The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Craig Baldwin Day


‘Craig Baldwin considers his work “underground” rather than “experimental” or “avant-garde”. Whereas the avant-garde is primarily concerned with formal exercise, and “experimental” implies some experiment (i.e. that something new is being tried for the purpose of determining whether of not it can expand the limits of cinematic language), “underground” would encompass not only formal plasticity but a political dimension; that of an oppositional subculture.

‘As such, Craig Baldwin’s films have formal concerns as well as some kind of political commentary, usually concerning the exploitation of countries and people under imperialism, capitalist or otherwise. Even when he is inventing the oppression (as in the alien presence of Tribulation 99 [1991]) it is either a metaphor for a real-world situation or it is combined with verifiable history. The aliens of Tribulation 99 may come from the destroyed planet Quetzalcoatl, for example, but they are apparently working with Kissinger to subject local populations in Central America. The science fiction and the fact are intertwined.

‘Baldwin’s work is most easily characterised by his use of recontextualised film elements, primarily drawn from his vast library of what Rick Prelinger, his fellow archivist and collector, calls “ephemeral films” – educational and industrial films chiefly made in the period between 1945 and 1975. These, along with a healthy dose of science fiction and period dramas, make the pool from which Baldwin draws. As libraries and schools began to renovate their A/V departments in the 1980s and 1990s, an avalanche of outdated materials became available, and the creative possibilities seemed obvious to the young director.

‘Craig Baldwin was born in Oakland, California, in 1952. He began making Super-8 movies when he was a teenager – the kind of skit-oriented parody films involving friends and neighbours. He was drawn into the practice of collage rather naively; he was interested in cheap and readily available Super-8 dubs of Hollywood B-movies that were for sale in the ’60s and ’70s. From these he would assemble compilations, mixing and matching scenes from various productions to create new stories. He made them for his own enjoyment, but it became the basis for his process in subsequent years.

‘Later, Baldwin attended several universities, dabbling in various disciplines (notably theatre), but always somehow gravitating towards film. These schools included U.C. Davis, U.C. Santa Barbara, and finally San Francisco State. At SFSU Baldwin was fortunate enough to take studio classes with film collage master Bruce Conner, who was teaching there at the time.’ — Tim Maloney





Craig Baldwin @ IMDb
Craig Baldwin’s films @ Other Cinema
Craig Baldwin • Great Director profile • Senses of Cinema
Craig Baldwin’s films @ Fandor
Masochism of the Margins: An Interview with Craig Baldwin
Essential SF Q&A: Craig Baldwin
Craig Baldwin: Experimental Filmmaker
Leftovers / CA Redemption Value: Craig Baldwin’s Found-Footage Films
Puzzling and complex Craig Baldwin
Game Art: Craig Baldwin’s Wild Gunman
Found Footage Film as Discursive Metahistory: Craig Baldwin’s Tribulation 99
Craig Baldwin: Archive Fever
Going Ballistic: Craig Baldwin’s Mock Up on Mu
Star Log: Trippy Sci-Fi Mash-Up Alert!
No Copyright? Sonic Outlaws Director Craig Baldwin
podcast #10: Craig Baldwin
Film Coctail



Craig Baldwin: Society of Spectacle

Craig Baldwin – Appropriating, Scratching and Decoding

Craig Baldwin | TRACKS – ARTE

In the Library of Particular Significance with Craig Baldwin


from Senses of Cinema


Jack Sargeant: I want to begin by asking about your education background, because you studied with Bruce Conner.

Craig Baldwin: Sure. He was teaching at State, which was a public school, but he lives about three miles away anyway. He’s not a recluse, you come across him, and certainly his influence is all across San Francisco. But it is the sort of scene where you do have a relative amount of access.

JS: But you were familiar with his work previous to going to college?

CB: Oh yeah. Sure. But you know, Bruce Conner used to do light shows, that’s kind of how I got into filmmaking myself. That’s my whole approach, not from an academic point of view, or even from a documentary point of view, it’s more from a sub-cultural impulse – the clubs, rock and roll, youth subculture and creating this idea of kind of a ‘happening’.

JS: You worked in clubs all over San Francisco?

CB: A lot of clubs. Most of the South of Market clubs [i.e. downtown]. [Using] Five or six projectors… it’s not so much that you have to get access to this very rarefied, distanced, fine arts, it’s more like being part of a whole culture where people are very playful and sharing in the idea of creating an event. That’s more my relationship to Conner, it’s not so much tutor and mentor, it’s more like being immersed in this – not exactly psychadelia – but this whole environment of visual play, visual experimentation.

