music that excites him.

• “CGI has become wearingly dull and clichéd. Can its deep weirdness be recovered and filmgoers’ minds stretched again?” asks Jonathan Romney.

The cult of the Thirty-Seven Nats is unique to Burma. […] The junta’s attempts to subdue nat worship had an unintended effect: the role of the nat wife was embraced by an already marginalized group. Homosexuality is illegal in Burma and has been since its British colonizers instituted a late-nineteenth-century ban on “intercourse against the order of nature”. Government restrictions opened a professional vacuum, says scholar Tamara C. Ho. Becoming a nat kadaw offered the achauk—a Burmese term for gay and transgender men—both “a vocation and queer visibility”.

After the Green Death by Will Boast

• “Cat memes and other frivolities aren’t the work of an Internet culture. They’re the work of an American one, ” says Caitlin Dewey.

• Hear the cavernous reverb of Berlin’s Kraftwerk captured by Emptyset’s James Ginzburg and Yair Elazar Glotman.

• Take part in the first #psychedelicpride photoshoot in central London on Saturday, December 13th.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 470 by Jonny Trunk who also appears in the list of vinyl hoarders below.

• Queer Noise: Abigail Ward on the history of LGBT music and club culture in Manchester.

More photos of the steampunk exhibition at 751 D-Park, Beijing, China.

A chronological list of synth scores & soundtracks.

• Animated photography by Julien Douvier.

• A Third Ear Band archive at SoundCloud.

The secret lives of vinyl hoarders.

Taxim (1968) by Kaleidoscope | Water (1970) by Third Ear Band | Love Is The Devil (1998) by Ryuichi Sakamoto

Weekend links 114

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David Bowie’s cigaretted fingers and bulging silver crotch point the way to the future. This summer sees the fortieth anniversary of the Ziggy Stardust album’s release. The Melody Maker ad above can be found with a wealth of other Ziggy-related material at the very thorough Ziggy Stardust Companion site. For me the definitive artefact isn’t the album itself but DA Pennebaker’s film of the final concert from the 1973 tour; the songs really come alive and Bowie’s performance is overwhelmingly electric. Related: Cracked Actor, the BBC documentary from 1975 about Bowie’s post-Ziggy life on and off the stage.

• The week in books: Amanda Katz described the remarkable history of a single copy of The War of the Worlds by HG Wells then asked “Will Your Children Inherit Your E-Books?” | Bosnian novelist Aleksandar Hemon in The Browser’s FiveBooks interview put Blood Meridian on his list. | “Call me the greatest American novel”: Christopher Buckley on Moby-Dick. | The Brit Lit Map.

• For another anniversary, the Alan Turing centenary, there’s The Strange Life and Death of Dr Turing (part two here) and Breaking the Code (1996), Derek Jacobi playing the tragic genius in a biographical drama.

Commissioner of Sewers (1991) a William Burroughs documentary by Klaus Maeck in which the author reads some of his work and endures a Q&A session with surprising equanimity.

• Music, flesh and fantasy: When Mati Klarwein’s hyperactive paintings stole the psychedelic show.

• Move Over Casio: Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 Portable Synth Looks Cool, Does Everything.

• A retrospective of art by Madge Gill (1882–1961) at The Nunnery, London.

• “Art is unavoidably work”: Terre Thaemlitz interviewed.

• A trailer for Document: Keiji Haino.

WB Yeats, Magus

Pathétique 1 (1994) by Fushitsusha | Pathétique 2 (1994) by Fushitsusha.

Achilles by Barry JC Purves

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I wondered how to focus on the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus without the others getting in the way. This intense physical relationship developed into the focus of the film, rather than any more Harryhausenesque aspects of the Greek myths. Intimacy had not really been treated seriously with puppets…

Barry JC Purves

Several people seemed to appreciate the link a week or so ago to The Torchbearer by Václav Svankmajer so here’s another animated short about helmeted warriors, albeit with a very different tone. Barry JC Purves is a British animator and theatre director who produced Achilles, an 11-minute puppet animation, in 1995, back when the UK’s Channel 4 was still regularly financing animated films. Derek Jacobi narrates an exploration in the style of Ancient Greek theatre of the relationship between Achilles and his alleged lover, Patroclus. (Whether or not the pair were lovers is still a subject of dispute.) It’s rare to find any overt sexuality in the world of puppet animation unless the directors are the Brothers Quay; it’s even more rare for that sexuality to have a homoerotic aspect which is what Purves depicts. A groundbreaking piece of work, then, which can be viewed in full here. The director’s website has more about the creation of the film, and a collection of stills from the production.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Torchbearer by Václav Svankmajer