utorak, 28. kolovoza 2012.

Harry Everett Smith - Early Abstractions (1945- 1957)

Harry Everett Smith (1923.-1991.) - umjetnički šaman opće prakse: eksperimentalni filmaš, arhivar-etnomuzikolog (skupljač legendarne Anthology of American Folk Music), slikar, boem, okultist - jedna od najvećih figura američke avangarde 20. stoljeća.


"Harry Everett Smith (29. maj 1923, Portland, Oregon – 27. novembar 1991, New York City) bio je etnomuzikolog, anthropolog, režiser eksperimentalnih filmova, ekscentirčni umetnik i boem. Za Folkways Records je 1952. uredio šestostruki kompilacijski album, pod nazivom Anthology of American Folk Music. Harry Smith je tokom četrdesetih godina počeo da skuplja stare ploče sa blues, jazz, country, cajun, and gospel snimcima,tako da je sa tih ploča, koje su bile na 78 obrtaja, za Folkways Records izabrao 84 pesme američke folk muzike snimljene izmedju 1927. i 1932. Sama kompilacija je veoma dobro izabrana i metodološki podeljena na tri dupla albuma koja čine zasebne celine (balade, društvene pesme i pesme koje se tiču svakodnevnog života), a u američkoj etnomuzikologiji se smatra za izdanje od neprocenjivog istorijskog značaja koje je revolucionarno izmenilo razumevanje američkih muzičkih korena. 

Anthology of American Folk Music na kompakt disku, izdanje Smithsonian Folkways Recordings iz avgusta 1997. godine

   Harry Smith je bio poznat i kao jedna od važnijih figura u istoriji eksperimentalnog filma i ti filmovi su sačuvani, za razliku od najvećeg dela njegovih slikarskih platna, naslikanih tokom četrdesetih,  koja su uništena  njegovom vlastitom rukom. Fotografije nekih od tih slika su ipak ostale sačuvane. Harry Smith je slikao veoma često inspirisan kabalom, tako da su se tu mogle videti i  likovne predstave kabalističkih sefira, ili pak planetarnih sfera. Zapravo, Harry Smith je bio duboko u okultnom. Znameniti američki avangardni režiser Kenneth Anger, takodje veoma zaronjen u okultne vode,  jednom je Harry Smith-a nazvao “najvećim živim magičarem”.   Roditelji Harry Smith-a su bili teoozofi, a majka mu je bila učiteljica u rezervatu indijanskog Lumi plemena, gde je on, po vlastitom svedoćenju, još kao dete dobio šamanističku inicijaciju i trening. Tokom četrdesetih godina, Harry Smith je upoznao Charles Stansfeld Jones-a, bivšeg učenika Aleister Corwley-a koji ga je smatrao svojim magijskim sinom.  Charles Stansfeld Jones je Smitha primio u okultnu organizaciju Astrum Argentum, te ga, on ali i njegov učenik Albert A. Handel,  magijski obučavao. Harry Smith je takodje bio i  član Ordo Templi Orientis-a, tako je ostalo zabeleženo da je 1986. bio posvećen za Biskupa Ecclesie Gnostice Catholice, gnostičko-religijskog aspekta Ordo Templi Orientisa. Šta više, po nekima jedno vreme je ne samo živeo u istom stanu sa  Hymenaeus Betom, sadašnjim poglavarom Ordo Templi Orientisa,  već je bio i jedan od njegovih učitelja magije i okultnog.
    Harry Smith je veoma ozbiljno i pomno proučavao i  praktikovao enohijanski system magije tako da je, ma koliko to bizarno zvučalo, stvorio sintezu Enohijanske magije i škotskih tartana (škotsko karirano platno) te da je čak i naslikao na tartanima zasnovan komplet enohijanskih tabli.
    Umetnički rad Harry Smitha krasio je i korice Svetih knjiga Theleme, izdatih u mekom povezu.
    Harry Smith je umro 1991. e.v. u "Chelsea" hotelu, na istom mestu gde je mnogo godina ranije (bar kako se pričalo) ostvario Znanje i Razgovor sa svojim Svetim Andjelom  Čuvarem." - www.prosvetljenje.net


Strange dreams 

Reading through Harry Everett Smith‘s CV, it’s hard not to believe that it belongs to several people who happen to have the same name. This American maverick was a tireless archivist of American folk and blues music, a music producer, a gifted abstract painter, a prodigious collector and an explorer of the less trafficked byways of mysticism, to name just a few of his occupations.
He was also a pioneer of underground film, the forerunner of Andy Warhol and today’s avant-garde filmmakers and video artists. His earliest film experiments, like those of Kenneth Anger, date from the time of the Second World War. And like Anger, Smith was steeped in the occult and believed that film, liberated from linear narrative, could be a conduit for magic.

With the most limited means, and sometimes just by painting directly onto the celluloid, Smith made geometric shapes dance in hypnotic patterns throughout his early works. No part of Smith’s life was completely divorced from another, and so his research into music informs the visuals, with their pattern of theme and variation and seemingly improvised digressions; early films were meant to be accompanied by Dizzy Gillespie records. Titles like A Strange Dream, Circular Tensions, Mirror Animations, The Magic Mushroom People of Oz and Message from the Sun serve to illustrate his formal and thematic preoccupations as well as the fact that he was frequently out of his freakin’ gourd.

Certainly it must have taken a lot of drugs to make, and indeed watch Heaven and Earth Magic, which was 6 hours long in its original incarnation. At times it looks like an animated Max Ernst collage, at other times like nothing you’ve ever seen or will see again.

Smith’s most ambitious film work, Mahagonny, was inspired by Bertolt Brecht’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and was meant to be shown on four projectors with incredibly complicated music cues of Smith’s devising. The film featured, among others, Smith’s fellow Chelsea Hotel residents Allen Ginsberg and Patti Smith, both of whom were recently named among the 400 most influential New Yorkers (Harry was a curious omission). It was shown a half-dozen times in 1980, and then effectively disappeared until a team of experts recently restored the prints and worked out how to put the damn thing together again. Read more about its genesis and challenging restoration.
Strange, bewildering, mesmerising, inspiring — Harry Everett Smith’s works are among the earliest and most persuasive examples of abstract filmmaking.

