utorak, 31. siječnja 2012.

Yayoi Kusama - Autobiografija svjetla


Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama
Translated by Ralph McCarty
. University of Chicago Press, January 2012. 256 pp.

Discussions of Yayoi Kusama must inevitably reckon with the state of the artist’s mental health. The 82-year-old Japanese icon, who deftly inserted herself into the epicenter of Minimalism, Pop, and performance art in New York City in the 1960s and 1970s, continues to produce eye-popping, whimsical, surreal works. She also lives — by choice — in a mental institution.
An art-world provocateur turned living legend, Kusama is, despite her stature in the art world, also something of an “outsider artist.” Although she was schooled in art — unlike artists to whom the term is usually applied — she is seemingly driven more by personal neuroses and compulsions than artistic or intellectual trends. However, Kusama’s place in contemporary art is more complex than the simple story of an outsider finding her way into the fold. Her autobiography, written in 2002 and now appearing in English for the first time, seeks to secure her reputation among the international avant-garde. Yet it is also highly ambivalent, pointing to the limitations of traditional distinctions between insider and outsider.
Throughout Infinity Net, Kusama is careful to emphasize her outsider status, mainly in regard to her Japanese identity. The book’s prologue muses on the first Yokohama Triennale, held in 2001, which she describes as Japan’s first large-scale international art festival and its belated entry onto the contemporary art scene. Kusama is proud of the first Triennale, for which she contributed two large installations — a mirrored room and a mass of reflective spheres floating in a Yokohama canal — but her tone is condescending: 
Japan has the money and the facilities but no real interest in or understanding of contemporary art. I was shocked, when I first returned from the USA [in 1975], to find that my country seemed a good hundred years behind the times.
Like much of this self-aggrandizing book, this statement may be an exaggeration. But even as a young woman, Kusama found Japan’s attitudes toward modern art stifling. Born in 1929 to a wealthy family in the small city of Matsumoto in the mountainous Nagano prefecture, Kusama drew and painted constantly, but found herself well outside the artistic and intellectual centers of Japan. Her isolation was compounded by the nationalist upsurge of the 1930s, during which the Japanese art world became more insular. At school, she studied nihonga, or traditional Japanese painting, but felt frustrated and impatient with its old-fashioned master-disciple hierarchy. Also, her family was vehemently opposed to Kusama becoming an artist: 
According to the conventional wisdom of the time, a woman had no future as a painter. This ‘wisdom’ held particular sway in an old-fashioned and feudal family like mine, which still clung to the ancient notion that actors and painters were disreputable at best.
Fittingly, the first chapter of Kusama’s story is an account not of her childhood, but of her artistic birth: her departure, in 1957, for the United States. The story has a fairy tale air. Needing a contact in the U.S., Kusama journeyed six hours by train to Tokyo to look up Georgia O’Keefe’s address in a copy of Who’s Who at the American Embassy. She struck up an awkward correspondence with O’Keefe, and, despite some bureaucratic obstacles, soon had a solo exhibition at a gallery in Seattle.
Shortly thereafter, Kusama moved to New York, the better to establish her starving-artist credentials. She describes at one point having nothing to eat but “a handful of small, shriveled chestnuts given me by a friend,” and was prone to days-long bouts of obsessive work — that is, when she had money for art supplies.
Whether or not these conditions were as dire as she describes, they no doubt aggravated her mental illness. It was during these early days in New York that Kusama began her famous “Infinity Net” series of paintings: canvases covered all over with a repeating, organic network of tiny loops of paint. The aesthetic of these works was thoroughly enmeshed with her hallucinations:
I woke one morning to find the nets I had painted the previous day stuck to the windows. Marveling at this, I went to touch them, and they crawled on and into the skin of my hands. My heart began racing. In the throes of a full-blown panic attack I called an ambulance… this sort of thing began to happen with some regularity.
Kusama’s wild, dreamlike descriptions of these youthful visions, juxtaposed with reproductions of her early drawings and poems, are the most fascinating part of the book. They suggest that, in addition to being a response to contemporary artistic movements like Color Field painting or Minimalism, her work may actually be seen as a representation of reality as she experienced it. Such an interpretation risks pathologizing, but unlike most artists who balk at overtly psychological readings of their work, Kusama is unabashed about the fact that for her, art is a form of therapy: “My Psychosomatic Art is about creating a new self, overcoming the things I hate or find repulsive or fear by making them over and over and over again,” she writes. Kusama dates this practice back to a childhood spent with a philandering father and a domineering mother, when she would often lock herself in the bathroom and draw obsessively. Her hallucinations began when she was in elementary school: flowers and pumpkins — both recurring motifs in her work from an early age — would routinely sprout faces and speak to her, or the floral pattern on a tablecloth would spread inexplicably across the room. Dogs addressed her in Japanese; she could only bark in reply. She describes spending agonizing days behind a “thin, silk-like curtain of indeterminate grey”: 
On days when this curtain descended, other people looked tiny, as if they had receded into the distance, and when I tried to converse with them I could not understand what they were saying. Painting, drawing, and later performance art and soft sculpture, forms made from sewn and stuffed fabric, were ways of understanding and ultimately controlling her disease. She never discloses exactly what that disease is, although scholar and curator Midori Yamamura reports in her essay for the 2007 exhibition catalog, Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York, that Kusama’s psychiatrist, Dr. Nishimaru Shiho, diagnosed her with hallucinatory cenesthopathy with bipolar and schizophrenic tendencies. Kusama experiences odd bodily sensations despite the fact that there is nothing physically wrong with her.
At any rate, the congruence between her hallucinations and her work would seem to mark her as an “outsider artist”: one who creates art as a personal outlet for some deep, compulsive need. And yet, Kusama is highly aware of her profile in the press and her place in history. She often offers long lists of her accomplishments — her autobiography reads like a curriculum vitae in places — and narcissistically quotes at length from press accounts.
She also claims to have inspired two iconic figures of Pop Art: Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol. After they exhibited together in 1962, Kusama claims that Oldenburg got the idea for his soft sculptures — droopy fabric renderings of toilets, hamburgers, and other household items — from her presentation of domestic objects covered in hundreds of stuffed fabric phalluses. Warhol had attended another exhibition in which she papered the walls with a single repeated image. In response to a show in which he did the same a few years later, she remarks: “It was plainly an appropriation or imitation.”
It’s impossible to know whether these claims have merit (sometimes things are just in the air), but such statements betray an artist with something of a chip on her shoulder and a certain bluster or swagger: an irrepressible self-assurance, even cockiness, that has been a hallmark (and perhaps raison d’être) of her career. It took supreme confidence to break with tradition and leave Japan, to heed her own voice despite financial and psychological hardship, and finally, to attempt to break taboos — her own and the public’s — around nudity and sex.
The third act of Kusama’s chronicle describes her 1970s performances, many of which doubled as orgies. Just as her “Infinity Net” paintings tread a path from Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism and her soft sculptures coincided with the ascendance of Pop art, Kusama’s Happenings captured the zeitgeist of the anti-war, free love, and hippie movements. She staged naked love-ins in public places and burned American flags, Bibles, and draft cards. In her studio, she created a room lined with mirrors and invited news crews to film a group of men having sex inside. She cultivated a stable of young gay men she dubbed the Kusama Dancing Team who lived (and routinely pleasured each other) in her studio, available to perform at a moment’s notice. And she put her mark on all of these activities by painting the nude performers’ bodies with polka dots.
At the center of this maelstrom of sexual expression and experimentation, Kusama staunchly maintained her identity as auteur, not as participant. She advocated free, even public sex, but not for herself: 
I had no interest in drugs or lesbianism, or indeed any kind of sex. That is why I drew a line between myself and the group … to them I was like a nun — but neither male nor female.

