The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Skywriting Day *

* (restored)


‘Skywriting is the process of using a small aircraft, able to expel special smoke during flight, to fly in certain patterns to create writing readable by someone on the ground. The message can be a frivolous or generally meaningless greeting or phrase, an advertisement aimed at everyone in the vicinity, a general public display of celebration or goodwill, or a personal message such as a marriage proposal or birthday wish.

‘The typical smoke generator consists of a pressurized container holding a low viscosity oil such as Chevron/Texaco “Canopus 13” (formerly “Corvus Oil”). The oil is injected into the hot exhaust manifold causing it to vaporize into a huge amount of dense white smoke. Writing occurs usually at altitudes from 7,000-17,000 ft. When paraffin oil is used in the process, it vaporizes at 1500° in the heat of the plane’s exhaust and is environmentally safe.

‘Skywriting is never a permanent process. Wind and dispersal of the smoke cause the writing to blur, usually within a few minutes. However special “skytyping” techniques have been developed to write in the sky in a dot-matrix fashion, and are legible for longer despite the inevitable blurring effect caused by wind.’ — collaged


Skywriting the Voodoo Fest 2016 headliners over City Park


The Lost Art of Skywriting

‘In 1922, one pilot staged a “smoke casting” demonstration over Times Square, writing a giant phone number into the sky. (Operators at the hotel on the other end of the line said they received more than 47,000 calls in under three hours. Two years later, another pilot made the first U.S. attempt at skywriting using pink and orange smoke. “Remember Flag Day” was to be scrawled for nine miles across the skies above Manhattan in June 1924.

‘Skywriting became a sensation. Brands like Pepsi, Ford, Chrysler, and Lucky Strike flocked to the skies. Planes left trails of letters like “LSMFT,” the well-known acronym that stood for “Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco.” In 1940 alone, Pepsi scribbled some 2,225 skywritten messages over 48 states, Mexico, Canada, Cuba, and South America, according to the Smithsonian.

‘But as the practice became more common, people began the kind of handwringing that new technology so often prompts. Mainly, they began to wonder if maybe things were better before skywriting appeared.

‘The New York Times called the practice “celestial vandalism,” describing a future in which the skies would be so smoke-choked that apartment dwellers on high floors would have to keep their windows closed. (One might argue that seeing Lucky Strike’s letters in the sky was far less irritating than hearing them shouted repeatedly in television commercials, an approach that came in later decades.)

‘There was talk of cloud slicing machines that would allow for skywriting in any weather. Engineers worked to develop glowing letters for nighttime skywriting. Reporters predicted the skydrawing of elaborate illustrated ads, envisioning enormous shoes and automobiles splashed across the sky. Extraordinary palettes of colored smoke would brighten the sky in vivid reds and electric greens, they said.

‘Pilots dabbled in color but it never worked as well as simple white. And for all the hype, skywriting fell out of favor in a matter of decades. Americans may have been dazzled by what some called “smoke casting,” but it was no match for the broadcast technology that was being developed at the same time: Television. Clear TV reception was no guarantee in those days, but skywriting was completely dependent on fine weather.

‘”We have to have blue skies,” said Suzanne Asbury-Oliver, an Oregon-based pilot who runs one of the last remaining full-time skywriting businesses in the country. “You couldn’t say, ‘I am definitely going to write at noon on Friday over Times Square,’ because it might be cloudy or it might be snowing. And even if you could, you couldn’t really say how many people actually saw it.”

‘The allure of better reaching distinct audiences pushed advertisers to TV rather than to skywriting. Radio and print were already defaults. And there were other limitations to buying ad spots in the sky. In 1961, The New York Times described a skywriter who sloppily put out a message that didn’t make sense, only to fly back up, strike a line through the thing, and begin again.’ — SKYWriter


Sky Billboards (1935) Skywriters

Skywriting with Americas Last First Generation Skywriter

Bruce Nauman Skywriting in Pasadena

Write Sky Project

‘Cloud’, by Ron English


How Does Skywriting Work?