At home with Harry Smith

We’re dropping in on Harry Everett Smith today to wish him a happy 88th birthday. Not that he’ll be expecting us; Smith checked out of New York’s Chelsea Hotel in 1991, forwarding address unknown, and like William S. Burroughs and Herbert Huncke, his face and voice advertised a life which by rights should have ended some time before.
Smith is best known for mapping musical backwaters in the hugely important and influential Anthology of American Folk Music but as we previously saw, his wide-ranging interests sent him rambling through disciplines like a downtown Jean Cocteau. The American Magus with the magpie mind cycled through obsessive-compulsive collecting, occult exploration, writing and painting. But it’s his experimental films which have attracted the most attention since his death, with recent screenings at New York’s MOMA and Paris’s Pompidou.
The conceptual leaps which informed Smith’s career made him a fascinating, frustrating interview. In a 1965 discussion at the Chelsea led by P. Adams Sitney, pre-eminent historian of avant-garde film, Smith details the phenomenally painstaking labour involved in compiling and then editing his film works, often hand-painted direct on to the celluloid. Click through for further parts where Smith expands on Jung and drugs, admits to pawning loaned cameras and discusses the influence of Surrealism on his work.
In contrast to Smith’s apparently wilful rejection of the mainstream, one of the most interesting sections of the interview concerns his plan to bring the underground overground, by putting together an avant-garde film which would play in suburban cinemas, collaborating with the likes of Andy Warhol and Jack Kerouac as well as Burroughs.

HARRY SMITH (1923-1991)
Harry Smith was an artist whose activities and interests put him at the center of the mid twentieth-century American avant-garde. Although best known as a filmmaker and musicologist, he frequently described himself as a painter, and his varied projects called on his skills as an anthropologist, linguist, and translator. He had a lifelong interest in the occult and esoteric fields of knowledge, leading him to speak of his art in alchemical and cosmological terms. 
 Harry Smith was born May 29, 1923, in Portland, Oregon, and his early childhood was spent in the Pacific Northwest. Smith's father, Robert James Smith, was a watchman for the local salmon canning company. His mother, Mary Louise, taught school on the Lummi Indian reservation. Robert Smith's grandfather had been a prominent Freemason who was a Union General in the Civil War. Harry's parents were Theosophists, who exposed him to a variety of pantheistic ideas, which persisted in his fascination with unorthodox spirituality and comparative religion and philosophy. By the age of 15, Harry had spent time recording many songs and rituals of the Lummi and Samish peoples and was compiling a dictionary of several Puget Sound dialects. He later became proficient in Kiowa sign-language and Kwakiutl. In addition to developing complicated systems for transcription, he also amassed an important collection of sacred religious objects, one of a number of museological endeavors that occupied Smith throughout his life. 
 Smith studied anthropology at the University of Washington for five semesters between 1943 and 1944. After a weekend visit to Berkeley, during which he attended a Woody Guthrie concert, met members of San Francisco's bohemian community of artists and intellectuals, and experimented with marijuana for the first time, Smith decided that the type of intellectual stimulation he was seeking was unavailable in his student life. 
 It was in San Francisco that Smith began to build a reputation as one of the leading American experimental filmmakers. He showed frequently in the "Art in Cinema" screenings organized by Frank Stauffacher at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Smith not only became close with other avant-garde filmmakers in the Bay Area, such as Jordan Belson and Hy Hirsh, but traveled frequently to Los Angeles to see the films of Oskar Fischinger, Kenneth Anger, and other Southern Californians experimentalists. Smith developed his own methods of animation, using both stop motion collage techniques and, more uniquely, hand-painting directly on film. Often a single film required years of painstakingly precise labor. While a few other filmmakers had employed similar frame-by-frame processes, few matched the complexity of composition, movement, and integration in Smith's work. Smith's films have been interpreted as investigations of conscious and unconscious mental processes, while his fusion of color and sound are acknowledged as precursors of sixties psychedelia. At times, Smith spoke of his films in terms of synaethesia, the search for correspondences between color and sound and sound and movement. 
 Smith's films cannot be easily separated from his paintings, and in both he was influenced by the abstract work of Kandinsky, Marc, and others who formed the foundation of the collection of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting (later the Guggenheim Museum) in New York. Smith developed a relationship with Hilla Rebay, the museum's director, and she arranged for Smith to come to New York and to receive a Solomon Guggenheim grant in 1950. He moved to New York permanently in the early fifties. In need of money, he offered to sell his extraordinary record collection of American vernacular music to Folkways Records. Instead, Moses Asch, the label's president, challenged Smith to cull his collection into an anthology. 
 In 1952 Folkways issued Smith's multi-volume Anthology of American Folk Music. The Anthology was comprised entirely of recordings issued between 1927 (the year electronic recording made accurate reproduction possible) and 1932, the period between the realization by the major record companies of distinct regional markets and the Depression's stifling of folk music sales. Released in three volumes of two discs each, the 84 tracks of the anthology are recognized as having been a seminal inspiration for the folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960 (the 1997 reissue by the Smithsonian was embraced with critical acclaim and two Grammy awards). Traditional American music was only one of Smith's musical interests. From the late 1940s, he was a passionate jazz enthusiast, going so far as to create paintings that are note-by-note transcriptions of particular tunes. He spent much of the fifties in the company of jazz pioneers like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk. Smith's involvement with recording continued into the sixties and seventies as he produced and recorded the first album by the Fugs in 1965. His long term friendships with many of the Beat writers led to the release of Allen Ginsberg's First Blues in 1976 as well as unreleased recordings of Gregory Corso's poetry and Peter Orlovsky's songs. Smith spent part of this era living with groups of Native Americans, and this resulted in his recording the peyote songs of the Kiowa Indians (Kiowa Peyote Meeting, Folkways, 1973). 
 Smith's broad range of interests resulted in a number of collections. He donated the largest known paper airplane collection in the world to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. He was a collector of Seminole textiles and Ukrainian Easter Eggs. He also considered himself the world's leading authority on string figures, having mastered hundreds of forms from around the world. 
 Smith spent his last years 1988-1991) as "shaman in residence" at Naropa Institute, where he offered a series of lectures, worked on sound projects, and continued collecting and researching. In 1991 he received a Chairman's Merit Award at the Grammy Awards ceremony for his contribution to American Folk Music. Upon receiving the award, he proclaimed, "I'm glad to say my dreams came true. I saw America changed by music." 
 Harry Everett Smith died at the Chelsea Hotel on November 27, 1991.

