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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

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Nastassja Kinski Day

 

‘Nastassja Kinski was 15 when she was put in juvenile prison. For years she had been stealing, shoplifting little presents for her mother, the sorts of things her father would once come home with – bits of jewellery, watches, chains – things she believed would make her mother happy again, “like I remembered her when I was little”. As though these things were as central to her mother as food. A lot of the time she would get away with it, but at other times she was caught, and then there would be paperwork and forms to fill in and visits to the police to be made. “Except mum wouldn’t take me. I think she thought it would go away. Then I started doing movies.”

‘And so, when she was spotted by Wim Wenders’ wife at a rock-and-roll competition and offered a part in Wenders’ film, Wrong Movement, she said, “Yes”. In fact what she actually said was: “You’ll have to ask my mum.” Which is just poignant and sad. There followed, at age 14, a lead part in Reifenzeugnis, a hugely successful series on German television, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, later of Das Boot fame; she was cast as a schoolgirl who has a love affair with her teacher. Already, it was apparent, this strange tension in her nature: the child who grew up too fast. Already, this was being translated, by the adults around her, into a mystery, a seduction: the child as savage in relation to the world, unleashing uncontrollable primeval urges.

‘How much did she know of what was being made of her? Probably very little. She was no Bardot, no wild creature of the elements. Bardot came from a bourgeois background, she knew enough of the rules to be able to jettison them. Nastassja knew no rules. Her only model was anarchy. She longed for conformity, for domesticity. You see this clearly in Avedon’s portrait of her when she was about 22, naked except for a python draped around her body. How it is possible to look domestic with a snake wrapped through your legs and around your neck is a mystery. But the two of them managed it. The picture is stylised, tame.

‘Polanksi saw it immediately. Recognised the need and contacted her with a view to casting her as Tess, a part he had originally conceived for his wife, the late Sharon Tate. You can imagine he had a particular interest now in a story about a woman who loses her baby and her life. He sent Nastassja to Lee Strasberg’s studio to improve her English and her accent. “He took a lot of time, two years,” she says, “preparing me for that film.”

‘The film, which was released in 1979, made her. What Ingrid Bergman was to the 40s and Julie Christie to the 60s, Nastassja Kinski was to the 80s: the face of the time. Five years later, when Wenders’ Paris, Texas came out – to great acclaim for Kinski and her co-star Harry Dean Stanton, and written by Sam Shepard, the leading American playwright of the day – you would have thought her future fixed. Then, just as suddenly, it was over.

‘She was never reconciled with her father Klaus Kinski. Over the years, she saw him only rarely, and towards the end they were not speaking at all. When he died in 1991 from a stroke, there was no regret. “Maybe a minute. No, 30 seconds.” She didn’t go to his funeral. The last time she had heard from him was when he telephoned to ask her to be in a movie with him. “That’s why he contacted me. Business.” She doesn’t love him. How could she? Imagine, she says – being a father who has never in his whole life done anything right. Who never saw her children. “Not even a picture. That’s pitiful, it really is. He had eyes like hell and the sky at the same time.”

‘At the moment, she is edging back into film, playing bit parts – or love interest, which she’s not very good at. As she says, “too detached”. She knows there will always be some director willing to use her name, her beauty – she is more beautiful than ever, as though time has somehow reversed to soften her features. But the question is, can her persona ever again achieve the force of the early years.’ — The Guardian

 

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Stills





















































 

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Further

Nastassja Kinski Official Website
Nostalgia Kinky: Celebrating Nastassja Kinski
Extraits d’une vie, a Nastassja Kinski Fan Site
Nastassja KInski: Visual Website
Nastassja Kinski @ IMDb
Japanese Nastassja Kinski Fan Site (in English)
‘Nastassja Kinski, Still a Daddy’s Girl’
Nastassja KInski @ mubi
Nastasja Kinski: Box Office Data
Nastassja Kinski @ Famous People with Narcolepsy

 

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Extras


NK interviewed on David Letterman, 1982


NK dances with Marcello Mastroianni, 1978


NK sings Tom Waits’ ‘Little Boy Blue’


Sparks ‘That’s Not Nastassja’ (live, 2008)

 

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Interview

 

So, I say to Nastassja Kinski, tell me about that story I’ve read about you and Paul Schrader, your director on Cat People (1982); the one in which you break off your romance with him and say: “Paul, I always f- my directors. And with you, it was difficult.”

The dreaminess disappears from Kinski’s grey-green eyes, and her melancholy, oddly tentative voice takes on an edge: “You know what,” she says, crumbling the remains of a blueberry muffin, “that’s one of those idiotic, unbelievable things where you go: ‘What! Where does that come from?’ I never, ever said anything remotely like that. Plus I never?’ She pauses, considers. “Well, maybe there was one person I worked with that I had a relationship with. No other director, ever, ever.”