She frankly traces this revulsion to a childhood transgression: being ruthlessly beaten by her mother for dancing naked in front of the neighborhood boys. Freud would have had a field day.
The polka dots, which became a Kusama trademark, were an extension of the “Infinity Nets,” reflecting her hallucinatory visions but also operating as a kind of camouflage, expressing a radical continuity among all things: 
What I was asserting, was that painting polka-dot patterns on a human body caused that person’s self to be obliterated and returned him or her to the natural universe.
For Kusama, the application of polka dots (which might also be seen as a sublimation of the sex act) is the means by which two people might dissolve into each other or become inseparable from the world around them. She calls it “self-obliteration,” an idea that seems both desirable and threatening. It’s also a bit ironic given her pursuit of celebrity. 
I was reported on almost as much as Jackie O. or President Nixon. My name was in the tabloids day after day, magazines carried stories about me, and the public was fascinated by my activities and movements.
Kusama did attract a legion of followers, first through her Happenings and then through assorted (now defunct) business ventures: Kusama Enterprises, Kusama Polka-Dot Church, Kusama Musical Productions (all involved in staging Happenings), Kusama Fashion Company, The Nude Fashion Company, Kusama International Film Production, Body Paint Studio (a kind of modeling agency), Kusama Sex Company (responsible for orgies), and the “homosexual social club KOK,” which stood for Kusama ’Omophile Kompany. The list reads like a satire of the American entrepreneurial spirit, but Kusama is nothing but earnest about all of these endeavors, which she saw as additional ways to spread her message of sexual liberation.
This account of her heyday in New York is followed by musings on Kusama’s personal relationships with other artists. There are brief sections on O’Keefe, Warhol, Donald Judd, and others, as well as a lengthy account of her prolonged, troubled affair with Joseph Cornell, whom she first met in 1962. Cornell — something of an outsider himself — was apparently obsessed with Kusama, telling her, “I’ve dreamed of swearing my love to a Japanese girl,” and telephoning repeatedly at all hours of the day and night. It’s not clear what Kusama got out of their years-long relationship, or whether, given her attitudes toward sex, it was ever consummated in the conventional way. The story is, however, a rare glimpse into the intimate life of the fabled, reclusive artist, who died in 1972.
By 1975, Kusama’s health was failing, and she traveled to Japan to have an unspecified operation. She originally planned to return to New York, but her hallucinations returned and she decided to remain in Tokyo. In Making a Home, Yamamura notes that Kusama voluntarily checked herself into a “Jungian art therapy institution” in 1977, out of “a rational, self-preserving impetus.” Since then, she has continued to make paintings, collages, and sculptures — in a studio she constructed across the street from the hospital — and has also become a prize-winning novelist.
Is Kusama a crazy lady who happened to be in the right place at the right time, or a canny opportunist who rode the waves of the moment? We may never know. Despite her highly constructed and performative public image, she may in fact be something else altogether, an ambassador for a reality with which we, in our reasonable efforts to dissect the universe, have largely lost touch. Loathe though I am to cast her as some exotic earth mother bringing the world back to original truths — a conceit that smacks of the most insidious kind of Orientalism — there is still something restorative, refreshingly sincere, even magical about her work. It speaks for itself, suggesting that it’s not so much whether she’s an outsider or an insider that matters but how her story dispenses with that distinction altogether." - Sharon Mizota


James Ferraro - NYC, HELL 3:00 AM (2013)

James Ferraro readies HELL, NYC 3:00 AM
Štakori i otrovna voda. Nadrealna psihološka skulptura američke propasti i konfuzije.

