The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Gleam *

* (restored)



Juliet: Who are you? I know who you are. You’re my enemy.

Romeo: If you want me to, I’ll kill you.

Juliet: You’ve hurt me before but that doesn’t matter. How do I know anything? What does this language mean? I’ll have to trust nothing. I know I trust nothing too much, I will do anything for nothing. Tell me what’s true now. Tell me what’s true now.

Romeo: The Truth?

Juliet: Don’t leave me hanging.

Romeo: The only thing I believe in is nothingness.

(A gleam of light grey appears in the lower sky.)

— Kathy Acker



‘The brain is constantly trying to make sense of the ambiguous information it is given to arrive at a stable and coherent interpretation. If the context and information provided to the senses are unfamiliar, odd and bizarre, then one should not be surprised if the resulting conscious experience is somewhat unfamiliar, odd and bizarre. This fits neatly with developments in cognitive psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience that views neurocognition as an active model-building process. According to recent emerging scientific frameworks, even stable conscious experience is something of a fiction, but a far lesser fiction than other possible alternative realities.

‘By this account, stable perception and indeed consciousness itself can be viewed as a form of controlled hallucination. Once it is realised that normal perception itself can be viewed, to some degree, as a stable and successful hallucination, it is hardly a leap to view Near Death Experiences as an extension of this natural process. Of course false-memories show that we can remember the palpably untrue as a real memory, but these false memories are often based on illusory conjunctions between other encoded information represented in our memory systems. A false memory still requires an intact memory system, or at the very least, a partially intact one. In addition to this, survivalists have argued that a brain near-death is too unstable to support vivid hallucination, and so cannot be an explanation for NDE.

‘The logical problem, however, for these researchers is: if the brain is too unstable to support hallucination, how is it possible for it to be stable enough to ‘remember’ mystical experience? How can one memorise an event in the absence of a working and functioning memory system? If, as the survivalists claim, the brain is dead then surely, so is memory. If memory is dead, then how can individuals remember anything – even if the original experience was mystical? The Near Death Experience then is merely a greater fiction that serves a temporary purpose for consciousness in that, for a short while, it represents reality in the absence of the more usual and stable reality provided by the senses.’ — Jason J Braithwaite ‘Near death experiences (NDEs): The dying brain’



Ann Veronica Janssens



‘Nephews of international singing star Andy Williams, identical twins Andy and David looked set to conquer the pop world in 1973. They were like looking at pure sunlight – all that straight, golden blonde hair.’ — Nostalgia Central



He pushed aside the magazine, his fingernail squeaking on the glossy page.

Then, moving his shoulders laboriously and wheezing on his short pipe, he went out onto the enormous enclosed veranda, where a chilled band was playing and people in bright scarves were drinking strong tea, ready to rush out again into the cold, onto the slopes that shone with a humming shimmer through the wide windowpanes. With searching eyes, he scanned the veranda. Somebody’s curious gaze pricked him like a needle touching the nerve of a tooth. He turned back abruptly.

In the billiard room, which he had entered sidewise as the oak door yielded to his push, Monfiori, a pale, red-haired little fellow who recognized only the Bible and the carom, was bent over the emerald cloth, sliding his cue back and forth as he aimed at a ball. Kern had made his acquaintance recently, and the man had promptly showered him with citations from the Holy Scriptures. . . But Kern had stopped listening, for his attention had suddenly been caught by his interlocutor’s ears– pointed ears, packed with canary-colored dust, with reddish fluff on their tips.

The balls clicked and scattered. Raising his eyebrows, Monfiori proposed a game. He had melancholy, slightly bulbous, caprine eyes.

Kern had already accepted, and had even rubbed some chalk on the tip of his cue, but, suddenly sensing a wave of dreadful ennui that made the pit of his stomach ache and his ears ring, said he had a pain in his elbow, glanced out as he passed a window at the mountains’ sugary sheen, and returned to the reading room.

There, with his legs intertwined and one patent-leather shoe twitching, he again examined the pearl-gray photograph, the childlike eyes and shaded lips of the London beauty who had been his wife. The first night after her self-inflicted death he followed a woman who smiled at him on a foggy street corner, taking revenge on God, love, and fate.

And now came this Isabel with that red smear for a mouth. If one could only …

Kern sensed that he was rocking back and forth, and that some pale girl with pink eyebrows was looking at him from behind a magazine. He took a Times from the table and opened the giant sheets. Paper bedspread across the chasm. People invent crimes, museums, games, only to escape from the unknown, from the vertiginous sky. And now this Isabel. . .

