srijeda, 29. veljače 2012.

Aase Berg - Poezija kao nafta

Aase Berg jedna je od najistaknutijih suvremenih švedskih pjesnikinja. Totalno je in u mnogim avant krugovima. Poezija gusta poput nafte. Na engleskom su izišle tri njezine zbirke. Najnovija je Transfer Fat.

"For now, a few contextual sentences. This book was published in 2002 originally. It was quite a break from her past books (Hos Rådjur 1996, published by Black Ocean in 2009 in my translation as With Deer; and Mörk materia 1999, to be published this fall as Dark Matter by Black Ocean). The first two books are incredibly visceral, visual books; prose poems stuffed and contorted with hallucinations. In Forsla fett, the poems are short, sparse little echo chambers.
This is how she put it in a brief essay for the online journal Double Room:
As my two first books were in many ways waking dreams or hallies [hallucinations], it was natural for me to use the prose poem format. The things I wanted to show were accompanied by a pounding rhythm. And they were almost sickeningly kitschy. The rhythmic and screamily exaggerated word-images gave birth to the form– there was no talk about choosing the right form for the content. Form and content came together.
In my third book I started to compress and ended up in the form of the pure lyric. I wanted to see how much mass I could push into every word. It was also the path to images that were more open, images that yearned to become dance or music. Like small imploded stars I imagined them, insignificant but – were one to weigh them– very heavy. Like small pigs in a sack, a mixture of brawl and tenderness.
One thing that went into this shift is that Aase had a kid and simply did not have time to lose herself in these hallucinatory “worlds” of the first two books. Instead she wrote them largely while taking a break from parenting – she would write the poem in part while going for swims in the community swimming pool (thus perhaps the echoey/lullabye quality), so perhaps this book could be said to be in communication with the strand of poetry Steve Burt has called “mommy poetry” (or the poems in the Fence anthology of poets writing about motherhood).
But there was already a shift towards these echoey lyrics at the end of Dark Matter, so it’s not the full reason for the shift. As in Dark Matter, there is also a lot of appropriation (of string theory and astronomy, B-movies, Solaris etc), but the language tends to be even more charged with puns and “vibribrations” (ie “fat”), more sonically focused. She has also told me that reading Susan Howe had a big influence on her work.
With this weird little book, Aase actually earned a kind of mainstream acclaim, going from more of an obscene underground figure to getting nominated for Augustpriset (their pulitzer) to everyone’s surprise. She’s now a very prominent Swedish poets. As I noted in a post a few days ago, she won Aftonbladet’s prize for best book of poetry of the year." - Johannes Göransson

"I tend to think about the work of Aase Berg as gasoline: slick dark liquid fed from underground through machines into machines. Her lines read often like several hundred other lines condensed into thick cuts of petroleum, flammable and ripe. The images she tends toward lend themselves well to this sensation: fat stuffed with death, whales spurting rubber rooms, gorges overrun with multiplying ravenous guinea pigs, fur growing over water. Her language flails in little packets, objects that might seem tiny or translucent in how they sit surrounded with white space on the paper, though over time feeding in viral, connective ways. Get an Aase Berg book and leave it out on your desk and see what starts to happen to the words inside the files on your computer…
In Sweden, this is no secret. Since 1997, when her first book Hos rådjur was published by Bonnier, the largest and most esteemed publishing house there, Berg has been regarded as one of the most vital voices in operation; her poems have been broadcast via radio signal at the constellation Lyra. She is a founding member of the Surrealistgruppen in Stockholm, a prominent and sometimes controversial group who wield surrealism not quite in the traditional dream heavy mode most associated with the idea, but more with an interest in quantum science and the puzzles of natural space. Three books published in translation in the last seven years have spread her dark milk across the waters—first in a collection of selected work, Remainland from Action Books in 2005, followed by With Deer, her first full length in English from Black Ocean in 2008, which Michael Gira from Swans said possessed “the scent of a lost hermetic text extracted from the oily black clay of a ruined forest.”
Berg’s language throughout seems capable of most anything, packed into layers like the fat she constantly invokes. Space feeds off itself and feeds off the space beside it, knitting bloated yards together in which sound and image force the very words in which they are carried to malform. The syllables won’t stay apart. Some kinds of words you’ll find calcified among the bloat: strungtime, fetusfat, crawlanimals, doughtnut-fatso, Peacebeaten, snotcrow, wax girl, scratch hare, shock-muffled, crampgrip. Translator Johannes Göransson writes of the volatile nature of working through Berg’s manipulation of the tongue, in which so many words have multiple meanings, forced misreadings, puns where even simple terms like “killer whale” mutate into “blubber biter.” The radioactive nature of the science force behind the lines seem to impregnate the simple image into a cell that means to replicate, and stick. It feels both evasive, and somehow more built in. “Following hand in hand with the surprise at the possibilities of language,” Berg writes, “comes the hatred of language, and the demand for a new, more human language: a language that looks like us, instead of trying to discipline us.”
Berg’s longer prose blocks operate like machinic clay, a kind of science fiction that actually feels volatile, transmutative. “The perverse nature continued to take place,” Berg writes, in The Snail Ancestry. “The fontanels felt unstable. The ices exploded and bellowed and broke, and the noise reached across the meager fields all the way up to the small hut that had put its roots down at the foot of the bent, brooding Gloam Shell. The earth oil bubbled out of cracks and seams. The mountains were somewhat loose, loose from worry, like teeth in a cancer mouth. In the river fold a poisonous mush was boiling. The end was nigh. In the fjord the whales bawled and blustered, hit their plate lobes against each other in ringing thrust. The perverse nature continued to take place, and through the fibers the hideous lymph spread.” Burial and recovery, spore and fetus, mouthful and bellyful: each little pocket here is sticky, heavy, ripe. You can kind of chew it. It makes you want more, but that’s what hunger is.
Berg’s most recent translated volume is Transfer Fat, released this month from Ugly Duckling Presse. These poems are perhaps her most hypercompressed. Opening with an epigraph from the dying HAL machine from 2001: A Space Odyssey—“I am afraid”—the space here seems hungry from being overfed, then starved. Natural space here, in seeming flat from outside, wields wicked access to something bigger inside itself than it should be. Animals operate as little mobile rooms that grow and flood and die around us. Bodies accrued here like lakes and fields and bridges all have undersides, perhaps even many potential undersides, in which others have been stranded, including the reader: “your meat which flows / between the fingers / which flow.”
Berg’s preoccupation with incubation and layers becomes more apparent as each little blockade takes on the shape of a seedling or egg that accumulates its body over time. “It will take many thousand years to raise fat,” she writes, and this is some beginning, many beginnings, the potential in which contains a space meant to unfold to worlds, would we not die. In this way, these language lards contain a previously impossibly seen future, such that eons from now this 118-page paper object might be wider than all the combined human chub you ever knew. You can call this hyperbole if you so require, but then now prove it. There’s a reason you never realize you’ve breathed in spores until you’re sick.
So now, come here and meet your plague-mom:


The hare is also a constellation
in the listless, frigid hydrosphere
Same cosmic fatstiff freezefearflood
same cuntstiff looptrack fatflood
We like suckle animals, egg animals, whalenut animals
prefer not to give birth to live young


In the hare the hydrophore
which pumps heaves heft
move the instrument’s degrees
of formless retarded freedom" - Blake Butler

"“Estonia: The Fat Stone’s Transparent Catatonia.”
“The Hare Infects Dad with Rabies.”
“Mom Choice.”
“Open the Voter.”
These are some of titles from Aase Berg’s Transfer Fat, as translated by Johannes Goransson. Such supple and engaging titles are typical of this work and also typify the way the work itself functions. The titles act like membranes; they catch your attention; your attention becomes a little prod or probe. You push at the membrane of the title and move through it into the shell meat of the poem, carrying gummy traces of the title with you, covering your eyes, nose, mouth, changing your vision and your breathing. You’re now half-digesting, half-gestating the poem, which, by the sci-fi logic by which the book operates, means that you might now be destined to supernova in a slickly bloody birth.

Milk Hare
Feel fur in milk
The white fluff wads
scattered flinches through the forest
through the hare wolf

This is a four line poemlet in its entirety. The volume is made up of brief units like this, one or two to a page. This creates a delicious uncertainty to the whole.  Like the individual protein strands which make up the helical DNA, the individual verse fits into the overall structure of volume both minutely and instrumentally; it could be the fuse which disrupts the transcription or a bit of fluff, fur in the milk, a white redundancy. Here the ‘fur in the milk’ cascades ‘flinches through the forest’ and breeds a mutant creature, ‘the hare wolf’, a mutation of both predator and prey in one which then recharacterizes the flinching forest (a single surface spasming with both fear and predatory instinct) and the harey-milk which inundates the poem, the page’s white space. The hare-wolf can no more be separated from the flinch forest than the poem from the page or the fur from the milk.
Another mechanism of Transfer Fat is its saturation with key words, including ‘hare’, ‘whale’, ‘milk’, ‘voter’, ‘Hal’ (the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey), “shell”, and especially “fat”. As the series proceeds, these words cluster and agglomerate, diving into and rising from the syntax, giving the series an ectoplasmic-like continuity from which indentifiable shapes thrust up through but never entirely separated from the poem’s translucent mucky surface. Other poems pry one or two keywords from the word horde and fling them out into the chronosphere to carry its antigens of toxic mutation into new registers.

Hal Time

When undead Harey is locked in the capsule
which is slung out into the cosmos murk
and the demented computer sings
its plancktime songs in weightless space

It snuffs

This ‘crustling,’ however, alerts us to another gestation, the forming of a crust of sound and lifedeath which suggests that these hares and whales will continue pursuing their cell-by-cell mutation until they crinkle the very horizon, force it to duck down and admit the rise of no or another sun. Transfer Fat’s tiny yet accruing scale represents a permanently cascading pile up of morbid microbial time, a death dance between genetic and chemical damage, a space opera, a catastrophe movie that will air again and again on the dimming private screen of the mind’s eye as it descends into  darkness, with its dark and livid strings.

Hearing has a strungtime
twitches faster than the string strikes
harpy births child
pilots child across fields
of the as-of-yet unprepared." - Joyelle McSweeney

"Read the full “Forest of Flinches” here. Kate Durbin writes of Goransson’s translations that they “are themselves a kind of gorgeous, dripping fat transference, a ‘carry[ing of the] smelt / across the hard lake,’ an extra, extra ‘pouring’ of the ‘runny body.’” You can find out more about the book here; and enjoy (if you haven’t already) Goransson’s specially edited issue of Typo, which featured a terrific survey of major Swedish-language Modernists and contemporary poets."

"My cousin was disappointed that he didn’t like the taste of the sheep’s head. We were sitting in my dining room last night having a farewell dinner of sorts because my partner and I are heading off to Austin until May. We were talking about all the places we want to go. Iceland came up and my cousin said his Icelandic friend sent him sheep’s head, which is a traditional specialty. “He sent you the whole smoked head?” I asked. “No, it wasn’t the whole head. It was pre-packaged.” My other cousin said when she was last back home in Italy she went to friend’s farm and they served a whole sheep. The head was placed at the head of the table. Then she thought for a moment and said, “Wait. No. It was a goat.”
This month at The Rumpus Poetry Book Club we’re going to talk about translation, hard work and why we love the sheep’s head. We’ll be looking at the work of Aase Berg, specifically her book, Transfer Fat, which has just been translated into English by Johannes Göransson and is being published by Ugly Duckling Presse. We’ve been wanting to talk about translation for a long time in the club but it’s a tricky business. If we were going to talk about translation we needed to be able to talk about the whole difficult, magical, risky process. It’s easier to end up disappointed in a translation: a can of something that sounds and sort of feels like a poem instead of the real, fallible, made thing. For my part, I didn’t want to pick a translation until I could feel all the hands and voices involved. Everyone uses the words artisanal and sustainable these days but I’m not sure what they mean in a lot of those cases.
A great translation is an artisanal act in the deepest sense. First, you’re given the gift of Aase Berg and her poems that take the Swedish language and, as she says, create a “deformation zone” of sampled texts on everything from science fiction to string theory. Then you take this experiment, this charged imagining and place it in the hands of Johannes Göransson, himself a highly respected poet, essayist, translator and magician. I imagine him listening to the letters and the nights growing longer. I imagine him sitting in the distant light of the barn and carrying the milk pail home before first light. In his notes on the translation, which are almost as beautiful as the poems themselves, he says:
To translate such a book makes impossible the common illusion of bringing over a pristine “original” into a necessarily flawed “translation.” Rather, it forces the translator to be a kind of conductor of interactions between languages, a “transfer-er” of “fat” into the English language.

Within the discussion of his own translation process he is sampling Berg. They are in concert:

Here “val” can mean both “whale” and “choice.” One might say that in the blubberiness of the whale, we get a blubbery language that refuses to coalesce. To invoke this mutability of “val” I have tended to translate it in a number of ways:
Mom Choice
Nurse whale
Give hare-milk
all whales are
the same whale