The experimental producer's latest LP arrives roughly a year on from his last, Sushi. As with that release, HELL, NYC 3:00 AM will come out on Hippos In Tanks. "This record is about my demons just as much as its about society's demons," Ferraro explains. As the title suggests, the album explores the seedy underbelly of New York, the city Ferraro calls home. He describes it as "a surreal psychological sculpture of American decay and confusion" and says it was inspired by "the things I see," such as "rats, metal landscape, toxic water, junkie friends, HIV billboards, evil news, luxury and unbound wealth, exclusivity, facelifts, romance, insane police presence [and] lonely people... all against the sinister vastness of Manhattan's alienating skyline." You can stream snippets of two of the album's tracks, "Eternal Condition" and "Stuck 2," over at the Hippos In Tanks - www.residentadvisor.net/

Whether one found pain or pleasure in James Ferraro's mysterious landmark Far Side Virtual, it was an unremittingly bleak black mirror, twisting horribly familiar source material stripped from the contemporary digital brandscape into a set of uniquely alien compositions for the modern age. That album signified Ferraro's emergence from lo-fi and often extended cassette tape and CDR jams to become a perpetrator of hi-definition digital miniatures. However, since Far Side Virtual in 2011, follow-up Sushi and his Cold mixtape saw Ferraro veering away from abstract instrumentals and towards a wonky, glitchy sound that it was even possible to nod your head to. NYC Hell, 3:00AM is perhaps the logical conclusion to these shifts, finding Ferraro trapped in a modern personal hell of discordant vocals, introverted musings and ingenious sampling - not unlike this year's The Redeemer by his onetime collaborator, Dean Blunt.
Absurd, leftfield electronic soloists are most definitely in - NYC Hell arrives in a month that's seen the release of Oneohtrix Point Never's bizarre Warp debut and Tim Hecker's follow-up to the award-winning Ravedeath, 1972 - yet Ferraro's gradual metamorphosis has made a most unlikely turn. While Lopatin and Hecker's collagic albums continue their respective trips into the inhuman void, Ferraro (and Dean Blunt) are changing their scenery, and getting in touch with their very un-digital humanity, which is what makes NYC Hell so surprisingly compelling. It almost entirely disregards the Tim & Eric-like use of the bastardised on-screen version of reality that fuelled Far Side Virtual, in favour of a harsh and dystopic evocation of our own physical surroundings: the dull hum of the city is forever within earshot, and Ferraro's own voice is always muffled in low-fidelity – two brazen universal truths of modernity.
Characteristically unsubtle, Ferraro opens with 20 seconds of a digital voice repeating "money, money, money", leading into an overture of ambient dissonance blending environmental sound with organic and digital drones. 'Fake Pain' follows, swiftly interjecting David Ruffin's sampled God-like vocal performance from The Temptations' 'I Just Wish it Would Rain' ("People this hurt I feel inside!"). In parallel to this, a low-bitrate beat stumbles along with a trailing, unquantised synth on its tail, and Ferraro's own autotune-buggered voice muses aimlessly, snaking through the mix semi-discernibly, as on much of the album. Juxtaposing the theatrical impassioned agony of Detroit soul's greatest with the downbeat bedroom mumbling of Ferraro's inner voice, audibly captured in front of a laptop (space bar hits can clearly be heard) sets the scene for the album. This is universal pain and anguish, yet the bleakness of the urban landscape - in this case, New York - does everything to fuel a nihilistic and seemingly hopeless outlook. 'Stuck 1' presents the looped clatter of the street and a singing police siren alongside a cut up synth string bed that can never get off the ground, ultimately faltering and giving way to the city din.
The vast majority of the tracks aren't, however, instrumental. After 'Fake Pain', autotune actually dissipates, and we more often than not hear Ferraro's voice in all its imperfect glory. He quivers and hobbles around the notes, but never really hits them. His tone is an adopted facsimile of radio-friendly pop singing, characterising Ferraro the singer as something of an X Factor contestant type. Symbolically, there's no other stereotype that better typifies the modern day hell in which Ferraro's album resides: falsely confident, brainwashed by auto-tune and several dozen Now! compilations into assuming they can sing, drunk, stoned, wired in.
'Cheek Bones' is possibly the catchiest of the record's crunk dirges, with Ferraro painfully spewing lyrical about cigarettes giving him cancer, and not wanting to get said cancer. The closing triptych of 'Vanity', 'Irreplaceable' and 'Nushawn' see the introversion take a gradual and menacing about turn. 'Vanity' loops and juts along, fleshing out an amateurish beat with a menagerie of lopsided samples presented as musical furniture. 'Irreplaceable' treads a submerged two-chord path for 6 full minutes, Ferraro pining once more and adding occasional glockenspiel notes. The climactic 'Nushawn' twists the album's tale into something wholly more menacing. A choice cut from Patrick Bateman's many stone cold lines in American Psycho and a looped slice of Bernard Hermann's chilling Taxi Driver score underpin wordless vocal lines, autotuned out of recognition, and ultimately hinting at a murderous, psychotic climax in the life of NYC Hell's protagonist.
While still destined to divide his audience, with the excruciating and brilliant NYC Hell, 3:00AM, James Ferraro has quietly and calmly made some of the most affecting and intoxicating music of his career. Years of prolific drone explorations, the lessons learned on Far Side Virtual, and the near-pop sensibilities of Cold and Sushi all merge into something new here. Deceptively dense, this music unravels at a snail's pace, and repeat listens also reveal the man's sick skill with illogical hooks. The drone of the city, the neon lights of ubiquitous branding and the horror of a modern life spent rotting away behind a laptop are all captured perfectly by Ferraro's uniquely harrowing surrealism. - Tristan Bath 

James Ferraro by Catlin Snodgrass

James Ferraro discusses DIY aesthetics, apocalyptic visions, and his new album NYC, HELL 3:00 AM.

