Photography

Halfway Mountain by Giulia Mangione (Photography)

HALFWAY MOUNTAIN
GIULIA MANGIONE

From the Publisher: According to the World Happiness Report, a yearly survey of the state of global happiness, commissioned by the United Nations, Denmark is often ranked as the “happiest country in the world.” While studying photography in Denmark in 2014, Italian Giulia Mangione had to work on a final project. Most of her classmates went to far away countries. Giulia decided to stay to understand what made Denmark the happiest country in the world. 

“People often ask me if the Danes are really the happiest people in the world. I still don’t have an answer to this. But I know what I like about the Danes. I like that they use cemeteries as places to celebrate life more than death. I like their innate sense of freedom in being what they want to be. I like the fact that Danes go to ‘højskole’ (High School) to learn something for life, to be aware of what they are good at and what makes them happy.”


Giulia Mangione is a visual artist and social documentarist exploring identity, nationality and belonging through photography, film and writing. She is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Visit her website here, and buy her book Halfway Mountain here

Literature

The Three Sneezes (Short Story)

The Three Sneezes
by Roger Duvoisin

 Via The Public Domain  Review

Via The Public Domain Review

Jean-Marie the Farmer climbed up a tree to cut some wood for his stove. His donkey, standing below, closed his eyes and went to sleep. 

Just then a stranger on horseback happened to pass by. “Heh, there,” cried the stranger, “have you ever sawed wood before?”

“Why, if all the wood I have sawed in my life was gathered together it would make a fine forest,” Jean-Marie shouted back.

“One wouldn’t think so,” said the stranger.

“Why not?” demanded Jean-Marie.

“Because when you have sawed through that branch on which you are sitting, both you and the branch will fall to the ground.”

“Be off with you, stranger,” said Jean-Marie. “I can see that you know nothing about sawing wood.”

So the stranger went off, and Jean-Marie went on sawing. Presently there was a terrible crash, and both he and the branch fell to the ground.

Jean-Marie picked himself up, and when he had rubbed all his bruises and found that his back was not broken, he bethought himself of the stranger’s words. “Surely that was a wonderful man,” he thought, “for he told me that the branch and I would fall to the ground, and so we did. He must know the future. I will go after him, and ask him a thing or two.”

So Jean-Marie got on his donkey, and away they went after the stranger. Presently they came to a turn in the road, and there was the stranger, ambling along on his horse as though nothing had happened. 

“Ho, there!” cried Jean-Marie.

“What is it?” said the stranger, stopping his horse. 

“I see that you can read the future, so I want to ask you a thing or two.”

“What makes you think I can read the future?”

“You said that when I had sawed through the branch, both of us would fall to the ground, and so we did.”

“Oh,” said the stranger, smiling, “I see. Well, ask me your questions, but I warn you I can only answer one of them.”

“Very well,” said Jean-Marie, “just answer me this. When am I going to die?”

“That’s easy,” said the stranger. “You will die when your donkey has sneezed three times.” And with that he rode away. 

“My donkey never sneezes,” thought Jean-Marie, “so I shall live a long time.” And he started for home feeling very happy.

Now donkeys are very stubborn, and they always do just the very thing they should not. When they should walk, they will not budge, and when they should keep still they are always walking away. So it was not very long before the donkey opened his mouth and…

“Aatshoum!” he sneezed, loud and long. 

Jean-Marie was aghast. All his happiness was changed to terror. He jumped down and pressed both hands against the donkey’s nose to stop the next sneeze (for everybody knows one always sneezes more than once). When the danger seemed past, he resumed his trip, but now he did not dare to ride. Instead, he walked beside the donkey so as to prevent any more sneezes. 

Presently they came to a freshly plowed field, and there Jean-Marie paused to admire the rich brown earth. What a fine crop of wheat would grow there next summer. Forgetting all about the sneezes, he bent down to feel it with his hands, and…

“Aaatshoum!” sneezed the donkey for the second time.

Jean-Marie snatched his hat and put it over the donkey’s nose and held it tight.