‘Skywriting is done by one plane that can generally write up to six characters, with a skilled pilot at times maneuvering upside down as they decide when smoke is needed for the letters. Five to seven planes are needed for longer messages (up to thirty characters) so that the entire message is visible at once. The smoke is usually created by judiciously spraying paraffin oil directly on the hot engine manifold near the tail section of the plane. The pilot decides when smoke is needed to draw one section of a letter at a time. A spotter on the ground may also assist the pilot during trickier maneuvers. A letter can be as high as one mile and take 60-90 seconds to create. A message can stretch up to fifteen miles.

‘Single plane skywriting has largely been replaced by multi-plane ‘skytyping’, a computer-controlled method involving timed puffs of smoke from a synchronized row of aircraft. Smoke is emitted in a series of bursts, like dots. A computer generates the master plan and electronic signals control the smoke output. The blurring of the smoke makes the desired end effect. The choreography involved in traditional skywriting can be challenging. Modern skytyping, on the other hand, requires a steady formation but no letter writing maneuvers. Puffs of smoke are released according to a master program in a computer. This method allows for simple graphics and more elaborate messages, even if it lacks the derring-do aspect of traditional skywriting.’ — collaged


Skytyping (0:31)Sky Typing #2


How and When Was Skywriting Discovered

‘Most sources attribute the development of skywriting (1922) to John C. Savage, an Englishman. In that year, Captain Cyril Turner wrote “Daily Mail” over England and “Hello USA” over New York. The American Tobacco Co. then picked up the technique for their Lucky Strike cigarettes. The first skywriting for advertising was also in 1922. Skywriting continued to grow in popularity as both an advertising medium and a personal message service. Customers could request anything from “Eat at Joe’s” to “Will You Marry Me?” Messages and slogans would naturally have to remain short, but even a simple phone number could generate a lot of curious potential customers for a small investment. The expansion of the national highway system after WWII spelled the beginning of the end for the skywriting industry. Instead of posting a few words in a fickle sky, advertisers could now fill entire billboards with all sorts of graphics. A captive audience of thousands would pass by these new placards every day, unlike the precious few who would encounter a typical skywriting message. Many aerial advertising companies turned to permanent banners pulled behind low-flying aircraft instead.’ — SH


Vik Muniz ‘Cloud Cloud’

A few years ago, New Yorkers could have looked up into the sky over Manhattan and seen something truly quite odd: a cloud. But it wasn’t just any cloud. It was a drawing of a cloud made by a skywriting plane: a cloud made out of clouds. Brazilian conceptual artist Vik Muniz called it “Cloud Cloud, NY.” Not only was it an ideal opportunity to underscore the fleeting nature of the images we see everyday, Muniz’s cloud was another of example of the way these images can have double meanings.

Photos, information, & more videos of ‘Cloud Cloud’


Sky Tagged Over New York to Defend Arts

‘New Yorkers who looked up from stoop sales, soccer games, and strolls across the Brooklyn Bridge saw graffiti artist and fine artist Saber flying five planes in formation across sunny Sunday skies with messages castigating the presidential candidate for his plans to kill funding for cornerstone arts programs like the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Public Radio (NPR), the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).

‘As one of a handful of high profile graffiti/street artists in the US who have taken the national stage with their social and political commentary, Saber has “gone big” before, but never on this scale and never over New York City in an hour and a half display that he estimated could be seen over a 20 mile radius. “NYC is the art center of the world,” Saber says, “It is quite a good feeling to be able to spread this public message.”’ — Brooklyn Street Art


How to Hire a Skywriter

‘Find a skywriting service in the Yellow Pages or on the Internet. Some skywriters will fly in from out of state for a bit more money if there’s no skywriting service in your area. Figure out your budget. Messages run approximately $800 for up to 30 letters in your local area. Out-of-town rates are normally $1,000 for up to 30 letters plus expenses. Most skywriters can write up to 35 normal-size letters per flight. Hiring a skywriter can be done year-round, even in cold climates. If possible, plan for September and October, which tend to be the best weather months in most areas of the United States.’ — SH


The dying art of Skywriting and the story of one company still doing it.


