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‘The country blooms – a garden, and a grave’, Oliver Goldsmith The Deserted Village.

Nick Groom – ‘Let’s discuss over country supper soon’ – Rural Realities and Rustic Representations


“The whole ambition of the picturesque was to rework the natural world into a ‘landscape’ – a word that came to England at the end of the sixteenth century
from the German, via the Dutch. Early English uses of ‘landskip’ are strongly cultural – the word is used to describe paintings,
particularly the backgrounds of paintings, and thereby any view that could conceivably be painted.”

“The picturesque encouraged the critical appreciation of nature as a spectacle. Observers of a scene – the word ‘scene’ itself reveals the implicit theatricality of viewing – became an audience, by turns appreciative or critical.
Hence natural landscapes became part of culture, and were understood, judged, and painted according to artistic conventions and aesthetic theories.
For a growing proportion of the increasingly urban population, initial encounters with natural landscapes would be through the medium of art: representations delivered either by pastoral poetry or in picturesque images.”


‘In grand scenes, even the peasant cannot be admitted, if he be employed in the low occupations of his profession:  the spade, the scythe, and the rake are all excluded.’ What was allowed was pastoral idleness:  the lazy cowherd resting on his pole . . . the peasant lolling on a rock’, an angler rather than a fisherman, and gypsies, banditti, and the occasional individual soldier in antique armour. The image of the countryside  presented therefore looked very much in need of improvement – slack, inefficient, indigent, lawless, and archaic. Moreover, once ‘improved’ the landscape was likely to be as empty of agricultural labour as the picturesque depicted it since nearly all the peasantry would have been forced off the land.

848 – New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future by James Bridle (2018 book)

As the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. Underlying this trend is a single idea: the belief that our existence is understandable through computation, and more data is enough to help us build a better world.
In reality, we are lost in a sea of information, increasingly divided by fundamentalism, simplistic narratives, conspiracy theories, and post-factual politics. Meanwhile, those in power use our lack of understanding to further their own interests. Despite the apparent accessibility of information, we’re living in a new Dark Age.new dark age
From rogue financial systems to shopping algorithms, from artificial intelligence to state secrecy, we no longer understand how our world is governed or presented to us. The media is filled with unverifiable speculation, much of it generated by anonymous software, while companies dominate their employees through surveillance and the threat of automation.
In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle surveys the history of art, technology, and information systems, and reveals the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime. (VERSO)

James Bridle on New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future



man always makes it clear to himself: “You are using things which have the intention of not being penetrable.” 1180

772 – Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

timespace coordinates: 1900. girls’ private school, near the town of Woodend, VictoriaAustralia

“What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream.”

Picnic at Hanging Rock is a 1975 Australian mystery drama film which was produced by Hal and Jim McElroy, directed by Peter Weir, and starred Vivean GrayDominic GuardAnne-Louise LambertHelen Morse, and Rachel Roberts. It was adapted by Cliff Green from the 1967 novel of the same name by Joan Lindsay, who was deliberately ambiguous about whether the events really took place, although the story is in fact entirely fictitious.

The plot involves the disappearance of several schoolgirls and their teacher during a picnic at Hanging RockVictoria on Valentine’s Day in 1900, and the subsequent effect on the local community.

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read: 770


Marion stares down at the Picnic Ground and says, “Whatever can those people be doing down there, like a lot of ants? A surprising number of human beings are without purpose though it is probable they are performing some function unknown to themselves.”

770

The Weird and the EerieMark Fisher (2016)weird-and-the-eerie-9781910924389_hr


Making Sense of “The Weird and the Eerie” By Roger Luckhurst

(…) “You have probably heard of “the weird” by now, but you may not quite know what it is, or why so many genre critics, cultural theorists, and philosophers are keen to engage with it. It might once have been quarantined as a subgenre associated with sullen Goths and all those arrested-adolescent readers of H. P. Lovecraft, but it has long slithered free of those confines, and now leaves a trail not just straight across the internet, but on the page and in mainstream TV shows and movie screens.

