Weekend links 716


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

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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

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An alphabet designed by Ben Griffiths. Via.

• “From the cellular to the galactic, via Paleolithic cave markings to the trace impressions left by drone photography on our mind’s eye, incorporating dancing plagues, communist psychedelic witches, hyper-sexual fungi, chthonic descents, and skyward ascents, The Neon Hieroglyph weaves together a series of painterly and poetic considerations on a feminized history of the rye fungus Ergot, the chemical basis of LSD.” Coming soon from Strange Attractor: The Neon Hieroglyph, a book, LP and folio of prints by Tai Shani.

• “3rd From The Sun was the last album of Chrome’s imperial phase, and it cemented their status as one of the most inhuman and superhuman rock bands that America ever produced. More people need to recognize.” Agreed. (previously)

• “People often say, ‘How can you be so disciplined?’ It’s easy. Otherwise, I would have to go work for somebody else!” John Waters (again). Also here.

I’ve always thought that literature should be entertaining as well as instructive—a very old-fashioned idea but one that I adhere to. When I set out to write in this way—particularly in this way, a political way, if you want to call it that—I intend to make a donation, to try to give something. There doesn’t seem to me to be any point in giving more misery or exacerbating unhappiness through some kind of hyper-intellectual, pyrotechnical writing about unhappiness and the shit that we all find ourselves in. That’s been done plenty. I think first of all that it doesn’t need to be done any more and second of all there’s a kind of reactionary aspect to it which is that the emphasizing of misery without any anti-pessimism, as you put it, would be simply seduction into inactivity and political despair. In other words, to do politics at all on any level, especially on a revolutionary or on an insurrectionary level, there has to be some anti-pessimism—I won’t say optimism because that sounds so fatuous, futile; but anti-pessimism is a nice phrase. And there’s a deliberate attempt at that in the writing. Then again it’s a matter of my personality, I guess, inclined towards the notion of the healing laugh to some extent. We have an anarchist thinker in America, John Zerzan, who wrote an essay against humour which maybe is one of the things I was reacting against. Even if irony is counter-revolutionary which I think it might be to a certain extent I don’t see any way in which you could say that laughter itself is counter-revolutionary. This doesn’t make any sense to me unless you mean to get rid of language and thought altogether, which is just another form of nihilism. So as long as you’re going to accept culture on some level you’re certainly going to have to accept humour. And as long as you’re going to have to accept humour you might as well see humour as potentially revolutionary.

Peter Lamborn Wilson aka Hakim Bey, who died last month. Many of Wilson’s writings are available at The Anarchist Library. From 2008: A poem for Leonora Carrington

• “It’s such a fundamental question,” says Midori Takada, “why do humans need to make rhythm, and the space that structure creates?”

• “14 Warning Signs That You Are Living in a Society Without a Counterculture” by Ted Gioia.

• A trailer for Earwig, the new film from Lucile Hadzihalilovic, based on a story by Brian Catling.

• New music: Aura by Hatis Noit, and Warmth Of The Sun by Pye Corner Audio.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…SE Hinton Rumble Fish (1975).

• “Hear tracks from the 1980s Peruvian electronic underground”.

Intermittent Eyeball Fodder at Unquiet Things.

West Tulsa Story (1983) by Stewart Copeland | Kála/Assassins Of Hakim Bey (1997) by Coil | Neon Lights (2000) by Señor Coconut Y Su Conjunto

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Diane (1977) by Mimi Parent.

Richard Pinhas expounds upon his favourite musical choices for Warren Hatter. The influence of Robert Fripp has always been to the fore in the Pinhas oeuvre—an early track by Heldon is titled In The Wake Of King Fripp—so there was bound to be a King Crimson album on the list. But which one? Click through the selections to find out.

• Vinyl is the product of a toxic manufacturing process, as well as being difficult to recycle without releasing yet more toxins, but you seldom see these issues discussed by today’s quality-conscious vinyl fetishists. Jono Podmore talks to some of the people trying to create an eco-friendly disc.

• “…these Renaissance images shock us because they are so frequently ithyphallic: Christ has risen, but not in the way we have come to expect.” Hunter Dukes on ostentatio genitalium in Renaissance art.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine on those music projects that used to be described as “hauntological”, with an emphasis on The Machinery of the Moment, a new release from The British Space Group.

• “Like Delia Derbyshire jamming with This Heat.” Jesse Locke tours the Broadcast discography.

• 50 Watts announces the birth of 50 Watts Books, a publisher of strange and/or unusual art books.

• “Black lights turn this North Carolina mine into a psychedelic wonderland.”

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Bill Morrison Day.

Black Lightening Light (1968) by The Shy Guys | Black Light (1994) by Material | Transmission Nine: Black Light (2013) by Pye Corner Audio

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Illustration by Virgil Finlay for The Face in the Abyss by A. Merritt; Famous Fantastic Mysteries, October 1940.

• “The pier was completely outside of the gallery system, which David loved of course. People were just working on the walls, nothing was for sale, nothing could really be bought, although people were coming in and trying to chip things off the walls.” Cynthia Carr on the love letters and legacy of David Wojnarowicz.

• “In pursuit of Pure Form, the Polish artist known as “Witkacy” would consume peyote, cocaine, and other intoxicants before creating pastel portraits.” Juliette Bretan on the artful intoxications of Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz.

• Kino Kyiv: Christopher Silvester compiles a list of notable Ukrainian films. I’ve not seen all of these but Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors is a great favourite.

Onscreen for nearly the entire runtime, [Laura Dern] pulls off the remarkable feat of being in total control of a scenario organized by undermining her identity, obliterating her characterization, and so scrambling the distinction between Nikki and Susan that one eventually comes to view Inland Empire not as a maze to exit, a puzzle to solve, an ouroboros to gawk at, but rather as both a generalized treatise on the enigma of acting and a very specific, exquisitely perverse mash note to one of Lynch’s most formidable collaborators.

Nathan Lee on Laura Dern, David Lynch and Inland Empire. I’ve always thought Dern’s exceptional performance might have been recognised more widely if Lynch hadn’t filmed most of it on low-grade video.

• New music: Golden Air by Sun’s Signature, a new project from Elizabeth Fraser and Damon Reece.

• Miranda Remington explores The Strange World of…Stomu Yamash’ta.

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

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Labyrinthine.

Labyrinth (2010) by Chrome Hoof | Labyrinths (2018) by Jonathan Fitoussi / Clemens Hourrière | The Seventh Labyrinth (2019) by Pye Corner Audio