JS: With his films like A Movie, Conner was part of a particular analysis of the media by people such as Marshall McLuen, the whole idea of a visual reservoir.

CB: Well I don’t know if McLuen ever saw his stuff but ideas were in the air…

JS: The Zietgeist.

CB: Right. Again, sort of being able to literally enact this image culture that we are in anyway, but actually project it back on itself, with the agency of the imagination to be creative about it, not just be recipients but also happily celebrate it, be participants in it, this joyful, wallowing in excess, and maximizing it.

JS: What was the first film that you made?

CB: Well, there were no names for them…

JS: Just experimental…?

CB: They were just playing around with Super 8, stuff like that. The first one I made in a formalized way was – I made three or four when I was basically eighteen or so, Super 8 films – Why Not? .

JS: What kind of things was going on in them?

CB: A mixture of gestures, it wasn’t sync, it wasn’t dialogue based, gestures in front of the camera, plus extraneous material, collateral material, shots of this or that. Actually, I do remember being a subscriber to these Super 8 movie clubs, and I would get their reels, like movies from the silent era, old news reels, things like that. I took great delight looking through this old material. So even very early on, I used to [make] little home compilations, cutting up these little pieces, and then mixing them together. It’s definitely what you would call experimental film.

JS: What year was this?

CB: About 1974.

JS: I’m really interested in the fact that you could buy so much footage so cheaply…

CB: Oh, you can do it now. You’ve got a huge, huge subculture right now of Super 8, regular 8 even, and certainly 16mm. I am a subscriber to these zines, in fact there is a great journal you should check out called The Big Reel. You can subscribe – you wouldn’t want to – I mean I had to stop subscribing. You know the Sunday Paper with eight sections, maybe a total of 120 pages? The Big Reel looks like that. They actually made it more tabloid size now, but it used to be huge sections newsprint style, and I would just be pouring over them on my studio floor, from here [gestures down restaurant] to literally the front door. And I would just be tearing holes in the knees of my pants by moving while it was splayed out on the studio floor because I would be so obsessed with it.

So there was a period of time when I never considered myself this kind of fine art filmmaker or even a documentary filmmaker, because, for me, it’s more like a joy in the material, in the McLuenesque sense of being, the proliferation of meanings, gestures, and images, and this obsessive collector sensibility, not a rarefied minimalist, but a maximalist. The playful quality of film. Once you subscribe [to The Big Reel and collector culture in general] like I say I had to stop, because I was spending all my money on collecting these films and what I would do, I would cut them up, and that’s how I made these collage reels that became my lightshow. And even to this day I sell [to] other filmmakers who are working in the so called collage – or collage essay – tradition. They come to me and I would be able to give them a shot of the [Golden Gate] bridge from the air, which they can’t get for themselves obviously, it costs $200 to rent a helicopter to go up and shoot the bridge, but I can get it from a PanAm commercial. Or the Hinndenburg Zepplin going down, or whatever the case is, this kind of material and the vast archive of the collective unconscious of popular imagery, so I’ll have that. So that’s one of the ways in which I actually make my living, but also it satisfies me because I invest in that, again not because of fine art – or popular art either – just because of this play, this obsessive, fetishistic love, of images, being able to control them. In a casual, informal West Coast, funk way – funk is a good word – in the kind of tradition of Robert Nelson, or even Harry Smith to a degree…

Then I became a regular recipient of a list from a particular group of people, who send me their list every month to this day, that I correspond with and I call-up on the phone and buy. Like I say, this is part of a huge tradition, just like record collecting would be another example, going to the flea markets, of this underground subculture of people who are into having films and showing films, not because they want to go into business or into the industry as a job, but because they love it. The kind of films I ended up making were films which are filled with shots which I am attracted to, that I think are interesting or satisfying to look at. They give me some kind of visceral enjoyment. So this tradition of garage collecting or this exchange in the subcultural world – film geeks is what they’d be – people who fetishize the object of film. Not looking at what’s new or glossy, but looking at the rotting old bones…

JS: Also like old forgotten or neglected technologies, the most obvious being things such as 3D cameras, or eight-track tapes.

CB: Yes. So this idea of people with the flea market sensibility, or the do it yourself low budget, garage or junk aesthetic, so anyway this subculture I got into very early, you can go into camera stores and get little Super 8 digests of The Incredible Shrinking Man for example, or certainly porn. Most of it’s just junk, there are so many of them. That’s the whole American idea of this popular imagery, just pumping it out, just planned obsolescence. You can walk down the street and find records or eight tracks in the gutter. The same with Super 8 and 16mm, it’s kind of disposable material. So my whole project was to reclaim it, redeem it, this trash, which had been ruled obsolete, no longer of interest, and certainly of no value because there was new product coming along, shiny new.. this year’s model…that became increasingly more predictable, more banal, commercial, whatever, so I was increasingly drawn towards the…

JS: Detritus?