“Two sneezes already! Two horrible sneezes!” he lamented. “I am only one single sneeze from death, one miserable donkey sneeze. Surely I am the most unhappy man alive. I am sure that stranger must have been the devil. He not only told the future, he is making my donkey sneeze. He bewitched my donkey!”

But he was holding the hat too tightly over the donkey’s nose, and the donkey, finding he could not breathe, reared up and kicked Jean-Marie very severely.

“Some other remedy must be found,” said Jean-Marie. “For if my donkey sneezes again I am a dead man.”

Then he had an idea. He picked up two round stones and placed them in the donkey’s nostrils, like corks in a bottle. “There, just let him try to sneeze that out,” he thought. But he had reckoned without the contrariness of donkeys.

“Aaaatshoum!”

The stones flew out like bullets from a gun. They hit Jean-Marie in the face.

“Ah! Ah!” said Jean-Marie. “I am dead. Very, very dead.”

And he lay down in the road, for it is not right for a dead man to stand up.

Photography

VDNKh by Chiara De Franciscis (Photography)

VDNKh
Chiara De Franciscis

Chiara de Franciscis: VDNKh, pronounced “vedeenkha”, is a trade show and amusement park located in the north of Moscow featuring more than 250 Soviet-era palaces and pavilions, numerous fountains, the Vostok rocket and the Space Pavilion. The park is better known by the moscovites under the acronym VDNKh which stands for Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnovo Khozyaystva (Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy).

The book VDNKh depicts images of the buildings, the Monument to the Conquerors of Space together with a series of portraits of people visiting an exhibition of wax statues coming from the Wax Museum in Saint Petersburg and shown at the VDNKh.

The eerie photographs depicts the visitors posing with the statues of the likes of Catherine II, Stalin, Hitler and Ivan the Terrible, together with a series of strange characters including winged women and a two headed man.

The images reveal a disturbing and at times ironic contrast between who looks real and who looks fake, which ones are the statues and which ones the visitors. A special mention goes to a dusty and haggard version of Chewbacca gracing the book cover.


Chiara De Franciscis studied photography at The London College of Communication and has shot numerous projects in different countries around the world. Her work has been exhibited internationally in London, Milan, Edinburgh and Los Angeles. You can buy her books – including VDNKh! – here

Photography

Photography by Consiglio Manni

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CONSIGLIO MANNI

Berlin I

The high roadside where we lay was white

with dust. In that narrow place we saw

the numberless: the people press and pour,

the city loom far in the fading light.

 

Through the tumult crowded coaches bore,

along them lines of paper flags were tacked.

Omnibuses, roof and body packed.

Automobiles, smoke, horns with their roar.

 

Towards the giant stone sea. But we looked west,

saw tree on tree lining the road’s long rim,

the filigree of crowns whose leaves were lost.

 

The ball of the sun hung vast at heaven’s seam.

Out of the sunset’s road red streamers burst.

On all heads there lay the light’s last dream.
 

— Georg Heym, translated by Antony Hasler


Consiglio Manni was born in Puglia in February 1989. He moved to Milan and graduated with a degree in Audio Technology from the Accademia Teatro alla Scala. He worked as a sound engineer for long enough to realize that photography was his real path. He was a staff member for three years at Besafe Studios, in Lecce. Now he is again in Milan, working for Circus Studios and as a freelance photographer. Visit his Instagram here, and check out his website.

Literature, Publishing

Excerpt from The Big Love

FROM THE BIG LOVE

BY MRS. FLORENCE AADLAND

flynn_bev_03.jpg

I know the world will always be full of chattering busybodies. I suppose I should be used to them by now, but I know I never will. 

Ever since Beverly was catapulted into world publicity, she and I have been besieged by busybodies. After all the trouble and tragedy occurred, after Errol died and, later, that lovesick boy shot himself, Beverly and I were deluged by do-gooders and Bible-pounders. “Let’s have this girl baptized!” they cried. “Let’s bring this lost lamb into the church!”

