Monday 31 May 2010

Hollingsville Podcast Update

As there has been a brief hiatus in the posting of ‘Hollingsville’ podcasts, this seems like a good time to recap the ones that are currently available:

TX1/12: ‘The Future, Suddenly it’s 1960!’ with Matt Jones and Steve Beard: voodoo science parks, cities as battle suits, pods, capsules and world expos.

TX2/12: ‘Media, The Extensions of God’ with Richard Thomas and Russell Davies: dead media, lo-tech art forms in a hi-tech world and the communications potential of village halls and four-minute podcasts.

TX3/12: ‘Machines, History and Hardware’ with Bruce Woolley and James Bridle: music-making machines, typewriters, early movie cameras, factory assembly lines, opera houses and concert halls.

TX4/12: ‘Networks, Welcome to the Labyrinth’ with Becky Hogge: social networking and online politics, high weirdness and paranoia, ARPANET and the Cold War, CNN and Desert Storm, DRM and balls of wool.

TX5/12: ‘Dreams, While the City Sleeps’ with Julian House: deep-water soundings, lurking sea monsters, phantom sonar activity, the ruins of Atlantis and spectral dream broadcasts from beyond.

Look out for further updates as they become available, either by subscribing to this blog or by visiting the Hollingsville page on the Resonance FM website.

See also:
Hollingsville Posts

Pictured above: Skylon, the Festival of Britain, courtesy of Shifty Paradigms

Saturday 29 May 2010

TX7/12 Backstage Passes

‘The theatre, the theatre,’ wondered avant-garde choreographer Danny Kaye, ‘what’s happened to the theatre?’ The fact that he chose to pose this question in a movie should give you some idea of just how serious things have become. Tai Shani previewed her new play Last Night I dreamt I was Venus from Beyond the Mirrors, inspired by the Dali’s Dream of Venus pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair, while Richard Strange spoke of a drunken Robert Fraser hurling shoes from his perch at the bar back in the sordid glory days of Cabaret Futura. Both spelled theatre to me in what was probably the chattiest and most smoke-wreathed episode of ‘Hollingsville’ so far. The spirit of Cocteau was with us – as always – just as the words on his headstone told us it would be.

Last Night I dreamt I was Venus from Beyond the Mirrors will take place at the Barbican on July 24. Cabaret Futura – aka the Cabaret of Dr Caligari – comes to life once a month in Paradise – for more details, please visit the show’s Facebook page

Hear Hollingsville TX7/12 ‘Events - the Birth of Chance’ this Tuesday June 1 at 11.00pm on Resonance 104.4 FM or download the podcast on Wednesday June 2 - although regular subscribers to the podcast will note technical details mean that the postings are running a little late at the moment.

See also:
Hollingsville Posts
Karlheinz Stockhausen in conversation with Ken Hollings (complete transcript)

Pictured above from top to bottom: Tai Shani dreaming of Venus; Richard Strange summoning Cesar into consciousness for another show

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Hollingsville TX7/12 ‘Events’

The Birth of Chance

After staging the first complete performance of Erik Satie’s Vexations, a work that requires over 18 hours in which to enfold, John Cage remarked that ‘the world looked new, absolutely new’. Ideas of simultaneity and the instantaneous, as developed in variety theatre, cabaret and modern dance, gave way to the notion of duration as the main organizing principle. Anything could now be part of a performance. Chance was suddenly no longer an abstract mathematical proposition or an expression of malign fate: it became more playful, a shadowy and untrustworthy reflection of the human gesture. What then has become of the stage itself? Is it just another non-place, or as the site for events that are as yet unknown? Can the world still be absolutely new? And who is now waiting in the wings to amaze us?

On episode seven of ‘Hollingsville’, scheduled to go out at 7.00 pm on Thursday May 27 on Resonance 104.4 FM, my studio guests will be Tai Shani, arranger of spectacles and creator of glamours, and cultural hustler supreme Richard Strange. Prepare to be blinded by silence. Specially commissioned musical interludes and moods are by ‘Hollingsville’ composer in residence, Graham Massey. Ins and outs, as always, are by Indigo Octagon. Life is a radical gesture, old chum.

See also:
Hollingsville Posts
Duration: or the Birth of Chance out of the Spirit of Music

Pictured above: the Philips Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair – ‘status: demolished’ - courtesy of the Structurae site.

Sunday 23 May 2010

TX6/12 Backspaced

The backspace key usually lies at one corner of the standard QWERTY arrangement, but it provides a useful metaphor for the latest episode of Hollingsville. As discussed during the course of the programme, Andy Sharp of English Heretic has some blogs that record in fascinating detail some of his urban psychic journeys – the entries on Northolt in the Hoodlum Scientist’s Fieldbook and Heuristic England are well worth exploring - if only for the moment when they suddenly cease for no discernible reason. Meanwhile Mark Fisher’s excellent K-Punk blog continues to weave complexity out of the flat space of the computer screen, the keyboard becoming a summoning board under his fingers. Unlike the spacing bar, however, the backspace key does not activate any application - it merely takes us...back. Mark’s contributions to the show mixed MR James with Jacques Derrida, old ‘Dr Who’ locations with Cold War industrial archaeology in a way that extended Julian House’s exposition on sixties television in the previous episode. Look out for the forthcoming panel conversation he is chairing on the afternoon of June 5, with John Foxx, Ian Sinclaire, plus Julian House and Jim Jupp of Ghost Box, at the Roundhouse.

After the broadcast these two spectral visitors returned to what now seems like some mythic region of Norfolk that is not to be found on any map. Hollingsville is indeed fortunate to have opened its doors to these mysterious travellers.

Hear the repeat of Hollingsville TX6/12 ‘Spaces – Buildings Dream Too’ this Tuesday May 25 at 11.00pm on Resonance 104.4 FM or download the podcast on Wednesday May 26.

See also:
‘Hollingsville’ Posts
‘Spaces’ lecture
‘Catching Up With’ Posts

Pictured from top to bottom: Andy Sharp contemplating the eternal glamour and poetry that is Northholt; Mark Fisher seeing visual space fill up with Maersk shipping containers

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Hollingsville TX6/12 ‘Spaces’

Buildings Dream Too

‘The concept of “place”,’ the editors of Archigram asserted in the 1960s, ‘exists only in the mind.’ As the influence of the airport, the shopping mall, the international hotel and the modern office block impinges upon our consciousness, the concept of ‘place’ becomes increasingly unreal. Networked ‘interactive’ spaces now flicker and whisper around us, conjuring up dreams of data, ghosts of purpose and direction. ‘And suddenly,’ Archigram’s Warren Chalk announced from the pages of the Architectural Forum, ‘the medium is seen to be more important. Architecture will no longer be concerned with individual buildings or groups of buildings, but with forming a permissive environment that is capable of any configuration according to circumstances.’ Space has become haunted; and we have become the phantoms wafting like dreams through our own cities.

In the sixth episode of ‘Hollingsville’, scheduled to go out at 7.00 pm on Thursday May 20 on Resonance 104.4 FM, my studio guests will be Andy Sharp AKA English Heretic cartographer of intense psychic spaces and radical mediumistic ideologue Mark Fisher. Keep a weather eye open for mirages and scale models, spectres and apparitions, tricks of the light and lines of influence. Specially commissioned musical interludes will be by English Heretic with additional moods by ‘Hollingsville’ composer in residence, Graham Massey. Ins and outs are by Indigo Octagon. Hey...what was that sound?

See also:
‘Hollingsville’ Posts
‘Catching Up With’ Architecture Posts

Pictured above: the Palmenhaus in Vienna, courtesy of wandering shutterbug Kitty Keen

Saturday 15 May 2010

TX5/12 Dream Regression Therapy

Julian House wafted in from a cold grey day to prerecord the latest episode of ‘Hollingsville’, ‘Dreams: While The City Sleeps’. As with all Ghost Box emanations, it has hard not to feel the slight thrill of something communicating from another dimension. Belbury Poly and The Focus Group are both entities that work best when overheard rather than listened to directly; they tend to come at you from the very edges of perception where somehow the past has managed to take over. Perhaps it was just as well that the show was recorded under laboratory conditions, as it is entirely possible that the waves generated by Mr House’s presence might have dispersed like a phantom blip on an oscilloscope. My thanks to him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to participate: there was, as William Burroughs and Bryon Gysin once predicted, a Third Mind in operation during the programme, but we cannot identify its identity or nature at this stage. Suffice to say that Julian House’s short film Phenomena and Occurrences, Belbury and Froun Area, mentioned during the course of the programme, contains some clues. My thanks also go to David Knight for his ethereal interludes – safe in their own spaces, our ghosts will sleep well tonight. And now here’s that Time magazine report on Dali’s Dream of Venus again in full:

‘Upon a 36-foot red-satin bed called ‘The Ardent Couch’ an unclad Venus lies dreaming. Of her uninhibited dreams, the first – an underwater vision called ‘Venus’s Pre-Natal Chateau Beneath the Water’ – is the real crowd-catcher. A long glass tank is filled with such subaqueous decor as a fireplace, typewriters with fungus-like rubber keys, rubber telephones, a man made of rubber ping-pong bats, a mummified cow, a supine rubber woman painted to resemble, the keyboard of piano. Whatever this may mean as art, the exhibitors did not dilly-Dali over it. Into the tank they plunged living girls, nude to the waist and wearing little Gay Nineties girdles and fishnet stockings. Swimming, grimacing, doing the Suzy Q, milking the cow, playing ‘the piano’, these Lady Godivers seen at close range and a trifle water-magnified, should win more converts to Surrealism than a dozen high-brow exhibitions.’

- Time Magazine ‘World’s Fairs: Pay As You Enter’ June 26, 1939

Hear Hollingsville TX5/12 ‘Dreams – While the City Sleeps’ this Tuesday May 18 at 11.00pm on Resonance 104.4 FM or download the podcast on Wednesday May 19.

See also:
Hollingsville Posts
Hollingsville TX 5/12 ‘Dreams’
The Belbury Parish Magazine

Pictured from top to bottom: Julian House in the process of dematerializing; the Third Mind in operation (not shown)

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Hollingsville TX5/12 ‘Dreams’

While the City Sleeps

‘What precisely is a dream?’ asked William Burroughs. ‘It is a specific juxtaposition of word and image.’ This connection of word and image to create heightened states of perception which are neither precise nor specific in any way: technology can still offer only external proof of internal activities that evade rational understanding. We either find ourselves on dry land or all at sea. Starting with Salvador Dali’s ‘Dream of Venus’ pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, we will be journeying through a submerged paradise of glass, steel and Manhattan tap water on a voyage to the bottom of our minds.

In the fifth episode of ‘Hollingsville’, scheduled to go out at 7.00 pm on Thursday May 13 on Resonance 104.4 FM, my studio guest will be visionary designer and musician Julian House. Be on the lookout for deep-water soundings, lurking sea monsters, phantom sonar activity, the ruins of Atlantis and spectral dream broadcasts from beyond. Specially commissioned musical interludes will be by David Knight with additional moods by Indigo Octagon and the ‘Hollingsville’ composer in residence, Graham Massey. Ins and outs, as ever, are by Indigo Octagon. Your eyes are getting heavy...

See also:
Hollingsville Posts
From Billy Rose’s Aquacade to Night Tide
From the Dream of Venus to Atlantis in Hifi

Pictured above: Facade of Dali’s ‘Dream of Venus’ under construction in the Amusement Zone at the 1939 World’s Fair, courtesy of The Age

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Hollingsville TX4/12: Backend Database

Early on May 6 Alfie Dennen calls to say he is too sick to be a guest on Hollingsville that evening. Informed of the development, my other invited guest Becky Hogge suggests that the two of us talk really slowly to fill up the time. I have been on a panel with her before and I know that this is never going to happen. Confusion ensues, however, when I accidentally type ‘bubonic plaque’ instead of ‘bubonic plague’ in my initial email message to her: Becky wonders whether Alfie might not be better off seeing a good dental hygienist instead of a doctor. Communication is a rare and precious thing; and like all rare and precious things, it is also doomed to extinction. Meanwhile the nation goes to the polls.

Later that day Becky and I turn up at the Resonance studios to find the place deserted: the entire team are taking a breather before the station’s all-night electoral coverage, and Hannah Brown, our producer for tonight’s show, is already in the studio with Frank Key, putting out the latest episode of ‘Hooting Yard’. Becky and I are in front of the microphones by 7.00 pm, and the ensuing hour is an absolute pleasure. Those of you interested in following up on our conversation can find Becky’s review of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Discipline: an Ecopragmatist Manifesto by clicking here and ‘Pages from History’, her account of the 9/11 pager messages as they appeared on Wikileaks, by clicking here. ‘Hollingsville’ sends its best wishes to Alfie Dennen and hopes he is feeling better now. You can find out more about his latest project by clicking here.

Pictured above from top to bottom: Becky Hogge attempts to contain her enthusiasm over being on ‘Hollingsville’; Alfie Dennen (not shown)

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Hollingsville TX4/12 ‘Networks’

Welcome to the Labyrinth

Networks have extended the range of our senses but also compromised them. As weapons systems, commercial enterprise, banking and home entertainment draw increasingly upon the same operating platforms, the neutrality of the network is open to question. A network is a means of organizing thoughts, ideas and actions across space in real time: as the ratio of speed and its relation to distance alters, the network disappears into itself. Networks are therefore hard to grasp: transient, constantly renewing and changing themselves, they’re also designed not to draw attention to themselves; the better and more flawlessly a network functions, the less likely you are to notice it. Perhaps the most appropriate model for understanding the enduring nature of the network is the Labyrinth: a structure of mystifying complexity where technology, deception and violence all meet. First created by Daedalus to house the Minotaur, the hardest labyrinth to escape may well turn out to be the one you don’t even know you’re in.