Lecture on the History of Skywriting: Anne Carson


Prudence Peiffer ‘Sky Writing’


25th. Septr 1821 about from 2 to 3 afternoon, looking to the north—Strong Wind at west, bright light coming through the Clouds which were lying one on another.

‘These jotted notes are on the back of a cloud study in oil on paper by John Constable dominated by dark, smoky clouds blotting out most of the sky and piling up like pillows. Red paint is employed as primer, and the clouds are teased up from that dark surface, smudged with the flat side of a brush in bold strokes of chiaroscuro. The overlapping colors give the sky an infinite depth and emphasize the reality that even as Constable was painting the scene its clouds and colors were shifting. As Constable wrote at the time, “We have had noble clouds & effects of light & dark & color—as is always the case in such seasons as the present.”

‘When John Constable went “skying” in the English countryside in the early nineteenth century, paintbox resting on his knees, paper pinned to its lid, oils at his side, it was not merely to produce small sketches of clouds as exercises for the background of his larger “finished” paintings. These squares of sky, with careful notes about location, time and conditions scribbled on their backs, read today as surprisingly modern works that hover between minute documentation and textured abstraction. They are executed quickly, the paint applied in thick swaths and deliberate strokes as Constable followed the clouds across his own scumbled surface; in stormy skies, the studies take on a violent realism that led Constable’s friend Leslie to remark that “Fuseli wished for an umbrella when standing before one of Constable’s showers.”

‘These cloud studies are objective yet Romantic mappings of the sky fraught with anxieties felt by the artist in placing so much faith in a piece of air. The clouds can also be read, as Constable seemed to encourage in his many metaphorical attachments to the sky, as symbolic of thoughts themselves passing across the mind. William Wordsworth, Constable’s contemporary, took such philosophy to the extreme when he wandered “lonely as a cloud” through his poem “Daffodils.”

‘In celebrating the nature of clouds through a combination of scientific rigor and sentient experience, Constable created a fixed system for recording the epitome of transience in nature. These paintings emerged in part out of Constable’s working through of the world’s mutability, where “no two days are alike not even two hours, and the genuine productions of art, like those of nature, are all distinct from each other.” (the entirety)


The precarious future of “Skytyping”

‘Skytyping is the fancier version of skywriting, and it requires five planes flying in formation, rather than just the one plane used for skywriting. The method was patented by Andy Stinis in 1964 and has been protected so fiercely by the Stinis family — Andy’s son, Greg, and grandson, Stephen, run the business Skytypers Inc. now — that it might die along with Stinis’s heirs.

‘“It sounds selfish I guess, but when you have a unique business you like to keep it that way,” Greg Stinis told Chase Purdy at Quartz. And “once he’s gone,” Purdy reports, the business “will fall almost entirely to his son, who has no children of his own.”

‘But even before that, the Skytypers successor is shifting his attention away from “the subtleties of old-fashioned skywriting” and toward “brainstorming ways to produce custom logos in the sky, or glow-in-the-dark smoke.”

