pascalancelbartholdi

In one word…en un mot

Wormhole Labriphonic Song, Epicentric Ballad of a nomad in London

O great Octopia Humongraal Gargantim…

London, the megalith kitchen, famished automaton…

In the continuous renewing of the continual restoration

of a bran spanking new old regime…we toil.

London embalmed in crystal meth, erasing the remains of every ancient myth.

Her saintly mannequins stare blankly at our torpid flux.

Daintily, they hold jewels, their features seized with static ecstasy,

a halo above their heads, chandeliers of the third kind,

revolve around empty sockets, plastic bodies asking for vapid sex,

high on their stilettos, sparkling, they size us up,

we the monochromatic descendants of interstellar mites.

Chorus 1

Did you read the meter?”

“I had enrolled once as anti-life molecular soldier”

I had to keep the dead in shape, indulgence of the mind,

buried almost alive in chop-chop paradise,

hijacked by a Fritz Lang maniac,

who thought I could turn a dictionary into a new mechanical planet.

I little big man, anthropomorph-anomaly,

Will watch a world of galvanised actuations

turn inside out like a star fish.

I was lucky to fall from grace, down the random escalator,

As random some would say as a slippery slope up the garden path

where the haggard passer-by must eat the aftermath

on the wet tiles of Tartarus, product of a lector,

semi real, escapee, his fluids dry and low, his high cholesterol frying on a counter,

flabby and deflated, a cheap wig on his head has slid dangerously,

like most urban crawlers, he has gone out of print, no sanctimonious ties…

Chorus 2

Who will pay for the grave? What of an epitaph?”

He used to lie back on his Seti, dreaming of ufos,

filling up with pork pies, waiting for his toaster to bake an entry sign.

Chorus 3

An entry sign to what?”

“Buzz off ‘repro’!” shouts a ‘one off’. It’ s a battle out there between rip-offs and nostalgics.

Chorus 4

It is the norm; they follow the synthetic beat

and trail blazers of body heat”

“I slipped in the spotless gap and everyone followed”

“Walk on”, stones lie low, the river will take them. They call her a serpent,

and at every corner a griffin lurks, waiting for a beggar.

The greatest of them all stands above the roofs,

a cast iron maiden, never failing the scoop.

“Open the snuff box, the hour glass in suspension!”

He was seen stuffing a bin bag with sideral hours,

hours of data, as a matter of course.

“Courses for horses”, the farmer used to say, echoing Oliver fading in a bottle.

Eurydice ascends, fairy of absentia.

Heart throb of the ‘megapolis’

We can walk forever, not a door on site, but lenses everywhere.

Bouncers stand like concrete monkeys by false windows, the sitex philosophers of ‘narcowhere’.

Chorus 5

They teach us a new way of life”

The zenith of vulgarisation on the edge of a slice.

I was wrong, here is not ‘nowhere’, it is everywhere,

and sharks swim inside one severed head,

dead white, their formaldehyde veils swaying in neon light,

all for the sake of hyper definition… of infinite sameness.

Chorus 6

This is our last holiday resort…or last resort holiday”

Walls black with flies sweat the black rot terror,

something squeals from the mortar, as we blow torch a few tail ends.

I gave up on the job, replaced immediately, by some savvy hoody.

He pulled out a baton, tenderised a few skulls, stars gazing from his palms,

Master of rhetoric, Santa of all nations, cherubs in his apron.

He intoned the verses of Plato’s Republic, a corporate anthem anointing his public.

All praises to the lord, disfigurement in fact of human origins,

A faceless moribund hungry for instant flesh.

Chorus 7

The slow delectation of synthetic body parts

The slow dereliction of prosthetic mental parts”

The camera mirror locks up; I catch my eye in the visor,

“perfect” I thought, a starting point, a slanting smile to the next X con,

“stand by”, he jumped off the cut, mind you, gutter trick.

Jump the ‘Q’,

“Yn’t, 143, o’l 41”

The musketeers, in slow motion.

I thought, “time to reverse, where’s the damn switch?”

Chorus 8

Can you mark the spot?”

He nodded, only two words could come out,

his head was spinning. Now the road opened up like a scroll,

I started scraping the ruff edge of a barrel.

“Heck, hells, bells, I’m on a roll!”

It is written in the salts, the crystals lining celluloid.

I roll, a head, down the vertiginous tunnel of entropy.

Like pastry softened by microwaves, to a meltdown rhapsody,

“That’ s my life” I thought, uncertain, in a few shoddy words.

“I am an infidel, nor do I know my name”

Sigh was of the relief of an equaliser.

For to begin I err around the equator.

Chorus 9

Errare aberrans est”

“…Not a hero my lord…”

Xman number 1 had hollowed out his face

A stark manhole in its place.

“You know that corner shop?”…”how should I?”

“Corner shops come and go, even corners don’t last”

they are a freeze frame commodity,

“like there’s no tomorrow”,

“One-less day”,

Timetable claptrap.

Chaise longues mixed into an orgy of broken limbs,

the park attendant sniffing lapses out of an ugly mug.

I too dozed off in the volutes of an exhaust…

A city, this filthy curb at the bottom of the pile.

There, not in the belly of a whale, in a shit hole,

the gut of a watch tower, lavatory level -2.

I had to find my way out, because…

Chorus 10

Is there such a thing?”

The corridors were tied in knots, R.D Laing had been there.

Stairways led to glass bays, the peninsula of Baudrillard.

No exit. “But what is the male gaze for?” “Go and conquer!”

The billboard in LED…LSD…HHD…

“How can 3D puppets float on Plexiglas?”…

I admired the view, the replicas of contentment,

orthodontic virgin snows shine out of their mouth,

scattered among plastic trees, the real ones crawling

under the weight of Christmas chains

impregnated with satellites.

Electro paradise flickered as the sky turned beef pink

like bad top lit sitting rooms, filled with mongrel sofa love,

mashed up hyper inflated upholstery hungry for grey flesh

How (could) I love that city?…

Chorus 11

The slow desecration of synthetic body parts

The slow vivisection of prosthetic mental parts”

The exploitation of lukewarm bodies amid tinsels,

cardboard still damp from the urine of flagellated piss takers,

golden showers flowing from the nadir of sky lickers,

the groans of their snivelling stomachs, as they sucked the heels

of vapid nymphs, their noses pristine marble scintillating with pride

nostrils dilation, maximum consumption, with the grace of a swan.

Lancome, Chanel, Dior, red poppies clad in the finest white sugar

Vouitton skin, Cartier, perfect time around a wrist of enamel,

Avalon of arrested decay, a king of spades up their retractable sleeve,

wolf and leopard fur caress their necks…dead to the touch,

ivory runs in their purple blood, a cloud beneath their feet…

The petrol sentient gentlemen, dirty black patent shoes

kick with the kindest intent, the muzzled up trash, chewing on yellow toads.

They ram it in, with that lethal extremity, deep in the crack of an arse

a gutter bitten suet snout bugger beggar, dirt soup extra-national

with the pomp of a toff, the vulgar gesture of a flâneur morose

the breath of the letter ‘F’ all over their composure.

The winds of perturbed digestion invade the pipeline in their chest,

their features contorted by the slurs of disdain, death rattle in their throat.

Advocate the devil and the wiles of our host…

“Getoutofmyfuckingway” as they divert their course,

“loaf, eat my shit, suck my dick, lay an egg for daddy Smith”

Schmuck, fodder, mugger, dismal intent of lower growth,

sad episode, genetic flaw, inferior strand of existence, a limping stump.

But no words need be spoken, only actions will hit the mark,

with the sweet perverse etiquette of a covert operation.

Sartre was so right, purposeless titans roam the earth for the good of man,

building heaven with garbage cans, with rotting food, with cellophane,

wrapping paper, barcode bundles, boneless chicken, half lollipops

greasy diners, leaking condoms, toiletries, newspaper cuts…

and their shadows look upon us, no found objects, puppet masters,

“told you so”, means nothing more.

“If you can’t eat it”, Shouts flyer boy, eat my flyers!”…

Bullet proof philosophy.

The stage is set, the dice are thrown, blank sheet, no lies.

The throne slips on a slope, push play, no rewind, for the hairless hamster,

bacon on a platter, eat your shite, shake my hand, play my second fiddle,

I am well placed, hanging above the ditch, a Magritte in deep space,

fifth wheel of a trailer, will get you further than all subliminal cues.

A long view protrudes between my lidless eyes, old doctor Numero.

From my niche of unfortold graces, I install the conduits of a riddle,

a cream swollen tank of treasures glides just above the skyline.

Greased up MacDonald dreams conglomerate into a monument of grime.

Chorus12

The voluptuousness of sweet grilled pain”

as the obscene Marquis de Sade would claim.

How he would have praised and worshipped her excess,

leaking from the bubonic foot suffocating the ham of a supplicant,

bending amid the Teutonic roots, fisting a faithful sycophant.

Still, I despise his conventional brutality, his pitiful self-pity.

“This is the place for you!”

“Come and scratch the surface of your emptiness”,

“Come and ejaculate in your own cochlea, and hear the tumults of an ocean of meat”.

I could have told him that, as he hanged, in the larder of a blue bottle fly,

swaying like a pendulum.

Chorus 13

No death penalty for the pope or for the libertine”

As he rides the flayed posteriors of his mares, objects of derision some say,

he passes unaware the cave of paradise, blind to irony, overwhelmed by ennui,

“What he is missing here!”

“What a turn out for the books, what a haven for the cooks!”

He would sing like many, as he suckled from the torn bosom of a virgin whore.

Chorus 14

The slow mastication of synthetic body parts

The slow amputation of prosthetic mental parts”

This was my town, the seat of market fuck, cesspool of our glory.

Born and raised to the ground, first saved from the shimmering bone wrenching

algid viscosity of the canals back end of a ruin, roofs still smoking from the lavish attention

of soulless birds, saved from the bitterness of a local flood,

running under the flatulent soles of our keepers,

ran over by the wheel of a hipster

black nailed mitts scratching the scabs of my groin,

teeth gnashing as they teased the regions of my face,

digging into my tongue to extract the nature of my act,

the split infinitives sweating out of my sores, like puss from a dead cat,

too curious to survive the box of Schrödinger, or not curious enough…

A cat wet from coal rains, once pale as the lady of Shallot.

Snakes only detect him in the dark,

one and the same we lay under the lunar shrine.

They captured the small beasts, to please a jealous god, doused in sacred oils,

quartered like criminals, in their cages of flames, Babylon effigies,

evil tricks howled in burning baskets

before an audience drunk with jubilation.

Chorus 15

Still as we speak”

Inhuman, the crowd growths with expectations, Iphigenia in every sensation,

she, as a sail let lose in the storm, rides our obsessions from one poet to another.

A remnant of a loop, an incident of light as a beam breaks through the surface of a leaf,

a leaf made of carbon and ice, sharp as a razor, finer than a laser,

inserted in the pit of double Saturnia, for thus remains the mind of Baudelaire.

I throw the towel and burn the envelope. My carcass, a cinder, floats like a bubble

carried into the flowing saliva of a cowering dog.