In November 2011, James Ferraro flooded a stack of end-of-year-best-of lists with the sharply produced sound-abstraction Far Side Virtual. The laptop-produced masterstroke spawned a slew of genre-bending digital releases and an ongoing discussion surrounding its conceptual themes. Ferraro has kept out of the race for editorial consensus, instead keeping himself busy pushing toward totally new vistas in music.
Since his days releasing scummy CD-Rs as a member of pioneering noise duo The Skaters, the music world has been paying close attention to Ferraro’s activity. His latest opus NYC, HELL 3:00 AM is out on October 15 by way of LA-based electronic label Hippos in Tanks. In this follow-up to last April’s online mixtape release Cold, Ferraro continues to work his moody, atmospheric deconstructions into a framework of cultural critique—describing in disturbing detail the psychological structure and decay of the American consumer economy.
James discussed the album’s dark matter, his fascination with post-apocalyptic dystopias, and how the landscape of his mind has changed since Far Side Virtual.

Catlin Snodgrass So you’re back in LA?
James Ferraro Yeah, I came to LA to record Far Side.
CS And you decided to stay?
JF Yeah, it kind of set itself up like that. My label’s out here in LA so I’m back-and-forth between here and New York a lot. I was also working on projects that were related to Far Side so it kept me out here for a little bit longer. But I’m out here post this album, NYC, HELL, to kind of get out of the inferno a little bit.
CS Does the change in environment have an effect on what you’re producing?
JF They’re kind of both their own thing. There’s a distinction, but I’m inspired by both places.
CS You’ve spoken a lot in the past about expressionism in music and it being a canvas for audio art. Obviously your work is heavily conceptual. What’s on NYC, HELL’s canvas?
JF There are so many concepts that are inherently a part of the process. There’s a kind of iconoclast thing going on with this one. A lot of things to do with how the media affects emotions and how it creates an emotional environment or a stratosphere for human interaction. It has a lot to do with how these experiences are intertwined with life and how they all work in collaboration with each other.
CS FADER called Eternal Condition/Stuck 2 “a scene in a really depressing movie.”
JF It’s not necessarily that. People’s thresholds for intense emotions and pain are different. I assume some people will feel that way, but other people might feel empowered by it.
CS There’s been an obvious shift in mood from Far Side and Condo Pets’s glossy, glamorous aesthetic to darker themes of misery and chaos. What sparked the temperature change?
JF To be honest, my mood and my inspirations for this album were really similar to Far Side. There all the things that I take from culture. Far Side was masked in this glossy elevator Muzak kind of sound. You hear the gloss, but beyond that is this darker reality of what’s really going on in culture. HELL was more of a personal story. I allowed myself to look deeper.
CS Is it as much of an intellectual effort?
JF I can’t really say that because it’s an expression that came from me. They both came from the same place. I can definitely see how people can create a distention between the different albums, but for me they’re in heavy conversation with each other.
CS To me, there’s a sound distinction. It seems like you’re playing on a lot of hazy R’n’B deconstructions in your newer releases, particularly with Cold.
JF I think maybe that’s just in my blood. Maybe those sounds come out of me because of who I am and what I love. I just allow myself to have complete freedom and that’s what came from it. People are going to interpret it however they want.
CS What did you listen to growing up?
JF Everything from rap to classical. My parents had really amazing taste and my father is a record collector so he always had different records on deck. Because he was a DJ I heard everything. I love it all. It’s hard for me to narrow it down to a particular genre.
CS So you come from a musical background?
JF Yeah, my father was a musician and my mom was a vocalist so they sort of rubbed off on me. My dad was really supportive. He was always working on his own musical projects, playing in a lot of bands. He was a DJ in Rochester, NY for a little bit. It’s always been a part of my life.
CS When did you start recording?
JF In high school. I used to make beats on this thing called MTV Music Generator for PlayStation. It was deep. I used to make beats on that program with all my friends in middle school.
CS I feel like a lot of writers have the false perception that your work is heavily laced in stock commercial Muzak samples and recycled sound bites.
JF Yeah, people think that I sample but I don’t. I actually never use samples. I sample my own sources of sounds. I use AT&T Natural Voices and text-to-speech generators so it’s all original content.
CS There’s a strong emphasis in your work on the by-products of consumerism. Can you talk about where that comes from?
JF What that means, as far as I relate to my own art, is that I like to think about signs reaching a point of excess when they begin to lose meaning.
CS Excess to the degree that it becomes something frightening?
JF Yeah, that sense of excessive repetition, something that originally has meaning but then starts to lose it through repetition. At that stage it becomes something entirely different. Icons and symbols are things that really interest me. That’s a heavy part of how I begin to work.
CS Your records evoke a pretty dystopian scenario.
JF Yeah, I think life is pretty dystopian. But I allow it to be both. That’s the potential of people.
CS That presents an interesting point of discussion: that our nightmares or fears are the benchmark for our aesthetic interests.
JF Yeah, people have been working with those themes since the beginning of theater, literature, and philosophy. We love apocalyptic scenarios.
CS Your work seems to be as grounded in an image as it is a sound experience.
JF Absolutely. It’s a lot like the sampling. What I use the image for is to lift away from the original meaning of something and to show how it affects the essence. Tabloids are a great example of that.
CS What was the image in your mind when recording this album?
JF For this record, I was really interested in 9/11 and surveillance footage and how the image stands on its own with a separate meaning from the actual event, like how we judge criminals based on an image rather their actions. When it comes to social, emotional, and economical dimensions, the image is usually what sums it all up. I think it’s interesting how society has fallen on that as something reliable. The thing about that, is that it was just from my raw experience of what’s around me: subway stations, trash on the ground, rats, everything that was around me at that time. I accumulated the material for the album as I went on. I went into it totally blind and at the end I realized I was making a record about these things.
CS So it all starts with visuals?
JF I would call it a vision.
CS Conceptual or aesthetic?
JF Definitely both. For this record, a lot of my own personal rules changed. I allowed myself to step back and let it be. Far Side was much more controlled, whereas NYC, HELL is about letting go of control and seeing what comes out.
CS Was it a surprise to you?
JF In a lot of ways it was. It was a raw sculpture or a living thing, because it was living along side of me as it was manifesting itself.
CS That’s the most honest way to make music.
JF Yeah, when it has a life of its own.
CS After a long stint as an instrumentalist of sorts, your vocal arrangements have been taking center stage lately. How did that come about?
JF It was just natural. My solo work is all more instrumental, but in The Skaters I used my voice a lot because it was our main instrument. I’ve always sung, and that theme of letting go helped it come into the picture. Separating myself from it, I would say one of the central themes of HELL is the power of money and how it acts as a god in a society that is built on the worship of money. If you think about the lyrics as a stage for these things, then they definitely represent that.
CS Cold’s eighth track “Slave to The Rain” really seemed to propel the concept of that album forward.
JF Yeah, that song in particular has a double meaning. It’s “Slave to the Rain,” but also “Slave to Rain;” as in, the raining of money, and to rain emotionally. It has a lot to do with how society is dictated by money. Sexual interest in people and even emotional love is dictated by the power of money.
CS My personal favorite record of yours is Marble Surf, which people probably don’t bring up very often. Or often enough, rather. It kind of got dusted under the rug back in 2008. You have a lot of great material out there that’ll probably be revisited for a long time.
JF Thanks. There was no control over how my early stuff was put out into the world. I used to make CD-Rs and stuff to sell at shows. All that work comes from a really interesting time in my life. I love that period, just for that reason alone.
CS Being a part of a DIY community?
JF Yeah, the CD-R community really had its own scene. And with ??Marble Surf??—among the people that were into my music back then—did cause a little bit of stir because it was one of my very first efforts as a solo artist.