Writers of the New Weird in Britain, like M. John Harrison and China Miéville, briefly rallied to this banner in 2003 before morphing into something else (although the critics still lumber around with the term). Philosophers such as Graham Harman and Eugene Thacker have proposed a “weird realism” — a rival term to “object-oriented ontology” — that replaces Husserl or Heidegger with Horror. One of the early signs of this shift was Mark Fisher’s own symposium on Lovecraft and Theory at Goldsmiths College in London in 2007. In film, David Lynch was always “wild at heart and weird on top,” from his early animated short films up to Inland Empire. On TV, True Detective was pretty weird, with its echoes of Robert Chambers’s The King in Yellow and dark nihilistic mutterings lifted from Eugene Thacker’s In the Dust of this Planet: The Horror of Philosophy Volume 1. Stranger Things was quite weird, although a little too soft-focused and retro to be fully paid up, but The OA was definitely out-and-out weird. Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy of books (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance, all of which appeared in 2014), so far the major achievement of the American translation of the New Weird, will hit mainstream cinemas with Alex Garland’s film adaptation in 2017. Best get weirded up.

Fisher’s guide to this terrain is an excellent place to start your orientation. The book displays his signature knack for reading popular culture (principally music, fiction, and film) in an expressive, demotic way that is still vigorously political and philosophical. Somehow, Fisher magically renders post-Lacanian, post-Žižekian Marxism and the radical anti-subjectivist philosophy of Gilles Deleuze entirely accessible. Only Fisher can enthuse about old Quatermass TV shows in terms of their “cosmic Spinozism” and still (mostly) make sense. With typical disdain for cultural boundaries, Fisher moves crab-wise from Lovecraft and H. G. Wells to the impenetrable mumblings of punk band The Fall; obscure Rainer Werner Fassbinder TV shows from Germany; Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, and Andrei Tarkovsky films; Nigel Kneale TV series from the 1970s; the music of Joy DivisionThe Shining; the unclassifiable fiction of Alan Garner and Christopher Priest; Jonathan Glazer’s extraordinary avant-garde SF film Under the Skin; and surprising appearances of Margaret Atwood’s early fiction Surfacing and Christopher Nolan’s portentous quantum SF blockbuster Interstellar (which receives a great defense).” (read more here)


https://k-punk.org/

http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/


The eeriness of the English countryside

(…) “In music, literature, art, film and photography, as well as in new and hybrid forms and media, the English eerie is on the rise. A loose but substantial body of work is emerging that explores the English landscape in terms of its anomalies rather than its continuities, that is sceptical of comfortable notions of “dwelling” and “belonging”, and of the packagings of the past as “heritage”, and that locates itself within a spectred rather than a sceptred isle.

Such concerns are not new, but there is a distinctive intensity and variety to their contemporary address. This eerie counter-culture – this occulture – is drawing in experimental film-makers, folk singers, folklorists, academics, avant-garde antiquaries, landscape historians, utopians, collectives, mainstreamers and Arch-Droods alike, in a magnificent mash-up of hauntology, geological sentience and political activism. The hedgerows, fields, ruins, hills and saltings of England have been set seething.”

“What are those pressing concerns, though, and what are the sources of this unsettlement? Clearly, the recent rise of the eerie coincides with a phase of severe environmental damage. In England, this has not taken the form of sudden catastrophe, but rather a slow grinding away of species and of subtlety. The result, as James Riley notes, is “a landscape constituted more actively by what is missing than by what is present”. This awareness of absence is expressing itself both in terms of a vengeful nature (a return of the repressed) and as delicate catalogues of losses.”

“Digging down to reveal the hidden content of the under-earth is another trope of the eerie: what is discovered is almost always a version of capital. Keiller’s Robinson tracks the buried cables and gas-pipes of Oxfordshire, following them as postmodern leylines, and tracing them outwards to hidden global structures of financial ownership. Wheatley’s deserters rapaciously extract “treasure” from the soil, by means of enslavement and male violence. In his cult novel Cyclonopedia (2008), the Iranian philosopher Reza Negarestani figured oil as a sentient entity, developing Marx’s implication that capital possesses emergent and self-willed properties, that it is somehow wild.” /  see: 771-robinson-in-ruins-2010

(read more here)

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A suitable place for violence? Orford Ness, Suffolk. photograph by Emma Johnson

766 – Electroma (2006)

timespace coordinates: 2000’s  Inyo County, California

Daft Punk’s Electroma (also known as Electroma) is a 2006 science fiction film directed by the French electronic music duo Daft Punk. The story revolves around the quest of two robots (the band members, played by Peter Hurteau and Michael Reich) to become human. The film premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, and was later released in France on March 24, 2007. While initially receiving mixed reviews, Electroma has gained a cult following.4763d1e49b73540e23bcdc629bfd0416

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http://daftworld.over-blog.com/article-the-legendary-duo-s-history-daft-punk


Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652) Italian composer and priest of the Roman School of composers. He mainly lived in Rome, and died there. 

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