142 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 • 71 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."

    On 'The Secret Life of Puppets,' with Victoria Nelson

    On 'The Secret Life of Puppets,' with Victoria Nelson

    Victoria Nelson saw it first: Popular culture teems with occult ideas, vestiges of bygone belief, fragments of ancient magic disguised as common entertainment. Her 2001 work The Secret Life of Puppets is in many ways the ur-text of weird studies, so prescient and probing it is even more relevant now than it was when it first appeared. In episode 128, Phil and JF discussed Nelson's wonderful first novel Neighbor George (2021). In this episode, Nelson joins the hosts of Weird Studies to talk about the vision that drove her to write Secret Life along with its equally insightful follow-up, Gothicka.


    Listen to volume 1 and volume 2 of the Weird Studies soundtrack by Pierre-Yves Martel
    Support us on Patreon
    Find us on Discord
    Get the new T-shirt design from Cotton Bureau!
    Get your Weird Studies merchandise (t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.)
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop


    SHOW NOTES


    Victoria Nelson, The Secret Life of Puppets, Gothicka, Neighbor George


    M. R. James, Collected Ghost Stories
    Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre
    Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
    Carol Clover, Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film
    Bruno Schulz, The Street of Crocodiles
    Stephenie Meyer, Twilight series
    William P. Young, The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity _
    Against Everyone with Conner Habib, episodes 202 & 203
    James R. Lewis, _The Gods Have Landed
    Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire
    Honoré de Balzac, "Séraphîta"
    L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology
    Special Guest: Victoria Nelson.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    On Federico Campagna's 'Technic and Magic'

    On Federico Campagna's 'Technic and Magic'

    In Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality, the philosopher Federico Campagna argues that we moderns have exhausted the reality system we devised at the dawn of our age, a system he calls Technic. Technic has one goal: to reduce all things to language by naming, tagging, measuring, and quantifying them, by turning every parcel of the physical and psychic universe into a "unit" defined by its position in the system. The result has been an erasure of the mere "suchness" of things, the singularity of things simply existing as they are. To replace a worldview that is now revealing its endemic nihilism, Campagna proposes Magic, a way of seeing that reestablishes a balance between the measurable and the ineffable. JF and Phil discuss Campagna's magisterial performance in this episode.


    Listen to volume 1 and volume 2 of the Weird Studies soundtrack by Pierre-Yves Martel
    Support us on Patreon
    Find us on Discord
    Get the new T-shirt design from Cotton Bureau!
    Get your Weird Studies merchandise (t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.)
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop


    SHOW NOTES


    Federico Campagna, Technic and Magic
    Bill Hicks, “Bit on Marketing”
    Fredric Jameson, The Seeds of Time
    Plotinus, Neoplatonist philosopher
    Francis Bacon, Irish artist
    Samuel Beckett, Irish author
    William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch
    Weird Stuides, Episode 87 on Arthur Machen
    Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism

    • 1 hr 32 min
    On Weirding, and the Virtues of Unknowing Everything

    On Weirding, and the Virtues of Unknowing Everything

    With the term "weird studies" gaining currency inside and outside academia, Phil and JF thought it was time to discuss the philosophical method they've been developing on the podcast since 2018. Borrowing a term from Erik Davis, they call it weirding, and here set about trying to understand what it is, and what it means. David Lynch's fondness for crying, the practice of queering in cultural theory, the all-too-real phenomenon of "global weirding,"the spooky agency of artworks, and the tragic death of E.T. at the hands of Damien Hirst are just a few of the subjects touched on in the conversation. "Weirding" also happens to be the working title of the book your hosts are writing for Strange Attractor Press, as well as an eight-week series of lectures and discussions starting October 25th, 2022, on the Nura Learning platform.


    Header image: David Lynch, Mulholland Drive


    Link to the upcoming course: Weirding: An 8-Week Course With the Hosts of the Weird Studies Podcast


    SHOW NOTES


    Ludwig van Beethoven, 9th Symphony
    James Elkins, Pictures and Tears
    Eugenie Brinkema, The Form of the Affects
    David Lynch (dir.), Mulholland Drive
    Gilkes Deleuze and Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy?
    Weird Studies, Episode 121 on “Mandy”
    Erik Davis and Timothy Morton, “Uncanny Objects” episode of Expanding Minds
    Coen brothers (dir.), Hail Caesar
    Esther Williams, American swimmer
    Weird Studies, Episode 120 on Radical Mystery
    Douglas Rushkoff, Survival of the Richest
    William Shakespeare, Macbeth
    Erik Davis, “Weird Shit”
    Pete Docter and Bob Peterson (dir.), Up
    Steven Spielberg (dir.), E.T.
    Alejandro Jodorowsky, Psychomagic
    Martin Buber, I and Thou
    Gilbert Simondon, Imagination and Invention
    Weird Studies, Episode 106 the Wanderer
    Charles Ludlam, “On Camp” in Ridiculous Theater
    Weird Studies, Episodes 14 and 15 on “Stalker
    Weird Studies, Episode 35 on M. C. Richards’ “Centering”

