Weekend links 671


No. 54 (1915) by Anna Cassel.

• “I called it the treasure hunt: two years of tapes appearing from closets, letters dropping out of attics, persuading a film company to find the rushes of a TV show buried in a warehouse, paying a film director to digitise unused footage and a radio company to surface an old broadcast.” Nick Soulsby on pursuing the ghosts of Coil for his book about the group, Everything Keeps Dissolving.

• “It is likely that af Klint scholarship is on the brink of some radical changes regarding attribution and authorship.” Susan L. Aberth on the researches revealing collaborations between Hilma af Klint and other mystically-inclined women artists. It makes a change reading something about this group that isn’t completely dismissive about the beliefs that informed their work.

• New music: No Highs by Tim Hecker (“a beacon of unease against the deluge of false positive corporate ambient currently in vogue…”), and Seascape–polyptych by Jan Jelinek.

I think an unfortunate effect of Foucault’s work, as it was absorbed by academia, was that it made historians reluctant to call people or sexual acts in the past ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay’ since these terms ‘did not exist at the time’ or were recent creations. This gave some homophobes a spurious defence when suggestions were made as to the inclinations of their heroes, but it also—or so I thought—tended to downplay the reality of non-opportunistic homosexual desire as a constant in history, reducing it to recorded acts performed and then deeming these inadequate evidence anyhow, because they were assumed to have taken place in a fuzzy sexual universe.

If, as it seems to me, and as it seemed to Symonds and Carpenter, terms like ‘homosexual’ were invented in the effort to describe a type of person that has always existed, then they are in essence just a shorthand. Each term has its history, associations and effects, but—and perhaps this makes me an unsophisticated thinker—I think it’s the sexual feelings that fundamentally matter, and that these have existed across time. For that reason, I don’t find the Victorian sexual psyche, as far as it can be defined, alien or outlandish, or hard to speculate on. It is the product of sexual feeling filtered through observable social beliefs and conditions.

Tom Crewe talking to Amia Srinivasan about The New Life, Crewe’s debut novel which explores Victorian sex and sexuality

• “I’ve been tumbling down the rabbit-hole of toy theatre all my life, and I’m tumbling still.” Clive Hicks-Jenkins on the dark art of the toy theatre.

• At Public Domain Review: Jean Baptiste Vérany’s Chromolithographs of Cephalopods (1851).

• “Glass is perhaps the most frequently overlooked material in history,” says Katy Kelleher.

• At Cartoon Brew: Chris Robinson remembers the surreal animations of Run Wrake.

• At Unquiet Things: Of Dreams and Dark Pasts: Surrealist Painter Sofía Bassi.

• RIP Harry Belafonte.

House Of Glass (1969) by The Glass Family | Heart Of Glass (1978) by Blondie | Slow Glass (1997) by Paul Schütze

Weekend links 394


Britain’s Royal Mint acknowledges this year’s bicentenary of the publication of Frankenstein with a commemorative £2 coin.

• A trailer for The Green Fog, a film by Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson, which uses clips from over 200 films set in and around San Francisco to create a collage companion to (and critique of) Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. John DeFore reviewed the film for The Hollywood Reporter.

• Downloadable sound files and utilities for the Fairlight Computer Musical Instrument. Should you require it, the file containing the orchestra stab that was a feature of so much pop music in the 1980s is ORCH5. (Click on the “Library/Disk” listing then click “Extract” to download the samples.)

• Radio at the Internet Archive: the BBC adaptations of Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan and Gormenghast (both adapted by Brian Sibley in 1984); and 554 Sherlock Holmes radio shows.

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R Podcast 523 by Scanner, RA Podcast 605 by Chris SSG, and Secret Thirteen Mix 241 by Jaroska.

• At Discogs: a list of “Experiments, gimmick and concept albums, bands and labels“.

Patrick Cowley The Ultimate Master Megamix

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Karen Black Day.

Events In Dense Fog (1978) by Brian Eno | Fog Animal (2005) by Deaf Center | In The Fog I (2011) by Tim Hecker

Weekend links 304


One of ten new stamps designed by The Chase for the Royal Mail’s Shakespeare celebrations.

• “I basically had this problem with bombast and intensity. And I started to feel like it was a nuclear arms race.” Tim Hecker talking to Rick Moody about loud sounds, Icelandic elves and Minimalism. Hecker’s new album, Love Streams, features contributions from Ben Frost and Jóhann Jóhannsson.

• “He joked in a letter to Edmund Wilson that he had ‘managed to get into Harvard with a butterfly as my sole backer.'” Laura Marsh on Nabokov the lepidopterist.

• The brutal musical legacy of JG Ballard by Tim Noakes. Ballard’s own musical taste, as revealed in his choice for Desert Island Discs, was mostly nostalgic.

One outcome of this sense that homosexual people existed in large numbers while still remaining more or less invisible to the naked eye was the suspicion that when they got together they were likely to engage in something more, something even worse than the indulging of a perversion. Notoriously, the networks of homosexuality seemed to transcend many more formal social and political boundaries, reifying crossovers not only between national and ethnic cultures, but between high society and the demi-mondes of bohemian artists, and so forth. The Homintern certainly helped cross-fertilise the arts.

Gregory Woods on the gay artists and writers who changed the world

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 544 by Tim Gane, Abs’s Cornerhouse Classics by Abigail Ward, and Secret Thirteen Mix 181 by Broken Bone.

I Can’t Give Everything Away: Jonathan Barnbrook’s text-and graphics video for the song by David Bowie.

• “Chernobyl is spooky, in the manner of all disowned places.” Simon Parkin enters the Zone.

Osman Ahmed on why Doreen Valiente is “the mother of modern witchcraft”.

• The camera obscura art of Abelardo Morell.

An oral history of Taxi Driver.

Swiss graphic design in CSS

• RIP Tony Conrad

Lady Macbeth (1972) by Third Ear Band | In The Back Of A Taxi (1984) by Penguin Cafe Orchestra | Butterfly Mornings (2001) by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Vibrations