CB: The detritus. The blemished. Whatever. Anyway, I was always part of that.

My early films were experimental films like a lot of other young filmmaker’s films were. They were involved more with playing around with the camera. Very early on found footage found a way into the form of these Super 8 films, to try and tell something that was beyond the level of the real… mythic would be the word.. . slightly above the level of the real, they had more to do with larger ideas. Essays, collage essays as I call them, put a lot of different images together which have a certain kind of meaning which people know, there is a certain self-consciousness that certain shots mean certain things. Within the context, of course, of our received film history, and our popular culture.

But anyway, I made a film called Stolen Movie, in which I would break through the front doors, whatever would get you past the ticket office, of a theatre, and go and shoot Super 8 off the screen. This was certainly a transgressive gesture against corporate media, but was also an example of using found footage in a way – whatever footage happened to be on the screen (laughs) at the time I made it in. So it was like a chance operation: Dada, nonsense, provocative, Situationist, and also found footage. All those kind of things, that was more my project, not to make a beautiful film, but to make a critical gesture against the film industry, which was so firmly in place, and was based on such bad, retrograde narrative ideas and stereotypes.

JS: What drew you to Dada and Situationism?

CB: Well again, psychoanalytically I can not tell you why I’m drawn to it, it’s more of a response of my nervous system, it wasn’t because I studied Dada in school [that] I turned on to the ideas, it returns to my personal history. We were talking early about the whole whiff and the warp of American popular culture, and I was repulsed by it, and I found this need to separate myself from it and criticize it, so I had to get out of the suburbs. So although I actually went to university, I did drop out of school and travel around for many years before I returned to school. But the whole point was that I wanted to leave the middle class ideas that culture was accepted without question, was something that we conform to and find our identity in. I was someone who had a very critical, antagonistic attitude about popular culture, so Dada was in terms of art history a gesture that was opposed to a bourgeoisie culture and also high art. So I found spiritual resonance with the Dada, Situationists, punk, all those movements. Again to try and set up an agency for individual creativity outside of marriage, the family, commerce, and even Art. More of this idea of libertarian anarchism, or autonomy, which is the word I would use. So there was a rapport with the ideas not through academic rote learning, but just because that was my origins, the whole development of my personality, from the straight, white suburbs, I was a creature of that, a victim of that. There’s nothing extraordinary in that, it’s a story a lot of people will tell you. Part of the milieu in which I grew up – comfortable middle class; I’m not putting my parents down for that, but as soon as I had the opportunity to leave I did.

JS: You started collecting this stuff for rock shows and so on in the ’70s. At what point did you decide to start choosing pieces of film and constructing them as these mytho-narrative pieces?

CB: Good question. There wasn’t any one particular point. It was just… you could take any chunk of the collage I would make and there would be a certain kind of form to it. I have fifty reels. I’m not talking about ten or twenty, I have fifty, or sixty, or seventy reels that I put together. You know, some people watch football, or play cards or whatever, it’s just the kind of thing I would do, an expression of my lifestyle: look at material and hack it up, and reconfigure it. For me that’s fun, it’s satisfying, it’s creative too, by the way. Within each cluster, bundle, whatever you call it, little montage sequence, there is an aesthetic sensibility. It ain’t no big deal by the way, there’s a million of them out there, these little reels. But sooner or later they get more refined, more worked on, more elaborate. For some of them, the performance is just one time out. Sometimes it’s a particular project, and most of those projects tend to be kind of political in my life. Let’s say there was a particular kind of wallpaper, the montage, when you are getting into a film project a lot of it has to do with language. Because, I always can find another image, I can always make the film a lot longer by adding a lot more from my image store. What really determines the whole shape of the project is the language, the literary part, the written part, so generally the point where there is a break is where there is a core, a platform or base, linguistically based, that’s when I say a collage essay – a neologism. Collage – that’s the visual part, the essay part is this kind of effort to make an argument, to make a point, tell a story (well, generally it’s real history).

