174 episodes

Professor Phil Ford and writer J. F. Martel host a series of conversations on art and philosophy, dwelling on ideas that are hard to think and art that opens up rifts in what we are pleased to call "reality."

Weird Studies Phil Ford and J. F. Martel

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 83 Ratings

Professor Phil Ford and writer J. F. Martel host a series of conversations on art and philosophy, dwelling on ideas that are hard to think and art that opens up rifts in what we are pleased to call "reality."

    The Source of All Abysses: On the Devil Card in the Tarot

    The Source of All Abysses: On the Devil Card in the Tarot

    "The Devil's finest ruse," Baudelaire wrote, "is to persuade you that he doesn't exist." In this episode, JF and Phil peer through a buzzing haze of lies, illusions, and mirages, in hopes of catching a glimpse, however brief, of the figure standing at its center. With a focus on the fifteenth major arcanum of the tarot, they try to make sense of this archetype which feels, at once, remotely distant and uncomfortably close to us, all while heeding the warning from the anonymous author of Meditations on the Tarot that one ought not look too deeply into the nature of evil, which is "unknowable in its essence."


    Support us on Patreon.
    Buy the Weird Studies soundtrack, volumes 1 and 2, on Pierre-Yves Martel's Bandcamp page.
    Listen to Meredith Michael and Gabriel Lubell's podcast, Cosmophonia.
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop
    Find us on Discord
    Get the T-shirt design from Cotton Bureau!


    REFERENCES
    Our Known Friend, Meditations on the Tarot
    The Gnostic Tarot
    Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Faust, Part 1
    Ramsey Dukes, SSOTBME
    Edgar Allan Poe, The Imp of the Perverse
    Aleister Crowley, Magic, Book 4
    Leigh McCloskey, Tarot Re-Visioned
    Aleister Crowley, The Book of Thoth
    The Library of Esoterica, Tarot
    Federico Campagna, Technic and Magic

    • 1 hr 10 min
    The Incarnation of Meaning: Greenwich Village After the War

    The Incarnation of Meaning: Greenwich Village After the War

    In this second of two episodes on "scenes," Phil and JF set their sights on Greenwich Village in the wake of the Second World War. Focusing on two works on the era – Anatole Broyard's Kafka Was the Rage and John Cassavetes' Shadows – the conversation further develops the mystique of urban scenes and explores the weirdness of cities. The city, long considered the human artifact par excellence, comes to seem like something that comes from outside the ambit of humanity.


    Support us on Patreon.
    Buy the Weird Studies sountrack, volumes 1 and 2, on Pierre-Yves Martel's Bandcamp page.
    Listen to Meredith Michael and Gabriel Lubell's podcast, Cosmophonia.
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop
    Find us on Discord
    Get the T-shirt design from Cotton Bureau!


    REFERENCES
    Anatole Broyard, Kafka Was the Rage
    John Cassavetes, Shadows
    Kazuo Ishiguro, An Artist of the Floating World
    Phil Ford, Dig
    Weird Studies, Episode 90 on “Owl in Daylight”
    Kult, role-playing game
    Tom Delong and Peter Lavenda, Secret Machines: Gods, Men, and War
    Chandler Brossard, Who Walk in Darkness
    Yukio Mishima, Japanese artist
    Anatole Broyard, “Portrait of the Hipster”

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Scene of the Crime: On Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's 'From Hell'

    Scene of the Crime: On Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's 'From Hell'

    Listener discretion advised: This episode delves into the disturbing details of the Whitechapel murders of 1888, and may not be suitable for all audiences.


    Serialized from 1989 to 1996, Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's graphic novel From Hell was first released in a single volume in 1999, just as the world was groaning into the present century. This is an important detail, because according to the creators of this astounding work, the age then passing away could not be understood without reference to the gruesome murders, never solved, of five women in London's Whitechapel district, in the fall of 1888. In Alan Moore's occult imagination, the Ripper murders were more than another instance of human depravity: they constituted a magical operation intended to alter the course of history. The nature of this operation, and whether or not it was successful, is the focus of this episode, in which JF and Phil also explore the imaginal actuality of Victorian London and the strange nature of history and time.


    Support us on Patreon.
    Buy the Weird Studies sountrack, volumes 1 and 2, on Pierre-Yves Martel's Bandcamp page.
    Listen to Meredith Michael and Gabriel Lubell's podcast, Cosmophonia.
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop
    Find us on Discord
    Get the T-shirt design from Cotton Bureau!


    REFERENCES


    Daniel Silver, Terry Nichols Clark, and Clemente Jesus Navarro Yanez, “Scenes: Social Context in an Age of Contingency”
    Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, From Hell
    Floating World, Edo Japanese concept
    Phil Ford, Dig: Sound and Music in Hip Culture
    John Clellon Holmes recordings
    Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes Collection
    Yacht Rock, web series
    Stephen Knight, Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution
    Colin Wilson, Jack the Ripper: Summing Up and Verdict
    Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
    Peter Ackroyd, Hawksmoor
    Weird Studies, Episode 89 on “Mumbo Jumbo”
    Charles Howard Hinton, mathematician
    J. G. Ballard, Preface to Crash
    William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, The Difference Engine

    • 1 hr 30 min
    Mid-Hiatus Bonus: On Horror and the Retail Experience

    Mid-Hiatus Bonus: On Horror and the Retail Experience

    Every off-week, listeners who have chosen to support Weird Studies by joining our Patreon at the Listener's Tier get to enjoy a bonus episode. These episodes are different from the flagship show. Less formal and entirely improvised, they offer Phil and JF a different way of exploring the weird in art, philosophy and culture. To tide our listenership over until the next new episode drops on January 24th, here is a recent example of a Weird Studies audio extra, recorded as the holiday season was getting under way. Happy New Year.

