- “Journey in Satchidananda” – 6:39
- “Shiva-Loka” – 6:37
- “Stopover Bombay” – 2:54
- “Something About John Coltrane” – 9:44
- “Isis and Osiris” – 11:49
All compositions by Alice Coltrane. Tracks 1–4 recorded at the Coltrane home studio, Dix Hills, New York, on November 8, 1970; track 5 recorded live at The Village Gate, New York City, on July 4, 1970.
A live recording.
From Wikipedia :
In 1976, at age 16 and as a member of theMelbourne punk rock band Young Charlatans, Howard wrote “Shivers”. Discussing the song’s origins, Howard said that “Shivers” was “intended as an ironic comment on the way that I felt that people I knew were making hysterical things out of what were essentially high school crushes”. He further explained that the emotional responses of people he knew who were in relationships seemed “incredibly insincere and blown out of proportion” and inspired the cynical lyrics of the song.
Howard composed “Shivers” on an Ibanez Gibson Firebird copy, an electric guitar on which he performed on the first known recording of the song. Recorded as part of a series of demos for the Young Charlatans in 1978, it featured Howard on vocals and guitar, Ollie Olsen on guitar, Janine Hall on bass and Jeff Wegener on drums.
During sessions for Door, Door at Richmond Recorders in Melbourne in January 1979, the Boys Next Door recorded “Shivers”. Engineer Tony Cohen suggested that Howard perform the vocals for the track, arguing that his voice was best fitted for his own songs. However, the band’s regular vocalist, Nick Cave, insisted on singing on the recording. Howard said later that as a result of Cave’s vocals, “Shivers” was “interpreted completely differently and now the song, to most peoples’ minds, is something completely different from what I intended it to be”. In hindsight, Cave noted that Howard’s vocals should have been recorded, as Cave was “never able to do that song justice”.
Yuki, “The Snow”, was composed by Koto Minezaki, and is considered one of the most difficult yet also iconic pieces of Jiuta, a traditional Japanese genre performed here by Shufu Abe. In many songs or theatrical pieces in which cold, dark weather is mentioned, the melody of Yuki’s instrumental interlude is employed as a leitmotif.
The character is reflecting on her string of failed love affairs. She decides to retreat from society and become a nun. As she walks towards the monastery, soft snow begins to fall.
REIKIN (Steel-Stringed Koto/Lute)
SHAKUHACHI (Bamboo Flute)
HOTEKI (Japanese Flute)
Translation of the words (from HERE):
When I brush away
The flowers, and the snow-
How clear my sleeves become!
Truly it was an affair
Of long, long ago.
The man I waited for
May still be waiting for me.
The cry of the mandarin duck
Calling for his mate
From his freezing nest
Makes me feel sorrowful.
The temple bell at midnight
From my lonely reverie.
It makes me sad to hear
That distant temple bell.
When the patter of hail
Reaches my pillow,
I seem to hear, somehow,
His knocking on my door again.
And less and less am I able
To dam up my tears.
I no longer care about
This hard, bitter life.
I’m only sorry that
I still can’t think of
My former lover as sinful.
Ah, the discarded sorrows!
The forsaken world of sorrow!
Originally a silent film, this soundtrack was added by Nikos Kokolakis in 2015 – turn the sound off if you prefer.
About her fourth complete film, Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946), Maya Deren writes: “A ritual is an action that seeks the realisation of its purpose through the exercise of form… In this sense ritual is art; and even historically, all art derives from ritual. In ritual, the form is the meaning. More specifically, the quality of movement is not merely a decorative factor; it is the meaning itself of the movement. In this sense, this film is dance […] It’s an inversion towards life, the passage from sterile winter into fertile spring; mortality into immortality; the child-son into the man-father; or, as in this film, the widow into the bride”.
– Maya Deren: Chamber Films, program notes for a presentation, 1960
2016 National Arts Festival – Grahamstown
Alumni Gallery, Albany History Museum
30 June – 10 July
Lerato Shadi invites you to her latest solo exhibition and debut National Arts Festival appearance, Noka Ya Bokamoso. This exhibition by the Mahikeng born, Berlin based video and performance artist is one of the six visual art showcases chosen for the main programme.
The exhibition features four of Shadi’s latest works; two performative installations Makhubu and Mosako Wa Nako as well as two video works Sugar & Salt and Untitled.
Curator, Joan Legalamitlwa says,
“The works on the show were purposefully selected as they weave together history as told by and through the Black female body, in its truest and sincerest form, as it should be. Noka Ya Bokamoso is about the Black subject being in control of its own narrative and also about encouraging the visitors to do some introspection when it comes to matters of identity and representation.”
