Balance / Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind | Leonardo Da Vinci / Michael Grab

Michael Grab
Balance by Michael Grab, 2012
Michael Grab

“Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. 
Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”

Leonardo Da Vinci, 1452-1519

Michael Grab

stereosc2pe + | Fantômas / Louis Feuillade | René Magritte / The Menaced Assassin

Still from Louis Feuillade’s Fantômas, 1913                                      René Magritte,  The Menaced Assassin, 1927

René Magritte,  The Menaced Assassin, 1927, it presents a macabre yet curiously tranquil murder scene. The body, described by the chief theoretician of the Brussels Surrealists Paul Nougé as ‘a corpse of rare perversity’, is centre-stage with a scarf draped over its neck, its head diabolically severed from the body. We see the murderer pausing to listen to the gramophone, his expression remote and malevolent. Unbeknownst to the murderer are the assailants, two bowler hated men, waiting in the wings. An obsession with violent and sadistic crime - in reality and fiction, was a key Surrealist concern. For example, in Nadja André Breton likens beauty to a series of violent and expulsive shocks, akin to a train erupting from a station.

Musidora as Irma Vep in Les vampires, 1915

The cover illustration for the first volume of Fantômas, anonymous artist, 1911.

A « classic image of the Parisian oneirology », according to the French poet Robert Desnos.

The Surrealists - and Magritte in particular - were fascinated by Fantômas, an elusive arch-villain anti-hero and sociopath who murdered with sadistic ruthlessness. The character became popular in early 1900s through the serialised pulp novels of Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. These stories were adapted for film and The Menaced Assassin actually appropriates a still from a 1913 Fantômas film.

Darren Pih / Tate)

The Book & the Movie: A Man Asleep / Georges Perec, 1967 | Un homme qui dort / The Man Who Sleeps / Bernard Queysanne, 1974

“It is a life without surprises. You sleep, you walk, you continue to live. 
Like a laboratory rat abandoned in its maze by some absent-minded scientist.”
"You won’t listen to any more sound advice. You won’t ask for any remedies. You will go your own way, 
you will look to the trees, the water, the stones, the sky, your face, the clouds, the ceiling, the void."

“As the hours, the days, the weeks, the seasons slip by, you detach yourself from everything. You discover, with something that sometimes almost resembles exhilaration, that you are free. That nothing is weighing you down, nothing pleases or displeases you. You find, in this life exempt from wear and tear and with no thrill in it other than these suspended moments, in almost perfect happiness, fascinating, occasionally swollen by new emotions. You are living in a blessed parenthesis, in a vacuum full of promise, and from which you expect nothing. You are invisible, limpid, transparent. You no longer exist. Across the passing hours, the succession of days, the procession of the seasons, the flow of time, you survive without joy and without sadness. Without a future and without a past. Just like that: simply, self evidently, like a drop of water forming on a drinking tap on a landing.”
Georges Perec, A Man Asleep, 1967

"Now you have run out of hiding places. You are afraid. You are waiting for everything to stop, the rain, the hours, the stream of traffic, life, people, the world; waiting for everything to collapse, walls, towers, floors and ceilings, men and women, old people and children, dogs, horses, birds, to fall to the ground, paralysed, plague-ridden, epileptic; waiting for the marble to crumble away, for the wood to turn to pulp, for the houses to collapse noiselessly, for the diluvian rains to dissolve the paintwork, pull apart the joints in hundred-year-old wardrobes, tear the fabric to shreds, wash away the newspaper ink, waiting for the fire without flames to consume the stairs, waiting for the streets to subside and split down the middle to reveal the gaping labyrinth of the sewers; waiting for the dust and mist to invade the city."

Georges Perec, A Man Asleep, 1967

"You go back to your room, you undress, you slip between the sheets, you turn out the light, you close your eyes. Now is the time when dream-women, too quickly undressed, crowd in around you, the time when you reread ad nauseam books you’ve read a hundred times before, when you toss and turn for hours without getting to sleep. This is the hour when, your eyes wide open in the darkness, your hand groping towards the foot of the narrow bed in search of an ashtray, matches, a last cigarette, you calmly measure the sticky extent of your unhappiness."

Georges Perec, A Man Asleep, 1967

'You have hardly started living, and yet all is said, all is done. You are only twenty-five, but your path is already mapped out for you. The roles are prepared, and the labels: from the potty of your infancy to the bath-chair of your old age, all the seats are ready and waiting their turn. Your adventures have been so thoroughly described that the most violent revolt would not make anyone turn a hair. Step into the street and knock people’s hat off, smear your head with filth, go bare-foot, publish manifestos, shoot at some passing usurper or other, but it won’t make any difference: in the dormitory of the asylum your bed is already made up, your place is already laid at the table of the poète maudit; Rimbaud’s drunken boat, what a paltry wonder: Abyssinia is a fairground attraction, a package trip. Everything is arranged, everything is prepared in the minutest detail: the surges of emotion, the frosty irony, the heartbreak, the fullness, the exoticism, the great adventure, the despair. You won’t sell your soul to the devil, you won’t go clad in sandals to throw yourself into the crater of Mount Etna, you won’t destroy the seventh wonder of the world. Everything is ready for your death: the bullet that will end your days was cast long ago, the weeping women who will follow your casket have already been appointed.'

Georges Perec, A Man Asleep, 1967

"It is on a day like this one, a little later, a little earlier, that you discover, without surprise, that something is wrong, that you don't know how to live and that you never will. Something has broken. You no longer feel some thing which until then fortified you. The feeling of your existence, the impression of belonging to or being in the world, is starting to slip away from you. Your past, your present and your future merge into one. You are 25 years old, you have 29 teeth, three shirts and eight socks, 500 francs a month to live on, a few books you no longer read, a few records you no longer play. You don't want to remember anything else. Here you sit, and you only want to wait, just to wait until there's nothing left to wait."

Georges Perec, A Man Asleep, 1967

Georges Perec, Jacques Spiesser and Bernard Queysanne on the set of Un homme qui dort. 

The Man Who Sleeps ( Un homme qui dort) 1974 French drama 
Directed by Bernard Queysanne and Georges Perec
Based on Perec's 1967 novel A Man Asleep

It uses a second-person narrative. The story deals with a young student (Jacques Speisser) and his alienation 
as he wanders the streets of Paris. His inner musings are narrated in the form of an unwritten diary by 
Ludmila Mikael. The protagonist remains silent throughout the film. The film won the Prix Jean Vigo in 1974.

Writers playing Chess | Helen Keller / Hans Fallada / Ingeborg Bachmann / Fernando Pessoa / Vladimir Nabokov / Neal Cassady

Aleister Crowley and Fernando Pessoa playing chess in Lisbon, 1930      Neal Cassady playing chess with Al Hinkle, 1955
Georgian writers, Ilia Chavchavadze and Ivane Machabeli playing chess in Saint Petersburg, 1873
Antoine de Saint Exupery, 1940
Ingeborg Bachmann                                                Hans Fallada, 1934
Vladimir Nabokov playing chess with his wife Véra                                          Hermann Hesse with his third wife, Ninon playing chess
Lucie Delarue-Mardrus, L'Echiquier, 1927
Vladimir and Véra Nabokov Playing Chess on Balcony at Montreux Palace, 1964
Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan playing chess, 1899
* Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. 
She was the first deafblind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree.
Leo Tolstoy playing chess with the son of his friend and publisher Vladimir Chertkov, 1907
George Bernard Shaw and his wife playing chess, 1907, by Alfred Stieglitz
Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin playing chess, Denmark, Skovsbostrand, 1934
Young Andrei Tarkovsky playing chess with his father - the poet Arseny Tarkovsky, 1947

Alphabetarion # The Mystery | Ken Kesey, 1994

 Breading G. Way, Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1888

"The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer - they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer."

Ken Kesey
The Art of Fiction - interview by Robert Faggen, The Paris Review No. 130 (Spring 1994)

Ken Kesey (1935 – 2001) was an American writer, most famous for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and as a cultural icon whom some consider a link between the "beat generation" of the 1950s and the "hippies" of the 1960s as a founding member of the Merry Pranksters.

Flick Review < Cria Cuervos | Carlos Saura (1976)

by Eduardo Munoz Bachs                                      Polish Movie Poster by Andrzej Klimowski

“There are things I can’t forget, it’s unbelievable how powerful memories can be.”

“Cria cuervos is a sad film, yes. But that’s part of my belief that childhood is one of the most terrible parts in the life of a human being. What I’m trying to say is that at that age you’ve no idea where it is you are going, only that people are taking you somewhere, leading you, pulling you and you are frightened. You don’t know where you’re going or who you are or what you are going to do. It’s a time of terrible indecision.”

Carlos Saura

The film prominently features the pop song "Porque te vas" by Jeanette, an English-born singer, singing in Spanish, whose accented voice reminds Ana of her mother, as played by Geraldine Chaplin, who speaks Spanish with her English accented voice. Despite an infectious rhythm the song has sad and poignant lyrics. The song expresses the fact that Ana has no understanding of death, only of absence.

"I can’t understand how some people say childhood is the happiest time of one’s life. It certainly wasn’t for me and that maybe is why I don’t believe either in a childlike paradise or in the innocence of children I remember my childhood as a long interminable and sad time,filled with fear. A fear of the unknown."
"My mother died before I was born."

Cria Cuervos (1976) / Carlos Saura
Writer: Carlos Saura (story)
Stars: Geraldine Chaplin, Mónica Randall, Ana Torrent

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