Let’s say there was a particular thing I wanted to talk about, in RocketKitKongoKit. In Mobutu [Mobutu Sese Seko], Congo at the time – in Zaire – there was a German rocket firm who leased out one tenth of the total landmass to test rockets in. So, that would be something that you would see in an investigative type journalistic magazine. I have a lot of African imagery, and a lot of science fiction imagery, I could just close my eyes and see: to lease out one tenth of the total land area of Zaire to test missiles in, what a story. Just in terms of larger visual structure, the science fiction material not only picture but also sound, on top of this ethnographic material – stuff about geography and peoples of the world – so, I could do that just by having a show, an installation, running two projectors side by side or whatever, but to get the details in a documentary way, to tell the story, to give it a little more body, and credence, of this contract, then I had to write the script. And at that point my material would come out of this larger reservoir of images, and it would take on a certain kind of form. In this case it was organized like a model kit: RocketKitKongoKit. Like the instructions of how to build a model, you glue pieces together exactly like a film. I was self conscious about movie making, like rocket building, or, for that matter, building a nation. All those ideas were there, the film tried to find a happy unity there with the content, at that point, when I did the research and I knew this certain story had to be told, we had a little bit about the history of the Congo, about Mobutu and the CIA, a little bit on the German rocket, the post-nazi careers of rocket makers. A little bit about the contemporary situation in Africa, the militarisation – as I see it – of the developing world.

JS: Neo-colonialism.

CB: Right. All the people wringing their hands “why are they so many wars in this part of the world? Where are all the guns coming from?” They were a byproduct of the geo-political strategising of the United States and the Soviet Union that they would pour so many arms down on people when that was the last thing they needed. Obviously get ploughshares, good computers, whatever, but that’s [weapons] the last thing a developing nation needs. Once they get into the hands of these fourteen year old kids, who’ve never been to school, and who can’t farm on their father’s land anymore because there is no roads to bring their crops to the city, and all these reasons we all know about, they end up in militias. And you’ve got blood baths and civil wars. That was the content. The point is I wanted to make those arguments, and I won’t claim I have some poetic sense, it was more in the terms of agit-prop, it was trying to raise people’s consciousness, but not through the Chomsky academic, or even strident left, but to talk to the sub-culture about issues of neo-colonialism or imperialism, so I was intent on this Yippie ideal, not necessarily sterilizing the debate, but keeping it in a comic book [form], within the subculture, images that were not intimidating and only for the experts… That’s the point where stuff would separate off into a separate piece. Even though I was always part of that – there was a constant artesian well of material bubbling forward, at certain points, there was a certain issue I would have to confront, they were generally political issues and so then I’d write the script, get the narrators in, then wrap my imagery on top. So that really was the dividing line, at which I’d siphon off material and call it a project that had a beginning, middle and end. Those issues are constantly reflected through all of this stuff, you know, little Xeroxes, collages I would make, whatever, cable television shows, radio shows.


8 of Craig Baldwin’s 11 films

Wild Gunman (1978)
‘Mobilizing wildly diverse found-footage fragments, obsessive optical printing, and a dense “musique concrete” soundtrack, a maniac montage of pop-cultural amusements, cowboy iconography, and advertising imagery is re-contextualized within the contemporary geopolitical crisis in a scathing critique of U.S. cultural and political imperialism.’ — Artists’ Television Access

‘In 1978, experimental director Craig Baldwin (b. 1952 in Oakland, California) made a 16mm film deconstructing the ideology of cowboy masculinity, cultural imperialism, and capitalism. His 20-minute video collage includes images and sounds culled from various sources, including commercial, TV series and news, films, cartoons, and video games such as Nintendo’s fmv arcade game Wild Gunman (1974), an electro-mechanical arcade game developed by Gunpei Yokoi consisting of a light gun connect to a 16mm projection screen …and Midway’s monochromatic 2D shooter Gun Fight (1975).’ — Game Scenes

the entire film


Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America (1992)
‘In his 1991 film Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America, Craig Baldwin weaves together a riot of conspiracy theories to build the ultimate right-wing nightmare: an evil alliance of communists, aliens, and various non-white folks committed to destroying Norteamérica. By using stock footage, In Search of… b-roll, and creepy theremin sounds, Baldwin evokes a familiar and spooky world of ’70s paranormality, ’50s anti-communist loopiness, and ’80s reactionary politics. It is dizzying, fascinating, and sometimes hilarious as it critiques the US’ often absurd colonial depredations in Central and South America. In 48 minutes Baldwin manages to confuse, amuse, and inform without seeming arch or heavy-handed. By moving deftly, Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America avoids being smug while driving the point home relentlessly.’ — Pop Matters