CS Are you always working on something?
JF Yeah. I’m recording all the time. It’s just a part of who I am. To always be writing music down and making melodies is the part of my being that expresses that.
CS You’ve always had a laptop-produced, DIY approach to making music. Do you generate most of your work from home?
JF NYC was recorded at an actual studio, but that’s different from anything I’ve done before. I really enjoyed that experience of having a space to create in. I don’t have any strategy or agenda, but I’d like to record in that environment more often.
CS Tracing your history from these kind of pastoral, hypnotic lo-fi releases to something much more high-def and pristine, really exposes your range as an artist and how you’re constantly changing. When do you become exhausted with a particular sound?
JF My perception of genre is that it seems like such an outdated way to consume art and music. The aesthetic, style, and ideas are always changing, but as far as switching sounds or genres, I don’t really think about it like that. I don’t get sick of any one sound. People never see the process, so when they hear the end result it might seem like I’m jumping from one thing to another. For example, I have Far Side Virtual 2 recorded, but I never put it out because it didn’t make sense to. It’s just all within me. I can’t really explain it. I’m interested in a lot of things and I feel like I’m everything at once. At the end of the day, music classification and genres made sense at one time, but in 2013 I don’t think they have that much meaning. Even post-modernism is an outdated theme because we live in a post-modern culture. In the ’60s, the Beatles even killed that concept with baroque pop. At the time that might have been seen as how an artist today will have multiple styles, but in the next ten years, I don’t think people will even think about music like that.
CS How do you think they’ll perceive it in the future?
JF They’ll probably think of it in purely aesthetic terms.
CS With every album, it feels like you’re on the working in a totally new genre, which is why your sound has been so hard to peg.
JF I’ve definitely been called a lot of things, and as soon as those things die out, I’m a new thing. I think that’s a part of being yourself and doing what you want to do. If people are into something, they’ll create a world around those works.
CS Like the vaporwave movement.
JF People have talked to me about vaporwave. It sounds really interesting and I like to hear other people’s take on it. Apparently it’s a post-Far Side concept. I mean, there’s so much shit going on in the music world, it’s hard to keep up. But I’m just an artist, and I create what I create. It’s hard to speak about it beyond that because I feel like it’s too early to say. I’ve been making music a long time, and started with The Skaters when I was 17. I was really young back then and things change. My ideas are different now.
I like the name though. The name is cool.
CS From what I understand, you don’t perform live very often.
JF That’s changing. I’m booking shows and planning tours now, but I was going through a period where I was purely focusing on writing music. Luckily I did because I’m happy with the results. It’s been a transition period, so I think I’ll do a lot more now.
CS In an ideal world, would you play more shows?
JF Absolutely. The Skaters and I were on a 3-year tour and it was a nice break from recording. So definitely. I love playing shows.
CS With the exception of The Skaters and Lamborghini Crystal, you’re mostly a one-man operation, but are there any artists you you’d like to collaborate with?
JF Also Bodyguard, which is Sean Bowie from Teams, and me. Do you know Teams?
CS Oh right. Is that project active?
JF Yeah it’s definitely still active. As far as collaborating, I’d say yes, on a production level, maybe with certain producers. But as far as other artists, there are a lot of people I haven’t met yet. There are plenty of artist I’d love to know and have that conversation with though. I’d say Arca, Dean Blunt, you know, people that are on my same squad and are peers of mine. I feel really blessed to be surrounded by artists like that.
CS You usually construct an album with a particular listening format in mind. What format was NYC, HELL intended to be heard on?
JF Any format. It’s night music though.

James Ferraro Sushi FACT review


“Sushi is designer, Sushi is my obsessions, my darkness, it’s just my life squeezed into my music” - James Ferraro
Ever soundbite conscious, It’s incredibly easy to imagine James Ferraro embellishing a really quite normal lifestyle with as much Zoolander outrageousness as possible. It is, of course, part of what makes him an interesting and infuriating artist. However, while those incensed by Ferraro’s divisive 2011 album Far Side Virtual and subsequent, at times even more ridiculous pseudonym projects will probably be irritated by Sushi too, the effect is likely to be less so; it’s unusually digestible.
Eschewing previous extremes, on his latest release it seems Ferraro has climbed down from the grotesque bombast of BEBETUNE$, worked through the tamer, if just as fitful BODYGUARD, and is now far more focused on what r‘n’b and hip hop have to offer than what he can inflate through satire and manic reverence. Having found a useful metaphor, Sushi neatly encapsulates the sound of the record, seizing upon the strange fascination Western culture still levels at the unique elements of Japan; the adoption of certain cultural traits, like sushi, microtechnology and intensive design, while more accepted today are still considered exclusive, even elitist.
It makes sense then that this sense of wonder translates into a sound that oozes “Ferraro does original movie score to an expensive club scene/’: a talented, though highly idiosyncratic composer instructed to soundtrack the big boss’s gangster hang out, all cool white and blue lighting, uzis, T shirts and blazers. Obviously it’s situated in Tokyo / LA / NYC / wherever you want. Even that place in the Czech Republic Vin Diesel goes to in XXX, if Orbital hadn’t got there first.
The result sounds like Ferraro has been listening to a lot of Mike Will, Ryan Hemsworth, Mykki Blanco, Kuedo, Late Nights With Jeremih and, most comparably, labelmates Nguzunguzu, though there appears to be an attempt, whether intentional or not, at creating a distinct sound signature similar to the trademarks of revered producers, rather than simply cramming in as much of what is on Ferraro’s mind at any one time.
Rave and horn stabs, re-pitched vocal chirrups, time-stretched diva vocals and rattling hi-hats (though none of a BEBETUNE$ intensity) all clamour and fall over themselves for attention, but in a surprisingly controlled manner for Ferraro. Sure, it’s messy too, but not as much as, say, Otto Von Shirach’s Maxipad Detention. The oddest element is definitely the abundance of synth chimes and bell tones providing a distinct patience very reminiscent of Mark Fell. At first it’s difficult to envisage anyone actually playing these tracks in a club, especially as the production quality isn’t overly professional. But things get weirder as the album progresses and it quickly becomes more like, well… a ‘normal’ record.
Opener ‘Powder’ is strong, but it’s at track six, ‘Lovesick’, that the record hits its stride.  From here, ‘E 7’ (probably not a shout out to Forest Hill) has every potential to be a serious weapon if voiced by someone like Main Attrakionz; ‘SO N2U’ is a strong NY / Philly referencing house track, ‘Condom’ sounds like a hip-hop Drexciya, and the updated ’80s ballad sound of ‘Bootycall’ sounds like something that could be released on Software.
For all the curveballs that Ferraro has persisted in throwing to date, Sushi is probably the straightest – and therefore probably the weirdest too. Simply by showing that he can produce an album where over half of the content shrugs off his syncretistic ‘outsider’ character and engages fully with the influences and ideas at hand, it’s an interesting change of direction, and arguably a good one too. Give it a listen, you might be surprised. -Steve Shaw 

 Rapture Adrenaline

"James Ferraro, the crazed mastermind behind the Tiny Mix Tapes-praised Far Side Virtual (TMT Review), has made a movie called Rapture Adrenaline. It is 94 minutes long. FACT reports that it is now out on DVD, albeit in a limited quantity of 500 copies. And, though they do not come out and simply say it, they also report that it is the greatest movie ever made. Let’s go to the bullet points:• Sleazy television station called Hell-TV.
• Sleazy television station called Hell-TV that is run by someone named Acid Eagle.
• A character named Professor Pizza who may or may not be the same person as Acid Eagle, because the description is very confusing.
• Brutally murdered police officer reborn as super-human cyborg.
• Rochester.
• Driver taken hostage by seatbelt.
• A robot that becomes smarter and more dangerous and puts a boy and his friends in danger.
And more. The movie came out on VHS last year and everyone who watched it is now dead, not because they killed themselves, but because their bodies simply didn’t see the point of living after watching it. In the present moment, you can buy the DVD here. Do so only if you possess no fear of your body snuffing out its own flame of life." - E. Nagurney

"Limited to 500 copies. Includes "Welcome To Candyland" exclusive interview** James Ferraro's makes his much-anticipated cinematic debut on the "94 minute epic science-action movie" 'Rapture Adrenaline'. "Set in a crime-ridden Rochester, New York in the near future, Rapture Adrenaline centers on a police officer who is brutally murdered and subsequently re-created as a super-human cyborg. The main plot of the movie revolves around a "Bug" (code word for a member of an alien species that is similar in many ways to a very large cockroach) searching for a miniature galaxy which is also a vast energy source. "Acid Eagle" is the president of Hell-TV (Channel 83, Cable 12), a sleazy television station specialising in sensationalistic programming. Displeased with his station's current lineup (which consists mostly of softcore pornography), Professor Pizza is on a seemingly endless quest for something that will "break through" to a new audience. The rescue turns out to be a fake; the two climbers are taken prisoner by a group of ruthless thieves. The driver is now a hostage trapped by his own seatbelt. However, the robot becomes smarter and more dangerous as it plays putting the boy and his friends in mortal danger. In addition to being an action film, the movie includes larger themes regarding the media, resurrection, gentrification, corruption, and human nature." Unfortunately we've not had a chance to watch it all, but a quick flick thru tells us this is a proper trip..." - Boomkat

15.00 - On Sale

(+ Extra "Welcome To Candyland" Exclusive Interview)
Limited Edition 500 Copies
Originally released on a limited critically acclaimed VHS edition,
this succulent re-issue present an exclusive extra, WELCOME TO CANDYLAND, an interview with the author and, at the same time, an exciting voyage through some cult virtual-hyper-reality-simulacro. The OJ chase, Hollywood forever cemetery, Dr. Phil are just some ingredients of this delicious visual trippy cake.
The movie RAPTURE ADRENALINE is an educational mixtape program, a cyber marine combat training video designed through primitive editing techinques. Operating mythological transformations of popular movie iconography, it reaches the merging point of the magical and the political.
Co-production between HUNDEBISS VISIONS & MUSIC CITY
YTB COMMERCIAL: http://youtu.be/JxweGPLtcCA

Parrhesia - suludo dobar filozofski časopis

Novi izvrstan časopis - Thinking Nature

Volume 1

/1/ – What did the Early Heidegger Think about Nature? – Paul Ennis
PDF version
/2/ – Being and Counting: Speculative Materialism and the Threshold of the Given – David Lindsay
PDF version
/3/ – Unthinking Nature: Transcendental Realism, Neo-Vitalism and the Metaphysical Unconscious in Outline – Michael Austin
PDF version
/4/ – Philosophies of Nature in the Differentials of Iain Hamilton Grant and Ray Brassier – Himanshu Damle
PDF version
/5/ – Ecological Necessity – Tom Sparrow
PDF version
/6/ – Six Myths of Interdisciplinarity – Ted Toadvine
PDF version
/7/ – Some Notes Towards a Philosophy of Non-Life – Timothy Morton
PDF version
/8/ – Towards a Philosophy of (Dejected) Nature – Ben Woodard
PDF version
/9/ – Man and Nature – Ross Wolfe
PDF version
/10/ – Review of Thinking with Whitehead by Isabelle Stengers – Leon Niemoczynski
PDF version

Incognitum Hactenus - The Real Horror Symposium

 "The beginning of Incognitum Hactenus provides a permanent record and expanded thought on The Real Horror Symposium (London, October 2010).
Extending from Graham Harman’s reading of cult gothic novelist H.P. Lovecraft in his essay “On the Horror of Phenomenology” and the notion of Weird Realism, The Real Horror Symposium addressed this reciprocal relationship between the expression of horror and reality. The symposium showed that while many dialogues on horror overlap, merge, and diverge, there has not been a designated outlet for writers, artists, and curators that would give voice to this new strain of thinking. Thus Incognitum Hactenus came into being.
Volume 1.1 Real Horror includes contributions by the London-based artist, writer, and curator participants in The Real Horror Symposium - Amanda Beech, Carl Neville, Ben Rivers, and Simon Clark – as well as U.S. writers Steven Shaviro and Ben Woodard.


Caryn Coleman and Tom Trevatt………………………………….3
Carl Neville……………………………………………………………5
Ben Rivers……………………………………………………………..10
View an excerpt of Terror!
Knowing Horror
Amanda Beech………………………………………………………..12
A Nature to Pulp the Stoutest Philosopher:
Towards a Lovecraftian Philosophy of Nature
Ben Woodard…………………………………………………………..20
She Tied the Tag Around My Toe
Simon Clark……………………………………………………………26
Watch video of She Tied the Tag Around My Toe 
Transcendental Monsters
Steven Shaviro…………………………………………………………27
Notes on Contributors……………………………………………….31
Image: Film still from Ben Rivers’ Terror! (2006), courtesy the artist

Daunlodaj časopis

Aaron Sims - Archetype

"The Aaron Sims Company has designed such celluloid creatures as the aliens from Green Lantern, the simians from Rise of The Planet of The Apes, and the samurai with the chain gun from Sucker Punch. Now, as a labor of love with no funding, Sims has directed Archetype, a short film about a battlefield robot whose programming is on the fritz. It's an absolutely stunning nugget of cinema.
We heard about this project, which stars Robert Joy (Land of the Dead, CSI:NY) and David Anders (Heroes, 24), several months back. What's more, he's planning a feature-length version. Here's a plot synopsis:
RL7 is an eight-foot tall combat robot that goes on the run after malfunctioning with vivid memories of once being human. As its creators and the military close in, RL7 battles its way to uncovering the shocking truth behind its mysterious visions and past.
Via The Aaron Sim Company. Hat tip to Steffen!" - io9

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

"I’m almost ashamed to admit that I hadn’t seen W.D. Richter’s slapdash madcap sci-fi send up The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension until this summer. The film is so strange, so aggressively and willfully weird, that I don’t know how its cult vibes hadn’t enmeshed me earlier.
The film stars a deadpan Peter Weller as the titular Buckaroo, a neurosurgeon/rock star/superhero who, alongside his team/fellow bandmates, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop the Red Lectroids from Planet 10. Or something like that.
The plot is a shambolic mess, sprawling out in bizarre directions. Buckaroo Banzai is never sure if its cyberpunk, or Moonlighting, or a winking jab at Flash Gordon, or a riff on a rock movie. It’s enthralling and terrible at the same time.
But there’s no need to oversummarize here, when all one must needs do to get a feel for Buckaroo Banzai is watch its marvelous end title sequence."- Biblioklept

+ deleted scenes

Patrick Farley - Hi-tech strip

Nova vrsta visokotehnološkog stripa:

Patrick Farley:
First word

Patrick Farley was one of many inspirations. His work has regularly bumped up against the limits of current technology. The results were sometimes awkward and even garish, but they were also sometimes incredible, and they always felt like a glimpse into the future of the form. His new comic First Word is perhaps the first time I’ve read something by Farley and felt that it was doing exactly what it meant to do. The technology, and Farley’s ability to manipulate it, has caught up, and there are several truly breathtaking sequences. I guess I should mention that it’s NSFW, unless you work somewhere awesome.
I’ll admit I’m not always entirely clear on what’s going on — the comic is wordless — but there comes a point where that really stops mattering. Curious what you all think of this." - Mike Meginnis

Allison Schulnik - Mound

Plastelinska svadba u bijelom paklu

On the Edge of Enchantment: ALLISON SCHULNIK

Another winter comes with its cold, gentle embrace. Gusts of wind are whistling through the tops of the bare trees and blowing the dust all around. All the streets, lanes and alleys are already empty. Church bells are ringing in the distance and it’s time for the clown, the hobo clown, to begin his (con)quest. Los Angeles-based artist, painter, sculptor and filmmaker Allison Schulnik reshapes an imaginary kingdom where diversity, displacement and alienation are a cause for romantic research.

First Image: Blue Head, 48” x 48” oil on linen, 2011, Courtesy of ZieherSmith, New York

Her stories move slowly between different backgrounds, motifs and scenarios thick-studded with a rich array of sad characters who get inevitably discarded and misrepresented in our society. The Hobo emerges as a recurrent image in her precious work. His historical significance derives from the american definition of being a vagrant; a drifter without a settled home or a family, used in the late19th and early 20th to describe the stories and attitudes current among the men of the road. Jack London (The Road, 1907) and Jack Kerouac were perhaps the most representative voices of the hobo culture. In his essay «The Vanishing American Hobo», published in the magazine Holiday in 1960 and reprinted in Lonesome Traveler, in 1960, Jack Kerouac quotes a little poem mentioned by Dwight Goddard in his Buddhist Bible to express the original hobo dream: «Oh for this one rare occurrence / Gladly would I give ten thousand pieces of gold! / A hat is on my head, a bundle on my back, / And my staff, the refreshing breeze and the full moon».

Clown With Hands, and detail, oil on linen, 84” x 68”, 2011
Home for Hobo #2 (Currier & Ives), oil on linen, 68″ 96″, 2009

Allison Schulnik elaborates her ethical and aesthetic vision of liberation and individualism in much the same way. Hidden behind the mirror of isolation, there’s always a fiercely self-reliant creature. “My fixation on these characters is not intended to exploit deficiencies, but to find valor in adversity. Hobo clowns, misshapen animals or alien beasts, they are typically built upon a human frame, drawing from film and dance. I like to blend earthly fact, blatant fiction and lots of oil paint to form a stage of tragedy, farce, and raw, ominous beauty — at times capturing otherworld buffoonery, and other times presenting a simple earthly dignified moment” (A.Schulnik)

Hobo with Bird, oil on linen, 84” x 68”, 2009

Big Monkey Head #2, oil on canvas, 60″ x 60″, 2010

Schulnik’s work features a constantly changing world soaked with infinite possibilities, as illustrated in her marvellous claymation videos.

Hobo Clown, 2008. Stop-motion/claymation video, 5 min. Featuring Grizzly Bear’s Granny Diner, Japanese bonus track from the 2006 album, Yellow House.

Forest, 2009. Stop-motion/claymation video, 4:30 min. Used as the music video for Ready, Able (Veckatimest, 2009) for the Brooklyn-based band Grizzly Bear

Schulnik’s whimsical claymations, paintings and porcelain ceramic sculptures provide for a fascinating insight into her visionary exploration that incorporates a myriad of artistic influences: Bruce Bickford, Glenn Brown, Music, Lightning Bolt, German expressionist films, Eric Yahnker, Andre Butzer, Jules Engel, Ub Iwerks, E. Michael Mitchell, Ray Harryhausen, Jan Svankmeyer, Klaus Kinski and Terry Gilliam, just to name a few.

Hobo Clown with Long Nose, 2011, ceramic and wood pedestal, 17 x 10 x 10 inches (ceramic), 34 x 10 x 10 inches approx. (pedestal), Courtesy of ZieherSmith, New York

It’s always interesting to see the perspective of an artist on another artist, musician or director’s work. For instance, Schulnik’s overwhelming dramatic energy and theatricalism blend seamlessly with the world described in Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King (1991). Surprisingly, Schulnik’s Long Hair Hobo is very similar to Gilliam’s Parry (Robin Williams) in spirit, feeling and disposition. Without dwelling on the despair and suffering revealed through their eyes, Allison’s Hobo and Parry are forlorn rejects (or fools) undertaking the same journey into romance, imagination, passion and self-knowledge. The movement of their invisible pilgrimage is not defined solely by external incidents, but also by internal, psychic turmoils, artistically (and theatrically) represented in the dream-content, as Carl G. Jung sums up: “If our dreams reproduce certain ideas these ideas are primarily our ideas, in the structure of which our whole being is interwoven. They are subjective factors, grouping themselves as they do in the dream, and expressing this or that meaning, not for extraneous reasons but from the most intimate prompting of our psyche. The whole dreamwork is essentially subjective, and a dream is a theatre in which the dreamer is himself the scene, the player, the prompter, the producer, the author, the public, and the critic.” (CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, General Aspects of Dream Psychology, 1916)
The Funeral Party, and detail, oil on linen, 102” x 132”, 2010

Schulnik’s characters are all unmistakably dreamers. They’re just the same as us. Dreamers wandering in a constant state of painful uncertainty, and still haunted by sad memories of the past. It’s no coincidence that Schulnik chooses Scott Walker’s song, It’s Raining Today, to accompany her sixth and latest animated short,MOUND (It’s raining today / But once there was summer and you / And dark little rooms / And sleep in late afternoons / Those moments descend on my windowpane / I’ve hung around here too long / Listenin’ to the old landlady’s hard-luck stories / You out of me, me out of you / We go like lovers / To replace the empty space / Repeat our dreams to someone new).

MOUND, a sublime parable about what it means to be on the outside, stands as the most touching claymation the artist ever made. It is part of her current exhibition at New York’s ZieherSmith and features over 100 hand-sculpted and sewn puppets, the labor-intensive piece took nearly eight months, at times requiring 2 hours to create a single frame. To put it simple: Mound represents a visual, emotional experience you can’t miss. Seriously, you can’t love anything more than this.

Born in 1978 (San Diego, CA), Schulnik earned her BFA in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (CA). She has had significant solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Rome and London, and has exhibited in both visual arts shows and film screenings around the world. Her work can be seen in the public collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (KS), Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (CA), The Chaney Family Collection (TX) and Museé de Beaux Arts (Montreal). In 2013, she will have a solo exhibition at the Laguna Art Museum, California. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.