As far as I’m concerned, those do-gooder busybodies can drop dead. And that’s what I told them when they came crying around at us.

The trouble with busybodies is that they never bother to examine the facts. If they had ever bothered to look into Beverly’s background, they would have discovered that she went to Sunday School and church for years, that she learned about God like all good little children do, and that she could recite her favorite Bible stories backward and frontward. 

Even while I was studying with the Rosicrucians, I kept up with the Episcopal Church. I saw to it that Beverly was christened and later, when she was three, she won her first beauty contest at Sunday School. Beverly went as Bette Davis and, believe me, even though she was just a toddler she was Bette Davis. She wore one of my long skirts, a big brimmed hat, and trailed a hanky from her bent wrist. She flashed her big eyes all over the place and won in a breeze. 

When Beverly was still quite small she was noticed one day by Jean Self at a Hermosa Beach cleaning shop. Jean, who lived in nearby Redondo Beach, had guided the careers of many famous children and she was so taken by Beverly that she encouraged me to enroll her in the Screen Children’s Guild. 

From that time on Beverly had many, many opportunities. She posed for magazine pictures. She modeled children’s clothes. She sang and danced at club entertainments and at soldiers’ and veterans’ camps and posts. She was chosen mascot for the Hermosa Beach Aquaplane Race Association. She cut the ceremonial tape when ground was broken for a $200,000 beach aquarium. Her photograph appeared on the cover of Collier’s magazine.

By the time she was five, her hair was a golden blonde, very long and naturally curly. One day when we were returning home on a bus from Los Angeles she got into a winking contest with a bunch of sailors who were sitting ahead of us. They kept turning around, laughing loudly at the cute way she winked back.

I gave her a warning that day in no uncertain terms. “That’s all right now, dear,” I told her, “but in about ten years you better be careful because that’s when they’ll take you up on it!”

When she was five and a half she made her first movie, a commercial film in Technicolor called The Story of Nylon. She wore a special nylon dress and had a featured role in a colorful Easter egg hunt. She was paid six hundred dollars for four days’ work.

Not long after that she fell accidentally in the bathroom and struck the back of her head extremely hard. I became very worried and took her to a specialist for X-rays. I was relieved and happy when the films showed that she had not injured herself seriously.

The doctor was a very learned man, an authority on eastern religions who had lectured all over the world and written many books. He was absolutely fascinated by Beverly. He held her hands the way that Rosicrucian lady had done several years before and then he glanced at me.

“Mrs. Aadland,” he said very seriously, “wherever did you get this little girl? She is something very special. I can tell without ever having met her before that she has a great deal of talent.”

“Yes,” I said, “she has been singing and dancing since before she was a year-and-a-half old.”

Then the doctor sat down in his chair and did a very strange thing. He closed his eyes and passed his hand back and forth just above Beverly’s bright blonde curls.

“I think I see sort of a halo on this child,” he said.

His words absolutely astounded me – because one night a few years before, I’d thought I’d seen the same thing. I had come into her room where she was sleeping and there was a wonderful play of light upon her face and head. I suppose it was really just the light from the living room streaming in through the partly-closed door behind me, but it affected me very much.

“Be very careful of this child,” the doctor warned me, half seriously. “She is more precious than even you realize. Protect her and guard her.”

I was given a similar warning about a year later by the head of one of the advertising agencies Beverly modeled for. He was very fussy about his large modern office and never let any of the young children who modeled for him touch any of the objects on his desk. 

He noticed Beverly playing with a letter-holder made in the shape of a dog and he shook his head and sighed.

“Florence,” he said, “I never allow any of the kids to play around my desk, but your child is so different I just haven’t the heart to tell her to stop.”

He shook his head again very slowly and solemnly.

“I’ve seen hundreds of little girls,” he said. “Perhaps thousands, but I’ve seen very few like your child. And I hate to tell you this, Florence, but I think this girl is going to cause you an awful lot of heartbreak.”

“What do you mean?” I said.

“I think men will be terribly affected by this girl,” he said. “I think men are going to kill over this girl. I have the feeling in my heart that she has the scent of the musk on her.”

I knew what he meant. It wasn’t the first time I had run into that phrase. I had read it in the Bible. I knew that women who had the scent of the musk were so desirable to men that in ancient times they had been kept hidden away in secret rooms. When it was necessary for them to be outdoors, they were concealed by veils and bulky clothing.

“Be very careful with your daughter,” he went on to warn me, echoing the doctor’s exact words. “You must be very careful to protect her from herself.”

Both men proved more terribly right than I ever could guess.


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Photography

Photography by Veronica Alessi

PHOTOGRAPHY BY VERONICA ALESSI

MARCH 14–15, 1925

Sidled up to a woman named Nadia – to whom I am drawn by very tender feelings – I am at the edge of the sea, a shore on the order of Palm Beach, a Hollywood beach. Playfully, just to scare me and to ascertain how hard I would take her death, Nadia, an excellent swimmer, pretends she is drowning. In fact, she does drown, and her lifeless body is brought to me. I begin to weep until the wordplay “Nadia, drowned naiad” [Nadia, naïade noyée] – which comes to me just as I am waking – appears to be both an explanation and a consolation.

From Nights as Day, Days as Night, available now.


With her 35 mm camera, Veronica Alessi creates scenes in which her subjects seem to be suspended in a dream-like atmosphere. Her photos often feature girls’ faces, bodies within solitary landscapes, and her focus is always on the light. Veronica Alessi was born in Lucca, Italy, and currently lives and studies in Bologna. She is passionate about photography, and through it she describes things she could not express in words. Follow her on Flickr.

Literature

Panegyric (Excerpt)

PANEGYRIC

BY GUY DEBORD

 Film still from THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT

Film still from THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT

After the circumstances I have just recalled, it is undoubtedly the rapidly acquired habit of drinking that has most marked my entire life. Wines, spirits, and beers: the moments when some of them became essential and the moments when they returned have marked out the main course and the meanders of my days, weeks, years. Two or three other passions, of which I will speak, have been more or less continuously important in my life. But drinking has been the most constant and the most present. Among the small number of things that I have liked and known how to do well, what I have assuredly known how to do best is drink. Although I have read a lot, I have drunk even more. I have written much less than most people who write, but I have drunk much more than most people who drink. I can count myself among those of whom Baltasar Gracián, thinking about an elite discernible only among the Germans – but here he was quite unjust to the detriment of the French, as I think I have shown – could say, “There are those who got drunk only once, but that once lasted them a lifetime.”

Furthermore, I am a little surprised, I who have had to read so often the most extravagant calumnies or quite unjust criticisms of myself, to see that in fact thirty or more years have passed without some malcontent ever instancing my drunkenness as at least an implicit argument against my scandalous ideas – with the one, belated exception of a piece by some young English drug addicts who revealed around 1980 that I was stupefied by drink and thus no longer harmful. I never for a moment dreamed of concealing this perhaps questionable side of my personality, and it was clearly evident for all those who met me more than once or twice. I can even note that on each occasion it sufficed but a few days for me to be highly esteemed, in Venice as in Cadiz, in Hamburg as in Lisbon, by the people I met only by frequenting certain cafés.

At first, like everyone, I appreciated the effect of mild drunkenness; then very soon I grew to like what lies beyond violent drunkenness, once that stage is past: a terrible and magnificent peace, the true taste of the passage of time. Although in the first decades I may have allowed only slight indications to appear once or twice a week, I was, in fact, continuously drunk for periods of several months; and the rest of the time, I still drank a lot.

An air of disorder in the great variety of emptied bottles remains susceptible, all the same, to an a posteriori classification. First, I can distinguish between the drinks I consumed in their countries of origin and those I consumed in Paris; but almost every variety of drink was to be had in mid-century Paris. Everywhere, the premises can be subdivided simply between what I drank at home, or at friends’, or in cafés, cellars, bars, restaurants, or in the streets, notably on café terraces.

