While beastieboys.com does indeed, currently offer a free anti-war song download (In A World Gone Mad ), twas the take on the times, by another bunch of Americans who tickled me this week. The Viridians are out to culturally re-engineer the future we’d prefer, through clever, lateral design – and imagination. Founded by sci-fi provocateur Bruce Sterling, they recently called out for ‘contemplation of pretty things in this sad and ugly historical period’, offering a long list of wondrous examples. Got me thinking.
Homebase for the V-cats proclaims they be “Creating irresistible demand for a global atmosphere upgrade”, fuelled by our #need# to address the now indisputably serious issue of global warming. Their strategy for countering the threat of a oil driven war with prettiness might sound ‘pretty pissweak’ to some, but it’s meant to supplement rather than replace anti-war organising efforts, and importantly reminds us to reward and encourage seeds of beauty and ethics as we encounter them. Like Jeff Noon‘s gorgeous new book, ‘Falling Out of Cars‘.
Fans of yellow feathers, or frequent visitors to www.jeffnoon.com will be no doubt aware of his new novel, and I encourage you to seek it out at your local library. The beauty of libraries themselves are to be celebrated – most of them now have online browsing, ordering and notification ( too easy). Jeff’s an author whose playful language mutations and conceptual tweaks make all of his work worthy of a read on at least one level.
After Falling Out of Cars – order in his older books – the classic Vurt and it’s worthy clones Nymphomation & Pollen, the Pixel Juice short stories featuring people with human off-switches, sexuality externalised as a creature, his more recent Needle in the Groove with it’s overt feeding off electronic music processes and his book of text experiments Cobralingus – designed to provide an imaginary toolkit of ‘filters and effects’ for the writer.
“After many morning walks…an idea hit me that seemed like a complete revelation. It was to compose motion, just as musicians compose sound.”
With this in mind, Len Lye (1901-1980) created an extraordinary body of works including paintings, drawings, writings, kinetic sculptures and what he is most famous for – a series of gorgeous films made by scratching and painting directly onto the film itself. Seeing these on the big screen is to have your eyes washed by a waterfall of overwhelming colour, shape and rhythm. Seek this boy out~! (www.govettbrewster.com/NR/lenlye )
Ed Kuepper & Len Lye
Fittingly the Australian Centre of Moving Image (melb) recently hosted a live soundtrack to a projected collection of Len Lye‘s films. Len’s playful yet meticulous edits of his films to music, make them truly astonishing to behold. However with the edits already in place, Ed Kuepper’s live soundtrack was always going to be an interpretation that only sometimes hit the mark. Impressively though, with guitar, heavily milked FX processors, drummer & electronic pads they managed to inject life and feeling into several moments of the pieces, only at times retreating to a kind of lazily effected stoner garage jam. These walls of sounds were luscious and to be celebrated, but sometimes grated against the often minimal and more percussively edited visual delights. Do yourself a favour and see these films.
“We felt it was important to comment on where the US appears to be heading now. A war in Iraq will not resolve our problems. It can only result in the deaths of many innocent civilians and US troops. If we are truly striving for safety, we need to build friendships, not try to bully the rest of the world.”
– Adam Yauch on the beastie boys frontpage.