The blog of author Dennis Cooper



Pierre Huyghe
Barbara Kasten
Tatsuo Miyajima
Monica Bonvicini
Carlos Cruz-Diez
Leo Villareal
Su-Mei Tse
Phillip K. Smith III
Bruce Nauman
Anthony McCall
Conrad Shawcross
Paul Chan
Jennifer Steinkamp
Iván Navarro
Louisa Fairclough
Jim Campbell
Jenny Holzer
Ann Veronica Janssens
James Nizam
Philippe Parreno
Shun Ito
Joana Vasconcelos
Diana Thater
Angela Bulloch
James Clar
Cao Yuxi (James)


Pierre Huyghe L’Expédition Scintillante, Act 2 (2002)
In the installation L’expedition scintillante, Act 2 (2003), Pierre Huyghe creates a model of a concert stage where beams of light dance. A mist marks their passage and creates a sense of expectation in the viewer, evoked by an empty stage oriented toward a musical “elsewhere.”


Barbara Kasten Shadow = Light (2010)
In her latest exhibition, Kasten traces back to a familiar theme that has informed her practice since the 1970s: the interplay between light and form.


Tatsuo Miyajima Time Waterfall (2016)
The work was shown across the entire façade of Hong Kong’s iconic 490-meter-highInternational Commerce Centre on the Kowloon harbour-front.The numbers of different sizes all flow down over the surface of the building at the different speed, representing individuality of people and multi-temporality of time.


Monica Bonvicini Blind Protection (2009)
Blind Protection is a bundle of white neon tubes hung, turned on and blaring, from the ceiling. The light hurt my eyes.


Carlos Cruz-Diez Chromosaturation (1965)
The Chromosaturation is an artificial environment composed of three color chambers, one red, one green and one blue that immerse the visitor in a completely monochrome situation. This experience creates disturbances in the retina, accustomed to receive wide range of colors simultaneously. The Chromosaturation can act as a trigger, activating in the viewer the notion of color as a material or physical situation, going into space without the aid of any form or even without any support, regardless of cultural beliefs.


Leo Villareal Particle Field (2017)
Similar to the Cloud Drawings, the Particle Fields are two-dimensional and produced by software that creates moving abstract geometric shapes that never repeat. Villareal’s use of this new media allows him to work in a higher resolution, giving the works a sense of depth, detail and motion. While the monitors act as a window, using projectors allows the artist to create a fully immersive experience. The site-specific installation projects dynamic patterns of light in a space that viewers can physically enter and explore.


Su-Mei Tse Swing (2007)
If you’re like me you can’t wait to jump on for a ride, however it would all be over before it started as the entire piece is essentially a rigid light made of white neon tubes and controlled by a motor embedded in the ceiling.


Phillip K. Smith III Torus 7 (2014)
Acrylic, LED Lighting, Programmed Arduino, Electrical Components
36″ x 36″ x 7″


Bruce Nauman Green Light Corridor (1970)
Nauman enforces the contrast between the perceptual and physical experience of space in his sculptures and installations. Looking at the brilliant color emanating from Green Light Corridor (1970) prompts quite a different phenomenological experience than does maneuvering through its narrow confines.


Anthony McCall Various works (1973, 1974)
Anthony McCall is known for his ‘solid-light’ installations, a series that he began in 1973 with his seminal Line Describing a Cone, in which a volumetric form composed of projected light slowly evolves in three-dimensional space. Occupying a space between sculpture, cinema and drawing, his work’s historical importance has been internationally recognized.

Conical Solid (1974)

Line Describing a Cone (1973)


Conrad Shawcross Slow Arc Inside A Cube IV (2009)
Slow arc inside a cube is inspired by a description by the scientist Dorothy Hodgkin, responsible for working out the structure of pig insulin, a complex protein chain. Hodgkin did this by pioneering a technique called crystal Radiography, and compared the longwinded process of extrapolating the dense protein cloud from reams of chromatographic grids to trying to work out the structure of a tree from purely looking at its shadow. It is similar, of course, to Plato’s cave. The piece is the first in a series of works where a small but brilliant halogen light, on the end of an articulated arm, travels diagonally from one corner of a cube of mesh to its opposite side, the path it draws being not quite straight but slightly bowed. The piece is about the relationship between the moving point source of light, the cage, which is the only constant, and the changing shadow of this constant projected on to the walls of the space. It is the shadow of a cube, but it is not a silhouette but a shadow from within itself, maybe an inverse shadow is an effective way to describe it.


