As the slide into full pandemo-wave begins again, Memetic Haruspex sets out to follow the sterling example set back in the spring by Books Peckham and ICA Daily to bring you regular doses of high quality content in the hope that we might all retain some semblance of sanity. Winter is coming.
To start, a bumper round of recommendations that will hopefully provide a taste of the sort of thing to expect each week, or thereabouts.
Some things for you to read and watch and hear.
Contributions always welcome. Tell your pals.
First up, a couple of essential films that are available to watch on e-flux until October 10th. 4 Waters-Deep Implicancy, by theorist Denise Ferreira da Silva and artist Arjuna Neuman, is an incredible slow-burn of elemental cine-philosophy that will change how you think about matter, forms of knowledge, and the earf. An upending of Landian geotrauma retooled as cosmic ethics? Yes please.
Shown as part of the same programme, The Otolith Group’s Medium Earth is an earlier essay film that reads the violence of the present from an elemental script. Having managed to work my way back through a lot of earlier Otolith material this summer after catching their most recent film, INFINITY Minus Infinity (no link right now, sadly), please believe me when I say that you want to jump on every viewing opportunity while you can.
Rounding off an earthy trifecta, geographer Kathryn Yusoff contributed an excellent reading list to Obsidian Coast’s (Extra)Terrestrial Currents series earlier in the summer which I highly recommend, particularly the Brand, Jemisin, Hartman, and Povinelli. I am yet to read Natalie Diaz’s new collection because I’ve sworn off buying any more books for at least another month, but her Instagram cocktail game has had me coveting artisanal bitters.
Major shout out to Queer.Archive.Work whose new download library includes Ted Nelson’s incredible mid-70s nascent cyberculture opus, Computer Lib/Dream Machines. Truly visionary stuff that is crying out for a bootleg reprint. Down with Cybercrud!
The inaugural virtual edition of Tusk Festival is extremely underway, and is somehow delivering its vast and impossible lineup globally and for free during the worst circumstances ever faced by live music in the UK. If you missed the first week fear not, this week will feature performances from Senyawa, Deathprod, Aaron Dilloway, Maja S.K. Ratkje, The Dead C, Duma, and many other fringe weirdos. Also archive performances, obscure films, talks, DJ sets.… a singular gift.
If you didn’t catch it back in August, the radio documentary made by Josh Farmer and Estelle Birch for Planet Carnival on NTS is totally essential listening. A really insightful and far-reaching look at Carnival with a focus on its sounds and histories of resistance. New interviews with Lloyd Bradley, Julian Henriques, Rhea Storr and others alongside some amazing archival recordings tell a story much broader in scope than you are likely used to. Bonus materials available also for fans of red button/DVD extra-type arrangements.
The most recent episode of PlaguePod left me wondering whether we might be witnessing Urbanomic’s pivot to slightly unhinged digital content production as its primary mode of operation (cc Inzane_Johnny). The first couple of hours are the best with lots of Hydroplutonic Kernow chat, a very welcome introduction to Ethio-grime, and a curiously familiar-sounding Skype-in from Iceland Bob. Near-total chaos has descended by the time you reach hour four, but as ever the compulsion to endure is half the point.
This article by Saida Grundy lays out a good case for why many of the current swathe of bestselling books promoting anti-racist consciousness-raising strategies are perhaps not receiving the critical attention they deserve, and is something I’ve returned to a couple of times since July. It was neatly summarised by @abolitiongradients so check that out if you want a tl;dr version. (Note: this doesn’t mean white fragility is not a thing, bad luck).
The recent expanded reissue of Growing’s The Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of Light by Laffs & Danger is accompanied by a short and amusing account of the band’s early years courtesy of one-time flatmate Dylan Sharp. Their first three records remain synaesthetically hardwired into my nervous system and I’ve welcomed their recent Bandcamp Friday-related activity as something of a return to this classic duo format. Drone dad is basically classic rock dad at this stage but what can I say, nerve endings go brrrr.
Hell of a vibe coming off this group reading of Unknown Language, the recently published novel of ‘speculative mysticism’ coauthored by 12th-century polymath and visionary Hildegard of Bingen and contemporary writer and artist Huw Lemmey. I’m yet to get to the book for reasons already outlined but with this and K Allado-McDowell’s forthcoming Pharmako-AI, Ignota are really not fucking about right now.
In-depth interview with Clarence Kwan aka @thegodofcookery at 032c about how his Chinese Protest Recipes pamphlet is supporting Black struggles, and why zines remain an important political tool, as well as the wider movement to decolonise food. Sales of print copies may have ended for now I think but you can still download the pamphlet for free. Kwan’s IG stories on White Food might be my top recommendation this time, actually.
That’s it for now I reckon. More reading/viewing/listening recommendations in the coming weeks and months. Take care of each other and eat a green thing. Bye.