Friday, February 29, 2008

when glands look like trumpets...

sensory glands roland hunt

'the sensory glands and their astral counterparts' by roland hunt, from his book "fragrant and radiant symphony: an inquiry into the wonderous correlation of colour, sound, and perfume...", 1937

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Natanam Adinar

ram gopal orchestra

ram gopal (1912 - 2003) was one of the pioneers of modern dance in india (along with uday shankar). in the 1930's and 1940's he toured with a troupe of musicians and dancers, and was referred to as india's nijinsky. you can read more about him here.

the 78 pictured above features the 'ram gopal orchestra' playing part one and part two of a piece entitled natanam adinar, which is a dance devoted to shiva. the dance and music tells the following story...

"Once wickedness and evil accumulated on the earth people were killing each other, a few good-hearted men went to the forest and prayed to Shiva so that he appeared and did something. Shiva appeared and told them not to worry that everything would be arranged. People returned to the forest at the time given and shaw that as Shiva was dancing, he was destroying all the evil on the earth. Everything and everybody was afraid, even the snakes came out. After a while everybody, even the gods, were asking him to stop, but Shiva carried on dancing and destroying till all evil disappeared".

i don't know about the dancing, but the singing, particularly after the first minute of this track, is certainly stunning enough to banish all evil from my little room here, if not the greater pasadena area, or more. it's an unbelievable performance by a musician whose name i, unfortunately, could not find on the label, nor online...

click here to listento side 1, which is also part 1.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008



"He zickafoose cocaine the firedog chop-chop,
zooty directly for its righteous...
He didn't like to be husbanded to when
he zickafoose cocaine maturely.

He warmed as he zickafoose
cocaine the ooze.
A coincident zickafoose
cocaine of the minuscules
curtsies me.
It is instead zickafoose cocaine
to preconcert"

when i found this RPPC i googled 'h.e'zickafoose' to see if he was a musical somebody. although i added the line breaks, the text above was what i found. the internet is a darn good poet...

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

mystery quotes...

found these quotes on a scrap of paper in my studio. probably written several years ago, but unfortunately i didn't notate the source...

"why do voices and noises seem to cause disturbances and even reopen wounds?" page 7

"and noise even has a bearing on the suffering of the mind." page 7

"on account of the gray weather of november when the bells scatter the dead ashes of the years into the air in a dust of sounds." page 3

if anyone recognizes them, please let me know where they are from.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

independent of recipes...

1939 new bauhaus brochure cover

1939 new bauhaus brochure diagram

"we know that art itself cannot be taught, only the way to it. we have in the past given the function of art a formal importance, which segregates it from our daily existence, whereas art is always present where healthy and unaffected people live. our task is, therefore, to contrive a new system of education which, along with a specialized training in science and technique leads to a thorough awareness of fundamental human needs and a universal outlook. thus our concern, is to develop a new type of designer, able to face all kinds of requirements, not because he is a prodigy but because he has the right method of approach. we wish to make him conscious of his own creative power, not afraid of new facts, working independently of recipes. upon this premise we have built our program."

text and images from the 1939 new bauhaus school of design brochure, the text probably written by walter gropius (advisor in all school matters) and l. moholy-nagy (director of the new school) who clearly took the photo on the cover.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

for speaking in solitude...

radioman, 1925

"a book is something one opens and closes; it does not come seek one out and impose solitude on one. radio, on the other hand, is certain to impose such solitude. not always, of course. it would be no use listening to this kind of program in a dance hall or someone's drawing room. it must be listened to not necessarily in a coalman's hut, though that would be ideal, but one's own room, in the evening, when one is alone, at a time when it is one's right and duty to instill in oneself calm and repose. radio has everything required for speaking in solitude. it needs no face.

the listener, then, is there before the set, in a solitude that is not yet established. it is the radio that establishes it around an image that is not just his property alone but everybody's, a human image, one that exists in every human psychism. nothing picturesque, no entertainment. it comes in the wake of sound, in the wake of well-formed sound..."

gaston bachelard, radio and reverie, 1971 (photo: 1925 rppc of a.c. philips, age 83 years, with a wireless radio)

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

musical intuition...

1890's tintype

"the choice of pitch and timbre in my music has always been intuitive. even the choice of rhythmic structure or system is finally intuitive. in fact, although there is always a system working itself out in my music, there would be no interest in the music if it were simply systematic. you want to hear music that moves you, and if you don't, then you're not really very curious to find out how it was put together. the truth is, musical intuition is at the rock bottom level of everything i've ever done." steve reich, 1974 (image, tintype 1880's)

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

iiiiiiiiiii, zzzzzzzzzz, vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv.

d.r.wagner altered photo 1969

"altered photo" by d.r. wagner, circa 1969/70 from the xerox journal dust, 1970. the typewriter on found photo is pretty darn wonderful...

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

the green...

hand colored rppc

from the web (and maybe kandinsky?):" [FOOTNOTE: The way to the supernatural lies through the natural. And we mortals passing from the earthly yellow to the heavenly blue must pass through green.]"

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Monday, February 18, 2008

when bells talk...

bellringers cdv

"the same thing occurs with the sound of bells, in whose ringing you will discover whatever name or word you imagine."

words: leonardo da vinci, tratado di pintura.
image: cdv of bellringers photographed by r.h. bliven, 1880's.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

among incessant visions...

erich mendelsohn

"i live among insessant visions. their transcendence is such that it often carries me away. it is hard to catch it and impossible to grasp fully: to express it in solid terms is the task. but i am glad to be subject to its law, because for me it is the truest life."

erich mendelsohn.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

leave your brains at home and carry a capacity for feeling with you...

"why did you wish to add yet another to the number of films made about joan of arc?

to make her real and immediate...

you never show joan in the same shot as her accusers, why?

first, i couldn't do it. the natural decor made it impossible to show them together. but i believe that it is good to create obstacles. for my part, i don't work well without obstacles... there is only one way of shooting people: from near and in front of them, when you want to know what is happening inside...

what do you expect the audience to bring to your film?

not their brains, but their capacity for feeling...

do you expect them to know the facts of the trial? is that why you don't explain who the participants are?

i never explain anything, as it is done in the theatre...

at the beginning of the film we're shown the back of joan's mother, with a hand on each of her shoulders. why do you just show her back?

because i want her to be a character. besides, it's not in the film itself. it appears before the title...

at one point in the trial, the judges make joan kneel. then you dissolve away to her standing again afterwards.

the moment of cutting has the same function as that of movement in other films. shakespeare also cuts at strange times. his cutting is like a door through which the poetry enters...

there are many shots of doors, open doors. do these relate to joans speech "if i see a door open", etc.?

when one is in prison, the most important thing is the door.

why are there a large number of shots of the english peering at joan through the crack in the cell wall?

there are not as many as you say - as few as possible...

why do you treat the burning partly as a subjective shot of the cross being obscurred by smoke?

i think you want me too much to explain what i did..."

excerpts from an interview with robert bresson by ian cameron regarding bresson's film "the trial of joan of arc". the interview was supposed to run on radio, but because it was done in english (at bresson's request), and thus 'rehearsed' (at bresson's request), "it was considered unsuitable for broadcasting as it now lacked even the appearance of spontaneity. it sounded not so much like an interview as a bressonian dialogue." from the book the films of robert bresson, praeger, 1969. image: soundtrack LP from the film.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

when letters look like landscapes...

karel adamus from typewriter magazine 1975

from the tiny concrete poetry journal "typewriter" from 1975, a piece by karel adamus...

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Monday, February 11, 2008

when drums look like windows...

Friday, February 08, 2008

the miniscule space between...


"the aesthetic world of the visible - form, colour - is born and exists in the miniscule space between the object and the pulsation of our souls... the visible starts from the invisible, from the revelation of the hidden meaning of things, of their wonder, of their magic... that is why logical explanation cannot attain to this revelatory action. on the contrary, would it not be more fitting for the explanation to partake of the essence of the inexplicable? here, it is truly the case that the dark and the obscure, more than the clarity of logic, create an atmosphere of initiation for those who posses the innate capacity to feel and to understand"

text: architect dimitris pikionis, 1930's.
image: unknown guitar player, rppc, 1910.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

broken music (when a record's like the large glass)...



well, it's been a relatively bad week for mail arriving intact - and packing a record for shipping has definitely become a lost art. yesterday, the third package of damaged records arrived, and it was a doozie. as you can see in the above photos, the record was bopped around so much that chunks of it's recorded material cracked and fell off, revealing some nice matisse cut-out looking areas of its aluminum core. this was especially sad, because the disc was a home recoring of a tune called frieght train blues.

thinking about how duchamp dealt with the cracks in the large glass, i couldn't resist trying to listen to the disc. as the record spun, bits of plastic came spinning off the turntable, the needle lifting every bit of surface that was was some seriously broken music...

i recorded the event... you can click here to listen

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

things to do with trees...






small images from the bottom of an ad for a tree services company in a 1950's issue of fortune magazine.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

when you can't find a piece of paper...


nice little artistic self expression surpise i discovered when pulling this little home recording disc out of it's sleeve... i suppose this came out of one of those moments when you have to get the drawing out of your system immediately... the handwritten title on the record is "skater's waltz" and the active lines of the drawing certainly look like some little fingers with a crayon were skating across the surface of this disc...

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Monday, February 04, 2008

when sunspots look like painting...

sunspots from pouchet's universe

a beautiful little engraving of sunspots from pouchet's "the universe", 1883. here, the sunspots not only resemble the graphic forms of henri michaux, but pouchet's explanation of them, reeks wonderfully of poetry.

"when they were first pointed out, some theologians maintained that the pure and radiant star (the sun) was perfectly immaculate, and that its pretended blemishes only existed on the glasses of the telescopes of astronomers... but though the existance of these is an incontestable fact, yet their real nature is as yet very imperfectly explained. some maintain that they are only holes in the luminous envelope of the sun, which allow us to see its dark strata. others think they are clouds of vapor, which wander over the surface of this immense globe of fire..."

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Friday, February 01, 2008

the music you can still hear when the musicians leave the room...

1880's albumen photo of japanese teahouse with music instruments

the sound of water. the cry of cicadas. a cuckoo cries. heard, not seen, the camellia poured rainwater. the cuckoo sings . the tides slosh. a cricket singing . the mosquito hums . the warbler sings the wild duck's plaintive cry grows faintly white . icy sound of monks' getas echo long and cold . the sound of the water jar cracking from the ice . temple bell. skylarks to sing. singing, planting rice, village songs more lovely. lonely silence. a single cicada's cry. a woodpecker tapping at a post. no sound at all. a cricket sings. your song caresses, o high mountain bird.

every sound from 73 haikus by matsuo basho.
image: detail from an 1880's albumen print of a japanese tea house with musical instruments.

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