Makhubu is a work performed in the days preceding the festival, executed in absence of an audience. This performance involves Shadi arduously writing in concentric circles with a red pencil, then erasing the writing, leaving traces of the text on the wall and red remnants of the rubber eraser on the floor. This work looks at the historical erasure of the Black subject within the context of Grahamstown’s problematic history as well as historic erasure in the national narrative and how that has impacted on the kinds of stories that we currently tell. The absence of an audience becomes a corporeal metaphor, emphasising the ways in which South Africans, continue to construct a sense of nationhood unaware of significant violent acts that have shaped them.
For Mosako Wa Nako, Shadi will be seated one end of the gallery space for an uninterrupted six hours a day, over the eleven days of the Festival, crocheting what looks like be a red woollen carpet. Sugar & Salt, a video work featuring Shadi and her mother consuming a mineral in the form of salt and a carbohydrate in the form of sugar, makes references to the complexities and intricacies of mother-daughter relationships.
Untitled, Shadi’s latest video work, having its world premiere at the National Arts Festival, will be shot on location in her home village of Lotlhakane, in June 2016. The work consists of a two channel video work conceptualised in three parts: the first deals with the utmost extremes of individual resistance; the second deals with how Shadi experiences the impact of colonial language; the final part is an allegory of resistance.
Shadi’s work explores problematic assumptions projected onto the Black female body and how performance, video and installation create a space for artists to engage with those preconceived notions, making the body both visible and invisible. Using time, repetitive actions as well as stillness, she questions, ‘How does one create oneself?’ rather than allowing others or history to shape one’s person.
The key aim of Noka Ya Bokamoso is to re-center Shadi’s works to its primary audience – the South African audience. Shadi has practiced and exhibited in New York, Bern, Dakar, Moscow and Scotland and now seeks to utilise her work to foster and encourage dialogue around questions of historical knowledge production and its inclusion and exclusion of certain subjects. Her ultimate goal is that she, along with her audiences, will be encouraged not only to consume, but consciously engage in the processes of unearthing subsumed histories and producing critical knowledge.
Lerato Shadi lives and works in Berlin. She completed a BFA in Fine Art from the University of Johannesburg. She was included in The Generational: ‘Younger Than Jesus’ artists directory published by the New Museum, New York. In 2010 she was awarded a Pro Helvetia residency in Bern. In the same year she had her solo exhibition Mosako Wa Seipone at Goethe on Main in Johannesburg. From 2010 to 2012 she was a member of the Bag Factory artist studios in Johannesburg. In 2012 her work was featured at the Dak’art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal and in the III Moscow International Biennale. She is a fellow of Sommerakademie 2013 (Zentrum Paul Klee) and completed in the same year a residency program by invitation of INIVA at Hospitalfield (supported by ROSL). In 2014 she was awarded with the mart stam studio grant. She is currently completing her MFA at the Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee.
Noka Ya Bokamoso is made possible through the generous support of the National Arts Festival.
Directed by Naomi Yang of Galaxie 500 and Damon & Naomi, this video feels haunted by Maya Deren.
The following is excerpted from a feature essay on the LSE blog by Katie Collins, entitled “Woven into the Fabric of the Text: Subversive Material Metaphors in Academic Writing”. Collins proposes that we shift our thinking about academic writing from building metaphors – the language of frameworks, foundations and buttresses – to stitching, sewing and piecing. Needlecraft metaphors offer another way of thinking about the creative and generative practice of academic writing as decentred, able to accommodate multiple sources and with greater space for the feminine voice.
[W]hy do I regard switching from a metaphor of building to one of stitching as a subversive act? For several reasons. Throughout history, needlework has been a marker of femininity in its various iterations, a means to inculcate it, and something to sneer at as a way of shoring up women’s supposed inferiority. Theodore Roethke described women’s poetry as ‘the embroidering of trivial themes […] running between the boudoir and the alter, stamping a tiny foot against God…’ (165), for example. Women’s naturally nimble fingers were to be occupied; we were to be kept out of the way and out of trouble, shut in the top room of a circular tower and thus prevented from engaging in the masculine pursuits of politics, thinking, reading and writing and making Art (for a fascinating discussion on women, folk art and cultural femicide, I recommend this post by Dr Lucy Allen). The frills and fripperies our needles produced were ample evidence, should anyone require it, that we were frivolous creatures entirely unsuited to public life. Or so the story was. So using needlework metaphors in my academic writing blows a resonant raspberry to that notion, for one thing. But the subversion here is not as straightforward as reclamation, of presenting something usually disparaged as having value after all. Femininity and its inculcation is a displeasingly twisted yarn of benevolence and belittlement. The trick is to unpick the knots without snapping the thread and unravelling the beautiful work, to value that which has been constructed as feminine while at the same time escaping its constricting net.
Imagining academic writing as piecing fragments is one way of recognising that it can integrate all sorts of sources but, more significantly, piecing is also a decentred activity. When quilting, one can plan, cut and stitch many individual squares whenever there is a moment spare, before bringing them together to form the overall pattern, which is flat and in aesthetic terms may have no centre or many centres, and no predetermined start or end. This holds true both for the practice of quilting and how we might think differently about academic writing, with each contribution not a brick in a structured wall but a square ready to stitch onto other squares to make something expected or unexpected, the goal depth and intensity rather than progress (see Mara Witzling). There is sedition here in several senses. This way of imagining how writing works is not individualistic or competitive. Each voice is a thread, and only when they are woven together do they form a whole, as Ann Hamilton’s tapestries represent social collaboration and interconnectedness; many voices not one, cut from the same cloth or different.
But acknowledging that one might have to fit the work of writing around other things, a problem that has occupied me from the moment I became a mother, is a particularly rebellious act, I think. As Adrienne Rich expresses in the poem ‘Transcendental Etude’:
Vision begins to happen in such a life
as if a woman quietly walked away
from the argument and jargon in a room
and sitting down in the kitchen, began turning in her lap
bits of yarn, calico and velvet scraps,
laying them out absently on the scrubbed boards
in the lamplight, with small rainbow-colored shells
sent in cotton-wool from somewhere far away,
and skeins of milkweed from the nearest meadow –
original domestic silk, the finest findings.
This way of imagining academic writing as something that is part of life, rather than something apart, challenges the view of the scholar as the extraordinary, solitary genius who sits alone in his study day after day while the minutiae of clothing and food is organised for him, around him, despite him. But with metaphors that emphasise the piecing of fragments, both everyday and exceptional, we recognise a way of working in which every fragment that can be pieced together into a square is ‘the preservation of a woman’s voice’.
Read the whole of this great essay by Katie Collins HERE.
Excerpt from an article by Aya Lurie, from the exhibition catalogue: “The Naked Eye – Surrealist Photography in the First Half of the 20th Century”, 2013:
The languishing face of a strikingly beautiful young woman is seen behind a spider web. Is she trapped behind the web? Is she trapped in it? The spider may be lying in wait for her, and maybe she is on the prowl, with her manicured feminine hands, which call to mind the articulated legs of a spider. Perhaps it is rather the lurking time, as indicated by the title of the photograph, that threatens youth and beauty, serving as a reminder of their ephemerality.
The association between the woman and the spider dates back to Greek mythology, where it is embodied in the figure of Arachne, a weaver who made Athena jealous enough to turn her into a spider.1
In the history of culture, the figure of the “spider-woman” has come to be identified with the femme fatale — the archetype of the woman who leads to the downfall of the man attracted to her. In this context, Arachne is presented as a patient plotter who spins a web of schemes to trap and devour the reckless male.2 Dr. Ruth Markus, in her essay about the representations of the castrating woman in Surrealist art, ties the female praying mantis with the female “Black Widow” spider, which characteristically devour their males during or directly after the sexual act. She explains the Surrealist interest in the mantis and similar insects in that they represent the two primordial Freudian instincts: Eros and Thanatos.3
Dora Maar linked the photographed portrait by Man Ray with a manipulated image of a cobweb, to create the effect of transparent contours on the woman’s face in the final print. The resulting photomontage thus fuses the woman’s figure with the spider and its web. The Surrealists were drawn to the mimetic ability of various animals to camouflage themselves in nature, and created many works in which flora, fauna, and the inanimate merge and assimilate into one another.4 In the spirit of pantheist romanticism, this capacity was taken to represent an aspiration to eliminate the boundaries between man and nature, to the point of total fusion with the cosmos, which leads to absolute void. It is, in fact, a yearning for a primordial unconscious state, an existential state which precedes consciousness.
In the photograph in question, the paths of two of the most fascinating women who operated among the Surrealists cross. Photographer Dora Maar (born as Henrietta Theodora Markovitch) was a talented artist in her own right, but her fame came mainly from her relationship with Pablo Picasso, her partner, who often depicted her figure. In addition, Maar also modeled for Man Ray in some of his prime photographs…
… The model in Maar’s photograph is Nusch Éluard (1906–1946, née Maria Benz), a German show dancer who, in 1934, married poet Paul Éluard, one of the kingpins of Surrealism, after his first wife, Gala, left him for Salvador Dalí… Nusch Éluard also served as inspiration for her husband’s poetic work, and he combined her photographs in his books of poetry as elaboration and illustration for the written text.
In 1935, daring nude photographs of Nusch were included in his book Facile. Following her sudden death in 1946, at the age of 40, her portrait, taken by Dora Maar (with which she constructed the montage here), was included in a book by her husband in her memory, Le temps débordé (Time Overflows). The portrait, this time without cobweb,[fig. 3] accompanied the poem “Ecstasy” in which Éluard praises and mourns his wife: “I am in front of this feminine land / Like a child in front of the fire / Smiling vaguely with tears in my eyes / […] / I am in front of this feminine land / Like a branch in the fire.”5
- See Ovid’s Metamorphoses, books 6–10, ed. William S. Anderson (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972), pp. 15-22.
- See Doron Lurie, cat. Femme Fatale (Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2006), p. 108 [Hebrew].
- Ruth Markus, “Surrealism’s Praying Mantis and Castrating Woman”, Woman’s Art Journal, vol. 21:1 (Spring/Summer, 2000), pp. 33-39.
- Paul Éluard, “Ecstasy,” trans. A. S. Kline, 2001. http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/French/Eluard.htm.
I sometimes fear that
people think that fascism arrives in fancy dress
worn by grotesques and monsters
as played out in endless re-runs of the Nazis.
Fascism arrives as your friend.
It will restore your honour,
make you feel proud,
protect your house,
give you a job,
clean up the neighbourhood,
remind you of how great you once were,
clear out the venal and the corrupt,
remove anything you feel is unlike you…
It doesn’t walk in saying,
“Our programme means militias, mass imprisonments, transportations, war and persecution.”
Incredible Nick Drake cover.
The last time there was a full moon at solstice was in June 1967… the summer of love. The next time will be in 2062. Momentous.
First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.
There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.
I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.
And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
you breathe differently down here.
I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed
the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.
This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he
whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass
We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
our names do not appear.
From Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972. W. W. Norton & Company, 2013
Algebra and money are essentially levellers, the ﬁrst intellectually, the second eﬀectively.
About ﬁfty years ago the life of the Provençal peasants ceased to be like that of the Greek peasants described by Hesiod. The destruction of science as conceived by the Greeks took place at about the same period. Money and algebra triumphed simultaneously.
The relation of the sign to the thing signiﬁed is being destroyed, the game of exchanges between signs is being multiplied of itself and for itself. And the increasing complication demands that there should be signs for signs… [Note that this comment comes decades before Baudrillard writes about simulacra in 1981.]
Among the characteristics of the modern world we must not forget the impossibility of thinking in concrete terms of the relationship between eﬀort and the result of eﬀort. There are too many intermediaries. As in the other cases, this relationship which does not lie in any thought, lies in a thing: money.
As collective thought cannot exist as thought, it passes into things (signs, machines…). Hence the paradox: it is the thing which thinks and the man who is reduced to the state of a thing.
There is no collective thought. On the other hand our science is collective like our technics. Specialization. We inherit not only results but methods which we do not understand. For the matter of that the two are inseparable, for the results of algebra provide methods for the other sciences.
To make an inventory or criticism of our civilization—what does that mean? To try to expose in precise terms the trap which has made man the slave of his own inventions. How has unconsciousness inﬁltrated itself into methodical thought and action?
To escape by a return to the primitive state is a lazy solution. We have to rediscover the original pact between the spirit and the world in this very civilization of which we form a part. But it is a task which is beyond our power on account of the shortness of life and the impossibility of collaboration and of succession. That is no reason for not undertaking it. The situation of all of us is comparable to that of Socrates when he was awaiting death in his prison and began to learn to play the lyre… At any rate we shall have lived…
The spirit, overcome by the weight of quantity, has no longer any other criterion than eﬃciency.
Modern life is given over to immoderation. Immoderation invades everything: actions and thought, public and private life.
The decadence of art is due to it. There is no more balance anywhere. The Catholic movement is to some extent in reaction against this; the Catholic ceremonies, at least, have remained intact. But then they are unrelated to the rest of existence.
Capitalism has brought about the emancipation of collective humanity with respect to nature. But this collective humanity has itself taken on with respect to the individual the oppressive function formerly exercised by nature.
This is true even with material things: ﬁre, water etc. The community has taken possession of all these natural forces.
Question: can this emancipation, won by society, be transferred to the individual?
Excerpted from Simone Weil‘s Gravity and Grace. First French edition 1947. Translated by Emma Crawford. English language edition 1963. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.
Fine long-form video for this song, that I meant to post as part of my little early ’90s radio pop tape time capsule the other day. I love going to Youtube to look for a song I only ever knew as audio back in the day and discovering that it has a great music video that never made it to South African television.
From his 1964 album Vol.3: The Dance of Death and Other Plantation Favorites.
I recorded this 1971 Lee Hazlewood song last year in Copenhagen on New Year’s Eve with Jim Neversink. I love how a song’s original sense can be radically subverted when a person in a different subject position sings.
I watched them dying slowly at my desk, which I hardly left for the week after my birthday (dissertation drang). And what a magnificent way to go. They DID so much in those last days. Most flowers sit still and wilt gently. Not tulips! Tulips grow to double their height in the first two days in a vase. You can hear them moving at night when it’s quiet. The leaves squeak as they unfurl. They dance and overflow the vase, leaning over your work audaciously. Then the buds begin to open wider, wider still, the petals curling back gracefully, turning inside out to reveal ripe, full stamens, spilling a profusion of pollen, yellow stains all across your papers… exquisite, defiant contortion. What a wonderful birthday gift at 38 – the opportunity to meditate on living and aging with self-possession and purpose. Thank you Debs. x
Beauty is necessity which, while remaining in conformity with its own law and with that alone, is obedient to the good.
The subject of science is the beautiful (that is to say order, proportion, harmony) in so far as it is suprasensible and necessary.
The subject of art is sensible and contingent beauty discerned through the network of chance and evil.
The beautiful in nature is a union of the sensible impression and of the sense of necessity. Things must be like that (in the ﬁrst place), and, precisely, they are like that.
Beauty captivates the ﬂesh in order to obtain permission to pass right to the soul.
Among other unions of contraries found in beauty there is that of the instantaneous and the eternal.
The beautiful is that which we can contemplate. A statue, a picture which we can gaze at for hours.
The beautiful is something on which we can ﬁx our attention. Gregorian music. When the same things are sung for hours each day and every day, whatever falls even slightly short of supreme excellence becomes unendurable and is eliminated.
The Greeks looked at their temples. We can endure the statues in the Luxembourg because we do not look at them. A picture such as one could place in the cell of a criminal sentenced to solitary conﬁnement for life without it being an atrocity, on the contrary.
Only drama without movement is truly beautiful. Shakespeare’s tragedies are second-class with the exception of Lear. Those of Racine, third-class except for Phèdre. Those of Corneille of the nth class.
A work of art has an author and yet, when it is perfect, it has something which is essentially anonymous about it. It imitates the anonymity of divine art. In the same way the beauty of the world proves there to be a God who is personal and impersonal at the same time and is neither the one nor the other separately.
The beautiful is a carnal attraction which keeps us at a distance and implies a renunciation. This includes the renunciation of that which is most deep-seated, the imagination. We want to eat all the other objects of desire. The beautiful is that which we desire without wishing to eat it. We desire that it should be.
We have to remain quite still and unite ourselves with that which we desire yet do not approach. We unite ourselves to God in this way: we cannot approach him.
Distance is the soul of the beautiful.
The attitude of looking and waiting is the attitude which corresponds with the beautiful. As long as one can go on conceiving, wishing, longing, the beautiful does not appear. That is why in all beauty we ﬁnd contradiction, bitterness and absence which are irreducible.
Poetry: impossible pain and joy. A poignant touch, nostalgia. Such is Provençal and English poetry. A joy which by reason of its unmixed purity hurts, a pain which by reason of its unmixed purity brings peace.
Beauty: a fruit which we look at without trying to seize it.
The same with an aﬄiction which we contemplate without drawing back.
A double movement of descent: to do again, out of love, what gravity does. Is not the double movement of descent the key to all art?*
This movement of descent, the mirror of grace, is the essence of all music. All the rest only serves to enshrine it.
The rising of the notes is a purely sensorial rising. The descent is at the same time a sensorial descent and a spiritual rising. Here we have the paradise which every being longs for: where the slope of nature makes us rise towards the good.
In everything which gives us the pure authentic feeling of beauty there really is the presence of God. There is as it were an incarnation of God in the world and it is indicated by beauty.
The beautiful is the experimental proof that the incarnation is possible.
Hence all art of the highest order is religious in essence. (That is what people have forgotten today.) A Gregorian melody is as powerful a witness as the death of a martyr.
If the beautiful is the real presence of God in matter and if contact with the beautiful is a sacrament in the full sense of the word, how is it that there are so many perverted aesthetes? Nero. Is it like the hunger of those who frequent black masses for the consecrated hosts? Or is it, more probably, because these people do not devote themselves to what is genuinely beautiful, but to a bad imitation? For, just as there, is an art which is divine, so there is one which is demoniacal. It was no doubt the latter that Nero loved. A great deal of our art is of the devil.
A person who is passionately fond of music may quite well be a perverted person—but I should ﬁnd it hard to believe this of any one who thirsted for Gregorian chanting. [hahaha!]
We must certainly have committed crimes which have made us accursed, since we have lost all the poetry of the universe.
Art has no immediate future because all art is collective and there is no more collective life (there are only dead collections of people), and also because of this breaking of the true pact between the body and the soul. Greek art coincided with the beginning of geometry and with athleticism, the art of the Middle Ages with the craftsmen’s guilds, the art of the Renaissance with the beginning of mechanics, etc. … Since 1914 there has been a complete cut. Even comedy is almost impossible. There is only room for satire (when was it easier to understand Juvenal?).
Art will never be reborn except from amidst a general anarchy— it will be epic no doubt, because aﬄiction will have simpliﬁed a great many things… Is it therefore quite useless for you to envy Leonardo or Bach. Greatness in our times must take a different course. Moreover it can only be solitary, obscure and without an echo… (but without an echo, no art).
* Descendit ad inferos… So, in another order, great art redeems gravity by espousing it out of love. [Editor’s note.]
Excerpted from Simone Weil‘s Gravity and Grace. First French edition 1947. Translated by Emma Crawford. English language edition 1963. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.
I share this in solidarity with Larkin Grimm, and my niece Juliette, and every other woman who has been exploited or violated through unequal power relationships during artistic collaboration. Speak your truth. Don’t shut up. Make them squirm. Let them burn.
Yesterday, singer/songwriter Larkin Grimm claimed that Swans frontman Michael Gira raped her in spring 2008, when she was recording her album Parplar for Gira’s Young God label. In a Facebook post yesterday, she said she confronted Gira and he then dropped her from his label. Gira called Grimm’s accusations “a slanderous lie” on his personal Facebook page. In an official statement through his publicist, Gira has acknowledged the spring 2008 night in question, but calls the incident “an awkward mistake.” Read his full statement below. Update (2/27, 9:40 a.m.): Grimm sent us a statement in response to Gira’s comments, which she calls “an admission of guilt.” Read it below.
Eight years ago, while I was still married to my first wife, Larkin Grimm and I headed towards a consensual romantic moment that fortunately was not consummated. As she wrote in her recent social media postings about that night, I said to her, “this doesn’t feel right,” and abruptly but completely our only intimate encounter ended. It was an awkward mistake.
Larkin may regret, as I certainly do, that the ill-advised tryst went even that far, but now, as then, I hold her in high esteem for her music and her courage as an artist.
I long ago apologized to my wife and family and told them the truth about this incident. My hope is that Larkin finds peace with the demons that have been darkening her soul since long before she and I ever met.
This is a perfect example of why we need to have education about consent. In a gentlemanly move he admits the act happened but cannot conceive of himself as a rapist. Thank you Michael Gira for your honesty. This is your truth as you remember it. Unfortunately, this was still rape. I said no to you many times before that day, begged you not to interfere with me sexually, even made it a part of a verbal agreement we had when I signed a contract with you. I asked you to promise that you would never have sex with me. You assured me that I could trust you. That is about as clear a NO as I could ever cry. I asked for this because I had had other experiences in my music career and I KNEW.
That night I was far too intoxicated to give you consent for any sexual act. The psychological effects of this betrayal were devastating. Even worse, when I finally confronted you about what you had done, you terminated my relationship with Young God Records, damaging my career and leading people to believe there was something wrong with me or my music.
In the end, this is about business. Art is my career. I have worked long and hard for this career, making incredible sacrifices along the way to continue to make music. The fact that a man in power can throw a woman’s life and work away like they are garbage, simply because she won’t sleep with him, is an immoral injustice that happens to many, many women in music. I won’t stand for it and neither should you.
The “Demons darkening my soul” are the men like you who interfere with my ability to do my work as a musician. This is a job I am good at. All I want is to be left in peace while I am working.
“Days go by like butterflies…”
“Blonde and Golden Johns” performed by Larkin Grimm at the Sidewalk Cafe in NYC.
A poem for those who died, shot in Pulse nightclub in Orlando this weekend past.