the entire film


¡O No Coronado! (1992)
‘The first two minutes of Coronado offer more historical perspective than both Columbus epics combined…Coronado, one of the least successful conquistadors, is perfectly suited to Baldwin’s purposes in part because his motivation is so blatantly delusional. Arriving in Mexico in 1538, he set out on a fruitless quest to find the imaginary Seven Cities of Cibola. Crossing the desert and the Rio Grande, Coronado explored what is now Arizona and New Mexico, stumbling across the Grand Canyon and engaging in numerous needless fights wit the Indians. The non-existent cities of gold led his expedition as far afield as present-day Kansas, before returning to Mexico City in sodden disarray. Baldwin illustrates this empty quest with a melange of images culled from swashbucklers and westerns, classroom movies and museum paintings. Christian cartoons and industrial documentaries. He uses whatever comes to hand. This pragmatism produces a richness of metaphor. A clip from an old Vincent Price film stands in for the Inquisition. Coronado is occasionally visualized as Gulliver; when his Indian guide leads hism astray, he’s the Lone Ranger, accompanied by Tonto (and, quite poetically, a few passages from Ravel’s Bolero. When necessary, the narrative is goosed along with a few costume dramatizations. (Coronado is played by a goofy-looking actor in a Spanish helmet). Everything is tied together with generic sci-fi music, strategic sound effects, and two narrators (one specializing in boastful rants), Baldwin is more honest (than regular historical documentaries) in representing the present, interviewing not scholars but tourists and locals: “Coronado: isn’t that a shopping mall around here?” If you want to schlockument the box populi, this is how.’ — J. Hoberman

Watch the film @ Fandor


Sonic Outlaws (1995)
‘By their own reckoning, members of the Bay Area recording and performance group Negativland got themselves into trouble by having too much fun. Their prank began with a pirated audiotape of Casey Kasem, the normally boosterish-sounding disk jockey and radio personality, as he cursed a blue streak while trying to record a spot about the band U2. Sensing opportunity at hand, Negativland enthusiastically mixed these mutterings with samples from a U2 song, then put out a 1991 single on the SST label with a picture of the U-2 spy plane on its cover.

Sonic Outlaws, a fragmented, gleefully anarchic documentary by Craig Baldwin, approaches this incident from several directions. Some of the film is about the legal nightmare that ensued from Negativland’s little joke. In a highly publicized case, U2’s label, Island Records, charged Negativland with copyright and trademark infringement for appropriating the letter U and the number 2, even though U2 had in turn borrowed its name from the Central Intelligence Agency. SST then dropped Negativland, suppressed the record and demanded that the group pay legal fees. Trying to remain solvent, Negativland sent out a barrage of letters and legal documents that are now collected in “Fair Use”, an exhaustive, weirdly fascinating scrapbook about the case.

Sonic Outlaws covers some of the same territory while also expanding upon the ideas behind Negativland’s guerilla recording tactics. Guerilla is indeed the word, since these and other appropriation artists see themselves as engaged in real warfare, inundated by the commercial airwaves, infuriated by the propaganda content of much of what they hear and see, these artists strike back by rearranging contexts as irreverently as possible. Their technological capabilities are awesome enough to mean no sound or image is tamper-proof today.

‘Mr. Baldwin who expressed his own interest in culture-jamming and recontextualization through practices like altering billboards before making this documentary collage, explores the implications of this approach. These sonic outlaws specialize, according to one of them, in “capturing the corporate-controllec subjects of the one way media barrage, reorganizing them to be a comment upon themselves and spitting them back into the barrage for cultural consideration.” Those interviewed here, including members of Negativland, John Oswald and the Tape-Beatles, speak of such tactics as both cultural criticism and subversive fun. Sonic Outlaws does some recontextualization of its own by connecting such appropriation art to its antecedents: anything from Cubism or Dada to using Silly Putty to copy comic-book drawings. Using quick snippets and flashes that often emphasize the film maker’s taste for proudly tacky sci-fi movies of the 1950’s, Sonic Outlaws captures the wide range of effectiveness that such tactics can have. Sometimes the results are authentically witty and illustrate Mr. Baldwin’s ideas. But the ingenuity of toying with a Brylcreem commercial or putting words in the mouth of a video Ronald Reagan(“After all, I was the nightmare of America and the human race”) trivializes the thoughts being discussed.’ — Other Cinema

the entire film


Spectres of the Spectrum (1999)
‘American film-maker Craig Baldwin is the Ancient Mariner of American underground cinema, button-holing the unwary with rambling, hair-raising narratives of doom and perdition. His stories, in which no less than the entire history of Western culture is at stake, are paranoid epics of warfare and psychological combat. Baldwin’s speciality is sampled cinema – he slowly, painstakingly builds mosaics of TV and film footage, sometimes only a couple of seconds long, and transforms them, with the addition of breathless voice-overs, into paranoid narratives of conspiracy and mind control.

Spectres of the Spectrum is only marginally less delirious than Baldwin’s Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America, a mock-reactionary sci-fi story that satirically presented Kissinger, Pinochet and the Contras as intrepid hunters of extra-terrestrial vampires. Where Tribulation 99 laid itself open to incomprehension by masquerading as a crypto-fascist rant, Spectres positions itself on the revolutionary margins of the near future. Its heroes, seen in live-action footage, are a young telepathic woman, Boo Boo, and her father Yogi, agit-prop broadcasters in the people’s Resistance to the New Electromagnetic Order.

‘The narrative key to all this is a 1950s popular science TV show, in which Boo Boo’s grandmother has concealed a message which will aid the future revolutionaries. As Boo Boo travels back in time to unlock granny’s secret, Yogi scans the history of the electro-magnetic power struggle, from Benjamin Franklin’s kite, through electrical pioneer Nikola Tesla, to the age of the internet and its “corporate colonisation of the imagination”. Disorienting as the film is, you can always trace a passionate conviction – the opposition to the ownership of images. Baldwin’s sampling style wrests found images away from copyright and any official meanings they may once have had. Innocuous moments of family entertainment yield worrying new meanings, dark warnings of a future world under the surveillance of “Disney spy satellites”.’ — Jonathan Romney




Mock Up on Mu (2008)
‘It’s 2019. From his Empire of Mu on the moon, L. Ron Hubbard dispatches sexy Agent C. to Earth on a secret mission of espionage and seduction … The giddy, scary Mock Up On Mu is the latest obsessive exercise in audio-visual overload and pop-culture collage from San Francisco underground legend Craig Baldwin, who perfected rapid-fire found-footage assemblage mashed with bizarro subterranean revisionist history in 1991’s amazing pseudo-doc sci-fi conspiracy opus Tribulations 99: Alien Anomalies Under America. (Baldwin’s also the director of 1995’s Sonic Outlaws, a documentary on copyright, fair use, and the culture jamming band Negativland). “From an undisclosed location and the teeming mind/editing suite of collage master Craig Baldwin emerges this masterfully subversive counter-history of contemporary California, i.e. the postmodern world. Intertwining biographical err… speculation, re-enactment, found footage and a light touch of smut, Mock Up on Mu bravely wades, scissors flying, into the interlocking lives and careers of Jack Parsons, founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Marjorie Cameron, pioneer of the New Age Movement, sci-fi hack/religious leader L. Ron Hubbard and notorious warlock Aleister Crowley. Alternately (and simultaneously!) disturbing, funny and just plain slap-your-forehead weird . . . Mock Up on Mu will send its dazzled, slightly befuddled viewers blinking into the bright sunlight of a subtly altered world . . . No one chops and cuts the viscera of our schizoid culture with quite the glee and gusto of Baldwin” (Peter Culley, Vancouver I.F.F.).’ — The Cinematheque




Communique for the Cube (2014)
‘A one-minute single-shot secret disclosure/tactical psychotronic advisory made in support of microcinema autonomy. Watch at full screen for the full effect.’ — CB

the entire film


Time Bomb/SBI (2017)
‘Made for the “Gravity Spells” project, my found-footage collage is paired with Maggi Payne’s “Static/Black Ice”. Play at loud volume.’ — CB

