John Zorn (ed.): Arcana V: Musicians on Music, Magic & Mysticism (2010)

15 December 2013, dusan

“For centuries musicians have tapped into mysticism, magic and alchemy, embracing ritual, spell, incantation and prayer, and experimenting with esoteric approaches to harmony, pitch and vibration. In recent decades, avant-garde musicians have rediscovered these overlaps, as occultism has reinvented itself–through Buddhist and other Asian influences, Thelema and Chaos Magic–to accommodate cultural strains from psychedelica through Punk and Industrial music. This special edition of John Zorn’s much acclaimed Arcana series focuses on the magical aspects of the act of making music. Neither historical overview nor musicological study, it illuminates the sympathies between music and the esoteric tradition with the help of today’s finest experimental musicians and occultists. Among these are William Breeze, Gavin Bryars, Alvin Curran, Fred Frith, Sharon Gannon, Larkin Grimm, William Kiesel, Yusef Lateef, Frank London, Meredith Monk, Mark Nauseef, Pauline Oliveros, Genesis P-Orridge, Terry Riley, David Toop, Greg Wall, Peter Lamborn Wilson and Z’ev.”

Publisher Hips Road/Tzadik, 2010
ISBN 0978833791, 9780978833794
459 pages
via joandleefe

Review: Geeta Dayal (Rhizome, 2010).


PDF (removed on 2013-12-28 upon request of the distributor)

R. Bruce Elder: Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century (2008)

18 November 2013, dusan

“R. Bruce Elder argues that the authors of many of the manifestoes that announced in such lively ways the appearance of yet another artistic movement shared a common aspiration: they proposed to reformulate the visual, literary, and performing arts so that they might take on attributes of the cinema. The cinema, Elder argues, became, in the early decades of the twentieth century, a pivotal artistic force around which a remarkable variety and number of aesthetic forms took shape.

To demonstrate this, Elder begins with a wide-ranging discussion that opens up some broad topics concerning modernity’s cognitive (and perceptual) regime, with a view to establishing that a crisis within that regime engendered some peculiar, and highly questionable, epistemological beliefs and enthusiasms. Through this discussion, Elder advances the startling claim that a crisis of cognition precipitated by modernity engendered, by way of response, a peculiar sort of “pneumatic (spiritual) epistemology.” Elder then shows that early ideas of the cinema were strongly influenced by this pneumatic epistemology and uses this conception of the cinema to explain its pivotal role in shaping two key moments in early-twentieth-century art: the quest to bring forth a pure, “objectless” (non-representational) art and Russian Suprematism, Constructivism, and Productivism.”

Publisher Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, 2008
ISBN 1554580285, 9781554580286
480 pages

Review: David Sterritt (Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 2011).


PDF (updated on 2019-12-14)

Anthony Enns, Shelley Trower (eds.): Vibratory Modernism (2013)

7 October 2013, dusan

Vibratory Modernism is a collection of original essays that will enable scholars and students to explore how vibrations provided a means of bridging science and art – two fields that became increasingly separate over the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The book demonstrates the vital role played by vibrations in the fields of physics, physiology, spiritualism, and by new vibratory technologies, in helping to shape the way modernist art was made and viewed. The chapters are placed into three connecting parts focusing on literature, the visual arts and theatre, each part highlighting the diverse ways in which writers, artists and performers engaged with the fascinating world of vibrations.”

Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN 1137027258, 9781137027252
288 pages