I didn’t want to pick a translation until I could hear the effort and the pleasure involved in the collaboration. And then Ugly Duckling Presse came through. They’re the third part of this triptych. Since 1993 when they were a zine, Ugly Duckling has been fostering, publishing and fighting for the work of (in their words) emerging, international and “forgotten” writers. They are a volunteer collective that’s managed to become one of the most important poetry publishers in America. And this month’s choice almost didn’t work out because, no matter how successful Ugly Duckling is, the fact remains they are a true small press who works right up to the deadline to get their books into the world.  When I first wrote, their Managing Editor thanked me and then sadly said he just didn’t think it could work out because being such a small press meant not printing galleys and always running right up against the publication deadline. But then the editors and I put our heads together and got to work. “Could you send us a PDF and then get the book to the club by the end of the month? …Maybe we could have Aase and Johannes AND an editor from UDP join us so we can make this about translation and how small presses bring books into the world.” We plotted. We kept faith. We figured it out.
I don’t want a canned sheep’s head. And I don’t want to hear about Jacob wrestling with the angel if I have the option of being in the room with all that sweat and those wings. We talk about artisanal cheese and pickles and bags, but what about poems and the people who wrestle with them and bring them to us in another language and the men and women in cities like Brooklyn and Minneapolis and Detroit who get off work and make their way to a warehouse and stay up all night so those poems can come into the world? I was reading Berg’s poems in Swedish even though I don’t know Swedish and I saw the word Stradivarius and I knew what that meant. That was a thing someone made that’s priceless and has a history and may have gotten stolen or lost and searched for and fought for just to hear it again.
Ugly Duckling can’t get us the books by early January so you’ll get a PDF instead. And then at the end of January you’ll get the book in book form. You’ll get it right around the time Aase Berg joins us from Sweden and Johannes Göransson joins us from America and the book’s editor, Garth Graeper joins us from the kingdom of Ugly Duckling so we can all chat online. That’s a first for us, too.
We’re in this together. We are making something beautiful and real and I hope you’ll join us in the barn." - Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Aase Berg: UPPLAND

Uppland lightland hovercraftland
Good yellow circles
lightband after lightband

All my shooting stars
sparkle over Uppland
See how all of Uppland
stands in flame
burns border

steer softly out of hullwreck
lander, loader
crushed sewn whole

Creep under the skin
Hold on to your skin
mutual pupa


Prick spindle
wake up spindlefly

shuddering lifts
In the slenderfly’s balance


Nudefart, nudesmack!
clothograph mealy time

No sewage
but small stings
in sunglasses
Sees hummingbird drunken
in bunken


High traffic
Plane on plane
forced flight

Foot chain

Hold on to your skin
fasten the wing skin

Dragon situation unfolded
in a standstilldance

Remainland Airport

High clear september air
Urmountain of day


heads hurriedly southwards

We want to be remains here

10 najčudnijih SF-romana koje niste pročitali... iako, naravno, niste pročitali ni 10 običnih

Možda bi oni koji ne vole SF trebali početi s najbizarnijim a ne s najpoznatijim/najpriznatijim djelima. Ok, ok ,svemir, tehnologija, izvanzemaljci... ali dajte mi nešto zaista "fantastično" - halucinaciju od koje postaješ stvaran!

"Science fiction is great when it's weird. Really bizarre science fiction takes you on a wild ride, blowing past genre conventions and depositing you someplace miles from where you started. But where can you find the truly odd stuff?
Like hallucinogenic spores in a subterranean cavern, the most mind-bending science fiction books can take some digging. We asked around, and here's what we came up with: the 10 weirdest science fiction (and fantasy) books that you've probably never read.

10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read 
10. This Business of Bomfog, by Madelaine Duke (1967)
Cover tagline: "The Astonishing World of 1989 — A World of People Gone Mad, Mad, Mad." This is recursive bit of Philip K. Dick-esque metafiction, set in a Orwellian dystopia where the Brotherhood of Man, Fatherhood of God (BOMFOG) complex tries to prevent wars by giving Important Guests access to perpetual-motion art and private swimming pools. Key line of dialogue: "Sex is part of our reeducation program."
10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read 
9. The Tsaddik of the Seven Wonders by Isidore Haiblum (1971)
A Tsaddik is a Hasidic spiritual leader or wise person, and this book is legendarily steeped in Jewish lore, as the main character visits various times and places in Jewish history. Writes Eleanor Skinner in her Amazon review, "The tsaddik wanders around through time & space, while a wisecracking Retief/James Bond sort of figure from a galactic bureaucracy accidentally rescues a Polish princess. Eventually they all meet to fight an intergalactic real estate conspiracy, culminating in a climactic battle between hordes of demons & time-hopping Chassidim in a Polish castle. 60s psychedelia meets Yiddish humour."

8. All of An Instant by Richard Garfinkle (1999)
A scientist discovers a place called the Instant which, as Amazon's summary puts it, is "a paradoxical nonplace that is simultaneously all times and no time." Soon everybody's battling to control the Instant, where changes ripple forward and alter the future. Every little ripple erases entire cultures and wipes out whole timelines. The SFSite review conveys just how weird this book gets:
In addition to the normal dimensions of height, width and depth, duration forms a fourth dimension in the Instant, and it places limitations on the memories and abilities of its inhabitants. Kookatchi, for instance, has a particularly short duration, and therefore his memory recycles frequently, only allowing him to retain the most vital of information. Nir, the War Chief from the Now, has a duration of a decade which allows him to take part in longer term planning, although Garfinkle reveals that those inhabitants with longer a duration have a more difficult time seeing the Instant for what it really is.