I travel across a rictus, my life hanging by the hair of a fugitive…

Not a dog, a city. How I loved this well-preserved example of artful taxidermy,

the dark angular crevasse of a fake childhood, where my toys linger,

sulphurous vapours in the blood bath of progress. She, laudanum,

the sacred latrine of opium eaters, the tantaliser of kitsch dreams,

cherishes our despair, encourages rancour, promotes bewilderment,

encodes our tribal screams.

How she fails to impress her soiled divinity upon the restless shores of my sphere.

The genesis of Thanatos would not stick to the protein chunks of my bones,

she will instead exceed her projections, her regents, meta-platonic dwarfs,

the workers of hypnos, insinuating promises of carnal expansions

into the circuitry of a fashionable prophet, and on his shoulders,

instead of a magnificent cranium, an altar flooded with vagrant excretions.

A bloated stain on a wall, filling gaps in the woolly brains of scavengers,

their lips foam as they gloat at a pulsating mob, a few thousand miles below deck.

The shadow of prosperity, an ever-flowing mass of tar engulfing the destiny of blind ants,

those featherless cold-blooded vacuous homunculi, tracking the coffin of Adam…

Ambulance chasing satyrs spilling hot sand in our eyes.

Chorus16

Let’ s get the best part of the feast on the flattest part of the globe

in the hottest part of the night, in the safest part of our town, let’s end this dam-charade”

all over…and over and over again”.

We step on spit and spit on creeps, we trip on gut, we split and cut.

Objects explode under the weight of our vacillating frames, like volatile molluscs

under the load of our guilt. Squandering with a stint,

squatting the edge of a precipice.

“Get a life, keep walking,

run for president, have a baby, get real, do something for your country,

stop smoking, be honest, pay your taxes, stop crying,

get a job, don’t diss the family, be reasonable, stop dreaming,

do something useful, buy a tv, sign the contract, be loyal to your company,

money isn’t everything, accept your lot, go to church, be humble,

be ambitious, be flexible, despise the weak, give to charity,

be transparent, admit defeat, work for peace, go to war,

tell us everything we need to know,

look at it another way”…

‘Reality’, I burnt my finger tips as I tried my hands on her lubricated sense of duty.

She is the city. The 3D map of a fictional apparatus, the mask of the masses.

A giant armour moved by the multitudes.

In its sockets, I see a light of great brilliance.

As I peer deeper, the light divides; small wriggling forms reflect our sun,

maggots tremble in excitement, looking out of the windows to the soul.

Chorus 17

The slow calcination of synthetic body parts

The slow dissolution of prosthetic mental parts”

The thing wants food, it bites one foot and two arms. “I can write with one leg!”

The red turns white in the scorching light. I close one eye and look on.

Surging from the spinning top of a round table,

it cuts through the torsos like a rolling blade through batter.

The axis, a spine stripped of skin, growths a vermillion bud

immediately frozen in a condensing mist of helium, the rose turns to stone.

Night falls as suddenly, leaving a trail as Leviathan revolves on itself.

What glowed as a Duchampian invention

divides beyond recognition, pre-packed occult anatomy.

New angles follow one another, and we see the evolution of our stars as in a zoetrope.

From a 45 degree angle, we are shown the closest galaxies,

the milky way lapped up by a horde of apollonian putti ,

from 90 degrees, we travel to mid heaven, passed Cygnus and further out,

there, those who have seen us ever, are only looking at a memory of us.

Then 180 degrees, and we begin to slide passed the mirror of time,

all numbers melt into an amalgamate to replicate the tooth of chaos.

Later, but before all, 390 degrees, a funnel opens and shuts perpetually,

the blind spot of the demiurge who needs us to cover his back..

But we stick a knife in and run out of sight.

“A desert rose lost in action”

Rigour mortis of the psyche, it enters the realm of the senses

as scenes of erotomania prolong the agony,

in a garden of roses

Chorus 18

And perfection at last!”

Coronation of empty days.

Black out on a screen of static illumination.

We descend from the rip of a fallen beast, the road makes a u turn,

and another…the signature of an illiterate defrocked god, a plaintive meticulous bureaucrat

A cul de sac, a sac with no cul, nothing but an arse, not even an arse.

That’s about all, to explain the sacking of the libraries of Alexandria,

the robbing of the libraries of our days, the future where pages will no longer be turned,

where we shall not feel this urge, this love of paper falling and the smell of a page

as we open a book for the first time.

“Petty civil servants, ministers, executives, kings, queens, parliamentarians, diplomats, heads of states and companies, multinationals, monopolies,

what you contribute to remove from life is that which makes life what it is.”

“Exactly!” shouts the Armenian, they sang joyfully

a bitter cry muffled from the dry outback,

such was their fear of failure.

Were the future to hold a library, all would be done to burn her children,

yet we render their ancestors sterile.

“How could intelligence survive?”

“Where did the ferret hide?”

In the nest of his victims,

eating, drinking, sleeping, inside the corpse of his prey, after entering

like a merchant of reveries, a mantle of promises covering innumerable channels

where gastric juices like torrents, rushed uncontrollably.

“What better fate for a mortal exalted in the exercise of his function?”

I slip out of the corroded shell like albumen out of a broken egg.

How did I get here, under the fake granite, the farcical mountains, their face, flat, plain

insensitive to light, to touch, to memories?

All cut into with the same tools, the same design, replacing a forest of singularities

books only can preserve.

“Exactly”! Shouted the polyglot again.

“Burn them, forbid print, to save humanity from annihilation

and above all meaning is a bringer of perdition.”

Chorus19

What a city! For is she not the world?”

Homogenous windows, walls with no history, no detail surprising the eye, no beauty.

The hollow men of Thomas Stearns Eliot, These are the hollow heads,

marching armies of steel and straw, machines of pain with burning hair

armed, electric, force saving shields, smart velvet doves on a silicon fist,

a nano heart, chemical purity, divider of words, numerical perfection,

the soldier of a new crusade, para-dice formation, a pointless deduction.

They incorporate the living like Kronos his newborn.

Chorus 20

What is a field of multicolour GM tulips if not a symbol for the celebration of difference?”

One of them a general, lets a die fall from his hand,

“There are no winners”, he murmurs, the die is white, no, it is black, no”…

A grey dice, the grey zone between two shots, one takes the liqueur, another takes a life.

Clear liquid runs towards his translucent pharynx, as blood accumulates on the tarmac.

The general feels an affinity with the tarmac. They understand one another.

“How long is the time it takes for a wheel to turn full circle?”

For the mark of its irrevocability, as it passes through the phases of the moon,

the rotations, the perihelions, the revolutions, of our selves.

“What trace will it leave on the parchment of our imperceptible body?”…

“Something out there bit more than it could chew!”

“Don’t joke with the joker”…

Not a man made joke, a real blessing in disguise, home made apocalypse, the book of life.

All in one sentence, seventeen words, three comas.

Look inside the mouth of the ogre, the Hollywood gum is on the other side.

It gets lodged in the hole where once had resided an imperial canine.

It is blown out of proportion, extending to the palate, to the larynx, to the lips.

It growths over his face, it obstructs his vision, his voice, his breath.

He loses all idea of place, all sense of direction.

I pity those tyrants who neither live nor die.

Following a current, I tread on cobbled stones, along ancient masonry,

fibres of a deeper meaning were embroidered here as I pressed on into the sanctuary.

“Thread and Needle, Bread street, Bishopsgate, Shoreditch,

Primerose, Fournier, fleur de Hanbury, Redchurch,

White Row, Wentworth, Old street, Roman,

Vernon, Parnell, Beachy, Monier, Felstead ”…

Long ago, in the land of Cheshire street, on the sidewalk of Bacon street,

The world had many faces, each still alive somewhere…

Over here, beneath the cathedral, remember the fire of 1666…

“Get used to it, don’t cry over spilt milk, get on with it,

Find that needle in the hay stack”

“what stack?” “Don’t you mean stock?”

We can change a whole sentence with a single letter.

The fate of innocence depends on it,

Yet in the final eclipse such a law will shatter.

Chorus 21

It will never happen”

happening all along”

I was once here, as another. Thousands of my steps mark the invisible layers of those roads.

Other insignia had adorned the facades, glittering in the half-light, orange shadows passed,

elbows and shoulders grinding against coaches, horses resting by wooden troughs,

water flowing from fountains lost, and much later, a population ravaged by blight.

Houses crashing under fire, people abandoning their homes…

Now we call it the past, time, faster than ever, has forgotten us.

The ghosts talked themselves out of the ditch.

“It’s a pile in there, don’t go there!”

“I know where you’re coming from”…”Do you?”

“So, where would that be, nowhere? Elsewhere? Sub-where?”

Chorus 22

Where ever…for ever where”

I ran in front of churches one night, the whole way from Saint Paul to St Bartolph.

Not finding what I was looking for, I ran more.

“Who was it?” …”who was I ?

Those days, in the East, on the banks of the city…no pun intended…

Those days were the sunrise of my life.

Deep into the entrails of Bow, In the dungeons of Miles End, the dark stinky corners of Whitechapel, the haunted Fire station on the Isle of Dogs, the summer ketamin kitchens of Clapton, the heroin bathrooms of Hackney, a love impossible to escape, battles impossible to win…broken, demolished, desecrated, demonised, humiliated, blackmailed, accused, sentenced, exiled…like a nation tormented by wars, famine and folly, each of us rose and fell, until the tides tore us asunder,

leaving no one in their place,

as it was, as we thought it should be, and never really had been.

Chorus 23

The slow delectation of synthetic body parts

The slow devastation of prosthetic mental parts”

The city is many, a legion of galvanized anti-cells, the Golgotha of artificial heaven.

“It’ s tuff in here, a jungle, people eat each other”

“If it’s not for hunger, watch that bath soap powder!”

It is my mother, starved, as she gave birth to a litter,

I, one of a few and far between, eyes open that can’t be shut,

a monstrosity of consciousness, of no choice of my own it seemed

a laughable rather than laudable state, was propelled down a wall of black onyx

at a speed that would lead me to presume myself dead…on arrival;

the epitome of Suisse punctuality in a universe of expressionless productivity.

Chorus 24

Dead right”

“Be there or be square.” “I’ll be damned”…

When I got there,

they no longer served the pills. “Children don’t like them”

Now, we can choose between

the blue ice cream and the red ice cream.

The good part is the double cornetto

in B flat, C major, A minor…or combo adagio.

She let me out, that’s a fact, with a horrifying cry.

I saw my old embryonic self hitting the ear drums

of a highly manicured cockroach who believed it could pass for a sacred beetle,

offering safe passage through the rusty water locks, desolate they were

by the rotting sheds of Fish Island, long before new world colonisation…

“How love I would a fair city….”

This was before my time, post rigor mortis of the soul.

I arrived on the scene like a cannon ball in the shop of a watchmaker.

It took a few centuries for me to get there, following Baron Munchausen’s technique.

I lacked the sweet tooth of my slow brothers, and the factual equanimity of my sisters.

Some say I denied the purpose of my species, to play dead, to be game,

“Eat the placebo” was the order I could not bring myself to obey.

It was made out of the marginal utopic fall out, out of those born still, forever,

from the stillness of the dead mother.