But it’s pity, really, to disown the story, I say; it’s such a good put-down. “Give it to somebody else – it’s not mine.” The German-born actress laughs, as she often does. “But it could not be further from who I am or what I actually said. You know what I think? I think people imagined so many things, put together so many interpretations when they saw me, years ago. And it’s just so many fantasies.”

When people did see Nastassja Kinski, back in 1982, they saw one of the most beautiful women in the world. They saw a woman who had appeared, clad only in a snake, in a Richard Avedon photograph that decorated thousands on thousands of students’ bedrooms. And, by 1984, they saw a woman who had made the lustrously memorable Paris, Texas and who was, it seemed, certain to become the most famous film star in the world.

“Oh I know!” says Kinski, her American English flecked with the seductive accents of a cosmopolitan upbringing. “And sometimes you wonder what happened. And I don’t really know. You do right choices, and you do wrong choices. I just went on living, and things happened. And that’s why I feel that now I’ve done The Claim [her latest film] with all these wonderful actors, it’s such a relief. Because you can’t always do things of such quality; I can’t say that happens all the time. It doesn’t. It hasn’t – not for me.” She’s referring, here, to the eight years she spent, from 1984 to 1992, sacrificing her career on the tainted altar of second-rate Italian films. But she’s also referring to the fact that, at the age of 23, she became pregnant, had a son, Aliosha, and married his father, an Egyptian film producer named Ibrahim Moussa.

The couple also had a daughter, Sonia, now 14, but divorced in 1992 and are currently at war: Kinski refers to him as “that person”. Kinski has another daughter, Kenya, aged six, by Quincy Jones, the record producer. She and Jones are no longer together; their relationship, however, is “fine”. Still, many actresses have children when they’re 23 and pursue super-stardom as relentlessly as they did before their pregnancy. Kinski, the abandoned child, was different. “I never had a family,” she says, “and what I always wanted was my family. And now that I had little kids, that’s what I wanted to do: to be there. And not not be there.”

And not not be there – like her father and, in reality, her mother, Biggi. Kinski used once to rhapsodise about her relationship with her mother: “She’s like the sun coming up to me. In this jungle around us she protects me, like the lion’s mother. When we talk, it’s total ecstasy.” Now, though, they don’t speak. “I try to talk to her,” Kinski tells me, “but she doesn’t talk to me. She decided to go another way, she chose a different life from being with us.” Biggi was against Nastassja’s marriage and has rarely seen her daughter’s children. She is often referred to as a poet: ‘She does write, and I think her poems are beautiful. But she never publishes. Because I think she’s scared. So it’s safer to keep it all to herself. But I say to her, to be alive is to communicate.’ Kinski thinks for a moment: ‘And I’ve told my mother, life is not endless, and I really want you to be fulfilled – but anyone can say sorry later.”

There is, it seems, a mother-lode of sorrow and high drama in Kinski’s life. Before our interview, she had sat for more than half an hour, hidden behind the tinted windows of a black limousine, talking into her mobile. At length, the car door opened and she appeared, the Motorola Nextel still clutched to her chestnut-brown hair. Gesticulating fiercely, she paced up and down the Hollywood pavement, a blue-grey sleeveless Puffa jacket over her light-blue shirt, a large Louis Vuitton bag slung over her shoulder. She was agitated, and she was emphatic; later, on her knees before the photographic shoot, she continued her impassioned dialogue over the mobile, urgent and distraught: “I don’t want to hear this,” she said, “I don’t want to hear this. . . I’m putting so much love and so much care and so much time. . . It just makes me sad. . .”

Over Kinski hovers the fearful cloud of her aberrant father and his abandonment of her. Fittingly, in Tess, she is abandoned; in One From The Heart (1982), she is abandoned; in Paris, Texas (1984), she is abandoned; and in The Claim, she and her baby daughter are abandoned by her husband in favour of the rights to a gold strike. “Really,” she tells me, “I yearned for a sturdy, steady lifestyle.” Instead, while he was with her, her father gave her a whiff of the high glamour and the rootless lunacy of the film world. (He also gave her a dog, Sarah, with which she used to sleep; later, it was poisoned.) According to his almost pornographic autobiography, Kinski Uncut, Kinski père’s grotesque appetite for sex, sex and more sex led him incessantly to betray Nastassja’s mother and finally to abandon her and his daughter. But in one, unusually tender, passage, he claims Nastassja came to visit him and two of his other children, and that ‘she clings to me for help as if afraid. . . and her words come like shrieks from her choking throat: “You. . . don’t. . . love. . . me.”‘

“Complete invention,” says Nastassja. Really? “I haven’t read the book and I don’t want to. But I know. . . he would just invent stuff. That hasn’t happened.” But did she never see him again? “No, I wrote him a long letter, but I didn’t see him. I told him what I thought in the letter – a long letter.”

What she thought may have been bilious, but what she had hoped for was different: “I always thought, ‘Maybe later, maybe later he’ll come back,’ and later never came,”she has said. “When he died [of a massive heart attack, in November 1991], I had a moment of grief that lasted about five minutes. It was very intense, then never again. Because he caused us too much pain.” The aftermath of all this lends itself to the pattest of Freudian analyses: Nastassja, after all, was 27 years younger than Polanski when they met; 14 years younger than her husband when they married, in 1984; 28 years younger than Quincy Jones when she went off with him in 1992. At 39, does she still need father figures as directors, lovers, friends?

“Well, any kind of. . . well, directors, yes. That’s why I know so many doctors – I know more doctors and nurses than I can think. Any kind of person who has authority that gives the impression of care; you know, of caring that you exist. And of course any kid that doesn’t have a father looks for approval and elements of fatherhood in other people. But, no, I can’t say that people I’ve been with are like father figures.” (Her ex-husband, Ibrahim Moussa, would seem to disagree: “She never wanted to marry me,” he has said. “I was more of a father to her than a husband.”)

Directors in whom she wishes to put her filial trust include the 55-year-old Terrence Malick (she loves his Days of Heaven), the 63-year-old Warren Beatty, and the 82-year-old Swedish maestro Ingmar Bergman. She no longer wants to do films ‘just to survive’. She has, after all, worked with the best; but she has also done ‘other things that were not like that – and it’s very painful.’ (Terminal Velocity, a 1994 action flick, and Danielle Steel’s The Ring in 1996 should, perhaps, be uppermost in her mind.) Now she wants to be working with people who are ‘very challenging’, and to take on subjects that are very challenging: she would, she says with a self-deprecating smile, like to make documentaries about the Pope, Nelson Mandela and Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s favourite film director.

 

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15 of Nastassja Kinski’s 50 films

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Roman Polanski Tess (1979)
‘Roman Polanski adapted Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles and came up with this moody, haunting film starring Nastassia Kinski as the farm girl who is misused by the aristocrat for whom she works and who is then caught in a marriage where her initial happiness soon turns to grief. Fans of the novel may feel unpersuaded by Polanski’s effort to marry Hardy’s Dorset vision with his own fascination with psychosexual impulses toward survival, but the film is an often stunning thing to see, and Kinski’s sensitive, intelligent performance lingers in the memory.’ –Tom Keogh


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Francis Ford Coppola One from the Heart (1982)
One from the Heart is perhaps most famous for being one of the decade’s biggest box office bombs than for the film itself. Coppola went widely over-budget, haemorrhaging away money on the elaborate sets, and the film was a critical and commercial disaster. Coppola fails to grasp that all the best musicals have at least some kind of story anchor and genuine heart at the centre of the songs and style, and his incredible visual panache isn’t enough to rescue One From the Heart from eventual tedium. But it’s a beautiful-looking, intriguing failure, and every great director should be allowed a couple of those.’ — Future Films


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Paul Schrader Cat People (1982)
‘I didn’t agree with the way the film was done. Overall I didn’t like my performance in Cat People at all. I wanted to do the movie in a much rougher way, getting more into the souls and passions of these people. Who cares about blood and flesh smeared all over the place? I blame myself because I listened to the director. I should have rebelled. I followed his path. I sort of melted into what Schrader thought was right. I used to think you had to do what the director tells you to do, but you can’t. You have to put your own individuality into it, your own thoughts. I didn’t. I let myself be trapped. I don’t regret it, except that we didn’t go where we had to go…Schrader should have taken all that other shit out that wasn’t necessary and gone more deeply into the souls of the characters…he lied to me after all we’d been through. He knew exactly what he was doing.’ — Nastassja Kinski


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James Toback Exposed (1983)
‘It is very important to understand that Exposed, more that any other film she ever made, seems to be about Nastassja Kinski. The first hour of the film is a remarkable character study and portrait of a woman very much separated from her own identity, her own persona if you will. One person even says directly to Kinski at one point, “You have the mystery of Garbo, the wit of Lombard and eroticism of Monroe.” What is striking about this isn’t Toback’s mirroring of the critical reaction Kinski always received, but the near disgusted and exhausted look on her face hearing it. Only Nastassja Kinski knows just how close Exposed was to her own self, but I am willing to bet their are few portrayals she gave that were more personal and close to her.’ — Jeremy Richey


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Jean-Jacques Beineix The Moon in the Gutter (1983)
‘Playing the embodiment of an artists dream is a near impossible task, and I am not sure if anyone besides Nastassja Kinski could have played Loretta with so much dreamy dignity and calm. She delivers a surprisingly human performance in what probably could have been her coldest role. Kinski, who gives one of the decades most defining performances in The Moon in the Gutter, was hurt by the film’s brutal reception, but she would bounce back with four of her best performances before the ill fated Revolution would ground her career a few years later. Beineix would return with a vengeance a few years after The Moon in the Gutter with his fierce Betty Blue, but unfortunately his career has never fully recovered from the pounding that The Moon in the Gutter received.’ — Nick Adams


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Tony Richardson The Hotel New Hampshire (1984)
The Hotel New Hampshire, a work centered on the very dysfunctional Berry family, features one of the greatest ensemble casts of the eighties. The core of the film belongs to a really wonderful Jodie Foster as the brilliant but troubled Frannie Berry, a handsome (and I think quite good) Rob Lowe as her brother John, and Beau Bridges as their ambitious dreamer of a father, Win. Also as part of the family are Paul McCrane, Lisa Banes, Jennifer Dundas and a young Seth Green. Throughout the film we meet a large variety of supporting players including most notably Wallace Shawn as a Mr. Freud and Nastassja Kinski as the paralyzingly insecure Susie The Bear.’ — Nostalgia Kinky


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Wim Wenders Paris, Texas (1984)
‘The film is perfectly cast, and while Stanton dominates the film, Dean Stockwell is also effective as the brother torn between love for his brother and fear that his return will mean that he and his wife may lose a child that they have raised as their own son. Hunter Carson is that rare thing – a good eight-year-old actor, while Nastassja Kinski is so beautiful that you truly believe that Travis could have been driven nuts with jealous desire. The ending is the probably the happiest possible outcome for these characters, and yet also desperately sad – it reminded me very much of the final moments of John Ford’s The Searchers. Paris, Texas is easily Wenders’ best film, and a masterpiece of loss and regret.’ — Spinning Image


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Andrey Konchalovskiy Maria’s Lovers (1984)
Maria’s Lovers is notable not only in that it marks Konchalovsky’s English language film debut but it also marks one of the first English language films ever to be shot by a Russian director. Maria’s Lovers would mark the end of an era for Nastassja as it would be her last English language film for almost a decade that would garner any real serious critical and popular acclaim. The film was also important in that would garner Nastassja one of the only major awards for her acting she ever received. It remains one of her finest performances and one of the best films she ever appeared in.’ — Gerard Brach


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Lina Wertmüller Crystal or Ash, Fire or Wind, as Long as It’s Love (1989)
‘An American journalist works for a French newspaper. He is writing an article about the reaction against people with AIDS, without knowing he is infected too. Once he finds out, he decides to cut off himself leaving his wife and daughter.’ — MUBI


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Wim Wenders Faraway, So Close! (1993)
‘Of the three films Nastassja Kinski made with Wim Wenders, Faraway, So Close! is the weakest and yet there is something profound and right about it. Faraway, So Close! is a overtly spiritual work that has moments that rank along with the best of Wenders, but it’s hard to deny that the film falters in ways that Wenders work hadn’t before it. Gone is the moody perfection that inhabited so much of his early career, and in its place in Faraway, So Close! is a sprawling over-ambitiousness that is as beautiful as it is frustrating and as poignant as it is flawed. It’s a film that finds the great German director transitioning from one of the shining lights of the art house world into one of the most fractured.’ — Nostalgia Kinky


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Antonio Tibaldi Little Boy Blue (1997)
Little Boy Blue is a difficult-to-review dichotomy of a movie. It continually pairs brilliant film-making with portions that one would expect from a straight-to-video release. The movie starts off quickly establishing its heavy sexual content and unusual family relationships. The alcoholic, Vietnam veteran father played by John Savage is a fierce, detestable character meant to be feared by all but his inexplicably devoted wife played by Nastassja Kinski (what does she see in him?). Savage’s character is effective but could have given us more understanding of why he became who he is. Savage spares no family member his brutality and cruelty. Oldest son Jimmy (Ryan Phillippe) receives even more denigration than his two younger brothers. The tension as Savage and Phillippe both realize that Jimmy’s now reaching the age where he may be able to stand up to Savage and therefore threaten his dominance over the family is brilliantly played.’ — IMDb


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Mike Figgis One Night Stand (1997)
‘The film is narrated by Max Carlyle (Wesley Snipes). Max lives in California, where he has a successful career directing television commercials and is happily married to Mimi (Ming-Na Wen), with whom he has two children. While visiting New York City, Max meets Karen (Nastassja Kinski) by chance after missing a flight; circumstances keep bringing them together over the course of the evening, and they end up spending the night together. The film is directed by British director Mike Figgis. The first draft of the screenplay was written by Joe Eszterhas, who had his name removed from the project following Figgis’ rewrite.’ — Box Office Mojo


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Neil LaBute Your Friends and Neighbors (1998)
‘Neil LaBute’s Your Friends & Neighbors is quite possibly the meanest film I have ever seen. These characters are some of, if not, the worst I have ever come across. What makes them worse than, say Hannibal Lecter, is how they stealthily move behind each others backs to wound each other in the worst and most emotionally damaging ways. You should not be treading lightly when you sit down to view this picture. It’s a nasty piece of work.’ — Steven Carrier


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Aruna Villiers À ton image (2004)
‘In order to put a painful past and a terrible sense of guilt behind her, a sterile young woman named Mathilde (played by Nastassja Kinski) uses extreme cloning methods to give birth to Manon (Audrey DeWilder), and is comforted by her obstetrician husband Thomas (Christopher Lambert). The child’s growth is abnormally rapid and she becomes the splitting image of her mother. Gradually, the relation between them evolves in an odd manner as Manon takes over her mother’s role in the family.’ — Wikipedia