The hours and their shifting conditions almost always retain a decisive role in the necessary renewal of the stages of a binge, and each brings its reasonable preference to bear on the available possibilities. There is what one drinks in the mornings, and for quite a long while that was the time for beer. In Cannery Row a character who one can tell is a connoisseur proclaims, “There’s nothing like that first taste of beer.” But often upon waking I have needed Russian vodka. There is what is drunk with meals, and in the afternoons that stretch out between them. At night, there is wine, along with spirits; later on, beer is welcome again, for then beer makes you thirsty. There is what one drinks at the end of the night, at the moment when the day begins anew. One can imagine that all this has left me very little time for writing, and that is exactly as it should be: writing should remain a rare thing, since one must have drunk for a long time before finding excellence.

I have wandered extensively in several great European cities, and I appreciated everything that deserved appreciation. The catalogue on this subject could be vast. There were the beers of England, where mild and bitter were mixed in pints; the big schooners of Munich; the Irish beers; and the most classical, the Czech beer of Pilsen; and the admirable baroque character of the Gueuze around Brussels, when it had its distinctive flavor in each local brewery and did not travel well. There were the fruit brandies of Alsace; the rum of Jamaica; the punches, the aquavit of Aalborg, and the grappa of Turin, cognac, cocktails; the incomparable mescal of Mexico. There were all the wines of France, the loveliest coming from Burgundy; there were the wines of Italy, especially the Barolos of the Langhe and the Chiantis of Tuscany; there were the wines of Spain, the Riojas of Old Castille or the Jumilla of Murcia. 

I would have had very few illnesses if drink had not in the end caused me some, from insomnia to gout to vertigo. “Beautiful as the tremor of the hands in alcoholism,” said Lautréamont. There are mornings that are stirring but difficult.

“It is better to hide one’s folly, but that is difficult in debauchery or drunkenness,” Heraclitus thought. And yet Machiavelli would write to Francesco Vettori: “Anyone reading our letters … would sometimes think that we are serious people entirely devoted to great things, that our hearts cannot conceive any thought which is not honorable and grand. But then, as these same people turned the page, we would seem thoughtless, inconstant, lascivious, entirely devoted to vanities. And even if someone judges this way of life shameful, I find it praiseworthy, for we imitate nature, which is changeable.” Vauvenargues formulated a rule too often forgotten: “In order to decide that an author contradicts himself, it must be impossible to conciliate him.” 

Moreover, some of my reasons for drinking are respectable. Like Li Po, I can indeed exhibit this noble satisfaction: “For thirty years, I’ve hidden my fame in taverns.”

The majority of the wines, almost all the spirits, and every one of the beers whose memory I have evoked here have today completely lost their tastes, first on the world market and then locally, with the progress of industry as well as the disappearance or economic re-education of the social classes that has long remained independent of large industrial production; and thus also through the interplay of the various government regulations that now prohibit virtually anything that is not industrially produced. The bottles, so that they can still be sold, have faithfully retained their labels; this attention to detail gives the assurance that one can photograph them as they used to be – but not drink them.

Neither I nor the people who drank with me have at any moment felt embarrassed by our excesses. “At the banquet of life” – good guests there, at least – we took a seat without thinking even for an instant that what we were drinking with such prodigality would not subsequently be replenished for those who would come after us. In drinking memory, no one had ever imagined that he would see drink pass away before the drinker. 


Read Panegyric by Guy Debord, translated by James Brook and John McHale, from VERSO.

Photography

Photography by Alexander Deprez

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALEXANDER DEPREZ

Alexander Deprez was born in Kortrijk in 1995. He now studies photography at Sint-Lucas, Luca School of Arts Ghent. Through his work he allows the viewer to take a look at his private life, his view of the world, and his intimate relationship with his wife. His photos are voyeuristic and often leave the viewer with an uncomfortable feeling. His work was published in De Morgen and Vice, and he participated in various group exhibitions in Kortrijk, Ghent, Antwerp and Brugges. Visit his Tumblr here.

Literature

Pathologies (Excerpt)

PATHOLOGIES: THE DOWNFALL OF JOHAN VAN VERE DE WITH

BY JACOB ISRAEL DE HAAN

TRANSLATED BY PAUL VINCENT

Jacob Israel de Haan

 

This is my refined, sensitively presented description of the pathologies that were the downfall of Johan van Vere de With.

 

The market square forms the rectangular interior of the small town of Cuilemburg, which is, however, very much like a village. In the centre of one of the long sides stood their house, an old dwelling.

From outside it seemed like a double residence, consisting of two step-gabled wings on either side of a wide door, wider than two front doors. Still, on the inside it was a single house. Three people lived in it: a boy, Johan, his father, and a very old woman, Sien. Because the house was so big, and these people generated very little noise, the place often seemed quite empty of life.

Johan’s mother had died quite a while ago, before he and his father moved to Cuilemburg. So there were no rooms in their present house that she had occupied, which lessened the unhappiness of Johan’s father. There were, though, many of her things, which for Johan were strange and of little value, but which for his father were very precious, irreplaceable treasures.

Johan occupied two rooms at the back of the house, both of which had a view of and access to the dark old fully planted garden, which was as large and mysterious as a wood. But the darkness did not come as far as the house. Between it and the garden was a paved path and a meadow, in which in the good old days there had been a display of many multi-coloured flowers. In the evenings Johan sat working at his window; the standard lamp shone out with its delicate light, a golden hazy sun that refined and transformed the colour of the flowers, like those in a strange, fragile story. The lamplight could not penetrate the dark, closed, wood-like garden. The trees stood in ranks like a black rampart, behind which there loomed the other world. [ . . . ]

 

Johan’s father, like his mother, was born into a milieu of flawless culture and lifestyle. They were unacquainted with any manual, coarsening labour, but were familiar only with work involving the full, lucid intellect. Johan resembled both his parents. All his life he was a strikingly beautiful young man. Until his life was disrupted in a terrible way, he preserved an aristocratic calm. By the age of sixteen he was fully grown. He looked like an immaculately groomed young man of twenty, who, however, seems younger.

His body was slim and finely structured, and impeccably dressed. Johan had blue eyes, like blue roses would be, were they in our gardens.

When he turned eight years old, he did not go to school because his father thought it more reasonable for his mental development to stay quietly at home, since Johan showed that he felt deeply, but that his feelings were unstable. He did have a reliable intellect, but precisely because of that his father did not want it to be put under too much strain. This is why when Johan was sixteen, he studied with boys who were two years younger. That was not unpleasant, because Johan was not stupid, and so remained effortlessly at the top of the class. He had little to do with the other boys, partly because of the age difference and partly because of his different temperament and nature.

In the last two years, since he had started to grow up, he had developed strange, intense attachments to small, well-dressed, frail boys at the school. He could not fathom why, since he knew of himself that he did not easily bestow friendship. But he felt that this attachment was dangerous, of such a kind that he could not say anything about it to his father. As his body grew stronger, those dangerous experiences redoubled and grew stronger. He dreamed at night of some boys, and he committed obscene acts with them in those dreams, which they also committed with him. Those acts were pleasant to him and evoked powerful feelings. After waking, he noticed that his nightclothes were damp and dirty. He often felt helpless and discouraged, while his thoughts were very melancholy.

Although he knew that these things happened in life and in the body of every boy growing into a man, he was ashamed, and felt very unhappy. He was quite clear that he was unwilling and unable to talk to his father about it, and at the same time he knew that it would bring him relief and solace, if he were to speak to his father about it. Often Johan felt an intense urge to speak to his father, and the fact that he did not give into that urge caused him pain.

 

Johan was always sure that he never had the slightest problem with his father. He never gave it a second thought in his earliest years. But he did think about it, with joy, which moved him deeply, when he heard of other families where there was smouldering discord between the father and his sons. Later he realised that his father never needed to desist from doing anything for his sake, just as he never needed to for his father’s sake, since because of their mutual affection all actions were settled in a calm way.

 

However, recently there had been a devastating upheaval in Johan’s life, because he began to involve his beloved and respected father in the dreams full of obscene behaviour. His father performed indecent acts on him and he in turn did the same with his father. And both of them enjoyed it greatly.

When he awoke Johan was speechlessly and vacantly ashamed at the horror of such thoughts. He looked at his father, his blossoming blue eyes open with shame, fear, and bewilderment. He could not possibly be calm and pleasant. He was also frightened to death of being difficult with his father. The terrible effort he had to make to remain normal made him precisely shy and abnormal. So that his father noticed and asked him naturally and lovingly if there were any problem. This made Johan hopeless with the deepest wretchedness.

The dreams repeated themselves, and from now on concerned only his father. They ruined every night for him. He became neurotic and deathly pale. His blue eyes dried up, becoming wrinkled in their delicate blue and dull in their whites, which had formerly been clear. Johan saw that his father already noticed his sick decline, and that made him precisely sicker still. Finally Johan said, with a calm voice and careful choice of words: ‘Father, I have a great sorrow and it’s making me ill, as you can see. But I can’t tell you what it is… and that the worst thing of all… but perhaps it will get better now that I’ve told you.’ 

They looked at each other with emotion, and this emotion shattered Johan’s calm and firmness of purpose. He sobbed, suddenly broken. He hugged his father, kissing him like when he was a little boy, on his eyes and open mouth. But then Johan felt the same evil and pleasant sensation as in his dreams with the obscene acts, and he felt that his clothes were becoming dirty and damp. His body felt wretched. He released his father from his paralysed arms, and crept upstairs to the bathroom, where he sluiced off his excited body with hard, cold, running water. His father heard the water raging and rattling. It made him uneasy, failing to understand the shyness, the wildness, and the strange behaviour of his beloved son. He thought of the madness of his wife, who had killed herself in a strange way one night when everyone thought that she had been completely free of suicidal plans. The man shivered and trembled with fear for his son. Johan was always precise in the shape of his sentences and in the value of his words, but Johan was never exaggerated in the strength of his expression. Now he had finally spoken, after a long period of suffering, as carefully as if he were writing the words instead of speaking them, he had confessed to a great sorrow that was making him ill, because he could not speak about it.

That same afternoon at the table Johan raised the subject again. Their table was always lavishly laid and provided with many choice artefacts. The boy was greatly pleased, in a way that he was not often pleased, at their possession of so many objects of such beauty. In that exquisite mood the boy addressed his father, while his blue eyes bloomed in the thin sunny light of the lamp. He said: ‘Perhaps my sorrow will pass again… and then we’ll be at ease with each other again.’ As he said this, he paid anxious and careful attention to the state of his body. His body, however, remained calm, without any noxious effect. Johan was very pleased about this, and he again enjoyed an evening with his father.


Jacob Israël de Haan (1881–1924) was a Dutch teacher, novelist, poet, legal scholar, and journalist. In 1904, De Haan published his first novel Pijpelijntjes, which is a thinly veiled version of his own promiscuous gay life with Arnold Aletrino in Amsterdam's “Pijp” working-class district. The book is dedicated to Aletrino. Aletrino and De Haan’s fiancée bought almost all copies of the book to prevent a scandal that would involve both of them, and De Haan subsequently lost his job. De Haan’s Pathologies: The Downfall of Johan van Vere de With was published in Rotterdam in 1908. He also wrote poetry, and a line from one of his poems adorns the Amsterdam Homomonument. In the 1910s he became interested in Zionism and left Amsterdam for Jerusalem. He was murdered in 1924 by a member of the Zionist organization Haganah. Read more about De Haan here

Paul Vincent (b. 1942) studied at Cambridge and in Amsterdam. Until 1989 he was a professor at the Dutch department of University College London. Since then he has worked as a freelance translator. His translations from Dutch literature include works by Willem Bilderdijk, H.M. Van den Brink, