pleased to meet you, hope you guess my name

“Just keep still; keep together!”

6 December, 1969: A free live performance by the Rolling Stones at Altamont of “Sympathy for the Devil” with Hells Angels doing security descends into chaos.

Screenshot of the infamous Altamont concert from the film "Gimme Shelter"

Screenshot of the infamous Altamont concert from the film “Gimme Shelter”

spinning with a turkish drop spindle

Bizarrely, there just happens to be a news report about South African security and miners on in the background of this British instructional video, which I came across looking for footage of Sufi mevlevi (dervishes) directly after I posted the piece below (cf. connection of spinning, drilling, finding gold and freedom). I really find it so bizarre how often the messy layers of random stuff I find while looking for other things fit what I want to find more appositely than what I was looking for. What I am talking about goes way beyond confirmation bias… It’s uncanny… and partly what this blog is about is documenting these “curiouser and curiouser” moments that blossom outside of the frame.

Rumpelstiltskin Illustration: A H Watson

Illustration: A H Watson

I’ll bet what I am writing is not making much Sense and I should probably try to sleep. It’s 3 a.m. and the aftermath of this waking dream is only going to add up to fog at work tomorrow.

Rumpelstiltskin Illustration: John Gruelle

Illustration: John Gruelle

written on waking with a spinning head

birdcage thaumatrope

[7 may 2012]

i am a dervish
a thaumaturge
i spin very fast
bore downwards
pour stuff out of the top of me churned rich like butter as i whirl
why do i spin so?
the thing about spinning
is that it is an oscillation between opposites that generates the movement
it’s how motors work
it’s how hard drives work
it’s how atoms work
the spin is ambi-valence made physical
so i am always moving fast yet can seem to be going nowhere
in my indecision, in the swinging tension between irreconcilable polar opposites
i can actually drill down deeper
because i am always spinning, seeing both sides almost, but not quite,
it’s impossible to see both sides simultaneously
but the quicker you are at seeing multiple perspectives
eddying off on fractal tangents
the faster you spin
(and the dizzier it can make you and others)
how do you solve a problem like maria?

i am not moving linearly
not climbing a ladder
it does not mean i am unproductive
it does not mean i am trapped
the hum is just my motor running at a higher frequency than the
general populace
a powerful magnet
drawing stuff in constantly
flipping it over and over
360 degrees of perspective, 365 days a year
a thaumatrope

it’s a funny thing
i can actually spin, physically, round and round for ages and not get dizzy
i think this is how i manage to get through life, mentally
i am mostly able to tune out the vertigo
i have learned
others can’t
they can’t take how fast i am going all the time
the spinning keeps me upright
in perpetual motion but never able to choose only one definite course
drawing straws
in perfect tension
twirling thread
spinning gold
the speed of sound
affects aerodynamics
determinism and chaos
it’s all connected
all ways
in the dance of particles

gilles deleuze, regarding the dreamer’s dream

Gilles Deleuze
Cinema 2: The Time Image
 Chapter III. From Recollection to Dreams: Third Commentary on Bergson
3b: From the Optical and Sound Image to the Dream-Image
[regarding the dreamer’s dream:]
The virtual image which becomes actual does not do so directly, but becomes actual in a different image, which itself plays the role of virtual image being actualized in a third, and so on to infinity: The dream is not a metaphor but a series of anamorphoses which sketch out a very large circuit. [….] When the sleeper is given over to the actual luminous sensation of a green surface broken by white patches, the dreamer who lives in the sleeper may evoke the image of a meadow dotted with flowers, but this image is only actualized by already becoming the image of a billiard table furnished with balls, which in turn does not become actual without becoming something else. These are not metaphors, but a becoming which can by right continue to infinity.
In René Clair’s Entr’acte, the dancer’s tutu seen from beneath ‘spreads out like a flower’, and the flower ‘opens and closes its corolla, enlarges its petals, and lengthens its stamens’, to turn back into the opening legs of a dancer; the city lights become a ‘pile of lighted cigarettes’ in the hair of a man playing chess, cigarettes which in turn become the columns of a Greek temple, then a silo, whilst the chessboard becomes transparent to give a view of the Place de la Concorde.’
Gilles Deleuze, in Cinema 2, 1989: 54c-55, quoting Jean Mitry.

rené clair & erik satie – relâche/entr’acte

Relâche,  ballet instantanéiste en deux actes: un entr’acte cinématographique, et “la queque de chien” is a 1924 ballet by Francis Picabia with music composed by Erik Satie. The title was thought to be a Dadaist practical joke, as relâche is the French word used on posters to indicate that a show is cancelled, or the theatre is closed (and the first performance was indeed cancelled, due to the illness of Jean Börlin, the principal dancer, choreographer, and artistic director of the Ballets Suédois).

Still from "Entr'acte"

Still from “Entr’acte”

Picabia commissioned filmmaker René Clair to create a cinematic entr’acte to be shown during the ballet’s intermission. The film, simply titled Entr’acte, consists of a scene shown before the ballet and a longer piece between the acts. The score was also composed by Satie.

Entr’acte premiered as an entr’acte for the Ballets Suédois production Relâche at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris in 1924. The Dadaists collaborating on the project invented a new mode of production: instantanéisme. Watching the 20 minute film involves seeing people running in slow motion, things happening in reverse, looking at a ballet dancer from underneath, watching an egg over a fountain of water get shot and instantly become a bird, and watching people disappear. The cast included cameo appearances by Francis Picabia, Erik Satie, Man Ray, and Marcel Duchamp. The conductor of the orchestra at the premiere was Roger Désormière. The edition of the soundtrack featured here was conducted in 1967 by Henri Sauguet.