I’ve always had
mixed feelings about the work and person of Marina Abramović, but yesterday, while leafing through a book titled Love I stumbled upon a photo of , a 1980 performance piece by Marina and Ulay. Rest Energy
I was immediately taken by it.
I’d seen it before, but had forgotten about it.
I do think it works better as a photo than as a film.
World Art Classic #193.
It makes little sense to talk about
consumerism since consumerism is a pejorative (a third of the are) and implies -isms anti-consumerism.
So all talk of consumerism is talk of anti-consumerism.
Which brings me to the film above, which I suspect to feature strains of anti-consumerism. I speak of a Russian film about the
Paris Commune which was titled . The New Babylon
 posted a lovely still of this film of a woman with a gun and a mannequin.
The New Babylon of the title of this film refers (I just learned) to a shopping mall, with the same title.
Shopping malls are paradises of consumerism.
The earliest shopping malls were arcades, admirably staged by Walter Benjamin in the
and exemplified by Arcades Project The Crystal Palace. Window shopping without getting wet! A feast of artificiality! Society of the spectacle!
I shop therefore I am.
A full version of
The New Babylon is now on YouTube (above).
Amos Vogel‘s (1974) was a blast and leafing through the book today still is a thrill (see for example Film as a Subversive Art a still I posted on my new NSFW tumblr blog). The book is a milestone in the history of subversion.
Now online is
(UK, 2003) , a documentary about Amos Vogel (1921 – 2012) and the film society Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16 Cinema 16.
The Wikipedia bio of
Guy Debord says “Guy attended high school in Cannes, where he began his interest in film and vandalism.”
I wonder where that came from.
But the Wikipedia article is right, of course, Debord was a vandal, whether he practiced it or not. For example, his movement was the seat of organizations like the
Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism. Moreover, in The Society of the Spectacle, Debord praised “ General Ludd”.
I used to be a practicing vandal too when a malcontent teenager.
And I’m still in favor of
I started thinking about vandalism when I researched
, which revolves around the “improper use” of certain city quarters, using them for something they were not intended for; and dérive , which is just one step away from vandalism. détournement
I was also reminded of the surrealist architectural project
Experimental Research into Certain Possibilities of Irrational Embellishment of a City.
And then the story of
Gustave Courbet and the Vendome Column came to mind, “the century’s most radical artistic art,” according to the pamphlet “ The Revolution of Modern Art and the Modern Art of Revolution“.
But the ‘Vendome Column’ episode was a tragic one for
Gustave Courbet, really.
It ruined Courbet.
Just before he died.
(1978, Guy Debord) is In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni world cinema classic #187
I watched all of this film yesterday, sparked by a renewed interest in
Guy Debord, who I probably discovered in June 1994 (exactly 20 years ago) via the Wired article by R. U. Sirius on French theory, back in the day when Wired was a cool magazine.
There are several reasons why the life and work of Guy Debord should quicken your imagination:
The cover of his book
is made of Mémoires sandpaper to maximize damage to neighboring books when placed in and out the library shelf. His
anti-film consists of Howlings in Favour of de Sade black and white screens (no images) during 52 minutes.
His citing of Feuerbach’s . The Essence of Christianity He is the protagonist of the excellent read
. Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century He defined the term
psychogeography and practiced and la dérive . détournement
I also posted two ‘Debord’ photos
  on Tumblr.
Étude Op. 10, No. 3” by Chopin is world music classic #889
It became famous through numerous popular arrangements, such as the 1939 song “
Tristesse“  by Tino Rossi and Serge Gainsbourg‘s “ Lemon Incest“  (1984).
I would have thought that the philosophical question “Is the glass half empty or half full? ” is as old as time immemorial , but it appears that it came in the world in the 1930s and is usually attributed to one Josiah Stamp .
“ The Beatitudes “ by Vladimir Martynov interpreted by the Kronos Quartet as heard in the film . The Great Beauty
I woke up with this song in my head.
If you haven’t seen the film already, please do.
The locations, the music are worth the price of the admission. And your time.
“ The Beatitudes “ is world music classic #885
(2014) American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen
[Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
I discovered the work of American photographer
William Mortensen in May 2005 via the photo . It is the photo of the face of a man whose eyes are gouged out by the pointing fingers of one hand. Human Relations
Coming November Feral House is to publish
. American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen
A fitting title.
Although it could also have been named
… American Surrealism
When I think about the
American grotesque, I think of Poe and Bierce, of Weegee and Arbus, of . Ren and Stimpy
And perhaps now of William Mortensen.
PS. On the cover is
, an offshoot of the L’Amour dark fin de siècle fascination with human female/ape contact.