Inside the dark chambered silence
A wordless, imageless relief of absence

Inside the dark chambered silence
A wordless, imageless relief of absence

"I, Elsseneur, saw you for the first time and from that moment on I could not forget you. We looked at each other for a few seconds, and you started to smile. I lowered my eyes, for I saw a supernatural flame burning in yours. I wondered if, under cover of blackest night, you had not secretly descended to us from the surface of a star; for I must confess, now that there is no need for dissimulation, that you were not at all like the boars of mankind; but a halo of glittering rays surrounded by the periphery of your brow. I would have wished to enter into intimate relations with you; but I did not dare approach the striking novelty of this strange nobility, and an unrelenting terror prowled around me." 

Maldoror, Comte de Lautreamont

From the film ‘Maldoror’ - Hantfilm (Spinnenepisode) , produced by Duncan Reekie and Karsten Weber (2001).

"I, Elsseneur, saw you for the first time and from that moment on I could not forget you. We looked at each other for a few seconds, and you started to smile. I lowered my eyes, for I saw a supernatural flame burning in yours. I wondered if, under cover of blackest night, you had not secretly descended to us from the surface of a star; for I must confess, now that there is no need for dissimulation, that you were not at all like the boars of mankind; but a halo of glittering rays surrounded by the periphery of your brow. I would have wished to enter into intimate relations with you; but I did not dare approach the striking novelty of this strange nobility, and an unrelenting terror prowled around me."

Maldoror, Comte de Lautreamont

From the film ‘Maldoror’ - Hantfilm (Spinnenepisode) , produced by Duncan Reekie and Karsten Weber (2001).

Images: Andrew Coram (Place of Desolation) from the film ‘Maldoror’, produced by Duncan Reekie and Karsten Weber (2001).

Images: Andrew Coram (Place of Desolation) from the film ‘Maldoror’, produced by Duncan Reekie and Karsten Weber (2001).

"The rainbow was arched in their blood and would quiver to life their spirit…"

D.H. Lawrence, The Rainbow (1915)

"The rainbow was arched in their blood and would quiver to life their spirit…"

D.H. Lawrence, The Rainbow (1915)

"The moon is a white strange world… The moon that pulls the tides, and the moon that controls the menstrual periods of women, and the moon that touches the lunatics, she is not the mere dead lump of the astronomist. When we describe the moon as dead we are describing the deadness in ourselves. When we find space so hideously void we are describing our own unbearable emptiness."

D.H. Lawrence, Introduction to The Dragon of the Apocalypse by Frederick Carter (via frenchtwist)

"abandoned … to the delectation of the shadows"

from Andre Breton’s 1928 essay, Surrealism and Painting.

Image from a work in progress… a still from The Rainbow.

"abandoned … to the delectation of the shadows"

from Andre Breton’s 1928 essay, Surrealism and Painting.

Image from a work in progress… a still from The Rainbow.

beetleinabox:

Man Ray, Waking Dream Séance (image first published on the cover of La revolution surrealiste, 01/12/24). The seated woman is Simone Breton; standing around her (from left to right) are Max Morise, Roger Vitrac, Jacques André-Boiffard, André Breton, Paul Eluard, Pierre Naville, Giorgio de Chirico, Philippe Soupault, Jacques Baron, and Robert Desnos.
Walter Benjamin writes:


Any serious explora­tion of occult, surrealistic, phantasmagoric gifts and phenomena presupposes a dialectical intertwinement to which a romantic turn of mind is impervious. For histrionic or fanatical stress on the mysterious side of the mysterious takes us no further; we penetrate the mystery only to the degree that we recognize it in the everyday world, by virtue of a dialectical optic that perceives the everyday as impenetrable, the impenetrable as everyday. The most passionate investigation of telepathic phenomena, for example, will not teach us half as much about reading (which is an eminently telepathic process), as the profane illumination of reading about telepathic phenomena. And the most passionate investigation of the hashish trance will not teach us half as much about thinking (which is eminently narcotic), as the profane illumination of thinking about the hashish trance. The reader, the thinker, the loiterer, the flâneur, are types of illuminati just as much as the opium eater, the dreamer, the ecstatic. And more profane. Not to mention that most terrible drug—ourselves—which we take in solitude.

beetleinabox:

Man Ray, Waking Dream Séance (image first published on the cover of La revolution surrealiste, 01/12/24). The seated woman is Simone Breton; standing around her (from left to right) are Max Morise, Roger Vitrac, Jacques André-Boiffard, André Breton, Paul Eluard, Pierre Naville, Giorgio de Chirico, Philippe Soupault, Jacques Baron, and Robert Desnos.

