Weekend links 720

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The Poet and the Siren (1893) by Gustave Moreau.

• “Some books become talismans. Because they are strange, wildly different to the common run of literature; because they are scarce, and only a few precious copies are known to exist; because, perhaps, they liberate by transgressing the moral limits of the day; because their authors are lonely, elusive visionaries; because, sometimes, there is an inexplicable glamour about the book, so that its readers seem to be lured into a preternatural reverie. This book possesses all those attributes.” Mark Valentine in an introduction he wrote for a 1997 reprint of The Book of Jade (1901) by David Park Barnitz. The book’s author was an American writer who died at the age of 23 after publishing this single volume, a collection of poetry inspired by his favourite Decadent writers. Praise from HP Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Thomas Ligotti has since helped maintain the book’s reputation. The Book of Jade turned up recently at Standard Ebooks, the home of free, high-quality, public-domain texts. Also the home of an increasingly eclectic list of publications.

• At n+1: The Dam and the Bomb by Walker Mimms, a fascinating essay about the entangling of Cormac McCarthy’s personal history with his novels which makes a few connections I didn’t expect to see. Also a reminder that I’ve yet to read McCarthy’s last two books. Soon…

• The latest installation from teamLab is Resonating Life which Continues to Stand, an avenue of illuminated eggs on the Hong Kong waterfront.

• At The Wire: Symphony of sirens: an interview with Aura Satz, David Toop, Elaine Mitchener, Evelyn Glennie and Raven Chacon.

• At Unquiet Things: The Art of Darkness presents The Sleeper May Awaken: Stephen Mackey’s Unrestful Realms.

• RIP Marian Zazeela. There’s a page here with a selection of her beautiful calligraphic poster designs.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Tomona Matsukawa’s realistic paintings reconstruct fragments of everyday life.

• At Public Domain Review: Thom Sliwowski on The Defenestrations of Prague (1419–1997).

Trinity (2024), a short film by Thomas Blanchard. There’s a lot more at his YouTube channel.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Lotte Reiniger’s Day.

Sirens (1984) by Michael Stearns | Sirens (1988) by Daniel Lanois & Brian Eno | Siren Song (2009) by Bat For Lashes

Weekend links 717

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Bookplate of Charles P. Searle (1904) by Sidney Lawton Smith.

• “If Minute 9 is the first time we hear the names Deckard and Blade Runner, it’s also the first time we meet the plainclothes cop who will play a key role in LAPD surveillance of Deckard—and in the changed emphasis of four subsequent versions of Blade Runner released over the next twenty-five years.” Des Barry in the latest Minute 9 installment at 3:AM Magazine, in which a writer analyses the ninth minute of a favourite film.

• “I’ve really started to respect the journalists who are documenting what artists are doing… There’s so much reliance on social media for artists to express themselves, but maybe some don’t want to express themselves on social media all the time. Maybe they’d rather talk to a professional journalist who could parse through it for them. It can be more interesting that way.” Julia Holter talking to Skye Butchard about music-making.

• “I didn’t use any instruments that had been manufactured after 1980, but vintage analogue gear to sound like the tracks that they’re trying to evoke.” Matt Berry discussing his enthusiasm for library music, and his new album of the same for the KPM label.

• Mixes of the week: Monument Waves 002 at A Strangely Isolated Place, and DreamScenes – March 2024 at Ambientblog.

• At Public Domain Review: The Art of Sutherland Macdonald, Victorian England’s “Michelangelo of Tattooing” (ca. 1905).

• At Colossal: Unearthly characters populate Spencer Hansen’s salvaged universe.

• At Bandcamp: A Guide to Can by George Grella.

• Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…Amir Zaki.

• New music: Shoures Soote by Cerfilic.

Queens Of The Circulating Library (2000) by Coil | Library Of Solomon Book 1 (2011) by Demdike Stare | The Equestrian Library (2013) by Broadcast

Weekend links 710

Menace (1974) by Ivan Tovar.

• “I find myself going back to Early Water more and more in recent years. It should be better known.” B. Sirota reviewing the one-off musical collaboration between Michael Hoenig and Manuel Göttsching. (Previously.) It should indeed be better known.

• At Unquiet Things: “Come for the cosmic awe, stay for the skeletons in spacesuits”; S. Elizabeth talks to Adam Rowe about the science-fiction art of the 1970s.

• “The architectural style wars have started all over again.” Owen Hatherley on the unending debate between traditionalists and modernists.

• At Public Domain Review: Clear Shadows (1867), a book of Japanese silhouette portraits by Ochiai Yoshiiku.

• New music: Flux Gourmet Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Various Artists, and Volta by Loula Yorke.

• Meta machine mantras: Steve Barker on the birth of the Buddha Machine.

Cosmohedron, a short animated film by Duncan Hatch.

• Mix of the week: isolatedmix 125 by Sa Pa.

Chelsea Wolfe’s favourite music.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Mirrorers.

A Silhouette Of A Man And A Wasp (1995) by Add N To (X) | A Silhouette Approaches (2005) by Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd | Silhouette (2015) by Julia Holter

Weekend links 703

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Njommelsaska i Lappland (1856) by Carl Svantje Hallbeck.

101 hidden gems: the greatest films you’ve never seen. Not another clickbait listicle of Hollywood fare that you really have seen, this is 101 films from Sight & Sound‘s annual poll of critics and directors, each of which only received a single vote. Cinema from the silent era to the present day, “from every continent but Antarctica”, all presented on a single page, and with accompanying notes from the voters. I’ve only seen four of these so it’s a list to mine for the future.

• 2024 will see the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first Surrealist manifestos, so the following new books are making their presences known before the celebratory rush. At Colossal: extracts from New Surrealism: The Uncanny in Contemporary Painting by Robert Zeller; at AnotherMag: photos by Coco Capítan of Salvador Dalí’s home at Port Lligat.

• “Cocteau was like one of those magicians who, having announced that they are going to reveal the secret of one trick, immediately perform another.” Pierre Caizergues introducing extracts from The Secrets of Beauty, a small book of aphorisms by Jean Cocteau, newly translated into English by Juliet Powys.

• More Michael Powell: “Scorsese says The Red Shoes is in his DNA”: Thelma Schoonmaker on her life and work with Michael Powell and his friend Marty.

Dennis Cooper’s favourite fiction, poetry, non-fiction, film, art, and internet of 2023. Thanks again for the link here!

• At The Daily Heller: Book covers by Iris Alba (1935–1993), art director, illustrator and graphic designer.

• At Smithsonian Magazine: See the newest underwater sculptures residing on the floor of the Caribbean.

• At Wormwoodiana: Douglas A. Anderson goes looking for the fantasy fiction of Raymond Chandler.

• At Public Domain Review: Paige Hirschey on Anna Atkins’ cyanotypes.

Entries for the Northern Lights Photographer of the Year 2023.

• At Bibliothèque Gay: Der Mann in der Photographie, 1954.

Aurora (1971) by Tonto’s Expanding Head Band | Aurora (2005) by Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto | Aurora Liminalis (2013) by William Basinski + Richard Chartier

Works of Calder

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The “Calder” being artist Alexander Calder in a 20-minute portrait by photographer Herbert Matter, with music by John Cage and narration by Burgess Meredith. A small boy (Matter’s son, Alex) wanders along a beach then into a workshop where he finds a man identified in the narration as “Sandy Calder” cutting sheets of metal into shapes for his mobile sculptures. The film aims for the poetic but also happens to show us the mundane labour involved in creating artworks which, 70 years later, you’ll only encounter in a gallery or museum. I’m not a Cage expert but I think the music is from his pieces for prepared piano.

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I used to wonder what happened to Calder’s reputation in the 1980s, a question I still don’t have an answer for today. In the 1970s, when I started reading books about contemporary art, those mobiles were always mentioned somewhere. The “mobile” concept was an influential one, in the world of home decor as much as the art gallery, easily copied and exploited. When Calder died in 1976 much of the earlier interest in his work seemed to die along with him. This may only be my perception, of course; in the USA all his huge public sculptures have remained unavoidably visible if nothing else. Whatever the answer, the Calder Foundation has more films about the artist and his work at their YouTube channel. This one was brought to my attention by Ace Jet 170, a blog from the 2000s which remains active, and still posts new discoveries now and then.

(A note about the aspect ratio: the film was shot in 4:3, and should look as it does in these screen grabs. The YT copy is another one of those uploads which have been stretched to 16:9.)

Previously on { feuilleton }
8 x 8: A Chess Sonata in 8 Movements
Dreams That Money Can Buy