Harry Smith: “The Paracelsus Of The Chelsea Hotel”
By Mara Goldwyn

There’s something fitting about the unrecorded image of Harry Smith (1923-1991) foraging around Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island looking for his own artwork. By 1964, after he had failed to pay the rent on his E. 75th St. apartment, his landlord had trashed a good chunk of his oeuvre—including paintings that had been years in the making. He had no recourse but to try and recover them, unsuccessfully, from the 2200 acre dump.1
It seems though, despite the fact that this wasn’t the first or the last time he would be kicked out of whatever temporary hovel he inhabited, he was forever living among mountains of junk. His collecting—which included Seminole textiles, Ukrainian eggs, paper airplanes, string figures, parakeets, ambient sounds and obscure folk records—has been posthumously estimated to be just as important a work of art as his painting or film.2
And, of course, reverence for the independent collector is fashionable nowadays. Have you noticed how everything is an “eclectic” “Cabinet of Curiosities”? A Wunderkammer? How selectively reviving forgotten artists or personalities is considered an artistic activity in itself (See: Network Awesome)? But while in the 20th century the act of “collecting” was demoted from a pastime of the aristocracy (assembling Renaissance paintings) to the whim of whomever (say, buying Hummel figurines), in the 21st century the vogue is democratized “curating”. The smearing of disciplines is a given, and the supreme subjectivity of the “curator” is king.

Harry Smith by John Palmer ca. 1965
It’s the natural byproduct of our age of immaterial work and cultural capital accumulation: Taste, when properly harnessed and exploited, is about the only thing in the culture industry you can make money with any more. In fact, the 1950 Anthology of American Folk Music, reissued in 1997 by the Smithsonian, was basically Smith’s painstakingly “curated” record collection. The Anthology has been credited with influencing the likes of Bob Dylan, and is venerated by more than a generation of musicians from Elvis Costello to Lou Reed – yet Smith didn’t get to see much of the dough that came from being such an “influential figure for several generations of underground artists”. In his moment, Smith was, as Greil Markus and others put it, a bum.3
Famously destitute, in and out of flophouses and surviving on an a combination of milk mixed with beer, Smith lived from loan to never-repaid loan, and alienated even his most faithful supporters by pawning borrowed cameras and flying off the hook when confronted for repayment. He was a scraggly, gnome-like “archetypal Bohemian trickster figure”4 who sometimes associated with Kenneth Anger, Allen Ginsburg and Andy Warhol, but mostly hung out in rented rooms at the Chelsea Hotel or elsewhere with an index card that said “Do Not Disturb” on the door. At one point he apparently took Ginsburg up to his room, got him high and then tried to sell him “Heaven and Earth” (pictured here – a work of 60 minutes that took years to make) for $100.5

"Harry Smith, painter, archivist, anthropologist, film-maker & hermetic alchemist, his last week at Breslin Hotel Manhattan January 12, 1985, transforming milk into milk." - Allen Ginsberg, Photo by Allen Ginsberg, Courtesy of Allen Ginsberg Trust and Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles
But he was still a genius. P. Adam Sitney and Jonas Mekas, founders of the Anthology Film Archives, were ardent admirers, and it was a grant from the Museum of Non-Objective Art (now the Guggenheim), administered by Hella Rebay, that got him to New York from his native West Coast in the first place. The “Early Abstractions” here were assembled and named by Mekas.
His rendering of such techniques as batik-ing and painting directly on film was considered some of the most remarkable in avant-garde film history,6 and he has also been lauded for incorporating the tenets of his expansive world view into films that were narrative-less and abstract.7 He was an amateur anthropologist, musicologist, mystic, “magus”, mythologist, bibliophile, linguist, Alchemist. Every physical curio and snippet of knowledge was collected in hopes of “synthesizing universal patterns into a unified theory of culture”8… if not exactly intentionally. He once said he was “inspired by the occult, but mainly by looking in the water”.9
Then, as is evident especially in these “Early Abstractions”, everything was unified in an “automatic” trance. Though his process was often illogical, irrational, he realized that “something was directing it, that it wasn’t arbitrary, and that there is some kind of what you might call God.”10

Critics have likened his process to alchemical transmutation. That is, he recognized the potential in base materials and elevated them to a higher sphere. Lead would become gold; a combination of Come-Clean gum dots, Vaseline and paint on raw film would become a stunning work of art. Though he mostly considered himself a painter, his “Cinematic Excreta”, as he called it, were “organized in specific patterns derived from the interlocking beats of the respiration, the heart and the EeG Alpha component and should be observed together or not at all.”11
Smith’s obsessive collecting and automatic “excreta” influenced the cult of personal curating ubiquitous today, but were not beset by the same consumerist cynicism. Everything in his reach was fodder for his creations, and the goal, if we can call it that, was spiritual enlightenment. These films—when gathered together and considered with all the other carefully chosen bits and pieces of knowledge that make up Smith’s lifework—are a Philosopher’s Stone renowned in the practice of alchemy: an elixir of life.

1 Rani Singh, “Harry Smith, An Ethnographic Modernist in America”. Harry Smith: The Avant-Garde in the American Vernacular. Andrew Perchuk, Rani Singh, Getty Research Institute eds. 2010: Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.
2 Kevin M. Moist, “Collecting, Collage and Alchemy: The Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music as Art and Cultural Intervention”. American Studies, Vol. 48, No. 4: Winter 2007
3 Rani Singh
4 Rani Singh
6 P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film. 1979: Oxford University Press. P. 232
8 Rani Singh
9 P. Adams Sitney, “Harry Smith Interview”. Film Culture. 1970: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd.
10 Ibid.
11 Ibid.