Paul Chan 1st ^Light^ (2005)
1st Light is the first of a seven-part cycle of animations in which Chan addresses the themes of religion, politics, and art. A shape-shifting parable of politics and religion in a post-9/11 world, Chan’s animation is both morally and aesthetically resonant. Drawn on a computer and projected on the gallery floor, the simple but dramatic silhouettes in the work describe an apocalyptic vision of the world. Shadowy bodies fall, earthly objects rise to the heavens.


Jennifer Steinkamp Madame Curie (2011)
The work was inspired by Steinkamp’s research into atomic energy, atomic explosions, and the effects of these forces on nature. Marie Curie was the recipient of two Nobel Prizes for creating the theory of radioactivity, and discovering radium and polonium. She was also an avid gardener and lover of flowers. An enveloping, panoramic work, this piece activates a field of realistically rendered moving flowers and flowering trees, drawn from a list of over 40 plants mentioned in Marie Curie’s biography, written by her daughter, Eve Curie.


Ivan Navarro Heaven or Las Vegas (2011)
In “Heaven or Las Vegas,” Navarro has created a series of neon light wall sculptures based on the floor plans of 12 of the world’s best known skyscrapers, including the Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai, Lotte World Tower in Busan, and the Twin Towers in New York. These buildings were chosen not only for their ambitious innovations in design and engineering but also for the historical paradigm of the global spread of Western architecture. Through a positioned play of mirrors and light, viewers have the experience of looking up into the interior elevation of each building. Many of the actual buildings are more than 1,000 feet high.


Louisa Fairclough Absolute Pitch (2014)
On each filmstrip is a single sustained note sung by a chorister who was given the instructions: “Close your eyes and sustain this (given note) for as long as you can. As you sing, picture a colour. Remember that colour”. Printed onto each filmstrip in parallel with the voice is a single block of colour. The five film loops cast the lines of the monoprint into physical space, the lengths of film slicing through the semi-dark. With the lenses pulled out of focus, the projectors throw large diffuse spots of colour and filmstrip shadow onto the walls and ceiling, the voices coinciding as the pentatonic harmony shifts through differing degrees of consonance.


Jim Campbell Exploded View (Commuters) (2016)
Jim Campbell realizes video imagery of walking commuters in an “exploded” grid of LEDs, where hanging, separated points of light offer a very low resolution 3-dimensional “screen”. As the viewer moves away from facing the grid head on, the imagery is lost in digital information.


Jenny Holzer Various works (2006 – 2010)


Ann Veronica Janssens Rose (2007)
Seven beams of light and artificial haze (360 x 250 cm)


James Nizam Visible Light (2013)
James Nizam, a Canadian artist, is creating geometric shapes using light and mirrors. Manipulating his surroundings, he takes advantage of the contrast between light and dark in order to create his sculptures. The installations utilize several lighting elements and mirrors in order to create a physical presence to the immateriality of light.


Philippe Parreno Marquees (2006 – 2015)
Parreno’s iconic Marquees were made between 2006 and 2015. The Marquees and pianos are sequenced to musical compositions by Agoria, Thomas Bartlett, Nicolas Becker, Ranjana Leyendecker, Robert AA Lowe and Mirways.


Shun Ito Orbit 2 (2015)
Après de longues années au sein de la compagnie de danse contemporaine Karas dirigée par Saburo Teshigawara, Shun Ito décide en 2001 de se consacrer à la sculpture cinétique. Les effets de la gravité, auxquels il a été particulièrement sensibilisé durant sa carrière de danseur, sont le thème principal de ses créations. La lumière est également un élément essentiel de son travail. La combinaison de lumières et de mouvements crée des rythmes complexes et une grande variété de formes et de couleurs, donnant à ses œuvres un effet cinématographique.


