Weekend links 714

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An Exceptional Occurrence (1950) by Eileen Agar.

• New music: The Endless Echo by Pye Corner Audio, coming soon from Ghost Box. PCA continue to fly the flag for the original Ghost Box mission of bringing various forms of weirdness to electronic music. The new album “draws inspiration from scientific and science-fictional notions about the nature of time and the idea that it may be entirely unreal”. Over at Bandcamp there’s Here by Stefano Guzzetti and Ian Hawgood.

• “Powell and Pressburger emerge from this film, more than ever, as sui generis: inventors of their own kind of film, gentleman amateurs of cinema in some ways…” Peter Bradshaw reviewing Martin Scorsese’s Made in England: The Films of Powell and Pressburger.

Velocity and Creation, a pair of short films by Vadim Sherbakov made with magnets, glitter and inks. The scores are too bombastic but I like the visuals.

Art is for increasing life. That, I believe, after all the other purposes receive their due, is really what it’s for—why we revere it, why we give our hearts to it. What do I mean by increasing life? How can we live more, given that we can’t live longer? Through attention and intensity. Being fully present to the world, and feeling without reservation: the two things that making art requires and that experiencing it involves.

William Deresiewicz on thirteen ways of looking at art

Modern Illustration is a project by illustrator Zara Picken, featuring print artefacts from her extensive personal collection.

• Mix of the week: Aquarium Drunkard presents Pulp Jazz: Twenty-First Century Groove Music. Great stuff.

• At Public Domain Review: Tales of the Catfish God: Earthquakes in Japanese Woodblock Prints.

• At The Quietus: Jonathan Meades interviews Saint Leonard. And vice versa.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Michelangelo Antonioni Day.

• The Strange World of…Bill Laswell.

Creation (1971) by Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come | Création Du Monde (1971) by Vangelis | Creation (1977) by Tangerine Dream

Edge of Alchemy, a film by Stacey Steers

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Stacey Steers’ Edge of Alchemy (2017) presents a unique approach to collage animation by combining backgrounds, objects and creatures taken from engraved illustrations with characters lifted from early cinema. The latter are two of the stars of the silent screen, Mary Pickford and Janet Gaynor, whose roles in several films are repurposed by Steers into a wordless 20-minute exploration of weird science: Pickford becomes “The Scientist”, a part she never would have been allowed to play in the silent days, while Gaynor is “The Creature”, a plant woman born from the Scientist’s experiments whose first appearance in bandages is borrowed from The Bride of Frankenstein. Bees proliferate in this scenario, very large ones with which the Creature has a natural affinity. The cumulative effect is like seeing Wilfried Sätty’s collages brought to life, in particular those in his first two books which incorporated photographic material with the engravings. The icing on the cake is a choral score by Lech Jankowski, best known for the music he composed for several of the Quay Brothers’ films.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Still Life, a film by Connor Griffith
Hamfat Asar, a film by Lawrence Jordan
Carabosse, a film by Lawrence Jordan
Labirynt by Jan Lenica
Heaven and Earth Magic by Harry Smith

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 709

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Guardian Angels (1946) by Dorothea Tanning.

• “If photographs can outlive their subjects, and memory works like photography, do images somehow endure in the brain after death? Could these undead memories be recovered with the right technologies?” Speculative fiction from 1899 in Dr Berkeley’s Discovery by Richard Slee and Cornelia Atwood Pratt.

• Mix of the week: Astral Loitering: Excursions In New Age, 1970–1989: 210 minutes of well-chosen selections that continue where I Am The Center left off. In a similar zone, albeit more recent, there’s the regular monthly report from Ambientblog, DreamScenes—January 2024.

• At American Scientist: The Source of Europe’s Mild Climate: “The notion that the Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping Europe anomalously warm turns out to be a myth”. An article from 2006 that you’d think would be more widely known today.

The Anomalist: “World News on UFOs, Bigfoot, the Paranormal, and Other Mysteries at the Edge of Science”. Too many of the links lead to worthless tabloid filler but the headlines can be fun.

• Coming soon from Strange Attractor: Two-Headed Doctor: Listening for Ghosts in Dr John’s Gris-Gris, a book by David Toop which analyses the Doctor’s voodoo-themed debut album.

• At Unquiet Things: Beyond The Shadows Of The Labyrinth: Exploring the Groovy Kaleidoscope of Ted CoConis’ Art.

• DJ Food unearths a batch of Portuguese Hauntology via Prisma Sonora Records.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: John Waters Day (restored/expanded).

• New music: Moon by Retep Folo & Dorothy Moskowitz.

New Age (live) (1969) by The Velvet Underground | New Age (1980) by Chrome | 1966 – Let The New Age Of Enlightenment Begin (2014) by Sinoia Caves

First Papers of Surrealism, 1942

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As I was saying a couple of weeks ago, Surrealism will be 100 years old this year, if you mark the movement’s birth from the first manifestoes (there were two different ones) published in October 1924. Surrealism doesn’t really have a definite beginning, however, either in 1924 or earlier on; the movement evolved over several years, with different factions competing for followers while squabbling over intentions. After a great deal of ferment the manifestoes from the opposed groups led by Yvan Goll and André Breton were a declaration that something substantial had been happening that required definition. I’m not sure why all of this interests me as much as it does just now, but I’m looking forward to seeing where the interest leads. Don’t be surprised to see more posts on the subject in the coming months.

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So, then… Fast-forward to 1942 and First Papers of Surrealism, an exhibition of paintings staged in New York City by the Coordination Council of French Relief Societies in October of that year. The exhibition was curated by André Breton with the assistance of Marcel Duchamp, Breton having recently arrived in the United States after escaping from Nazi-occupied France together with a small group of Surrealist artists, some of whom were represented in the show. Duchamp’s main contribution was His Twine, an installation of a large quantity of string threaded around the exhibition space through which the visitors had to peer in order to see the paintings. Duchamp also invited a group of children to play ball games inside the gallery on the opening night. This wasn’t the first Surrealist exhibition to be held in New York—Julien Levy had introduced the city to the latest art movement at his own gallery in 1933, and had been showing Surrealist paintings and Joseph Cornell’s artworks in the years that followed—but First Papers on Surrealism was an important event, with many major artists represented.

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What you see here are pages from the exhibition catalogue, a publication which is more like one of the smaller Surrealist magazines than a mere list of the pictures on display. Marcel Duchamp designed the die-cut cover (those holes make me wonder whether these were also originally threaded with string), while the catalogue interior contains an intriguing collection of quotes, captions, photographs and illustrations. Breton’s “Great Transparent Ones” raise their invisible heads again, while the artists and curators are all depicted in a series of “compensation portraits” which stand in for an absence of suitable photos.

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