“Swallow lest you be swallowed”.

“Hallowed be thy hollow name”

This was not the mother of pearls, who reigns in the crystalline strata of Antarctica.

We humans are tempted to open the grotto of bountifulness

we seek, in moments of disarray, prolonged by shameless libidinous repression.

I saw succubae imitating the piety of nuns, a parody in itself

since most nuns are anything but full of piety.

They squeezed their unique tit

like a bladder, their heels, daggers piercing the bulging throats of priapic priests

reciting the Eucharist while their veins burst with the liquescence

of pure narcotic oils.

In this frenzy, enemy lines, multiplied by a common effort,

built draw bridges and catapults

to rid the land of lechery, debauchery and heretics.

Lands filled with trees, old with stories circling their roots, were burnt to naught.

The blank expression on their face, as one could see, if one would dare…

Some told a sword ruptured as it hit the skin of those men.

Helmets blinded the savage, a solar field of infernal warriors galloping without fear

to slash our heads open, like quartered oranges in one bright blue day of July.

Such mystery stilled and distilled in the velum of an under-belly.

Chorus 25

mystery or misery? velum or venom?”

Coils unravel, I hear the sound of a secret form of life,

The kind that petrifies anything it will touch, Midas,

condemned to contemplate, his thirst spilling into the air.

I saw his thin shadow forlorn, crackling in the mid day sun,

his back to a gutted church, a falcon departing from his leathery hand,

hunted, like a foal by the hounds of Spitafield.

The gallows scrape,

dragged by the chassis of theocratic bulldozers.

“There is no more ground to stand on, no more here to call home”

A lattice of digital pulses hums like a fridge, the matriarch, our saviour.

“Did she recognise you ?”

Chorus 26

Right signal, wrong number.”

I hover upon the great Panopticon like a bat, Jeremy gets too close to the light.

His clothes fall off, like oily rags revealing an appalling sight,

.my wings catch fire, covered with his wax; I oscillate in cybernet obscurity,

the joker shines again, hidden beneath an Ace of spade,

“Just going around the corner!”

A hat trick with a twist, the last will be the first.

Sharp as a magpie diving for a Sapphire, that once had landed under Madame de Récamier,

as the layers of her jupons blossomed like a flower,

lustre of drapery, hanging so languidly.

I look out of a window, glimpse a familiar shape, it looks back, it wonders.

Chorus 27

One and the same”

The lawn heats up in the valley of the city, expensive thoughts

are sent flying like doves of hope, shot down almost immediately.

Chorus 28

Time is money, time is phoney”

Black nose Cockneys, raw soled Scotties,

Bengla nerdies, Belgium salesmen, Russian buyers, Iranian clerks, French hooligans

Polish troopers, Romani chiefs, German tourists, Italian chefs, Spanish groupies,

Turk insurers, Indian teachers, Suisse curators, African bards, Icelandic press,

Cliché joggers, three hat lawyers, Chinese bakers, traffic wardens, obese drivers,

Psychometric stabilizers, ergonomic fertilisers,

Spido-file hobbies, off-shore stash lobbies,

Scam trotters, retro ghouls, footballers,

The forlorn, the Japanese artists, the magnates, the gipsy trapezists,

It keeps getting bigger.

From Moorgate to Ohama, from Brick lane to Dubai, from Big Ben to Beijing

From Waterloo to Sin City

No limits to expansion in the dead pan of fixation.

The curtains twitch, to drums, the beat, we are taken to the gallows,

The keys are thrown and break our feet.

“We shall be burnt on old hallows”

In the backyard of a Victorian semi detached,

a family of flamingos fattens the pigs,

“You old swine”, they shouted,

“By the flyover, the tannery”,

“Eat, or else the feast awaiting”

“They are not real Flamingos, you dork!” behind the crooked plasters of our fathers,

“Sing with us”, I notice a slither of doubt…

a couple of shapes evolve in reverse mode,

they spread their largess of mind over the marble cill, from the boudoirs of our gurus

while on the other side of Curtain Road, a blue monkey with a cravat

paints a door handle in a sink, the new genius of Hoxton beach.

“It’s all about balance”, “it’s not a perfect world”, “we are only human”…”if only”

“A human?…I speak thus”

Already dismantled, my bones you re-ordered for new parameters.

The paradigm, a grandiloquent project at the end of a back alley,

leading homo-exoteric to the throne of a megalo-dream,

a phantasm alike a rubber Marilyn sheathed into the marrow,

the narrow gullet of a polymer tessaract,

a micro diversion of fractal amplitude.

Chorus 29

More legions in Golgotha, mist rises above their graves”

They call it Babylon,

cyber-paradise, duplex life, relative-reality.

“How I loved that city”, “how could you?”

“how one can”

The gore, the gloss, the grim…

the ripper, the bow bells, the Brutalist exerts,

the numbers, the papers, the pomp, the clean slates,

the ravers, the pirates, the bin jobs,

the bailiffs, the records, the shrinks and the shrinking doors,

the fake witness, the good doctors, the broken eggs, the omelette,

the parish, the stinking pimps, the samples,

the vendors, the loony- crooks, the pipe piper

and his revellers, the vice vicar and his suckers, the neighbours,

the chainsaws, the snow balls with hearts of stone,

the grey walls, the grey light, the grey sky , the grey night,

I could kick-start again, die thrice.

“skip the photographs!”

Snap shot on the quiet, in bright daylight

for here no here to be, a labyrinth instead,

elephant of ether, molecular Ganesh,

absorbing every thought that lies beneath the face.

To lose is to win beyond the city-state, so the reverse is true,

“ help me dog”

Chorus 30

By the wheel and the cog”

“I will only swear on Chambers, you wasters!”

Purgatory of choice where devils fear to tread,

if there is a centre, to begin and to end, disorder of the rule…

“no breast without solid!”…”No zest for the vapid” “ no race for the rabid!”…

Walk on”, stones lie low, the river will take them. They call her a serpent,

and at every junction a griffin lurks, waiting for a beggar.

The greatest of them all stands above the roofs,

a cast iron maiden, never failing the scoop.

“Open the snuff box, the hour glass in suspension!”

He was seen stuffing a bin bag with sideral hours,

hours of data, as a matter of course.

“Courses for horses”, the farmer used to say, echoing Oliver fading in a bottle.

Eurydice ascends, fairy of absentia.

Chorus 31

The slow reconstruction of synthetic body parts

The slow immolation of prosthetic mental parts”

Voices carry a story, stories need voices.

Names.

I remember them more than I remember mine.

Stories …just tissues of lies, whistling in the wind,

Not like a nightingale, an old wind in a long subterranean tunnel,

“you can’ t sing”, “but I can fly”, stories churned up to make me right,

to give an air of mix and match, more true than truth itself.

Allegories fill my drawers,

”you look hungry, but you wont eat us, and we’ll get in for free”

The manager gob smacked, teeth red with blood, a fat bundle of cash…

Later, it came to pass,

Smoke lady dances like a snake,

“A terrifying truth!” …

Henceforth the seduction of our euphemisms.

But it was not free, for if not with money, pay you will, with yourself.

They say “nothing uncommon”, I agree, so eager for the weight of arcane a feather.

Names are stories too.

Some I call out in my dream, others I shall bury.

They can fit anywhere, like red bricks in a wall. Some call out to anon,

for the imprints I left belong to another, and many besides none.

We polish the silver ware; we lick the rim of a chalice.

When the flames are out and the water gone, ashes anoint the flank of a mortar.

Once the votes are cast adrift, we scribble an evasion.

Corporations will guide our steps to the nearest salvation,

Are we not so docile sweet slaughter Angelus?

The streets are absolutely full; “hear! not a soul in town”

Chemical white noise in our veins, acid floats via the back trap door,

a virtual snowstorm on the ruts of Black Moor.

Slow motion waves come crashing on a frail melting rock.

In the supercollider of a gland, hyper ballerinas

reshape our galaxy.

Our spectres flood Ceremonial County, searching for a ceremony.

Flammable digestible, bite size nibbles under duress.

In the deep throat of the city, we falter from the block.

Some say we are waiting to die,

On the shores of the Styx, Charon has kicked a die.

“Where did Pluto deride a demagogue?

O Babylon, where Isis lay, where your temples crumble in shrouds.

as your relics fart like old Jack,

twelve bolts and screws enter the sack.

This is the work of a mad man, our grand guignol sat on an ass,

a reign of millennia till now, from the ruins of a palace.

In the tail of a comet, I sense an epilogue.

Chorus 32

The slow putrefaction of synthetic body parts

The slow separation of prosthetic mental parts”

Now you pray to an earless Urba, now you sink into the plethora:

“I was water in your hands, I was lava at your feet,

I was raw veal in your mouth, curdled blood in your stomach,

I was a faeces in your gut, I was a pile from a heap.

the core of your apple, left by the worms that gnawed at me,

and still I live, my bones amok, a skeleton of rust and muck.

I contain the onslaught of your monotony,

I expire in your lungs of coal, the metallurgy of your breath,

old as the Earth below, coagula solva,

my body a mountain tumbles like a haystack,

I crash in your valleys yet I laugh at my death,

I dissolve in the waves of your sanctimony.

As an old fiend, a bitten fox, vanquished I scurried under path,

he as I was, scaled with no heart, the mourning hybrid of Aleph,

a dog of Alcibiades in shreds, therein, the nine drunken idols,

like a minor horse, once of Troy, fur golden mid the yellow stench.

Torn asunder in the pitch-darkened mine,

I awake suddenly muddied across a trench…

As a snail I hurried, on a glistening slab, the coldness of your weight

upon my frail carcass,

How you plundered this shell, with the claws of a crab,

sharing your little joy with constellations past.

As an ant I wriggled upon marches of sand,

Splintered by your fingers, blood and limbs undefined,

I melt in the love line of your nitrogen hand.

“Who but Cain of the pit would have known such a fate?

Who but a wretched fool would speak like a prophet?”

Chorus 33

The slow dissipation of molecular counterparts

The slow petrifiction of impenetrable hearts”

Disappeared like the mist, of memories, of loss, silent as an abyss…

You nestle in my chest, hoping for my revenge, nurturing my slumber.

Breeding melancholies in the caves of my kind,

Imago, merciless, I admire the glamour of your grand shallowness.

It is you I unlove, it is you I deny, for once, only once, now and for ever.

Satisfy my folly, devour my vitriol, enter my open mind,

Forsaken as I am, subvert the empty land with the winds of Marduk,

this vortex but a dream no waking may dissolve.

If I lie full of awe in your dismal embrace,

still never will you be a heavenly mistress,

for love needs not conquer what is already dead.

“Drowning certain I will, in a celestial bed!”

And on my humble grave for here I may perish,

brambles and buttercups will soon come to flourish.

I know you envy me, you whom I so pity,

My kingdom for a horse you cry out in fury,

Yet in all existence you learn nothing but hate,

so did your concubines, and soldiers of your state.

Pursuing an ideal of immortality, how could you comprehend soul and infinity?

Lastly, the limbs of Oz spewed out of your dumb arse.

Quid pro quo, omne mortem ex ovo,

From a swan, laid, an egg, origin of a farce,

a dragon in her place, as above so below.

Chorus 34

The slow consummation of mammal alter-parts

The slow elevation of immolated harts”

St George propels himself ahead, his lance piecing the Dome of Wick

“Mark my word”, he cries out…and spells the letter X.

Straight in the eye of the Square Mile, the clamours boil and fade,

Paltry monarchs in full pageant rattle and froth in the parade.

Four red bubbles rise as we sing.

Stars will not shine in the darkness of Spring.

Did I love this city in the smog of end times?

“Would you do it again…if not for destiny

never mind

never

The glacial firmament of sublime irony ?

Y not, why not untying the final knot?

For whom does the bell toll?

“Already done…going, going”

Gone

Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2015

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PARAENFERNALIA The Remains.List X-ROOM 309

  • _per4331Magic Mirror-You never know who is looking at you-£7
  • Frameless Mirror-Also weird-Blurred edges-£4
  • Decent turn table with a sense of justice-£10
  • Sliding-Door cupboard for slow motion hands-£5
  • Type writer on the look-out, viva la Machina Escribir-£10
  • Tall and Proud Stool-Likes Plants-£3
  • Ladder Jacob left behind-mind the gaps-£2
  • Over your Head Projector to wash the Guilt trip-off-£40
  • Para-Enfernalia Blackboard-The end etc-£7
  • Glassless square frames-Deep Thinkers-£3 each-£15 the lot
  • Samsung Printer/scanner-Really loving machine-£35
  • Rolling floor bound shelf from bloody ikea-Shameonme-£6, maybe £5
  • Glass mounted frames, for a4 size, formatted-No risk of spill out-£5 each, £30 the lot
  • Enlightenment Bulb, at your own risk-£2
  • Glassware for unbalanced occasions-may suggest subsequent pick-me-up-£3-1
  • Lamp? Needs fusion-ART01-£7
  • Lamp2? Needs fusion too-ART02-£6
  • Simulacrum 2-utopic vista-Guess where-GONEART-£15
  • Simulacrum1-whadehell-Guess what-GONEART-£20
  • 1920s Headbell(hat)-only rings twice-£4
  • Handmade imperfect scraspwood stool-chickool-£9
  • London as it was and never has been-£1
  • 3 green trays for suspicious usage-£3-1
  • Trolleys found on a stroll-ART09-£5
  • Something to think about-£2-1
  • Overloaded palette-Good for backgrounds-£1
  • Light hearted easel-may need straight answers-£5
  • Folding table painted by talented anonymous artist-Not I-£7-2
  • Folded easel, introspective minefield-needs soft talk or will remain a closed book-£5
  • Mandolin that took a pleasant beating-Masochistic tendencies-£2
  • Candelabras with still life attached-aware of the artifice-£10-£6 each
  • Wine bottle racketeer- Prefers Perrier- not chauvinistic-£2
  • Bike carrier for riding or non riding bikes-will carry only one at a time-£5-1
  • Wheel of 4 tunes-still in tune-£5
  • Serious easel desperate for a laugh-denies everything from day 1-£20
  • Guitar-out of tune-out of it-heroine addict-hides porn in her womb-£10
  • Bag-Panda meets Mount Fuji- neo realist-fly-trap-£3-2
  • Fan of meaningful coincidental smells-be prepared to sign an autograph-£10-1
  • Toolbox with inside bits and pieces that tends to think other wise-ART07-£7
  • Cinematographic old-school editing tool-always shows the previous uncut movie-£5
  • Rubber Plate for flexible eaters-fly in the face of reason-£2-1
  • Turn-table plates-descended from the Plutonic gastro-Gnome, turn the tables-£1.50-50 each
  • Triangular micro larder-to fit almost in any corner, specially the filthy ones-£3-2

45)Baby Belling about to deliver- heated debate-kitchen towels on fire-£4-1

46)Large ego-centric umbrella-hydro-phobic-may clamp-up on a rainy day-£3

47)Tool-box with own drill and stuff-whao-can build a shed when you’re not looking-£10

48)Lonely speaker-knows Tibetanbookofthedead by heart-£1

49)Electro-sander to bring the beach to the idler-£5

50)Tent-wants adventures-promiscuous-disturbed sleep patterns-never says no-£5

51)Heavy duty frames for the robust escapee-lack subtle judgment-£5 each

52) Box with misplaced locks- ironic feel-missing doors-demolished properties-£2 each

53)Beam me up combo lamp-potential zoetrope-ecstasy-£4

54)Tuff nut-case for permanent Headache-£5

55)Garden Party Line light-Get lost attitude-seeks memberships-£2

56)DVD drive-Vaio Sony-But can be used to boost new moon libido-£3

57)Kettle Blower-Pumps up the volume before climax-£3

58)Salt of the Earth in Suspension-GONEART010-unknown price tag-will dissolve at dawn.

59)Books in box-double page turners-floating theories up for grab-words out of order-£1 each

60)Many other unnamed delights scattered in Pandora’s life size box-toolateyoureinthere.

61)Holly Bin for Hollow Words-£1

62)Toaster-Retro-Activated-Burns Toasts and Desire

63)Cocktail table also adorned with mutation art. £5

64)Jessop enlargermetre-just what it says on the tin-£4

65) Red backet, water and white ball-can alternate with changing moods-£1

Thank you for your incomprehensible contribution and your marginal cooperation, since the opposite is equally satisfactory.

Merci pour votre incomprehensible cooperation et votre marginale contributiuon, comme le contraire est tout aussi satisfaisant.

Please help yourself to the abundant synthetic fruit-They are deligitalous.

Eternal Addiction. A failed dialogue between heaven and hell

 

A Catastrophic Encounter-w

“Salome full of untimely grace, Lilith of the dark valley of our forgotten fears, I salute thee, yet thou shalt not eat of me.” Arcan Shahem

It had been someone so close, yet so invisible, like a shadow in the darker corners of a room where steps were heard, shuffling to and fro, from wall to wall. Such was she who haunted the mind of the dissolute ascetic hiding inside the temptress of his undisclosed youth. Oscar Wilde had perhaps understood her as the sickness of man, and above all, as a Pandora wrought in the irons of a church built on the ruins of the heart. She, a twisted bone of contention, reviled and revived to be sentenced again and again, a heretic and a tyrant sealed in the body of a Sybil, contorted by the desire of the untouchable, tortured by the vanity of a child risen to the alter, a crown of thorns, none even slightly scratching her wrinkless brow, for ever smooth, intolerant to age. Her hands bore no signs of experience, not even the imprint of an identity, make belief effigy of sin boiling in the frigid cerebellum of perverted priests, yet so real to her inaccessible lover. New to the world each morning, like dew drops anointing the spider’s web, she absorbed light, not a pearl but a lagoon trapped between the impregnable shoulders of mountains.

How could one instant suffice, the glint of a gaze, as innocent as it was criminal, reaching the defunct factories of guilt with a galvanising impulse? How the wheels began to grind the worn meat of a pacified fool, neither man nor beast, a forlorn insomniac moaning in the hot sands of his shameful dreams, a Jordan berried between unseen frontiers as he tore the glows of the night, sweating a boil shaped like she, this flower of grace and disgrace, red opalescent, humid and savage, her tongue glistening in the penumbra of a mouth his lips could taste even as he turned inside his cloak soaked with muck, he the scourge renting against heaven day and night. In this dismal kingdom of his, she increased in power, unscathed by the seraphs’ terror gales, their trumpets spewing gravel and spite, the voice of god straight from the bowls. A god, but so unconvincing to her, whose father, a Tetrarch, lay himself and his treasures below her heels. Neither time nor space recognised this form, her sovereignty not residing within her, but in the weakness of those who wanted her more than the salt of life. Could it be…. did she pursue the reflection of a soul in the lakes encased between limbo and a faint idea of paradise? What paradise if not the loveless embrace of her absolute abandonment? This was Salome, the limpid, fulgurated memory of an incarnation, her essence inaccessible to the living, insufferable to the dead. No soul could leave this body, for they had once been welded into one. Was it a body or armour wrapped around an intolerable craving? She was famished, suffused by the dolour of starvation, while abundance enveloped her. She suffered. Yet no one had ever seen a tear gather and trickle down her cheek that looked like pale golden enamel when she rose from her milky waters, surrounded by the ebony palms of her maids lifting the translucent robe to receive her.

Once he wandered far from his cave, incapable of peace. In the thickness of the bushes, he slid like a snake. It was then he caught her sweeping her balcony. She had believed herself entirely alone and had delighted in this mundane shore, not calling for her servants as all persons of her station did. Clad in such fine silks was she that the mild sun of early morning melted all obstruction to the beauty of her shape. As if naked, bathed in this light like a Cherry blossom, her petals turning to vapour around her, she moved with the breeze, so light, so fluid. She leaned, she observed, searching like a falcon for the impurities tarnishing the pink marble her feet hardly touched. She proceeded, having no tools, with her hands, the sensitive extensions of a being that would not be fathomed, but hastily despised by the pious, the bigot and the sycophants and the maids that knew her corporeal being better than any lover. He pondered against his will. Had she had any lovers? What if this living image of decadence was still an innocent? What if she who danced like a whore before the elders and their hosts was as virginal as the mother, so the story goes, of the messiah? She kneeled and continued wiping the floor, seemingly lost in reverie. What would a daydream be like in this head where furies incessantly demanded sacrifice? Here standing before him, so far above him… and each the victim and the judge of the other; the inescapable justice of a nature so incomprehensible to him, so unknown to her.

Why lust after such a man, a man denying all frailty, all satisfaction, all reasonable sense of loss. Was it for a beauty she could never attain, under this apparel of neglect, dirt, dereliction, abstention, and vulnerability? This object of desire, so oblivious apparently to her allure…rendering her thus into an object of contempt, the instrument of a revenge on men, but perhaps and foremost on a world in which all purity must be soiled or imprisoned. And was not she pure, so pure as he whose freedom she envied immeasurably? And of him what was known? What could such a being fear from a faithless girl? What could he dissimulate in a body that would have passed for a rock had it not crawled among scorpions and snakes? Why this obstinacy in the rejection of such an open gift as the unadulterated and ‘unadulterous’ avowal of a king’s daughter? Did not the desire for super-natural ecstasy dwarf the simple concupiscence of a disturbed adolescent? How could possessing a mortal body for the time it takes a magpie to pick a glittery jewel from an open trunk, be of any interest to a man enthralled by unearthly wonders? He travelled through cities of diamonds as he curled up like a foetus in a hollow, shivering, unable still to forget the cold blades of the desert after sunset. How he swore against that unbearable cold, thinking himself alone. Then she would appear to him, as physical as he was then, his only escape, not god but a whore as holly as the so called Christ.