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The making of …

 

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David Lynch Inland Empire (2006)
‘Nowadays, Nastassja Kinski is rarely seen on the screen and it is not a matter of being not in demand. With age, the actress learned how to choose roles. After the disastrous comedies Fathers’ Day and Town and Country, the actress refused to star in mainstream films concentrating on low-budget, art-house and television cinema. Her last on-screen appearance was an episode in Inland Empire by David Lynch in 2006. When asked about Inland Empire, Lynch has responded that it is “about a woman in trouble, and it’s a mystery, and that’s all I want to say about it.” When presenting screenings of the digital work, Lynch sometimes offers a clue in the form of a quotation from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: “We are like the spider. We weave our life and then move along in it. We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream. This is true for the entire universe.”‘ — All rovi


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Outtake

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** Keatonpalooza, Hi, man. LA was fun. The flight was tolerable, I suppose. Escorts are good at restoring the human soul. Maybe. I hope you’re feeling less sick. I’ll trade you my jet lag. Maybe. ** Misanthrope, Thanks, G. I can see you again barely thanks to my lag, but better than nothing. How’s stuff? ** h, Hi. Nope, I’m back in Paris. I’m good, just, predictably, sleepy. But hey. Good to see you! ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. That’s the band. I may have said this already, but I watched a Bresson film (‘4 Nights of a Dreamer’) right after we finished editing PGL, and I was very relieved that our film is actually not overly Bressonian apart from the performance strategy, but, yeah, Bresson echoes in everything I’ve ever done, so of course that’s more apparent in our film. Thank you so much! ** Bill, Hi, B! I know, right? The escorts’ guestbooks have more trolls than Rashida Tlaib of late. Glad the Zurn post hit home. My lag is … we’ll see. Inauspicious start. Flight movies: ‘McQueen’ (Interesting because I realised I hardly knew anything about Alexander McQueen). ‘Venom’ (shitty, watchable). ‘Deadpool 2’ (not my thing, okay-ish, I guess). ‘The Darkest Minds’ (meh low budget attempt to start a new ‘Hunger Games’-meets-‘Maze Runner’ franchise, I think). ‘Incredibles 2’ (fun, okay). I’m with you on the head and blood fountains, in my daydreams. I do know about Kenneth Atchley’s fountains, but I’ve never seen them or any evidence. Huh. ** kier, Hi, Kierolossal! The Bookworm thing was good, I think. Yeah, I’ll link you. Shouldn’t be too long. On Oslo, well, the good news is it’s happening for sure plus a reading by me. The bad news is that it has been delayed until October to coincide with a ‘Jerk’ performance there, so that kind of quite sucks. But at least it’s locked down. I can’t sleep on flights, not a wink. I’m too tall, scrunched, so I watched movie after movie (see: above list) and waited and waited. But it’s over now. Oh, yeah, don’t get stressed about your essay. Stress is the ultimate enemy. I don’t know how to suggest de-stressing, though. It’ll be great, or, even if it ends up being something you don’t think is great, I’m sure it will serve its purpose, you know. Great to see you, buddy! More soon! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Yes, I remember your essay on Zurn. I don’t know why it wasn’t linked in the post unless the post is older, which seems quite, quite possible. Everyone, If you haven’t yet had your fill of Unica Zurn, and how could you (?), the honorable Ben ‘_Black_Acrylic’ Robinson wrote a fine, fine piece on her back in 2012 called “FRIENDS FEAR FOR UNICA: The abridged life of Unica Zürn” that is must reading and exists here. Oh, awesome about the short story class’s return! ** James, Hi! My travels seem to have been safe, thank you. My favorite LA restaurant, Mexico City, closed down before I got home, and I had to look at its hollow shell a number of times, which was sad. But I did hit others: the godlike Poquito Mas, Massa (great Chicago-style deep dish pizza), Flore (great vegan), etc. I’ve never eaten at Mel’s, strangely enough. We have a billion things we have to do very quickly (stuff for the PGL French press release, stuff for the American PGL DVD, ARTE TV show meeting), but, after that, the first thing that will happen is finishing the new film script. I’m going on strike re: everything else I’m supposed to write or do until that’s nailed down because it’s been waiting to be finalised for over six months, and I’m hoping mad. How’s your novel and everything else going? ** Aaron Nielsen, Hi, Aaron! It was really nice to see you too, albeit too briefly, of course, Thank you about the film. And again for the Bret hookup. I think the show went well, fingers crossed. What are you up to and working on? ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Thanks about the fountains. Yeah, the Ray is god. It’s quite possible you learned of ‘Compact’ here, and I’m very happy you’re reading it. Hm, you know, I don’t think I’ve read ‘Moravagine’, unless I’m spacing, which is possible given my jet lagged head at the moment. Huh. I’ll find out. If not, I definitely will very soon. Thanks! Sure, let’s chat. Just give me a few days to get my sleeping patterns realigned so I’ll be good company. But later this week? ** Dominik, Hi, D! I’m good other than the, yeah, lag. It’s always hard to rate my jet lag on the first day. It usually takes three days to know if it’ll be murderous or not. Today it’s about an 8, I would say. Unfortunately I need to jump back into work starting tomorrow. But that can be good to force my brain back into place, maybe. Yeah, let your tooth sit and see if it bothers you. Mine don’t bug me at all. But I might be lucky? Fantastic news about the SCAB coming together! I’m already twiddling my thumbs excitedly! You have a great week too! And I look forward to mutual speaking with a better brain. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Me too, about the next days, thank you. And thank you too so much for the email and your kind help. I’ve passed the info along to the powers-that-be, and we’ll see. Ha ha, wow, weird to imagine that Cars remix. Is it easily hearable? ** Quinn Roberts, Hi, Quinn. How nice to see you again! I’m good, just back from traveling and showing the film, but quite jet lagged as an immediate result. I’m sorry to hear Berlin didn’t work out. Where are you now? Yes, I’d still love to coffee, and hopefully we can find a way. Well, on the MFA question, first, my aforementioned jet lag is an issue re: my thinking, and, second, I never went for an MFA myself. I quit university after one year and just developed my writing on my own by writing, reading, and sharing work with other writers I trusted. I think an MFA program can be very helpful at least in terms of meeting peers, the regular attention to your work, the forced discipline, etc. But, based on any experience and that some other writers I know, it’s certainly not a make or break thing, and I wouldn’t take the rejections, if you get them, as any kind of meaningful judgement on your work at all. What they’re looking for is not necessarily evidence of real talent or originality per say. They all have agendas and quotas and things. I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I never had any problem devoting myself to my writing. And, should you not end up going the MFA route, finding writer peers, either in the real world or online, can be totally sufficient. I’m happy to offer any more encouragement and advice that would be helpful, so don’t fear asking. Take care, and hopefully we’ll talk again soon. ** Nik, Hi, Nik! The US trip was great. The screenings went really well, and being out West was a pleasure. That’s totally fascinating about your ‘recreation’ of ‘RiaGE’. Wow. That’s very interesting. That’s very cool, and such a good idea. Well, on the imitation thing, this may not be in the area you’re asking about, but for my novel ‘Closer’, I wanted to find/develop a series of voices for the different chapters that had a strong resemblance but with variations. And what I did to find them was I selected a number of texts of different kinds that I liked, from SE Hinton to Baudelaire to … I forget. Then I did a kind of cut-up of the texts, not in the programmatic, slice and dice way of Burroughs, but kind of intuitively, and then I revised and edited those texts using my own voice of the time, and it worked to create a series of voices that were mine and yet different and a bit far afield of mine, if that makes any sense. So that was a kind of learning by imitation, I think. I don’t think doing imitations as Ann suggested is a bad idea at all. I think it’s easy to worry about being overly influenced by other writers’ work, but, in my experience, it’s actually very rare that the writer’s own sense of voice and literary/real interests don’t overwhelm the ‘imitation’ and make that aspect moot. So, yes, I think doing that can be a totally legit and helpful way to learn new skills and tricks as a writer. You gonna try it? ** Okay. We are caught up. Why don’t you spend your local time today dwelling in my select filmography of Nastassja Kinski? See you tomorrow.