the entire film




p.s. Hey. If anyone’s interested, Another Man Magazine published an article plus interview about ‘Permanent Green Light’ yesterday, and you can read it here. ** Ferdinand, Hi. Yes, very indeed, I would be extremely into an Answering Machine Day. You know me well. Thank you tons in advance should you have the time and means to make that. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. ** Kyler, Thanks, man. It’s true, right? I think I can count you among us eternal kids, can’t I? ** Sypha, Surprise! Hm, it really doesn’t seem like it would be hard to find the Simon & Schuster cover. My memory, which is not rock solid, is that the S&S cover was identical to the one Knopf used. But, yeah, I’m definitely not 100% sure. Okay, will do if, or rather when, I get around to restoring your Ligotti Day. And thanks again for letting my blog have the privilege once again. ** Jamie, Morningness, Jamie. I’m pretty good. No, the cold continues at its low-ish, slightly hampering level unabated. Cool, very glad the blab was helpful. I’m into the assigned script, in the zone, so it’s going okay apart from the cold which is not making my imagination sparkle. But I’m on it, and I’ll pretty much need to be on it constantly from now on, or at least until the first deadline in mid-April. Oh, I get swept into online holes like that all the time, but in my case, luckily or not, I have the excuse of gathering stuff for a related blog post while I’m in that hole. Watch for Conveyor Belt Day next week, for example. May your Friday confuse your apartment for Versailles with all the accompanying benefits. Forever settling love, Dennis. ** JM, Hi. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! I agree with you 100% percent about the grotesqueness of people thinking a person’s fame gives them the right to know and judge everything about their personal lives. Scattered, yeah. It’s strange when that happens. I guess it’s just some mysterious biological thing? They just recently fixed the internet at my place so it’s a steady stream, but, before then, it was cycling on and off online constantly, and Skyping was like tortururous. I hope you’re feeling more in your zone today. The script work is going okay apart from my mild cold fucking with my concentration. The contracts: ugh, ugh. Well, I’m told they should be ready to sign by next week, which is exactly what I’ve been told every two weeks since early September. It’s maddening. We were supposed to be paid before we started working, and now we’re almost 3/4 of the way through the work and we still don’t have money, contracts, a guarantee, but we have no choice since the first deadline we were given last summer (mid-April) hasn’t changed. Never again, basically. So, yeah. I just worked yesterday really. I’m going to take a shortish break to see Gisele and a movie this afternoon, but I mostly have to be a worker again. What happened to and with you? ** Alex rose, Alex! Yeah, I … think, I’m pretty sure it’s in the book with the bear, yeah. Wait, I’ll … no, it doesn’t seem to be online. It used to be at the LA Weekly site, but they got bought and someone killed off most of their archive. Seems like there must be some site that’ll sell you a used bear book for a pittance? You good, really good, man? Did it snow there? Fancy love, Dennis. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hey, Benster. Cool, sounds amazing! ** Steve Erickson, I’m avoiding all of that like the plague. ** Chris Cochrane, Hey, Chris. Spy, eh? How do you know this blog isn’t tethered to you through the cam function on your laptop or phone and that I don’t in fact watch your beady, scrolling eyes? Which Voidoids got remastered? Wait, I’ll check. I just saw on FB that Ish did a workshop with the new ‘Them’ guys. News to me. Were you there and/or involved? My cold hangs around making my work jag a bit of a sputtery thing, but I’ll take it. Oh, I’m seeing a couple of music shows next week, one involving Arto Lindsay, Thomas Brinkmann, a.o. Weirdly, I had never seen Arto live until several months ago, and he absolutely blew my mind. Would I be incorrect in saying that he is one of the serious genius guitar players? It sure seemed that way. Big love to you, maestro. ** Misanthrope, I didn’t think so. They made me feel funny. Not ha-ha funny. The OMD gig sounds really good. Glad they basically ditched guitars and shit. Those always seemed like one set of jewelry too far. Did they do ‘Joan of Arc’? Very nice. Way too nice to have been throttled by that awful sounding trip home. Jeez. I think the longest I’ve had to wait for metro train in Paris was 16 minutes. You’ve recovered? ** Keaton, Hey, K-man! I hope that super busy is as super as it is busy. ‘space story’, sweet. I’ll hit it. Good to see you! ** Okay. Craig Baldwin. Lovely, odd filmmaking auteur. Probably best known for ‘Sonic Outlaws’, the film he made with the band Negativland. But his others are even better. Excellent and even fun stuff. Hope you enjoy. See you tomorrow.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    March 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm


    While Bruce Conner is of course a direct influence, there’s a soupcon o Josph Cornell to his work as well.

  2. David Ehrenstein

    March 9, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    And speaking of Bruce Conner Here is one of the greatest films ever made

  3. Baldwin is one of the few directors to find a middle ground between the avant-garde and a more accessible cult aesthetic without compromising himself or making half-assed mush in the process. Although after TRIBULATION 99, I expected a prolific career of non-stop greatness, and he didn’t quite deliver on that. I am very curious about his new film, which I didn’t even know existed.

    I could offer up some infuriating quotes on the critical reception of A WRINKLE IN TIME, but I am trying to lower my blood pressure and I know you don’t want this kind of stuff on your blog.

    Have you heard Stephen O’Malley and Anthony Pateras’ collaborative album? The first time I played it, I thought something was wrong with my computer speakers!