He tossed the paper aside, rubbed his forehead with an enormous fist, and again felt someone’s wondering gaze on him. Then he slowly walked out of the room, past the reading feet, past the fireplace’s orange jaw. He lost his way in the resounding corridors, found himself in some hallway, where the white legs of a bowed chair were reflected by the parquet and a broad painting hung on the wall of William Tell piercing the apple on his son’s head; then he examined at length his clean-shaven, heavy face, the blood streaks on the whites of his eyes, his checked bow tie in the glistening mirror of a bright bathroom where water gurgled musically and a golden cigarette butt discarded by someone floated in the porcelain depths.

— Vladimir Nabokov









Tendril is a web browser that constructs typographic sculptures from the text content of web pages. The first page of a site is rendered as a column of text. Links in the text are colored, and when clicked, the text for the linked page grows from the location of the link.

‘As Tendril’s text dynamically grows it is woven into bulbous 3D threads that evolve over time into spinning bloated rhizomatic tubers. The surface of these structures is visually composed of text. These are now visual objects, hybrids or chimeras: data-mining refuse (conceptual probes into knowledge and reading), modulated geometric primitives (abstract visual art), and animated organisms (information visualization of biological memes). Tendril is a quasi organism and a hybrid cultural entity, it feeds on text, digesting it into rhizomatic skin. Tendril automates appropriation; it is like Flarf exponential: reconfiguring what it retrieves into a format that is readable as tumescent infinities.

‘Obviously, legibility is not the key pleasure involved in most typographic sculptures. These redolent forms, undulant in black space, swollen with language, are unreadable. The reading machine process programmed by Fry operates unseen behind the screen, engorging itself on text that stretch into curves that ripple as they excrete networks. This is sculptural animation that occurs in an on-screen ecosystem. And since it is no longer visible live it is also a fossilized excretion (the residue of Tendril is a few movies and jpgs and probably a snarl of code rendered inoperative by shifts in network protocols). So what the documentation provides is evidence (but not the actuality) of the passage of an incipient text-eating network-organism, a progenitor of creatures that will roam the net eating words and shitting pulsating rhizomes.’ — Ben Fry



Kyle McDonald

Annika Hippler

Martin Hesselmeier

Dan Marker-Moore



‘The Watery Grave’



Joel Morrison’s materials usually consist of discarded objects – casualties of excessive consumerism and waste – that the artist recovers from around his studio and neighborhood in Los Angeles. The found objects undergo the laborious process of mold and lost wax casting – what the artist calls “the simplest and oldest method or replicating objects into metal.” The sculptures take reference from classical Greek sculpture to L.A.’s “Finish Fetish” movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Adding a special dynamic to these works, the mirrored surface of the steel reflects and distorts colors and shapes with each passing viewer.’



Bradley James really does have the shiniest hair in all the land
by cherrybina

OKAY. So, the other day I said that it would be totally okay if anyone dared to disagree with my claim that Bradley’s hair is the shiniest thing ever. After some further reflection I would like to revise my statement. Bradley’s hair is the shiniest thing ever FULLSTOP. It’s really not up for debate.

LET US BEGIN. The first thing you need to know about Bradley’s hair is that IT GLOWS.

Really, it does.


Like a fucking glow worm.

It’s pretty much a major theme.

This… is rather distracting, because there are times when Arthur is trying to tell Merlin something important, but the hair is RIGHT THERE doing its glowy thing.

I mean, yes, this was a lovely moving speech and all, but if Arthur had wanted to be sure Merlin could focus on something besides the shiny magnificence atop his head he really should have moved into some less flattering lighting. I am just saying.

I am including this shot only so that you might get a closer look at the way Bradley’s hair curls just perfectly around his ear.

And when he works the hairs all at once, it’s like a fucking force of nature.

I cannot mention the hair without talking about how sometimes it gets a bit, well, SWEATY.

This, my friends, is A Very Good Thing.



Not even post-shag bedhead can mar the perfection.

Thing is, it’s hard to be Bradley. Think about it – never a quiet moment as long as he’s flashing his hair all over the place. Sometimes he tries to distract us BY TURNING THE HAIR A DIFFERENT COLOR ENTIRELY. THIS DOES NOT WORK. WE SEE YOUR SHINY HAIR, BRADLEY.

So, if you’re into THINGS THAT GLOW

I think at this point it’s safe to say that Bradley James really does have the shiniest hair ever.

Do you really want to disagree?





Leandro Elrich





‘Weak eyes are fondest of glittering objects.’ — Thomas Carlyle

‘I love the constancy of shine of the edges of moving objects. Even propellers or desk fans will glint steadily in certain places in the greyness of their rotation.’ — Nicholson Baker

‘First thing in the morning, when I take out the trash, I see it: syringe on the lawn. Still bloody. Surreal, isn’t it. First memory like a shot in the vein. Four long years of youth sliding cold silver glint into waiting blue.’ — Lidia Yuknavitch

‘Life is not significant details, illuminated by a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are.’ — Susan Sontag

‘Let me go to hell, that’s all I ask, and go on cursing them there, and them look down and hear me, that might take some of the shine off their bliss.’ — Samuel Beckett

‘When in the slightest doubt, shoot over sundry bridges while the bay doth glint. Or smiling jump off same.’ — Gilbert Sorrentino

I have been photographing our toilet, that glossy enameled receptacle of extraordinary beauty. Never did the Greeks reach a more significant consummation to their culture than the glory of its chaste convulsions and its swelling, sweeping, forward movement of finely progressing contours.’ — Edward Weston

‘Broken glass. It’s just like glitter, isn’t it?’ — Pete Doherty

‘I made a circle with a smile for a mouth on yellow paper, because it was sunshiny and bright.’ — Harvey Ball

‘They can catch a straight line, but they can’t catch a circle. I mean, all you have to do is look at the way the sun shines on a leaf, and it’s round. They proved that light goes in a circle. So, I imagine as long as I’m light, I’m in a circle.’ — Don Van Vliet

‘Like ultraviolet rays memory shows to each man in the book of life a script that invisibly and prophetically glosses the text.’ — Walter Benjamin

‘The blue glint that connects the lumberjack’s axe-blows.’ — Andre Breton

‘Time, which runs through the world like an endless tinsel thread, seemed to pass through the centre of this room and through the centre of these people and suddenly to pause and petrify, stiff, still and glittering… and the objects in the room drew a little closer together.’ — Robert Musil





‘Astronomers have spotted an exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard. The new planet is far denser than any other known so far and consists largely of carbon. Because it is so dense, scientists calculate the carbon must be crystalline, so a large part of this strange world will effectively be diamond.

‘”The evolutionary history and amazing density of the planet all suggest it is comprised of carbon — i.e. a massive diamond orbiting a neutron star every two hours in an orbit so tight it would fit inside our own Sun,” said Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

‘Just what this weird diamond world is actually like close up, however, is a mystery. “In terms of what it would look like, I don’t know I could even speculate,” said Ben Stappers of the University of Manchester.’ — Reuters



‘Toyama Bay is the habitat of the world-famous glowing firefly squid, which surface in large numbers every spring in a phenomenon that has been designated a special natural monument. Peak firefly squid season means brisk business for sightseeing boats that provide close-up views of the magical action. Early in the morning, after 3 AM, sightseeing boats depart the Namerikawa fishing port (Namerikawa is also home to the world’s only museum dedicated to the firefly squid) in Toyama prefecture, making a short journey to fixed nets located about 1 to 2 km offshore. As the fishermen haul in their nets, the light emitted by the firefly squid causes the sea surface to glow a cobalt blue, evoking squeals.’ — Pink Tentacle





Once the words begin to settle into their circumstance in a sentence and decide to make the most of their predicament, they look around and take notice of their neighbors. They seek out affinities, they adapt to each other, they begin to make adjustments in their appearance to try to blend in with each other better and enhance any resemblance. Pretty soon in the writer’s eyes the words in the sentence are all vibrating and destabilizing themselves: no longer solid and immutable, they start to flutter this way and that in playful receptivity, taking into themselves parts of neighboring words, or shedding parts of themselves into the gutter of the page or screen; and in this process of intimate mutation and transformation, the words swap alphabetary vitals and viscera, tiny bits and dabs of their languagey inner and outer natures; the words intermingle and blend and smear and recompose themselves. They begin to take on a similar typographical physique. The phrasing now feels literally all of a piece. The lonely space of the sentence feels colonized. There’s a sumptuousness, a roundedness, a dimensionality to what has emerged. The sentence feels filled in from end to end; there are no vacant segments along its length, no pockets of unperforming or underperforming verbal matter. The words of the sentence have in fact formed a united community.

— Gary Lutz





Valentina Berthelon’s “Dark Energy – Dark Matter” is made by mixing hundreds of old, black and white images of stars and galaxies. It is a poetical trip to the dark side of the universe. It plays with the idea of Dark Matter and Dark energy, both concepts stretch the limits of science and mathematics by changing radically our conception of the Universe. In the past it was thought that the hole universe was made out of atoms or subatomic particles but this is wrong. New discoveries have proven the existence of an invisible particle “Dark Matter” that has only been indirectly observed but never captured and whose properties are inferred from its various gravitational effects.This hypothetical substance is believed by most astronomers to account for around five-sixths of the matter in the universe and it´s considered responsible for holding all the normal matter in the universe together.’ — VB



Opium Den Automaton



Text of Light was formed in 2001 with the idea to perform improvised music to the films of Stan Brakhage and other members of the American Cinema avante garde of the 1950s-60s (Brakhage’s film ‘Text of Light’ was the premiere performance and namesake of the group). The original premise was to improvise (not ‘illustrate’) to films from the American Avante-Garde (50s-60s etc), an under-known period of American filmic poetics. Members of the group include Lee Ranaldo and Alan Licht (gtrs/devices), Christian Marclay and DJ Olive (turntables), William Hooker (drums/perc), Ulrich Krieger (sax/electronics), and most recently Tim Barnes (drums/perc).Various combinations of these players attend ‘Text’ gigs, depending on individual schedules, so the group takes on various permutations—sometimes all members participate, sometimes not.’ —

Text of Light/Stan Brakhage (live) 1

Text of LIght/Stan Brakhage (live) 2



‘After searching for rocks in northern Minnesota and, finally, in Massachusetts, artist Jim Hodges selected a set of four stones, each weighing between eight and thirteen tons and standing more than six feet high. According to a worker at the Massachusetts quarry where the artist found the boulders, each stone is approximately 400 million years old. Body putty was applied to each boulder to create a smooth exterior; then, after a mold was made from that, the stainless steel was cast. The rock surface was chipped away to accept the stainless steel veneers, arriving at a perfect fit between skin and stone. The thin steel sheets, which were painted with clear-coat mixed with a dye typically used on motorcycles, were adhered with pins and epoxy.’






p.s. Hey. ** kier, k-k-k-kier! Granted, it’s rare that I meet a theme park I don’t really enjoy, but, yeah, Disneyland Paris is very good assuming you don’t hate Disney. I think it’s up there with the best Disney parks. Hollywood Studios is an adjunct park, much less good but it has several excellent rides, and if you buy a two-park ticket, your day is made. I trust, hope that you’re feeling pretty much up to speed now? Votive candle and so on if not. Okay, yeah, I just have to check with G and see what can be done, and you’ll know in plenty of time. Margret retired from performing some years back, so this newer dancer Nuria does her part, but Capdevielle and Schatz are still on board. There’s a falcon and an owl. Uh, I have no idea if the falcon is the same. We always employ the same falconer so it’s possible depending on how long falcons live, I guess. It’s been ten years. It’s not the same owl. I think we’ve been through a handful. The first one tragically died backstage during the premiere in Avignon. Any luck with the apartment hunt, I hope, I hope? My day was pretty un-headlit. Met with the gallery people to coordinate the upcoming PGL screening. I guess a bunch of curators are excited by the GIF works and want to curate them, which is exciting. Made a couple of blog posts, bought some food, … Not a lot. Today I have to sit around waiting for the plumber, but Michael Kiddiepunk might come and hang and wait with me, and then I’m going to see this writer Lyn Hejinian do a reading tonight. And … and … you? Love, me. ** David Ehrenstein, The Lance Olsen is indeed fun. Conrad was an amazing filmmaker, for sure, and his music is just as stellar. And it turns out he’s quite good with words as well. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. I think you had an event at Hauser & Wirth re: that book, or am I daydreaming? I missed that episode of your show. Great, I’ll stream it while killing time waiting for the plumber today. Everyone, Here’s Tosh Berman with an ‘in’ to something I think you’ll want to hear. Tosh: ‘My friend Kimley and I have a podcast called Book Musik, where we talk about books on or about music. We did an episode on Tony Conrad’s ‘Writings’: here.’ ** Bill, Yeah, I had to check twice to make sure that was actually a photo of him. I did, I did (enjoy). No, I’ll pair hitting the Apple thing with some other reason to go to the Left Bank. Shakespeare & Co. or pastry gathering or something. ** Steve Erickson, Very, very best of luck with that situation! ** Nick Toti, Hi, Nick! Cool, thank you for the hook up to the video. Sounds sweet. I like Jordan Castro’s stuff. I’ll hit it today. Everyone, Very fine filmmaker Nick Toti has a very cool share for us. Take it away, Nick … ‘I also wanted to share a quick little video I made. It’s sort of an attempt to do the equivalent of a music video but with an author’s writing instead of a band’s music. Does that make sense? The footage was shot the same night as Megan Boyle’s 25-hour marathon reading of Liveblog. Jordan Castro was one of her opening acts that I just happened to also record. His reading was short and sweet and seemed to merit its own video. Anyway, here it is.’ Take care, man. ** Right. A gleaming restored post for you intended to put gleams in your eyes if not even elsewhere, one might say. See you tomorrow.


  1. JM

    d., hi!!

    “The brain is constantly trying to make sense of the ambiguous information it is given to arrive at a stable and coherent interpretation. If the context and information provided to the senses are unfamiliar, odd and bizarre, then one should not be surprised if the resulting conscious experience is somewhat unfamiliar, odd and bizarre. ”

    a thesis statement for this blog, if anything, really. “gleam” is maybe my favourite post since way back when hector composited ‘cigarettes day’ which is a really absurd and moving composite (p.s. looking forward to this month’s escort listing, haven’t had a perusal of those columns for a fair while now). the final video here reminds me of len lye’s slow-fast motion sculptural portraits which are monolithic and actually the noisiest thing i’ve ever been in the same room as.

    it is easy to imagine, d., that maybe one day once you and i and james champagne and thomas moore and jeff jackson and the literary alumni here and the internet alumni here, too, are all dead, and passed away, that this site and these posts will be some strange receptacle and transmission tower of hosted minutiae, otherwise lost (that week where you posted the 9 second french test videos, if you know the ones i mean, is astonishing, the archival work you are doing is really unparalleled) and instead cornered here, somewhere, quietly, among the comings and goings of an entire imagined and real artistic community.

    funny that this post opens with acker’s romeo & juliet. i’m in a production of it right now, nine days to go coinciding with the commencement of the next university year. still stuck mid – against the day, beginning the INDesign process on sola virgo, and, in answer to your question from the other day, well, yes, i find narrative structures kind of daunting and a sidestep into something new and scary and less territorial. i have some ideas knocking around the block about a cow stuck in a white room and how the cow learns but well we will see where that goes. sola began as something else twelve months or so ago and now it’s continually growing.

    one of my flatmates is in the kitchen with his mother who coincidentally dropped around and the other one says hello and is wearing yellow, this arbiter colour that i’m fairly certain has never popped up in your work? other than maybe god jr., but seems to pop up ceaselessly without trying in mine and in my thinking. how old were you when you went the counselling route, if you don’t mind my asking? post-amsterdam? anyway, apologies for this ridiculous and absent minded and delirious comment, i’ve ascended into the opposite aisle of sleep deprivation in opposition to the last time we spoke.

    with love always

  2. David Ehrenstein

    I have always enjoyed Disco Balls

  3. Bill

    I think I remember this post, ha. Those firefly squid, wow! And that Bradley James sequence is hilarious.

    Let us know how the Apple artwalk/Shakespeare/pastry outing goes. In case you didn’t know already, there’s a new Amber Sparks to shop for at Shakespeare. I’ll probably start reading today…


  4. David Ehrenstein

    The Gay Koch Brother has died

    He used to go to “The Ninth Circle” a lot.

    Here’s a Sondheim song that describes him perfectly.

  5. Steve Erickson

    I’m dealing with the situation as best as I can, and I made an appointment for someone to come over to my apartment tomorrow morning to help me with it. It feels like things are moving as positively as possible, and I am trying to keep my feeling of dread at bay. I also finally had the blood tests and EKG in preparation for my cataract surgery done today.

    Did the post about Bradley’s hair originally come from Tumblr? It has that feel.

    Here’s my review of Angela Schanelec’s I WAS AT HOME, BUT…:

  6. _Black_Acrylic

    As David rightfully says, some delightful disco ball action to be found here.

    I was at another Short Story Writing class earlier, and again it was really good. Just writing the odd scraps of fiction has my confidence returning. There’s fewer people in the class this time, and a younger crowd too. I read out the Steven Millhauser quote from last week’s Varioso post which went down really well.

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