Fountains *

* (restored)

 

 

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Jeppe Hein Water Flame (2006)
Water Flame is an installation combining two elements usually opposed to each other in a spectactular but nevertheless minimalist way: a small sprinkling fountain with a flame burning on the top. This paradoxical constellation of elements creates an effect of astonishment and wonder.

 

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Sylvie Fleury Gold Fountain PKW (2003)
Gold porcelain, plexiglass plinth, 18 x 62 x 62 cm

 

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Raffaelo Romanelli Untitled (1928)
Outside of the Starbucks in the Plaza of Kansas City is a thoroughly inappropriate fountain called “Boy and Frog.” Why is this fountain inappropriate? If you can’t tell from the picture, it is a naked young boy with his frog. When turned on, the water sprays from the little boy’s peep into the frog’s mouth. It is a little boy peeing in a frog’s mouth! How is that appropriate for public viewing?! I first saw the fountain when my friend Anna came to visit me last year. We went to the Plaza and to look at all high-fashion things we couldn’t afford and be “ladies who lunch.” After lunch we went to get some coffee. That was when we saw it. A boy peeing into a frog’s mouth. We both stared for a while, trying to be sure of what we were seeing. Then I looked around for someone else who was shocked by the fountain, but nothing. People were buying their lattes and going on their way. Apparently public depictions of little boys peeing in the mouths of amphibians is okay in Missouri. It was originally sculpted by Raffaelo Romanelli and was acquired for the Plaza in Florence, Italy in 1928 by John C. Taylor, the chairman of the J.C. Nichols Company. I’m all for artistic expression and extremely opposed to censorship, but I’m struggling to get what the creative merit to this fountain is.

 

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Klaus Weber Sandfountain (2012)
As we move into what has been called the anthropocene age, in which we prove we can do just what we damn well please with the planet, traditional fountains are redundant. That is what makes Klaus Weber’s Sandfountain so timely. It’s a technological swansong which swaps a single water pump for some dozen sandblasting units. The sand will erode the concrete and you can already see the disconcerting way it shifts and cascades.

 

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Yoan Capote Tear Duct (2001)
In Tear Duct (2001), he replaced the top of a drinking fountain with a stainless-steel mold of the face of a classmate who had to support herself through prostitution, a prevalent social problem in Cuba at the time. When viewers put a coin in the slot of the fountain, red wine spouts from her mouth. People drinking from the fountain are put physically and psychologically into the position of her customers, watching the wine and their saliva drain through her eyes.

 

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Klaus Weber The Big Giving (2007)
In Klaus Weber’s work The Big Giving a group of male and female figures are cast rising out of, or simultaneously sinking into volcanic-looking mounds of rock made from industrial steel waste. Their heads and hands protrude from the stone and streams of water gush from a different body part on each figure, spouting from mouths, eyes, ears and armpits.

 

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Charles Ray Ink Line (1987)
Ink Line is a sculpture/drawing/fountain consisting of a stream of jet-black ink pouring from a dime-size hole in the ceiling into a dime-size hole in the floor. Initially Ink Line looks like a strand of yarn strung the height of the gallery, a pulsating Fred Sandback sculpture, a free-floating Barnett Newman zip, or a disembodied Sol LeWitt. Get close and you’ll realize the line is liquid, glimmering, the consistency of syrup, moving fairly fast, fluctuating slightly, and thinner at the bottom than at the top. The ink forms a weird climatological aura around itself, slightly changing the humidity of the room.

 

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Bartosz and Malgorzata Szydlowska Fountain of the Future (2014)
A bright yellow statue of Vladimir Lenin answering a call of nature has been installed in Nowa Huta, the ‘ideal socialist town’ built on the edge of Krakow in the Stalinist era. Fountain of the Future, as the work has been dubbed by artists Bartosz Szydlowski and Malgorzata Szydlowska, references a statue of Lenin that once took pride of place in the district. The diminutive yellow version is a replica of a communist-era work which anti-regime activists tried to blow up on several occasions during the 1970s and 1980s.

 

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Joseph Havel Endless (2013)
Havel has created an “endless column” of books. Endless (2013), made from books cast in bronze and resin, emerges from the centerpiece of the Museum’s lawn, the Ballard Fountain. The column of books, cast from a stack of Sotheby’s auction catalogues among others, stands almost 20 feet high and gradually transitions from bronze to translucent resin.

 

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Aldo Froese Fountain #5 (2010)
A waterflow is directed through the frame of a wheel barrel. As time passes, the water changes color and turns from clear to yellow, orange, red, brown and ends up as almost black.

 

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Bruce Nauman One Hundred Fish Fountain (2012)
The Nauman sculpture, one of the largest artworks the artist has ever made, is a functional fountain comprised of 97 bronze casts of fish that are suspended throughout the air that noisily shoot water out of their mouths into a large basin below, occasionally coming to a complete halt.

 

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Andrew Salomone Vomiting Doll Punch Bowl Fountain (2015)

 

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Roman Signer Kayak with Fountain (2015)
And out on the terrace there was another bloody kayak – this one had been put on top of a fountain and had a hole put in it so it looked like it had sprung a leak! LOL. ART.

 

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Ice sculpture fountains

 

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Doug Aitken Fountain (earth fountain) (2013)
Fountain (Earth Fountain) (2012) is blatantly derivative of a more famous work. In a large rectangular vitrine the letters “A-R-T”, built from Lucite, ooze smooth creamy mud resembling milk chocolate. It immediately recalls Robert Rauschenberg’s Mud Muse (1971)—itself a large rectangular vat filled with mud rigged to bubble and sputter like lava. The use of the word “ART” here merely underlines one obvious subtext of Rauschenberg’s piece: that something as ubiquitous and abject as mud could so effectively be corralled into the realm of art. This makes Aitken’s rather polished version more like CliffsNotes for a canonical work than anything else.

 

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Tue Greenfort Crystal Fountain (2014)

 

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Santo Tolone Fontana Angelica (2014)
Santo Tolone’s immersive “Fontana Angelica” is a working fountain based on a design by early 20th century architect Piero Portaluppi. As the name hints, the original fountain would have been decorated with angels, but Tolone’s version is stripped down to just the plumbing of the fountain. What remains is a simple, structural beauty. It’s also an exhibition within the exhibition: Tolone curated a display of coins made by other artists in the pool, including works by John Baldessari, Tim Foxon, Nick Fusaro, Ryan Gander, Micah Lexier, Jonathan Monk, M/M, Alek O, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Wilfredo Prieto, Rob Pruitt, Yann Sérandour, Jack Strange, Santo Tolone, Amalia Ulman, and Anne de Vries.

