Category Archives: Internet



Gilles Néret (1933 – 2005)

In answer to my recently asked question regarding the publishers of 20th century counterculture Taschen came to mind, an international publishing powerhouse with its roots in 1980s Germany. Taschen started out by publishing Benedikt Taschen’s extensive comic book collection and then basically conquered the world with its ‘coffeetablishness’.

Taschen is the best alternative to countless hours of internet browsing and a much better reading experience than the web itself, but buying the books remains more expensive than the internet.

Taschen also illustrates the lack of political subversion in contemporary culture. Countercultural publishers such as Grove in the 1960s also published pamphlet-like tracts. Taschen does not have a politics section; however I like to think that Benedikt and Laure have opinionated views on these matters.

Amazon connections

Dear reader,

Nerval by Nadar

Of all online recommendation engines, Amazon’s ‘customers who bought this also bought this’ has proven itself the most useful. Allow me to illustrate what I mean. A while back I added The Other Side (Dedalus European Classics) to my Alfred Kubin page which brought The Maimed (1923) by Hermann Ungar to my attention.

The Maimed connects to Hell by Henri Barbusse, Dark Spring (1970) by Hans Bellmer companion Unica Zürn, Scarecrow & Other Anomalies (1932) by Argentine poet Oliverio Girondo, The Obscene Bird of Night (1970) by Chilean writer José Donoso, Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille, Moravagine (1926) by Blaise Cendrars (who once called the French cinematic serial Fantômas “the modern Aeneid”), Aurelia by French writer of the fantastique Gérard De Nerval and decadent classic Maldoror by Comte de Lautréamont.

The above looks like a decent list of cult fiction.

When books by Dedalus are central, the connections turn out to be particularly undergroundish.

Do you want links to the names mentioned in this article? Click here if you do.

Introducing The Laughing Bone

The Laughing Bone: an American blog run by Scot Casey, who calls himself the literary executor of Bonesy Jones (who wrote his first post in May 2004 and died in December 2005). I’ve mentioned their blog before in Indeep, Penguin covers, Youtube and Don Quixote and Colin Wilson.
Digression 1: I juxtapose Scot’s Notes On Difficulty post to my complexity page (prompted by my musing on volutes and convolutes).

The Painting Monkey (1740) – Jean Simon Chardin

Again via The Laughing Bone.

Arcades Project blogathon


Galeries St. Hubert (1846), Brussels

Arcades Project (1927 – 1940) – Walter Bejamin

3. One book you would want on a desert island? Something large, omnivorous, digressive, its curiosity knowing no boundaries, a sort of uber-Merzbau that might serve as a microcosm of the world I left behind, “the theater of all my struggles and all my ideas,” Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project. –girish
The Arcades Project site was created and is maintained by Heather Marcelle Crickenberger.

“It is part of a doctoral dissertation that is scheduled to be completed May 2006 at the University of South Carolina. Much of the bibliographic infomation required of such a project is yet to be included.” [Oct 2006]

Here is the list of convolutes she features.

Convolute is a multifaceted word that connotes “To make something unnecessarily complex; to fold or coil into numerous overlapping layers; to twist someone’s words to fit a desired meaning that was not intended by the speaker.”

If I understand correctly (without direct access to a paper copy (mine is on the way from Germany)), Walter Benjamin used the concept in his Arcades Project ; konvolutes were sections in a collection of thousands of index cards on which he transcribed quotations and notations. It was a cross-referenced system not shying away from ambiguity and ambivalence; seeking its power in opposition and confusion, an early version of fragmented modernity and harbinger of postmodernity.

I would like to call for an Arcades Project blogathon. There is no deadline. By way of inspiration I offer you the following concepts

in praise of convolution

in praise of variety

in praise of flânerie

in praise of juxtaposition

in praise of multifacetedness

and …

“Method of this work:
literary montage.
I have nothing to say only to show.”
(Passagenwerk (1927 – 1940) – Walter Benjamin)

The “rhizome” allows for multiple,
non-hierarchical entry and exit points
in data representation and interpretation.
Mille Plateaux – Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari,
volume 2 of Capitalisme et Schizofrénie (1980)

It’s happened, Wikipedia will fork

Just as I thought it would, Wikipedia will fork. Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, will start a version of Wikipedia, called The Citizendium Project. This version, which he announced in March 2005 here will start its life as a mirror of Wikipedia’s current content, but will then allow ‘experts’ to modify the original content of Wikipedia. In some way, I like to consider Jahsonic as a forked  version of Wikipedia too.

Wikipedia has this.

Lee Siegel suspended for sock puppeting

Lee Siegel, an American cultural critic was fired for commenting on his own work pseudonymously by using a so-called sock puppet.

  • Lee Siegel, writer for The New Republic magazine, was suspended for defending his articles and blog comments using the user name “sprezzatura“.

More: International Herald Tribune

Lee Siegel in other blogs:

In the most recent issue of The Nation, Lee Siegel laid into Camille Paglia’s newest barnstormer, Break, Blow, Burn. His article, Look at Me, is a magnificent blast of snark against the self-maligning agitation that Paglia seems to fall more & more victim to. —Poetry Snark, 2005

And the final sentence of Lee Siegel’s review (which also features a very good analysis of Paglia’s zeitgeist and work) of Paglia’s Break, Blow, Burn:

To invoke two other writers from the past, Paglia used to come on like Byron; now she is like some cynical version of Dickens’s Oliver Twist, trampling on her very own standards, stooping as low as she can go in order to get a second helping of attention from the public that has forgotten her. But bullies always end up being reduced to their inner weakling. It’s called poetic justice. –Lee Siegel in Look at Me [June 13, 2005 ]

Eva Deadbeat on Peep Show

Eva Deadbeat does a portrait of the UK tv series Peep Show.
Who is Eva Deadbeat?

Eva Deadbeat (aka Eva Sollberger), who has worked at various film festivals (Sundance, San Francisco Int’l) in the past and now resides in Burlington, VT where she has a public access television show and makes “obsessive montages with an eye for the absurd and a taste for pop culture in all its glory.” Eva has an astonishing 93 vids on YouTube so far. —indiewire

Eva Deadbeat uses Youtube for what it is best at: for broadcasting original material. A couple of posts ago I introduced her with her ‘tortured artists 101‘. I love her work and I’m sure we will hear more of her.

Social cataloging applications

A social cataloging application is a web application that allows users to catalog items (ie., books, CDs, etc.) owned or otherwise of interest to them. Once cataloged, such applications generally allow users to share their catalogs with others, and interact with others based upon shared items.

YMDB still exists, but is now located at YMDB now re-directs to IMDb, probably due to a lawsuit.