Monthly Archives: April 2008

Albert Hofmann (1906 – 2008)

“I suddenly became strangely inebriated. The external world became changed as in a dream. Objects appeared to gain in relief; they assumed unusual dimensions; and colors became more glowing. Even self-perception and the sense of time were changed. When the eyes were closed, colored pictures flashed past in a quickly changing kaleidoscope. After a few hours, the not unpleasant inebriation, which had been experienced whilst I was fully conscious, disappeared. what had caused this condition?” —Albert Hofmann (Laboratory Notes, 1943)

Albert Hofmann (January 11 1906April 29 2008) was a Swiss scientist best known for synthesizing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Hofmann authored more than 100 scientific articles and wrote a number of books, including LSD: My Problem Child.

Some LSD visuals:

Film poster for The Trip (1967)

The Acid Eaters (1968) – Byron Mabe
Tagline: The film of anti-social significance.

images from here.

Psych-Out (1968) – Richard Rush [] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Crystal Castles, Trevor Brown and the black-eyed Madonna controversy

“Trash Hologram” by Crystal Castles

Staying with Trevor Brown[1], it’s a good time to introduce Crystal Castles, a Toronto-based band who apparently took their name (and – like some of Drexciya‘s work before them – their sound) from an old Atari game[2].

Earlier this month, Pitchfork Media published the story of Crystal Castles’ use of a Trevor Brown painting, depicting a black-eyed Madonna[3], without permission. The situation has not yet been resolved; both parties have been in discussion but an agreement has not yet been reached. For updates, check the blogs of Brown and Pitchfork.

Tokyo Nobody, a parable of abandonment

Tokyo Nobody (2000) – Masataka Nakano

[FR] [DE] [UK]

Masataka Nakano is a Japanese photographer, best-known for his Tokyo Nobody anthology, a series of photos of Tokyo, devoid of its 10 to 15 million inhabitants; mostly shot on the New Year holiday when all city dwellers go to visit relatives out in the country and Tokyo becomes a ghost town.

Via Trevor Brown (1).

See also: abandonment

Do you want to control me?


“Soul Control” by Theo Parrish

Along Moodymann and Terrence Parker, Theo Parrish (Washington, DC, 1972) represents the third wave of Detroit techno. Theo Parrish juxtaposes elements of soul, jazz, disco, funk and techno with simple but hypnotic funky 4/4 house rhythms.

It’s hard in the internet era to recreate that excitement of the unknown when you encounter a dusty, entirely mysterious artifact in a record shop. There’s no such thing as a rare record these days [cfr. Death of the underground], with the advent of eBay, and music available in digital forms is so extensively propagated around the internet that it’s rare to encounter something you don’t know at least something about … .

However, Detroit producer Theo Parrish (whose Sound Sculptures Volume 1 was reviewed recently in The Wire 291) makes a fair stab at preserving that sensation in a manner that’s neither drearily nostalgic nor hermetically self-referential. — Derek Walmsley (The Mire, The Wire’s blog) on Theo Parrish .

What is philosophy, or, when there is no longer anything to ask

Deleuze and Guattari

Unidentified photo of see also Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

“The question [What Is Philosophy?] can perhaps be posed only late in the life, with the arrival of old age and the time for speaking concretely…It is a question posed in a moment of quiet restlessness, at midnight, when there is no longer anything to ask. It was asked before; it was always being asked, but too indirectly or obliquely; the question was too artificial, too abstract. Instead of being seized by it, those who asked the question set it out and controlled it in passing. They were not sober enough. There was too much desire to do to wonder what it was, except as a stylistic exercise. That point of nonstyle where one can finally say, “What is it I have been doing all my life?” had not been reached. There are times when old age produces not eternal youth but a sovereign freedom, a pure necessity in which one enjoys a moment of grace between life and death, and in which all the parts of the machine come together to send into the future a feature that cuts across all ages…”–Qu’est-ce que la philosophie? (1991). Trans. What Is Philosophy? (1996).

Contemporary philosophy and anti-philosophy

While continuing my research on contemporary philosophy from a purely semantic point of view, I came up with these:

In 2004 Alain Badiou said:

“In my view, only those who have had the courage to work through Lacan‘s anti-philosophy without faltering deserve to be called ‘contemporary philosophers‘.” From Vérité: forçage et innomable, translated as Truth: Forcing and the Unnameable in Theoretical Writings. London: Continuum, 2004. ISBN 0826461468.

Assorted “anti-philosophy” “anti-philosophy” matches:

  • Wittgenstein’s philosophy (or rather anti-philosophy) of mathematics. …

What is interesting about any strain of anti- is that it seems to reveal more of its subject than its positive antithesis. Thus one tends to find more about the essence of psychiatry when one studies anti-psychiatry, etc…

See also: Anti- and philosophy and two posts by blogger Daniel Siksay: Deleuze, Badiou, Nietzsche: the anti-philosophical event part one and two.

World music classic #34


Theme De Yo Yo” is a musical composition by American jazz band Art Ensemble of Chicago with vocals by Fontella Bass. The composition was part of the soundtrack to the 1971 French film Les Stances à Sophie and was first compiled on the 1995 Soul Jazz Records free jazz compilation Universal Sounds Of America.

AEOC recorded this album when they were staying in Paris in the early 1970s. Did they also record at that time “Comme à La Radio” (Brigitte Fontaine; Areski)?

Words to describe the track are: fierce.

The sexually frustrated woman

I believe it was Dutch gay fiction writer Gerard Reve who said: “Gij zult het cliché niet schuwen”, which translates in English as “Thou shalt not eschew the cliché.” It is this phrase which has provided me with a rationale for liking stereotypes, archetypes and tropes. For today’s cliché I’ve chosen the sexually frustrated woman. There are two species of sexually frustrated women, the single female (also known as the spinster) and the one in a relationship. We will focus on the second variety as much more information – albeit still limited in comparison to the average frustrated chump – about her is available.

Some quick and dirty research over the course of an hour or so yields our first stereotype of the sexually frustrated woman in Egyptian mythology in the persona of Nephthys. Closer to home and our present age we find her most evidently in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the story of a woman who gets a lover because of her husband’s impotence (a similar plot element is found in von Trier’s Breaking the Waves).

To illustrate her today, I resort to Brian de Palma 1980 film Dressed to Kill and the character of Kate Miller played by Angie Dickinson.

Kate is a married housewife and mother who has just tried to seduce her therapist (played by Michael Caine) who rejects her advances. Later that day as shown in the majestic scene above, we find Kate in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (one of de Palma’s body doubles: the Philadelphia Museum of Art is provided its interiors) and for ten minutes without any dialog she has an unexpected flirtation with a mysterious stranger. Kate and the stranger “stalk” each other through the museum until they finally wind up outside, where Kate joins him in a taxi cab. They immediately begin to have sex right there in the cab, and their experience continues at his apartment.

Let me share that scene with you. One of the most erotic scenes in 20th century sinema, without an inkling of nudity:


However, the sexually frustrated housewife – like many “final girls” before and after her pays dearly for her transgression. She discreetly leaves while the man is asleep, but not before she rifles through some of his papers and discovers that he has a sexually transmitted disease. Mortified, Kate leaves the apartment and gets in the elevator, but on the way down she realizes that she’s left her wedding ring on the stranger’s nightstand. She rides back up to retrieve it, but the elevator doors open on the figure of a large, imposing blonde woman in dark sunglasses wielding a straight razor. She slashes Kate to death in the elevator.

Unsolved trivia: I’d liked to find the titles of the two first paintings (the one with the woman’s face and the one with the monkey) Kate is enjoying while she is sitting on the bench in Philadelphia Museum of Art. If you know, let me do to.

This film is the 45th entry in the category World Cinema Classics.