Joana Vasconcelos Giardino dell’Eden (2015)
Plastic flowers, synchronous micromotors, LED light bulbs, transparent polychrome acrylic discs, electric system, spandex, PVC, MDF


Mona Hatoum Current Disturbance (2010)
Current Disturbance is a room-filling environment made from stacked wire cages, light bulbs and the amplified sound of electric currents. As the bulbs light up and fade out at irregular intervals, they sporadically illuminate the surrounding room and the unruly mass of wiring covering the floor.


Diana Thater Chernobyl (2010)
Six video projectors and six players


Angela Bulloch Various works (2001, 2312)
For years Bulloch, with the help of Holger Friese and others, has been developing a series of works known as the ‘Pixel Cubes’. Each of the small, glass fronted plastic or wood boxes contains three fluorescent tubes. Using custom-made software, the fluorescents inside the cubes can be modulated to an almost infinite variety: 16 million colours, the same number as a standard computer screen. The individual cubes form the elements of a modular system which the artist then stacks up in different combinations, in cubes, towers, columns, or even as a cinema screen. Z-Point consists of 48 stacked light cubes that create a looped abstraction of the famous scene from Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point (1970) in which the heroine watches (or possibly imagines watching) the explosion of a Modernist house in the desert.

Angela Bullock Z Point (2001)


Angela Bulloch Disco 9 (2012)


RaumZeitPiraten CinemaBackyard (2015)
An audiovisual, urban intervention with the CycloCopters of the artists collective RaumZeitPiraten. The CycloCopters are custom-built, light and sound emitting vehicles for urban interventions. Different models of old freight bicycles were modified and customized towards mobile, opto-acoustic systems that can be used to board and transform public spaces. With this rideable instrumentarium we try to open the cities for audiovisual live-experiments and performances in search of widened associative spheres, expanding our and the participants understanding of the public space and its potential.


James Clar Dynomite (2006)
Dynomite is a series of audio interactive, tri-colour bars that pulse and change colour in rhythm with the music. Each bar has its own set of controls allowing the users to individually tune the colour, animation, and sensitivity, creating a multitude of combinations and effects.


Cao Yuxi (James) ORIENS (2017)
ORIENS is an Audiovisual installation finished in 2017 by Cao Yuxi(James) within a 30M*14M*14M space at Today Art Musum in Beijing. This installation utilize the three dimensions of this immersive mapping projection space, sinks the audience into external dimensional atom blackhole that beyond the human’s perception.