‘Everything is a metaphor.’ — Taylor Sperry







p.s. Hey. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Thank you kindly. And about my forehead, which is sans bandage now, and no one has screamed upon looking at me (so far). There are a handful of classic, yearly home haunts in SoCal that we’ll definitely take the design guy to, but there are always new ones, and new ones tend to be the most amateurish and homemade, so we’ll find and hit a bunch of those. And, since it’ll be Halloween time, there’ll be a lot of pop-up Halloween prop and decoration stores running, which will be really helpful to accrue stuff. Here’s to 20 years of family member invisibility! Oh, you’re so right, it would be an even better world if ‘Forever Young’ never existed. My ears are comatose just thinking about it. Ha ha, I’ve only seen, I think, three episodes of the first season of ‘American Horror Story’, and it seemed kind of okay, but I do hear it’s been all downhill since then. Love causing every casting agent in Hollywood to agree to a general rule that they will never take Lady Gaga’s agent’s phone calls, G. ** Billy, Thanks, Billy. Oh, man, that heatwave terminology critique was a scary and logical truthism right there. So sorry about your current temperature-based suffering. I’ll be in your boat starting tomorrow. Thus, triumph is an iffy goal, but I’ll give it such a shot. You too, man. ** David Ehrenstein, I don’t know ‘Horrors Of The Black Museum’ and I think I simply must know it, so thank you. ** Gus Cali Girls, Howdy, Gus! Oh, nice, about the film festival. I’ll seek out ‘History of Ha’ as soon as later today, internet resources allowing. And I’ll tell my collaborator Gisele who will lose her mind at the prospect. Wow, I really, really want to see Charlie Shackleton’s ‘Afterlight’, and it sounds like I so, so never will unless I really keep my eyes peeled. All films do seem to end up in Paris at some point. Sounds amazing. I saw ‘Evolution’ when it came out. Honestly, I really like Lucile (I know her), and I think she’s really talented, but her films always seem to me to end up being kind of empty exercises in gloomy atmospherics, so, by the ends of them, I always feel let down. But I’ll try ‘Evolution’ again. I could easily just be missing some crucial boat in her work. Yes, ‘Autonomy’! Exactly, total ear worm of mine of late. I love his voice. Wow, have big fun, and if you feel like it, let me know if you see anything else that you think I should beeline towards. Thanks a lot! Big up! ** _Black_Acrylic, ‘Color Me Blood Red’ is one of his best, I think, thanks to whole art thing, or mostly thanks anyway. I haven’t heard of that TV series. I saw a documentary film about Woodstock ’99 that was pretty interesting. I don’t have Netflix, but it’ll probably pop up on soap2day. ** Bill, Thanks, B. I didn’t know you were a fan of ‘The Wolf House’, but it’s true that I am not surprised. Enjoy your interesting houseguest. What have you guys gotten up to? ** Russ Healy, Thanks. It’s fun to search that stuff out. Addictive, I guess I would say. Yes, I will about the paper, and thank you again. The film stuff is heating up and sidelining everything else, but I’ll find the time. Have a fine, fine day. ** Okay. I liked this old, dead post enough that I used my godlike powers to resurrect it, and that’s that, I guess. It’s good though, right? I’m not delusional, right? See you tomorrow.


Joaquín Cociña & Cristóbal León The Wolf House, 2021
‘Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León descend into the psychologically disturbing world of a child escaped from religious fanatics in their feature-length film The Wolf House. Layered with audio of unsettling voices and the quiet mutterings of a young girl, the grotesque animation seamlessly blends horror and documentary as it recounts some of the tragedies of the Colonia Dignidad, the post-World War II colony that was established by Germans and Chileans under the dictatorial rule of General Augusto Pinochet. Founded in 1961, the isolated area was infamous for torture, internment, and murder, and The Wolf House showcases its impact on a child who takes refuge in a strange house.’


Martin Abasi Phiri Casket II, 1996
Casket II was made out of metal fluorescent light tube holders. They were welded into a full-sized casket with a proper window and a lid that could be opened for viewing the face of a corpse. In the casket, Martin Phiri cast his own face and placed it wrapped in a white cloth just as a funeral parlor prepares a body for burial. He touched it up with some oil paint to achieve the real complexion of a dead body. Since Phiri was an accomplished portrait painter in oils, it was not difficult for him to create a realistic self-portrait. The casket was accompanied by a video of mourners, mostly footage Phiri had captured at funerals for relatives. It showed women moving past the casket, looking down into it in the local body-viewing custom. Among them was his wife bursting in to tears. With this work, Phiri had in effect made his wife a widow, a taboo within the moralistic beliefs of Zambia’s collective ethnic communities. Even in a post-modernist context, the work crossed the line of accepted societal norms, deconstructing cultural stereotypes. Asked about why he had created the work, Phiri would simply answer: “I wanted to see how I would look in a coffin and how people would mourn me.”’


