Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yes, You Can Colour My Pleasure Night Vermillion*

Fig. 1. Takashi Murakami (click) - Army of Mushrooms, 2001

'I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.'

Hunter S. Thompson

Addendum: Click Meeee! Click Meeee!

* With thanks to Dive for bringing Vermillion Pleasure Night to my attention.

Friday, February 27, 2009

M.A.E.W.I.T.C.P.Y.H.F.J.D.Q.L.K.Z.S.B.X.O.V.R.U.G.N. ...

Fig. 1. Giacomo Balla - Velocità astratta + rumore (Abstract Speed + Sound), 1913-14

'I would warn you that I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused.'

Baruch Spinoza


Fig. 2. M. C. Escher - Circle Limit II, 1959

Fig. 3. Annual migration of the Golden Ray

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Feeling (And Seeing) The World As A Limited Whole*

Fig. 1. Desiree Dolron - Xteriors VIII, 2004

'Death changes the facts qualitatively but not quantitatively.'

John Berger

'Feeling the world as a limited whole - it is this that is mystical.' (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Six More Flaming Rhapsodies In Red, White & Green

Fig. 1. On March 8th 2008, pianist Yosuke Yamashita donned a fireproof suit and played a burning piano on a beach in Ishikawa prefecture. The improvised jazz performance went for about 10 minutes until the flames rendered the piano silent. (With thanks to Pink Tentacle.)

'The key to the mystery of a great artist is that, for reasons unknown, he [sic] will give away his energies and his life just to make sure that one note follows another ... [leaving] us with the feeling that something is right in the world.'

Leonard Bernstein

Your Ears Will Orgasm #48b: Franz Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsodies 7-12, played by Michele Campanella (MixPod Player)

7. No. 7 in D minor
8. No. 8 in F sharp minor
9. No. 9 in E flat (Pesther Carneval)
10. No. 10 in E (Preludio)
11. No. 11 in A minor
12. No. 12 in C sharp minor

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sometimes, Kisses Are A Better Fate Than Wisdom*

Fig. 1. Marlene Dumas - The Kiss, 2003

'A kiss, when all is said, what is it? / ... 'Tis a secret told to the mouth instead of to the ear.'

Edmond Rostand

* since feeling is first (e.e. cummings)

since feeling is first

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
- the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

Addendum: Larissa (thank you!) writes:

I adore e. e. cummings. Here's another great poem by him:

[somewhere i have never travelled]

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Monday, February 23, 2009

Eldritch Traces, Left By Future Dust In Ancient Dust

Fig. 1. Footprint left during NASA's Apollo 11 mission (July 1969), when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked the lunar surface.

'If we could see ourselves as others see us, we would vanish on the spot.'

Emile M. Cioran

Addendum: Old Friends, New Words

Katie and Edna St. Vincent Millay are back, this time with a poem they refuse to dust off - and with good reason:

I vaguely remember the Apollo 11 mission. I was way too young to understand what was really happening though, so I missed my opportunity to want to be an astronaut.

ESVM wrote a little something about dust:

Autumn Chant

Now the autumn shudders
In the rose's root.
Fat and wide the ladders
Lean among the fruit.

Now the autumn clambers
Up the trellised frame,
And the rose remembers
The dust from which it came.

Brighter than the blossom
On the rose's bough
Sits the wizened, orange,
Bitter berry now;

Beauty never slumbers;
All is in her name;
But the rose remembers
The dust from which it came.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Have Come To Debase The Coinage!, He Trumpeted*

Fig. 1. Vivek Vilasini - Between One Shore and Several Others (After Richard Hamilton's 'Just What Is It that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing?', 1956), 2008

'The truth, whatever it is, be damned. What we need is laughter.'

Paul Karl Feyerabend

* 'I have come to debase the coinage.' (Diogenes)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Everything Can Not Be Seen From One Point Of View

Fig. 1. William Eggleston - Memphis, c. 1969-70

'If subjectivity constitutes "homes" as places of attachment, temporary addresses for people, agency constitutes strategic installments; these are the specific places and spaces that define specific forms of agency and empower specific populations. In this sense, we can inquire into the conditions of possibility of agency, for agency - the ability to make history, as it were - is not intrinsic to either subjects or to selves. Agency is the product of diagrams of mobility which define or map the possibilities of where or how specific vectors of influence can stop and be placed.'

Lawrence Grossberg

Friday, February 20, 2009

Being's Fragility Is Second To That Of "Nothingness"

Fig. 1. Book of the Dead of Amen-em-hat, 320 BC (Ptolemaic Period): Amen-em-het, on the left, greets the deities Horus, Isis, Nepthys and Anubis

'God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through.'

Paul Valéry

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Silk, The Scribe, The Scientist And Their Doubles

Fig. 1. Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein - Goethe in the Campagna, 1787

'Talent develops in quiet places, character in the full current of human life.'

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Addendum: The Future Of Our Lives Is Short, While That Of Our Deaths Is Eternal

Fig. 2. Monument to Goethe in the Pincio Gardens, Rome

'On Friday, March 16th, 1832, Goethe awoke with a chill, from which he gradually recovered, and was so much better by Monday that he designed to begin his regular work on the following day. But in the middle of the night he woke up with a deathly coldness, which extended from his hands over his body, and which it took many hours to overcome. It then appeared that the lungs were attacked and that there was no possible hope of recovery. Goethe did not anticipate death. He sat fully clothed in his arm-chair, made attempts to reach his study, spoke confidently of his recovery, and of the walks he would take in the fine April days. His daughter-in-law, Ottilie, tended him faithfully. On the morning of the 22nd his strength gradually left him, and he sat slumbering in his arm-chair, holding Ottilie's hand. Her name was constantly on his lips, though his mind occasionally wandered, at one time to his beloved Schiller, at another to a fair female head, with black curls, some passion of his youth. His last words were an order to a servant to open another shutter to let in more light. After this he traced with his forefinger letters in the air. At half-past eleven in the forenoon he drew himself, without any sign of pain, into the left corner of his arm-chair, and went so peacefully to sleep that it was long before the watchers knew that his spirit was fled. He was buried in the grand-ducal vault, where the bones of Schiller were laid, and where Duke Karl August had directed his body be placed, though the request was disregarded as contrary to the etiquette of German courts.'

This document was originally published in The Drama: Its History, Literature and Influence on Civilization, vol. 11. ed. Alfred Bates. London: Historical Publishing Company, 1906. pp. 89-90.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Under The Right Hands, Black And White Are Colours

Fig. 1. Josef Danhauser - Liszt at the Piano, 1840

'I sat near [Liszt] so that I could see both his hands and face. For the first time in my life I beheld real inspiration - for the first time I heard the true tones of the piano. He played one of his own compositions - one of a series of religious fantasies. There was nothing strange or excessive about his manner. His manipulation of the instrument was quiet and easy, and his face was simply grand - the lips compressed and the head thrown a little backward. When the music expressed quiet rapture or devotion a sweet smile flitted over his features; when it was triumphant the nostrils dilated. There was nothing petty or egoistic to mar the picture.'

George Eliot

Your Ears Will Orgasm #48a: Franz Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsodies 1-6, played by Michele Campanella (MixPod Player)

1. No. 1 in C sharp minor
2. No. 2 in C sharp minor
3. No. 3 in B flat
4. No. 4 in E flat
5. No. 5 in E minor (Héroide Elégiaque)
6. No. 6 in D flat

Addendum #1: My friend Jana - bless her heart - has corrected my embarrassing slackness-cum-ignorance with respect to the personages depicted in Josef Danhauser's painting of Liszt at the piano: and, since the information is so relevant to the quote from George Eliot, here it is, with a basketful of thanks:

Funny you should not know. This painting is featured more prominently in the history of music than the history of art, since it's a curious document: more an aesthetic manifesto than visual art.

The painting features Romanticism itself: a trio of musicians represented by Liszt on the piano, and Paganini and Rossini in the back. Then a trio of writers, from George Sand (drawing a line of attention from Liszt to the left, prominently stretching in the armchair), to Alexandre Dumas Sr on her left, and Victor Hugo leaning over the chair. But note the importance given to two major romantic artists: the bust of Beethoven on the piano, and the painting of Byron at the back wall.

The feminine-lookin' lady on the floor is the mother of Liszt's daughter, who married Richard Wagner. Wife? I wouldn't know. She is obviously not one of the compadres here.

PS: Folks, if you want to see a truly great mind at work, check out Jana's blog, guerrilla semiotics. (This is not a paid advertisement).

Addendum #2: Some More (And This May Bore) On Metaphor*

Fig. 2. Giuseppe Arcimboldo - Portrait with Vegetables (The Greengrocer), c. 1590

* Extract from Siri Hustvedt's Charles Dickens and the Morbid Fragment as a downloadable PDF.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

When Metaphor Is The Child Of Motion And Meaning

Fig. 1. Gérard Uféras - Charlotte Ranson in Orphée et Eurydice by Pina Bausch, Ballet de l'Opéra National de Paris, 2005

'Muscular capacity is the physical means by which dances are made. But the means became available to the choreographic imagination only through the operation of a metaphor by which a moving in the muscular sense takes on the character of a doing or goings on ... Strictly speaking, then, dances are not made out of but upon movement, movement being the poetic bearer, the persistent metaphor, by which muscular material is made available for the enhanced, meaningful, and designed goings on that are dance.'

George Beiswanger

Your Ears Will Orgasm #47: Nicolai Gedda - 'J'ai Perdu Mon Eurydice', Orphée et Eurydice by Christoph Willibald Gluck (MixPod Player)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Don't Build Your House Of Cards In A House Of Glass

Fig. 1. Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin - The House of Cards, 1736-7

'Any critic is entitled to wrong judgments, of course. But certain lapses of judgment indicate the radical failure of an entire sensibility.'

Susan Sontag

Your Ears Will Orgasm #46: David Bowie - Breaking Glass (MixPod Player)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It Is Said That Above Oblivion’s Tide There Is A Pier*

Fig. 1. James Ensor - Masks Confronting Death, 1888

'This is the valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens: where ashes take the form of houses and chimneys and rising smoke, and finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.'

F. Scott Fitzgerald (from The Great Gatsby)

* Above Oblivion's Tide there is a Pier by Emily Dickinson

Your Ears Will Orgasm #45: Luciano Berio - Ekphrasis (MixPod Player)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Please Be A Witness To Love As A Thing Of Wonder*

Fig. 1. Quadricycle for two, 1886

Valentine's Day May Mean More To Retailers Than Lovers

Some holidays know who they are. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks; Independence Day celebrates freedom. But other holidays contradict themselves, and none more than Valentine's Day, which has about as much to do with love as the Easter Bunny has with resurrection.

For one thing, it's named after a martyr, which isn't a very promising start for a holiday meant to celebrate passion, not punishment.

In olden days, a typical observance involved bachelors pulling maiden's names out of an urn like a raffle. Nowadays, Valentine's Day is a favorite of 8-year-olds who come home from school with more candy than on any day other than Halloween, though this, too, seems a little odd for a holiday that shimmies into view in a pink feather boa and high heels.

Children alone can't account for the fact that a billion cards are sent every year - second only to Christmas - and 85 percent of them by women. For this, we can thank Esther Howland, a 1847 Mount Holyoke grad whose father owned a stationery store and who came up with the idea of mass-producing Valentines. The mother of the Valentine never married, but she did get very rich.

I'm suspicious of any holiday in which the greeting card business and the diamond cartel conspire. Greeting cards have their place - congratulations on the new baby, joy and peace in 2009 - but surely love should sing harmonies only you can hear, not the tinny pipe organ of the Hallmark serenade.

As for the diamonds, I like them as much as the next girl, but especially in this economy it would be nice for love to be associated with something warm and soft and accessible, not cold, hard and exorbitant.