p.s. Hey. ** JM, Hi. My pleasure. She’s definitely best known for the two Paul Morrissey films, yeah. Of course, yeah, that makes total sense about the varying difficulty (or not) of getting rights. I’ve never worked on any project that was an adaptation, and it’s no doubt very different, but getting rights to pre-existing songs and music for films  is tricky, or can be, at least when your film has very limited coffers.  For ‘PGL’ two of the artists donated their tracks for free because they luckily knew and liked my work. In Zac’s and my next film, we want to use an early and fairly obscure track by Fleetwood Mac from their pre-mega fame psychedelic blues days. In theory, it seems like we could get it affordably but given FM’s subsequent massiveness, it could be that it wouldn’t be just licensing a barely known track but rather a piece of the inherently expensive Fleetwood Mac juggernaut. Thank you about my poems. A lot of them seem really young to me. I think if my memory is working that ‘Yuck’ is in my post-Selected Poems book of a few years ago, ‘The Weaklings (XL)’. ‘Paddington 2’, wow, okay. I never would have thought to try that. Interesting. Other than those two projects you mentioned, the main thing I’m working on and excited about is the script for Zac’s and my next film. There’s an opera project too, and I’ve done a bunch of work on it, but it’s on hold, work-wise, at the moment because it’s not happening until 2020 and there’s too much else to do. Thanks a lot, man. Have an excellent weekend. ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, H! Lovely to see you! One day belated very happy new book birth day! I haven’t finagled a copy out of Michael yet. Yes, of course, I would love to do a launch post for the book. Send me some post stuff, and I’ll get it up on the blog asap. Great idea, and thank you for offering. I’m good, busy working, and all seems well. And with you? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yes, the pronouns in the writing about Holly are all over the place. I don’t know Joe, but he sure does seem like the greatest guy. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. P. Morrissey is one complicated fella, that is for damn sure. I don’t know Tengger Cavalry, no. They sound quite oddly intriguing. I’ll look for the Joe’s Pub snips. Congratulations on the dawn of your Mehrdad Oskouei series. Obviously I wish I could be there to partake. Let me alert the lucky ones. Everyone, If you’re in the realm of NYC, Steve Erickson has curated a film series at Anthology Film Archives around the great and under-known and very difficult to see work of Iranian filmmaker Mehrdad Oskouei. It has just begun and runs for the next while. I very, very strongly encourage to get yourself to AFA if at all possible. Here is the information you might need to do that. And before we leave the topic of Mr. Erickson, here’s, in his words, ‘my interview with EL MAR LA MAR directors Joshua Bonnetta and J. P. Sniadecki: Their film begins a week-long run at MOMA today.’ I know Ark, but I haven’t heard the whole new album. I will. Sorry to hear about the film series snags. Hope they get sorted. It sounds like you had a nice start, though, and great that people are being so interested and letting you know. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! I know, I know, Steven Stayner’s story is a terrible and awfully tragic one. I feel like there was a film made about it, maybe for TV, maybe a really shitty one, I cannot remember? IKEA is so exhausting. When I have to go there I just try to think about what a cool, giant haunted house attraction you could build in it. What was the theater thing? I hope it was good or better than. My day was pretty much totally uneventful. I worked with fair success. I’m close to finishing the gif book. I suddenly had this strange whim to go see the new ‘Maze Runner’ film, but I didn’t actually go through with the plan. Really not much of anything noteworthy at all. I’m going to look for stuff to do this weekend by hook or crook. How was your weekend from A to Z? ** Ferdinand, Hi, man. Cool, I’m going to head over to your booktube momentarily. I want to see all of the episodes. Call me a completist. Great, back to your real work then. Did the booktube project refresh you? Everyone, Ferdinand’s booktube’s concentration on Downtown Writing concludes with one final themed volley. You can go straight to it here, and then backtrack through the episodes you missed if you want. ** KEatOn, Thanks, bud. Warhol’s books are underrated. I love his novel ‘A’. I need Mexican so bad. Some new Mexican place just opened here. Gonna hit it. Gonna hit it with hope in my heart. There are werewolves in Zac’s and my new movie. Not real ones. Guys dressed up unconvincingly as ones. Two teens and a guy in his 20s. So far. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Yeah, the repost will happen. I just have see if it’s in the archive I’ve already uploaded to this space or in the portion that’s still on a hard drive, in which case it’ll take a little longer. Oh, good, about the Vision building still functioning as before. Oh, man, as some who’s tried to distribute things myself with Little Caesar and other things, I don’t think you want to tax your time taking care of that stuff. ** Misanthrope, Hi. Your youthful badness seems to have aged like a fine wine into devilishness. I have a theory that every truly inspired idea is, as you said, either the worst or best idea ever. So chase it, I say. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. That Dalkey Spackman book is o.o.p.? That’s ridiculous. Wtf?! Did JD say why they dislike his work? How weird. That sucks. Glad your insides are back to being groovy at least. The rest will follow but what a marathon. Paris is having a cold spell, a real wintery time. Double scarf weather. It’s nice when you’re prepared. It’s supposed to be inordinately cold here until the end of next week. Yes, the new Superchunk, I agree. I love it, and, yeah, I think it is their best since ‘Foolish’. I love them, and what I love about them is actually there pretty fully for the first time in ages. Albums-wise … I’m mostly listening to scattered new tracks. Oh, I fell back in love with Destroyer’s ‘ken’ and have been listening to that incessantly. And the first two Pinback albums are in one of their occasional dominating phases for me. I don’t think there’s a whole brand new album other than the Superchunk that I’m spinning in full right now. ** Bernard, B. Sweet: you dancing with Holly. I met her once in LA some years ago when a friend of mine was working as her right hand assistant. It was at some post movie premiere party, I cannot remember the movie. Keanu Reeves was there, and she was out of her mind with lust and motormouthing non-stop about that lust. She was spectacular. How are you writing about John Cage? I’m intrigued. ** Right. I made one of my thematic post things revolving, this time, around lights. I hope it, uh, illuminates your weekends. See you on Monday.


  1. Hi!

    Yeah, there’s a “miniseries” that goes by the same title as the book. I haven’t watched it yet but I’ve already got it on my computer so that’s what comes next.
    Haha, it didn’t occur to me but now that you mentioned it… you’re right! Next time I go there, I’ll look around with that idea in mind!
    The theater piece was brilliant. It was a piece performed by a single actor. He played at least 7 or 8 different characters and he was absolutely amazing! I have this thing that I tend to free-style or role-play even when I’m alone and I was drawn to this piece because I wanted to see how it looks when it’s played out “for real”. It was as if I was looking at different persons every time he switched roles: his whole face, his voice and use of the language, his whole body changed. Really, it blew my mind.
    I’m very, very excited about your new GIF book!!
    Is ‘Maze Runner’ the one with Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario? Did the whim resurface – did you watch it?
    I’m writing now because I’m going to visit a friend of mine in the afternoon and I’ll have a free-style day with Anita tomorrow so… now’s the time to breathe and write letters, haha. I’m looking forward to both of these plans – my friend and her partner just bought a tiny pug puppy and I’m so, so excited to see him, haha!
    I hope you have a great weekend! What happened?

  2. David Ehrenstein

    February 24, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Regarding music rights: Todd Haynes spent months trying to get permission form Bowie to use One Lousy Fucking Song of His for “Velvet Goldmine.” He wouldn’t budge. So Todd used B-sides by other performers and groups of the period — which actually worked out better.

    It’s Michel’s Birthday He’s 86, and recently married to Macha Meril.

  3. This is a really beautiful Day. The art-themed Days–the one on books recently and this, for example–sometimes revive this fantasy I’ve had of running a seminar for art and criticism students where we just go over the artists and ideas on this blog. (Of course, I’ve also wanted to do an an online course that just takes the blog as the nexus of the whole virtual society of coolness.) Anyway, I like that you focus on an essential element or form and then throw out possibilities. Plus I’m abysmally ignorant about contemporary art (as I always realize when I go to New York) so something like this helps.
    Well, since you asked, I’ll try to say briefly: It’s a 5 or 7 hour program spotlighting Cage, very close to the original Black Mountain campus, indoor and outdoor simultaneous events. Some are videos, I think, including the documentary about tons of different people performing 4’33”. I was invited to do something similar to a couple of performances I’d done in DC, where I read a text and an experimental music duo played; we did not try to coordinate our contributions other than a time period and title. But no composer collaborator seemed available, and I decided to just read.
    So I decided to write out of this tension between planning and happenstance, because of course one thing that Cage (and Burroughs and others) really drew me towards was writing using chance to undermine your intentions, to find a better intention. And I decided to write about the days when I was taking dance classes and learning about the avant-garde (because I wrote back then but I came to experimental stuff more from dance than poetry at first) and also how all that interacted with my sex and love life (which, God, I never write about), just writing associatively; and then, when I feel like it’s done, randomizing the whole thing sentence by sentence to destroy any sense of cause or consequence or build-up or climax or lessons out of it. I’ve played around with this already and i like how it isolates the sentences to appreciate them formally. And that’s my tribute to Cage.

    I meant to say yesterday that I always felt that Holly’s persona was a riff on Blanche Dubois, and that I had this fantasy that in addition to the movies she made, someone would get her a place in a theater company where she could play some of the roles she’d be amazing in: Blanche Dubois, Shakespeare’s Cleopatra, Gertrude in Hamlet, Medea , Clytemnestra, Phaedra, Nora Helmer . . . we really have not begun to explore the artistic possibilities of drag or onnagata or cross-gender casting.

  4. After Bowie died, Haynes was finally able to use one of his songs in WONDERSTRUCK!

    As far as Fleetwood Mac, Fassbinder used “Albatross” in WORLD ON A WIRE, but that was before they became superstars, and even he probably had a bigger music clearance budget than you guys do.

    I’m doing an album review for Gay City News on HOLY HANDS, VOL. 2 by a glam-dance-pop one-man band called Felix and the Future, who remind me of a mix of Lady Gaga, HUNKY DORY & ZIGGY STARDUST-era Bowie and Perfume Genius. It’s a dystopian sci-fi concept album, book-ended by two versions of the song “Karen,” which is about the singer’s ambivalent relationship to a nasty woman who functions as a metaphor for various things. The music is attractive, but Felix’s voice is very theatrical and affected, and in their earlier videos, he was constantly straining for notes he wasn’t technically able to hit.

    I’m seeing a French film tonight, Patrick Mondino’s WILD DOGS. It sounds intriguing: a LORD OF THE FLIES/CLOCKWORK ORANGE-style concept about violent and delinquent teenage boys sent to an island, except that all the boys are played by women. Have you seen it?

  5. Hey Dennis, sorry I’ve been so mum… things have been chaotic at work, what with the yearly inventory coming up this weekend, and I don’t know if you heard this over in France, but last week Barnes & Noble fired nearly 2,000 full-time employees: receiving managers, head cashiers, digital leads, and so on… essentially all full-time employees who weren’t managers. The company’s a fucking husk of what it used to be. One of my younger brothers (Tom) started working at the B&N I work at (I started in Feb. 2004, he started July 2005, so this was his 13th year there) and he was fired that Monday because he was the store receiving manager. We also lost our two head cashiers, one of whom had been there for around 20 years, since the store opened. Needless to say I’m not happy… though in truth the company has been on the decline since around 2008 or so. Anyway, morale at work is low, everyone is paranoid as to when they’ll be cut next, we don’t have enough employees to do all the work that needs to be done (and have had to resort to using part-time temp workers from the holiday season, many of whom haven’t been properly trained)… it’s just a mess. I should stress my manager wasn’t happy about having to fire Tom, as she likes both him and myself and is friends with my dad, but she had no choice in the matter. And the idiots who run the company at the home office decide to make these cuts right before inventory! My own prediction is that there’s no way this company will be around in 5 years.

    Oh, last night I started reading New Juche’s “Mountainhead,” which James Nulick recommended to me recently (and as you know, I also recently enjoyed the novella of his from Amphetamine Sulphate). To use an archaic term of appreciation, I like the cut of this fellow’s gib: his masturbatory obsession with big breasts is something I could happily read for days on end, ha ha.

  6. Hi Dennis,

    This post inspired me to share my friends’ band Sound of Ceres because of their intense, DIY laser light show. My pal Jacob’s sole role in the band is to design these crazy lighting effects, which they then tour around performing in regular smallish rock clubs. It’s pretty great and fits the music well. Here’s a little video I made from footage I recorded at a recent show in Los Angeles:


    Speaking of shows in LA, one of my movies is screening at the Echo Park FIlm Center tonight! You/this blog have a weird connection to this screening because I first discovered EPFC when I was trying to see a secret screening of Like Cattle Towards Glow. It was actually screening at a venue ~behind~ EPFC. We walked into the wrong screening space and ended up sitting through 15 minutes of vintage tv commercials before determining with absolute certainty that it wasn’t the pop-up porn theater I was looking for. I thought they were just breaking things up with old commercials, lol. The real venue was clearly identified as soon as we walked in–they were projecting a movie featuring a guy getting fucked by a demon.

  7. 24.02.18
    “Dear Dennis,
    I’m in the city in my hotel right now. Someone I have known about but never met committed suicide today and I’m hearing about it while cars blast Young Thug and listless pop outside. Drunks mount together. Their voices are not alone. “We are still awake” – the guy I’m here with says hi. I spent $12.50 on an exorbitant-but-worth-it gelato. I’m 90% sure he jerked off in the bunk above b/c of the way I felt it move. We talked to two East Londoners in the showers and I tested my accent for Moonfleece on them. Maori culture is amazing but silent in this city. I went into a gucci shop and it’s the worst I’ve felt in months. I am writing this out of tiredness – it will help me sleep. Maybe I’ll post it on your blog tomorrow. A neon bank light will guide me sleep tonite. We had a fire alarm here! The street was lovely after that and one voice was strangely combative. This mattress is soft, so I’ll sink. May yours be soft, pages long.”