Andrea Mastrovito Night of The Living Dead, 2021
‘Andrea Mastrovito is an Italian multimedia artist and filmmaker based in New York who communicates with his audience through the reinvention of drawing. In “I Am Not Legend”, Mastrovito recreated George Romero’s “Night of The Living Dead” using a new screenplay composed entirely of quotes from famous books, films, and other sources.’


Carrie Reichardt Pinky and Perky, 2014
‘Art that can be appreciated by the visually impaired that can be touched, heard and smelled. Anyone fondling Pinky and Perky sight unseen, however, is likely to leap back in shock. The piece has two startlingly realistic latex pigs heads, flaunted as breasts by an antique tailor’s dummy – though the artist has also offered to model them herself for special occasions.’


Herschell Gordon Lewis Color Me Blood Red, 1965
Color Me Blood Red is a 1965 splatter film written and directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis about a psychotic painter who murders people and uses their blood as paint.’


Oleg Vdovenko MAKING OFF, 2019
‘Oleg Vdovenko is a Russian artist who creates nightmarishly realistic horror illustrations and videos. Besides his prints and videos, the successful artist is currently working on a first-person horror game titled ILL. under Team Clout. ‘


Tomoo Gokita Various, 2008 – 2015
‘You can do incredible violence with a painting, with a stroke you can mutilate. The horror film and the painter implement similar meat. […] Watch a body be melted, a face cleaved. A flower erupts a deformity or berries, it’s difficult to tell, something the horror film cannot do: a painting’s wayward stroke contains an ambiguity that is interpretable.’


Sarah Sitkin BODYSUITS, 2018
‘The Bodysuits are modeled after real people, using unbelievable precision to present a hyperrealistic representation of human bodies, in an effort to intentionally subvert boundaries and privacy to provoke recognition in the shared human experience. Visitors are invited to wear the suits, and in doing so, emphasize, confront, and reevaluate the judgement they hold towards others’ bodies and their own.’


Heike Kabisch frothing, you and I, 2019
‘Last summer, at Berlin’s Chert Lüdde, a show by German artist Heike Kabisch was comprised of sculptures of headless bodies, mingled with plastic bags and shredded paper, on filthy mattresses under reddish light – a sort of crepuscular, fearful makeout scene seemingly tugged up from some dank, pained substratum of the mind.’


Hugh Hayden Hedges, 2019.
Sculpted wood, lumber, hardware, mirror and carpet


Agnieszka Smoczyńska The Lure, 2015
‘Polish stylish dark fantasy synth-pop musical with grotesque elements belonging to the body horror genre.’


Mary Ellen Mark Halloween, South Bronx H.E.L.P. Shelter, New York, 1993
Gelatin silver print


Wong Ping Crumbling Earwax, 2022
‘Three machines shoot ping pong balls to the gigantic copper-made ear sculpture in the center of the space. Every single ball that bounces back creates a religious bell-like sound. Balls that fail to pass through the earhole represent the words that I could barely listen to. Rocks are crumbling, and my murmurs from the video leak out from the basement. There, a single ping pong machine repeatedly shoots at a wall. Balls that touch the ground become earwax. The echoes of their bounces create tinnitus.’

Watch an excerpt here


Alex Ayed Untitled (Kercha), 2018
‘An enormous lump of green olive oil soap, shaped into a man’s sturdy legs morphing into a kind of twisting giant reaching for the low-slung ceiling. The work was later moved into storage and eventually broken down and used by a caretaker to bathe.’


Stefan Koidl The Children, 2017- 2021
‘Stefan Koidl is a freelance illustrator and Krampus mask carver living in Hallein, Austria. The artist was interested in drawing monsters, undead and ghosts since childhood, but professionally engaged in their favorite business just four years ago.’


Monica Cook Milk Tooth, 2016
‘The narrative of “Milk Tooth” unfolds on split screens, with one side chronicling the efforts of a male humanoid (Valentino) to reach and revive the object of his affections, the female figure (Tish) on the other screen. She has gone into a deep slumber after sacrificing a pig-like creature in order to retrieve from one of the ears of corn in its belly a new silver tooth for Valentino. To repay the gesture, he washes Tish’s feet in a basin of milk extracted from the udders of a cow corpse that she brings back to life. A half-maternal, half-sexual exchange of milky fluids between Tish and Valentino results in the laying of a fertilized egg.’