Alchemical Transformations: The Abstract Films of Harry Smith by  

No. 10/Mirror Animations
Harry Smith not only seemed to get everywhere (at least within America), he also gave the impression that he could do anything. He weaved in and out of various cultural milieux, many of them notorious, and turned his mind to countless different creative and cultural endeavours. In a time when computers had not yet nudged their way into everyday life, Smith was making a decent attempt to turn his brain into a multimedia hub, a receptacle capable of sucking in and spewing out various bits of data, juggling them around in new, enlightening ways. (1) Considering his prodigious consumption of alcohol and drugs, this was no mean feat. And yet, despite Smith’s many achievements, his life remained a mess. Serious bouts of deprivation, fits of childish anger towards his friends (sometimes leading to the destruction of his own creative objects) and perennial poverty were three of the main features that plagued and cursed him throughout his life. Whilst he was adept at perceiving and treating everything creatively, he was at a loss when dealing with the more rational, mundane things in life, such as financial matters. For Smith, mundanity was something to be collected, processed and imbued with magical qualities; he couldn’t deal with non-transformable objects that remained in a state of functional stasis (eluding the alchemists’ grasp). Thus Smith’s elevation to the status of the Magus was both a curse as well as a blessing, which may well have suited his overall outlook, informed as it was by arcane belief systems, in particular a penchant for alchemy and the occult.
Smith has constantly played games with interviewers, mixing imagination and memory when recounting his past. It is no surprise that he had a rather disdainful attitude towards “facts”, for a fact connotes something fixed and rigid, whilst Smith preferred reality to be more elastic.
Smith was born in 1923 in Portland, Oregon. His childhood experiences undoubtedly influenced his future interests: his parents were versed in Theosophy and active in occultism, and Smith has recalled that as a child “there were a great number of books on occultism and alchemy always in the basement”. (2) It did not take very long for Smith the occultist to emerge, and he would later claim at various moments that he was the son of Alistair Crowley (though this claim is extremely dubious). (3) Smith’s father taught him to draw the symbols of the Kabbalah, which led to his life-long involvement with magic and the Ordi Templi Orientis (of which Crowley had been head), as well as his intermingling of art and magic. His father also, according to Smith, gave him a blacksmith shop when he was twelve and told him to convert lead into gold, thus stimulating his alchemical pursuits. Again, this latter claim seems to tell us more about Smith’s imagination than it does about any ‘truth’, pointing to the importance that alchemy played in his creative endeavours.
Smith grew up near an Indian Lummi reservation, where his mother taught, and this undoubtedly influenced his abiding interest in cultural anthropology. He also developed other lifelong interests at an early age: linguistics, filmmaking, painting and music. (4) By the age of 15 he was engaged in his first archival documentation of folk culture, recording hours of tapes of Lummi and Salish songs and rituals, as well as compiling a dictionary of several Puget sound dialects. (5) This was a project that continued Smith’s compulsion to map the world according to his own abstract principles. He had at this time already begun to write down his own transcription methods for visualising the music using diagrams. These efforts were attempts to record the “unknown Indian life” and were borne out of his curiosity concerning the links between music and existence. (6) These links were attributable to his wide-ranging interests as filtered through occultism and magic. For Smith, things needed to be documented not merely in order to preserve historical snapshots, but rather to shuffle such snapshots around and to discover their hidden meanings, as well as to filter them through alien codes so that alchemical transformations were produced.
After Smith had finished school he stumbled into the beatnik life. He had spent two years at the University of Washington between 1942–1944 studying anthropology and working as a teaching assistant, but eventually dropped out of college after experiencing marijuana for the first time during a trip to Berkeley. He subsequently felt that he couldn’t go back to his old life and eventually relocated to California. It would appear that Smith’s pot-instincts were justified here, as he had by this time already began to make abstract films, and in California there was a large bohemian arts scene that would eventually prove receptive to the films that he was producing. He became involved in the Art in Cinema series of programmes, established by Frank Stauffacher, which screened a number of experimental films at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art between 1946–51. Smith also forged close links with a number of other experimental artists, including Jordan Belson and the Whitney brothers. Such contacts helped to establish his films on the avant-garde circuit, and they were continued when Smith later moved to New York in the 1950s, which was becoming a hotbed of underground film activity. Here Smith forged links with critic and curator Jonas Mekas, and became involved in the Filmmakers Co-op, which distributed artists’ films, including those of Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage and Jack Smith.
Smith’s earliest films (particularly those numbered 1-7, though 6 is lost) are those least directly associated with his cabalistic pursuits, and also his most geometrically abstract films. No. 1 (ca. 1946–48) was hand-drawn onto the film itself, thus avoiding any need for a camera (importantly, Smith saw these early films as extensions of his paintings). (7) Alternating coloured rectangles and circles occasionally dance around the screen with hand-scrawled imprecision, against a vibrant, changeable, mesh backdrop. It’s not an easy film to describe, due to its extreme abstraction and because of what P. Adams Sitney has called “the excessive instability of its imagery” (8). The film does not conform to dominant narrative cinema, eschewing the concrete references provided by cinematography and narrative. Yet, whilst it does not provide these pleasures, it does contain more sensorial effects, providing space to marvel at moving forms in and of themselves.
No.1/A Strange Dream
This mode of abstract cinema already had a lineage that stretched back to 1920s avant-garde filmmaking, which itself largely emerged out of the static visual arts. In Germany, Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling produced films derived from scroll paintings, in which geometrical shapes were animated in a rhythmic manner. Smith’s No. 1 shares some similarities with Richter’s Rhythmus 21 (1921), though is distinguished by its colour and “direct” painting methods. Smith was also influenced by another German abstract filmmaker, Oskar Fischinger, who began making films in the late 1920s and who also contributed to Disney’s Fantasia (1940). None of these figures had actually painted directly onto film, and Smith was disappointed when he found out the New Zealand filmmaker Len Lye had. Lye was working in England and had produced A Colour Box in 1935, a hand-painted film which advertised the General Post Office. Smith’s film is vaguely similar to Lye’s, though A Colour Box features more wavy figures, a greater sense of offscreen space and less depth than No. 1.
What, though, were the connections between Smith’s more hermetic interests and his first film? One explanation is the notion of synæsthesia, one of Smith’s interests that also preoccupied earlier abstract filmmakers (particularly Fischinger and Lye). Synæsthesia – in which information in one sense is perceived subjectively in another sense (i.e., music producing different colour impressions) – is a phenomenon that has been recognised for more than a century and a half by scientists. (9) Synæsthesia challenged many existing scientific tenets, particularly through challenging researchers to produce “scientific evidence” concerning its existence, and the manner by which it merged the “objective” and the “subjective”. It proved attractive to many artists and occult figures in the late 19th and early 20th century (many psychologists who were researching synæsthesia from a scientific angle tended to conduct psychical research, such as telepathy and somnambulism). (10) The phenomenon was thus attractive to those who were disenchanted with the more rigorously rationalised and mechanised world as posited, and shaped by, normative scientific theories.
The interest in synæsthesia as “non-rational”, containing the capacity to transcend “mundane existence”, stretches back to the Romantics, who used synæsthetic metaphors in order to construct an objective world that was more in tune with human subjectivity. It was, as Dann points out, a mode of experience that represented liberation from the laws and confinements of the physical world. (11) The Symbolists, too, employed it as a tool by which to reject realist art; they probed the depths of the inner world by using a number of different symbols built upon cross-sensory metaphors. As well as artists, many occult researchers saw synæsthetics as visionaries, demonstrating the evolution of perceptual capabilities. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, for example, believed that synæsthesia was a way of sensing the astral world (whilst Theosophists Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater produced many cross-sensory illustrations in their 1905 book, Thought Forms). (12) And whilst the gift of synæsthesia was rare, many found that drugs could aid a mode of experiencing the world on an absorbed, sensual level. In the 19th century, for example, hashish was seen by many artists as aiding sensuous experience, often resulting in muddled sensory states (LSD and DMT would later become more powerful sources for stimulating perceptual fusion).
It is noteworthy, then, that Smith himself experienced synæsthetic sensations when taking pot, remarking that he saw “little colored balls” when listening to Bessie Smith and also having a revelation listening to Dizzie Gillespie when high, in which he “literally saw all kinds of colored flashes” (13). It was at this point that he decided music could be added to his films (originally they were made silent). This is not, however, to de-emphasize the importance of his early silent films. (14) Smith’s interest in cross-sensory perception was already evident in his attempts to transcribe music and was carried through to his early filmmaking.
His first film was made by hand-drawing onto the film strip, whilst his next two films were batiked, a process involving successive layerings of dye, through which masked areas of the strip form abstractions. This resulted in tighter films in terms of formal organisation. Whilst No. 1 appears to be very freeform in its structure, the next two move towards a more calculated mode of abstraction: in No. 2 (ca. 1946-48), circles swoop across the frame and swarm within it. The film uses many more geometrical forms than the first, and structures them into occasional motifs, thus creating a more insistent rhythmic pulse. Yet the rhythms are never tightly structured into entirely predictable patterns: some movements are more random, thus retaining a sense of freeform abstraction. The structural mode of arrangement seems to be directly referenced in the predominant grid motif of No. 3 (ca. 1947–49). Simple grids at the beginning intermingle with other shapes, such as diamonds. As the film progresses, grids intermittently grow more complex and dominate the screen, occasionally expanding to reveal vibrant coloured cells.
It was Smith’s original intention to screen No. 2 with a Dizzie Gillespie recording, “Guacha Guero”. This not only links it to his own direct synæsthetic experiences but also to his No. 4 (ca. 1949), which begins with a filmed sequence showing his painting, Manteca (ca. 1950). “Manteca” was the name of another Dizzie Gillespie song, and Smith’s painting of the same name was another of his attempts to subjectively transcribe music, with certain strokes representing different notes. The resulting painting is a conglomeration of coiling twists and curls, surrounding more intricate and huddled shapes (such as circles and paisley patterns). It is a kind of document of Smith’s direct, impressionistic encounter with the music, an attempt to transform his sensations into a codified form. The photograph of the painting at the beginning of the film seems somewhat out of kilter, yet may be related to Smith’s attempts to place the dialectic between his films, paintings and musical inspiration at centre stage.
For Smith, his films were secondary to his paintings, but I find that the films – moving in time as they do – are more satisfactory synæsthetic devices. It was not possible for Smith to capture the intricacies of individual paintings upon the tiny celluloid strip, and this may have given rise to his personal view that the paintings were superior. The films, though, produce complex configurations of shifting shapes through time, bombarding the senses in order to invite deeper viewer absorption.
In No. 4, the influence of Fischinger on Smith’s work becomes more marked. The film works with a black background and white shapes. It begins with two small circles dancing in tandem across the screen, as well as decreasing and increasing in size to give an impression of depth. These are joined, via superimposition, by two simple grilles, and then by a larger grille which swishes from left to right and vice versa at such a speed to produced a blurred effect. Gradually the forms become more complex: larger, more elaborate grilles as well as clusters of less geometrically precise dots. Smith here is playing upon the tension between precise shapes and rhythms, and less regulated patterns and movements. The simple, regulated forms become more indistinct and murky through alchemical transformation. In No. 4, one can detect echoes of Fischinger’s Study no. 7 (1931) and Study no. 8 (1932), which also feature geometrical forms dancing with precision against a plain background. Fischinger’s films, though, seem to play upon a more regulated, complex mode of patterned mutation, as well as featuring more elaborate curled forms.
If No. 4 is vaguely reminiscent of Fischinger, No. 5 (ca. 1950) is more directly related to the great animator’s work and this is made explicit in its sub-title, Homage to Oskar Fischinger. An extension of No. 4, No. 5 expands that film’s two-coloured format. It begins with a static red triangle, then a green square, and then a red circle. It is as though we are being introduced to the protagonists of the film: simple, static shapes out of which complexity and rhythmic interaction will be produced. The film is very much in line with the movements of No. 4, but with the addition of concentric circles, occasionally visible through the coloured shapes, as well as circles dancing around within (and bumping into) other circles. No. 7 (ca. 1950–51) again features nods to Fischinger, in particular through a more sustained use of concentric moving circles as well as the motif of shapes composed of small triangles, which seem to explode outwards with projectile force. These motifs directly refer to Fischinger’s Allegretto (1936) and create a sense of hypnotic absorption. The film also bombards the viewer with a number of alternating colour transitions used in conjunction with shapes that emerge from deep screen space. In addition to using moving circles and circular patterns, Smith again makes use of grille patterns at times within the film. The pace of movements and colour alternations intensify at various moments, as though attempting to overwhelm the viewer’s sensorial apparatus.
The films numbered 1-3 seem to be related by their hand-painted techniques, whilst 4, 5 and 7 also feel of a piece through their use of optical printing. The third phase in Smith’s filmmaking, according to his own description, concerns “semi-realistic animated collages made as part of my alchemical labours between 1957 and 1962” (though, as I have suggested, all of his films should to some degree be related to his alchemical preoccupations). (15) No. 10 (ca. 1957) is the first surviving film from this “phase”, and in it we can detect another shift in Smith’s filmmaking, but also a notable continuity from No. 7 (existence of films 8 and 9 would have no doubt helped in placing such continuity within a greater context). The shift is evident in his use of more “concrete” symbols and through the use of collaged materials. Yet the reference to more “elementary”. Geometric forms is still present as both a background upon which the collaged material takes place (and interacts with), as well as a formal template by which such material is arranged upon the screen (i.e., the more concrete material is at times manipulated according to geometrical principles). Smith’s collage imagery in this film more directly alludes to his particular interests, drawing as they do on “Cabalistic symbolism, Indian chiromancy […] dancing, Buddhist mandalas, and Renaissance alchemy”. (16) The use of concrete imagery, however, does not move Smith towards the depiction of a concrete narrative. Rather, these swarming transformations continue his interest in the film as an alchemical process. Whilst interpretations may be placed upon the film (particularly regarding rebirth and spiritual renewal), its textual status is extremely slippery.
No. 12/Heaven and Earth Magic
Whilst No. 11 (ca. 1957) is in many ways similar to the previous film, No. 12 (more commonly known as Heaven and Earth Magic, ca. 1957–62) is often regarded as Smith’s masterwork. Though it again uses collage techniques, it is a much longer and more ambitious work than anything he had previously created. Such ambition was not only evident in the scale of the work itself, but also extended to the conditions whereby it was to be shown. Sitney has written that, whilst the film is in black and white, Smith had built a projector with colour filters to tint the images, whilst he also planned for the entire film to be projected through a series of masking slides, which would transform the shape of the film. These slides were modelled on important images within the film, such as the recurrent watermelon or egg symbols. Apparently this only occurred for a single preview screening at Steinway Hall in New York. Smith also wanted to design seats in the shape of important motifs from the film (such as the watermelon) and to electrically manipulate the movement of the seats in accordance with the shapes and colours on screen. Such an ambitious plan, which would have greatly extended Smith’s sensorial assaults, unfortunately never materialised. (17)
The film itself again references a number of sources, including neurological texts, the Kabbalah, as well as the inauguration of the London sewers. The latter event, which is referenced within the film, provides much of the source material as Smith obtained many of the film’s images from an illustrated magazine featuring the sewers. (18) Smith was also influenced by Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, which documents the author’s two nervous breakdowns (in the late 19th century) and describes them as visionary experiences through which he made contact with God. The themes of mentality and divination run through Heaven and Earth Magic, which features a loose story in which a woman chases a dog who has stolen her watermelon. After going to a dentist she then begins to experience a number of hallucinations under anæsthetic (directly referencing Smith’s interest in the work of Canadian neurologist Dr Wildner Penfield, whose brain surgery on epileptics supposedly produced visions). This framing story may move closer to narrative again, but such a narrative thread (and a strange, rather illogical one at that) only produces confusion in the viewer who remains attached to unpicking a coherent plot. The fantasies of the woman produce a melange of associations, a convenient way by which Smith could again produce a welter of transformations.
A very loose plot does hover over a wealth of fantastical images, in which the woman ascends to heaven before the diminution of the anaesthetic brings her back down to earth (directly indicating Smith’s belief in the importance of drugs as mystical mediators). This plot, however, is merely a backdrop to the more complex details of the film. A single “explanation” cannot contain its complexity, but it is clear that the importance of the mind is paramount. There is the central trope of the effects of drugs on the mind; there is the motif of a little man, who effectively represents the homunculus of the woman (19); and there is the associational structure of the film itself, which alludes to the unconscious. In fact, Noël Carroll has argued that the film models its very structure on the processes of the mind itself. (20) The importance of the mind and its unconscious processes were clearly important to Smith in the making of the film, and indeed informed its construction: he often worked upon it between sleeping bouts in his studio, in which his dreams directly fed into the work. (21) A similar process of associational sound construction also accompanies the images. Smith composed his own soundtrack for this film, in which a number of concrete noises are combined with the visuals, sometimes referring to them, sometimes creating curious and confusing contrasts.
The nature of associational, unconscious connections, in which logical relations are often flouted in favour of curious alterations, very much alerts us to the similarities between this film and the work of the surrealists, who also fed upon dream imagery in order to break down logical expectations. Indeed, Smith has talked of the surrealist influence in his work, focusing on his methods as akin to automatic writing. (22) Automatic writing involved the production of text in ways that bypassed the filtering censor of rational thought, tapping into the unconscious, or opening oneself to outside mystical influences. Automatic writing was one activity that the surrealists housed under the rubric of psychic automatism. Other activities included séances and the game “exquisite corpse”, in which people composed a sentence or drawing unknown to other players on folded paper, resulting in the production of a collaborative, chance work.
Smith’s last phase of filmmaking is more difficult to discuss for a number of reasons, which include: the fact that many of them are incomplete, unavailable or difficult to project (for instance, Mahagonny/No. 18 (ca.1970–80), was designed for projection on four screens). (23) There seem to be two main developments characterising Smith’s filmmaking during the latter part of his career: first, his aborted major project of reworking Wizard of Oz, of which only one sequence – “The Approach to Emerald City” – and a number of rushes survive. (These extracts have appeared in Oz/No. 13 (ca. 1962), Oz: The Tin Woodman’s Dream/No. 16 (ca. 1967), No. 19 (ca. 1980) and Fragments of a Faith Forgotten/No. 20 (ca. 1981)); second, extending the incorporation of more “concrete” material, the use of photographed film.
Smith’s Wizard of Oz film (co-animated with Joanne Ziprin) would have chronologically followed his Heaven and Earth Magic. The project was begun in the early 1960s and received major financial backing from a consortium (which included Elizabeth Taylor!). This was to be a widescreen film, using a number of coloured glass plates in front of the lens at varying distances in order to create strange effects. Smith drew on a number of sources in order to produce a cabalistic environment within which the Oz story would unfold: these included the drawings of Hieronymous Bosch, Tibetan mandalas and sketchings of microscopic life by biologist Ernst Haeckel. Unfortunately, the major backer of the film, Arthur Young, died and the project was abandoned.
No. 18/Mahagonny
It may well have been the expense and laboriousness of animation that led Smith to use photographed film (though these later films did include animated segments). This follows on from his increasing use of concrete references in his films, though the way he used such material was deliberately obscure. Late Superimpositions/No. 14, for example contained a mass of jumbled, multiply exposed and superimposed images. Smith shot much footage, including images of a Kiowa ritual and autobiographical material, in unedited 100-foot reels, and then pieced these reels together into a rhythmic whole. Mahagonny – loosely based upon Brecht and Weill’s opera, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny – was an extension of No. 14, in which autobiographical film, animation, street symbols and images of nature are combined into a sensual, fluctuating flow.
Smith’s occult and alchemical interests are important to an understanding of his films. Such interests fed into all of his creative activities, which connected to his wide-ranging, arcane interests in a number of different ways. His most famous achievement, of course, was not his films but his collection of music, The Anthology of American Folk Music (1952), which is seen as a crucial benchmark in the folk revival of the 1950s. Even this item was arranged in a symbolic manner, with each record in the set being assigned an abstract symbol representative of the elements; whilst Smith’s accompanying booklet was pieced together in the manner of a surrealist collage (reflecting the way in which the anthology itself was a musical collage).
Smith’s occult interests, in conjunction with his difficulties negotiating many of life’s practicalities, may on the surface appear to have removed him from the “social”. This was not the case, however: not only did he rely on a number of social networks in order to bring his work to visibility, he also tended to see his work in social terms. For instance, he spoke of the Anthology in terms of stirring up social change. He never actually outlined any specific ways in which social change should or could arise, yet firmly saw his work as relating to the ways in which we experience the world. Thus we should see Smith’s work in personal-political terms, as mixing things up in order to derange the senses, allowing one to see things anew, and thus for social change to emerge out of personal transformation. Again, such a project is very much in line with the aims of the surrealists, whose illogical juxtapositions were created in order to jolt the habitual, bourgeois mind out of its conventional ways of perceiving the world. As with the surrealists, Smith approached life in an artistic manner, so that distinctions between art and life became meaningless. As with the surrealists, he rearranged everyday elements in new ways in order to show us how the fantastic was embedded in the mundane (and how “mundanity” was a consequence of how we perceived the world, rather than a reflection the external world).
We should also think of Smith’s work as an attempt to overcome oppositional boundaries, which would have been connected to rationality.
Within his films, for example, abstraction and concreteness, the ancient and the modern, vision and hearing, precision and randomness, to name but a few examples, were merged to varying degrees. Likewise, Smith refused to be pinned down to a single creative endeavour, his filmmaking merely one element amongst other dimensions of his practical achievements. Rigid classification was also anathema to Smith’s way of thinking because it defied the alchemical spirit. Smith continually made connections between anything and everything. Connections, for Smith, were forever in flux, so that his work was a refusal of the status quo. Hence the fact that his films – whilst being connected by many concerns – were nevertheless always developing new modes of registration. This may also help explain Smith’s notorious destructive impulses: it was as though once he had synthesised a number of disparate elements into an artistic work, then that work itself was in danger of becoming fixed. This would also explain why Smith would often rework older artistic works (at least those that had not been destroyed), as though hinting that such works were only of worth if they could further contribute to the process of alchemical transformation.


  1. Harvey Bialey has indeed called Smith a “hub”, likening him to Da Vinci. In Paola Igliori (Ed.), American Magus: Harry Smith (New York: Inanout Press, 1996), p. 200.
  2. Smith interviewed by P. Adams Sitney, Film Culture, No. 37, Summer 1965, p. 5.
  3. Ibid, p. 6.
  4. Bill Breeze, “In Memorium, Harry Smith”, in Igliori (Ed.), American Magus, p. 7.
  5. Rani Singh in Igliori (Ed.), American Magus, p. 14.
  6. Interview, Film Culture, No. 37, Summer 1965, p. 9.
  7. Some confusion as to the exact dates of Smith’s films exists. For all dates I have drawn upon information provided by the Harry Smith Archives.
  8. P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde 1943-1978 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 237.
  9. Kevin T. Dann, Bright Colors Falsely Seen: Synæsthesia and the Search for Transcendental Knowledge (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), p. 5.
  10. Ibid., p. 51.
  11. Ibid., p. 14.
  12. Ibid., p. 51.
  13. Interview, Film Culture, No. 37, Summer 1965, p. 9.
  14. Smith’s earlier, shorter films have since been accompanied by The Beatles music on the soundtrack and have been released on video as Early Abstractions (Re:Voir).
  15. Film-Makers Co-operative Catalogue, No. 3, 1965, p. 57.
  16. Sitney, Visionary Film, p. 246.
  17. Ibid., p. 252.
  18. Ibid., p. 253.
  19. Noël Carroll, “Mind, Medium and Metaphor in Harry Smith’s Heaven and Earth Magic”, Film Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 2, Winter 1977–78, p. 37.
  20. Ibid., pp. 37–44.
  21. Sitney, Visionary Film, p. 261.
  22. Interview, Film Culture, Vol. 37, Summer 1965, p. 10.
  23. These later films are unavailable on tape or DVD and are rarely shown in the UK. During 13-22 September 2002, the Anthology of Film Archives (New York) screened Mahagonny with a live score from John Zorn. It also screened many of his existing works from the later period of his career during this period. See Harry Smith Archives website for more details, as well as reviews, of this event.

Come See the Third Greatest Bar Band That Ever Was

All of us at Page 73 are pleased to invite you to our 2012 Page 2 Presentation, a developmental workshop of A Thick Description of Harry Smith (Volume I). This new play with music is written by Chicago-based playwright Carlos Murillo and directed by New York’s own Kip Fagan (Page 73′s Jack’s Precious Moment, 2009).

by Carlos Murillo

Directed by Kip Fagan

The cast will feature Lucas Papaelias (Page 73′s Jack’s Precious Moment; Once), who will also serve as musical director, and a team of terrific actors including Kate Ferber (One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nyro), Birgit Huppuch (Telephone, A Map of Virtue), Joe Jung (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Sean Patrick Reilly (The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Emancipation), Chris Sullivan (Nice Work If You Can Get It, Lombardi), and Joe Tippett (Fish Eye, Seven Minutes in Heaven). Designers Daniel Kluger, Jessica Pabst and Seth Reiser are on board to support this exciting process.
A Thick Description of Harry Smith (Volume 1) takes the audience on a wild ride through the life, work, and times of filmmaker, musicologist, painter, anthropologist, collector, occultist and fabulist, Harry Everett Smith. Best known for editing the seminal Anthology of American Folk Music, Smith’s peculiar life is an emblem of American bohemian life in the 20th Century. Unfolding like a psychedelic episode of A Prairie Home Companion, Harry Smith uses reworked folk songs, radio vignettes of real and imagined episodes of Harry Smith’s life, Foley work, and a wide variety of storytelling styles to reveal an alternative conception of American identity.
Carlos Murillo‘s plays include Mayday Mayday Tuesday, Mimesophobia, and dark play or stories for boys, which premiered at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 2007 Humana Festival, and has since had productions in several US cities and also around Europe. Carlos’ plays have been developed around the country, and he is currently working on commissions for Steppenwolf and Adventure Stage in Chicago. He is the Head of the BFA Playwriting Program at The Theatre School and is a resident playwright of New Dramatists in New York and Chicago Dramatists.
Page 73′s Page 2 projects provide opportunities for our writers to present their plays as works-in-progress. As with our presentation last spring of CommComm by Seth Bockley (February House), this program will allow Carlos to explore his script for three weeks with a fantastic team of actors and designers. We hope you’ll join us!

