Sunday, January 27, 2008

coordinates what is heard and what is seen

leighton pierce: my person in the water, 2006

pierce was a musician before he was a filmmaker. he made musique concrete and became attracted to film in part because "there was this problem with musique concrete; once you've constructed this music electronically on tape, what do you do at a concert? it's very awkward sitting in an auditorium listening to a tape". once he began to work with imagery as well as with sound, he was quickly aware of the wide range of visual possibilities film offers. nevertheless, his consciousness of sound and his dexterity with it in conjunction with visual imagery are unusual for a filmmaker; indeed, he continues to return to sound as the primary pleasure in film- and videomaking: "i shoot now, and have for years, with the goal to get the part where i can do sound." pierce edits his imagery silent, but with a sound track in mind; and subsequently coordinates what is heard and what is seen.
(from the garden in the machine by scott macdonald, page 368)

Friday, January 25, 2008

waters are black and swirling.....

around me: i stand on the shore
the waters are black and swirling.....

our eyes so fixed
that the darkness surrounds us
and we are drowned by the loss of light

david tibet

......he suffers this anguish and abandonment in
the horror of the night.....

blaise pascal, pensees

what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue

edmund burke, 1780

(from the sleeve notes of the inmost light by current 93)

including the albums:
where the long shadows fall, 1995
all the pretty little horses, 1996
the stars are marching home, 2007

Thursday, January 24, 2008

14 words whose enunciation lasted 5 seconds

classic books (number 3):

exercises de style by raymond queneau, editions gallimard 1947 (1958 translation by barbara wright)

in a bus of the s-line, 10 metres long, 3 wide, 6 high, at 3 km. 600 m. from its starting point, loaded with 48 people, at 12.17 pm., a person of the masculine sex aged 27 years 3 months and 8 days, 1 m. 72 cm. tall and weight 65 kg. and wearing a hat 35 cm. in height round the crown of which was a ribbon 60 cm. long, interpellated a man aged 48 years 4 months and 3 days, 1 m. 68 cm. tall and weighing 77 kg., by means of 14 words whose enunciation lasted 5 seconds and which alluded to some involuntary displacements of from 15 to 20 mm. then he went and sat down about 1 m. 10 cm. away.
57 minutes later he was 10 metres away from the suburban entrance to the gate saint-lazare and was walking up and down over a distance of 30 m. with a friend aged 28, 1 m. 70 cm. tall and weighing 71 kg. who advised him in 15 words to move by 5 cm. in the direction of the zenith a button which was 3 cm. in diameter.
precision (page 37-38)


in the introduction to the 1963 edition, queneau explains that the idea for the exercises came to him in the 1930s, after he and his friend michel leiris had attended a concert at the salle pleyel where bach's the art of the fugue had been played. what particularly struck queneau about this piece was that, although based on a rather slight theme, its variations "proliferated almost to infinity." it would be interesting, he thought, to create a similar work of literature.
(from barbara wright's notes for the 1981 american paperback edition)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

we live, as we dream - alone...

victor hugo, the vision ship 1864-65

we penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness. it was very quiet there. at night sometimes the roll of drums behind the curtain of trees would run up the river and remain sustained faintly, as if hovering in the air high over our heads, till the first break of day.

the offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky - seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.

jósef teodor konrad korzeniowski (1857-1924)

victor hugo, ruined aqueduct ca. 1850

and then i see a darkness
did you know how much i love you
there's a hope that somehow you
can save me from this darkness

will oldham (1970-)

Friday, January 18, 2008

for some men live in darkness

closing sequence from
georg wilhelm pabst's the three penny opera, 1931
music by kurt weill from the play by bertolt brecht
cinematography by fritz arno wagner

related business:


-lotte lenya sings kurt weill's the seven deadly sins & berlin theatre songs
(lenya's 1957 recordings of sins and 1955 recording sings berlin theatre songs)
-lotte lenya sings weill, the american theatre songs (recorded in the late 1950s)
-kurt weill - from berlin to broadway
(lotte lenya, harald palsen, bertolt brecht, theo mackeben, otto klemperer, walter huston, gertrude lawrence, danny kaye, mary martin, kenny baker, maurice abravanel)
-die dreigroschenoper (the three penny opera)
(lotte lenya, recorded at afifo studio, tempelhof berlin 1958)
-kurt weill: die dreigroschenoper (the threepennyopera), historische originalaufnahmen 1928-1931
(lotte lenya, carola neher, lys gauty, odette florelle, harald paulsen, kurt gerron, lewis ruth band, otto klemperer, theo mackeben)


-kurt weill's der jasager (an opera in two acts based upon an ancient japanese nōh play)
(text by bert brecht)

-lotte lenya sings berlin theatre songs by kurt weill
(with texts by bert brecht and georg kaiser)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

angelic language has nothing in common with human language,

classic books (number 2):

imagining language: an anthology, edited by jed jasula and steve mccaffery, mit press 1998


-richard head and francis kirkman: canting vocabulary, 1665 (compact lexicon of rogue idiolect)