    • 54 min
    The Way of All Flesh: On John Carpenter's 'The Thing'

    The Way of All Flesh: On John Carpenter's 'The Thing'

    As a horror movie, John Carpenter's The Thing seems to have it all: amazing practical effects, body horror, psychological drama, Kurt Russell ... Indeed, there is only one element this movie lacks, and that is anything at all corresponding to the titular villain. There is no thing in The Thing! What we have instead is a process, a pattern, a way for which the term "thing" is as good as any other. (What is a thing anyway?) In this episode, Phil and JF, having decided that Carpenter's film qualifies as a Christmas movie because there is snow (and a dog) in it, explore the metaphysical implications of a cult classic.


    Support us on Patreon.
    Buy the Weird Studies sountrack, volumes 1 and 2, on Pierre-Yves Martel's Bandcamp page.
    Listen to Meredith Michael and Gabriel Lubell's podcast, Cosmophonia.
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop
    Find us on Discord
    Get the T-shirt design from Cotton Bureau!


    REFERENCES


    John Carpenter, The Thing
    Weird Studies, Episode 100 on Carpenter Films
    Weird Studies, Episode 157 on Videodrome
    Ridley Scott, Blade Runner
    Ridley Scott Alien
    Thomas Aquinas, On Being and Essence
    Haecceity
    Ernest Fenollosa, The Chinese Written Characters as a Medium for Poetry
    Weird Studies, Episode 89 on ‘Mumbo Jumbo’
    Weird Studies, Episode 127 on ‘The Impossibility of Automating Ambiguity’
    Wikipedia, “Quiddity”
    Vilhelm Hammershøi, Danish painter
    Jez Conolly, The Thing
    Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation
    Dylan Trigg, The Thing a Phenomenology of Horror
    Plato, The Timaeus
    Lucretius, “On the Nature of Things”
    Clive Barker, The Great and Secret Show

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Three Songs, with Meredith Michael

    Three Songs, with Meredith Michael

    Every once in a while, JF and Phil like to do a “song swap.” Each picks a song, and the ensuing conversation locates linkages and correspondences where none was previously thought to exist. In this episode, they are joined by the music scholar Meredith Michael – Weird Studies assistant, and co-host of Cosmophonia, a podcast about music and outer space – to discuss songs by Lili Boulanger, Vienna Teng, and Iron & Wine. Before long, this disparate assortment personal favourites occasions a weirdly focused dialogue on time, impermanence, control, (mis)recognition, and the affinity of art and synchronicity.


    Support us on Patreon.
    Buy the Weird Studies sountrack, volumes 1 and 2, on Pierre-Yves Martel's Bandcamp page.
    Listen to Meredith Michael and Gabriel Lubell's podcast, Cosmophonia.
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop
    Find us on Discord
    Get the T-shirt design from Cotton Bureau!


    REFERENCES
    Iron and Wine, “Passing Afternoon”
    Vienna Teng, “The Hymn of Acxiom”, (and here is the live version)
    Lili Boulanger, Vieille Priére Bouddhique
    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    Karol Berger, Bach’s Cycle Mozart’s Arrow
    William Shakespeare, Hamlet
    Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
    Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
    Vladimir Jankelevitch, Music and the Ineffable
    Hector Berlioz, Fugue on “amen” from La Damnation du Faust
    Slavoj Zizek, A Pervert’s Guide to Idiology
    Federico Campagna, Technic and Magic
    Shepard Tone
    Rudolf Steiner, The Influces of Lucifer and Ahriman
    Special Guest: Meredith Michael.

    • 1 hr 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
83 Ratings

83 Ratings

mattsawh ,

What a find

Stumbled on this podcast yesterday and it’s excellent. The hosts are smart, approachable and very easy on the ears. I find that too many podcasts are either too dry when speaking intellectually or try to be too rambly and funny. This strikes a great balance. It should be more popular! Keep on rockin in the free world.

Gedcomm ,

Double whammy

The wedding episode is stunning and really made me look at my reactions to beautiful pieces of expression.

I had a double whammy. I saw Wender’s “Wings of Desire” and broke into sobs when Ganz is looking at the trapeze artist wearing wings and you realize he will give up his wings and become mortal. That just tore my up. A few evenings later I went to “Cirque du Soleil” and lo’ and behold there was a trapeze artist wearing wings high above the ground, I just broke down, I just couldn’t stop crying, it was both pain and joy (like a Ballardian world).

I had a similar response looking at an Anselm Kieffer piece.

Great work folks!

PS more about Deleuze’s Cinéma :-)

Diamon in the rough ,

Brilliant and inspiring

I am hooked ! Ford and Martel are steeped ! I’m re-listening over and over….cancelled Netflix….hooked up on Patreon. It’s like sitting down with a couple of friends over a beer and having my mind blown !

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