Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Artwork by Linder Sterling, 2011

Extract from Nina Power - One Dimensional Woman

What the autonomous breasts and the concomitant becoming­ CV of the human means is that the language of objectification may not be useful any longer, as there is no (or virtually no) subjective dimension left to be colonized. The language of objec­tification demands on a minimal subjective difference, what Badiou quaintly identified in the realm of personal relations as 'the intangible female right . . . to only have to get undressed in front of the person of her choosing.' In the realm of work we could call this the right not to have to lay bare one's entire personality and private life. In effect, this is what the world of work increasingly demands: that one is always contactable (by email, by phone), that one is always an 'ambassador' for the firm (don't write anything about your job on your blog), that there is no longer any separation between the private realm and the working day (Facebook amalgamates friends and colleagues alike). The personal is no longer just political, it's economic through and through.

Perhaps a further sign of the death of the objective/subjective opposition comes in the form of a parodic historical inversion. It's relatively acceptable for women to make general (usually whiny) claims about men, or to say that a man has a 'cute arse', even at work, because it's so obviously a toothless parody of the sexism of decades past. Objectification implies that there is something left over in the subject that resists such a capture, that we might protest if we thought someone was trying to deny such interi­ority, but it's not clear that contemporary work allows anyone to have an inner life in the way we might once have understood it.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Raf Simons Closer Collection Autumn/Winter 2003/2004

‘Closer’ was Raf Simons‘ fall/winter 2003/2004 collection. He worked together with the archive of Peter Saville (the graphics designer for bands like Joy Division and New Order). You will find little graphics of Peter Saville on jackets and sweaters. The fall/winter 2003/2004 collection “reflects on the process of growing up and (re)considering adulthood, citing references to childhood dress codes, formal business looks and ghetto." 

Autumn-Winter 2003-2004. Collaboration with Peter Saville. Hand-painting on garments executed by Stef Driesen and Antoinetta Deluca. Cis, Johan, Peter. Photographed by Willy Vanderperre. Hair: Tom Malomgre. Make-up: Peter Philips. Paris, 2003

"Raf is one of the great pioneers of convergence, transporting the art of sub-cultures into contemporary fashion"
Peter Saville, Graphic Designer

Peter Saville, he of the Joy Division/New Order sleeves and the finest Factory graphics is a landmark in British culture. Paid tribute to for A/W 03-04, German military parkas, flat caps, knitwear and more featured, with visuals – some never seen – from the Saville's archive, selected by Simons. The collection nodded to vintage British looks, dedicated to the man who has done so much for music and visual art, as well as reflecting on the process of growing up – childhood dress codes and formal business looks contrast each other. Handworked parkas from Closer were included in the Peter Saville exhibit at London's Design Museum, 2003.

This season, Raf Simons was granted full access to the archives of Peter Saville. Raf Simons made a personal selection of Saville-designed works (some of them previously unseen) to integrate them into his collection. As a long-time admirer of Peter Saville, Raf Simons considers this a great honour, and therefore dedicates his collection to the man who put an unique spin on music culture. The collection itself focuses on traditional styles and fabrics, augmented by a mod influence. Linked to the aesthetics of Peter Saville, there are also touches of early Russian Constructivism, Bauhaus and vintage British looks. At the same time, the collection reflects on the process of growing up and (re)considering adulthood, citing references to childhood dress codes, formal business looks and ghetto rebellion.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Yayoi Kusama - Kusama's Self Obliteration

Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生 or 草間 弥生 Kusama Yayoi, born March 22, 1929) is a Japanese artist and writer. Throughout her career she has worked in a wide variety of mediums, including painting, collage, sculpture, performance art and environmental installations, most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colors, repetition and pattern.

Watching "Kusama's Self-Obliteration" may seem like a trial to many movie audiences, unaccustomed to the obsessive and obscure nature of experimental film. Still "Self-Obliteration" ends up being a fascinating time capsule from a time when society was bursting with creativity and revolution, and one woman from Japan came to define its ethos and aesthetics.

Only the film Kusama's Self-Obliteration can today still give an idea of the energy and radicality with which Yayoi Kusama provoked the New York art world of the late 1960s with her performances. The film documents the legendary 'nude happenings' of these years, and has been shown at numerous international film festivals and awarded several prizes. 

At this stage in her career, Yayoi Kusama was living in New York and struggling to make a living. America at this time was undergoing a cultural shift, after Civil Rights and Vietnam protests lead to the rise of hippie culture, and Kusama embraced this by creating a series of ‘happenings’, starting with audio-visual-light performances where she painted models in bikinis with fluorescent paints under black lights. Self-Obliteration was made using footage from some of these happenings.

Kusama herself stars in the 24 minute film, which starts with her in rural upstate New York, covering animals, plants and a naked male body with polka dots, and goes on to show body-painting happenings in the artist’s installation environments.

It was so popular in arthouse film circles that Kusama organised repeated screenings and set up a company to sell prints from the film by mail order.

Hippy art of the highest order, less a movie than a chunk of the social moment, the Yalkut opus is heavy on zooms and multiple superimpositions. Accompanied for most of its 24 minutes by Group Image’s endless wah-wah drone, it begins fairly sedately somewhere in Woodstock with deadpan Kusama al fresco, embellishing lily pads and decorating a horse, and builds up to an orgiastic frenzy in a crowded underground dive, possibly the East Village venue known as Tambellini’s Black Gate. With the artist and her associates using the crowd as their canvas, ecstatic free-form solo dancing by paint-caked tranced-out celebrants gives way to tantric groping and random dry (as well as not so dry) humping.

YK: So many ideas were coming forth one after another in my mind that sometimes I had trouble knowing what to do with them. In addition to making painting, sculpture and avant-garde fashion, I made a film called Kusama’s Self-Obliteration. I starred in, directed and produced it, and Jud Yalkut filmed one of my Happenings in Woodstock. I think I staged about two hundred Happenings all over the place.
Grady Turner: What is the meaning of “self-obliteration?”
YK: By obliterating one’s individual self, one returns to the infinite universe.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Zazou @ Kage, Dundee 27.07.12 - pictures

To the Kage last night for Zazou, Dundee's premier nitespot. I took a few photos and here they are: 

The name of the club is Zazou

Djs  Stefan Blomeier and Il Discotto
 Dancing lessons from Suspiria

The crowd go wild

A psychedlic trip into the centre head space......
full steam ahead obscure euro disco........
cosmic space party crashes......
age of Aquarius weirdo guitar fuzz Charlie-don't-surf hotrods......
For a sample of what Zazou is about, check this mix from resident DJ Il Discotto. Transy Groves is available for free download via Soundcloud here: 

Friday, 27 July 2012

(((echo))) @ DCA 26.07.12 - pictures

To the DCA last night to deliver a talk as part of their (((echo))) event. Artwork by myself and other Dundee-based artists got installed in the galleries for the evening. Curator Graham Domke took a few photos, and here they are:

Your correspondent holds forth

Valerie Norris - Songs for Girls to Sing, 2012
Cinthia Marcelle - Capa Morada, 2003

Rob Pruitt - Evian Fountain, 2012
Dan Shay - Untitled, 2012
Rob Pruitt - Google Search: Sweetie Sunshine Edinburgh Pandas, 2012
Rob Pruitt - Esprit de Corps: Cowboy / Mobius Strip, 2006
Ben Robinson - Suicide Beyonce, 2004

Eilidh McNair - Involution


Bought a few items:

Nina Power - One Dimensional Woman (Zero Books), £2.82

David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest (Abacus), £6.61

Karen Novotny X - Nothing Here Now But These Recordings: 78-79 (The Great Pop Supplement), £9.99

Gallifré ‎– Chicago Boogie Rhythm Tracks (Danica Records), £8.00

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Willo the Wisp

A series of 5 minute cartoons about a group of inhabitants of a forest. Willo the Wisp is a sprite formed from gas who narrates each story. Other characters included Evil Edna (a witch shaped like a TV), Mavis (a rather overweight fairy), The Moog, The Argonauts (strange alien things that flew around in a mushroom), etc.

Willo the Wisp is a British cartoon series originally produced in 1981.

In the first series, Kenneth Williams provided voices for all of the characters, which included these main characters:

Willo the Wisp, the narrator. A blue floating ghost-like creature, Willo had a long pointed nose which caricatured that of Williams. The name refers to the ghostly light will-o'-the-wisp from folklore.
Arthur the caterpillar (as a gruff cockney).
Mavis Cruet, a plump clumsy fairy with erratic magical powers.
Evil Edna, a witch in the form of a walking, talking television set who could zap people with her aerials.
Carwash, a snooty bespectacled cat with a character based on Noël Coward.
The Moog, a supposed "dog" who is unable to think for himself.
Twit, a small bird.

The series was written and directed by Nick Spargo and produced by Nicholas Cartoon Films in association with the BBC and Tellytales Enterprises. The character of Willo the Wisp originated in an educational animation created by Nick Spargo for British Gas plc in 1975 and the stories were set in Doyley Woods, a small beech wood in Oxfordshire, near the director's home. Each of the original 26 episodes lasted approximately 5 minutes and were broadcast at 5:35pm on BBC1, a tradition as short cartoons were always shown between the end of the main children's BBC drama or sitcom for that afternoon, and the BBC Evening news at 5:40pm.

Kenneth Williams narrated Willo The Wisp, a cartoon about strange goings-on in Doyle Woods. The characters included Arthur the cockney caterpillar, Mavis Cruet the Hattie-Jacques-esque fairy, Carwash the intelectual cat, Moog the dim sausage dog and Evil Edna the villainous TV set.
Williams' face was immortalised as ghost-like gossip Willo, the only character with any real brains. He rarely joined in with the action, instead narrating the activities of the forest freaks.
Stories often involved Evil Edna turning a member of the cast into a toad, by using lightning bolts from her antennae.

Of the U.K. cartoons, my favorite was Willo the Wisp, with Kenneth Williams doing all the voices and the late Nick Spargo writing and directing. I still like that one. British TV cartoons had their ups and downs, but at their best they had a trippy absurdity that U.S. kids' cartoons weren't allowed to have at the time, and they could even fit in a little bit of political and social commentary: "Evil Edna," the most popular and famous character, was both a parody of Margaret Thatcher and a warning of the dangers of letting TV control your life.

Debuting in a 1975 animated special for British Gas - Super Natural Gas, obviously - the Willo The Wisp character soon made it to the 5.35pm slot in his own animated show, of which twenty-six episodes were produced. Ah...a time before Neighbours, when children's television extended all the way to the news but, like that later show, Willo The Wisp attracted a mix of kids and adults within its audience. Where one group was doubtless attracted by the bright colours, funny little stories and the mostly sweet characters, adults would have noted Kenneth Williams' arch and witty narration and would have tuned in to hear a distinctly adult tone within a children's animated show. Even in 1981, with his best years, such as those when he was a regular in the Carry On films, behind him, Williams could still attract an audience who realised that, like Peter Cook, he was always best when simply being himself.

And so it proves in Willo The Wisp, with the waspish Williams providing a pointed narration, via a character animated to bear a remarkable similarity to the actor, as well as the voices for the cast. His Arthur is a down-to-earth little caterpillar who is at his happiest when munching on a blade of grass but whose search for an easy life is foiled both by his own inability to metamorphose into a moth as well as the desperate schemes of those around him, such as Mavis the fairy, the Moog, the Beast and Carwash the cat. Hence, an episode such as The Flight Of Mavis, features Arthur reaping the benefits of the summer harvest whilst, beside him, poor little Mavis starves herself until she is light enough to take to the sky. Until, that is, Evil Edna intervenes and the appearance of a Fairy Cake Tree spells an end to Mavis' airborne adventure.

Of course, watching it now, one cannot help but be struck by Evil Edna, the TV-shaped witch, who is, with the exception of one episode, never anything less than mean to her co-habitants in Doyley Wood. Were it any more obvious, each episode would have been accompanied by a warning on the dangers of television and, as such, Willo The Wisp harks back to a time when watching too much television was only considered slightly less hazardous than a return of the Black Death and so this, alongside the BBC's Why Don't You..., asked of the view why they continued to do something as dull as watch television. Indeed, the role of Evil Edna the television set is to spoil the enjoyment of the more innocent pastimes enjoyed by the other creatures in Doyley Wood. It all looks to be rather quaint now, given that many parents would dearly love for their children to be sat inside watching television in preference to being at risk from the paedophiles that the News Of The World suggest live on every street in the land but watching it is a happy little experience, immeasurably helped by the jaunty theme tune that opens and closes each episode.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Yuck 'n Yum summer 2012 launch - pictures

To Glasgow's Old Hairdressers last night for the launch of the Yuck 'n Yum summer 2012 issue. Live music was brought by Neighbourhood Gout, while Conquering Animal Sound and Good Press provided DJ sets. I took a few photos and here they are:

The name of the zine is Yuck 'n Yum

Pre launch prep time

The upstairs room

The name of the band is Neighbourhood Gout

The deadline for the Yuck 'n Yum AGK is on August 31st: http://agk.yucknyum.com/

Stop press: extra Facebook photo set here.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Doris Norton

Italian producer. She is the wife of Antonio Bartoccetti and mother of Anthony Bartoccetti alias Rexanthony.
During the 80s she was sponsored by Apple Computer, and made a music program for IBM USA.
Doris Norton (pioneer in the early electronic/computer music) began her musical carrer playing avant-garde and progressive music using synthesizers such as Roland System 700, Roland system 100M and Minimoog. In december 1980 she recorded, at the Fontana Studio 7 (Milan), her first solo album entitled "Under Ground" (Musik Research). Sponsored by Apple computer and the Roland Corporation music instruments, she was more involved in experimental electro computerized music and recorded the albums "Parapsycho" (1981), "Raptus" (1981, Durium), "Nortoncomputerforpeace" (1983), "Personal Computer" (1984), "Artificial Intellingence" (1985).

Generally considered to be the Italian equivalent of Klaus Schulze in terms of her contribution to the development of early electronic music, Norton has worked with various high-profile artists, labels and electronic companies over the years to produce some of the most inventive and experimental music even by today's standards. Norton initially started out in the field of avant-garde and progressive music before, like many other artists around the time, discovering the first wave of analogue synths. 'Raptus' was recorded in 1981 at a very prolific period for Norton that saw her not only forge her own unique electronic style but find herself working as a musical consultant for both Apple and IBM. Generally regarded to be one of her finest releases, 'Raptus' is an assault on the senses with analogue synths and arpeggios flying about like nobody's business. It certainly has a lot in common with the Italo-disco movement and that primitive use of arpeggio rhythms coupled with live beats is as intoxicating now as it would have been at the time.   

I don’t know much about Doris Norton, even her official biography is quite terse. I’ve been able to listen to only one LP of hers – which I’ve discovered quite by accident: Personal Computer… but I’m sold.
IMHO this is one of those innovative yet fairly unknown albums of that period. One can even recognize the premises of the IDM genre (as we know today) from one track to another. The LP’s been released in 1984.

Long before U2 sold iPods, Apple’s first music “endorsement” was what you might have expected from a young computer company started by a couple of hackers: Doris Norton, an Italian-born musician-turned-producer whose pioneering compositions in avant-garde and progressive music were abetted by synthesizers like the Roland System 700, Roland system 100M and the Minimoog. Her first solo album, titled, “Under Ground," and released on the Musik Research label, came emblazoned with an Apple logo on the front. Six years later, she would become a music consultant for IBM.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that large technology companies were once just tiny startups stacked with nerds genuinely interested in electronic music and engineering. But this is all really just an excuse to share a few of Norton’s magnificent songs, in all their 8-bit glory.

Friday, 20 July 2012

(((echo))) @ DCA 26.07.12

Ben Robinson - Suicide Beyonce, 2004

Come along to this popular event designed to provoke discussions about DCA exhibitions. There will be a series of temporary interventions and presentations by local artists.

I'll be discussing Suicide Beyonce in the context of Rob Pruitt's 2012 screenprint Google Search: Sweetie Sunshine Edinburgh Pandas.

Time: 18:30–20:00
Price: FREE