|RE/SEARCH Newsletter #40, September 2005|
|HERE’S THE NEWS FROM SAN FRANCISCO….
Check out the poster of our Sept 10 event.
**Dear Friends: Please note that our email address has changed to:
1. NEW RE/Search book out now: J.G. BALLARD CONVERSATIONS with Mark Pauline (founder, Survival Research Laboratories), Graeme Revell (founder, SPK; and composer of some 100 film soundtracks), David Pringle of U.K., local writer Maura Devereux, U.K. teacher Lynne Fox, and RE/Search founder V. Vale. Please order our new book, not yet in stores, online. Price is $19.99 for 360 pages, about 50 photos, printed on super-high-quality glossy paper, 5×7″, and featuring photographic art by Ana Barrado, Charles Gatewood, SM Gray, and Tim Chapman, a U.K. J.G. Ballard fan.
**SAT, Sept 10**, 7-10pm, there will be a BOOK RELEASE PARTY at the Hayes Valley Market, 560 Hayes St at Laguna, San Francisco. Apparently it was mayor-elect Matt Gonzalez who did some vital negotiating which resulted in this large space, 50’x100′, being available as an art gallery for the next year, administered by recent SFAI graduates Albert Herter & Lisa Rybovich Cralle.
Party for RE/Search’s new book release: J.G. BALLARD CONVERSATIONS. Scheduled: () a 20-minute Panel with Mark Pauline and Graeme Revell, moderated by V. Vale. Q&As after. Also present will be S.F. writer Maya Devereux, whose interview with J.G. Ballard appears in the new book. () “Art On the Walls”: There will be large photographs and blow-ups from the book on the west wall; the east wall will feature Survival Research Laboratories blow-ups from the Los Angeles 4-2-05 show, and more. Photographers (SM Gray, Charles Gatewood) will be present to answer questions and chat. Ana Barrado herself has promised to fly in from Florida for this evening, and some gorgeous vintage prints by her will be for sale. The new Ballard books may be autographed by Mark Pauline, Graeme Revell, Maya Devereux, V. Vale and the Photographers…
2. CounterCulture Hour TOMORROW Sat, Sept 10, 2005, 6:30pm, Cable Channel 29 (Sorry, San Francisco only, but watch for video releases on our website.) The 11th episode will feature Diane Di Prima, San Francisco-based poet/writer famous for her association with the “Beat” Movement. We highly recommend “tuning in” to see this program (or better yet, coming to our event, while letting your VCR tape our program), hosted by V. Vale and produced by Marian & Marian (Marian Wallace and Marian Wilde).
3. Jean-Jacques PERREY, resident of France, will be in town soon! The composer of numerous musique concrete compositions, immortalized on ’60s albums such as The “In Sound from Way Out,” is a certified genius. Mill Valley resident (and recent mom of twins) Lisa Haugen brought about the release of Jean-Jacques Perrey’s first album in some thirty years: CIRCUS OF LIFE, which we at RE/Search have played about fifty times…it’s that good. Google Jean-Jacques Perrey for more info.
The RE/Search #14: Incredibly Strange Music book (pink cover) contained the first interview with Perrey (and his ex-partner Gershom Kingsley) in decades. This book is still available from us. Order online.
On Thur, Sept 15, 7-10pm, RE/Search, Varnish Gallery, KFJC and Lisa Haugen will co-present a Record Release/Autograph Party with Jean-Jacques Perrey himself in person, all the way from France. M. Perrey is a senior citizen (in his seventies?) and we need not stress how rare this public event will be. Rabid fans of the music of Perrey and Kingsley should not miss this event! Jen and Kerri of Varnish Gallery, 77 Natoma St, San Francisco, were kind enough to offer their avant-garde (and beautiful) art space for this reception, and Liz Clark from KFJC has promised to aid in promotion. Please tell your Incredibly Strange Music collector-friends about this event — not only is it rare, but it’s also free! 77 Natoma St is off 2nd Street between Mission & Howard, around the corner from Gasser’s Photo Store.
To recap: Thur Sept 15, 2005, 7-10pm: Jean-Jacques Perrey Record Release/Autograph event at Varnish Gallery, 77 Natoma St, San Francisco. Kindly do not bring piles of old vinyl for Monsieur Perrey to sign — just let him autograph his new CD release, please!
4. REVIEW of our new JGBALLARD CONVERSATIONS book by Leslie Hodgkins:
The work that has earned J.G. Ballard his reputation as a prophet of the present runs the full gamut from the perverse to the catastrophic, from the utterly Surreal to the deeply personal. In J.G. Ballard Conversations, a new collection of interviews from RE/Search, Ballard exercises his trenchant observations live and uncensored. Running jags on the politics of paranoia are illumed with scientific/poetic clarity and a critical sense of the absurd on every page. But to say that Ballard is ahead of his time or a proponent of “science fictions” is misleading. The opposition that at one time may have existed between realistic fiction and “fantasy” or “science fiction” has been dismantled. Society’s skewed relationship to realist fiction is explained by Ballard as the failing imaginations of contemporary men and women of letters to ascertain a world quickly leaving their ilk in the perfumed car exhaust.
“I think realist fiction has shot its bolt–it just doesn’t describe the world we live in anymore. We’re not living in a world where you can make a clear separation (as you could, say during the heyday of the 19th-century realist novel) between the external world of work, commerce, industry and a fixed set of values, and the internal world of hopes, dreams and ambitions. It’s the other way around–the external world is a fantasy nowadays. It’s a media landscape generated by advertising, and politics conducted as a branch of advertising.
Ballard’s ability to lay open our present like a surgeon with a scalpel never fails, although his often satirical wit more closely resembles a butcher hacking us to pieces on his block. The real gravity in reading Ballard’s musings lie in mapping his recurring obsessions, which even in the candor of casual conversation articulate the core themes of his novels. Ballard literally seems pathologically transfixed with the collective pathologies of modern society, how these pathologies manifest themselves and grow through individuals and in culture at large. His often fatalistic perspective on how individuals may or may not be able to cope with this transforming psychological landscape is a major concern throughout much of Ballard’s thinking spanning years of acute insight:
On page 60, interviewed in 2003,
Or on page 136 discussing the politics of unconscious media manipulation embodied in figures like Ronald Reagan, in an interview from the 1980s,
Or on page 100, from an interview in 2003 speaking of more direct modes of herding the masses: “Psychopathic behavior seems to appears to immensely increase the possibilities of life–that’s how whole nations can embrace, quite voluntarily, psychopathic acts. One could argue that both Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia were elective psychopathies on a nationwide scale… There may be profound masochistic strains running through modern industrial man, that every now and then summon forth these demons like Hitler and Stalin who then do what is expected of them. It’s a frightening prospect, but I think the Age of Reason is over.”
And on page 166, in a 1991 interview with Lynne Fox, on the larger implications of the Surrealist legacy and whether creative insight into these cultural phenomena can serve as a satirical antidote or if it is never more than a harbinger of the end: “It would be very difficult to make the Dali/Bunuel films made at the end of the 1920s today because the sight of people dragging dead donkeys through a drawing room would [seem to be] some sort of advertising stunt–a beer commercial. The external world is so strange, so full of fantasy, that you can’t use the classic Surrealist approach.”
The affinity Ballard feels with the Surrealists comes from the need to map a new mythology, one which recognizes the deeper strata of human consciousness skewered out on the pig poles of the everyday. “I’m trying to suggest that there is a new psychological order awaiting us, I’m as convinced of this as an ordinary individual as I am as an imaginative writer…” (167). Whether discussing the new-found relationship between Surrealism and advertising, the ever-evolving romance of technology and human sexuality, or how the fictions of our day-to-day existence are now more fantastic than the bravest works of literary endeavor, Ballard’s ability as a conversationalist and thinker never leaves a moment dull.
