Professor Phil Ford and writer/filmmaker 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."
Art in the Age of Artifice
The question of art has been of central concern for JF and Phil since Weird Studies began in 2018. What is art? What can it do that other things can't do? How is it connected to religion, psyche, and our current historical moment? Is the endless torrent of advertisements, entertainment, memes, and porn in which seem hopelessly immersed a manifestation of art or of something else entirely? In this exploration of the main ideas in JF's book Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice, your hosts focus on these burning questions in hopes that the answers might shed light on our collective predicament and the paths that lead out of it.
Photo by Petar Milošević via Wikimedia Commons
JF's upcoming course on the nature and power of art, starting May 10th, 2021
JF Martel, Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice
Weird Studies, Episode 84 on the Empress card
Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Werner Herzog, Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Adam Savage, Special effects designer
Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus
Kabbalistic emanationist cosmology
Henry Corbin’s concept of the “imaginal”
Henry Shakespeare, The Tempest
Tibetan book of the Dead
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Hillman, The Thought of the Heart and The Soul of the World
Phil Ford, “Battlefield medicine”
Jaques Ellul, idea of “technique”
Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists
Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith
Beautiful Beast: On Jean Cocteau's 'La Belle et la Bête'
Jean Cocteau's visionary rendition of Madame de Beaumont's fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast," itself the retelling of a story that may be several millennia old, is the topic of this Weird Studies episode, which proposes a journey down lunar paths to the crossroads where love and death intersect. Drawing on Surrealism, myth, and the occult, Cocteau's 1946 film transcends the limitations of media to become a living poem, a thing that is also a place, a place that is also a mind. This conversation touches on the genius of the child, the mysteries of Eros, the monstrosity of consciousness, and the sorcery of cinema.
Photo by Ivan Jevtic on Unsplash
Click here to register for JF's upcoming course on art.
Jean Cocteau (dir.), La Belle et la Bête
Jaques Maritain, Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry
Sergei Diaghilev, Russian impresario
Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise (dir.), Beauty and the Beast
David Thomson, Have You Seen?
Bram Stoker, Dracula
Johannes Vermeer, Dutch painter
Philip Glass, La Belle et la Bête (opera)
Game of Thrones, Television series
Weird Studies, Episode 84 on the Empress Card
Weird Studies, Episode 94 on the Moon Card
Demon Seed: On Doris Lessing's 'The Fifth Child'
Doris Lessing's uncategorizable oeuvre reached strange new heights in 1988 with the publication of her short novel The Fifth Child. The story couldn't be simpler. In the England of the 1970s, a couple determined to live out a dream that many of their generation have rejected -- the big family in the old house with the pretty garden -- conceive a child that may or may not be human. From that moment on, the boy, their fifth, becomes the alien force that will tear their dream to pieces. Profoundly ambiguous and unsettling, The Fifth Child is a weird novel that raises questions about parenthood, family, and the impenetrable depths of nature.
Header Image: The Changeling by Henry Fuseli (1780)
Additional music: "Fast Bossa Nova: Falling Stars" by Dee Yan-Key
Doris Lessing, The Fifth Child
Doris Lessing, Shikasta
M. R. James, weird fiction author
Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire
Weird Studies, Episode 67 on “Hellier”
Victoria Nelson, The Secret Life of Puppets
David Icke, conspiracy theorist
Deros, underground beings from the fiction of Richard Sharpe Shaver
Hieronymus Bosch, Dutch Renaissance painter
Weird Studies, Episode 86 on “The Sandman”
Slavoj Žižek, The Puppet and the Dwarf
Louis Sass, “The Land of Unreality: On the Phenomenology of the Schizophrenic Break”
Louis Sass, Madness and Modernism
Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life
Richard Thorpe (dir.), The Wizard of Oz
Frank L. Baum, The Wizard of Oz
Weird Studies, bonus episode on Adventure Time
James Hillman, The Soul’s Code
Doris Lessing, Ben in the World
Roman Pulanski (dir.), Rosemary’s Baby
Richard Donner (dir.), The Omen
Donald Cammell (dir.), Demon Seed
All is Mysterious: On the Moon Card in the Tarot
"Here is a weird, deceptive life." Thus does Aleister Crowley describe the meaning of one of the most sinister and spectral cards in the tarot. In this episode, Phil and JF continue their ongoing series on the twenty-two major trumps with a deep dive into the hopelessly enigmatic world of Arcanum XVIII: The Moon. After a brief chat about Voltron and professional wrestling, your hosts start on the lunar path beset by traps and illusions, in hopes that their half-blind perambulation will lead to startling insights.
Image by Damien Deltenre via Wikimedia Commons.
Roland Barthes, Mythologies
Anonymous, Meditations on the Tarot
Colin Wilson, The Occult
Eliphas Levi,_ French esotericist
Ishmael Reed, Mumbo Jumbo
Weird Studies, [Episode 86 on The Sandman](weirdstudies.com/86)
Antoine Faivre, scholar of esoteric studies
Wouter Hanegraaff, historian of philosophy
Alastair Crowley, Book of Thoth
Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
Carl Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis
Peter Kingsley, historian of philosophy
St. John of the Cross, The Dark Night of the Soul
J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Weird Studies, Episode 93 on Charles Taylor
Algis Uždavinys, Philosophy as a Rite of Rebirth
Living and Dying in a Secular Age: On Charles Taylor and Disenchantment
In A Secular Age, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor tries to come to grips with the seismic development that transformed the world after the Renaissance, namely the secularization of the society and soul of Western humanity. What does it mean to live in an age where religion, once the very matrix of social existence, is relegated to the realm of private and personal choice? What defines secularity? Are modern people really as "irrelegious" as we make them out to be? In this episode, JF and Phil squarely train their sights on a question that continues to haunt them, with Taylor as their Virgil in what amounts to a descent into the ordinary inferno of modern unknowing.
Header Image by Pahudson, via Wikimedia Commons
Pierre-Yves Martel's Bandcamp page
Charles Taylor, A Secular Age
Charles Taylor, The Malaise of Modernity
Weird Studies, ep 71: The Medium is the Message
Penn & Teller, B******t
René Descartes, Meditations
Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter-Culture
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Jacques Ellul, The New Demons
David Foster Wallace's essay on David Letterman
Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics
Karl Jaspers, The Origin and Goal of History
Glitch in the Matrix: A Conversation with Rodney Ascher
With his latest film, a meditation on what it means to believe we live in a computer simulation, Rodney Ascher has once again placed himself among the most innovative and visionary filmmakers working in the documentary form today. While the "Simulation Hypothesis" has been a hot topic ever since The Matrix came out in 1997, it is Ascher's ability to suspend judgement, training his camera on the experience of believers rather than the value of their beliefs, that makes A Glitch in the Matrix such a unique and significant exploration, a strange work of "phantom phenomenology."
Weird Studies listeners will recall that Phil and JF devoted an episode to Ascher's films -- most notably Room 237 and The Nightmare -- back in the early days of the podcast. In this episode, Rodney Ascher joins them to discuss his cinematic vision, his take on the weird, and his thoughts on what is real and why it matters.
[Rodney Ascher](www.rodneyascher.com), American filmmaker
-- [A Glitch in the Matrix](www.aglitchinthematrixfilm.com)
Jay Weidner's theories on Kubrick
Buddhist idea of the the Arising and Passing Away
[Dungeons & Dragons](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons%26_Dragons), tabletop roleplaying game
James Machin, _Weird Fiction in Britain 1880-1939
Magic Eye pictures
Parmenides, Greek philosopher
Wachowskis, The Matrix
Alan Moore, "Superman: For the Man Who Has Everything"
Conway's Game of Life
Joshua Clover, The Matrix (BFI Film Classics)
Jonathan Snipes, American composer
Clipping, experimental hip hop band
"Shining" romantic comedy recut
Michael Curtiz (dir.), Casblanca
John Boorman (dir.), [Point Blank](https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062138/?ref=fn_al_tt_2)_
Louis Sass, Madness and Modernism: Insanity in the Light of Modern Art, Literature, and Thought
Special Guest: Rodney Ascher.
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.
Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen in on. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on all things weird!
A New Favourite
Insightful dialogue and critique. Tackling “the weird” from such interesting and intelligent perspectives. Thankful to have discovered this podcast!