Harry Smith’s ‘Heaven and Earth Magic’: Soundtracks to a Cosmogony

Recycling collages and myths of the American avant-garde.

— By

Harry Smith (from LA Weekly)
While archivist, ethnomusicologist, and life artist Harry Smith is typically known for the astounding Anthology of American Folk Music (1952), his masterpiece might just be a surreal animated film he worked on between 1957 and ’62, Heaven and Earth Magic. The story is abstract and open — having to do with humankind’s quixotic origins, the strange psychological structure of mind and world, and perhaps even the mysterious nature of social interaction. The tale begins with a white figure dancing choppily across a dark screen; two sarcophagi find each other side by side; the figure opens one of them, letting a bouquet of mechanical and natural objects fly out; a picture of watermelons pushes itself between the two pillar coffins; a dog swings all over the place, disobeying every known law of physics. It goes on for awhile. A neo-primitive cosmogony. The original 16mm was over 7 hours long. The final version, now pawned by the Harry Smith Archives for a pretty penny and easily downloadable for free online, is just over an hour.

Smith constructed the stop-motion animated film out of cutout photographs from magazines and catalogs. He breathed live into the imagery over a two dimensional black screen, and added sound effects and recorded clippings of street noise to help stitch the whirling narrative together. But while watching it, your mind may wander, called in expressively to fill in the gaps of logic and storytelling that hold together the film’s fragile curvature.
The loose narrative structure is what again and again attracts leftfield musicians, from Deerhoof to Flying Lotus and Dr. Strangeloop, DJ Spooky, and Phillip Glass, to produce live soundtracks for screenings. The cosmogony is made concrete with a resonant story of sound, emotive and urgent, yet each time personal and fleeting. No musician has thus ventured to put such a soundtrack to record.
Smith, who has dissolved into his own heaven and earth magic two decades ago, has become something of a legend of post-war American bohemia. He grew up in Portland, Oregon and got down with Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, purportedly learning shamanistic rituals and smoking grass. He kicked it with Ginsberg at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan, living in dejected poverty, and studied the occult while experimenting with psychoactive drugs. Some have credited his early folk anthologies for helping jump start the cultural revolution in the 60s. The man’s life is drenched in myth and heresy, his creativity expansive and diffuse, and his work still strange and wild.


Harry Everett Smith | paintings

These paintings by Harry Everett Smith (born on this day in 1923) were produced over a span of 30 years beginning in 1950. Some appear almost like freeze frames of the lysergic mandalas and shamanic patterns of his experimental films, not surprising given that Smith used the painstaking method of painting on celluloid to achieve some of his cinematic effects. For more insights have a look at this exhaustive study which places Smith’s paintings in the context of his confoundingly multi-faceted oeuvre.

1. Harry Smith lecture, 5:00 pm comments, July, 1989. - Smith, Harry
A very short excerpt of Harry Smith talking about slam dancing, fans and clocks, and pinhole cameras:
Link: http://www.archive.org/details/Harry_Smith_lecture__5_00_pm_comments__J_89P032

2. Harry Smith Cajun music. - Smith, Harry
A compilation of sounds by Harry Smith with chanting, street sounds, singing, poetry, blues, and rock. Includes the Fugs playing, "The Summer of Love," "The Modest Rose," and "Ciao Man." This tape is likely to include sounds made from a microphone hung out of Allen Ginsberg's New York Lower East Side apartment.
Link: http://www.archive.org/details/naropa_harry_smith_cajun
3. Harry Smith lecture on the rationality of namelessness. - Smith, Harry
Harry Smith discusses Surrealism, liars and poetry, as he spends a good deal of the tape trying to find the poem he wants to read, parody of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Link: http://www.archive.org/details/naropa_harry_smith_lecture_on_the
4. Harry Smith lecture on - Smith, Harry
Harry Smith plays and comments on his film "Heaven & Earth Magic."
Link: http://www.archive.org/details/naropa_harry_smith_lecture_on_heaven
5. Harry Smith lecture - Smith, Harry
Harry Smith shows his films while playing various musical selections to accompany them.
Link: http://www.archive.org/details/naropa_harry_smith2
6. Harry Smith class. - Smith, Harry
Naropa class: Harry Smith shows film and commenting on it.
Link: http://www.archive.org/details/naropa_harry_smith
7. Harry Smith lecture on Native American Cosmos. - Smith, Harry
Harry Smith describes two Native American ceremonies he witnessed in the early 1940's in the Pacific Northwest. Interspersed with his account of the ceremonies, he discusses tangentially various related topics, including Native American health before the European invasion, Native American sign language, the migration of symbols, and misogyny in anthropological accounts of Native American peoples, creation myths, and cosmology.
Link: http://www.archive.org/details/naropa_harry_smith_lecture_on_native
8. Harry Smith lecture on the Native American cosmos, July, 1990. - Smith, Harry
Harry Smith lecture on mythology and cultural practices in traditional and indigenous cultures. Among other topics, he discusses belief in reincarnation, the ceremonial use of peyote, and creation stories.
Link: http://www.archive.org/details/Harry_Smith_lecture_on_the_Native_Americ_90P059

Treasures IV: American Avant-Garde Film 1947-1968 DVD Box Set, Winner of the 2009 Film Heritage Award
"Some Crazy Magic: Meeting Harry Smith"  An Animation by John Cohen and Drew Christie
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Revenant Records
Salon.com Review of Anthology of American Folk Music
Perfect Sound Forever
Greil Marcus: American Folk Granta 76: MUSIC is devoted to the making and meaning of music from plainsong to rap.
Volume: Bed of Sound Harry Smith Audio Selections in PS 1 Show


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