Joël Andrianomearisoa There Might Be No Other Place In The World As Good As Where I’m Going To Take You, 2020
‘So the pieces are just a proposal to… I don’t know, I’m inviting you to go somewhere, but the idea of going somewhere, it’s actually there is no destination and I’m insisting on this idea that there is no geography. But the real geography is actually our body and the other person. It’s why I did this labyrinth made with the different fabrics, different levels, different types of fabric – some of them are very transparent, some of them are some patterns – but I just invite you to work through and to experiment a different emotion.’


Fábio Magalhãe O Grande Corpo, 2008
‘By exposing the viewer to images of brutalized body parts, Magalhães is also asking the viewer to question what it means to be human. He has divested the human body from its imposed religious, psychological, historical, and personal significance to question what makes our existence different from any other animal if all we are is the same flesh and bone?’


Fermata Arts Foundation Brentwood, no. 24, 2013
‘The house isn’t a murderer’s lair, a horror set, or a Hellmouth. In fact, it’s a work of art by Fermata Arts Foundation, founded in 2008 by artist Nikolay Synkov, who says that its mission is “to aid in the preservation of peace” through “the synthesis of art, architecture, philosophy and poetry.” Synkov, who designed and lived in the house, had a lofty vision for his work. Synkov describes himself as a devotee of painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky, and cites the introduction of Kandinsky’s “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” as an inspiration for “Brentwood, no. 24.” “Every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions,” the introduction begins. Perhaps that’s the reason the place looks like a uterus with problems. Like many artists, it appears that Synkov is unappreciated in his own time. According to Zillow, the Brentwood house was listed at $1.4 million dollars in March 2013, and by September 2016 it was down to $339,900.’


Malcolm Le Grice Horror Film 1, 1971
‘This performance was first presented in 1971. It involves three 16mm projectors, each with a short loop of full-screen, changing colours. They are projected onto the same screen – the centre image large and the two side images smaller and superimposed into the centre of the larger screen. The performance is concerned with the presence of the body and its complex colour shadows. The action begins with touching the screen and – passing through the space of the audience – it ends at the projectors. The action is timed to an audio tape of breathing. Though improvised in detail to fit the particular time and place, the action follows a consistent pattern that has changed little since the first performance.’


Jack Warne Rtapte, 2021
‘These abstract paintings come to life when you scan them with your phone, and it takes you to a nightmarish jolting image and noises more at home in a horror movie. It’s all very intense and unsettling in this creative take on painting, which is based on the artist’s own experience of growing up with a hereditary disease that causes blindness.’

See it in action here


Susanne M. Winterling TEMPERATE. under your skin, nano carriers through the web, 2021
‘A fluorescent bacterium is the protagonist of Susanne M. Winterling’s installation TEMPERATE. Visitors meet the glowing bacterium in an exhibition room heated to body temperature. The bacterium, equipped with a nanobackpack filled with therapeutic agents, is making its way through tissue, just like in a video game. Inspired by, among other things, pathbreaking research in biomedical technology, which for years has worked to develop drug-loaded nanocarriers, Winterling effects a radical change in perspective on nano-organisms. These entities that are invisible to the naked eye are the stars of TEMPERATE: Magnified many times over and larger than the exhibition visitors, the luminescent bacterium is moving across two monumental projection surfaces.’


Patricia Larocque Various, 2020 – 2021
‘Patricia Larocque is a Canadian embroidery artists currently struggling in Lyon, France. She works from her home studio which is really just her kitchen table let’s be real. She currently enjoys creating anxiety ridden patches that are close to life representations of herself and her daily life.’


Erik & Nils Petter Sinking, 2016
‘When passersby noticed the face of a child submerged beneath the water in Mälmo, Sweden, they thought he had drowned, and called the authorities. After a number of such calls, the police realized the child in the water was actually a cardboard cutout, sunken in place by artists Erik Vestman and Nils Petter (who hadn’t bothered to seek official permission for the installation.) The little boy’s face was mounted to plywood with floatation devices beneath it. The artists wore wetsuits and snorkels to drop the lines that hold it in place; it lasted about a week.’