In the fourth episode of ‘Hollingville’, scheduled to go out, live and unscripted, at 7.00 pm on Thursday May 6 on Resonance 104.4 FM, my studio guests will be writer Becky Hogge, and creative technologist Alfie Dennen. Expect live and unscripted exchanges on social networking and online politics, high weirdness and paranoia, ARPANET and the Cold War, CNN and Desert Storm, DRM and London bus routes. Specially commissioned musical interludes will be by Richard H Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire, with additional moods by the ‘Hollingsville’ composer in residence, Graham Massey, plus ins and outs by Indigo Octagon. Enter your password now.

See also:
Hollingsville Posts
Networks Lecture
Olaf Arndt: Labyrinth and Camp

Pictured above: networked space, when you think about it

Monday 3 May 2010

Sonic Warfare Panel at Cafe Oto

As soon as I finish in the studio with the next episode of ‘Hollingsville’, I will be heading across town to take part in ‘Sonic Warfare: The Politics of Frequency’ the second Wire Salon at Cafe Oto. A press release for the event reads as follows:

A new series of monthly salon-type events, hosted by The Wire magazine, and dedicated to the fine art and practice of thinking and talking about music. The evenings, which will take place on the first Thursday of each month, will consist of readings, discussions, panel debates, film screenings, DJ sets and even the occasional live performance.

For the second event in the series,
Steve Goodman (Kode9, Hyperdub), author of Sonic Warfare, and Ken Hollings,author of Welcome To Mars and Destroy All Monsters, will discuss the various ways in which sound has been deployed as a weapon, from the military use of sonic bombs to the cult of the soundclash. The night will also feature screenings of World War Two-era US army training films on the art of sonic warfare.

I am very much looking forward to continuing the conversation I started with Steve Goodman at the Berlin Academy last spring: since then he has published his book on sonic weaponry, and I have completed ‘From Gameboy to Armageddon’, my Radio 3 feature on the military-entertainment complex. Expect the dialogue to run across network strategies, dangerous wavelengths, media battlefields and war porn – at the very least.

See also:
From Gameboy to Armageddon Available Online
Rand: All Your Tomorrows Today Online
Embedded Art
Welcome to Mars

Pictured above: Get Dancing: an Iraqi ghetto blaster, courtesy of bldgblog

Saturday 1 May 2010

The Purple Death Strikes Siegen

On Saturday May 8, at around 4.00 in the afternoon I will be giving a talk at the Siegen Museum for Contemporary Art as part of ‘Heroes Ubermenschen, Superheroes: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Aesthetics and Politicization of Extraordinary Humans’.
My lecture is called ‘The Purple Death: Or Further Notes on Camp and the Heroic Rise of the Lowbrow’ and is featured in ‘Panel IX’: the closing session of the conference.

Released in 1940, the last Flash Gordon movie serial, Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, began with a chapter simply entitled ‘The Purple Death’. This was a terrifying pandemic from outer space that claimed people in their thousands, the only symptom being a purple spot that would appear on the victim’s forehead: a disconcerting prospect for a film shot entirely in black and white. Originating as a newspaper comic strip in 1934, Flash Gordon’s cinematic universe is one where mythic forces operate behind the flimsiest of scenery: something which the underground filmmakers and theatre directors of the 1960s were quick to appreciate. Twenty years after the Purple Death’s initial outbreak, Andy Warhol spoke of his epic black-and-white portrait of the Empire State building as ‘an eight hour hard Flash Gordon riding into space’, the Playhouse of the Ridiculous’s production of The Conquest of the Universe featured a cast of ‘beautiful women and deviates’; Susan Sontag compiled her ‘Notes on Camp’; and Wallace Berman’s portrait of Kenneth Anger depicted the homoerotic director of Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome as Flash Gordon. Hard-edged, detached and ironic, this new ‘underground’ sensibility mocked both the moral myths and heroic transcendence of Flash Gordon even as it embraced the tawdry second-hand glamour of their representation. Meanwhile the Purple Death continues to ravage the planet. Except the usual strangeness and poetry.

If you’re on the streets of Siegen on Saturday afternoon, please be sure to drop by and say hello. Documentation of this event will be made available just as soon as the latest outbreak is over.

See also: The Purple Death: further reading and resources

Pictured above from top to bottom: Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe; Marjorie Cameron Shows the Great God Pan her happy face in Kenneth Anger's Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome