Monthly Archives: March 2008

Two from the toob


Lena Horne in Now (1965) by Santiago Álvarez

Now (1965) is the title of a short subject directed by Cuban filmmaker Santiago Álvarez, about racial discrimination towards black people and ensuing race riots in the United States. The propaganda/political film uses morgue photos and newsreel footage and is narrated by Lena Horne by way of a song (words set to the ultimate world music classic “Hava Nagila“) entitled “Now is the Time.”


L’Inferno by Giuseppe de Liguoro with added music by Zbigniew Preisner

L’Inferno is a 1911 silent film by Giuseppe de Liguoro, loosely adapted from Dante‘s The Divine Comedy and presented to a Parisian public by Ricciotto Canudo in the same year to inaugurate “The Birth of the Sixth Art“.

The Bed-Sitting Room and other digressions


The Bed-Sitting Room was an absurdish British comedy film directed by Richard Lester based on Spike Milligan‘s play. Here in a YouTube bricolage accompanied by “Milkshake” by American R&B singer-songwriter Kelis. What I like so much about Youtube bricolages is that they address two senses at once. I used to be somewhat addicted to television, but lots of the time, I used to watch with the sound turned off, and some music playing in the background, finding the combination of visuals and sound found on TV not interesting enough.

Also on YouTube, found by the Greek blog dmtls is Joel-Peter Witkin – L’image indélébile (1994) directed by Jérôme de Missolz a documentary first aired on Channel 4 on the work of Joel-Peter Witkin.

When you find an interesting YouTube clip, always check who uploaded it, you will find more interesting footage. In the case of the Witkin documentary, checking the uploader leonocusto666, I found the Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński Google gallery.

Some more eye candy: work by Geert Joiris Geert Goiris and a very nice still of the Japanese film Woman in the Dunes, a still which was used on the cover of Kyrou‘s Amour – érotisme & cinéma.

Eye candy #10


Poster for Pasolini’s Salo film


Cover by Avedon for French arts magazine Egoïste (very expensive second hand) , for sale at the excellent Arcana Books on the Arts


Techno Bush
Extremely good album by Hugh Masekela (1984), check a poorly recorded Youtube rendition here.

Arcanes 3 Arcanes 2Arcanes

Losfeld’s Arcanes catalog 1967


Cover for Eroscore, 1970s mag on erotic cinema

 Paris Tabou 1Paris Tabou 2

Covers from Paris Tabou designed by Gino Boccasile
For picture credits, check the corresponding Flickr pages.

First there is nothing, next there is depth of nothingness …




“First there is nothing, next there is depth of nothingness, then a profundity of blue”

[FR] [DE] [UK]

I recently acquired the book above: “Art in Theory“. This is not a book you read from cover to cover, I am reading it the way I like reading most, by the index (and aided by Google book search). The introductory essays to each chapter are very good.

A copy from my first impressions posted on the Art and Pop wiki:

“One single text” by Bataille

Barthes in the From Work To Text on Georges Bataille:

“How do you classify a writer like Georges Bataille? Novelist, poet, essayist, economist, philosopher, mystic? The answer is so difficult that the literary manuals generally prefer to forget about Bataille who, in fact, wrote texts, perhaps continuously ‘one single text’.”

This reminds me of Richard Simmillion, a recurring character in W. F. Hermans‘s novels and stories. Hermans is also an author who wrote one single text.

On Bachelard

Facts long amassed, patiently juxtaposed, avariciously preserved, are suspect. they bear the stigma of prudence, of conformism, of constancy, of slowness,” writes Gaston Bachelard. –via ON INVENTING OUR OWN ART by Ibram Lassaw

Bachelard is also mentioned by Barthes in Mythologies.

“But since Saussure himself, and sometimes independently of him, a whole section of contemporary research has constantly been referred to the problem of meaning: psycho-analysis, structuralism, eidetic psychology, some new types of literary criticism of which Bachelard has given the first examples, are no longer concerned with facts except inasmuch as they are endowed with significance. Now to postulate a signification is to have recourse to semiology. I do not mean that semiology could account for all these aspects of research equally well: they have different contents. But they have a common status: they are all sciences dealing with values. They are not content with meeting the facts: they define and explore them as tokens for something else.”

Bachelard is also mentioned by Yves Klein in a Sorbonne lecture given in 1959.

“I unhappily did not have the pleasure of discovering the writings of Gaston Bachelard till very late, only last year in the month of April 1958. […] will reply by borrowing yet again from Gaston Bachelard that marvelous passage concerning blue from his book Air and Dreams. “This is primarily a Mallarmean document in which the poet, living in ‘contented world-weariness amidst oblivious tarns’, suffers from the irony of blueness. He perceives an excessively hostile blueness which strives with an indefatigable hand to ‘fill the gaping blue holes wickedly made by birds’. […] and that is the dwelling place of Bachelard’s beautiful phrase: ‘First there is nothing, next their is depth of nothingness, then a profundity of blue’.”

These are some of the quotes which make this volume worthwhile. I recommend this book.

The Munchers: a Fable (1973) by Art Pierson


The Munchers: a Fable (1973) by Art Pierson

This clip is somewhat of a mystery. Supposedly directed by Arthur P. Pierson, the film nor the director are listed at imdb. The showed both films during the 2000s:

  • Munchers: A Fable’ (1973) 10m, dir. Art Pierson. Clay and polymer tooth puppets bring decay to life.
  • ‘Whazzat?’ (1975) 10m, dir. Art Pierson. Here, nondescript clay figures attempt to identify an elephant.

I cannot track any info on this remarkable little film by Arthur P. Pierson. If you know more, please let me know. A further hint is this description of ‘Whazzat?’.

Party music from Belgium

Been listening to the Lio track below for the better part of the week. It’s similar in structure to “C’est bon pour le moral” (see Rita Cadillac post).


“Sage comme une image” (1980) by Lio

The title translates literally as “good as a picture” (as in “pretty as a picture”). I showed the clip to my kids but they thought it was awfully slow and old-fashioned. Evident is the 1980s fascination with the 1950s (record player, polka dots skirt, etc…) which ruled popular fashion at that time (the Gaultier era). The record is a good introduction to the work of francophone Belgian producer, musician and radio personality Marc Moulin, whose early work with Telex is still influential to the electroclash scene; the track below, “Moscow Diskow”, being a staple for DJs Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy on the dance floors of late 1980s Chicago clubs that were instrumental in the development of Chicago house music, and house music as such. What is to be appreciated is that Telex had a great sense of humor – for example – one of their compositions was called “Temporary Chicken,” which invariably makes me smile when I think of it.

To this day, “Moskow Diskow” remains of one of my favorite records to dance to, I pronounce it wmc #30. And yes, all this is Belgian.


“Moscow Diskow” (1979) Telex

Etant donnés-ish x2

Untitled by Nicéphore Niépce's

Untitled by Nicéphore Niépce

I couldn’t help by noticing how very similar in feel this 19th century photograph is to Marcel Duchamp’s last work Etant donnés (and btw, I am looking for a precise date of when this work was first presented to the general public)


“Bleu” by Etants Donnés

Etants Donnés is the name of duo consisting of the brothers Hurtado (Marc and Eric), founded in Grenoble in 1980. Their name takes its direct inspiration from the last work by Marcel Duchamp. They made six films between 1982 and 1994, composed numerous scores and collaborated with major figures of the industrial rock genre: Genesis P-Orridge, Alan Vega, Michael Gira, Lydia Lunch and Mark Cunningham.

I am the black gold of the sun

Splendor Solis (1532-1535) - Salomon Trismosin

Splendor Solis (15321535) – Salomon Trismosin


“I am the Black Gold of the Sun” by the Rotary Connection (Wmc#29)

While researching world peace in relation to Georges Bataille, I found Splendor Solis, which reminded me of Rotary Connection‘s “I am the Black Gold of the Sun” voiced by the late Minnie Riperton (of “Lovin’ YouYouTubefame).


2 x Rita Cadillac = 2 x guilty pleasures

Rita Cadillac

“Ne touchez pas à l’animal” (1971) by Rita Cadillac via au carrefour étrange

“É Bom Para o Moral” (1984) by Rita Cadillac

The first Rita is French, she was an exotic dancer of the generation of previously mentioned Rita Renoir, the tragedienne of strippers. The title of her single reads “Do not touch the animal”.

The second Rita is Brazilian and her song translates as “It’s good for the moral”. It’s an outrageously uplifting Euro-dance song of the same mantle that holds Lou Deprijck, the virtually unknown but at the same time one of the most successful Belgian music producers ever, of whom I’ve given you guilty pleasures #7 and Que Tal America.

What Lou and Rita share is a love of the Brazilian thing, logical for Rita since she is Brazilian, logical for Lou since he loves party music and Brazilians have been very apt at producing party music.