• Saul Bass’s cult science-fiction film, Phase IV, has received a very welcome (Region B) blu-ray release from 101 Films. Everything is a metaphor for the unavoidable just now, but a film about a group of scientists besieged by a tiny and insidious biological threat can’t help but have additional resonance. The new release includes the original (and seldom seen) cosmic ending plus another disc containing several of Bass’s short films. Previously: Directed by Saul Bass.
• Music at the Internet Archive: Live at Metro (2007) by Sora, and three rare cassette releases by French synth-rock duo Fondation: Metamorphoses (1980), Sans Etiquette (1980), and Le Vaisseau Blanc (1983).
• Mixes of the week: a Manu Dibango (RIP) mix from Aquarium Drunkard, and Industrial Synth Rave Isolation Mix by Moon Wiring Club.
We must talk about Nightwood. The novel that sits between those early and late phases of her writing life, the tale of Felix Volkbein, Robin Vote, Dr Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O’Connor and many others, caught between world wars and each other, in the decadent cities of Europe. The novel follows the journey of Robin Vote, who is more “earth-flesh, fungi, which smells of captured dampness” than person. Sleepwalking through life, she nonetheless wakes up her fellow characters Nora, Felix and Jenny, who each try and pin her down, to no avail. It is a novel that defies synopsis. It is unsurprising that this remarkable book has attracted a “burgeoning body of interpretations”, as Tyrus Miller here notes; yet it seems that there are still new ways to approach it. Julie Taylor offers an affective reading, for example; Joanne Winning concentrates on Nightwood’s collaborative origins, exploring the fruitful and often overlooked creative relationship between Barnes and her partner, Thelma Wood. This is not just a case of considering that relationship as source material for the novel, but unpacking what Winning describes as their “lesbian modernist grotesque”. It is particularly welcome that Winning treats Wood as a silver-point artist in her own right.
Jade French reviews Shattered Objects: Djuna Barnes’s Modernism
• Ben Beaumont-Thomas on where to start with Kraftwerk, and Jennifer Lucy Allan on where to start with Alice Coltrane.
• The BBC’s Culture page discovers Tom of Finland but can’t bring itself to show much of his artwork.
• The art of Asterix: illustrator Albert Uderzo (RIP) at work.
• Clive Hicks-Jenkins on “a marvel of clockwork ingenuity”.
• The films Wes Anderson is watching during isolation.
• Greydogtales on six more strange tales that linger.
• Adrian Searle‘s favourite online art galleries.
• The Ghost Box label is now at Bandcamp.
• Twin Flames (Edit) by Lustmord.
• At Dennis Cooper’s: Flamboyant.
• Phase By Phase (1976) by Peter Baumann | Phase 3: Agni Detonating Over The Thar Desert… (1995) by Earth | Phase Draft (2003) by Bill Laswell