7. Passing for Human, by Jody Scott (1977)
Benaroya is a giant space dolphin who's only interested in pleasure, until she decides to study humans. To do this, she disguises herself as Brenda Starr, the girl reporter from the newspaper comics. As she tells one human, "You might say I try to relate in a meaningful, concerned way to autochthonous bipeds in general." Later, Benaroya disguises herself as Emma Peel (from The Avengers) and author Virginia Woolf. Other members of her species are disguised as Abraham Lincoln and George S. Patton, while their support drones look like Richard Nixon. While disguised as Virginia Woolf, Benaroya gets herself captured by a race of psychopathic aliens who want to destroy the Earth, and you get a weird scene where Virginia Woolf debates whether it's a bad thing to fall in love with the leader of a group of genocidal alien psychopaths.
10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read 
6. Time Snake and Superclown by Vincent King (1976)
We reviewed this one back in 2008, and it's still hard to come up with a summary of the plot. Let's just say that the main character is living on Earth, observing a species of wraiths who are pretending to be human. While investigating this insidious plot, the hero has bad sex with a female wraith, who transforms his face into a clown mask — permanently — and steals his pants. He doesn't notice his pants are missing for about 20 pages, and when it finally dawns on him that he's pantless, he observes, "I must have been really bad not to have noticed that." The girl also cuts off his "strobe," trapping him on our planet because he can't access his spaceship. She eventually tells him he's destined to fight the Time Snake, which is coming to eat the world — but should he trust the girl who turned him into a clown and stole his pants? Probably not, but he does anyway.
10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read 
5. Flesh & Gold by Phyllis Gottlieb (1999)
From the synopsis:
Travelling judge Skerow, of a race of moral haiku-writing telepathic sauropods, stumbles upon two mysteries while on duty on grimy mining planet Fthel V. The same day she discovers her senior judge and colleague of 25 years was under investigation for accepting bribes, said colleague is murdered in his bedroom; and Skerow espies a genetically-altered, almost-human mermaid held captive in the display tank of a brothel window.
Luckily, it sounds like Skerow gets lots of help from her ancestors, whose brains are all in bottles, Futurama-style, plus she teams up with a human gladiator-for-hire named Ned. Too bad the food on Fthel V is so awful.
10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read 
4. Panda Ray by Michael Kandel (1996)
Christopher looks like a normal 10-year-old boy, but he's actually a member of a superpowerful race of creatures who control the world using their technology and psychic powers. When Christopher starts bragging about this at school, including details about how ESP killed the dinosaurs, his mother gets mad and decides that he should be "scooped out" — robbed of his psychic powers and turned into a shadow of his old self. So the boy escapes with his grandfather in a time machine disguised as a bathroom, fleeing through multiple universes. They go in search of the grandfather's mentor, Panda Ray, who may be able to save the boy, but only by turning him into a completely different person. Kandel is best known as the English translator of Stanislaw Lem, and by all accounts this is a very Lem-esque satirical coming-of-age novel.
10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read 
3. The Eleven Million Mile High Dancer by Carol Hill (1996)
From the official synopsis: "A brilliant, philosophical, and athletic physicist, Amanda Jaworski is in training to be the first person to journey to Mars. With her magic cat, Schrodinger, Amanda goes on the ultimate space odyssey. She finds herself in a battle for her life and her planet with the greatest seductress of all, The Eleven Million Mile High Dancer, a being from forty million light years away." Oh, and apparently the magic cat learns to order off a Chinese menu. And apparently Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is put to unexpected tests, in a storyline that combines physics and silliness. Eventually, according to Amazon reviewers, Amanda ends up meeting red and blue robots, a creature named Ooze, a "smelly overlord" and omniscient computers.
10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read 
2. The Flight to Lucifer: A Gnostic Fantasy by Harold Bloom (1979)
The only novel that the famous literary critic ever wrote — and he has disowned it utterly. Don't let Harold Bloom see you reading this book! It's a quasi-sequel to the space-faring novel A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay. And like Lindsay's book, this involves a flight to another world, in which Gnostic philosophy is explored — and this time, it's the planet Lucifer, where a guy named Olam guides the travelers to escape from Crystalman. As one Amazon reviewer explains:
set on a distant world where time and space shift back and forth and where the conflicts of first-century religion are still being played out. Harold Bloom's story begins with an Aeon, Olam, descding to earth to bring two men, Valentinus, a reincarnation of a Gnostic prophet, and his young warrior escort Perscors, back to Lucifer on a quest to help Valentinus recover the call that motivated his previous life. For Perscors, the quest is a search for a transcendental principle, but to reach it, he has to do battle with enemies both divine and semi-divine, to finally reach his inner discovery of his own uniqueness.
10 Weirdest Science Fiction Novels That You've Never Read 
1. The Butterfly Kid by Chester Anderson (1967)
As the book's blurb says: "The Hippies had a New Kick: From Outer Space!" Here's how we summarized this book a few years ago: Anderson's semi-autobiographical novel has a main character named after himself, and a supporting character named after his roommate at the time. Aliens are supplying a new kind of drug, known as "Reality Pills," which cause your LSD hallucinations to become physically real. One character takes the Reality Pills and is able to make butterflies appear spontaneously, all colors and sizes. Chester faces the vicious Blue Lobster aliens, who hook him up to a machine that forces him to experience horrifying visions that he would have paid to see otherwise. He writes: "I was the rabbit in the moon. I was as corny as Kansas in orbit. I wasn't thinking very well at all!"
Thanks to Eileen Gunn, Bruce Townley, Kate Bornstein, Regis M. Donovan, Ken Applebaum, Ray Radlein, Henry Mahncke, Tom Marcinko, Raskable Glaud, Justin Partridge, Joe Rojas-Burke, Steve Silberman, Christie Dudley, Robbie Taylor, John D. Berry, Michelle Denise Norton, Larry-Bob Roberts, Chris Granade, M. McClure, Ben Werdmuller, Allen Varney, Ron Hogan, Kate Sherrod.  - io9

Kolaps - Nastavak holokausta tehnološkim sredstvima

Najveći holokaust koji je (bilo) moguće spriječiti. Dokumentarac Chrisa Smitha s Michaelom Ruppertom kao "prorokom" i faktografom urote (nasuprot teoretičarima urote). Što učiniti ako je već prekasno, ako je kolaps već počeo? Trejler:

utorak, 28. veljače 2012.

Perfume Genius - Novi album Put Your Back N 2 It

Električna čokolada. Nježnost za ljude koje je život razmazao po kriški kruha. I čija je krv bijela.

"Mike Hadreas’ spectral, half-real, half-dream debut Learning was one of the minor joys of 2010 and even made some inroads towards actual popularity with its sharp, shimmering shock of a lead single ‘Mr Petersen’. That the album was pretty, pretty strange and prettily sad is a given – but it also lacked the kind of solidification of ideas, the singularity of intent and conclusive songwriting that make a truly memorable, even classic album.
For his follow up Mr Hadreas suffers none of the niggling reservations that made his debut a half-diamond, none of the wavering lo-fi tendencies that muffled his stunning, soft crystal voice in the past. Put Your Back N 2 It, utterly ludicrous title and all, is one of the most wonderful records in recent memory.
From the hard breath and high tension piano notes that pick out the opening of ‘Awol Marine’  – the only track in which the vocal is mostly unintelligible, leaving you searching through the bold instrumentation like rubble for meaning – right through to the closing line (“Don’t you stop, ‘till you know you’re gone”) and 30-second ambient fade of closer ‘Sister Song’, this is an empowered, almost impossibly tender, superbly sexual record.
The assurances of the Leonard Cohen-like plucked acoustica of ‘Normal Song’ – “No violence, no matter how sad/Can darken the heart or tear it apart” – are representative of Hadreas’ new-found assuredness and comfort as a potential sexual role model; even if, as on the brutal, fragile ‘17’ he discusses self-loathing and body dysmorphia in terms as cutting as “String it up on a fence/Cover it with semen (cement?)/I am done with it”. While he still has his moments of weakness, they are put out there in song to be shared and to be used as beacons for those who may feel entirely alone.
His instrumentation is as inspired by Angelo Badalamenti’s work for David Lynch as on his debut but again it’s crisper, and more pronounced.  As much as form follows content Hadreas is not speaking a new language here, it’s simply that his annunciation has become that much better.
‘No Tear’ would stand a Prince cover rather well, it’s split demon/angel vocal lines and resilient survival-at-all-costs sentiment a delectable, sinewy delight; while ‘Take Me Home’  is a soulful tale of subsuming oneself in lust – “I will be like a shadow of a shadow…of a shadow/For you” he soars, with one of the most memorable melodies of the whole album.
It’s just all so achingly soft, so bruisingly powerful. Ballads and torch songs of almost unknowable longing, like the huge, canyon-like piano anthem ‘Hood’ lay alongside poems of almost unbearable loss and loneliness like ‘Dirge’, sleeping next to paeans to possible futures as yet unrealised such as the near-angry cry for liberation ‘All Waters’.
It’s a simple case that every time his hands hit the keys, every time those angelic backing vocals erupt across the sky of his sunset music, it is a wonder to behold. The Sufjan Stevens jag of ‘Dark Parts’ is an ideal example of just how utterly brilliant this record is – a stadium torch song told through a dark, unbearably sad but suddenly self-assured voice. “I will take the dark part of your heart into my heart” croons Hadreas, the sound of pure, blinding honesty, absolute self-sacrifice in every note he speaks.
Ultimately this is an album that could draw comparison with the likes of Mr Stevens, perhaps Plush, perhaps Bon Iver et al but Hadreas has more potential to find himself in the company of the likes of Paul Simon, the aformentioned Cohen, perhaps Nick Cave as a master of melody, an unrivalled wordsmith and the originator of a singular sound that many will imitate but few will equal.
It’s a near perfect album and Perfume Genius has, ever so swiftly, made the transition from interesting outsider to fully-realised musical hero." -

Charles Pfahl - Tkanine kao SF na LSD-u

   Još davno naletio sam bio u nekom postmodernističkom časopisu na reprodukciju Pfahlove slike: žena koju vidimo odozgo ima oko sebe mnoštvo raširenih tkanina - popluna, jastuka, plahti, marama, možda i haljina. Sve su tkanine bile u, rekao bih, "istočnjačkim" dezenima, ali istodobno sve je bilo pomalo renesansno, utopijsko i psihodelično. Tkanine, kad si na LSD-u? I povrh toga, sve je bilo nekako znanstvenofantastično, poput halucinacija koje na Solarisu ima neki Borgesov tkalac beskrajnih popluna. 
   Pfahl i dalje crta poplune i tkanine, no sad je čini se u njih ukomponirao "arhetipske", stereo-religijske teme. Zapravo, nemam pojma. Vjerojatno je Pfahl oduvijek prikazivao najrazličitije umotvorine, no mene zapravo zanimaju njegovi prikazi tkanina. Okej, okej, i ove nove lutke i sjebani metafizičko-religijski teatralijum i boschovska arheologija kršćanstva iskopanog ispod lave Vezuva, i vagina dentata 
20 000 milja ispod mora, i to je fascinantno. Ali, eh, tkanine...

Interview: Charles Pfahl

Ray Caesar - Jesu li one djevojčice, žene, biljke ili izvanzemaljke?

   Caesarovi Über-realistični 3D prikazi fantastičnih prizora s čudnim ženskim bićima istovremeno su šećerasto-nadrealistični, kič-end-keri, začudno uznemirujući, morbidno snoviti i fascinantni. Pretjerano lakirani i zbunjujuće izvrsni. Fantasy-ljiga i vrhunska satenska, aristokratska jeza. Pedofilija kao metoda, a ne kao predmet. Nevina žrtva je najveći predator. Čudni izvori svjetlosti. Robotska preciznost postojanja. Baršun samoće. Luksuzno zlo. Seksualna dekoracija bez seksualne žudnje. Žudnja bez predmeta žudnje. Vakumirane boje. Fragonard u doba glossy magazina. Utopijski svijet u kojem je sve skupocjeno. Pouka: utopija je skupa, zlo je skupo. Zlo i ljepota su za bogataše. (Ovo bi mogle biti i ilustarcije za slikovnicu Davida Ickea Bogataši-gušteri u metalnom satenu).
   Caesar je i privatno opičen, zapravo je višestruka ličnost i kaže da bi bio ubojica da nije slikar.

I was first introduced to Ray Caesar’s work when writing the catalogue essay for Carrie Ann Baade’s Cute and Creepy show, which was exhibited at Florida State University’s Fine Art Museum this past October. I haven’t been able to shake the images of his haunting, and haunted, beauties ever since. Trapped forever between woman and girl, human and creature, these lovelies radiate a strength and light amid the perils that threaten their very existence. Take Monday’s Child, whose innocence and purity radiate and fill the sphere in which she is encased. While she is “fair in face” just like the nursery rhyme promises, her hands — ruby red and branch like — surely belong to some other species. Is she kept within the sphere for our safety or to be protected? She is certainly child-like in her little baby doll dress, but look more closely, and we’ll see that she’s also sporting thigh-high stockings. Is she girl, woman, plant, or alien? Might this be how many of our little girls feel, growing up in a strange consumerist world where they are taught often contradictory rules about what makes them special? The clock that sits on the top of the sphere might indicate that at a certain time the top half will open or that the legs will start moving – suggesting that the sphere is alive on its own accord, a kind of mechanical nanny guarding the precious creature inside.

Asterion plays off of the famous Minotaur, but this curious bull is still a little girl in size, despite the sexualization of her body. She glares at us with a force I’ve yet to really encounter in the gaze of Manet’s Olympia. Who is she waiting for in that barely furnished room, with no shade to cover the lamp’s naked bulb? I am frightened for her and by her, not knowing if she is victim or predator.

The same might be said for the little one standing behind the curtains in Fly Trap. Residing somewhere between boy and girl, the young face looks up longingly, mouth open perhaps in song or siren call. I cannot tell if the mouth is bloodstained or if some sick adult got crazy with the lipstick. Her eyes, unlike Asterion’s, have little fight in them, only a sad kind of hunger. But this child’s body, rather than being gaunt, is wondrous in its monstrous form. Spanning three window frames, the delicate yet giant legs are probably the last thing one notices in the picture, yet they frame the entire story, for surely this creature is ready to escape.

And here, I believe, is the power of Caesar’s work — to infuse these children with a sense of unspoken power. He has personally seen the need for such a narrative, having worked for 17 years in the art & photography department of the Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto. There he documented “disturbing cases of child abuse, surgical reconstruction, psychology, and animal research” (Gallery House). I’m not sure how one survives seeing such havoc wreaked upon the bodies of the young, but I admire to no end the mythic power of art to help heal such wounds. Caesar is unrelenting in showing us the physical and psychological injuries that children suffer — his art has that visceral effect. At the same time, he opens a doorway into the unreal, a place where they might be safe. I often think of the gods who turned Daphne into a laurel tree so that Apollo could not assault her. But Caesar does not complete the act, keeping these little ones in frozen transformation, invoking the power of the grotesque as he does so.

One might say that Caesar is transgressive in his very medium, using the 3D modeling software called Maya instead of brush, charcoal, or pen and ink (Gallery House). Perhaps this quality is what also lends an otherworldliness to his work, a light that seems to emanate from his work despite its dark subject matter. Beloved and Ebb Tide fall more into the realm of the Weird, perhaps, rather than truly grotesque. I find myself entranced with the pieces that show us the softer side of Cthulhu. Both girls have a genuine serenity in their expressions, despite their obvious (and certainly inconvenient) relationship to the monstrous. In Beloved, the baby’s tentacles don’t seem threatening, but am I the only one who thinks the girl’s face is a tad too close to them? She shows no fear, but neither is it quite adoration. The light bathing her face casts her into the role of some Victorian Madonna, unsure, perhaps, of just what she has given birth to, but obviously intent on protecting it.

Ebb Tide, despite its peaceful scene, still has elements of subtle horror: the giant belt that imprisons her waist, heavy petticoats, and calico leggings with steel tips for her tentacles. She looks off into the distance, perhaps dreaming of the wild life she once lived in the sea. It doesn’t appear that she abhors this beached domesticity; in fact, the scene is one of rather stunning beauty. Are these our choices for femininity — either dark creature of the abyss or paralyzed loveliness?

I’m not sure you can look at Ray Caesar’s work and remain undisturbed. I’m not sure he’d want you to. There can be a paradigm shift when art holds our attention for longer than a second, when we are so seduced by its contradictions that our minds truly begin to work at untangling them. Because, you see, when we engage with grotesque art, we’re not entering into the realm of logical analysis but into a liminal space where you meet doppelgangers, monsters, and children-creatures — all crying out for us to be more redemptive humans." - Nancy Hightower

Intervju za Hi-Fructose

Ray Caesar Interview In the Light

Gen Art Vanguard Interview


ponedjeljak, 27. veljače 2012.

Herzogov uvod u Johna Tavenera

Herzogov filmić Pilgrimage samo je uvod u predivnu, snovito kičastu i sublimno konzervativnu muziku Johna Tavenera. Čovjeka koji gažu ima kod kraljevske obitelji (soundtrack za pogreb princeze Diane), ali kaj sad. Prepustimo ponekad let svojem unutrašnjem auto-idiotu.

Evo još malo Tavenera. Srednji vijek za ateiste:

Ovo je već 20-stoljetno:

Lista Tavenerovih skladbi na YouTubeu

Chelsea Wolfe - Reiki će donijeti apokalipsu

Zatvorite se u tetrapak. Probušite iglom nekoliko rupa za disanje. Ignorirajte te rupe. Dišite duboko.

"Speaking of "gorgeously dark" things... Los Angeles singer/songwriter Chelsea Wolfe came seemingly out of nowhere with her haunting, almost painfully unsettling sophomore effort. The arrangements are positively bloodcurdling—Chelsea's voice (a healthy mixture of early PJ Harvey and Victorialand­-era Liz Fraser) floats like an angry ghost above the unspeakably raw power of her electric guitars. Expect every hair on your body to stand at attention... and expect to be thinking of this record for days after each listen". - Ology's Review

"I'm not usually one for apocalypse theories, but there was a time-- very recently, in fact-- where I felt totally surrounded by signs of our impending doom. Not just metaphorical ones, but literal signs: "The end is coming!" "Are you ready for Jesus' return?". More than anything, the veritable deluge of death knells left me wondering, "What is is the apocalypse going to sound like?"
The opening snarls of Chelsea Wolfe's second LP for Pendu Sound RecordingsἈποκάλυψις (Apokalypsis), come pretty close to an answer. It's a ghoulish wall of animalistic noise, a twisted mash-up of a beautiful voice gone crazy just moments before the slithering guitar tones of "Mer" kick in. It's the sort of the thing you'd expect to hear when the Four Horsemen open their mouths, and then it gives way to Wolfe's latest vision, which draws sensuality, fright, and fragility into one dreamy meeting ground.
If there's one thing that I learned from my gchat with the LA singer/songwriter, it's that the concept of apocalypse, like most things in real and mystical life, has many faces. While pain and darkness constitute the conceptual bulk, there is a lighter side to it as well: an opportunity for change, creation, or relief. One could forgive me for being intimidated by a presence like Wolfe's before our chat, but I soon found out that despite tasking herself with uncovering the mystical, she was extremely down to earth.
AZ: What kind of relationship did you have with your Grandma?

Chelsea: Well, my parents divorced when I was young, so I spent a lot of my childhood at different houses, and the most memories come from my grandmother's house. She had a big, old, overgrown house across from the train tracks in the old part of town. She moved there after spending two years up in the hills at a sort of homeopathic/naturalistic camp/college thing. She would read my energies, tell me which essential oils I needed, and practice her Reiki on me while she studied it. She was channeling universal energies into me without physical touch, but I felt it was a more human energy. I studied massage therapy later in life.
AZ: Really? What got you into massage therapy?

Chelsea: Possibly influence from my grandmother, coupled with a sort of instinct to heal. Eventually, I found my own voice to be a more healing thing than physical touch, although I still really appreciate massage and find anatomy and the connections between all things very interesting and inspiring.
AZ: What made you feel your voice was a more powerful healer?

Chelsea: I've always made songs, from very a young age, and sometimes there was something in my own voice that felt distant from myself, almost like hearing a mother's voice. I know that sounds crazy, but it was comforting to me to sing, and once I started sharing my music, there were certain songs I hoped would bring a sense of peace to others as well. I don't mean to call myself a healer though. I've never really brought up any of that before to be honest:
AZ: It's funny how peaceful you seem compared to the opening screams and moans of Apokalypsis.

Chelsea: Oh [laughs]. I go back and forth. I'm not bipolar but sometimes it seems that way; it's just a moodiness I have, I suppose.
AZ: Do you ever feel a divide between your stage persona and your day-to-day self?

Chelsea: Actually, not really. I am the same on stage as during the average day: moody, sometimes very shy, and sometimes very bold. But playing more shows helps me become comfortable on stage, so I can lose myself more.
AZ: I feel like that's something very exciting about your music: those opposing forces blending. Not so much that you are shy and then bold, but simultaneously shy and bold. Do you play off of that?

Chelsea: Maybe unconsciously. I like contrasts and parallels-- I often use them in my songs. The dark and the light. On Apokalypsis, it was important that it could refer to apocalypse and revelation. I wanted to focus on the idea that an apocalypse didn't necessarily have to be defined as a bad thing. It could be a new beginning or an awakening of truths-- an epiphany.
AZ: A lot of the influences I've heard you mention are timeless in nature, like mythologies and ancient writings. Do you you feel like this is an important message for people right now? For instance: our economy sucks, people are angry, and there's this general feeling that something needs to change.

Chelsea: Yes, of course. I started thinking about the concept of the album after reading the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It felt very apocalyptic to me, but as things were coming to an end and disintegrating, a new world was being built. Then I started researching different scientific end-times theories as well as the Book of Revelation, letting the images and concepts come together in my head.
AZ: How do you feel about the "2012" theory?

Chelsea: I think the "end of the world" will be a long, slow death, but I look forward to that date in December 2012. I wonder if some change will come, a shift in the universe, an earthquake, or nothing at all. I like landmark dates like this, but I don't give it very much weight to be honest.
AZ: I think a lot of people imagine everything that we know just evaporating: a really clean, convenient ending.

Chelsea: Like Melancholia. I like that idea too, but I don't feel that that's the way it would actually go.
AZ: What's Melancholia?

Chelsea: A Lars Von Trier film, you should see it. Charlotte Gainsbourg's in it, really ripped my heart out. So good.
AZ: Are you a film buff?

Chelsea: No, but I really love films. Certain directors really inspire me more than anything: Ingmar Bergman, John Waters, Lars Von Trier, Cory McAbee, and David Lynch, of course.
AZ: Favorite David Lynch film?

Chelsea: Eraserhead is very inspiring. I really like the dream-state, the lady in the radiator, knowing how hard he had to work to make that film happen, the visuals… I think it's unclear in a lot of David Lynch's movies whether it's a reality or a dream/nightmare and I went through a period of that. Sometimes my memory is just like that-- even short-term, kind of foggy and unclear. Visually, it's strange, kind of industrial and confusing-- all in good ways. I love art that is tasteful and creative on low budgets.
AZ: Are you drawn to music that is the same way?

Chelsea: Oh, I don't know. I don't think so. The first album I released-- The Grime and The Glow-- was that way. I wanted to capture certain spaces, moods, and times-- like concrete walls or the echoes of a small, empty room. I just used my analog 8-track to record it all. I loved that project and I still record in that way sometimes, but I don't prefer "hi-fi" or "lo-fi" over each other at all. It's all about how it's utilized; it's about using what you have in any given situation to the best of your ability and creativity.
Ἀποκάλυψις (Apokalypsis) is out now via Pendu Sound Recordings" - Matt Sullivan

Doldrums - Retro-inspirativna meta-psihodelija

Kako treba zvučati miks? Ludo, zabavno, mistično, izvanzemaljski, psihodelično. Tako treba i izgledati.

Album Empire Sound daunlodajte ovdje

 On his debut EP, Empire SoundDoldrums presents us a kind of world-weary psychedelia. If their last single, "I'm Homesick Sittin' Up Here In My Satellite," didn't hint enough at the former Spiral Beach frontman's global vision, this release reveals the extent of his empire. Highlight "Parrot Talk" bounces over a brassy, equatorial dub, whereas "Endless Winter" notches back the intensity for some reversed guitar and melancholy breakbeats. In the noise-laden "Tantrum," the ghost of Edgar Varèse haunts a ghetto blaster, and album closer "Lost In My Head" pairs filtered vocals with classic Casio synth. But despite the album's fast-forwarded samples, feedback squelches, and pitch-shifted chicken sounds, Eric Asher's elastic voice bears Empire's twists and turns with pop grace. - Dale W. Eisinger, Altered Zones

Edouard Levé - Nikad nisam bio na nudističkom sprovodu

     Edouard Levé je čudesno otkriće. Najiskreniji i ujedno najdistanciraniji mogući oblik autoportreta: niz impresija i prosudbi.

    Ulomak iz američkog prijevoda njegove knjige Autoportrait:

When I was young, I thought Life: A User’s Manual would teach me how to live and Suicide: A User’s Manual how to die. I don’t really listen to what people tell me. I forget things I don’t like. I look down dead-end streets. The end of a trip leaves me with a sad aftertaste the same as the end of a novel. I am not afraid of what comes at the end of life. I am slow to realize when someone mistreats me, it is always so surprising: evil is somehow unreal. When I sit with bare legs on vinyl, my skin doesn’t slide, it squeaks. I archive. I joke about death. I do not love myself. I do not hate myself. My rap sheet is clean. To take pictures at random goes against my nature, but since I like doing things that go against my nature, I have had to make up alibis to take pictures at random, for example, to spend three months in the United States traveling only to cities that share a name with a city in another country: Berlin, Florence, Oxford, Canton, Jericho, Stockholm, Rio, Delhi, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Mexico, Syracuse, Lima, Versailles, Calcutta, Bagdad.

Edouard Leve, Pecheur de Bagdad et sa fille, 2002, color photograph. From

I would rather be bored alone than with someone else. I roam empty places and eat in deserted restaurants. I do not say “A is better than B” but “I prefer A to B.” I never stop comparing. When I am returning from a trip, the best part is not going through the airport or getting home, but the taxi ride in between: you’re still traveling, but not really. I sing badly, so I don’t sing. I had an idea for a Dream Museum. I do not believe the wisdom of the sages will be lost. I once tried to make a book-museum of vernacular writing, it reproduced handwritten messages from unknown people, classed by type: flyers about lost animals, justifications left on windshields for parking cops to avoid paying the meter, desperate pleas for witnesses, announcements of a change in management, office messages, home messages, messages to oneself. I cannot sleep beside someone who moves around, snores, breathes heavily, or steals the covers. I can sleep with my arms around someone who doesn’t move. I have attempted suicide once, I’ve been tempted four times to attempt it. The distant sound of a lawn mower in summer brings back happy childhood memories. I am bad at throwing. I have read less of the Bible than of Marcel Proust. Roberto Juarroz makes me laugh more than Andy Warhol. Jack Kerouac makes me want to live more than Charles Baudelaire. La Rochefoucauld depresses me less than Bret Easton Ellis. Joe Brainard is less affirmative than Walt Whitman. I know Jacques Roubaud less well than Georges Perec. Gherasim Luca is the most full of despair. I don’t see the connection between Alain Robbe-Grillet and Antonio Tabucchi. When I make lists of names, I dread the ones I forget. From certain angles, tanned and wearing a black shirt, I can find myself handsome. I find myself ugly more often than handsome. I like my voice after a night out or when I have a cold. I am unacquainted with hunger. I was never in the army. I have never pulled a knife on anyone. I have never used a machine gun. I have fired a revolver. I have fired a rifle. I have shot an arrow. I have netted butterflies. I have observed rabbits. I have eaten pheasants. I recognize the scent of a tiger. I have touched the dry head of a tortoise and an elephant’s hard skin. I have caught sight of a herd of wild boar in a forest in Normandy. I ride. I do not explain. I do not excuse. I do not classify. I go fast. I am drawn to the brevity of English, shorter than French. I do not name the people I talk about to someone who doesn’t know them, I use, despite the trouble of it, abstract descriptions like “that friend whose parachute got tangled up with another parachute the time he jumped.” I prefer going to bed to getting up, but I prefer living to dying. I look more closely at old photographs than contemporary ones, they are smaller, and their details are more precise. I have noticed that, on the keypads of Parisian front doors, the 1 wears out the fastest. I’m not ashamed of my family, but I do not invite them to my openings. I have often been in love. I love myself less than I have been loved. I am surprised when someone loves me. I do not consider myself handsome just because a woman thinks so. My intelligence is uneven. My amorous states resemble one another, and those of other people, more than my works resemble one another, or those of other people. I have never shared a bank account. A friend once remarked that I seem glad when guests show up at my house but also when they leave. I do not know how to interrupt an interlocutor who bores me. I have good digestion. I love summer rain. I have trouble understanding why people give stupid presents. Presents make me feel awkward, whether I am the giver or the receiver, unless they are the right ones, which is rare. Although I am self-employed, I observe the weekend. I have never kissed a lover in front of my parents. I do not have a weekend place because I do not like to open and then shut a whole lot of shutters over the course of two days. I have not hugged a male friend tight. I have not seen the dead body of a friend. I have seen the dead bodies of my grandmother and my uncle. I have not kissed a boy. I used to have sex with women my own age, but as I got older they got younger. I do not buy used shoes. I have made love on the roof of the thirtieth floor of a building in Hong Kong. I have made love in the daytime in a public garden in Hong Kong. I have made love in the toilet of the Paris–Lyon TGV. I have made love in front of some friends at the end of a very drunken dinner. I have made love in a staircase on the avenue Georges-Mandel. I have made love to a girl at a party at six in the morning, five minutes after asking, without any preamble, if she wanted to. I have made love standing up, sitting down, lying down, on my knees, stretched out on one side or the other. I have made love to one person at a time, to two, to three, to more. I have smoked hashish and opium, I have done poppers, I have snorted cocaine. I find fresh air more intoxicating than drugs. I smoked my first joint at age fourteen in Segovia, a friend and I had bought some “chocolate” from a guard in the military police, I couldn’t stop laughing and I ate the leaves of an olive tree. I smoked several joints in the bosom of my grammar school, the Collège Stanislas, at the age of fifteen. The girl whom I loved the most left me. At ten I cut my finger in a flour mill. At six I broke my nose getting hit by a car. At fifteen I skinned my hip and -elbow falling off a moped, I had decided to defy the street, riding with no hands, looking backward. I broke my thumb skiing, after flying ten meters and landing on my head, I got up and saw, as in a cartoon, circles of birthday candles turning in the air and then I fainted. I have not made love to the wife of a friend. I do not love the sound of a family on the train. I am uneasy in rooms with small windows. Sometimes I realize that what I’m in the middle of saying is boring, so I just stop talking. Art that unfolds over time gives me less pleasure than art that stops it. Even if it is an odd sort of present, I thank my father and mother for having given me life.

I believe the people who make the world are the ones who do not believe in reality, for example, for centuries, the Christians. There are times in my life when I overuse the phrase “it all sounds pretty complicated.” I wonder how the obese make love. Not wanting to change things does not mean I am conservative, I like for things to change, just not having to do it. I connect easily with women, it takes longer with men. My best male friends have something feminine about them. I ride a motorcycle but I don’t have the “biker spirit.” I am an egoist despite myself, I cannot even conceive of being altruistic. Until the age of twelve I thought I was gifted with the power to shape the future, but this power was a crushing burden, it manifested itself in the form of threats, I had to take just so many steps before I got to the end of the sidewalk or else my parents would die in a car accident, I had to close the door thinking of some favorable outcome, for example passing a test, or else I’d fail, I had to turn off the light not thinking about my mother getting raped, or that would happen, one day I couldn’t stand having to close the door a hundred times before I could think of something good, or to spend fifteen minutes turning off the light the right way, I decided enough was enough, the world could fall apart, I didn’t want to spend my life saving other people, that night I went to bed sure the next day would bring the apocalypse, nothing happened, I was relieved but a little bit disappointed to discover I had no power.

Edouard Leve, Entree de Rio, 2002, color photograph. From

In a sandwich, I don’t see what I am eating, I imagine it. Even very tired, I can watch TV for several hours. As a child I dreamed of being not a fireman, but a veterinarian, the idea was not my own, I was imitating my cousin. I played house with a cousin, but there were variants, it could be doctor (formal inspection of genitals), or thug and bourgeoise (mini–rape scene), when we played thug and bourgeoise my cousin would walk past the swing set where I’d be sitting, outside our family’s house, I would call out to her in a menacing tone of voice, she wouldn’t answer but would act afraid, she would start to run away, I would catch her and drag her into the little pool house, I would bolt the door, I’d pull the curtains, she would try vaguely to get away, I would undress her and similute the sexual act while she cried out in either horror or pleasure, I could never tell which it was supposed to be, I forget how it used to end. I would be very moved if a friend told me he loved me, even if he told me more out of love than friendship. I find certain ethnicities more beautiful than others. When I ask for directions, I am afraid I won’t be able to remember what people tell me. I am always shocked when people give me directions and they actually get me where I’m going: words become road. I like slow motion because it brings cinema close to photography. I get along well with old people. A woman’s breasts may hold my attention to the point that I can’t hear what she’s saying. I enjoy the simple decor of Protestant temples. I do not write memoirs. I do not write novels. I do not write short stories. I do not write plays. I do not write poems. I do not write mysteries. I do not write science fiction. I write fragments. I do not tell stories from things I’ve read or movies I’ve seen, I describe impressions, I make judgments. The modern man I sing. In one of my recurring nightmares, gravity is so heavy that the chubby pseudo-humans who wander the empty surface of the earth move in slow motion through an endless moonlit night. I have utterly lost touch with friends who were dear to me, without knowing why, I believe they don’t know why themselves. I learned to draw by copying pornographic photographs. I have a foggy sense of history, and of stories in general, chronology bores me. I do not suffer from the absence of those I love. I prefer desire to pleasure. My death will change nothing. I would like to write in a language not my own. I penetrate a woman faster than I pull out. If I kiss for a long time, it hurts the muscle under my tongue. I am afraid of ending up a bum. I am afraid of having my computer and negatives stolen. I cannot tell what, in me, is innate. I do not have a head for business. I have stepped on a rake and had the handle hit me in the face. I have gone to four psychiatrists, one psychologist, one psychotherapist, and five psychoanalysts. I look for the simple things I no longer see. I do not go to confession. Legs slightly open excite me more than legs wide open. I have trouble forbidding. I am not mature. When I look at a strawberry, I think of a tongue, when I lick one, of a kiss. I can see how drops of water could be torture. A burn on my tongue has a taste. My memories, good or bad, are sad the way dead things are sad. A friend can let me down but not an enemy. I ask the price before I buy. I go nowhere with my eyes closed. When I was a child I had bad taste in music. Playing sports bores me after an hour. Laughing unarouses me. Often, I wish it were tomorrow. My memory is structured like a disco ball. I wonder if there are still parents around to threaten their children with a whipping. The voice, the lyrics, and the face of Daniel Darc made French rock listenable to me. The best conversations I ever had date from adolescence, with a friend at whose place we drank cocktails that we made by mixing up his mother’s liquor at random, we would talk until sunrise in the salon of that big house where Mallarmé had once been a guest, in the course of those nights, I delivered speeches on love, politics, God, and death of which I retain not one word, even though I came up with some of them doubled over in laughter, years later, this friend told his wife that he had left something in the house just as they were leaving to play tennis, he went down to the basement and put a bullet in his head with the gun he had left there beforehand. I have memories of comets with powdery tails. I read the dictionary. I went into a glass labyrinth called the Palace of Mirrors. I wonder where the dreams go that I don’t remember. I do not know what to do with my hands when they have nothing to do. Even though it’s not for me, I turn around when someone whistles in the street. Dangerous animals do not scare me. I have seen lightning. I wish they had sleds for grown-ups. I have read more volumes one than volumes two. The date on my birth certificate is wrong. I am not sure I have any influence. I talk to my things when they’re sad. I do not know why I write. I prefer a ruin to a monument. I am calm during reunions. I have nothing against the alarm clock. Fifteen years old is the middle of my life, regardless of when I die. I believe there is an afterlife, but not an afterdeath. I do not ask “do you love me.” Only once can I say “I’m dying” without telling a lie. The best day of my life may already be behind me.
Translated from French by Lorin Stein

Best known as a photographer, Édouard Levé was also the author of four works of prose: Oeuvres, Journal, Autoportrait, and Suicide, the last of which he finished days before he took his own life, in 2007, at the age of forty-two. Levé wrote Autoportrait—the source of these pages—in 2002, while he was traveling across America, taking the photographs that became “Série Amérique.” - The Paris Review