Watch/Read/Travel: Lawrence English

November 5, 2014

Kenneth Anger: Lucifer Rising (1972)Those opening shots of magma spilling out of the otherwise black surrounds is such a visceral opening to this film. Anger knew the qualities of saturation. He knew how to find a way of overpowering the eye, whilst never tiring it. ‘Lucifer Rising’ maintains an incredible balance between found footage and these incredibly rich dream-like sequences that link into the glory days of Hollywood in the 1930s. Dream something, make it a real vision, invest that vision back in to the dreams of the audience. Anger knew the power of mythology, the power of aesthetics and how those two elements could be made to work together to create something far greater than the sum of its parts. Like his chest says… Lucifer.

 

Kenneth Anger: Lucifer Rising

Kenneth Anger: Lucifer Rising

 

Allen S. Weiss: Zen Landscapes: Perspectives On Japanese Gardens And Ceramics (2013)Allen Weiss is an author for whom I have endless time. I find him an utterly engaging and considered thinker around all the matters he applies himself to. His writings are incredibly focused, but still afford a dream like imagination to flow from them. I think this is down to the intensiveness of his studies, through examining with such vigour he reveals new vistas that seem almost too vivid and imaginary. With ‘Zen Landscapes’ he ponders questions of aesthetics, time, texture, gardens and ceramics. I love Japan’s appreciation for and historical interest in a sense of perfection in imperfection. It’s something I have internalised in my music making, here Weiss drills into such thoughts further. It’s difficult not to share his passion for his chosen subjects and this publication is no exception.

 

 

I’m not sure this is so much a travel recommendation as a recognition for why travel is valuable. In 2010, I had the chance to visit Antarctica working on some art projects there. It’s needless to say the journey was incredibly special and profound. There was a day where I had one of those properly life changing experiences, something that I guess some people would find incidental, but I found innately powerful. I was standing on the edge of a large chasm, a sloped fall that ran from the edge of a plateau to the ocean. The temperature began to drop incredibly rapidly and the wind died away. Everything became very still and suddenly i realised I was completely isolated from the world around me. I was dwarfed in this vacuum of sound and I started to realise I really couldn’t hear anything. Of course there was some low level ‘something’, but it felt like silence. Like being swallowed in a place where for some moments nothing was breathing. Not me, not the world. Stillness swelled into what I would say is as close to silence as I’ll ever come in my life.

 

(Lawrence English)


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