    – J

  8. So ordered my holiday tickets, kept trying to order tickets for Roman and got frustrated, so it’s Paris and Athens. Athens could be fun, right? I had a really good food-truck tamale the other day. I bought a blender, used to be able to make a really delicious yet simple salsa, tomatoes, onion, and jalepenos, yummy. Just watched the Universal Wolfman movies again. You guys are some serious filmers. Cant wait to see PGL. I keep thinking it will remind me of the Green Ray. Remember that light-up Rickenbacker guitar?

  9. The whole music rights thing in relation to film must be a nightmare. I’ve heard of so many instances of problems in rights! The Leftovers, the HBO TV show, has one of the best soundtracks of the last few years but even their first choices were declined frequently…. Fleetwood Mac sounds like an awesome way to either familiarize or defamiliarize/destabilize immediately, I hope that pans out well for you… yes, Paddington 2 is awesome! At least, if you like silent comedies (a la Chaplin) then you definitely should try it 🙂

    Opera sounds fun but I’ve always found it inaccessible. Maybe I haven’t seen the right one – I do like Ashley’s TV-Opera’s though.


  10. Wow, WILD BOYS is one of the best new films I’ve seen so far this year. It’s like the love child of Ulrike Ottinger, Guy Maddin and Raul Ruiz, with a lot of literary influences thrown in too: LORD OF THE FLIES, TREASURE ISLAND, Genet and Burroughs. But it winds up in a far different place than I expected. The narrative begins with 5 teenage boys (all played by women) raping a woman, getting caught and exiled to an island, after a passage involving some homoerotic antics onboard a ship helmed by a middle-aged captain. The film is loaded with bluntly sexual imagery, to the point where a few scenes draw on the visual vocal of hardcore porn. (I also liked the voice-over at one point: “sweet and salty, hard and yielding.” I can’t imagine what those phrases could be alluding to.) The direction is blatantly artificial, to the point of making Fassbinder’s QUERELLE (which it sometimes evokes) resemble a documentary. There are unexplained jumps between b&w and color cinematography, and very obvious back projection. It’s extremely pleasurable visually, and it explores the idea of a sexual utopia once the boys arrive on the island, but it can’t escape the sense that cruelty is inherent to such fantasies. For the first 90 minutes, the film seems to be putting forth the pessimistic POV that sex and violence are inseparable, and that women and gay men are not innocent from the ugliness this creates. Despite the distancing impact of the rear projection and the use of actresses to play boys, the real-world implications of the narrative are unmistakable. Then it goes in a new direction; while the final point, which it really hammers home, struck me as a bit naive and sentimental, it makes a case for figuratively castrating the Harvey Weinstein of the world and viewing trans women as prophets, turning the penis from a phallic weapon into just another biological organ. Despite the fact that I think all the actors are cisgender, it’s a more radical film than A FANTASTIC WOMAN, which turns into a wallow in a trans woman’s humiliation and grief (and I’m saying this despite the inclusion of 2 rape scenes.) Sadly, no U.S. distribution lined up. In some ways, this seems weirdly topical right now, despite its deep roots in queer film and literature; in other ways, I think the politically incorrect way that topicality and its politics are expressed would piss off some spectators and critics were it theatrically released here at the moment.

  11. The swing is so beautiful. I would work some of the other pieces quite differently; maybe a project for the summer. (That’s my mantra these days: we’ll do something fun in the summer.)

    Hung out with Mike Khoury from Detroit; he’s in town to perform Atlas with Leyva Tawil. What an intense and obsessive piece. The Berlin version:



  12. Hey Dennis!
    How are you?
    As someone who loves anything involving light and colours, this post was for me! I pretty much like everything here unreservedly and it’s one of those nice posts to go through slowly on a weekend. I don’t even have a favourite piece, I love them all. Coincidentally, Hannah’s folks were out and about seeing the Festival of Lights (I think) in Brussels over the weekend and some of it sounded wonderful. There was a kind of fake Northern Lights, which sounds like heaven to me.
    How are the scripts going? Have you made any headway with the assigned project yet? I’m still in a totally positive place with my own screenplay, which is unheard of with my usual crumbling confidence and self-doubt.
    How was your weekend? Mine’s been fine, even though it contained an uptight and slow dinner with some of Hannah’s weird relatives.
    May Monday be the kind of day that you wouldn’t mind repeating.
    Risque love,

  13. Wow so much great work here. Ooh Anthony McCall is showing right now at the Hepworth in Wakefield, so I’ll be sure to check that out next time I’m down in Leeds.

