A kind of a "dangerous supplement", marked, scarred on a body, post-orgasmically, always, already in anticipation of (a) crisis OR for a desert avec 'agape'. Mindb(l)ogg(l)ing Noise. "Avalanche, would you share my last pursuit?" (Baudelaire)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens: 13 April 1949 - 15 December 2011

"The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Allegories Of Rescue



* Four years later, on the 3rd March 1972, Pruitt-Igoe famously enacted the death of modernism. Its architect, Monoru Yamasaki, had already designed the World Trade Center complex, which opened on the 4th April 1973.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Auscultatory

I'll show you houses of architectural renown / Some are still standing, some have fallen down

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Untitled (Ο Θεός Μαζί Σας), 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Now will you listen?



"For better or worse, the buildings of the 1960s were designed from the inside out. Even the most reviled of blocks contain spacious apartments. Even the most alarming crumbling concrete hulks have residents who will say: 'But they're lovely inside.'
The new blocks are designed from the outside in, irregular windows and brightly-coloured cladding hide the tiny, mean proportions and a total lack of planning for human use."

Nasty, Short and Brutalist on the BBC. Tune in.

Barcelona In Pieces

"Gaudi used psychiatric hospital and its patients as his test bed."


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

After Cy Twombly (1928-2011)


Cy Twombly, Pan (Part II), 1980, Acrylic on paper, 59 cm x 59 cm



Tacita Dean, Kodak, 2006, (Extract)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Past Lives


Gil Scott-Heron 1949-2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Shistonmou Song

Books For The Beach Hotel


Owen Hatherley*, Uncommon
The history of Pulp via pop, class war and the erotic city.


"This book is a small marvel. Even within the most ambiguous cultural flowering, something transcendent is cached. Owen Hatherley knows this. Possessed of an architect's clarity and a modernist's astringent vision, he draws forth the the paradoxical and brilliant core of Britpop, and restores Pulp's contradictory genius to its proper place in history. Behind the Blairite swagger of Cool Britannia and the spackle of commercial spectacle, Hatherley finds the truth of pop culture and social antagonism, entangled with the glory and oddity of Pulp's musical career and evanescent fame. Elegant about the songs, lucid about the band's warped trajectory, and incisive about the politics of daily life coiled within the sound and lyrics and moment, Hatherley chronicles the adventures of the Sheffield gang and their "class war casanova" who came forth as the truth of a deeply false moment, bad faith you could dance to, a dialectical verdict on a singular passage in time."
Joshua Clover


*Owen Hatherley is also the multi-blogger behind the architectonic polemics of Nasty, Brutalist and Short, and others.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lefkara and Free Market Economics


Alana Kakoyiannis, A Frayed Tradition, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Constantinos Taliotis, MERCEDES, 5-20 May 2011, APOTHEKE



Κωνσταντίνος Ταλιώτης
MERCEDES
5-20 Μαϊου 2011

Ο Κωνσταντίνος Ταλιώτης επιστρέφει στην APOTHEKE μετά από δύο χρόνια, με την καινούργια δουλειά υπό τον τίτλο MERCEDES.

Έχοντας διερευνήσει μεσώ της πιο πρόσφατης δουλειάς του τις έννοιες της ιστορικότητας, της αφηγηματικότητας καθώς και την αισθητική και την ηθική που διαπνέει τα Β-movies, το MERCEDES του Κωνσταντίνου Ταλιώτη «αιωρείται» μεταξύ objet trouve και εγκατάστασης, μεταξύ του κινηματογραφικού και του αρχειακού, μεταξύ του prop και του «πραγματικού». Με εσκεμμένη περιφρόνηση προς τον ενικό του νοήματος, το MERCEDES εξετάζει πρώτα και κύρια την προβληματική προνομιακή θέση του μοναδικού, του αυθεντικού έργου τέχνης, χωρίς ωστόσο να οπισθοχωρεί ουτοπικά προς τη συνεργασία και το 'σχεσιακό'. Ναρκοθετώντας επιθυμίες ιδιοκτησίας, κατηγοριοποίησης και καταλογογράφησης, το έργο του Ταλιώτη αντί να διαστέλλει το χώρο της γκαλερί τον ακυρώνει μέσω της εκμετάλλευσης της πολιτικής και της ιστορίας του χώρου, στην περίπτωση αυτή, της APOTHEKE. Την ίδια στιγμή,το MERCEDES είναι αυτό καθ' εαυτό έργο του Κωνσταντίνου Ταλίωτη, μια χαρακτηριστικά προσεκτική σκηνοθετημένη επισκόπηση των αναδιπλώσεων του design στην Τέχνη και τις -συχνά δανεικές- συζητήσεις περί αυτής.
Ανοιχτά κριτικό, το MERCEDES είναι ένα έργο το οποίο επαναεπιβεβαιώνει την παρουσία του στη μειονότητα των πλέον σημαντικών σύγχρονων Κύπριων διεπιστημονικών παραγωγών πολιτισμού.

Ο Κωνσταντίνος Ταλιώτης (1983) ζει και εργάζεται στην Αθήνα και τη Λευκωσία. Τα τελευταία χρόνια η δουλειά του έχει παρουσιαστεί σε ατομικές και ομαδικές εκθέσεις στη Λευκωσία (War Fever, Κέντρο Τεχνών Λευκωσίας, Love at last sight, APOTHEKE), την Αθήνα (Kappatos Gallery, Art Athina), το Λονδίνο (Fold Gallery, The London Art Fair) και την Βενετία (Arte Laguna Art Prize).

Κωνσταντίνος Ταλιώτης
MERCEDES
5-20 Μαϊου 2011
Εγκαίνια: 5 Μαϊου 2011, 20:00
Διάρκεια Έκθεσης: 5-20 Μαϊου 2011, Δευτέρα- Σάββατο, 17:00-21:00
Πληροφορίες: 99764816 / www.apothekecontemporaryarts.com

*H ΑPOTHEKE θα λάβει μέρος και στην φετινή ART ATHINA, από της 12-15 Μαϊου 2011, με έργα της Μαρίας Τουμάζου και Μαρίας Αναστασίου.





Constantinos Taliotis
MERCEDES
5-20 May 2011
APOTHEKE


Constantinos Taliotis returns to APOTHEKE two years after his critically acclaimed show 'Love At Last Sight' with 'MERCEDES', opening on Thursday, 5th May 2011.

Having in his most recent practise explored notions of historicity, narrativity and the aesthetics and ethics of B-movies, Constantinos Taliotis' 'MERCEDES' hovers between installation and objet trouve, the cinematic and the archival, the prop and the 'real'. With an intentional disregard to the singular Taliotis' 'MERCEDES' questions first and foremost the privileged position of the individualist work of art, without however regressing to the utopia of the 'collaborative' or the 'relational'. Mining desires of ownership, categorisation and cataloguing, Taliotis' work implodes, rather than expands, the gallery space in its exploitation of the politics and history of, in this case, APOTHEKE. At the same time, 'MERCEDES' is a Constantinos Taliotis' work through and through, not least in its survey of how the design item is convolutedly multi-folded into art and its – often appropriated – debates, and its attentive staging. Unresolvedly critical 'MERCEDES' is a work which reaffirms Constantinos Taliotis as one of the most important transdisciplinary contemporary cultural producers from Cyprus.


Constantinos Taliotis (b. 1983) lives and works in Athens, Greece and Nicosia, Cyprus. In the past two years, Taliotis’ work has been exhibited in group and solo shows in Nicosia (War Fever, Nicosia Municipal Art Centre, Love at last sight, APOTHEKE), Athens (Kappatos Gallery, Art Athina), London (Fold Gallery, The London Art Fair) and Venice (Arte Laguna Art Prize).


Constantinos Taliotis
MERCEDES
5-20 May 2011
Opening: Thursday, 5th May 2011, 20:00
Duration: 5-20 May 2011, Monday- Saturday, 17:00-21:00
APOTHEKE
23 Kleanthis Christofides Street, Off Lefkonos Street, Nicosia
Info: 99764816 / www.apothekecontemporaryarts.com


*APOTHEKE will also be participating at ART ATHINA 2011, in Athens, from the 12th to the 15th May 2011, with new works by Maria Toumazou and Maria Anastassiou.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


fig 1, Black ink on left arm, Artist: Giulio at The Family Business, EC1R 4QE, London, 28th April 2011.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Κοντάκιον

"Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself." Andre Breton

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rethinking Cat Stevens

Or Electro-Disco Is A Cypriot's Invention



"It has been said that this could be the first ever electro track from way back in 1977. It even has the dog barks that became so synonymous with many electro tracks of the 80's. A classic and quite possibly seminal electro track. A&M records Catalogue 1971-S."


"Although this single did not come out until November 1977, the album which spawned this track (Izitso) was released April 1977 (some sources say May).
Although 50% of the Proto-Electro of the 70's is an offshoot of Kraut-Rock turned Space-Disco, the other 50% is an offshoot of Funk-Jazz. Being Chick Corea (of Miles Davis's Bitches Brew album) is largely featured on this track, one can tie this to the Proto-Electro lineage that includes other Jazz luminaries as Herbie Hancock and Lionel Hampton, leading to Tyrone Brunson and Paul Hardcastle. In contrast to this track, the remainder of the album was backed by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section."

"As history goes, "Was Dog A Doughnut" is not recognized as one of the most important Electronic records ever made. People always give Kraftwerk's "Trans Europe Express" a name-check for that. But Cat Stevens did produce this track without hearing Kraftwerk. This could be the first Electronic record ever recorded and Cat Stevens was known as a Folk/Rock artist and not a forefather of Electronic Music. On this 1977 release we have the prototype electro track, one that pre-dates Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk and YMO. We have a timeless classic here, Moog eruptions and electronic drum programming which arrived 5 years prior to The Roland 808. We have the Dog Barks, which became the electro standard in 1982, we have Mantronix and Freddy Fresh, name-checking it, while Jellybean did his own cover version, yet people still do not know...."
>>

The End of Youth

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Way To Love

For being in love is to be relieved of gravity.



Scene from the 1984 film Τρελλός απο Αγάπη.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The APOTHEKE Revolutionary Anthem



Untitled (Getting off the bus at Nicosia International Airport), 2011

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Past Tenses



Μαρία Αναστασίου
HERE , THIS TIME, A TERRIBLE BEAUTY
7-22 Απριλίου 2011

Με την ευρηματική εγκατάσταση της νεαρής δημιουργού Μαρίας Αναστασίου, Here, This Time. A Terrible Beauty, εγκαινιάζεται το πρόγραμμα εκθέσεων της APOTHEKE, για το 2011.

Προφητικά γοητευμένη από την διάδοση φυσικών καταστροφών δια μέσου των εικόνων, η νεάρη Κυπρια δημιουργός, βραβεύμενη με το Deutche Bank Award for Art, διερευνά στο έργο της την ιδιοσυγρασία και τις τάσεις κατανάλωσης του οπτικού.
Αντιλαμβανώμενη την στιγμή της εννοιολογικής κατανόησης, το 'περιεχόμενο', ως απλα αλλη μια επιφάνεια, μια διαστρεβλωμένη τέταρτη διάσταση, εξ ίσου μετατοπισμένη απο το γεγονός και τυφλωμένη από το φένεσθαι , η δουλειά της Μαρίας Αναστασίου με τίτλο Here, This Time. A Terrible Beauty, εξερευνά την φύση του θεάματος, και το θέαμα της φύσης, ως ένα άμεσο υπολειμμα, ένα αρχείο που θα μπορούσε να αποσαφηνίσει, προσωρινά και ατελώς, τη διαρκή εναλλασόμενη σχέση μας με την πράξη του βλέπειν.

Η Μαρία Αναστασίου αποφοίτησε από το Royal College of Art του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου, έχωντας ήδη βραβευτεί για τη δουλεία της με το Deutche Bank Award for Art, το 2010. Έργα της έχουν παρουσιαστεί στο British Film Institute, στο Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow και την γκαλερί Chisenhale στο Λονδινο. Ζεί και εργάζεται στο Λονδίνο.

Μαρία Αναστασίου, Here, This Time, A Terrible Beauty
Εγκαίνια: Πέμπτη, 7 Απριλίου 2011, 20:00
Διάρκεια Έκθεσης: 7-22 Απριλίου 2011, Δευτέρα -Σάββατο, 17:00-21:00
APOTHEKE
Κλεάνθη Χριστοφίδη 23, Πάροδος Λεύκωνος, Λευκωσία
Πληροφορίες: 99764816 / www.apothekecontemporaryarts.com

Στις 5 Μαϊου η APOTHEKE παρουσιαζει την καινούργια έκθεση του Κωνσταντίνου Ταλιώτης με τίτλο MERCEDES.
H ΑPOTHEKE θα λάβει μέρος και στην φετινή ART ATHINA, απο της 12-15 Μαϊου 2011, με έργα της Μαρίας Τουμάζου και Μαρίας Αναστασίου.



Maria Anastassiou
HERE, THIS TIME, A TERRIBLE BEAUTY
7-22 April 2011


APOTHEKE kicks off its 2011 programme with the innovative film work Here, This Time, A Terrible Beauty, by Maria Anastassiou.

Prophetically intrigued by the proliferating visual dissemination of natural disasters, the young Cypriot Deutche Bank awarded artist's work engages with the temperament and trends of the consumption of images. Understanding the moment of present meaning, of 'content', as a mere surface effect, a distorted fourth panel, removed from the event and fascinated by appearance, Maria Anastassiou's film work Here, This Time, A Terrible Beauty explores the nature of spectacle, and the spectacle of nature as an immediate relic, an archive that could imperfectly unlock our ever-changing relationship with the act of seeing.

Maria Anastassiou graduated from the Royal College of Art, having already been awarded the Deutche Bank Award for Art, in 2010. Her work has been exhibited amongst others at the British Film Institute, the Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow and the Chisenhale Gallery. She currently lives and works in London.


Maria Anastassiou, Here, This Time, A Terrible Beauty
Opening: Thursday, 7th April 2011, 20:00
Duration: 7-22 April 2011, Monday-Saturday, 17:00-21:00
APOTHEKE
23 Kleanthis Christofides Street, Off Lefkonos Street, Nicosia
Info: 99764816 / www.apothekecontemporaryarts.com

Next Show at APOTHEKE: Constantinos Taliotis, MERCEDES, 5-20 May 2011
APOTHEKE will also be participating at ART ATHINA 2011, in Athens, from the 12th to the 15th May 2011, with new works by Maria Toumazou and Maria Anastassiou.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Την Μάνα Σου!

"Ναι ρε γιατί εσένα 'εν σε γέννησε μάνα; Εφύτρωσες;"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

...αυγή μυστικής ημέρας...


Andy Warhol, 3. Leonardo da Vinci (The Annunciation), Details of Renaissance Paintings, 1984, Unique screenprint on Arches Aquarelle paper

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Goodbye Liz. Goodbye.

Love Is Like An App Store



It's all in the small print.

R.I.P. Child

"US singer Loleatta Holloway, best known for her vocals which were sampled on Black Box's 1989 hit Ride On Time, has died at the age of 64. The performer died of heart failure."

Leather Soles on Concrete

Anachronistic Tropicalia

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Type Of Bag?

“My Barbour jacket is big enough for my stuff.”
Scott Schuman aka The Sartorialist

Shtup* Photoshop!



*Shtup (Yiddish): Push, shove; vulgarism for sexual intercourse

Architectural Obesity

Warning: To be viewed in the vicinity of Fernet Branca or other digestif. Includes soft-porn music.

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Price: €25000000
Address: Amathus Limassol Cyprus
Title Deeds are available for existing property

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jah!

“Bad faith” is also taken into consideration.

Η ποίηση μολύνει τη γλώσσα. Δεν γίνεται αλλιώς.

Η ύλη μολύνει την ποίηση αλλά και η ποίηση μολύνει τη γλώσσα. Δεν γίνεται αλλιώς. Η τέχνη ανοίγει χώρο μέσα στην πραγματικότητα, συγχρονίζει το παρελθόν με το παρόν. Είναι τόπος κινδύνου με την έννοια του μη οριστικού, του ολοένα μετακινούμενου. Την κίνηση του σώματος και του μυαλού ονομάζουμε συγκίνηση από την αισθητική (αισθησιακή) εμπειρία του ποίηματος. Κάθε ποιητής αλλά και αναγνώστης της ποίησης ξέρει ότι η αμφιβολία είναι το στοίχημα που βάζει το έργο, η άρση κάθε βεβαιότητας είναι η αφετηρία για τη σκέψη και ο όρος για τη δημιουργία, αλλά και για τη συμμετοχή σε αυτήν. Η καλύτερη υπεράσπιση για τα έργα είναι ή απροκατάληπτη ανάγνωση που βάζει τα ίδια αλλά και τους αναγνώστες σε δοκιμασία.

Π.Μ.Π. / W.P.D. #2

Π.Μ.Π. / W.P.D.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.



Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

. . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

. . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

T.S. Eliot, February 1910 - August 1911

Eating Architecture



via prawnkraka

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Umbrian Diptych (The Virgin and Child / The Man of Sorrows), about 1260, Egg Tempera on Wood, 32.4 x 22.8cm, The National Gallery, London

⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Minor Communique On Melancholic Optimism

"to decrease the distance between the temporal and the divine"



Nick Cave, The Secret Life Of The Love Song

To be invited to come here and teach, to lecture, to impart what knowledge I have collected about poetry, about song writing has left me with a whole host of conflicting feelings. The strongest, most insistent of these concerns my late father who was an English Literature teacher at the high school I attended back in Australia. I have very clear memories of being about twelve years old and sitting, as you are now, in a classroom or school hall, watching my father, who would be standing, up here, where I am standing, and thinking to myself, gloomily and miserably, for, in the main, I was a gloomy and miserable child, "It doesn´t really matter what I do with my life as long as I don´t end up like my father". At forty years old it would appear that there is virtually no action I can take that does not draw me closer to him, that does not make me more like him. At forty years old I have become my father, and here I am, teaching.

What I wanted to do here was to talk a bit about "the love song", to speak about my own personal approach to this genre of songwriting which I believe has been at the very heart of my particular artistic quest. I want look at some other works, that, for whatever reason, I think are sublime achievements in this most noble of artistic pursuits: the creation of the great love song.

Looking back at these twenty years a certain clarity prevails. Midst the madness and the mayhem, it would seem I have been banging on one particular drum. I see that my artistic life has centered around an attempt to articulate the nature of an almost palpable sense of loss that has laid claim to my life. A great gaping hole was blasted out of my world by the unexpected death of my father when I was nineteen years old. The way I learned to fill this hole, this void, was to write. My father taught me this as if to prepare me for his own passing. To write allowed me direct access to my imagination, to inspiration and ultimately to God. I found through the use of language, that I wrote god into existence. Language became the blanket that I threw over the invisible man, that gave him shape and form. Actualising of God through the medium of the love song remains my prime motivation as an artist. The love song is perhaps the truest and most distinctive human gift for recognising God and a gift that God himself needs. God gave us this gift in order that we speak and sing Him alive because God lives within communication. If the world was to suddenly fall silent God would deconstruct and die. Jesus Christ himself said, in one of His most beautiful quotes, "Where ever two or more are gathered together, I am in your midst." He said this because where ever two or more are gathered together there is language. I found that language became a poultice to the wounds incurred by the death of my father. Language became a salve to longing.

Though the love song comes in many guises – songs of exultation and praise, songs of rage and of despair, erotic songs, songs of abandonment and loss – they all address God, for it is the haunted premises of longing that the true love song inhabits. It is a howl in the void, for Love and for comfort and it lives on the lips of the child crying for his mother. It is the song of the lover in need of her loved one, the raving of the lunatic supplicant petitioning his God. It is the cry of one chained to the earth, to the ordinary and to the mundane, craving flight; a flight into inspiration and imagination and divinity. The love song is the sound of our endeavours to become God-like, to rise up and above the earthbound and the mediocre.

The loss of my father, I found, created in my life a vacuum, a space in which my words began to float and collect and find their purpose. The great W.H. Auden said "The so-called traumatic experience is not an accident, but the opportunity for which the child has been patiently waiting – had it not occurred, it would have found another- in order that its life come a serious matter." The death of my father was the "traumatic experience" Auden talks about that left the hole for God to fill. How beautiful the notion that we create our own personal catastrophes and that it is the creative forces within us that are instrumental in doing this. We each have a need to create and sorrow is a creative act. The love song is a sad song, it is the sound of sorrow itself. We all experience within us what the Portugese call Suadade, which translates as an inexplicable sense of longing, an unnamed and enigmatic yearning of the soul and it is this feeling that lives in the realms of imagination and inspiration and is the breeding ground for the sad song, for the Love song is the light of God, deep down, blasting through our wounds.

In his brilliant lecture entitled "The Theory and Function of Duende" Frederico Garcia Lorca attempts to shed some light on the eerie and inexplicable sadness that lives in the heart of certain works of art. "All that has dark sound has duende", he says, "that mysterious power that everyone feels but no philosopher can explain." In contemporary rock music, the area in which I operate, music seems less inclined to have its soul, restless and quivering, the sadness that Lorca talks about. Excitement, often; anger, sometimes: but true sadness, rarely, Bob Dylan has always had it. Leonard Cohen deals specifically in it. It pursues Van Morrison like a black dog and though he tries to he cannot escape it. Tom Waits and Neil Young can summon it. It haunts Polly Harvey. My friend and Dirty 3 have it by the bucket load. The band Spiritualised are excited by it. Tindersticks desperately want it, but all in all it would appear that duende is too fragile to survive the brutality of technology and the ever increasing acceleration of the music industry. Perhaps there is just no money in sadness, no dollars in duende. Sadness or duende needs space to breathe. Melancholy hates haste and floats in silence. It must be handled with care.

All love songs must contain duende. For the love song is never truly happy. It must first embrace the potential for pain. Those songs that speak of love without having within in their lines an ache or a sigh are not love songs at all but rather Hate Songs disguised as love songs, and are not to be trusted. These songs deny us our humanness and our God-given right to be sad and the air-waves are littered with them. The love song must resonate with the susurration of sorrow, the tintinnabulation of grief. The writer who refuses to explore the darker regions of the heart will never be able to write convincingly about the wonder, the magic and the joy of love for just as goodness cannot be trusted unless it has breathed the same air as evil – the enduring metaphor of Christ crucified between two criminals comes to mind here – so within the fabric of the love song, within its melody, its lyric, one must sense an acknowledgement of its capacity for suffering.

In Lou Reed´s remarkable song "Perfect Day" he writes in near diary form the events that combine to make a "Perfect Day". It is a day that resonates with the hold beauty of love, where he and his lover sit in the park and drink Sangria, feed animals in the zoo, go to a movie show etc., but it is the lines that darkly in the third verse, "I thought I was someone else, someone good" that transforms this otherwise sentimental song into the masterpiece of melancholia that it is. Not only do these lines ache with failure and shame, but they remind us in more general terms of the transient nature of love itself – that he will have his day "in the park" but, like Cinderella, who must return at midnight to the soot and ash of her disenchanted world, so must he return to his old self, his bad self. It is out of the void that this songs springs, clothed in loss and longing.

Around the age of twenty, I stared reading the Bible and I found in the brutal prose of the Old Testament, in the feel of its words and its imagery, an endless source of inspiration. The Song of Solomon, perhaps the greatest love song ever written, had a massive impact upon me. Its openly erotic nature, the metaphoric journey taken around the lovers bodies – breasts compared to bunches of grapes and young deer, hair and teeth compared to flocks of goats and sheep, legs like pillars of marble, the navel- a round goblet, the belly- a heap of wheat – its staggering imagery rockets us into the world of pure imagination. Although the two lovers are physically separate – Solomon is excluded from the garden where his beloved sings – it is the wild, obsessive projections of one lover onto another that dissolve them into a single being, constructed from a series of rapturous love-metaphors.

The Song of Solomon is an extraordinary love song but it was the remarkable series of love song/poems known as the Psalms that truly held me. I found the Psalms, which deal directly with relationship between man and God, teeming with all the clamorous desperation, longing, exultation, erotic violence and brutality that I could hope for. The Psalms are soaked in suadade, drenched in duende and bathed in bloody-minded violence. In many ways these songs became the blue-print for much of my more sadistic love songs. Psalm 137, a particular favourite of mine and which was turned into a chart hit by the fab little band Boney M. is a perfect example of all I have been talking about.

The love song must be born into the realm of the irrational, absurd, the distracted, the melancholic, the obsessive, the insane for the love song is the noise of love itself and love is, of course, a form of madness. Whether it be the love of God, or romantic, erotic love – these are manifestations of our need to be torn away from the rational, to take leave of our senses, so to speak. Love songs come in many guises and are seemingly written for many reasons – as declarations or to wound – I have written songs for all of these reasons – but ultimately the love songs exist to fill, with language, the silence between ourselves and God, to decrease the distance between the temporal and the divine.

In Psalm 137 the poet finds himself captive in "a strange land" and is forced to sing a song of Zion. He swears his love to his homeland and dreams of revenge. The Psalm is ghastly in its violent sentiments, as he sings for love of his homeland and his God and that he may be made happy by murdering the children of his enemies. What I found, time and time again, in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, was that verses of rapture, of ecstasy and love could hold within them apparently opposite sentiments – hate, revenge, bloody mindedness etc. that they were not mutually exclusive. This idea has left an enduring impression on my songwriting.

Within the world of modern pop music, a world that deals ostensibly with the Love Song, but in actuality does little more that hurl dollops of warm, custard-coloured baby-vomit down the air waves, true sorrow is not welcome. But occasionally a song comes along that hides behind its disposable, plastic beat a love lyric of truly devastating proportions. "Better The Devil You Know" written by hitmakers Stock, Altkin and Waterman and sung by the Australian pop sensation Kylie Minogue is such a song. The disguising of the terror of Love in a piece of mindless, innocuous pop music is an intriguing concept. "Better The Devil You Know" is one of pop music's most violent and distressing love lyrics.

Say you wont leave me no more
I`ll take you back again
No more excuses, no no
Cause I´ve heard them all before
A hundred times or more
I´ll forgive and forget

If you say you´ll never go
Cause it's true what they say
Better the devil you know
I know, I think I know the score
You say you love me, O boy
I can´t ask for more
I´ll come if you should call

When Kylie Minogue sings these words there is an innocence to her voice that makes the horror of this chilling lyric all the more compelling. The idea presented within this song, dark and sinister and sad – that all love relationships are by nature abusive and that his abuse, be it physical or psychological, is welcomed and encouraged, shows how even the most innocuous of love songs has the potential to hide terrible human truths. Like Prometheus chained to his rock, so that the eagle can eat his liver each night, Kylie becomes love's sacrificial lamb bleating an earnest invitation to the drooling, ravenous wolf that he may devour her time and time again, all to a groovy techno beat. "I´ll take you back. I´ll take you back again". Indeed. Here the Love Songs becomes a vehicle for a harrowing portrait of humanity not dissimilar to that of the Old Testament Psalms. Both are messages to God that cry out into the yawning void, in anguish and self-loathing, for deliverance.

As I said earlier, my artistic life has centered around desire or more accurately, the need, to articulate the various feelings of loss and longing that have whistled through my bones and hummed in my blood, throughout my life. In the process I have written about two hundred songs, the bulk of which I would say, were love songs. Love songs, and therefore, by my definition, sad songs. Out of this considerable mass of material, a handful of them rise above the others as true examples of all I have talked about. Sad Waters, Black Hair, I Let Love In, Deanna, From her to Eternity, Nobody's Baby Now, Into my Arms, Lime Tree Arbour, Lucy, Straight to You; I am proud of these songs. They are my gloomy, violent, dark-eyed children. They sit grimly on their own and do not play with the other songs. Mostly they were offspring of complicated pregnancies and difficult and painful births. Most of them are rooted in direct personal experience and were conceived for a variety of reasons but this rag-tag group of love songs are, at the death, all the same thing – life lines thrown into the galaxies of the divine by a drowning man.

The reasons why I feel compelled to sit down and write love songs are legion. Some of these came clearer to me when I sat down with a friend of mine, who for the sake of his anonymity I will refer to as J.J. and I admitted to each other that we both suffered from psychological disorder that the medical profession call erotographomania. Erotographomania is the obsessive desire to write love letters. My friend shared that he had written and sent, over the last five years, more than seven thousand love letters to his wife. My friend looked exhausted and his shame was almost palpable. I suffer from the same disease but happily have yet to reach such an advanced stage as my poor friend J. We discussed the power of the love letter and found that it was, not surprisingly, very similar to the love song. Both served as extended meditations on ones beloved. Both served to shorten the distance between the writer and the recipient. Both held within them a permanence and power that the spoken word did not. Both were erotic exercises, in themselves. Both had the potential to reinvent, through words, like Pygmalion with his self-created lover of stone, one's beloved. Alas, the most endearing form of correspondence, the love letter, like the love song has suffered at the hands of the cold speed of technology, at the carelessness and soullessness of our age. I would like to look, finally, at one of my own songs that I recorded for The Boatman's Call album. This song, I feel, exemplifies much of what I´ve been talking about today. The song is called Far From Me.

For your dear, I was born
For you I was raised up
For you I´ve lived and for you I will die
For you I am dying now
You were my mad little lover
In a world where everybody fucks everybody else over
You are so far from me
Far from me
Way across some cold neurotic sea
Far from me

I would talk to you of all matter of things
With a smile you would reply
Then the sun would leave your pretty face
And you´d retreat from the front of your eye
I keep hearing that you´re doing best
I hope your heart beats happy in your infant breast
You who are so far from me
Far from me
Far from me

There is no knowledge but I know it
There´s nothing to learn from that vacant voice
That sails to me across the line
From the ridiculous to the sublime
It´s good to hear you´re doing so well
But really can´t you find somebody else that you can ring and tell
Did you ever care for me?
Were you ever there for me?
So far from me

You told me you´d stick by me
Those were your very words
My fair-weather friend
You were my brave-hearted lover
At the first taste of trouble went running back to mother
So far from me
Far from me
Suspended in your bleak and fishless sea
Far from me
Far from me

Far From Me took four months to write, which was the duration of the relationship it describes. The first verse was written in the first week of the affair and is full of all the heroic drama of new love as it describes the totality of feeling whilst acknowledging the potential for pain – for you I'm dying now. It sets the two lovers it describes against an uncaring world – a world that fucks everybody over – and brings in the notion of the physical distance suggested in the title. Strangely, though, the song, as if awaiting the "traumatic experience" that I spoke of earlier to happen, would not allow itself to be completed until the catastrophe had occurred. Some songs are tricky like that and it is wise to keep your wits about you when dealing with them. I find quite often that the songs I write seem to know more about what is going on in my life than I do. I have pages and pages of fourth verses for this song written while the relationship was still sailing happily along. One such verse went:

The Camellia, The Magnolia
Have such a pretty flower
And the bells of St. Mary's
Inform us of the hour

Pretty words, Innocent words, unaware that any day the bottom would drop out of the whole thing. Love songs that attach themselves to actual experience, that are a poeticising of real events have a peculiar beauty unto themselves. They stay alive in the same way that memories do and being alive, they grow up and undergo changes and develop. A love song such as Far From Me has found a personality beyond the one that I originally gave it with the power to influence my own feelings around the actual event itself. This is an extraordinary thing and one of the truly wondrous benefits of song writing. The songs that I have written that deal with past relationships have become the relationships themselves. Through these songs I have been able to mythologize the ordinary events of my life, lifting them from the temporal plane and hurling them way into the stars. The relationship described in Far From Me has been and gone but the song itself lives on, keeping a pulse running through my past. Such is the singular beauty of song-writing.

Twenty years of song-writing has now past and still the void gapes wide. Still that inexplicable sadness, the duende, the saudade, the divine discontent persists and perhaps it will continue until I see the face of god himself. But when Moses desired to see the face of God, Exodus 33, 188, he was answered that he may not endure it, no man could see his face and live. Well, me, I don´t mind. I `m happy to be sad. For the residue, cast off in this search, the songs themselves, my crooked brood of sad eyed children, rally round and in their way, protect me, comfort me and keep me alive. They are the companions of the soul that lead it into exile, that safe the overpowering yearning for that which is not of this world. The imagination desires an alternate and through the writing of the love song, one sits and dines with loss and longing, madness and melancholy ecstasy, magic, joy and love with equal measures of respect and gratitude. The spiritual quest has many faces – religion, art, drugs, work, money, sex – but rarely does the search serve god so directly and rarely are the rewards so great in doing.


25 September 1999, Vienna



Addendum: A Fucked Up Love Song

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Αχ Κυπρούλα!

Between Incapability, Dependency and Nationalism

"Ήταν Λάθος"

'Ηρτες πο'σσο σου...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Should I Work For Free?

"Όταν η "εμπειρία" δεν μεταφράζεται σε τιμολογημενη υπηρεσία, δεν με αφορά. Προτιμώ να διαβάζω πατέρες της εκκλησίας."
Vivian_e



By Jessica Hische
[Click to enlarge.]

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them."

John Waters via Bookshelf Porn

Saturday, January 15, 2011

After Hours

Because love tastes like whiskey.

Status (Shared)

"Όποιος θέλει, βρίσκει καιρό. Όποιος δεν θέλει, βρίσκει πρόφαση."
Ανδρέας Λασκαράτος

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Under The Fridge's Light - Constantinos Taliotis

Now available from Amazon.com



"In the short but tempestuous life of the nebulous domain of writing named theory, it has been accused in a plethora of occasions for rambling away and failing to respond to pragmatic problems found in the domains of the real, the social or the political. Setting out to question these accusations by examining the state(s) and place(s) of theory and the proximity of such locations to other fields of research, Under the fridge's light reveals the cracks in the presumptions of an existing kinship between theory and the real. Having done away with the imperative of a responsive or a reflective theory, a quest begins for a theory frivolity and of disengagement from the ?real' or the ?social'. A kind of theory that refrains from relocating itself in praxis, and yet it rambles in imaginative terrains, maintaining a theoretical perspective within the parameters of theorizing rather than theoretically responding to applied disciplines. In other words, a superflexible mechanism that enables the synthesis of disproportionate perceptions of scale; a theory of the jouissance of misinterpretation and the pleasure of misconstruction."



Constantinos Taliotis (b. 1983, Nicosia, Cyprus) is a visual artist and writer. He lives in Nicosia, Cyprus and Athens, Greece. He has exhibited widely in numerous solo and group exhibitions and contributed to various publications. He is the co-director of APOTHEKE CONTEMPORARY ARTS, Nicosia, Cyprus.

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