My main frustration is that Valentine's Day only pretends to celebrate what we like about love while more often undermining it. Love is hope and madness and generosity; it asks for nothing in return. Valentine's Day easily evokes dread and duty and devotion put through a metal detector.

A million Web sites instruct men on what to give, lest they send the wrong signal or are reduced to relying on drugstore chocolates. Restaurants cue the violins and raise their prices. You can find matching Snoopy Valentine towels on eBay, not to mention naked Cupid refrigerator magnets.

There's nothing wrong with reveling in romance, and honoring friendship, and pausing in the bleak midwinter to tickle the people we love, but it's also a good sign of the state of your relationships if the day just saunters by and winks and you feel no need to pay much attention.

Love should fizz without champagne, should grow even in hard soil. The minute its expression feels like a duty, it has lost its bearings. "Love sought is good," Shakespeare observed, "but given unsought is better."

* 'I have always felt that there is a triangular quality to every love affair. There are two lovers and a third element - the idea of being in love itself. I wonder if it is possible to fall in love without this third presence, an imaginary witness to love as a thing of wonder, cast in the glow of our deepest stories about ourselves,' (Siri Hustvedt)

Addendum: Smoke Me Down To The Butt, Baby

My Bloody Valentine - Cigarette In Your Bed (click image to watch clip on YouTube)

Friday, February 13, 2009

There Is A Dark That Only Inner Light Can Illuminate

Fig. 1. Max Burchartz - Lotte's Eye, c. 1928

'The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darkness.'

Nikos Kazantzakis

Your Ears Will Orgasm #44: A Better Version Of Me (MixPod Player)

1. T-Bird & The Breaks - Take Time
2. Fiona Apple - A Better Version Of Me
3. Nina Simone - Feeling Good
4. Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Reasons To Be Cheerful
5. The Young Punx - The Clapping Song
6. Goldfrapp - Happiness

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Question: Is Your Art Theory Half Full Or Half Empty?

Fig. 1. Cildo Meireles - Insertions into Ideological Circuits: Coca-Cola Project, 1970

'Expression, like construction, signifies both an action and its result. ... If the two meanings are separated, the object is viewed in isolation from the operation which produced it, and therefore apart from vision, since the act proceeded from an individual live creature. Theories that seize on "expression" as if it denoted simply the object, always insist to the utmost that the object of art is purely representative of other objects already in existence. They ignore the contribution which makes the object something new.'

John Dewey

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hi - My Name Is Lucio And I Am A Manic-Depressive

Fig. 1. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Grand Opera House, San Francisco, 1901

Is Mood A Language?

Sadness is the fundamental mood of depression, and even if manic euphoria alternates with it in the bipolar forms of that ailment, sorrow is the major outward sign that gives away the desperate person. Sadness leads us into the enigmatic realm of affects - anguish, fear, or joy. Irreducible to its verbal or semiological expressions, sadness (like all affect) is the psychic representation of energy displacements caused by external traumas. The exact status of such psychic representations of energy displacements remains, in the present state of psychoanalytic and semiological theories, very vague. No conceptual framework in the relevant sciences (particularly linguistics) has proven adequate to account for this apparently very rudimentary representation, presign and prelanguage. The "sadness" mood triggered by a stimulation, tension, or energy conflict within a psychosomatic organism is not a specific answer to a release mechanism (I am not sad as a response to a sign or for X and only to X). Mood is a generalised "transference" (E. Jacobson) that stamps the entire behaviour and all the sign systems (from motor functions to speech production and idealisation) without either identifying with them or disorganising them. We are justified in believing that an anarchic energy signal is involved, a phylogenetic inheritance, which, within the psychic space of the human being, is immediately assumed by verbal representation and consciousness. Nevertheless, such an "assumption" is not related to what occurs when the energies that Freud calls "bonded" lend themselves to verbalisation, association, and judgement. Let us say that representations germane to affects, notably sadness, are fluctuating energy cathexes: insufficiently stabilised to coalesce as verbal or other signs, acted upon by primary processes of displacement and condensation, dependent just the same on the agency of the ego, they record through its intermediary the threats, orders, and injunctions of the superego. Thus moods are inscriptions, energy disruptions, and not simply raw energies. They lead us toward a modality of significance that, on the threshold of bioenergetic stability, insures the preconditions for (or manifests the disintegration of) the imaginary and the symbolic. On the frontier between animality and symbol formation, moods - and particularly sadness - are the ultimate reactions to our traumas, they are our basic homeostatic recourses. For if it is true that those who are slaves to their moods, being drowned in their sorrows, reveal a number of psychic or cognitive frailties, it is equally true that a diversification of moods, variety in sadness, refinement in sorrow or mourning are the imprint of a humankind that is surely not triumphant but subtle, ready to fight, and creative . . .

Literary creation is that adventure of the body and signs that bears witness to the affect - to sadness as an imprint of separation and beginning of the symbol's sway; to joy as imprint of the triumph that settles me in the universe of artifice and symbol, which I try to harmonise in the best possible way with my experience of reality. But that testimony is produced by literary creation in a material that is totally different from what constitutes mood. It transposes affect into rhythms, signs, forms. The "semiotic" and the "symbolic" become the communicable imprints of an affective reality, perceptible to the reader (I like this book because it conveys sadness, anguish, or joy) and yet dominated, set aside, vanquished.

Julia Kristeva

Addendum #1:

Fig. 2. The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive (still), 2006 - Stephen Fry (click image to start watching this documentary on YouTube)

Addendum #2: And Now For Something Completely Foreseeable

The Life of Brian, 1979 - d. Brian Jones (click image to watch clip on YouTube)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ladies And Gents - Allow Me To Style Your Cramps

Fig. 1. The late Lux Interior (Erick Purkhiser) of The Cramps


The mouth is the beginning or, if one prefers, the prow of animals; in the most characteristic cases, it is the most living part, in other words, the most terrifying for neighbouring animals. But man does not have a simple architecture like beasts, and it is not even possible to say where he begins. He possibly starts at the top of the skull, but the top of the skull is an insignificant part, incapable of catching one's attention; it is the eyes or forehead that play the meaningful role of an animal's jaws.

Among civilised men, the mouth has even lost the relatively prominent character that it still has among primitive men. However, the violent meaning of the mouth is conserved in a latent state; it suddenly regains the upper hand with a literally cannibalistic expression such as mouth of fire [bouche à feu], applied to the cannons men use to kill each other. And on important occasions human life is still bestially concentrated in the mouth: rage makes men grind their teeth, while terror and atrocious suffering turn the mouth into the organ of rending screams. On this subject it is easy to observe that the overwhelmed individual throws back his head while frenetically stretching his neck in such a way that the mouth becomes, as much as possible, an extension of the spinal column, in other words, in the position it normally occupies in the constitution of animals. As if explosive impulses were to spurt directly out of the body through the mouth, in the form of screams. This fact highlights both the importance of the mouth in animal physiology or even psychology, and the general importance of the superior or anterior extremity of the body, the orifice of profound physical impulses; one sees at the same time that a man can liberate these impulses in at least two different ways, in the brain or in the mouth, but that as soon as these impulses become violent, he is obliged to resort to the bestial way of liberating them. When the narrow constipation of a strictly human attitude, the material look of the face with a closed mouth, as beautiful as a safe.

Georges Bataille

Your Ears Will Orgasm #43: The Cramps - Tribute Mix (MixPod Player)

1. All Women Are Bad
2. Sunglasses After Dark
3. Lonesome Town
4. Goo Goo Muck
5. Aloha From Hell
6. Surfin' Bird
7. Miniskirt Blues
8. I Was A Teenage Werewolf
9. Bikini Girls With Machine Guns
10. Two-Headed Sex Change
11. Mystery Plane
12. Human Fly
13. Don't Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk
14. The Way I Walk
15. New Kind Of Kick
16. I Can't Hardly Stand It
17. Garbageman
18. What's Inside A Girl?
19. Return Of The Living Dead
20. Daisies Up Your Butterfly
21. She Said
22. Zombie Dance
23. Saddle Up A Buzz Buzz
24. Drug Train

Fig. 2. Blossom Dearie (1926-2009) - The Adorable Blossom Dearie

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stairways To Heaven Are Always One Person Wide

Fig. 1. Jan Matejko - The Astronomer Copernicus, 1872

'We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.'

Oscar Wilde

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Limits Of The World Must Always Be Sought Out*

Fig. 1. John William Waterhouse - Ulysses and the Sirens, 1891

'The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal. The hero journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly. What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss.'

Joseph Campbell

* 'Everyone takes the limits of their own vision for the limits of the world.' (Arthur Schopenhauer)

Your Ears Will Orgasm #42a: Olivier Messiaen - Oraison (MixPod Player)

Your Ears Will Orgasm #42b: Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 2 ("Resurrection") (MixPod Player)

Addendum: How wonderful! And how apt, too! You outdid yourselves last time, ladies: now, amazingly, you have outdone your outdoing!

I will set my sails to take full advantage of the breezes blown by your inspirational words.

Thank you, Katie (and Edna):

Today is as good as any other day (!) to set yourself free to embark on a hero journey. The possibility of bliss is definitely worth danger and fiasco.

ESVM also thinks it's time for you to test your limits:

On Thought in Harness

My falcon to my wrist
From no high air.
I sent her toward the sun that burns
Above the mist;
But she has not been there.

Her talons are not cold; her beak
Is closed upon no wonder;
Her head stinks of its hood, her feathers reek
Of me, that quake at the thunder.

Degraded bird, I give you back your eyes forever, ascent now wither you are tossed;
Forsake this wrist, forsake this rhyme;
Soar, eat ether, see what has never been seen; depart, be lost,
But climb.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Saturday, February 7, 2009

If You Find Yourself Going Through Hell, Keep Going*

Fig. 1. William Blake - Dante Running From The Three Beasts, 1824-27

'The only way round is through.'

Robert Frost

* 'If you are going through hell, keep going.' (Winston Churchill)

HOT AS HELL: Today's maximum temperature ... 46.4!

Your Ears Will Orgasm #41: Diamanda Galas - Litanies of Satan (MixPod Player)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Prayers In A Place Where All The Clocks Are Broken

Fig. 1. Arnold Böcklin - The Sacred Grove, 1882

'The torch does not illuminate its base.'

Villiers de l'Isle-Adam

Your Ears Will Orgasm #40: Hildegard von Bingen - Geistiliche Gesange: Vos flores rosarum (De Martyribus) (MixPod Player)

Obituary: Lux Interior (1948-2009)

Fig. 2. 'Lux Interior dies at 62', Los Angeles Times (04.02.09)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

In Giddy, Blissful Praise Of The Last Great Mysteries

Fig. 1. William Eggleston - Untitled, 1975

'Only by cancelling, or at least neutralising every operation of knowledge within ourselves are we in the moment, without fleeing it. ... Deeply rhythmed movements of poetry, of music, of love, of dance, have the power to capture and endlessly recapture the moment that counts, the moment of rupture, of fissure. As if we were trying to arrest the moment and freeze it in the constantly renewed gasps of our laughter or our sobs. The miraculous moment when anticipation dissolves into NOTHING, detaching us from the ground on which we were grovelling, in the concatenation of useful activity.'

Georges Bataille

Your Ears Will Orgasm #39: Michael Nyman - Water Dances: Synchronising (MixPod Player)

Addendum: Katie and Edna St. Vincent Millay strike again! Thanks, ladies!

ESVM has something to say. It's a bit long, but it's so shockingly apropos I just have to share it.


Ah, could I lay me down in this long grass
And close my eyes, and let the quiet wind
Blow over me - I am so tired, so tired
Of passing pleasant places! All my life,
Following Care along the dusty road,
Have I looked back at loveliness and sighed;
Yet at my hand an unrelenting hand
Tugged ever, and I passed. All my life long
Over my shoulder have I looked at peace;
And now I fain would lie in this long grass
And close my eyes.