    Re the Yuck ‘n Yum compendium, I took your distribution advice and have sent a couple of emails today to independent Scottish publishers. Here’s hoping that might turn something up. Also, today was the deadline for proposals for the YNY Seattle exhibition and we’ve had a really great response! Like over 30 submissions which is majorly gratifying.

    • Ben,

      I live in Seattle, do you have space in your Yuck ‘n Yum show for something textual? I could contribute a readable piece if you’re interested. I have the body of a gangly 14 yo but the heart of a 400lb shut in, perhaps getting outside would do me some good. Please email me if interested..

      j nulick at gmail dot com

  14. Dennis,

    This is a very pretty post. You have a very fine curatorial eye. This was especially welcome because it’s doing this weird snowing/ hailing / raining thing here in Seattle right now and it’s really dark and depressing, so your Lights post is quite welcome!

    Hey Dennis have you ever read Jason Williamson? I ordered his book Slabs from Paradise directly from the publisher, Amphetamine Sulphate. The book … in classic chapbook format, is a real hoot. There’s a story in it about a young man who happens to be a cocaine fiend and enjoys doing cocaine, masturbating to Pornhub and all the while working out furiously. I was cracking up and for some reason it made me think of you, ha! I believe he is British. Anyway, I think you would enjoy this disturbing little collection of short stories.

    Happy Monday!


  15. Dennis, I like the lights. I do indeed.

    Haha, well, thank you, sir. What I’m trying to hammer into LPS’s head is that one can be badass without getting in trouble. Or without hurting others or themselves or ending up in fucking prison.

    Of course, this thing with him did get me to thinking about my past, which I hate to do…or the bad stuff. Fuck, I was in a lot more fights than I realized. But they were just fights, the other dudes started them, and when they were over, they were over, usually getting broken up before anything really bad happened.

    I’m chasing it, my man.

    I saw BLACK PANTHER today. I liked it. It was fun and funny and had lots of action. I saw it more as a comment about the hearts of men than anything else.

  16. Hi Dennis, nice lights. I’m on a roll with seeing/reading some good stuff, which is not often the case. First, thank you for recommending The Loser. Very meaningful to me. I forget how you originally mentioned it, but I got the idea from you. Tonight I saw Jarmusch’s Paterson, which I thought was excellent. I cried, but that’s not unusual for me. I cry pretty easily – I’m a sensitive lad, you know. And, like you, I tend to shy away from huge books (unlike Sypha!) but I’m getting hooked on Murakami’s 1Q84…didn’t think I would, but I’m taking it a chapter at a time and enjoying it. Trying not to be daunted by the length. So it’s good to be in “reading mode” again…hoping to be in writing mode after I finish this big thing. Can’t do both at once. I’ve had a lot of agent rejections on this novel I’ve been fighting for. The latest was that he liked it a lot, but didn’t love it enough to rep it. Only one agent left, I think, who’s got the ms, and then I’ll have to decide if I want to contact my publisher who has offered to publish it. He did a nice job with the first one, but trying for something a little better, where I can get editing, publicity, etc, a little help with the process. Take care, man.

  17. I didn’t actively seeking out music here per se. I really decided to take a break from it all, though bumped in to plenty of traditional musics along the way and bought a bunch of recordings. The ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh was full, lots of houses on stilts, thatched roofs, next to new concrete structures they favor here, rice patties, palm trees, Delta’s, white cows disturbing traffic, the driver driving on both sides of the road, motor scooters with families of five or less, or carrying lumber or other such things, passing towns with loud rock or live gamalen music, road sides stands selling every type of thing, oh I don’t know lots to see and hear. Many generations of families hanging out. xo

  18. hi dennis, i work for jim campbell, and got a little boost of dopamine when i saw him featured here. i saw your reading with eileen at mcroskey this past fall in sf. i hope you make it back to the bay area soon. we miss you.

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