The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents … Corrine May Botz *

* Halloween countdown post #16/restored



The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
“The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death” is an exploration of a collection of eighteen miniature crime scene models that were built in the 1940’s and 50’s by a progressive criminologist Frances Glessner Lee (1878 – 1962). The models, which were based on actual homicides, suicides, and accidental deaths, were created to train detectives to assess visual evidence. This seven-year project culminated in an exhibition and a book The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death (The Monacelli Press, 2004).

The models display an astounding level of precision and detail: shades can be raised and lowered, mice live in the walls, stereoscopes work, whistles blow and pencils write. My photographs highlight the models’ painstaking detail, as well as the prominence of female victims. Through framing, scale, lighting, color, and depth of field, I attempt to bring intimacy and emotion to the scene of the crime. I want viewers to feel as if they inhabit the miniatures – to loose their sense of proportion and experience the large in the small. (cont.)


Three-Room Dwelling (baby’s crib)


Dark Bathroom (tub)


Parsonage Parlor (doll)


Kitchen (from afar)


Kitchen (door)


Garage (hat)


Three Room Dwelling (gun)


Burned Cabin (from afar)


Un-papered Bedroom


Three Room Dwelling (aerial)


Blue Bedroom (man)


Attic (letters)


Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death


Murder Objects
The objects in these photographs were instrumental in cases of sudden and violent deaths. They pertain to solved-crimes, and are displayed in a glass cabinet at the Baltimore Forensic Medical Center. This series reflects my interest in how artifacts are displayed and viewed in particular cultural contexts and conditions. The mundane household objects reveal the transgressive possibilities of the domestic interior. During this time I was researching psychometry, in which psychics hold objects and receive psychic vibrations contained in the objects. I believed these objects would help to sharpen my psychometric abilities.


Nipple used as pacifier causing asphyxiation death of infant.


Electrocution. Note: Voltage Exit Burns


Elderly man who had daily medication prepared for him, cause of death related to pills left in container at time of death.


Lantern fueled by gasoline used by victim to heat automobile, which he was sleeping in. Victim died from carbon monoxide exposure generated by lantern. Note: Aluminum foil around heater globe and vent to restrict “light glow” of lantern.


Exhaust pipe cut by victim in an effort to camouflage a carbon monoxide suicide in a vehicle to have authorities rule as accidental.


Car Accident


Drug Paraphernalia


Pagan Motorcycle Club ID made from Tattoo on decomposed body.


A twenty-three year old woman was stabbed thirty three times with a pair of scissors in a drug related homicide. She was also bitten on the left side of her face during the attack. Bite mark impression castes were obtained from a suspect. He latter pled guilt to first-degree murder and received a life sentence.


Drug Paraphernalia

Drug Paraphernalia


Haunted Houses
Haunted Houses is a long-term project in which I photographed and collected oral ghosts stories in over eighty haunted sites throughout the United States. The series was inspired by turn of the century spirit photographs and Victorian ghost stories written by women as a means of articulating domestic discontents. In being the medium through which the spirit of these houses was recorded, I continued the tradition of female sensitivity to the supernatural. When I photographed in haunted houses, I tried to open myself to the invisible nuances of a space. I photographed using a large format camera, with exposures often ranging from a few seconds to a few hours. Though the medium of the visible, photography makes the invisible apparent. By collecting extensive evidence of the surface, one becomes aware of what is missing, and a space is provided for the viewer to imagine the invisible. (cont.)


Atlas Theatre, Cheyenne, Wyoming


Army Barracks, Vancouver, Washington


Séance Table


Old Bermuda Inn, Staten Island, New York


Private Residence, Clinton, Maine


The Roehrs House, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey


Private Residence, Hawthorne, New Jersey


Apartment No.2, Brooklyn, New York


La Petite Theatre, New Orleans, Louisiana


Vealtown Tavern, Bernardsville, New Jersey


El Rancho, Las Vegas, Nevada


Edgar Allen Poe House, Baltimore, MD


Rental House, Tivoli, NY


Mein Hauptbahnhof
The love of objects is called “objectophilia.” Objectophiles do not feel attracted to people and instead are sexually and emotionally drawn to certain objects. They exchange experiences on the Internet and hope that their sexual inclinations will be recognized and accepted.

The photographs in the series Objectophilia were made during my visits with objectophiles. They show various love objects including: a pinball machine, computer, World Trade Center, Berlin Hauptbahnhof, and steam locomotive. All of these objects were photographed with a large format camera and in a documentary style to serve as a counterpoint to the highly subjective and emotional video.











p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Happy to find your Lonsdale knowledge and fandom on display here. Re: ‘RbH’, that’s all you need to say for now, very exciting. I, and so many others, so wish Delon wasn’t a supporter of the Far Right. Sounds like a cool mirror. Everyone who is in the LA or even So. Cal area, here’s David Ehrenstein with a possible windfall for you: ‘I have a decorated gold-encrusted mirror for sale. If you are interested and live in the Los Angeles area, write me at cllrdr@ehrensteinland.com or Cellar47@yahoo.com. The mirror would have to be picked up in person and requires two people to carry it.’ Oh, wait, it’s on eBay too if you want to take a look: here. ** Kseatons, Hey. Describe your usual carved pumpkin in a sentence please. I think I’m seeing ‘Halloween’ the film tomorrow? Or Thursday? I forget. Notes. ** Dominik, Hi, hi! I’m good. LMdP was awesome. They keep upping their game, and they’re at a high-end US quality level now, pretty cool. Well, I’ve already done the only exciting Halloween thing going on in Paris.  I think on Halloween itself I’m going to one of my very favorite annual things, Salon du Chocolat where chocolatiers from all over the world in great numbers display and sell their wares. So that should be kind of Halloween-y in the sense that I’ll be going home afterwards with a giant bag or two full of all kinds of crazy chocolates. What are your plans for the big H itself? Oh, 6 hours is, like, nearby but not hugely, so that’s sad, although it’ll give you guys big excuses to travel. I’m guessing you’ve been to Prague? I never have. Perpetually high on my to-do list. I’ve read people talking about ‘The Haunting of Hill House’, but I haven’t seen it just because I don’t watch TV. My weekend was mostly involved in just trying to work on the TV script thing and only being semi-successful, but it’s happening. Seeing Kier likely today, a concert tonight, having a coffee with the artist Lucy McKenzie in the morning (she’s using a text of mine in an upcoming show). The pint-sized festival sounds to have been pleasant, cool. I’m hoping your foot is much better since you didn’t mention it? Have the best week! ** Steve Erickson, Hi. It’s interesting to me that the editor does an edit without you being there, although I think that’s probably fairly usual. I don’t think I could possibly deal with that on Zac’s and my films. We’re so incredibly particular about exactly the kind of edit we want by the time the editing phase starts. I presume you and the editor found the ideal common ground? ** Sypha, Hi. Lucky you. The mail route to Paris is, duh, a bit more sluggish. Damn, I hope your job work restarts well and that your congestion doesn’t cause your head to resemble a beehive. ** Corey Heiferman, Thank you. Well, I highly recommend Rivette. Mm, thus far I feel deeply uninterested in working in our films with actors who have a pre-existing identity/image that would cause viewers to make outside associations and thus bring stuff to the characters in our films that they aren’t generating from scratch. But that could change. How very nice about the great poetry reading experience. Cool, man. ** Jeff J, Thanks, man. Yeah, I’ve seen that Costa Gravas. It’s good, but not on a par with his great films. Worth seeing, for sure. Great about Michael. I got swamped, but I’ll write to him to break the ice today. Thank you. In LA, I very, very highly recommend the B. Wurtz retrospective at the ICA: here. I’m immensely sad that I might not get to LA in time to see it. The Pat O’Neill show at Phillip Maryin Gallery should be great: here. I think you know his films, etc.? Those two pop out to me. Don’t get fired. You won’t. Educated guess. ** Misanthrope, Hi. Okay, George, you don’t think TC is that good-looking, sure, whatever you say, man, ha ha. ‘BB’ sounds precisely like everything I’ve read and imagined. It’s definitively X-ed out. Really good Indian food could retroactively erase the apocalypse, I think. ** Okay. I thought the Halloween season called for the restoration of this CM Botz show from the blog’s dead zone. See you tomorrow.


  1. robust skin, vampire teeth or two staggered square teeth; slightly isosceles triangles for the nose and mouth; typically, the gouges are somewhat oblique showing some inner flesh. Halloween! Michael Myers lol I think of how he’s survived and remembered my favorite the cemetery spike lightening rod bringing Jason Voorhees back to life. asylums are full of potential Mikeys. I was in a really creepy one one time with metal cigarettes lighters on the walls. what about the black guy that broke him out of jail? or episode 3 with the mask cult. winner of scariest vhs cover. never felt right about renting it. hire Nancy as babysitter and have her make it with the new girl who I crush on insane. and you have my fav horror bunch Lyndsey from the first movie is the ultimate queen of horror in my book. MM has potential just not sure anyone knows how to use it. recently did a genealogy thing of my family cemeteries they’re 19th century. creepy times tragedy suicide no penicillin. my mother and aunt turn witchy standard 19th century stuff if they go there and I was run away by a monster one time. so I’ll never go back. there’s some great books on Florida’s west coast by an author Kim Cool. St. Pete is banging ghost cats a statue to one “that cat is so friendly.” “yes, Morris he’s been dead 20 years.” the two Mayors walk together one is Mayor Wrigley and the other Mayor Salt Water Taffey respectably. it gets worse down the coast like if there’s history there’s a ghost. Never was into the ghost powers thing, love it but on a certain level I have that lsd phantom yogic thing. cool post today feels slimey. working on something if it works I’ll post it

  2. I knew the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death (lovely to see them in more detail), but not her other work. Wonderful Halloween-evoking day, Dennis.

    Thanks so much for the art recs in L.A. Both of them sound fantastic. I love Pat O’Neill’s films and The Decay of History is the only one I’ve never been able to see. Really excited to check them out – they’re top of the list.

  3. Intrigued to know how today’s meeting with my fellow Dundee alumnus Lucy McKenzie went down.

    Last night me and my mum were at the DCA to see the new Rachel Maclean film Make Me Up which is really impressive technically but still, subtle it ain’t. Mum was unimpressed and I can understand that, RM is an artist to divide opinion.

    That’s me now back in Leeds for a few days.

  4. That 10-minute documentary about objectophilia was fascinating. I’ve seen some tabloid TV programs on the subject, but nothing more thoughtful or artful.

    Well, my editor is a college student who works two part-time jobs while starting to write her thesis. I am paying her, but I have the impression she squeezes work on my film in around 1 AM, so I don’t think sitting there with her and trying to have more direct input into the process would work in this case. Obviously, I have finally say over the edit, and even though I will not be sitting next to her when she does color grading/correction, I’ve given her instructions for the final look I want the film to have.

    If you did make a film with “name” actors, who would you choose? That’s a future goal of mine, but the willingness of actors to respond seems somewhat random. There was an actor I really wanted to approach for CULTURE SHOCK, but I wrote to a director with whom he had worked, and I fear she wrote me off as a potential stalker even though everything I said was very reasonable and matter-of-fact. From his Twitter presence and interviews I’ve read, I think that if I could send him the script directly, go out for coffee with him and discuss what I like about his work and why that made me think he was a good fit for the part, he might be very willing to do it, but while I got his agent’s address, I’m almost certain that if I sent the script there, it would wind up in a garbage can. Also, while the Screen Actor’s Guild regulations don’t require you to pay $$$ to their union members if you file as an “Ultra Low-Budget Indie” (or some other term), they do require you to fill out so much paperwork that this is a part of the reason I abandoned production on a film in 2013 and a friend who recently made a feature had to hire someone just to deal with SAG bureaucracy. I believe in unions, and in fact I have health insurance because I belong to one myself, but they don’t need to make filmmaking such a pain. Is the French equivalent so hard to work with?

  5. Testing,



    Sound check,


    Portalzzzzz opening…


    Taps mic… *is this thing on?!*

    Checking here, Dennis…

    • LOL.

      Have trouble coming through here, recently…

      Blog blocked, cock socked, log rocked, sent spinning away…

      What I am saying is having trouble posting here, Dennis, recently.

      Had to post stuff at your Facebook page a few times…

      I always find a work around.


      Maybe will try the desktop… scammers got to my dad, but I slammed all the doors to them. And opened all door to friends on the reverse side.

      New one. Gamer model. Black with a green slit. Will open passageways. Anyway, hope you are well, lol.

  6. Haha, I’m in!

    Was having trouble posting here for a while…

  7. LOL.

    Have trouble coming through here, recently…

    Blog blocked, cock socked, log rocked, sent spinning away…

    What I am saying is having trouble posting here, Dennis, recently.

    Had to post stuff at your Facebook page a few times…

    I always find a work around.


    Maybe will try the desktop… scammers got to my dad, but I slammed all the doors to them. And opened all door to friends on the reverse side.

    New one. Gamer model. Black with a green slit. Will open passageways. Anyway, hope you are well, lol.

  8. Dude, is there something up with your blog, or is it just me?

    Think I finally posted a comment, after it just kept not working for me, for moths… not moths, MONTHS, and tried to post a follow up, and couldn’t get through, again.

    Mostly on my tablet with computer stuff, but thought, fuck it, desktop time…

    So, I get on, and only shows 5 comments here, missing my 6th that I thought I posted. So, I click on it, this post, and, suddenly, 0 comments. What is this weirdness? I route around by posting them at your Facebook page sometimes, but know you rarely check it, and… this is getting a bit much. Like I am blocked by freakin’ occult means from posting here.


    Hope you are well, anyway. Good god.

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