Zero Squared #32: Vade Mecum

Richard Skinner’s collection of essays Vade Mecum is the topic of dicussion this week as the author discusses Eric Satie, Werner Herzog, John Cage, and the interdisciplinary life of a man of letters. Skinner is a novelist whose works include The Red Dancer, The Mirror, and now Vade Mecum.

From the jacket:

Vade Mecum brings together Richard Skinner’s best essays, reviews and interviews from 1992-2014. There are close critical engagements with writers (Kazuo Ishiguro, Italo Calvino, Shakespeare’s The Tempest) and composers (Erik Satie, Iannis Xenakis, Luc Ferrari), meditations on films and filmmakers (Antonioni, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Chinatown) and idiosyncratic reflections on Werner Herzog’s Of Walking in Ice and Steely Dan.

In this episode you’ll also hear the voice of John Cage, the music of Boards of Canada, a collage about expressionism and the avant garde, Werner Herzog describing Klaus Kinski to David Letterman, The Dell Vikings “Come Go With Me,” a brief reading from Vade Mecum on the subject of Italo Calvino’s cities, and Erik Satie’s Vexations.

What is the Avant Garde? (A 1000 words Rerun)

In anticipation of the next Former People journal I am rereleasing this old episode of 1000 Words:Talking Art. This is the second episode entitled simply: What is the Avant Garde?

This is a podcast I did with my son Benjamin who was 13 at the time. He’s 17 now and I’m sure he’d be pleased as punch to know that people were listening to his adolescent self again.

In any case, listen to this to discover just what the avant garde really is.

Diet Soap Podcast #175: How to Listen to the New

The guest this week Michael Karman. Karman is the editor of Asymmetry Music Magazine, a magazine dedicated to exposing the general public to new and interesting art music, and we discuss how to listen, the problem of tradition, concrete music, John Cage, Coca-Cola bottles and more.

The music and sound in this episode includes A String Quartet playing Bad Romance by Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga herself only mashed up, reversed, and filtered, an excerpt of Michael Rodd from the BBC 1979 documentary “The New Sound of Music,” Emmanuelle-Gibello’s “Crashtest 10,” Ernst Krenek’s “Sinfonia no. 4”, John Cage talking about Coca-Cola bottles, and Luc Ferrari’s “Exploitation of Concepts.”

I want to thank Jacob L, Andrew M, Tracy V, Ted F, and John L who are regular subscribers to the podcast. I also want to thank Terry T, Andrew M (a second time), Adrien S, and Babafemi M for their very generous one time donations. If you’d like to donate you can find the paypal buttons on douglaslain.com and at the podomatic page for Diet Soap. And in the next two months I’ll be starting a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund a Diet Soap tour that I plan to call “Think the Impossible!”

The music you’re listening to right now is Paul’s Dance by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Michael Karman and I discuss How to Listen to the New.
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Diet Soap Podcast #155: The Charlie Rose Abstraction

The guest this week is the filmmaker Andrew Fillipone. Andrew Filippone Jr. is the filmmaker in New York City made the short film ‘Charlie Rose’ by Samuel Beckett. Some of Andrew’s other works include: The Status Films, an all-text, 4-part, 80-minute documentary film cycle made from real-time searches of public Facebook status updates; Happy Monday, a film-sculpture hybrid that he describes as a “documentary film object;” and The Auroras of Autumn, a silent, abstract short that screened at the 8th Berlin International Director’s Lounge, but in this episode we discuss two other films the first being his mock conspiracy film No! Gabba, Gabba and the other an experimental film entitled 999.

In this episode there is a point where I explain the idea of a concrete abstraction, and I thought it would be worthwhile to explain that idea here at the outset.

The other day I was asked to define the idea of a concrete abstraction and I said that this was the idea that reality is inexorably both conceptual and sensual. One can’t separate out the idea of what it is to be something from the sensual qualities one encounters upon meeting that something. An apple is both an idea and an experience. Once you’ve grasped this the question isn’t “What is a concrete abstraction?” but rather “What isn’t a concrete abstraction?”

Couple of announcements. First, the Philosophy Workshop has been on hiatus over the summer I will be restarting that project in September and I want to encourage people to join up. Subscribing to the workshop is really a way to support the podcast and if you enjoy Diet Soap you should consider subscribing or making a one time donation. So, in September we’ll pick up with Hegel’s phenomenology, and I think I’ll try to use Google Plus to host the online conversations.

Another announcement is that soon I’ll be launching a second, monthly, podcast called Pop the Left. C Derick Varn and I have been recording conversations for this and this coming podcast will be an examination and critique of the left from the left. Along those lines I recently received an email from TJ Clark accepting an invitation to come onto Diet Soap. Clark is an art historian and former member of the Situationist International and his latest essay “For a Left with No Future,” for all it’s flaws, is a valiant effort and really required reading.