i was going to see you
i was going to dance
in the same place with you someday
i was going to pretend not to notice
how you and your friends smiled
when you saw me and my partner
trying to cumbia to bachata
but i was going to feel more free anyway
because you were smiling
and we were together
and you had your stomach out
and you felt beautiful in your sweat
i was going to smile when i walked by
i was going to hug you the first time
a friend of a friend introduced us
i was going to compliment your shoes
instead of writing you a love poem
i was going to smile every time i saw you
and struggle to remember your name
we were going to sing together
we were going to belt out Selena
i was going to mispronounce everything
except for amor
and ay ay ay
i was going to covet your confidence and your bracelet
i was going to be grateful for the sight of you
i was going scream YES!!! at nothing in particular
at everything especially
meaning you beyond who i knew you to be
i was going to see you in hallways
and be too shy to say hello
you were going to come to the workshop
you were going to sign up for the workshop and not come
you were going to translate the webinar
even though my politics seemed out there
we were going to sign up for creating change the same day
and be reluctant about it for completely different reasons
we were going to watch the keynotes
and laugh at completely different times
i was going to hold your hand in a big activity
about the intimacy of strangers
about the strangeness of needing prayer
we were going to get the same automated voice message
when we complained that it was not what it should have been
we were going to be standing in the same line
for various overpriced drinks
during a shift change
i was going to breathe loudly so you would notice me
you were going to compliment my hair
it isn’t fair
because we were going to work
to beyonce and rihanna
and the rihanna’s and beyonce’s to come
and the beyonce’s and rihanna’s after that
we were going to not drink enough water
and stay out later than our immune systems could handle
we were going to sit in traffic in each others blindspots
listening to top 40 songs that trigger queer memories
just outside the scope of marketing predictions
we were going to get old and i was going to wonder
about the hint of a tattoo i could see under your sleeve
i was going to blink and just miss
the fought-for laughter lines around your liner-loved eyes
i was going to go out for my birthday
but i didn’t
and you did
we were going to be elders
just because we were still around
and i was going to listen to you on a panel
we didn’t feel qualified for
and hear you talk about your guilt
for still being alive
when so many of your friends were taken
by racist police
and jealous ex-lovers
and no access to healthcare
and how you had a stable job
you suffered at until the weekend
how you avoided the drama
and only went to the club at pride
and so here you were with no one to dance with anymore
i was going to see you and forget you
and only remember you in my hips
and how my smile came easier than clenching my teeth eventually
and how i finally learned whatever it is i still haven’t learned yet
i was going to hear you laugh and not know why
and not care
our ancestors fought for a future
and we were both going to be there
until we weren’t
and i don’t know if it would hurt more
to lose you later after knowing you
i don’t know if it would hurt more
to know you died on your own day
by your own hands
or any of the other systems
that stalk you and me and ours forever
i only know the pain that i am having
and that you are not here to share it
you are not here to bear it
you were going to pass me a candle at the next vigil
but now i am pulse
and now you
NEVER OUTSHINE THE MASTER
Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite-inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.
NEVER PUT TOO MUCH TRUST IN FRIENDS, LEARN HOW TO USE ENEMIES
Be wary of friends-they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.
CONCEAL YOUR INTENTIONS
Keep people off-balance and in the dark, by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelop them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.
ALWAYS SAY LESS THAN NECESSARY
When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.
SO MUCH DEPENDS ON REPUTATION- GUARD IT WITH YOUR LIFE
Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once it slips, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides. Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.
COURT ATTENTION AT ALL COST
Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses.
GET OTHERS TO DO THE WORK FOR YOU, BUT ALWAYS TAKE THE CREDIT
Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Never do yourself what others can do for you.
MAKE OTHER PEOPLE COME TO YOU-USE BAIT IF NECESSARY
When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains-then attack. You hold the cards.
WIN THROUGH YOUR ACTIONS, NEVER THROUGH ARGUMENT
Any momentary triumph you think you have gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory: The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion. It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate.
INFECTION: AVOID THE UNHAPPY AND UNLUCKY
You can die from someone else’s misery-emotional states are as infectious as diseases. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.
LEARN TO KEEP PEOPLE DEPENDENT ON YOU
To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.
USE SELECTIVE HONESTY AND GENEROSITY TO DISARM YOUR VICTIM
One sincere and honest move will cover over dozens of dishonest ones. Open-hearted gestures of honesty and generosity bring down the guard of even the most suspicious people. Once your selective honesty opens a hole in their armor, you can deceive and manipulate them at will. A timely gift-a Trojan horse-will serve the same purpose.
WHEN ASKING FOR HELP, APPEAL TO PEOPLE’S SELF-INTEREST, NEVER TO THEIR MERCY OR GRATITUDE
If you need to tum to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds. He will find a way to ignore you. Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all proportion. He will respond enthusiastically when he sees some thing to be gained for himself.
POSE AS A FRIEND, WORK AS A SPY
Knowing about your rival is critical. Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you a step ahead. Better still: Play the spy yourself. In polite social encounters, learn to probe. Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions. There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying.
CRUSH YOUR ENEMY TOTALLY
All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely. (Sometimes they have learned this the hard way.) If one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly it smolders, afire will eventually break out. More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation: The enemy will recover, and will seek revenge. Crush him, not only in body but in spirit.
USE ABSENCE TO INCREASE RESPECT AND HONOR
Too much circulation makes the price go down: The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity.
KEEP OTHERS IN SUSPENDED TERROR: CULTIVATE AN AIR OF UNPREDICTABILITY
Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Tum the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable. Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off-balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves. Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.
DO NOT BUILD FORTRESSES TO PROTECT YOURSELF- ISOLATION IS DANGEROUS
The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere-everyone has to protect themselves. A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from- it cuts you off from valuable information, it makes you conspicuous and an easy target. Better to circulate among people, find allies, mingle. You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.
