27 September 2012

Entering 1884

LONDON, 2 January 1884
As the Daily Empire reminds us, we are entering the feared year of 1884. It was more than 30 years ago, in 1848, that Mr Phineas Jupitus horrified the audience at the Old Red Lion Theatre, when unveiling his phantasmagorical steam image projection machine.
The audience was ever so pleased at first - elated! - to witness that in 1884 the moon would become the province of the British Empire, only to be horrified moments later by the appalling scenes of future war.
We are now living in that prophesized future.
Yesterday, Captain Horatio Kitchengame claimed the moon on behalf of Queen Victoria. At the same time, extraordinary reports began coming from the continent stating that it is being overrun by an invading force.
"Large areas of Belgium, Holland and France have been laid waste," reports Daily Empire. "Little is known of the invading force, except to say that it is unprecedented in strength and may be being led by a Carpasian Count called Ravenoff Fafner who was thought to have died more than 400 years ago."
(The complete article of the Daily Empire can be viewed here.)

[1884: Yesterday's Future, an animated film directed by Tim Ollive and produced by Terry Gilliam  (2012) - 100 min feature film for a family audience (but not the very young)]

14 September 2012

Of human whale songs, and monsters

Antony and the Johnson's title track from their 'Cut the World' live album is, indeed, old news, being that it's already been performed as part of The Life and Death of Marina Abramović. What brings it back to the stage is the above avantgarde video directed by  Nabil Elderkin, and starring Willem Dafoe and Carice van Houten.

Her presence strongly felt throughout the video (at the very least as from 3:49), it's still a shock to find her facing you at 4:14 into the video. It's Marina Abramović, that same Serbian witch-lady at MOMA whom people went to sit across from in order to gaze into her staring, starless eyes. And people never knew the risk they took. She might just as easily tie their hair, with hers, into a single braid. And that would not be her first, either. Artists, she insists, must sacrifice themselves. And artists who sacrifice themselves will not waver from sacrificing the audience.

It's not difficult for me to understand why Abramović, the first time she heard Antony perform (at a Rufus Wainwright's concert), stood up and demanded, with loud repeated shrieks: "Who is he? WHO IS HE?"

"People around me were complaining," she would explain later, "but I was compelled. I kept saying out loud: 'Who is he?' I wanted to know everything about him."

Antony, known to refer to his own singing as a 'hex', also has a witch-air about him. Whether experienced as eerie, other-wordly or heartbreaking, Antony's singing binds with enchantments. Paired with Abramović's creative (and equally, if not more, spell-binding)  mind, they gave birth to the most beautiful of ethereal child-monsters. It's only a matter of time before they breath life into its body, too. And lo and behold.

12 September 2012


Who is a wonderfully tomwaitsy opening track on Love This Giant, a rare and unsettling album that entered the market mere days ago. The album is a mesmerizing collaboration between David Byrne (the frontman of Talking Heads) and Annie Clark (the alias of St. Vincent). The who-hounts-whom video of mutual pursuits was directed by Martin de Thurah.

Who’s gonna be my friend 
All around the table, everybody’s staring

And may we all find ourselves living in a shotgun shack...