Archive for the ‘bizarre’ Category


November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Thank you kindly for your constant interest in Merzbau! Only today after a random visit here I realized that there have been  more than 13000 visitors to this blog! Merzbau is over [at least for now] but this does not mean that I will bring it down. It will remain online for archival purposes.

There has been a return to the merzposting though. There is a new incarnation of this ongoing ‘effort’ that is called Llamarinth. This is a new journal of the weird and wonderful maintained by me and a very dear person to me, houdinismother. I am sure that Merzbau readers will find many things of interest there and they will not be disappointed.

I would be glad to see you and maybe hear from some of you over at Llamarinth!




Itsuki Takashi + Coilhouse + Namio Harukawa

September 21, 2008 5 comments

Inconsistent blog reader that dmtls is, he missed a wonderful post on Trevor Brown’s baby art blog made a whole half year ago. This was the first featuring Itsuki Takashi’s Amputee Robot Doll Bondage series, followed shortly after by an informative post on the subject. Thankfully TB [given the interest in the former ones] made a new post today Amputee Robot Doll Bondage vol.2 of which Jahsonic informed me. Enjoy these amazing + perverse imagery.

Through the posts of TB and Jahsonic I made it to Coilhouse blog + magazine. I did not have the time to look around much but the first impression is more than rewarding. Their motto a love letter to alternate culture composed in an era when alternate culture no longer exists is intriguing and the whole project full of promises. dmtls rushed to buy one copy of the uncensored, printed 1st issue [available only online] and suggests that you give it also a try.

Finally in Merzbau inbox arrived notice of this publication:

CALLIPYGE by Harukawa Namio

Harukawa Namio is well known for his female domination drawings and Callipyge [from the Greek word καλλίπυγος, meaning the one with well-shaped buttocks] is the first official publication of his to be available outside Japan, from United Dead Artists publications [thank you very much for letting me know].

word from a friend / Satan bouche un coin

May 9, 2008 2 comments

Today I got an email from my friend Mr. Stereotype, who is now pursuing his musical interests a little more intensively [reach him also @ his Myspace page]. He included a link to what at first seemed an interesting and provocative [film] short. It did live up to my expectations but it also proved a rare surreal document.

It is falsely posted on Youtube simply as Satan while the whole title reads Satan bouche un coin. It was shot in 1968 in France. Directed by Jean-Pierre Bouyxou [Bouyxou was also the writer] and Raphaël Marongiu, my first thought while watching and knowing nothing about it [someone missed his Esotika Erotica Psychotica classes, I came by this entry only after having completed my post here] was, I can see Molinier and Aktionismus here. Well I couldn’t have been closer to the truth. Pierre Molinier is the mysterious androgynous figure of the picture. Surrealist photographer and pioneering body artist, whose ‘Bellmeric’ works are full of ambiguous eros and transgendered fetish visions. Scenes in the movie actually look like Bellmer lifeforms, while others like pieces from Muehl or Nitsch Aktion films. Kenneth Anger hints are eminent.

Images of death towards the end and the introducing along with the final scene of an ass give to the disturbed tale even more perverted twists [necrophilia and scatology (?)]. Necrophilic references [if any] may also be a wink to the alleged Molinier’s sexual intercourse with his dead sister [When Molinier’s sister died in 1918, he is alleged to have had sex with her corpse while left alone to photograph it. “‘Even dead, she was beautiful. I shot sperm on her stomach and legs, and onto the First Communion dress she was wearing. She took with her into death the best of me.”]. The accompanying lugubrious music is actually working in funny ways during the film, adding falsely joyous strokes making for an even more decadent feel. Transgressive and unsettling this piece of celluloid is an obscure shard of surrealism history and aesthetics.

Mr. Stereotype thank you very much for your great suggestions and recommendations and for your kind words about merzbau in your blog.

hint: check comments in Esotika Erotica Psychotica post

Berlin museums + museum shops, part 1

May 6, 2008 Leave a comment

The title may sound a little strange but museum shop is in many cases the place to make some wonderful discoveries of special editions and more.