Miwa Yanagi Fairy Tales, 2004 – 2005
‘Miwa Yanagi focuses on the relationship between young girls and older women. As a point of departure, she starts with the often gruesome, violent and cruel European versions of tales by the Brothers Grimm. Etched into our collective memories, the photographer’s images examine and twist the mythologies further using masks, wigs, mixed race models and female children dressed as older women.’


Mike Heynes SCHLOCK! HORROR! Death of a B-Movie Empire, 2005
‘Heynes has described the ostensible intent of objects as the source of their repulsion. Rather than being gruesome in themselves, cheap horror movies’ attempts to scare and disgust, knowingly tacky yet relishing in the reactions they can elicit, are what make them so creepy.’


Agata Kus ALEKSANDER (after Fanny and Alexander), 2015
oil on canvas


Vinyl terror & horror Studiomix, 2012
‘Cut up and mistreated records looping and creaking from dust and sloppy treatment. Pick-up`s being pushed disrespectfully over grooves. Records spinning backwards and forwards while played from multible pick-ups simultaniously. Meanwhile the lady in stilletoes just keep onwalking down the stairs. Repetitive arrangements, dark sounds, neck breaking mixes, film-amateur sound effects, scratches, quieks, vinyls, terror and horror.’


Alejandro Almanza Pereda Horror Vacui, 2017
‘The series’ title, ‘horror vacui’ – ‘fear or dislike of empty spaces’ – refers to a traditional visual technique of filling a pictorial plane’s negative space with detail. The installation sets an idyllic view of nature against the corrosive and relentless process of humans shaping geography to their will. It also points to the covering up of history, the translation of values across time, and changes in taste, from the once-aspirational hand-crafted painting to the concrete that – although once employed for its inexpensiveness and ease of construction – is used today within contemporary, minimal ‘design’ interiors at a high cost. Perhaps this too will fade.’




Hananuma Masakichi Untitled, 1884
‘When Japanese artist Hananuma Masakichi found out that he was dying of tuberculosis in 1885, he did what any of us would do in that situation: He created a perfect replica of his body to leave to the woman he loved. Masakichi worked in a room full of adjustable mirrors to document and sculpt every inch of his body, right down to the veins and the pores, using between 2,000 and 5,000 little strips of dark wood joined together with pegs, glue and dovetail joints. No seams can be seen, even with a magnifying glass. In order to make his duplicate as accurate as possible, Masakichi began pulling out his own hair, and that includes the pubes, and nails and stuck them at the same points on the sculpture, going as far as to drill tiny holes on its surface to represent the exact pores he’d just grabbed the little hairs from. He even pulled out his own teeth and put them on his double. And then, after all that effort, the tuberculosis didn’t even have the decency to kill him: Instead, his girlfriend left him and he died 10 years later, broke, unhappy and toothless.’


Camilla Sørensen and Greta Christensen Broken Telephone, 2021
Broken telephone is a site-specific sound installation created for the red warehouse. Fragments of impressions from the harbor transform into a fictional abstract narrative told through objects, actions and sound. Here, stories about the harbor, both the fictional ones based on scrap, deck tracks, etc., and stories from the harbor’s users, are woven in and out of each other. The speakers appear as distinctive characters, each with their aesthetic expression and personality. Sound waves through the installation, distorted step by step. In interplay with a reel-to-reel tape recorder and a fishing rod, they play the familiar whispering game, where all recognizability seeps out and new meanings emerge.’


Aleksandra Waliszewska Various, 2012 – 2018
‘I have a billion paints, a trillion art albums, and a hoarding problem. I start a new painting almost every day, but it’s hard for me to describe my process more closely. What I do originates mostly from my fascination with the art of the past. Art has only become worse and worse. Despite this hopeless situation, I still paint, so the audience can at least find something new and interesting in my work,” she said. “Usually, though they’re disappointed.’


Matthew Day Jackson Me, dead at … , 2009 – 2011
‘Burning on the stake, wrapped up, high in the treetops or fed to the birds: Like a mantra, Matthew Day Jackson stages his death year after year, always according to a different funeral rite. The reason is his diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, which made the artist contemplate his mortality since 2006. This drastic finding instigates Day Jackson’s exceptional occupation with the disintegration of his body.’

Me, dead at 35

Me, dead at 36

Me, dead at 37




p.s. Hey. ** Dominik, Hi!!! I thought so, ha ha. Thanks, it wasn’t bloodless, but it got done. For the home haunt in the film, we have a particular haunt sketched out in the script, but, until we find the house location and how it’s organised inside, we can’t settle on anything. So it’s pretty open. We just want it to look handmade and on a household budget. Zac and I will be in LA for Halloween, so we’re going to do a tour of home haunts with our production designer so he can see what they’re like — the designer we’re thinking of working with has designed a professional haunted attraction but doesn’t know home haunts very well — and tell him what we like/want. We have some motifs we want to use but in terms of the decorations and decor, it’s still rather open at the moment. And of course it’ll depend on what’s available and what we can afford. Eek, then the gorilla suit was refrigerated, let’s say. Yuck, that’s horrible. Our heat is going back up later this week. I hope love went in your place yesterday, but I’m fearing he didn’t. So, how boring was it? Love removing the song ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ from every human’s memory and especially from Bob Dylan’s so he’ll never write it, G. ** Jack Skelley, Yep, me too, maestro. It was a blast seeing and confabbing with you, duh. ** Misanthrope, Yeah, I mean, I love the dead Paul McCartney conspiracy stuff and Elvis is still alive and even reptilian shapeshifters but the pea-brained paranoia-based stuff is too embarrassing. Presumably you’re post-ro today, yes? I’m glad it was breezy, assuming you weren’t in agony and just being all stiff upper lipped. My weekend was … I don’t even remember, so presumably okay. ** Russ Healy, Hi, Russ. Well, if you’re ever in the mood, I would give ‘Face/Off’ a try. It’s pretty awesome, and the deadly duo are as doable on the acting front as they could be. Thanks about ‘Wrong’. Well, thanks to Diarmuid Hester since I had nothing to do with it other than a few conversations I had with him. Oh, sorry, I’ve been completely brain-maxxed-out until just the other day by intensive fundraising fort Zac’s and my new film and my email was a victim. I’ll go find the email today. Thanks, and sorry for the delay. Happy week ahead! ** _Black_Acrylic, Woo is the big dumb action film Zeus, I think. Happy about Leeds’s good start. And about your phone transcending its original purpose. ** Mieze, Hi! I totally agree, and, hm, a slogan, yes, it needs a good slogan. Sloganeering is an art, so … Our weekend was pretty temperate, thanks, I guess, to Switzerland’s winds. But the heat will be creeping higher with every day that passes this week, so I wish luck supreme to us both. Love, me. ** David Ehrenstein, Thank you for the nuggets. ‘A House is Not A Home’ is a sublime song. ** l@rst, I so agree with you, buddy. ** Bill, Hi. I can’t say it was smooth, but I survived, and my forehead has a large new wrinkle. There are people who always insist on imagining that deep things must exist in things that are great enough on their surface as to make one realise that so-called ‘depth’ is just a bad habit. Or something. It’s all about good bone structure. Obvious, but it’s true. Doughy beauty is a ticking time bomb. ** Steve Erickson, Yeah, trust your meds, I guess? Or your doctor, I guess? ‘Paycheck’ and ‘Windtalkers’ are not good. ‘Red Cliff’ was something of a comeback. I like the razzle dazzle aspects of Woo’s ‘Mission Impossible’, but, post-‘Face/Off’ he’s been pretty dreary. And now he’s remaking ‘The Killer’, which is just the stupidest idea ever. Wtf. Yeah, that kind of theory is fun galore. ** Okay. It’s a day for of horrors of this and that and the other kind for you today. See you tomorrow.

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