“I find it wonderful that London is a kind of palimpsest, that it contains all these layers of history and experience,” says Said. “The lost rivers project was a perfect way into that. I am fascinated by the idea that landscapes might have memories or dreams.”
Said loves expired film, particularly in a range thrillingly titled Time Zero. Far from ruining an image, its ageing, unstable chemicals contribute to the dreamlike quality of his pictures. Leaking colours; blurring; unexposed corners; flame-like flashes of light across the surface; smoky shades of mauve and turquoise: Said uses them all to artistic effect… “With Polaroid, the camera and the film play as big a part as you do, and sometimes they know better than you,” says Said.
Read the full article here
Full details will appear here on the site in time, but until then here’s a peek at some of what we can look forward to:
– The Natural Death Handbook, Fifth Edition
A thoroughly updated and revised edition of the Natural Death Centre‘s celebrated handbook (left). Now presented alongside a new collection of essays on death, dying and funeral practices by doctors, historians, authors, poets, theologians and artists including Richard Barnett, David Jay Brown, Dr Sheila Cassidy, Charles Cowling, Bill Drummond, Stephen Grasso, Maggi Hambling, Graham Harvey, Gary Lachman, Nick Reynolds, and Dignity in Dying. [September 2012]
– The Influencing Machine by Mike Jay
A revised and updated edition of Mike Jay’s The Air Loom Gang (2003), a true tale of 18th century mind control, revolution and madness. [May/June 2012]
‘One of the greatest books you’ve never read’ – William Gibson
‘A wonderful book…exceptional scholarship and psychological insight’ – Oliver Sacks
– Savage Pencil presents Trip or Squeek’s Big Amplifier
The collected Trip or Squeek comics. Over 100 strips, as featured for the past ten years in The Wire magazine. Savage Pencil’s (aka Edwin Pouncey) acerbic, lysergic, razor-sharp observations on music, art and life. [July/August 2012]
Strange Attractor is also involved with two forthcoming exhibitions at Maggs Gallery in Mayfair, London:
From the Westbourne to the Wandle:
Jon Savage’s Uninhabited London photos and SF Said’s London’s Lost Rivers Polaroids
for Maggs Counterculture, at Maggs Gallery, 50 Hays Mews. London W1J 5QJ
Thursday 22nd March –Thursday 19th April
Maggs Counterculture and Strange Attractor present ‘Unstable’.
New and old artwork from Battle of the Eyes (Savage Pencil and Eyeball), Joel Biroco, Julian House and Cathy Ward, at Maggs Gallery; 50 Hays Mews. London W1J 5QJ
Tuesday 8th May – Friday 8th June 2012, Monday to Friday 1030-1700.
More details soon all of the above, and some other very exciting books planned for later in the year.
Sunday 17 July, 7.45pm for an 8pm start
The Crypt, St Pancras Church, Euston Rd, London
With, in order of appearance:
* Indigo Octagon ( Leila Sayal, theremin & Mark Pilkington, electronics)
* The Stargazer’s Assistant (David J Smith, percussion, and David Knight, guitar)
Entry is free but space is limited: please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place
A rare, in-depth interview with the brilliant Professor Ronald Hutton, historian of witchcraft and paganism and author of The Triumph of the Moon, Stations of the Sun and several other books on magical and folk tradition in the British Isles. The interview was conducted by Australian historian of witchcraft Caroline Tully, for her blog Necropolis Now.
While there is no decisive evidence to substantiate the existence of Pagan witchcraft before Gardner, many Pagan witches would say that this is because their religion was secret and passed down via oral tradition. What are we to make of claims regarding oral tradition?
I have no interest in contesting the claims of modern Pagans to represent a secretly surviving tradition, as long as the practitioners do not attack me or offer any actual historical evidence for scrutiny. If they do neither, then they are effectively standing outside history and are not the concern of a historian. I regularly read articles by contemporary witches, expounding one system or another which they say has been passed down through their family or their initiatory tradition for centuries, and offering no evidence to support this claim. They are no concern of mine, and it is open to others to believe or disbelieve them as they will. Gerald Gardner’s Wicca was, however, based on specific historical evidence, above all the early modern trials, and academic framework of interpretation of it, which were very much the business of historians.
If modern Pagan witches do not represent a continuation of a religion that survived the Witch Hunts and can be traced back to the pre-Christian era, then what is our lineage?
… I have taken direct issue with the view generally held by academics that there were no links between ancient and modern paganism at all. In reply I identified no less than four cultural streams which connected the two: ritual magic, cunning craft, folk rites, and (above all) the persistent love affair of Christian culture with the art and literature of the ancient world. All these streams of images and ideas were, certainly, maintained between the early medieval and modern periods by people who were at least nominally Christian, but none the less they were preserved. The great development of the modern age was for them to be filtered back out of general Christian culture and recombined with an active allegiance to pagan deities to produce a revived and viable set of Pagan religions.