Starting and proceeding chronologically

Neue Nationalgalerie

Within the area of Kulturforum, close to Potsdamer Platz and Sony Center, Neue Nationalgalerie […the famous “temple of light and glass” designed by Mies van der Rohe…] was my first museum experience in Berlin, a city with dense museum network. Now on exhibition the new collection where everyone and everything in modern art from Kokoschka to contemporary abstract art, through the likes of Dix [his was some of the best pieces in the collection], Schwitters and others, has its place. Divided in art movements Neue galerie is a sure call for modern art lovers.

Museum shop: Alphabetically arranged monographs and a nice selection of art books plus the ordinary museum paraphernalia. Outside the main shop’s space there are two tables stocked with sale items, but be warned that some of these titles are available elsewhere even cheaper.

Pergamonmuseum [Museumsinsel, first take]

Inside Pergamonmuseum lies an amazing collection of antiquities [a part of this collection is housed in Altes Museum] many of them of Greek origin [finds from excavations in Olympia, Samos, Pergamon, Miletus, Priene, Magnesia, Cyprus and Didyma]. Inside museum’s halls visitor can admire the world renowned magnificently opulent structure of Pergamon Altar as well as a really big collection of Classic, Hellenistic, Roman and late Roman antiquities. Two more collections of great interest and importance found within Pergamonmuseum are the Islamic Art and the Ancient Near East one.

Museum shop: Many books covering the thematic of the museum and its collections can be found in its shop. Unfortunately the majority of them, including some not-permanent exhibitions’ catalogues, are only available in German. There is a rather big collection of jewelry also in the shop and here you can find the perfect gift for many occasions.



Housed in Charité [the largest university hospital in Europe] hospital complex, Medizinhistorisches museum is a thrilling and strange experience. More than one collections were on display, but I am unsure which of them where running exhibitions and which of them permanent. One that was [almost] for sure ongoing was a showcase of face casts presenting a variety of optical and dermatic [always concerning face] pathologies. Another that was quite haunting was a selection of medical cases spanning the last 3 or 4 centuries, presented in text along with any relating instruments of each time and a handful of personal belongings of the suffering person. Given the fact that all of them were tormented and dead, I couldn’t help but remember John Saul’s Blackstone Chronicles. The view from a nearby window was Psychiatric Clinic, as the label next to it read.

The core of the museum is the medical collection of deformities, curiosities, damaged internal organs, sick skin, dead foetuses and so on preserved in formaldehyde [?], exhibited in a big hall. Part of this collection is an awe-inspiring megacolon, stored in a huge jar. The day we visited the museum was bleak and rainy. Searching for the hospital bookstore [we didn’t find one, probably misinformed] we ended up taking a walk in the hospital gardens between and around buildings and clinics. Everything was unnaturally still and quiet, and probably somewhat unsettling.

This visit was a mind-altering experience highly recommended to anyone interested in medical history and/or medical curiosities. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Museum shop: Much to my disappointment [although probably expected] there was just a rudimentary [book]shop featuring a handful of titles, only in German. One or two seemed interesting to my non expert eyes. If anyone knows of any catalogue of this museum’s collection [or similar books, except from the Phantom Museum and a couple of editions on Mutter museum] please leave a comment or send an email.


more on Berlin museums soon

dmtls reporting from Berlin part 2.

transgression, decay and the Avant-Garde

May 3, 2008 1 comment

Joel-Peter Witkin

History Of Beauty is an interesting book, while On Ugliness [both by the great Umberto Eco] is an excellent one, not it terms of ‘execution’ [see writing] but as a subject. Studying the ever-shifting and changing standards of beauty can prove useful and entertaining. Beauty and how we conceive it plays a key role in understanding society and art. This also applies to ugliness despite the fact that most of the times, ugliness is pushed out of focus and to the darkest corners. It is of critical importance to note that it is rather unsure whether beauty exists and is defined as the opposite of ugliness or vice versa [These thoughts are addressed also by Eco].

Depicting what is not visually or mentally [everything is in the brain(?)] attractive, not strictly as a means of threat or propaganda, is a barrier-smashing concept in art. Disturbance in art accounts for many powerful and of great depth masterpieces. Steadily avoiding the mainstream ‘evil’, ‘wicked’ and ‘ugly’ popster hype, difference, para-normal, perverseness, the displeasing mark a widely uncharted territory deep within human psyche capable of the next chef-d’oeuvre or a disgusting monstrosity. Appealing and appalling sound and spell conspicuously similar.