KNOW WHO YOU’RE DEALING WITH: DO NOT OFFEND THE WRONG PERSON
There are many different kinds of people in the world, and you can never assume that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way. Deceive or outmaneuver some people and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge. They are wolves in lambs’ clothing. Choose your victims and opponents carefully, then never offend or deceive the wrong person.
DO NOT COMMIT TO ANYONE
It is the fool who always rushes to take sides. Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself. By maintaining your independence, you become the master of others-playing people against one another, making them pursue you.
PLAY A SUCKER TO CATCH A SUCKER: SEEM DUMBER THAN YOUR MARK
No one likes feeling stupider than the next person. The trick, then, is to make your victims feel smart-and not just smart, but smarter than you are. Once convinced of this, they will never suspect that you may have ulterior motives.
USE THE SURRENDER TACTIC: TRANSFORM WEAKNESS INTO POWER
When you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead. Surrender gives you time to re cover, time to torment and irritate your conqueror, time to wait for his power to wane. Do not give him the satisfaction of fighting and defeating you- surrender first. By turning the other cheek you infuriate and unsettle him. Make surrender a tool of power.
CONCENTRATE YOUR FORCES
Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point. You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another-intensity defeats extensity every time. When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.
PLAY THE PERFECT COURTIER
The perfect courtier thrives in a world where everything revolves around power and political dexterity. He has mastered the art of indirection; he flatters, yields to superiors, and asserts power over others in the most oblique and graceful manner. Learn and apply the laws of courtiership and there will be no limit to how far you can rise in the court.
Do not accept the rol.es that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define it for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions-your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.
KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN
You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency: Your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds. Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others as scapegoats and cat’s-paws to disguise your involvement.
PLAY ON PEOPLE’S NEED TO BELIEVE TO CREATE A CULTLIKE FOLLOWING
People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. Give your new disciples rituals to perform, ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf. In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.
ENTER ACTION WITH BOLDNESS
If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.
PLAN ALL THE WAY TO THE END
The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.
MAKE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS SEEM EFFORTLESS
Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work-it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.
CONTROL THE OPTIONS: GET OTHERS TO PLAY WITH THE CARDS YOU DEAL
The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice: Your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets. Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose. Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose. Put them on the horns of a dilemma: They are gored wherever they turn.
PLAY TO PEOPLE’S FANTASIES
The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant. Never appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger that comes from disenchantment. Life is so harsh and distressing that people who can manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like oases in the desert: Everyone flocks to them. There is great power in tapping into the fantasies of the masses.
DISCOVER EACH MAN’S THUMBSCREW
Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usually an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure. Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can tum to your advantage.
BE ROYAL IN YOUR OWN FASHION: ACT LIKE A KING TO BE TREATED LIKE ONE
The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated: In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.
MASTER THE ART OF TIMING
Never seem to be in a hurry-hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time. Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually. Become a detective of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power. Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition.
DISDAIN THINGS YOU CANNOT HAVE: IGNORING THEM IS THE BEST REVENGE
By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It is sometimes best to leave things alone. If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.
CREATE COMPELLING SPECTACLES
Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power-everyone responds to them. Stage spectacles for those around you, then, full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.
THINK AS YOU LIKE BUT BEHAVE LIKE OTHERS
If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.
STIR UP WATERS TO CATCH FISH
Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive. You must always stay calm and objective. But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage. Put your enemies off-balance: Find the chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.
DESPISE THE FREE LUNCH
‘What is offered for free is dangerous-it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. ‘What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price–there is no cutting corners with excellence. Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power.
AVOID STEPPING INTO A GREAT MAN’S SHOES
What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after. If you succeed a great man or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them. Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making: Establish your own name and identity by changing course. Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.
STRIKE THE SHEPHERD AND THE SHEEP WILL SCATTER
Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual-the stirrer, the arrogant underling, the poisoner of goodwill. If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to their influence. Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate with them-they are irredeemable. Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them. Strike at the source of the trouble and the sheep will scatter.
WORK ON THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF OTHERS
Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you. You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction. A person you have seduced becomes your loyal pawn. And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses. Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear. Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you.
DISARM AND INFURIATE WITH THE MIRROR EFFECT
The mirror reflects reality, but it is also the perfect tool for deception: when you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy. The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact. By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson. Few can resist the power of the Mirror Effect.
PREACH THE NEED FOR CHANGE, BUT NEVER REFORM TOO MUCH AT ONCE
Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt. If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things. If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.
NEVER APPEAR TOO PERFECT
Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.
DO NOT GO PAST THE MARK YOU AIMED FOR: IN VICTORY, LEARN WHEN TO STOP
The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat. Do not allow success to go to your head. There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.
By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move. Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed. The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order. Everything changes.