  4. Hi!

    I think my scattered feeling mostly stems from anxiety right now – I’m going to Berlin on Monday so it’s building steadily. That said, I have a way better day today! I could finally write again and I feel like I finished the paragraph I started working on on Tuesday.
    Oh, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. I get so frustrated so fast when it suddenly just disappears, hah.
    Jesus. I feel like I can only repeat myself but this situation with the contracts is pretty disgusting. I guess I’ll just keep my fingers tightly crossed, then! I really hope they’ll be ready by next week. For real, this time.
    How was your meeting with Gisele? And the movie? What did you see?
    Apart from writing, I didn’t really do anything special. Now that you mentioned it, I feel like watching something too so maybe that’s what I’ll do next.
    I hope you have/had a nice day and your cold disappears ASAP!!

  5. Dennis, yeah, Scott Bradley was mentioning to me a few days back how, when his deceased girlfriend’s book was dropped by one publisher, when it was picked up by another they just used the cover that the first publisher had made, so maybe the same thing happened with American Psycho. But yeah, I’ve tried looking it up on Google but all I can find is crickets.

    It’s funny, when I did that Ligotti Day (when was it again? Early 2011 or so? I forget) Ligotti still really hadn’t catapulted to the “mainstream.” Then a few years later he gets all that exposure thanks to “True Detective,” Penguin Classics republishes his first two collections, and so on and so forth (also, in that span of time he released a new collection). Later this year Penguin is putting out a new printing of his philosophy book (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race) but sadly the cover art is pretty dire IMO… earlier this year I got rid of all my non-fiction pessimist/nihilism books, with one exception: Ligotti’s book.

  6. hi dennis, yowza, that baldwin work looks excellent, il fall into it later

    all is good here, its pay day so i just got your bear book and unamerica by momus

    yeah it snowed last week so i was off work for a couple of days and without water, i took drastic action and knocked back 2 litres of my own piss in a hour only to realise that the tap was just a bit stiff

    i have such wittering wrists, dennis

    love you, alex,

  7. Hey Dennis,
    I saw this and thought of you…
    Hope you’re well and that cold’s finally on the way out.
    I’m in a bit of rotten mood, mostly due to total lack of sleep, so I’ll just say hi and bye.
    Looking forward to Conveyor Belt Day already!
    What’s your weekend looking like? May it be tower over all the other weekends you’ve had in your life, turning them puce with sheer envy.
    Cashmere love,

  8. I’ve seen Arto Lindsay a couple of times. As I’ve maybe mentioned, my dad was in a crew called Leeds Jazz and they would book some good acts back in the day. So in the 90s I took my then-girlfriend along to see “jazz” being played by AL at Leeds Irish Centre and he was really great. “That wasn’t what I was expecting” she said, which I think was praise. And although I enjoyed some of their gigs, my fondness for techno and electro machine music is maybe an Oedipal rebelling against that Leeds Jazz crowd.

  9. Hi Dennis, Id love to throw some answering machine stuff together. Im curious If you get to attend Crowd at Holland festival in amsterdam? I was in rotterdam last year when the festival was there but it didnt fit into my scheme as it was my first trip to Holland. This year apart from ‘crowd’ and a lecture on collecting digital art the only other thing catching my eye at Holland fest is the Blackstar tribute to Bowie by Anna Calvi who is an amazing singer , aswell as Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab) en Anja Plaschg (Soap&Skin) on the 23 June. Too bad Jesus and the mary chain play the same night in Rotterdam which I think I will go to instead. Hard choice. I wanted to catch Crowd when it was showing in Brussels earlier. Looks like i will miss it in Amsterdam too as I will only visit amdam on the 24/ 25 June. Oh well. Nice piece in Another, good picture. Enjoy the weekend.

  10. Dennis, Baldwin is another new one for me. Time to explore a bit.

    I think you might mean “Maid of Orleans.” Yes, they did that. Fucking glorious, it was. McCluskey’s still got the chops, as does Humphreys. During the instrumental parts, he danced his ass off. Think Michael Stipe meets Ian Curtis. The dude has so much energy. After the song, he said, “The only thing you can do during that song is dance like nobody’s watching.” And he did.

    The DC metro is the worst ever. Delays, single-tracking, track work, a few deaths over the past few years, etc. All the money’s always been misspent. And none of that includes the assaults and robberies and shit. I’ve seen a guy pull a knife on another guy, and a group of people punch a guy in the face and steal his book bag. Crazy fucking system here in ol’ DC.

    I’m recovered. After 2 1/2 hours sleep Tuesday night, I went to work, came home, went to the gym, ate, and then died for 7 1/2 straight hours. I’m good now, thanks. 😀

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