Archive for the ‘book’ 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!




Drawings on Writing

May 5, 2008 Leave a comment

Advertised under the slogan 100% text, 99% illegible the book Drawings on Writing edited by Serge Onnen, seems really promising. Recently published [Spring 2008] immediately entered dmtls future shopping list.

Take a look at the dedicated website.

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 [?].

[last night] it was a hard day's night

February 2, 2008 Leave a comment

New post. This was a full week. Much work to be done. Two technical studies [one along with presentation – collaborative and one personal] had to be completed until yesterday. Yesterday also was the examination day of my 6th course [2 more to go], a pure demonstration of blazing fast calculations in a minimum provided time period. Days with little sleep.

Not much variety in activities. Seen Mon Oncle and read pages from Bill Buford’s Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany. Both recommended. As for my listening habits these days, I was on a steady diet of Sun Ra’s Cosmo Omnibus Imagiable Illusion: Live at Pit-Inn, Violent Femmes self titled debut and Wicked Lady’s The Axeman Cometh along with internet radio stations broadcasting non-stop drum ‘n’ bass, jungle and happy hardcore(!).

In my mail, more Nitsch, Derek Bailey, Toru Takemitsu and La Monte Young.

Stay tuned for more posts today or tomorrow.

Now playing: Derek Bailey – NINJ (de-mix)
via FoxyTunes

Entre Vues [Between Views] by Frank Horvat

January 3, 2008 2 comments

Interviews by Frank Horvat, about photography, with photographers Édouard Boubat, Robert Doisneau, Mario Giacomelli, Hiroshi Hamaya, Joseph Koudelka, Don McCullin, Sarah Moon, Helmut Newton, Marc Riboud, Eva Rubinstein, Jeanloup Sieff, Joel Peter Witkin.
Work published by Nathan, Paris, in 1990.

Introduction [2002]

Between 1983 and 1987, I had serious problems with my eyesight. This gave me the idea of “photographing with my ears”, i.e. exploring reality with a taperecorder, somehow as I had done with a camera.

I decided that my first subject would be photography itself – as a creative process, more than as a technique. Hence the idea of “talking shop” with a few fellow photographers whom I admired. The hardest was putting those records on paper – which in my analogy was the equivalent to editing and printing.

In the following years, my eye problem was treated and my eyesight sufficiently restored to allow me to return to the camera.

The result of this experience has been a book, “Entre Vues”, published in Paris, in 1990, by Éditions Nathan. Translations into japanese and chinese came out in the following years. The french edition was sold out, but not reprinted. An english publication never took place (don’t ask why, publishers have their reasons).

In spite of this relative commercial failure, “Entre Vues” had a certain impact. Antiquarian copies still pass from hand to hand, and people approach me in the hope of finding one. Unfortunately I cannot be of any help – which is why I decided to publish this work on the net.

I wish to remind the reader that fifteen years have passed since these interviews. Édouard Boubat, Jean-Loup Sieff, Robert Doisneau, Mario Giacomelli and Hiroshi Hamaya are no longer among us. My other partners have evolved, one way or another. My own ideas and my own style of photography have changed. Last not least, photography itself has gone through the digital revolution and has become very different from what it was.

The attentive reader will take these circumstances into consideration.

Frank Horvat, November 2002.

Read it here

Merzbau quick picks [‘Quick picks’ serve as pointers to references of immediate interest to merzbau. The whole ‘book’ is worthwhile, read it if you have the time]

Now playing: Doxa Sinistra – 09 The other stranger
via FoxyTunes

the best and the rest

January 1, 2008 2 comments

Not another list of favorite albums/films/books etc etc from the last year. Simply a list containing the most interesting presents dmtls received during this gift exchanging period.  Three books and [just] one cd. Given the frequency and the volume of cds and records purchases over the whole year I have kindly asked everyone [that cares to ask] interested in offering me something, to choose anything they like but cds. Fela Kuti – Anthology 1, recently out Wrasse Records, though managed to slip into. Not in my immediate interests, I must confess, it is an interesting and worthwhile release. Featuring a selection of songs over two cds and a 1984 documentary [Teacher don’t teach me nonsense] on DVD. It will make a fine present even if you are not generally into this kind of music.

Moving on to books. First on the list is George Steiner’s “Ten (Possible) Reasons for the Sadness of Though”. Great contemporary thinking in a short essay by this prolific writer and professor of comparative literature. After that Ben Schott’s  “Schott’s Food & Drink Miscellany”. An enjoyable little book I gladly added in my small ‘gastronomy / philosophy of food and taste’ library. Finally there is Bukowski’s last novel, Hollywood. If you know Charles Bukowski and his work there is nothing more to be said, if you don’t give him a try, you will either love him or hate him. I chose the first option.

All three highly recommended.

Categories: book, music Tags: ,

ebay stories #2 [the collector's disease]

December 27, 2007 2 comments

Tyson Grumm – The Sound Collector, 2006

No particular reason for writing this apart from the need to share my problem with others.

I am into collecting. Collecting everything possible. I guess that qualifies me as a ‘collector being’, if such thing exists. I tend to spend to my last cent in order to fulfill this sick passion, but there is always something new, something of interest, something I need to have. Things are worse due to my ever-changing and shifting interests making room for more and more ‘collectibles’ [not in the strict meaning of the term, but referring almost to anything]. I have tried to stop or at least restrict my urge for collecting but that was eventually pointless, the only restricting factor is my economics. I guess and hope that there are people out there who can understand my condition.

Well this was ‘inspired’ by last two days ‘activity’. Purchases include, one book [Magnifying Mirrors: Women, Surrealism, and Partnership] and 13(!) cds, filling some huge gaps in my Albert Ayler and Tim Berne collections [plus some AMM and Cannonball Adderley]. The irony is that what I initially intended to buy was Bailey/Lewis/ Zorn – Yankees but I was eventually outbid on that. All the others where found while browsing ‘seller’s other items’. The funds for these where still available after an unsuccessful attempt on obtaining a rare [?] thesis book on Hans Bellmer for a considerable amount of money. Nothing more to say.~


While writing this post the following arrived in my emails : ….they [the 13 cds] will be mailed later today. On 1. January I will have another 350 Jazz CDs in auction….

No prayer for the ‘addict’.

Now playing: Smegma – Stereo Action
via FoxyTunes