-robert desnos: rrose sélavy, etc., 1923

-john dee and edward kelley: enochian table, 1581-1589 & the enocian call, 1581-1589

-emanuel swedenborg: the angelic language, 1768 (blog entry title)

-thomas more: quatrain in utopian vernacular, 1516

-françois rabelais: from gargantua and pantagruel, 1564 (translated by thomas urquhart and peter le motteaux)

-lewis carroll: stanza of anglo-saxon poetry, 1855

-athanasius kircher: the origin of writing, 1679 & the 72 names of god, 1654 & epilogismus combinationis linearis 1669

-sir thomas urquhart: neaudethaumata, a universal language, 1653
man is called a microcosm, because he may by his conceptions and words contain within him the representatives of what in the whole world is comprehended.

-francis lodwick: the forms of distinctional marks, 1647
the actor (drinker), the action (drinking), the object (drink), the inclination (drunkard), the abstract of the demonstrative adjective (drunkenness), and the place of action (drinking house).

-richard grey: from memoria technica, 1730
(is the last in a long line of artificial memory systems)

-jonathan swift: anglo-latin letter to dr. sheridan, c. 1725 & a project for improving speculative knowledge, 1726 & a litteralial scheme of writing, c. 1725

-marcel duchamp: conditions of a language, 1934

-john cage: writing for the second time through finnegans wake, 1979

-jorge luis borges: funes the memorius, 1942

-juan de celaya: the geometry of the mind, 1525

-jacob boehme: from mysterium magnum, 1623

-victor hugo: a hieroglyphic alphabet, 1839

-sir francis bacon: biliteral cipher, 1613

-john wilkins: the somatic production of sounds, 1668

-christian bök: crystal systems, 1994

-novalis: monologue, c. 1798

(et cetera)

athanasius kircher: epilogismus combinationis linearis

(an example of fraenkel's "stylizations" of mallarmé's poem + michaux)

sir francis bacon: biliteral cipher

john wilkins : the somatic production of sound

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

later than soon: time

(title from paul celan: for eric from snow part, page 75)

Monday, January 14, 2008

...songs are sung

some new items:

-edvard munch: the complete graphic works by gerd woll (harry n. abrams 2001)
-joseph cornell and the ballet by sandra leonard starr (castelli feigen corcoran 1983)
-joseph cornell by diane waldman (george braziller 1977)
-george de la tour by jacques thuillier and fabia claris (flammarion 1993)
-anni albers: pictorial weavings (mit 1959)
-austerlitz by w.g. sebald
-the shadow-line: a confession by joseph conrad
-the woman in the dunes by kobo abe


-henryk gorecki: string quartet no. 3...songs are sung (kronos quartet)
-nico, the frozen borderline: 1968-1970 (the marble index 1969 & desertshore 1970)

Friday, January 11, 2008

it does not permit itself to be read (interval of a glance)

david lean: oliver twist, 1948, dp: guy green

as the night deepened, so deepened to me the interest of the scene; for not only did the general character of the crowd materially alter (its gentler features retiring in the gradual withdrawal of the more orderly portion of the people, and its harsher ones coming out into bolder relief, as the late hour brought forth every species of infamy from its den,) but the rays of the gas-lamps, feeble at first in their struggle with the dying day, had now at length gained ascendancy, and threw over every thing a fitful and garish lustre. all was dark yet splendid-as that ebony to which has been likened the style of tertullian.
the wild effects of the light enchained me to an examination of individual faces; and although the rapidity with which the world of light flitted before the window, prevented me from casting more than a glance upon each visage, still it seemed that, in my then peculiar mental state, i could frequently read, even in that brief interval of a glance, the history of long years.

from poe's the man in the crowd, 1840

(i remember reading this in film school for the quality of cinematic perception found within, as pointed out by steve anker)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

there amid murmurs, insinuations, visual thunder

stéphane mallarmé, photograph by félix nadar

it seemed to me that i was looking at the form and patterns of a thought, placed for the first time in finite space.  here space itself truly spoke, dreamed, and gave birth to temporal forms.  expectancy, doubt, consternation, all were visible things....  there amid murmurs, insinuations, visual thunder, a whole spiritual tempest carried page by page to the extremes of thought, to a point of ineffable rupture - there the marble took place; there on the very paper some indescribable scintillation of final stars trembled infinitely pure in an inter-conscious void; and there on the same void with them, like some new form of matter arranged in systems or masses or trailing lines, coexisted the word!  i was struck dumb by this unprecedented arrangement.  it was as if a new asterism had proffered itself in the heavens; as if a constellation had at last assumed a meaning.  was i not witnessing an event of universal importance, and was it not, in some measure, an ideal enactment of the creation of language that was being presented to me on this table at the last minute, by this individual, this rash explorer, this mild and simple man who was so unaffectedly noble and charming by nature?
("on 'a throw of the dice,'") paul valéry - page 265-266
from stephane mallarmé: collected poems, translated and with a commentary by henry weinfield, university of california press 1995

un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard, 1897