Yet onward!
Cat-birds call
Through the long afternoon, and creeks at dusk
Are guttural. Whip-poor-wills wake and cry,
Drawing the twilight close about their throats.
Only my heart makes answer. Eager vines
Go up the rocks and wait; flushed apple-trees
Pause in their dance and break the ring for me;
Dim, shady wood-roads, redolent of fern
And bayberry, that through sweet bevies thread
Of round-faced roses, pink and petulant,
Look and beckon ere they disappear.
Only my heart, only my heart responds.

Yet, ah, my path is sweet on either side
All through the dragging day, - sharp underfoot
And hot, and like dead mist the dry dust hangs -
But far, oh, far as passionate eye can reach,
And long, ah, long as rapturous eye can cling,
The world is mine: blue hill, still silver lake,
Broad field, bright flower, and the long white road;
A gateless garden, and an open path;
My feet to follow, and my heart to hold.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Never Stop Talking To The Animals (Happy Birthday)

Fig. 1. Paul Klee - Cat and Bird, 1928

'Seven to eleven is a huge chunk of life, full of dulling and forgetting. It is fabled that we slowly lose the gift of speech with animals, that birds no longer visit our windowsills to converse. As our eyes grow accustomed to sight they armor themselves against wonder.'

Leonard Cohen

Your Ears Will Orgasm #38: Takako Minekawa - Fantastic Cat (MixPod Player)

Addendum: A wonderful contribution from "Anonymous". Thank you!

Les Chats

Les amoureux fervents et les savants austères
Aiment également, dans leur mûre saison,
Les chats puissants et doux, orgueil de la maison,
Qui comme eux sont frileux et comme eux sédentaires.

Amis de la science et de la volupté
Ils cherchent le silence et l'horreur des ténèbres;
L'Erèbe les eût pris pour ses coursiers funèbres,
S'ils pouvaient au servage incliner leur fierté.

Ils prennent en songeant les nobles attitudes
Des grands sphinx allongés au fond des solitudes,
Qui semblent s'endormir dans un rêve sans fin;

Leurs reins féconds sont pleins d'étincelles magiques,
Et des parcelles d'or, ainsi qu'un sable fin,
Etoilent vaguement leurs prunelles mystiques.

Charles Baudelaire

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Pearl Is The Oyster's Autobiography (For Joe)*

Fig. 1. Joseph Cornell - Zizi Jeanmaire Lobster Ballet (for Jacques Offenbach), 1949

'A different language is a different vision of life.'

Federico Fellini

* 'All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography.' Federico Fellini

Your Ears Will Orgasm #37: Jacques Offenbach - 'Barcarolle', Les Contes d'Hoffmann (MixPod Player)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Untitled (Ecstatic Singers Of Contaminating Songs)*

Fig. 1. Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes - Grotesque Dance (from Los Disparates), c. 1820-24

'Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it.'

Jules Renard

* 'And I join my slime, my excrement, my ecstasy to the great circuit which flows through the subterranean vaults of the flesh. All this unbidden, unwanted, drunken vomit will flow on endlessly through the minds of those to come in the inexhaustible vessel that contains the history of the race. Side by side with the human race there runs another race of beings, the inhuman ones, the race of artists who, goaded by unknown impulses, take the lifeless mass of humanity and by the fever and ferment with which they imbue it turn this soggy dough into bread and the bread into wine and the wine into song. Out of the dead compost and inert slag they breed a song that contaminates.' Henry Miller (from Tropic of Cancer)

Your Ears Will Orgasm #36: El Camaron De La Isla - Soy Caminante (MixPod Player)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Efflux of Beauty Is Not A Torrent, But A Trickle

Fig. 1. Robert Irwin - Untitled (Disc Colored Pale Grey Green Pink Violet), 1966-67

'Rationalists must pardon those who harken to the demons of the inkwell.'

Gaston Bachelard

Your Ears Will Orgasm #35: Arvo Pärt - Spiegel Im Spiegel (MixPod Player)