Read the full, long interview at Necropolis Now
Spare’s art has an equally broad spread; the most striking thing about it is the chameleonic range of styles, from carefully finished pastel portraits to figures emerging from rapidly scrawled calligraphy, unified only by the fact that he could really draw; it was Spare’s misfortune to live through a century when drawing wasn’t much valued, and he never came to terms with modern art. Spare’s old-style draughtsmanship led to inflated comparisons with Dürer and Michelangelo and Rembrandt, often by people outside the art world who were surprised to find that “real art” was still being made. The difficulty of getting to grips with Spare’s art on its own terms has led to similarly wild comparisons pointing forwards: not only was Spare credited as Britain’s proto-surrealist in the 30s, but in the 60s the critic Mario Amaya (a pop art specialist, shot and wounded alongside Andy Warhol when Valerie Solanas attempted to assassinate him) saw him as Britain’s first pop artist.
Spare might not be the first surrealist or the first pop artist, but some of his work is weirdly, irreducibly original. His attempts to “visualise sensation” with fleshly, ugly-bugly figures around 1910 are unlike anything else in Edwardian art, and his self-portraits “as” others in the 20s and 30s – as Hitler, as Christ, and as a woman – look forward to the work of Cindy Sherman and the Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura, who has depicted himself as Chairman Mao, Hitler, and a Pre-Rapahalite maiden. Spare’s sexually graphic self-as-woman pictures couldn’t legally be displayed in their day, and they were quietly owned by EM Forster.
Read the full article at the Guardian
Using found recordings, a research group from English Heretic have reconstructed the attempted kidnap of Princess Anne by Ian Ball. On the evening of March 20th 1974 Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips were returning from a charity film event in support of The Riding For The Disabled Association, when their limousine was held up along the Mall, by Ball. Eventually tackled by police officers, Ball was arrested. In May 1975, Ball was convicted of attempted murder and kidnap. A diagnosed paranoid-schizophrenic, Ball still remains in detention under the Mental Health Act.
Read more about the project and buy the picture disc LP over at English Heretic
Austin Osman Spare,
Experiments in Relativity (1933, pencil and watercolour)
A limited edition art print
To celebrate the publication of Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London’s Lost Artist by Phil Baker, Strange Attractor Press have been working with musician and artist Ossian Brown on a fine art print of the book’s cover image.
Spare painted this beautiful sidereal watercolour in 1933 as part of his ‘Experiments in Relativity’ series.
(frame not included)
Limited to 111 copies, this Giclée print is on Hahnemühle Fine Art paper and produced to archival standards. Its dimensions match those of the original painting, 32 x 28cm. Each print is hand-numbered, blind-embossed with an ‘AOS’ signature, and comes with a certificate of provenance. The picture is from Ossian Brown’s collection and has been photographed for this edition by Alex Brattell.
The prints are now sold out.
Sorry, a little slow off the mark with this one, but the ever-brilliant Welcome to Mars author Ken Hollings can be heard at 2300 hours every night this week on BBC Radio 3 with a new series, Requiem for Networks.
Those of you who missed the first couple of shows (like me!) can catch up via Listen Again.
Writer Ken Hollings discusses the history, power and revolutionary change of information networks. Are they as revolutionary as they seem?
via Ken Hollings
Is LSD a great spiritual teacher? Or indeed a teacher at all? My answer is an emphatic “Yes”, even though there will always be students who learn nothing from their teachers or misuse what they do learn.
That experience, as many writers have explained, depends dramatically on the set and setting – on what you expect of the trip, where you are, whom you are with, and how safe you feel. One of the tragedies of drug prohibition is that we have never developed a culture in which young people can learn how to use powerful drugs properly from older, wiser and more experienced psychonauts.
The great Sue Blackmore, writing in The Guardian, on her experiences with LSD.
Which seems as good a time as any to remind you of the upcoming Breaking Convention psychedelics conference, co-programmed by SAJ4 contributor Dr David Luke, taking place at the University of Canterbury on 2-3 April.
The weekend features a host of speakers including Mike Jay, Paul Devereux, Andy Roberts, Amanda Feilding, Graham Hancock, Andy Letcher and others, plus live music from Raagnagrok and much more! Strange Attractor will also be there with books for sale and it promises to be a fun and enlightening weekend.
Book tickets here
Birmingham’s Flatpack Film Festival kicks off this week with screenings and other events, including a guided walk around Birmingham’s lost cinemas in which psychogeographers can sniff out the ghosts of long-lost big screens with local historian Ben Waddington. There’s also a Secret History of Birmingham, a screening of found tapes and reels for fans of unofficial archives.
I’m looking forward to seeing Marwencol, a documentary about Mark Hogancamp, who has built a miniature version of an occupied WWII Belgian town in his back garden – ‘outsider art’ is a tricky subject, but this film looks as if it engages with the term itself, rather than simply boggling at the oddness…here’s the trailer.
More Flatpack news over at the Electric Sheep blog.