Max Richter – Maria, the Poet (1913) // A Poem by Marina Tsvetaeva (with translation)

2014/02/11 § 1 Comment

Уж сколько их упало в эту бездну,
разверстую вдали!
Настанет день, когда и я исчезну
с поверхности Земли.

Застынет все, что пело и боролось,
сияло и рвалось:
и зелень глаз моих, и нежный голос,
и золото волос.

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“Todesfuge” by Paul Celan (with translation)

2013/05/09 § 6 Comments

Schwarze Milch der Frühe wir trinken sie abends
wir trinken sie mittags und morgens wir trinken sie nachts
wir trinken und trinken
wir schaufeln ein Grab in den Lüften da liegt man nicht eng
Ein Mann wohnt im Haus der spielt mit den Schlangen der schreibt
der schreibt wenn es dunkelt nach Deutschland dein goldenes Haar Margarete
er schreibt es und tritt vor das Haus und es blitzen die Sterne er pfeift seine Rüden herbei
er pfeift seine Juden hervor läßt schaufeln ein Grab in der Erde
er befiehlt uns spielt auf nun zum Tanz

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“Chacun sa Chimère” by Charles Baudelaire (with translation)

2013/04/26 § Leave a comment

Sous un grand ciel gris, dans une grande plaine poundreuse, sans chemins, sans gazon, sans un chardon, sans une ortie, je rencontrai plusieurs hommes qui marchaient courbés.

Chacun d’eux portait sur son dos une énorme Chimère, aussi lourde qu’un sac de farine ou de charbon, ou le fourniment d’un fantassin romain.

Francisco Goya, “Tú que no puedes” (1799)

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“Essays of Schopenhauer” by Arthur Schopenhauer

2013/04/20 § 3 Comments

“Those writers who construct difficult, obscure, involved, and ambiguous phrases most certainly do not rightly know what it is they wish to say: they have only a dull consciousness of it, which is still struggling to put itself into thought; they also often wish to conceal from themselves and other people that in reality they have nothing to say. Like Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, they wish to appear to know what they do not know, to think what they do not think, and to say what they do not say.”

(Arthur Schopenhauer)

Herr Schopenhauer knew how to write… what a shame that he was a pompous misogynist.


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“The Canterville Ghost” by Oscar Wilde

2013/04/18 § Leave a comment

This short story about a haunted old mansion in the English countryside is not your typical ghost tale. You can even call it “reversed horror”, as the ghost is the one who is being tormented here. Or, in the words of Dr. Montague from Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House”:

“Do you recall,” he asked with a little smile, “Oscar Wilde’s lovely story, ‘The Canterville Ghost’?” “The American twins who routed the fine old English ghost,” Theodora said. “Exactly. I have always liked the notion that the American twins were actually a poltergeist phenomenon; certainly poltergeists can overshadow any more interesting manifestation. Bad ghosts drive out good.”

However, it is a typical Wilde, and I’ll never get tired of his wit.

“Poor, poor ghost…” (illustrated by Wallace Goldsmith)

“Poor, poor ghost…” (illustrated by Wallace Goldsmith)

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Jan Švankmajer: Short Films (part 2)

2013/04/16 § Leave a comment

“To me, Surrealism is a certain rebellious stance on life and the world. Its contemporary stance is critically aimed at the current state of civilization. Surrealism has taught me many things: It developed my perception of imagination, instilled in my mind that there is only one poetry, no matter which means we use to express it, and last but not least, it freed me from fear of collectivity. Surrealism is in fact a great collective adventure.”

(Jan Švankmajer, 2012)

SHORT FILMS (1977*-1992)

Dimensions of Dialogue (1982) (Možnosti dialogu)

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Jan Švankmajer: Short Films (part 1)

2013/04/14 § 2 Comments

“(I)t is dream and reality that together create a human life. This should apply all the more to art. After all, dream is one of the essential sources of imaginative creative work. And, I do not care for any other work. Creative work is a certain form of auto-therapy for me. Thus I liberate myself from the demons that moved in with me at some time during my childhood. If art has any sense at all, it lies in liberating man from domestication by civilization and for it to be able to liberate the audience, then it must, first of all, liberate its creator.”

(Jan Švankmajer, 2011)

SHORT FILMS (1964-1972)

The Last Trick (1964) (Poslední trik pana Schwarcewalldea a pana Edgara)

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The Graphic Work of M. C. Escher (part 2)

2013/04/14 § 2 Comments

“(T)here came a moment when it seemed as though scales fell from my eyes. I discovered that technical mastery was no longer my sole aim, for I became gripped by another desire, the existence of which I had never suspected. Ideas came into my mind quite unrelated to graphic art, notions which so fascinated me that I longed to communicate them to other people. This could not be achieved through words, for these thoughts were not literary ones, but mental images of a kind that can only be made comprehensible to others by presenting them as visual images.”

(Maurits Cornelis Escher)

Curl-up, lithograph, 1951, 17×23.5 cm

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The Graphic Work of M. C. Escher (part 1)

2013/04/13 § Leave a comment

“He who wonders discovers that this is in itself a wonder. By keenly confronting the enigmas that surround us, and by considering and analyzing the observations that I had made, I ended up in the domain of mathematics. Although I am absolutely without training or knowledge in the exact sciences, I often seem to have more in common with mathematicians than with my fellow artists.”

(Maurits Cornelis Escher)

Day and night, woodcut printed from two blocks, 1938,
39×68 cm

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“Naive. Super” by Erlend Loe, or What used to excite me when I was a child

2013/04/11 § 4 Comments

“I’ve written a new list. It shows what used to excite me when I was younger. It’s quite long. (…) My existence was full of these things. It was so nice and uncomplicated. When I wasn’t sleeping I ran around and was excited. I never walked. I ran. (…) I speculate about making a list of things that excite me today. I find pen and paper, but notice that I am hesitating. I am afraid the list will be a short one. I should never have stopped running.”

(Erlend Loe)

This was a quick, easy and enjoyable read. A lovely book. Naive. Super. I still haven’t written a proper review (and maybe never will), but thought I could share my own list of childhood memories, just in case Loe would like to see it.

What used to excite me when I was little

– animals, especially cats, birds and baby goats
– betting my life on everything – if this does/doesn’t happen, I die; racing against buses – if I lose, I die
– broken toys and old things, small parts of broken things
– building blocks / construction toys
– buttons
– cardboard boxes
– cartoons before evening news
– chewing/eating small parts of plastic toys
– chocolate and sweets, especially “čupavci” Mom used to make

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