Weekend links 732


Chasing Fireflies, A Lady of the Tenmei Era, from the series Thirty-six Elegant Selections (1894) by Mizuno Toshikata.

• While working on the Herald of Ruin cover late last year I was wondering when we might get to see the BFI or Eureka releasing Louis Feuillade’s silent serials on Region B blu-ray discs. Six months later, Eureka have announced this very thing: Louis Feuillade: The Complete Crime Serials (1913–1918), a box comprising the Gaumont restorations of Fantômas, Les Vampires, Judex and Tih Minh. I’ll probably have more to say about this in September.

• At A Year In The Country: Wyrd Explorations: A Decade Of Wandering Through Spectral Fields, a book which collects revised and extended pieces from the first ten years of A Year In The Country posts.

• At The Paris Review: Eliza Barry Callahan visits and revisits Joseph Cornell’s house at 37-08 Utopia Parkway, NYC.

• New music: Jinxed By Being by Shackleton & Six Organs of Admittance.

• Browse artworks by Pablo Picasso at the Picasso Museum, Paris.

• At Unquiet Things: Victor Kalin’s Paradoxical Paperback Art.

Strange Transmissions: The World Of Experimental Radio.

• At Dennis Cooper’s it’s Satoshi Kon‘s Day.

Aaron Turner’s favourite music.

• DJ Food’s haul of Acid Badges.

Acid Head (1966) by The Velvet Illusions | Acid Heart Mother (2000) by Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. | Acid Death Picnic (2013) by Cavern Of Anti-Matter

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Springtime in Paris (1923) by Georg Kretzschmar.

• I’ve been asked to mention that the tribute book put together for Alan Moore’s 70th birthday, Alan Moore: Portraits of an Extraordinary Gentleman, is still available. As before, the book features contributions from many well-known comic artists, a foreword by Iain Sinclair, and this piece of my own.

• “I never posted any lecture of mine on Tumblr, even though Tumblr would seem to have plenty of elbow-room for hour-long, learned, European public lectures (with many lecture slides).” Utopian Realism, a speech by Bruce Sterling.

• Reading the Signs: John Kenny in conversation with Mark Valentine about Mark’s new collection Lost Estates.

There remains something suspect about blotter, a stain that is both a blessing and a curse. As the blotter producer Matthew Rick, who started selling sheets as non-dipped ‘art’ collectables at festivals in 1998, puts it: ‘[B]lotter is the last underground art form that’s going to stay underground, simply because you’re creating something that looks like and functions like a felony.’ In other words, blotter is ontologically illicit; it is, as Rick says, ‘drug paraphernalia by its very existence’.

Erik Davis (again) on LSD and the cultural history of the printed blotter

• At Colossal: Uncanny phenomena derail domestic bliss in Marisa Adesman’s luminous paintings.

• Standing stones, urban hellscapes and male nudes: Andrew Pulver on Derek Jarman’s Super-8 films.

• “ [breaking news] An anomaly on earth has brought the cats to over 150 meters. Please be patient.”

• At We Are The Mutants: Alien Renaissance: An interview with illustrator Bob Fowke.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…René Crevel My Body and I (1926).

• At Public Domain Review: The Little Journal of Rejects (1896).

• Steven Heller’s font of the month is Sandhouse.

• RIP Steve Albini.

Sandoz In The Rain (1970) by Amon Düül II | Bon Voyage Au LSD (2001) by Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. | Careful With That Sheet Of Acid, Eugene (2019) by Jenzeits

The Japanese Sandman, a film by Ed Buhr


I upgraded my DVD of David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch to blu-ray recently. The film is one of my favourites in the Cronenberg oeuvre even though its connection to the novel is minimal at best. After watching it again I was thinking (not for the first time) that one way to adapt either Naked Lunch or any of the books in the “Nova Trilogy”—The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded, Nova Express—would be to commission ten or twenty very different film-makers to adapt portions of the novel in whatever manner they chose. The resulting short films could either be run in sequence or cut together to make a meta-film which, if nothing else, would be closer to the disjointed structure of William Burroughs’ early novels than the semi-biographical narrative that Cronenberg delivered .


Which brings us to The Japanese Sandman, a 12-minute film made by Ed Buhr in 2008 which turned up recently on YouTube. Buhr’s short is a dramatisation of passages from the letters that Burroughs wrote to Allen Ginsberg in 1953, in which Burroughs recounts his experiences in Panama while searching for the yage vine, a plant which yields the hallucinogen known as ayahuasca. Narrator John Fleck is a decent Burroughs mimic (although the real Burroughs pronounced “Panama” with a distinct drawl at the end, more like “Panamawww”), and since Burroughs’ own words provide the text of the piece the film is closer to Burroughs’ books than many other short films. Black-and-white scenes in Panama rooms alternate with a colour sequence where Burroughs recalls a doomed love affair with a boy in the St Louis of the 1930s. It’s gratifying to see someone draw attention to an aspect of Burroughs’ writing that’s often ignored, the persistent thread of melancholy and regret for lost time/lost people which runs through so many of his novels. It’s a side of the fiction that would also have to be accounted for in any longer adaptation of Burroughs’ work.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The William Burroughs archive

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The Vision of Endymion (1902) by Edward John Poynter.

The Art and History of Lettering Comics by Todd Klein. Eight of the pages in the forthcoming Moon & Serpent book have been lettered by Todd.

• At Igloomag: Chang Terhune looks for music to help you sleep. No mention of an obvious (and superior) candidate, Sleep by Max Richter.

• New music: Ghosted II by Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin; and The Ship by David Shea.

But unlike macroscopic drugs like cannabis, LSD is so small and so powerful that its consumption almost always requires an inert housing—the water, tablets, sugar cubes, bits of string, or pieces of paper that transport the drug from manufacturer to tripper. In the law, this vehicle is described as the “carrier medium,” an object impregnated with drugs, one that can be sold, seized, presented as evidence, and dissolved into the hearts, minds, and guts of consumers.

When you print images onto a paper carrier medium, you are adding another layer of mediation to an already loopy transmission. Hence, a meta medium, a liminal genre of print culture that dissolves the boundaries between a postage stamp, a ticket, a bubble gum card, and the communion host. This makes blotter a central if barely recognized artifact of psychedelic print culture, alongside rock posters and underground newspapers and comix, but with the extra ouroboric weirdness that it is designed to be ingested, to disappear. Blotter is the most ephemeral of all psychedelic ephemera. It is produced to be eaten, to blur the divide between object and subject, dissolving material signs and molecules into a phenomenological upsurge of sensory, poetic, and cognitive immediacy.

Erik Davis, in an extract from Blotter: The Untold Story of an Acid Medium

• At Wormwoodiana: John Howard on The London Adventure, or, The Art of Wandering by Arthur Machen.

• At Unquiet Things: Hidden Marvels on Your Bookshelf: The Artistic Legacy of Laurence Schwinger.

• “Some intelligent civilizations will be trapped on their worlds”. Evan Gough explains.

• At Vinyl Factory: The Latin-American women of 20th-century electronic music.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Steve Erickson presents A Black Psychedelia Primer Day.

• At Public Domain Review: Animated Putty by Walter R. Booth.

Vinita Joshi’s favourite music.

Sleepy Theory (1982) by Weekend | Sleep 3 (1995) by Paul Schütze | Sleep Games (2012) by Pye Corner Audio

Weekend links 713


Black Cat (1910) by Shunso Hishida.

• “A duck goes quack quack in English but coin coin in French. In Spanish a dog goes guau-guau, not woof woof, while in Arabic it goes haw haw, and in Mandarin wang-wang. In Japanese cats go nyaa, and bees—having no access to the zz sound—go boon-boon.” Caspar Henderson asks “Could onomatopoeia be the origin of language?”

• Coming soon from MIT Press: Blotter: The Untold Story of an Acid Medium by Erik Davis; “the first comprehensive written account of the history, art, and design of LSD blotter paper, the iconic drug delivery device that will perhaps forever be linked to underground psychedelic culture and contemporary street art.”

• At Aquarium Drunkard: The late Damo Suzuki is remembered with a recording of Can playing at the Volkshalle Wagtzenborn-Steinberg, Giessen, October 22, 1971.

• At Unquiet Things: Another collection of Intermittent Eyeball Fodder. I was sorry to hear from that post that artist Dan Hillier had died recently. RIP.

• At Bandcamp Daily: Mouse On Mars discuss 30 years of dynamic electronic music.

• Old music: Rare Soundtracks & Lost Tapes (1973–1984) by Alain Goraguer.

• At Spoon & Tamago: The imaginary architectures of Minoru Nomata.

• Mix of the week: DreamScenes – February 2024 at Ambientblog.

• At Vinyl Factory: Julia Holter on some of her favourite records.

• At Public Domain Review: Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats (1928).

• Steven Heller’s Font of the Month is Cuatro.

A brief history of London’s gas lamps.

• New music: Pithovirii by Aidan Baker.

Black Cat Bone (2000) by Laika | Black Cat (2005) by Broadcast | Black Cat (2008) by Ladytron