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Art Is an Alien Technology: Live at the Supernormal Festival

    Art Is an Alien Technology: Live at the Supernormal Festival

    With his 2010 film Cave of Forgotten Dreams, the German filmmaker Werner Herzog peeled away the veneer of familiarity on the Chauvet cave paintings, restoring them to their original eldritch sparkle. In this conversation, Phil and JF discuss a cinematic jewel that was wrought under tremendous pressure – and is all the more dazzling for it. The episode was recorded live at the Supernormal Festival in Oxfordshire, England, where your hosts were also subjected to unexpected pressure as the band Plastics started their set at the same time as the talk! Though we feel the musical accompaniment adds depth to the dialogue, listeners who find it distracting can skip to the end of the Plastics' set around 41:30. All listeners are urged to visit the band's Bandcamp page to sample some choice hardcore.


    Weird Studies thanks Strange Attractor Press, the Supernormal Festival , and Plastics. JF Martel gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts in making this live recording possible.


    Header image via Wikimedia Commons.


    Listen to volume 1 and volume 2 of the Weird Studies soundtrack by Pierre-Yves Martel
    Support us on Patreon
    Find us on Discord
    Get the new T-shirt design from Cotton Bureau!
    Get your Weird Studies merchandise (t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.)
    Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop


    SHOW NOTES


    Werner Herzog, “The Minnesota Declaration”
    Tom Waits, “Step Right Up”
    Herman Melville, Moby Dick
    Weird Studies, Episode 76 on “Hellier”
    Stanley Kubrick (dir.), 2001: A Space Odyssey
    Paul Bahn, Images of the Ice Age
    Weird Studies, Episode 101 on “In Praise of Shadows
    Weird Studies, Episode 129 on “The Fall of the House of Usher”
    Matthew Barney, The Cremaster Films
    Stanley Kubrick, The Shining

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Off-Week Bonus: On Worlds and Stories, with a Special Announcement

    Off-Week Bonus: On Worlds and Stories, with a Special Announcement

    In this bonus episode, originally released for Listener's Tier Patreon supporters, a discussion of the books Phil and JF are reading leads to a debate about the place of plot, story, and worldbuilding in narrative art. The episode contains information on "Weirding," a new course that the hosts of Weird Studies will be teaching together at Nura Learning, starting in late October. Visit nuralearning.com for more information.

    • 57 min
    Knocking on the Abyssal Door: Live at the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute

    Knocking on the Abyssal Door: Live at the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute

    The historian of religion Jeffrey J. Kripal writes, "The world is one, and the human is two." The line captures the riddle of reality. What is it with our species? Equipped with an intellect able to grok the basic laws that govern the physical universe, we seem unable to wrap our heads around as simple a question as "What is real?". Recorded live before a learned audience at the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute (DISI) in August of 2022, this episode approaches the enigma by teasing the Weird out of the very idea of intellection. If the architects of DISI are right to say that mind, far from being confined to human skulls, enjoys wide distribution across nature, what might such ideas as magic, synchronicity, and prophecy tell us about intelligence and meaning?


    DISI is a three-week interdisciplinary event held each year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The hosts are grateful to Jacob Foster and Erica Cartmill of UCLA for inviting them to speak at the institute.


    **Header image: **Detail of The Ancient of Days by William Blake.


    SHOW NOTES


    Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute (DISI)
    Earlier iteration of Jacob Foster's talk, "Toward a Social Science of the Possible"


    Pauline Oliveros's Tuning Meditation
    Norbert Wiener, American mathematician
    Joshua Ramey, "Contingency Without Unreason: Speculation After Meillassoux"
    E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande
    Aristotle, Physics and Metaphysics
    Jeffrey J. Kripal, "The World is One, and the Human is Two: Tentative Conclusions of a Working Historian of Religion"
    Jeffrey Kripal on Weird Studies: episodes ## and ##
    Aleister Crowley, See The Vision and the Voice and Magick in Theory and Practice
    The "Unwritten Doctrines" of Plato
    Plato, Republic, "Seventh Letter" & Phaedrus
    Phil's prophetic dream report (Patreon supporters only)
    H. P. Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (for description of Azathoth)
    C. G. Jung, Synchroncity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, Alchemical Studies & Mysterium Coniunctionis
    Charles Taylor, A Secular Age
    New York Times article on 2022 UFO hearings

    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
71 Ratings

71 Ratings

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 !

Dedpanman ,

MISSING PIECE - FOUND!

If you enjoy intellectual converstations about the weird - fringe topics - and the stranger avenues of pop culture - this is it. From Mothman, to Colin Wilson, to Kubrick, to Raiders of the Lost Ark - these guys are all over the place - and I love them for it. Disccussions run deep and dark and are frequently thought-provoking. I thought I was the only one who thought about this kind of stuff - but I never had anyone to talk to about it. Now I can listen to these guys and yell my two cents worth at the speakers! The missing piece of my life now found. Keep up the excellent work. Check it out.

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