What lies beyond death [physically] is rot and decomposition. The ultimate transformation, the passage from life to death is one of the biggest taboos. But what about the literally ultimate transformation/passage, decomposition? Dealing with subjects like this probably categorizes as transgression but that is what avant-garde is all about. Avant-garde and ‘extreme’ [extreme here stands for all practices, art forms and expressions considered abnormal and/or over-provocative] meet again on the grounds of transgression. Greenaway deals extensively with decay in his Zed & Two Noughts, while also rot and putrefaction are returning themes in Cannibal Corpse‘s releases, both visually [artwork] and lyrically, while generally being a favourite concept of fellow death metal and grindcore bands.

Ravenous waves attack,
drawn by the scent of life
Fever for our blood

Instinct rules this mass, ruthless living sea

Countless vermin gnashing at my face
Tear meat from my skull
Swarming, rabid, features are erased
Body covered, rat filled innards
Shred internal organs
Heart and lungs consumed from inside but my
pain doesn’t end
I have not died

Devour, cesspool of vermin
Devour, bloodthristy rabid
Devoured by vermin

Ruthless gnawing vermin – feed
Cleaning off my bones while I breathe
Stenching greasy rodents – swarm
My body is losing its form

[Lead – Owen]
[Lead – Barrett]

Devour, cesspool of vermin
Devour, bloodthristy rabid
Devoured by vermin

Lyrics of Devoured by Vermin, Vile [1996], see numerous other examples.

Decomposition is also the subject of Sam Taylor-Wood‘s work A Little Death.

It can be described as ‘meta-still life’ [sic] imagery, probably better classified as vanitas. Still life by convention, as it fails to meet the definition of …[a work of art] depicting inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, plants and natural substances like rocks) or man-made (drinking glasses, cigarettes, pipes and so on) in an artificial setting. In A Little Death subjects are certainly not inanimate. We witness a slow, almost ritualistic procedure [made frantic in order to fit in 4 and a half minutes of film] that ‘performs’ the final transmutation to the mortal body [Memento mori]. This is not Ars Moriendi, preceding death and the inevitable subsequent results are presented ‘as-are’, there is no ethos, like in nature, making our spectacle even more disturbing.

An alteration of forms is taking place in this video. A passage from form to deformity, resulting in an almost abstract and all-together different final outcome [the apple remains unaltered (plastic?), probably to work as a connecting factor between the phases] with a distinct artistic value per se [?].

Días sin luz [Days without light]

April 1, 2008 Leave a comment

An old acquaintance of merzbau readers, Jaume Balagueró. Días sin luz [1995].

Electric Girls | The Body Electric

March 29, 2008 1 comment

The introduction of illuminated balletgirls has greatly added to the attractions of the spectacular stage. Girls with electric lights on their foreheads and batteries concealed in the recesses of their clothing first made their appearance a year ago… reads a New York Times article. It’s 26th of April 1884, Wednesday and on the fourth page of the newspaper is featured an article with the strange title [even for nowadays, exotic for these times] Electric Girls counting 719 words, describing some new elegant and apparently trendy, eccentric practice of hiring ‘illuminated girls’ dressed in filament lamps for everyday use from dusk till midnight – or as much later as may be desired, to luminate a dinner, to help the troubled by the flicker of his gas light student in his studies and so on. Marriage of techno-progress and male fantasy, a spectacular retro-futuristic vision, although probably strange to today’s social standards, bearing also the heavy symbolic meaning of female-as-divine-light.

Read the full original article here. Useful references/resources [a.k.a. further reading] here and here.

Check also citations [137] and [137-138] of the book
When Old Technologies Were New : Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century by Carolyn Marvin

[137] {tesla, electricity, tesla coil, performance} Tesla was well known for a visually spectacular trick of passing hundreds of thousands of volts through his body “while flames flashed from his limbs and fingertips” by means of a special induction coil named for him.

[137-138] {electric girl lighting company, female, gender, body, electricity, clothing, wearable, 1884, 1840s, tesla} In 1884 the Electric Girl Lighing Comapny offered to supply “illuminated girls” for indoor occasions. Young women hired to perform as hostesses and serving girls while decked with filament lamps were advertised to prospective customers as “girls of fifty-candle power each in quantities to suit householders.”

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