5. Program for our Sept 10 JG BALLARD CONVERSATIONS party:
GRAEME REVELL, founder of SPK; soundtrack composer – A BRIEF HISTORY
Graeme Revell was a founder of SPK [Surgical Penis Klinik; Sozialistisches Patienten Kollektiv; System Planning Korporation], a 70’s Industrial Music group, for which he produced shocking SPK videos incorporating autopsy footage, etc; sang, played keyboards and percussion. Their single “In Flagrante Delicto” formed the basis for his first movie soundtrack, Dead Calm, which won an Australian Film Institute award. Since then he’s composed almost a hundred soundtracks, including The Crow, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, The Craft, The Basketball Diaries, Chinese Box, and Sin City. He also composed for CSI: Miami. [Google “Graeme Revell”]
A rare book collector, futurist, and tireless researcher into the dark side of the human psyche, Graeme Revell/SPK has been featured in theRE/Search #1-2-3 tabloids, the Industrial Culture Handbook, RE�/Search #8/9: J.G. Ballard, and most recently J.G. Ballard Conversations,RE/Search’s newest book. Over the past 23 years Mr. Revell has interviewed J.G. Ballard several times for RE/Search.
MARK PAULINE, founder of SURVIVAL RESEARCH LABORATORIES – A BRIEF HISTORY
Almost singlehandedly a new darkly humorous and savage “Art Genre” was created: MACHINE PERFORMANCE ART. Beyond creating mere “Art Machines,” Mr. Pauline deployed a kind of multi-dimensional “Maximalist” spirit, generating as many metaphors and surprises as possible, while always probing the boundaries of “freedom.” Authoritarian/totalitarian conventions and clich�s are frequently lampooned in shows bearing titles such as “A Bitter Message of Hopeless Grief.” Tolerances of the Human Body are musingly tested with smoke, fluids, loud explosions, rocket launchings, fiery blasts, acrid smells and other phenomena, while one-of-a-kind Menacing Machine personalities express themselves to the limits of their arcane functioning. State-of-the-art technological innovations involving tele-robotics and computers are incorporated into the continually evolving show productions, described as modern-day Hieronymus Bosch landscapes. Many highly-skilled and unique artists/scientists are drawn to collaborate in the realization of SRL projects.
The best Art is by nature prophetic, and the Machine Art Performances of Survival Research Laboratories poetically illustrate the psychopathological possibilities latent in modern technological innovation and heavy industry fabrication. Every dream, after all, deserves its nightmare. Fusing Art, Technology and a kind of Burroughsian/Ballardian sensibility, SRL creates trail-blazing, uncompromising, fabulist Art which will impact far into the future. And Mark Pauline has long been a J.G. Ballard fan, visiting the visionary author and interviewing him in the 1980s. His interview appears for the first time in J.G. Ballard Conversations. Mr. Pauline/SRL has also been featured in Search & Destroy #11,the RE/Search #1-2-3 tabloids, the Industrial Culture Handbook, and Pranks.
J.G. BALLARD – A BRIEF HISTORY
To date Ballard has written 17 prophetic/poetic novels; in his newest, Millennium People (2003), random acts of terrorism dynamically unsettle London, England (sound familiar?). The Complete Short Stories of J.G. Ballard, recently released, is almost 1200 pages and an instant classic.
J.G. Ballard has been featured in Search & Destroy #10, the RE/Search #1-2-3 tabloids, RE/Search #8/9: J.G. Ballard, and the RE/Search illustrated edition of The Atrocity Exhibition [available from www.http://www.researchpubs.com] RE/Search is proud that its (2) newest publications are J.G. BALLARD QUOTES; and J.G. BALLARD CONVERSATIONS, featuring interviews conducted by MARK PAULINE (Survival Research Laboratories) and GRAEME REVELL (SPK; composer), both present Sept 10, 2005, at the Hayes Valley Market, San Francisco.
6. Coming Sept 20, 2005:
7. Quotations, August 2005 Diary Synopsis, R/S History
“I have always been on the side of those who seek the truth, but I part ways with them when they think they have found it.”–Luis Bunuel, 1980 (An Unspeakable Betrayal: Selected Writings of Luis Bunuel)
“It is only 36 years from now. The streets, the buildings, the fields look just as they do today. And the people look the same–until you get close enough to see the bland, vacant stare in their eyes…They are victims of a gigantic con game. Free will, the right of dissent have been washed away in a sea of slogans coined by the public-relations manipulators who have taken over the government…” Kendell Foster Crossen, Year of Consent (novel), 1954
“…the approach to the problems encountered can be scientific–social engineering, the engineering of consent…or whatever term we wish to give it.”–Edward L. Bernays, Public Relations Counselor
“I think of a man in a voting booth who hesitates between two levers as if he were pausing between competing tubes of toothpaste in a drugstore. The brand that has made the highest penetration on his brain will win his choice, and the nature of the human brain is such that a one-minute or thirty-second speech, expertly crystallized, gets maximum penetration on its content.”–Rosser Reeves, Advertising Executive
“All of my work is directed against those who are bent, through stupidity or design, on blowing up the planet or rendering it uninhabitable…[and] to make people aware of the true criminality of our times, to wise up the marks.”–William S. Burroughs, Paris Review interview, 1964
August 2005 Diary Synopsis (including last books and movies seen): Video-interviewed BILLY HAWK, founder of The OFFS, original S.F, ’70s punk band, and we also visited DIRK DIRKSEN, Mabuhay impresario… Went to fun party at John Whitehead’s… Saw Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO on new 70-mm print at the Castro Theater – amazing classic film. Attended SFAI lecture & seminar featuring DONALD KUSPIT, our new favorite Art Critic (we still like Calvin Tomkins & Robert Hughes). Saw WAR OF THE WORLDS (w/Tom Cruise; only the beginning was good–skip the rest)… Thanks to Karen Larson saw WONG KAR WAI’s 2046. One of the only great modern films I’ve seen on the topic of “flirtation” and “romance.” Beautifully filmed; captures some authentic passion. I want to see it again!… Werner Herzog’s GRIZZLY MAN – a film I’d only ever see once, but it was worth viewing for its intrinsic, unforgettable “weirdness.”
Been reading Susan L. Aberth’s Leonora Carrington–dense, informative … great footnotes! … We also read When Salvador and Gala Dali Came into Our Lives, by Herbert Cerwin. Funny–what a great event Dali staged at the Hotel Del Monte, presumably in Monterey, California–but a bit appalling…definitely increased my hatred of Gala…
Went to Muir Woods – experienced being with the oldest “living beings” on the planet. Always a “mystical” encounter, despite the other visitors… Had a fun lunch with Mark Pauline, wife Amy Critchett & son Jake Pauline (who recently celebrated his 1st birthday, and just started walking), and Babalou, at the former Mad Magda’s Russian Tearoom, across from the Hayes Valley Market, 580 Hayes/Laguna, site of our Sept 10 JGBALLARD CONVERSATIONS book celebration… Mark recalled reading On the Beach when he was about 12 years old. Finally, we found a copy of this “nuclear catastrophe” classic by Nevil Shute. Initially we had to look up the meaning of (3) words in the dictionary in just the first 2 pages, thus indicating that not long ago, the general public had a higher reading level… this book sold more than 3 million copies back circa 1957-1967… It is incredibly depressing toward the end, and in a way is a manual about How to Prepare for Death… Very uncompromising and unwatered-down… Oddly enough, the movie of this book is playing FOR FREE at the SF Public Library on Sept 22?? Google them and make sure…
A Brief RE/SEARCH History
Sept 2005 RE/Search eNewsletter written by V. Vale & contributors. Newsletter and website powered by laughingsquid.com
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