Walter Benjamin writes:

Any serious explora­tion of occult, surrealistic, phantasmagoric gifts and phenomena presupposes a dialectical intertwinement to which a romantic turn of mind is impervious. For histrionic or fanatical stress on the mysterious side of the mysterious takes us no further; we penetrate the mystery only to the degree that we recognize it in the everyday world, by virtue of a dialectical optic that perceives the everyday as impenetrable, the impenetrable as everyday. The most passionate investigation of telepathic phenomena, for example, will not teach us half as much about reading (which is an eminently telepathic process), as the profane illumination of reading about telepathic phenomena. And the most passionate investigation of the hashish trance will not teach us half as much about thinking (which is eminently narcotic), as the profane illumination of thinking about the hashish trance. The reader, the thinker, the loiterer, the flâneur, are types of illuminati just as much as the opium eater, the dreamer, the ecstatic. And more profane. Not to mention that most terrible drug—ourselves—which we take in solitude.

Maria Callas as Medea (1969), directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini 

"Speak to me, Earth. Speak to me, Sun. Are you losing your way, never to return again? Grass, speak to me. Stone, speak to me. Earth, where is your meaning? Where can I find you again? Where is the bond that linked you to the Sun? My feet touch the earth, but I do not recognise it. My eyes see the sun, but I do not recognise it."

In this scene, Medea cries for her loss of connection to the Earth and the Sun - lamenting for a time when the felt sympathies between the human being and the natural world had both real meaning and actual power for her. Later, as the grand-daughter of Helios, the sun god, she dreams of re-finding this connection. But her tragic last words in the film are “It is useless, nothing more is possible, ever.”

Maria Callas as Medea (1969), directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

"Speak to me, Earth. Speak to me, Sun. Are you losing your way, never to return again? Grass, speak to me. Stone, speak to me. Earth, where is your meaning? Where can I find you again? Where is the bond that linked you to the Sun? My feet touch the earth, but I do not recognise it. My eyes see the sun, but I do not recognise it."

In this scene, Medea cries for her loss of connection to the Earth and the Sun - lamenting for a time when the felt sympathies between the human being and the natural world had both real meaning and actual power for her. Later, as the grand-daughter of Helios, the sun god, she dreams of re-finding this connection. But her tragic last words in the film are “It is useless, nothing more is possible, ever.”

Medea (1969), directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini 

"There is nothing natural in nature, remember that… when nature seems natural to you, all will be finished… and something else will begin. Farewell, sky. Farewell, sea."

A faun talks to the young Jason, set within a natural domain of powerful mystical correspondences, a world Jason was later to reject and annihilate. Pasolini here begins his critique of modern thought - what he saw as the domination of ratio over our sense of awe, wonder and the transgressive imagination. He reached back to the pre-christian era, to a time of pagan sun-centred belief, where nature was more than the seen, more than the understood. Without uncertainty, mystery and wonder, Pasolini suggests, all the world is lost to us.

Medea (1969), directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

"There is nothing natural in nature, remember that… when nature seems natural to you, all will be finished… and something else will begin. Farewell, sky. Farewell, sea."

A faun talks to the young Jason, set within a natural domain of powerful mystical correspondences, a world Jason was later to reject and annihilate. Pasolini here begins his critique of modern thought - what he saw as the domination of ratio over our sense of awe, wonder and the transgressive imagination. He reached back to the pre-christian era, to a time of pagan sun-centred belief, where nature was more than the seen, more than the understood. Without uncertainty, mystery and wonder, Pasolini suggests, all the world is lost to us.

Agrippa von Nettesheim (16th century), in De occulta philosophia (written 1510-1533):

"IT is affirmed by Magicians, that there are certain tables of numbers distributed to the seven planets, which they call the sacred tables of the planets, endowed with many, and very great vertues of the Heavens, in as much as they represent that divine order of Celestiall numbers, impressed upon Celestials by the Idea’s of the divine mind, by means of the soul of the world, and the sweet harmony of those Celestiall rayes, signifying according to the proportion of effigies, super-celestiall Intelligencies, which can no other way be expressed, then by the marks of numbers, and Characters….."

"The fourth table is of the Sun, and is made of a square of six, and contains thirty six numbers, whereof six in every side, and Di|ameter, produce III. and the sum of all is 666. There are over it divine names with an Intelligency to what is good, and spirit to what is evil, and out of it are drawn Characters of the Sun, and of the spirits thereof. This being engraven on a Golden plate with the Sun being fortunate, renders him that wears it to be renowned, amiable, acceptable, potent in all his works, and equals a man to Kings, and Princes, elevating him to high fortunes, inabling to do whatsoever he plea|seth: but with an unfortunate Sun, it makes a tyrant, and a man to be proud, ambitious, unsatisfiable, and to have an ill ending."

Text from:
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (ca. 1486-1535 A.D.)
De occulta philosophia libri tres / Three Books of Occult Philosophy
1651 Edition, Harvard University Library
P240-241

Agrippa von Nettesheim (16th century) considered letters and symbols to have a real, living celestial correspondence, so they could therefore be used to manipulate the higher powers of the celestial forms they represented. This table shows his magical numerology for the rays of the Sun, and the magical symbols that might be derived. Thirty years later, John Dee further developed these ideas in his Monas Hieroglyphica (1564).

Image from: 
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (ca. 1486-1535 A.D.)
De occulta philosophia libri tres / Three Books of Occult Philosophy
1651 Edition, Harvard University Library
P240-241

Agrippa von Nettesheim (16th century) considered letters and symbols to have a real, living celestial correspondence, so they could therefore be used to manipulate the higher powers of the celestial forms they represented. This table shows his magical numerology for the rays of the Sun, and the magical symbols that might be derived. Thirty years later, John Dee further developed these ideas in his Monas Hieroglyphica (1564).

Image from:
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (ca. 1486-1535 A.D.)
De occulta philosophia libri tres / Three Books of Occult Philosophy
1651 Edition, Harvard University Library
P240-241

Midday, 20th Dec, Scotland - with only the slightest flicker in the needle, I inhabit a world wholly underexposed.

“And yet, when we gaze into the darkness… we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.”

Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows

Midday, 20th Dec, Scotland - with only the slightest flicker in the needle, I inhabit a world wholly underexposed.

“And yet, when we gaze into the darkness… we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.”

Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows

"From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached."
From Franz Kafka’s Aphorisms 1918

The photo is of Kafka’s mother and sister, amid birch trees, Villi, 1916 
From: http://www.members.tripod.com/kafka_and_prague/family.htm

Three of Kafka’s sisters and two of his lovers died either in Nazi concentration camps or in the Lodz ghetto.

"From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached."
From Franz Kafka’s Aphorisms 1918

The photo is of Kafka’s mother and sister, amid birch trees, Villi, 1916 
From: http://www.members.tripod.com/kafka_and_prague/family.htm

Three of Kafka’s sisters and two of his lovers died either in Nazi concentration camps or in the Lodz ghetto.

The multiplication of lumen - Roger Bacon (1214-1294)

“We say that the lumen of the sun in the air is the species of the solar lux in the body of the sun, and lumen falling, perchance, through a window or an aperture is sufficiently visible to us, and it is the species of the lux of a star… lumen is that which is multiplied and generated from that lux and which is produced in air and other rare bodies, which are called media because species are multiplied by their mediation.”

Roger Bacon considered the ‘species’ of a thing to be “the force or power by which any object acts on its surroundings”, within an infinite network of interpenetrating and emanating forces. In the fluid language he uses when referring to the ‘species’, he connects numerous definitions and meanings. It is at once similitude, image, sense, intellect, idol, phantasm, simulacrum, form, intention, shadow of the philosophers, virtue, impression and passion. In mediating the ‘species’ we perceptually receive, we of course create and emanate whole new ‘species’ of our own. The act of mediation itself ‘multiplies’ the species - we emanate.

The Roger Bacon quotes are from David Lindberg’s translation of De Multiplicatione Specierum (Of the Multiplication of Species).