Books read, August 2010
All really short, mostly pretty exciting. Especially essential: La Belle Captive, Everything that Rises Must Converge, and Against the Grain. Crash [J.G.Ballard, 1973, quotes] My Work Is Not Yet Done [Thomas Ligotti, 2002] The Metamorphosis and Other Stories [Franz Kafka, 1995] Everything That Rises Must Converge [Flannery O’Connor, 1965] The Complete Stories [Flannery O’Connor, 1971]...
The subtle terror of corporate headshots
I don’t know who Micheal Piantedosi is, but he found me on flickr and his photostream is brilliantly unsettling: Good work, whoever you are. I assume these are found photos, not your own work, but that just makes them all the creepier. Ratatat should hire you for their next video.
Where did you all go?
A depopulated confusion of postcards from an abandoned home in Bed-Stuy, a desert in East New York, and the suburban idyll of Broad Channel Island. Results of an aimless afternoon bike ride on August 14.
The Architecture of Dreams
I have a new film column over at Impose Magazine. So far it is a long rambly mess about Last Year at Marienbad and Inferno, unrelated movies inextricably linked in my mind. Read it here.
recent pictures of humans
(a response to the end of this.) But also these: (Much more of the above cybernetic expo here.)
Thomas Ligotti, My Work Is Not Yet Done
2002: The company that employed me strived only to serve up the cheapest fare that the customer would tolerate, churn it out as fast as possible, and charge as much as they could get away with. If it were possible to do so, the company would sell what all businesses of its kind dream about selling, creating that which all of our efforts were tacitly supposed to achieve: the ultimate product...
J. G. Ballard, Crash
1973: He dreamed of alienated brothers and sisters, by chance meeting each other in head on collision courses on the access roads of petrochemical plants, their unconscious incest made explicit in this colliding metal, in the haemorrhages of their brain tissue flowering beneath aluminized compression chambers and reaction vessels. (p.13) In this overlit realm ruled by violence and technology he...
Proto-music-video “Memo from Turner” from Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell’s very-strange, very late-60s Performance. (Jagger/Richards) Didn’t I see you down in San Antone on a hot and dusty night? We were eating eggs in Sammy’s when the black man there drew his knife. Aw, you drowned that Jew in Rampton as he washed his sleeveless shirt, You know, that...
Renata Adler, Speedboat
1976: He was on the phone. I will ask her to dinner, he thought. I will accept her invitation to a party. I will laugh at whatever seems to constitute a joke in her mind, if she will only permit me, with the pact of affection still securely in our voices, to hang up. She continued to talk through her end of the phone, though. When he sounded unamused, her voice seemed to reproach him. When...
Des Essientes' art collection
I just finished reading J.K. Huysmans’ A Rebours (“Against the Grain” or “Against Nature”). For all his faults, Des Essientes has excellent taste in art. Here are the specific works he supposedly hangs in his home, with Huysman’s breathless descriptions: Gustave Moreau, Salome Dancing Before Herod, 1876 (or thereabouts) Des Esseintes saw realized at last...
A Thomas Pynchon annotated bibliography
Someone asked what the deal was with Thomas Pynchon, and I wrote way too much about him in response: Thomas Pynchon writes a kind of erratic, digressive, post-modern adventure story. They are adventure stories in the sense that they are filled with explorers seeking lost cities, ill-fated expeditions, sewer crocodile hunts, epic war sequences. They are not really adventure novels in the sense...
Bad California jokes told by Ty Segall at the Cake...
ONE Q: Why didn’t the lifeguard save the drowning hippie? A: Because he was too far out, man. TWO Q: What do you do what you see a spaceman? A: You park, man.
Julio Cortazar, Hopscotch
1963: Yes, but who will cure us of the dull fire, the colorless fire that at nightfall runs along the Rus de la Huchette, emerging from the crumbling doorways, from the little entranceways, of the imageless fire that licks the stones and lies in wait in doorways, how shall we cleanse ourselves of the sweet burning that comes after, the nests in us forever allied with time and memory, with sticky...