 

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Taro Shinoda Model of Oblivion (2006)
Inside the screens is a small room containing “Model of Oblivion,” in which a visceral red liquid is clinically pumped across “white cliffs,” creating a vision as sinewy as human muscles on a white table. Explaining his approach, Shinoda says: “In my mind, waterfalls are connected to oblivion. When I stare at a waterfall, I go into a daze and forget reality. But the essence of myself is always there, even when I forget everything. I tried to express that here in an abstract sense.”

 

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Daniel Wurtzel Feather Fountain (2010)
Feathers, mirrors, fiberglass and air

 

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Sam Durant Proposal for Public Fountain (2013)
Proposal for Public Fountain centres on a fountain sculpted from black marble – a prototype for a larger installation in a public setting – together with a series of related graphite drawings. The structure features a reproduction of an armoured water cannon, which sprays a jet of water onto a hooded figure bearing an anarchist flag. Its note of polemic is a defining aspect of Durant’s art. Poised between detached commentary and acerbic critique, it recasts a contemporary episode of state authoritarianism in the ‘stately’ aesthetics of public stonework.

 

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Slavs and Tatars Reverse Joy (2012)

 

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Olafur Eliasson Big Bang Fountain (2014)
Every few seconds it is illuminated by photoflash lightning. The image of the bright dancing water leaves a ghostly impression in the mind’s eye. Keep watching the flashes of silver water and you see blue impossible forms in the afterglow.

 

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Robert Gober The Heart Is Not a Metaphor (detail)
Gober’s chapel in honor of September 11, 2001, originally shown at Matthew Marks in 2005, is one of the culminating rooms in the exhibition. At the front of the chapel are two doors through which one can barely make out a naked pair of legs submerged in a running bathtub. The child peeks through the cracked door and sees something it cannot understand—something it is, perhaps, not supposed to see.

 

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Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon Huh (2012)
Toilet, stell, water, 68 X 36 1/4 X 47 1/4 inches

 

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Unknown Decapitated Head Drinking Fountain

 

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Vincent Houze Interactive Fountain Mapping (2016)
The result of a collaboration with AV&C;, an experiment where one can control a simulated liquid flow and watch it splash against a geometric sculpture. It was premiered during SEGD Xlab conference 2015 in New York. As in previous experiments the liquid simulation is driven by the nVidia library Physx FleX that I implemented in TouchDesigner, which is used for the mapping and overall set up.

 

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Dan Flavin proposed fountain in memory of Pablo Picasso (1974)
Black ballpoint pen on white looseleaf notebook paper

 

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Thiago Rocha Pitta Inverted fountain (2003)
Thiago Rocha Pitta is best known for his “collaborations” with nature, outdoor interventions that harness its forces, processes, and beauty. Here he has created an inverted fountain by the side of a lake.

 

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Hany Armanious Fountain (2012)
Fountain (2012) is based on an anatomical model of the inner ear and a weathered outdoor table. Meticulously carved in Opal Bianca marble at ten times the model’s original size, the ear is a complex and mysterious form, containing transparent resin casts of the ear drum and cochlear. Instead of running water Fountain evokes the idea of water, through its references to the fluid of the ear canal, the undulating contours of the marble, and the translucent resin shapes that sit like droplets of liquid trapped inside the ear.

 

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The world largest dancing fountains, Burj Khalifa

 

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Denis Adrien Debouvrie Jeanneke Pis (1987)
Jeanneke Pis is a modern fountain and statue in Brussels, which was intended to form a counterpoint to the city’s Manneken Pis, south of the Grand Place. It was commissioned by Denis-Adrien Debouvrie in 1985 and erected in 1987. The half-metre-high statue of blue-grey limestone depicts a little girl with her hair in short pigtails, squatting and urinating. It is located on the east side of the Impasse de la Fidélité / Getrouwheidsgang (Fidelity Alley), a narrow cul-de-sac some 30 metres long leading northwards off the restaurant-packed Rue des Bouchers / Beenhouwersstraat. The sculpture is now protected by iron bars from vandalism.

 

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José Lerma Fountain (2014)
‘A Critical Analysis of Central Banks and Fractional-Reserve Banking from Austrian School Perspective,’ an installation that takes form in the shape of a 10% fraction of a circular fountain which is flanked by mirrored walls. An essay by Spanish economist Jesus Huerta de Soto, from the Austrian School, serves as the inspiration for the work and title. The percentage reflects the minimum requirement of liquid assets the United States’ financial institutions are required to hold by law in order to operate. ‘A Critical Analysis…’ presents a contrast to the interaction the portraits have with each others’ reflections, instead of borrowing from the impressions of each piece to build on the final compositions, the fountain completes itself through the illusion of a whole in the mirrors, creating a kaleidoscopic effect. The installation is activated through performance in which water sounds are made by participants standing within the structure as sculptural elements of the fountain itself.

 

 

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p.s. Hey. I seem to have arrived back in Paris, and I’m about to take a nap, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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