His head shone, still, as it hanged from the bloodied hand of his executioner. But Gustave Moreau had wished him to illuminate our dark constellation, as Salome seemed to keep it suspended like a magic lantern, with her unflinching eye. For the Baptist had become the opener of the way, and had led the lamb to the slaughter. Not far from the scene, Puvis de Chavannes had built him as a force of nature made from the fibres of Apollo, brought to his knees, yet somehow standing impassively, almost exhorting Thanatos, tree of knowledge about to fall to the puerile whims of an ancient Lolita. It was that moment when heaven and earth were ripped apart, in the pupil of a mother’s eye, where pure hatred, not love, made the world go round. A hatred some say of such purity, it could be taken for love…yes so dangerously close to love, all the more dangerous for being almost what it could only oppose and continuously fail to annihilate. Who was the Baptist, an ode to the adulation of reason at the mercy of pride, an inversion of humility, an obscene lie facing his nemesis in the pitiful hope of obsequious redemption. To the morbid rests of a breathless form he preferred the delectable manna of the spirit. One temptation displaced another. Only his thoughts could betray him for this resolve was tainted by doubt, more than doubt, a cascade of indomitable phantasms, mirroring those of his anima. Thus they faced each other, unwilling to relinquish, only willing to vanquish. They did as would later, in many guises, Martha and George in who is afraid of Virginia Woolf, Brick and Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, or inversely Stanley and Blanche in a Streetcar Named Desire, and where did it begin…Ophelia blighted by Hamlet, Ariadne abandoned by Theseus, Medea betrayed by Jason, Eurydice lost to Hades by the distraction of Orpheus, Adam, Eve, Lilith, and some deluded piping tom salivating on a cloud… because the truth be told, theirs was a marriage made in heaven to be consummated in hell, not because of god’s side kick condemnation but because of a tragic flaw in the psyche of each desperate player. Where romantic love was praised through poetry, poetry only compensated us for the absence of love. To be the guarantor of romantic feelings, one had to be in full possession of a believable narrative, believable enough … The dialogue had really been an interminable series of monologues. Nevertheless, far from a duet, this was an opera. Even Strauss ensured the renaissance of this truth in one single act. Salome and Jochanaan perish in some ironic mortal embrace where the base passions are revealed and punished unequivocally in a parody of righteousness.

But here, at a time undeclared, they faced each other, one so ridiculously powerless, yet the evidence of an empire impossible to conquer, the other, so powerful, yet the evidence of an empire showing all the signs of decay prior to an ineluctable end. Yet both failed themselves and one another equally. What would the man have wished had he been a Herodias, or a Herod, and more intriguingly, had he been a Salome? Of all places, he woke on the tip of an iceberg melting slowly subjected to Aphrodite’s hair dryer blocked on maximum heat. A metropolis many had called a white flame among golden cinders, and where the first caravels had departed for the shores of overflowing wealth. What that place had been but a palace, a city of luxuries overlooking the Atlantic, the Venice of Portugal. This was where he had encountered his deepest fear, the stillness of complete self-absorption, not arrogance, the certainty of a slow amalgamated victory. She Salome shivered in the under belly of the city, shivered with uncontrollable excitement, prone to bursts of anger, an infant underfed and trained to kill, a predator in the guise of a prey. An entire city had collapsed under her spell. But what was the reality of this terror, this underlying truth that could not be spelt out by the linguists of this world?

She had appeared as a giant puppet mistress of the masked puppeteer to the gang of masonic grave diggers, the mask of the red death entering unnoticed, slipping his ‘equestrial’ hooves in the fine velvet slippers of haggard kings and austere queens, the dry rivers of the medina, the final rays pouring through the rubies and sapphires of Ogival windows. As she lifted her arms in awe of a unique idol, a guard echoed her with a long silver sword, above the frail weathered neck of a mumbling saint. Who could have cared for his admonitions, in the light of his uncouth verity? Was not his sickness also hers? The table was laid for the feast, but Herodias played her uncanny part, and having introduced a sinister idea in the malleable mind of the woman-child, a man would die abruptly, fulfilling the first chapter of a violent prophecy. A mother envious of her own daughter, eager to punish the insolent progeny by framing her in the infamous role of a depraved and diabolical socialite, had gained posterity in quite an ambiguous way. Yet hers was no match to the immortality of her monstrous child. What did Salome see in the mirror? The face of a mother while she cumbered her soft hair, while her eyes broke through the skin, cutting deep grooves into her body, laying spider’s eggs into her psyche, slowly burying her vulgar emotions into the young flesh of her own blood, so hateful was she of a being that would soon usurp her position, steal the affections of the king, and humiliate she, who had borne the fiend.

Far from being over, her reign, that of the daughter would begin again in the recess of the collective consciousness. The new moon rose. In her invisibility, she contained the inflating tides of the seas below the hardest strata of our globe. As he cried in his pitiful hovel, she glided, having mounted a mare as black as coal. She wondered, what could this sound be, where did it come from? She waited immobile as a statue, in the starry darkness. She absorbed the plaintive song of a creature and pondered on the most efficient way of capturing such a mysterious prey. How could he have imagined his groans and uncontrollable convulsions would be the source not of piety but utter fascination? How could he have conceived of such an absurdity, his back pitted into the rock she was moulding herself into, as if to be penetrated by every wave of pain rising and falling inside his mangled skeletal being?

She would hold a platter not long from now, his head severed, heavy lids closing his piecing eyes, this insolence she had admired and despised. Caravaggio showed her looking away from her trophy as if in disgust. Now in full possession of her prize, yet how meaningless, all of the promises vanished in the act of martyrdom imposed by the wretched. His murderer only just dropping the head like a long awaited parcel. Behind Salome, another hand rose like a ghost, yet more physical for its weight in ill thoughts, a sordid apparition, like a Siamese twin, the instigator of a deadly plot, avid for an innocence blatantly lost. The spectre of a historian calling himself Flavius Josephus, an impostor no doubt, but still…spoke of her too, and how once the Shulamite, turned a soiled veil of Isis, had embraced the head of a hermit, as to kiss the lips then blue with the frost of inertia. Like the mad Prince of Denmark, she stared in the blank eyes of a skull still clad in the leather of life just passed. King Solomon had implored her in the verses of Song of Songs, “Return, return, o Shulamite”…”My soul troubled me for the chariots of Aminadab”. Now, the wheels broken, still revolved at the bottom of a well, lacerating the limbs of wingless angels fallen hither. So obsessed was she, the head was swathed like a new born and enshrined into the royal bed. They say she bore no child, barren only by the failure of her husband who, like Philip of Macedonia before him, afraid of the bestiality of his consort, would plunder further afield. His own appetites were satiated in the languorous furnace of nubile slaves, so horror stricken was he at the thought of sharing his couch with a dead head nestled by the heaving breasts of his bride. Worse still, Herodias had taken the habit of inserting hairpins in the tongue of the abject thing. It grew larger and greener each day, like the offshoot of a succulent. She Herodias did so for fear of a stray burst of condemnation by the man even Herod had named a prophet. Salome’s children therefore did not descend from her bloodline. It may be that John sang like a caged bird as she slept by his side or as it is presumed, his head, as the head of Orpheus, had found itself lodged between the thighs of a Demeter. Salome had made herself chaste in the exercise of her passion for the wild man who haunted her dreams until she herself was victim of a sudden fatal accident.

These were rumours. Even when alive, Salome had become immortalised in the formaldehyde of a myth baring her name, her features and her voice. She danced by herself, imagining Dionysus visiting her private chamber. And how then could a mere mortal enrapture her? But this man, himself a legend in his time, rivalling her own, how could she, knowing of him, let him be adored by any other, let alone a divine figure jealous of its own image, of no value to her, so ingrown the visceral humours of nature in every part of her…the face of an angel, so Titian had painted her, the red cape of Magdalena covering her round shoulders, and the presence of a child she seems to have noticed as her head tilted towards him or her, to listen…But her eyes not once could leave the solemn expression of Jochanaan as his head lay in her arms resting from celestial torments. She hesitated then. She had been taught by the philosophers how the cranium being the seat of the mind, the body must necessarily be the root of all other properties of our being, the weakness of mankind, the source of sin, of the rages of carnal fixation. How saved she felt then, enamoured with an ideal, the vestiges of divinity falling into her lap. There was no mother above her here; she was the mother eternal and pure, her son, the hallowed apex of her only god. With this gift from the earth, yet the magical talisman by which her access to higher spheres was assured, no power could surpass hers. Yet this she would keep a secret, so she liked to believe.

In a dream she had seen a castle and wished to find her way to it. She had tried to get closer from every side but all were dead ends until a girl about her age, a nomad from an unknown land had emerged from a small tent by a high wall of thorny trees. She asked “do you want to go to the castle?” Astounded, and as astonished by such a strange emotion, Salome answered, forgetting about etiquette, duties, pageantry and all of the attributes of her class that would, at this point, have impeded her progress. There was a low mud brick hut. The girl pointed to its semi circular portal. It was a dark hole and although the princess was generally fearless, having nothing to fear, a needle pricked the back of her mind. She darted at the girl who watched on with utmost curiosity, so over-dressed was she for such an escapade in the backwaters of her kingdom. Salome noticed a shadow creeping from beyond the wall. The sun was setting much faster than usual. She sensed urgency and pressed on. Almost as she had entered than she had already reached the other side. In real time, this would have amounted to less than half a second, a physical impossibility. In addition, the castle she had peered at from a long way away had evaded her. This tested her logical mind for which no man would give her credit. Caligula too would later show a rare talent in this art.

A secret. We could tell from the snide smile on her delicate face, from those eyes that no longer needed to lie, and while Lucas Cranach painted her so, he however did not forget how, while she may have admired herself as the sole owner of a vanquished rebel, he, though separated from the mortal enclave, from the gut and bile of a living moribund, sang like Solomon to his impossible love. But we wondered suddenly, who was he looking at? …As if there had been a mirror between the dreadful couple and us. What could his gaze reach but hers? And who then was the Medusa? She no longer seemed so certain, and he, although expiring still, was not adrift but absolute in the certainty of his and her fate, for they were intertwined forever, a hierosgamos below the surface of a tomb. Nor was it Yahweh ’s retribution that led her to the frozen river of Jordan, a fluke phenomenon that was attributed to the aftermath of an unpredicted eclipse, despite Ptolemy’s attempt at hiding his findings relating to the motions of the Pleiades wherefrom had surged the dark messenger…burnt thereafter with the entire library.

She stepped over the mistiness of the ice sheet that broke almost instantly. The surface, chiselled into perfect triangular shapes, whirled around her, dragged into the depth. Her head hovered for a moment; no scream came out of her as her eyes looked estranged from the scene of horror, so oblivious was she, to her own body. For she was married to the Baptist in such a way that no matter could rupture her living form from the fantasy of her perfect counterpart. Like a fluorescent blade, one chunk swerved with immediate effect. Her head stilted, gasped at last and vanished, leaving but a few droplets of blood, so precise and clean had been the cut. It fell into the lower channels, revolving, a lost planet, until a wall, a very old wall covered in shells, oil deposits and algae, stopped her, right below the first gateway to the port of Lisbon. There, under the Atlantic tumult, she waited for the shadows to wreck havoc. Before that, her dreams would infiltrate the unspent thoughts of builders, monarchs, architects, and traders, the councils to proprietors, the clerks and their masters, the doctors and their book keepers, the high clerics and their sheep, enticing them to erect a magnificent city for the sole pleasure of razing it to the ground by succumbing to the laws of she that had been sold to man to do as he pleased by a deluded patriarch. Then what was natural law was seen as oceanic hysteria, nature’s folly, in whose terrible dominion could be seen a reflection of our pride and our envy.

Who would dare defame her, having heard of the effect of her subterranean invention and her allegiance to the lunar court? She hid from all men, from mothers and their children, from birds and worms, her beauty ravaged by centuries of bitterness, and the agony of her bodiless love. A poet had claimed a preceding incarnation of Salome had been wedged headless in the volcanic womb that once had burst open like a pestilent bulb below the Atlantean continent. Now, he said, the hermit’s skull protruded from her rotten belly, a stillborn she tried endlessly to expel. It did not budge. It had grafted itself into her, as incomplete as she was. “How ironic”, the poet had written, “the head of a saint in place of what the church had proclaimed to be the origin of the fall” These awful pangs of birth led only to more excruciating pain and thus it was that on a clear morning of 1755, Salome vanquished her fate and spewed out from her putrid concavity the tumorous object of her devotion. As she had sank like a tower once, so did the domes and the spires of an entire city and its inhabitants, decades of labour and knowledge annihilated, swallowed into her gaping throat as her head then unlocked from a lower strata, and John’s of the wilderness, rolled down deeper valleys, enflamed by the lava licking the crumbling borders of Lisbon, a world among worlds.

A woman she was not any more than he a saint. Both inventions set against one another, most of all, set against themselves. We saw two pillars in the distance. How pleasing it was to think they held the vault. Two eyes had watched us once, now hollow. Instead of tears, sand fell continuously, two lines, two pillars of sand, one silver, the other red, holding nothing save the passing of life.

 

Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2015

The Old Wall

…before the fall

lisboahiddenside023b-w

The old wall is covered in spots and cracks. But from a distance of more than six meters, within the confines of a human architectural environment, it looks like the surface of a forlorn planet not unlike our lunar satellite, drifting inside a hypothetical cosmology. It extends to some dark receding horizons, curving upward as if the force of a massive object had pushed itself into the first layers of the orb, very softly, making dents and folds of irregular shapes reason alone will not suffice to decipher. Those horizons where some apparently well informed scholars predict vertiginous falls from kilometre high flanks, the vestiges of estranged fortresses, stranded like ship wrecks mid ocean.

A prophesying monk had seen a Galleon, its name changing as it rotated captured by the turmoils of war and unpredictable currents, Orient, fleet of the Nile battles, blowing up like a super nova, or Grace Dieu, burning after a lightening bolt hit one of its masts, an archetypal ship Turner, the painter, would continuously return to in his wondrous visions of light and perdition. This opium ridden monk had watched the vessel whirl until it oscillated on the tip of the world, suddenly diving into the void as black as the mouth of Tacca Chantrieri, thus seeming to corroborate the beatific falsehood of a tabletop Earth. He foresaw dust storms made of mirror particles suffocating the biospheres of nascent stars. Some would engender vast craters in the bark of galactic Cedars. As we hover now in our minuscule cockpit, stealing a glimpse of truth from a future already spent, fragment of an atom among solar years of data, gliding with occasional lapses of momentum, above those mangled decrepit remains of terrain, we detect the signs of a life once thriving on the borders of unbridgeable gulfs. Yet all that life now stares blankly from left over traces incrusted in this dried skin, imprints of useless things, as white as the salts of a dead sea that in a remote past also touched the edges of our lands. A giant has scraped this body of unidentifiable evidence. No extraneous objects can be found.

This place is no longer a place at all, the transitory figment of a lacking imagination suspended in the somnolent mind of a wasted god. Rings and ridges, lines in the thinning palm of a creature that hominids mistook for a white elephant, inciting them to shoot deadly projectiles at scurrying clouds…Lying open to the glowering firmament. This is all that is left of the primordial waters that had covered and impregnated Gaia and her sisters, Gaia especially, the scintillating Sapphire of the solar continent, her hills, her ravins, her peaks and her abysmal pits, her caves and plateaux, her canyons and estuaries…the waters evaporating in the acidic haze of chemical bliss, all that is left on this side of the globe, the tempestuous ball of blue fire skidding down the artery of a haemorrhaging invertebrate morphing the history of our failure, a globe flattened under the weight of a perfect body, flattened it lies now like a map covering the face of our puny galaxy. In a field that extends beyond all optical powers, inert, silent, starless winter awaiting dawn, without us.

Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2015

IRREVERENT SIDE SHOWS, 2 shows directed by Anna Frisch: Duck and Cover, Reservoir Ducks , Flare stage performance International Festival 2015, Manchester

WORMHOLE LABRIPERIPATETIC BALLAD OF A NOMAD IN LONDON

2015

Video Animation

Dark Tower Crepuscule2w

Synopsis

Poetic and philosophical Vision of a pedestrian based journey in time and space, in real, remembered and imaginary spaces of a nomad in London. The title refers to the ontological question of presence in a world now based on a kind of absenteeism, i.e., where the mind becomes divided from the personal, absorbed by virtual collectivism intrinsic to the mega-urban context, in this case London.

Algostasis1w Anticlockwise1w

Description

Although there is no actual cinematic narrative, a progression does exist in the unravelling of the visuals . it is based on two main perspectives. One, the personal journey in time and space of the maker, concentrating the focus therefore mainly on areas of London encountered in his life and containing the remnant of abstracted memories directly linked to the idea of the Mnemonic City insofar as it is translating a deep emotion attached to these places.

Wormhhole Labri.S 2,w

Two, a perspective relating to archetypal complexes residing in those memories and containing universal mythology, the elements of which are played out throughout the animation by way of various alterations and transformations but also through specific symbols such as ‘the tower’, ‘the moon’, the shadow’, ‘the hand’,’the throne’, or the elements such as water and fire.

The vision presented is a flowing composition and an symbiotic composite that could have been extracted from a dream. Real and imaginary spaces are combined.Vacant Throne,w Vacant Throne3,w

Wormhole” points to the possibility of entering a parallel dimension while remaining lucid of what the maker considers his own’ land’.“Labri” is the root of labyrinth, a reference to the underlying esoteric structure of the city. “Peripatetic” refers to the act of wandering by foot, linked to the idea of the flâneur who, by exploring the context directly travels inwards, analysing and re-evaluating his own internal constructs. “Ballad” refers to the nature of loss and poetry constituting two foundational aspects of the piece. “London” is the name of the location in question, known to the maker since his childhood and as equally important to him as his native city. He is the “Nomad” , for despite having lived in this metropolis for over twenty years, no feeling of belonging has ever truly developed. Instead, the maker has gained a kind of philosophical detached discernment out of an impersonal environment he had once hoped long ago to make his home. Negative hand to Positive5,w Dark Tower Divided,w

The work is divided into interlocking scenes suggesting a psychological progression, perhaps equivalent to the passing images in the mind of a sleep walker as they migrate from one room to another inside a large mansion. I would describe it as a vision rather than a story, the kind we see conjured up in Dante’ s Divine Comedy or Goethe’s Faust or even, ‘Heaven forbid’, pun almost intended, The Apocalypse by John the evangelist.

One could dare affirm there is a beauty in the destruction of beauty since the emotions stirred

Towers of the Entropic Distortion2 Rip11w Towers of the Entropic Distortion Rip11w Towers of Entropic Distorsion1w

are summoned from the expanse ‘de profundis’, of the psyche. One could also dare affirm the increasing level of hideousness of London is so extreme it has become ‘awesome’. a monstrous edifice challenging the borders of paradise with ever higher peaks, each more violent than the one preceding it, but more so, it is down below at street level, in the shadow of these blank feats of engineering that real ugliness lingers, banal and monotonous, enveloping the crowd within a suffocating smog of relentless repetition. This cine-animation brings these facets of the city into view while retaining a poetic filter, not to embellish but to do justice to the complexity and depth of the situation in which humanity finds itself at this juncture of post history.

2

Produced for the new Mnemonic City in London 2015

Towers of Entropic Distortion, Lunar Phase3wIn collaboration with

Swan Wharf, Fish labs in Hackney Wick

and The Barbican

2Towers of Entropic Distorsion3w

WORMHOLE LABRIPERIPATETIC BALLAD OF A NOMAD IN LONDON

2015

Dark Tower Crepuscule2w

Synopsis

Poetic and philosophical vision in real, remembered and imaginary spaces of a nomad  in London through an indeterminate length of time . The title refers to the ontological question of presence in a world now based on a kind of absenteeism, i.e., where the mind  becomes divided from the personal, absorbed by virtual collectivism intrinsic to  the mega-urban context, in this case London.

Algostasis1w Anticlockwise1w Vacant Throne3,w Vacant Throne,w

Description

Although there is no obvious cinematic narrative, a progression exists in the unravelling of the visuals emphasised by the music score and superimposed contextual sounds. it is based on two main perspectives. One, the personal journey in time and space of the maker, concentrating the focus therefore mainly on areas of London encountered in his life and containing the remnants of abstracted memories directly linked to the idea of the Mnemonic City insofar as it is translating signs into a deep emotion attached to each of these places.

Negative hand to Positive5,w

Two, a perspective relating to archetypal complexes residing in those memories and containing universal mythology, the elements of which are played out throughout the animation by way of various alterations and transformations but also through specific symbols such as ‘the tower’, ‘the moon’, the shadow’, ‘the hand’,’the throne’, or the elements such as water and fire.

Oracle Verdigris1 Oracle Verdigris 10 The Feather Player02 The Thinking Hand1 Tower of Oblivion1 Tower of Oblivion3

The vision presented is a flowing composition and a symbiotic composite that could have been extracted from a dream.

Dark Tower Divided,w

Wormhole” points to the possibility of entering a parallel dimension while remaining lucid of what the maker considers his own’ land’.“Labri” is the root of labyrinth, a reference to the underlying esoteric structure of the city. “Peripatetic” refers to the act of wandering by foot, linked to the idea of the flâneur who, by exploring the context directly travels inwards, analysing and re-evaluating his own internal constructs. “Ballad” refers to the nature of loss and poetry constituting the two foundational aspects of the piece. “London” is the name of the location in question, known to the maker since his childhood and as equally important to him as his native city. He is the “Nomad” , for despite having lived in this metropolis for over twenty years, no feeling of belonging has ever truly developed. Instead, the maker has gained a kind of philosophical detached discernment out of an impersonal environment he had once half believed, long ago, to be his home.

The work is divided into interlocking scenes suggesting a psychological in-evolution, perhaps equivalent to the passing images in the mind of a sleep walker as they migrate from one room to another inside a large mansion.

 

Towers of the Entropic Distortion2 Rip11w Towers of the Entropic Distortion Rip11w Towers of Entropic Distorsion1w Towers of Entropic Distorsion3w Towers of Entropic Distortion, Lunar Phase3w                 One could dare affirm there is a beauty in the destruction of beauty since the emotions stirred

Wormhhole Labri.S 2,w

are summoned from the expanse ‘de profundis’, of the psyche. One could also dare affirm the increasing level of hideousness of London is so extreme it has become ‘awesome’. a monstrous edifice challenging the borders of paradise with ever higher peaks, each more violent than the one preceding it, but more so, it is down below at street level, in the shadow of these blank feats of engineering that real ugliness lingers, banal and monotonous, enveloping the crowd within a suffocating smog of relentless repetition. This cine-animation brings these facets of the city into view while retaining a poetic filter, not to embellish but to do justice to the complexity and depth of the situation in which humanity finds itself at this juncture of post history.

Produced for the new Mnemonic City in London 2015

In collaboration with

Swan Wharf, Fish labs in Hackney Wick

and The Barbican

2

DEATH OF A SYMBOL, DECOMPOSITION OF A PROCESS

Anna-by Jaime Valtierra 2014

I once wondered why the painter ever makes a mark in the emptiness, what he /she intends to remember because this initial gesture stands as an entrance into a territory that demands visibility, no matter how indefinite, like dreams. And how is it possible in the first place? But we are not talking about a point of focus, quite the contrary. We could indeed speak of a phenomenological field as it is suggested in Deleuze ’s concept: “Plane of Immanence”. Jaime Valtierra ’s new works epitomise such a ‘condition’. There is no fixity here, yet, he arrests one moment like the spearhead of a battalion. There is no escape for form to the land of the ‘tableau’, for this artist denies the dictatorship of the ‘finished product’, i.e., as a cage of irreducible linear statements. We cannot fathom an end to the process of creation. As Deleuze explains, the “plane of immanence” encompasses death as an active participant in the act of transformation. In this work, what becomes demonstrated is the nature of destruction lying within every molecular impulse towards life and without the truth of which no creation could be realized. We discover the possibility of decomposition within the margins of compositional tactics, the hazards of a liquid underworld where Valtierra leaves traces in strategic places although none have been fixed. Relativity and reciprocity rule a universe in flux until the new body begins to make sense, a sense proper to life, an antithesis to the formalism of imitative artifice.

Two main themes are evident; one is the process and place of making. The Studio is a kind of doppelganger self-portrait enunciating the death of portraiture as we know it. Its completion is contradicted by a sense of imminent disintegration. As with all the other recent works, a minimal palette was used in extreme opposition to the rich color saturation of previous ones. The second theme, integral to The Studio, lies in The Digger. We are in the realm of the fool, the unconscious. His paintings remind me somehow of ‘écorchés’; the surface of preconception has been ripped away. He replicates himself, to arrive at what feels like the pulse of the image. He takes them apart, as if taking himself apart, reconstructing, yet never as a builder, but rather as a demolisher, for before getting to the outer edge of the original form awaiting his discovery, he must take down entire walls of conventional visuality. Such a process stems from the foundation of the art, that is, alchemy, “Our stone(…) is composed of four elements, it must be divided and its limbs taken apart(…)and then transformed into the nature that is within it.”(Rosarium Philosophorum).

Talking Head is the artist, the rational intervention, and the conscious’ apparent victory. There is no model; this is a return to what happened before what was known, the ‘nigredo’ of transmutation. Nicolas Valois tells us in The Mystery of Cathedrals by Fulcanelli: “ He who transmuted first had no books, he followed nature, observing how and with what materials she works”.  The ‘salvation’ resides in the materiality of experience, “satisfied in the absurdity”. As Jaime points out, and quoting Francis Bacon: “Some paint comes across directly onto the nervous system”. It seems Jaime Valtierra has fomented a dramatic existential rebellion against insubstantiality to unearth what he calls “the root of desire”. Anna may stand as the apex of this research in my view, a mother and an ogre, disfigured and omnipotent, blending with the air yet in a nightmarish sense, materializing before us.

Jaime unleashes the man out of rational time to dismantle the illusion of the pre-conceptual persona, the man Deleuze referred to as ‘the idiot’: “Something in the world forces us to think. This something is an object not of recognition but of a fundamental encounter. What is encountered may be Socrates, a temple or a demon. It may be grasped in a number of affective tones: wonder, love, hatred, suffering. In whichever tone, its primary tone is that it can only be sensed.”(Gilles Deleuze, Deleuze, G. Difference and Repetition). Is Jaime extricating this indefinable tone by departing from a certain color convention found in his earlier pieces? “ It is like dismantling a machine while it is still running, this means there is no machine”. What we find instead of logic and obvious seduction is a kind of ontological battlefield where the grotesque takes hold from the depth as it did in Goya’s Black Paintings so familiar to him. It has echoes of Not with Love but with Fear, 2013, where the artist’s head splits and doubles itself, a prelude to his present haunting images. Instead of the figure as fact, Jaime turns it into “an experience of space”, and insinuates space into the surface. We are entering Romanesque evocation, seeing from different perspectives on one plane, “it is so awkward it is right”, Jaime says as he looks at medieval illuminations.

We glimpse into a world that is not yet one, a meaningful dissolution where implosion and explosion occur simultaneously. We are certain of nothing, we are left to swim at large encountering ourselves, the poetry of nature beyond the superfluous aid of symbols, for symbols cannot survive in the chaos of life, even on canvas and paper. Jaime tells me it amounts to un-explaining, where the story cancels itself out, where the building block of imagery is nothing but confusion and drawing is as important as painting, a form of inner breathing, a mastication and a contemplation, a comprehending and apprehending of the dark and the light, the actors and the props.

The result if we can call the paintings and drawings thus, for they seem to allude pin pointing and definition, is soft and violent, grotesque and poetic, sexy and inhuman, a unifying muted principle, a return, as Jaime tells me, to the feeling of an image against the false safety of logic. “In order to make the accidental, all you already know must be dissolved.” He carves into the substance, creates volumes out of power relations between uncertain lines, makes gestures into spatial mediators, laying sub-layers bare, destabilizing planes out of focal absolutism. We are left to our own devices, staring into another kind of cosmos, perceiving what we imagine as we would, gazing at the impenetrable movement of foliage in the moonlight.  We can no longer imagine a painting to be the sole effect of a fantasy; this work reveals the imagination of the reel.

Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2014

Currently showing :

http://www.hundredyearsgallery.com/exhibition-jaime-valtierra-the-idiot/

www.jaimevaltierra.co.uk

Tarik Berber, Alembic of a Process

The_Couple_oil_on_canvas_160cmx120cm_TarikBerber_Zadar_2014
Apparently there is such a thing as “La Cuisine des Anges” and there in the cool furnace of the glade, no one bothers with drama, for it is not the point, neither to inflict action on the eye nor to trigger reactions in the cerebellum. What may surprise us is the ease with which the hand of a painter can mobilise an era and engineer a counterpart by juxtaposing two diametrically opposed styles in a new form of harmony. It is a journey, not dissimilar to that of a gourmet tasting his way through cultures as disparate as they are related, hiding a common origin in a simple colour tone, or the intonation of a voice, thus interpreted as a curve wider than the breadth of a resolutely thin rectangle poised on the edge of another in the midst of hundreds of other rectangles, themselves also the repository of other painterly traces, drawn with utter precision as a backdrop to a scene empty of dogmatic scenery, for each element is essential, none speaks a message or invites the viewer to decide what it all means. We are in the land of the madrigal, a very urban single voice reverberating on each surface, echoed in each pattern, yet alone, modulating its own chords with sensorial elasticity.

There is in Tarik more of a Marco Polo than a Vasco Da Gamma, and like the traveller of Jules Verne he cannot limit himself to the here and now which, as we know, turn in an instant into the “once upon a time”, the bygones, the passé, the long ago…the “yesterday”. So how can we bring the relevance of the past into the incoherence of the present?

We may be subdued by a first impression of tranquil opalescence fused to a familiar sense of materiality perpetuated by the relentless motion of the knife and other devices beyond the realm of optical illusion, for this feels like the imprint of a deep emotional search into the psychological meanders of a civilisation in the throes of a subtle yet unsolvable contradiction. Tarik perhaps unwittingly uncovers the symptom of a fundamental flaw located in the region of the collective unconscious, portrayed before him through innumerable mythological scenes. Sophocles and Euripides brought about the limpid emergence of a cruel theatre exposing the dilemma eating at our soul. We are torn between desire of the flesh and aspiration of a supra mental quality, cities are filled with our “mal d’être” and artists somehow torture themselves with the vision of an impossible unison. Yet, I perceive this endless quest for the quintessential constituent in the molecules of stone, pigment, clay, ink or plaster will only cease with the final moments of our planet. This painter refuses to bend to the will of banality, yet he dares to exploit the effect of the mundane on the patina of a latent philosophy.

How is this done? The eye has trained itself to depict and decipher, to measure and replicate, it recedes later and lets the seat of transience, the spheres of universality inspire and expire. In these words resides more than a breathing exercise. They are also meant as a reference to pneuma. The catalogue open on my table is a compilation of works completed in two parts of the world, as different from one another as night is from day. This also entails they cannot be separated without causing the extinction of the other. The works were created respectively in Zadar(Croetia) and London. Leafing through the pages I feel as if I am actually peeling layers of art history, and equally need to negate the idea of a history of art. We have apparently reached a milestone, the edge of a flat plane of existence where we could once rely on indications of permanent identity. Somewhere along the line, a bunch of artsy business kids in the belly of London, in the late eighties of the first millennium, decided to call it a day and fake it while retaining a kind of irony; it was an unprecedented success crowing the post modern era with the death of authorship and beauty. The cumulated effect of entrepreneurship and the glorification of the product, pornographic saturation and empirical pathological obsession, numerical fixation and cultural trivialisation contributed, in the second millennium, to the rise of a para-evolutionary counter reaction that nevertheless was not based on a critic of a previous outmoded movement but on a personal ontological instinct, not of self preservation but self realisation, spreading below the thickening layers of apathy. Despite the prevailing erroneous notion of a linear artistic development through the ages, we are shown time and again how the single mind defies the canon applied to please a pervasive mob of dilettantes, arising without warning against the smooth tide of reasonable productivity and its affiliated moral etiquette. And this happened before, long before theorists agreed on the relevance, the birth and the extinction of the original, i.e., the unique vision of a human being and the singular materialisation of an imagination already embracing an impossible future. We could nevertheless speak of a lineage of poets in all forms and mediums who have illuminated the darkest valleys of history long before and long after the so-called age of enlightenment. These inspire the new generations, and Tarik indeed revels in this magnificent heritage, fusing this rich material with an evident love of contemporary visual expression.

I am not inclined on name dropping but a few ancients come to mind as I gaze at his works. I think of Mantegna, Pierro della Francesca, but also further back, of rock paintings as in Rocamadour, of Nordic Tempera, the catacombs of  St Callixtus, travelling towards Etruscan masters, Domenico Ghirlandaio, map makers from the 15th century, an example of Devonshire Tapestry, a 14th century illustration by Abelard of Bath,  then moving closer to our times, Puvis de Chavanne, Eduard Degas especially in some of the Zadar pieces, but also in Mystique 3 and 4 for instance, certain American painters like Katz, Jasper Jones, Hopper or Lichtenstein and on the continent, Gustav Klimpt emanating from the Lady in Dark Olive Green Stripes. But what strikes me is the feeling that I am not assailed by the weight of knowledge, that a certain freedom has erased the frontiers between what we call high art and sub-culture. There, in the midst of hazy faces, of the outline of sculptural bodies, of the entwined arabesques, of the complex patterns derived from the open source of the world, the presence of a fictional universe borne out of comic strips and graffiti is undeniable…such as Corto Maltese in the London drawings.

In the paintings the human figure is often treated like an objet d’ art, limbs are removed torsos are polished, faces turn to stone, the air surrounding them transmutes into psychedelic volutes, and this leaves one thinking of a museum of anthropological forms recently excavated, issued from yet unnamed archaeological layers of our past. This museum however is also the site of a hologram experiment where we can no longer be certain of the relationship between objects, space, thought, and time. They are characters fallen out of different stories, fragments of dreams that may lead the mind to the origin of mythology. Some seem ethereal, impossible to believe in terms of corporeal reality, others have mass and expressionistic baggage, one in particular, as his face stares at us, much larger than life. I met the man, but there is no doubt that, despite his acting feat, the person lingers therein. It is difficult to say whether the painter used the subject or the other way round to convey the affirmation of a personality. I am now aware the Sammy portraits are part of a study in view of illustrating Rod Stern’s poems. These facial contortions are anything but static, they tend to antagonise rather than exhort. Portraiture is somehow destabilised, thrown off the pedestal of traditional aesthetics. Once more the painter has made an unpredicted turn, he veers off the road into the ravine, but he is not driving a common vehicle, and his wings are not made of feathers and wax.

Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2015

http://www.darrenbakergallery.co.uk/exhibitions-1/
Currently showing at Darren Baker gallery in London until the 30th of May

One choice left…From Consciousness to Conscience

 

 

Charlie Hebdo, cartoon3 

In response top the recent events of Wednesday 31st of December 2014 “where 10 journalists and two policemen were killed after gunmen opened fire on the Paris office of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo” preceding another event. Published: January 08, 2015 “The shooting is believed to have been carried out in retaliation to the controversial cartoons by Charlie Hebdo, targeting religion and particularly the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.”

What ‘lies’ behind this escalating situation?

So called religious fanatics are only fanatics, they could not begin to comprehend the difference between the sacred and the profane or the beauty of mystical contemplation. They are not any truer or falser, better or worse than government officials or overpaid executives… all con men/women, cowards, self righteous vapid mediocre minds with an insatiable appetite for a substitute breast that must feed them la crème de la crème 24 hours a day for ever as they gurgle in a soiled apron with resentful satisfaction and fart their way into para-paradise. Ultimately, those who pay for their backhand traffic are all of us, unarmed civilians. There is a problem…obesity and cholesterol saturation of the psyche, and so little time left to make up for the soullessness of the corporate gods…it is obvious they are in much hurry to close the deal. Even black holes apparently dissolve in the emptiness, not empty enough; that incomprehensible space contains life at its most extreme level of exultation. This is what those inane spiritual midgets squeal about. They cannot face their own insipid end, having accumulated an immense superfluous wealth of many kinds over innumerable generations….

It took one man more than 2000 years ago, or rather the death of one man to set the corruption machinery of an entire civilisation across the ages into motion, and this was for a very precise purpose: to establish the supreme example, to show how the wilfulness of an individual must be deterred and stamped out for the good of all, that is, for the good of a system of social repression by which all can profit so long as each remains faithful to their position. To show how even a unique sacred being can be defeated by a wrath mightier than the judgment of a god that after all is nothing but a pitiful invention concocted by the same impostors. To do this through a mythical account from several perspectives was quite a masterful stroke, a crime of universal misinformation aided and abetted by a bunch of egocentric mentally disturbed apostles and the like. What better proof that individualism is the most risky business ever to be undertaken, that any irregularity will be regarded as an anomaly triggering a plethora of obstacles at the best, ailments, derogatory criticism, ridicule, alienation, imprisonment, censorship, torture at the worst and death …death being the only exit left, a merciful epilogue following excruciating agony….the agony and the sorrow of he or she who dares oppose the will of the majority, the potentate of the mass in the image of the supreme magnanimous leader claiming to personalise the voice of the people, the force of an indisputable order, the coherence of lifeless law , and the democratic swamp of homogenous survival. The individual is condemnable, an abomination, a traitor to the nations, an usurper, a demon who must only bare not only his/her cross but the cross of the whole species for being such a shameful scoundrel.

What is an individual? The person who questions her/his own intentions in the light of her/his own conscience in the face of a peril that would be avoided was she/he to neglect it. This is the first rule we each will apply in order to stay alive in (our) society, that is to say not to linger on a troubling feeling that can only lead to the termination of peace in our worldly existence and the destruction of what makes up the sum of who we believe to be here on earth. Who ever begins to doubt this rule and comment against it will suffer mockery, beatings, maiming, isolation, humiliation, and annihilation, although these treatments have become if one can say, highly refined, sublimated, sophisticated, owing to the new prevailing technologies, for our ancestors the inquisitors, and the Nazis, to cite only two well known instances of organised violence against living beings, have left our ‘petits despotes’ a practicable and efficient legacy now quasi unrecognisable in the guises of helpful moral admonitions, global market packages, sensible advice on family planning, low interest mortgages, urban infrastructures, financial traps wrapped up in institutional or charitable benevolence, educational pseudo improvements(impoverishment) driven by economic priorities …and the ubiquitous cyber bureaucratic network, state of the arts global spying system we must sing odes to , calling out Santa, our Olympian guides, the ‘supa-brands’, our petrol fakirs, our futures’ prophets to our rescue in the nick of time, far too late in the day. It is then quite a night to come, cold, bent by the blizzard in our comfy sofa, lonely in our saturated social circuits, obsessed with our personal saviour, the little bluish screen lighting up the growing obscurity…until the batteries run out.

Did anyone think that it is not solely the light of stars that is fading in the outer firmament? Each one of us shone once, yet, what is left now is a sky that is slowly emptied of this wonder, the asters once populating the human sphere, dying once and for all. Yet is it really so? What if we had looked at a mere reflection? Stars may be moving away from a dark concave mirror. It is a reminder we should each also look away from an image that perpetuates the illusion of permanence and immutability, and rather than hypnotising ourselves with a semblance of individuality chaining our mind to the fear of loss, why not turn instead towards the sun within, and finding that a cosmos begins right there. Thereafter, what need would there be for a glittery fatalistic power structure any more than the need for a whale to be surrounded by the shell of a submarine? A grotesque comparison?…. Is this not the point? The charade we partake in is more ludicrous still.

Power structures and city-states are replicated and implemented at all levels of human existence, from the smallest circle, such as family to the greatest, such as species. It is also called society, which could be summed up in one word: blackmail. To leave society is equivalent to turning your back on the mafia or quitting the army while war rages, being aware we are conscientious objector refusing to kill another human being on an order passed on from the lard brain of an invisible figure of authority. It is therefore reasonable to assume such an act will be regarded as treason or desertion. It is suicidal. Most of us rapidly conclude the odds being against such a choice, the best bet remains compliance and compromise. It is not that simple however for no sooner have we adjusted to one form of self denial than we are strongly advised to cut another branch of our tree in order to afford the tax allocated to our newly acquired privilege. It is then we must decide whether to cut the branch of someone else’s tree who did not so readily comply so as to retain our privileges. Losing such advantages would mean to become ostracised from the resources by which our survival is sustained. We therefore justify this action thus. We are freed of guilt henceforth.

Our conscience knows this to be a subterfuge. It is therefore of utmost importance to emphasise the evil of who has now become a co lateral target in a game that makes prisoners of us all.

There are psychological prompts and emotive hooks that will cause a human being to justify the absolute violation of another human’s dignity and freedom. These entities, and the latter term is intended as a reminder that such humans have lost their individual humanity, are absolutely certain of an unretractable gain and of a full pardon, having been granted the permission to act out their sociopathic condition through the relentless re conditioning of their unbalanced mind by an authoritative body acting as the universal protector of global indiscriminate brutality towards any human who may happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (this constituting deliberate detachment from functional mapping) for the purpose of destabilising the equilibrium and disturbing the perception of each individual existing inside the matrix of the state, thus rendering them vulnerable and impressionable. We find this situation replicates the environment of a family where a child will be at the implicit disposal of the unacceptable demands of a figure of authority that possesses a mandate to do as he/she pleases by virtue of the innate trust put in him/her according to the social/familial framework. This implies the absolute submission of the child, a social and emotional submission that will displace any feelings of love, or rather, a psychological fatal osmosis will occur by which love will be associated to the implementation and maintenance of a regime of terror, the more subtle , the more efficient.

We could think it reassuring many police abusers or suicide bombers have not actually suffered abuse at the hands of an authoritative human being in their childhood. But there is also a question of a separation between the carrot and the stick, and how to extract the perfect product of military obedience out of two main distinct sources, i.e., the broken child on one hand, the hollow child on the other. (Here the broken child is associated with the stick, the hollow child with the carrot) The latter term ‘child’ refers to the stage at which development of a psychology was arrested by saturation caused either by physical violence, emotional violence, emotional blackmail, or extreme instances of indoctrination, over emphasis on success at all cost for the sake of family, religious faith or patriotism.

Were ten journalists sacrificed in the name of a deity? Not exactly. What is to be gained, and by whom, by the outrage of public assassination? How did the perpetrators justify their choice of action? Would you wonder how a hammer decides to hit a nail on the head? Were the murderers individuals in full possession of their mind? And if they were not, would this fact exculpate them? Would this supposition offend their fragile character? Are these fragments of society not performing a function dictated by their cultural environment? Are they not also victims? Would they find this thought insulting? Will they ever find freedom and peace, the principles attributed to the culture they abhor and attack blindly? An intellectual complex residing outside the shores of our ground level provinces, the manageable purgatory of our global techno-polis perpetuates itself by the propagation of our contemporary version of terror infiltrating all manifestations of ideology and politics.

He or she who has abandoned themselves to the ideal, and liquidated their natural asset, namely their individuality, can no longer listen to their conscience, or question the masters who make themselves known only through the ideal they incalculate. The spokes person will not be an individual but the voice of many. The many are not individuals, they are the container and reflector of the ideal declaimed by the spokes person. This conjures up images of glorious communion, of ecstatic unison, such as what is so magnificently portrayed in Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl…Not the will to live but the will to immortalise a state of perfection. The survival of the individual entails the possibility of imperfection and must therefor not be permitted. The result is then a uniform multitude that can be moulded into an image of immortality, for perfection is the (assumed) property of deity.

This is a new promise, no longer pointing to a distant heaven in the ether of the cosmos but to the earth as a state of pure synchronised choreography of humanity to which we must all aspire equally and ensure thereby the scintillating machine of progress will transport us into an apotheosis of collective empowerment. This is the offer we cannot refuse, a social contract we sign like a blank check with a gun directed at our free hand.

Yet, again and again, a glitch will appear on the sterile plane of scientifically validated existence. An individual will stick their neck out, rear their ugly head, raise their annoying voice, laugh when they should grieve, weep when they should sneer. A solution has evaded our weak tyrants. They will continue to pay savants to invent new apparatuses in the hope these will put an end to the individual right down to the last. In their dreams…if they have any.

Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2015