178 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
    • 4.8 • 472 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 Hand of Ithell, with Amy Hale

    The Hand of Ithell, with Amy Hale

    Ithell Colquhoun (1906-1988) was a British painter, poet, and occultist, long identified as a pioneer of the Surrealist movement in the UK. While her work is increasingly recognized for its mystical themes and innovative use of automatic techniques, deeply influenced by her esoteric studies, it also inspired extensive research on its broader cultural and spiritual contexts. Amy Hale, an anthropologist, folklorist, and author, has dedicated much of her career to exploring Cornwall, the fabled region of southwest England that became Colquhoun’s spiritual home. Hale’s book, Ithell Colquhoun: Genius of the Fern-Loved Gully, published by Strange Attractor Press, offers a profound biographical study of Colquhoun, examining the historical and spiritual forces that influenced her work. In this episode, she joins JF and Phil to discuss Colquhoun, Cornwall, and the transformative power of research and writing.


    REFERENCES


    Amy Hale, Ithell Colquhoun: Genius of the Fern-Loved Gully
    Agnes Callard, I Teach the Humanities, and I Still Don’t Know What Their Value Is
    Steven Feld, Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra
    Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
    Lionel Snell, My Years of Magical Thinking
    Special Guest: Amy Hale.

    • 1 hr 28 min
    Make Believe: On the Power of Pretentiousness

    Make Believe: On the Power of Pretentiousness

    In culture and the arts, labeling something you don't like (or don't understand) "pretentious" is the easy way out. It's a conversation killer, implying that any dialogue is pointless, and those who disagree are merely duped by what you've cleverly discerned as a charade. It's akin to cynically revealing that a magic show is all smoke and mirrors—as if creative vision doesn't necessitate a leap of faith. In this episode, Phil and JF explore the nuances of pretentiousness, distinguishing between its fruitful and hollow forms. They argue that the real gamble, and inherent value, of daring to pretend lies in recognizing that imagination is an active contributor to, rather than a detractor from, reality.


    Pierre-Yves Martel's EPHEMERA project


    It isn't too late to join JF's upcoming course on the films of Stanley Kubrick, which goes until the end of April, 2024.
    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


    Brian Eno, A Year with Swollen Appendices
    Dan Fox, Pretentiousness: Why it Matters
    Ramsay Dukes, How to See Fairies
    Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens
    Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition
    Weird Studies, Episode 49 on Nietzsche’s idea of “untimely”
    Sokal Affair, scholarly hoax
    Weird Studies, Episode 75 on ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’
    Stanley Kubrick, “Notes on Film”
    Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Uses and Abuses of History
    Vladimir Nabokov, Think, Write, Speak
    Mary Shelley, “Introduction to Frankenstein”
    Matt Cardin, A Course in Demonic Creativity
    Playboy interview with Stanley Kubrick

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Tatters of the King: On Robert Chambers' 'The King in Yellow'

    Tatters of the King: On Robert Chambers' 'The King in Yellow'

    "Let the red dawn surmise / What we shall do, / When the blue starlight dies / And all is through." This short poem, an epigraph to "The Yellow Sign," arguably the most memorable tale in Robert W. Chambers' 1895 collection The King in Yellow, encapsulates in four brief lines the affect that drives cosmic horror: the fearful sense of imminent annihilation. In the four stories JF and Phil discuss in this episode, this affect, which would inspire a thousand works of fiction in the twentieth century, emerges fully formed, dripping with the xanthous milk of Decadence. What’s more, it is here given a symbol, a face, and a home in the Yellow Sign, the Pallid Mask of the Yellow King, and the lost land of Carcosa. Come one, come all.


    Join JF's upcoming course on the films of Stanley Kubrick, starting March 28, 2024.
    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


    Robert W. Chambers, The King in Yellow
    Weird Studies, Episode 100 on John Carpenter films
    Algernon Blackwood, “The Man Who Found Out”
    Susannah Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
    Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”
    Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater, Thought Forms
    Weird Studies, Episode 140 on “Spirited Away”
    Vladimir Nabokov, Think, Write, Speak
    Charles Taylor, A Secular Age
    David Bentley Hart, “Angelic Monster”
    M. R. James, Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to you my Lad”
    William Carlos Williams, The Red Wheelbarrow

    • 1 hr 26 min
    Towards a Weird Materialism: On Expressionism in Cinema

    Towards a Weird Materialism: On Expressionism in Cinema

    What is expressionism? A school? A movement? A philosophy? At the end of this episode, Phil and JF agree that it is, above all, a sensibility, one that surfaces periodically in history, punctuating it with occasional bursts of frenetic colour and eruptions of light and shadow. Whenever it appears, expressionism challenges our tendency to divide the world up into neat quadrants: mind and matter, subject and object lose their legitimacy as they start to bleed into one another. Prior to recording, your hosts agreed to focus on two pieces of writing: Victoria Nelson's The Secret Life of Puppets and a recent Internet post on eighties and nineties American films entitled "Neo-Expressionism: The Forgotten Studio Style." Though focused on a number of films, the conversation includes forays into the world of the visual arts, literature, and music.


    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


    comrade_yui, “neo-expressionism: the forgotten studio style”
    Victoria Nelson, The Secret Life of Puppets
    Francis Ford Coppola, Bram Stoker’s Dracula
    Weird Studies, Episode 161 on ‘From Hell’
    Bram Stoker, Dracula
    E. H. Gombrich, The Story of Art
    Jean-Francois Millet, “Gleaners”
    Kathe Kollwitz, “Need”
    Robert Weine, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    Arnold Schoneberg, Pierrot Lunaire
    Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1
    Peter Yates (dir.), Krull
    Wilhelm Worringer, German art historian
    Weird Studies, Episode 136 on ‘The Evil Dead’
    In Camera The Naive Visual Effects of Dracula
    Kenneth Gross, Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life
    Weird Studies, Episode 121 ‘Mandwagon’

    • 1 hr 29 min
    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

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
472 Ratings

472 Ratings

TManning ,

An absolute treasure

Never fails to reframe things well known and introduce things exciting. I so appreciate the dialogue between the hosts - collegial without ever becoming to inside joke-y, and always open to each other’s interpretations. An absolute treasure and must listen.

conaninspace ,

A Journey Around My Room

No matter how far my perambulation round my room I always return home to this investigation into all things wondrous and weird.

Mothman8 ,

Best podcast ever

Life changing stuff

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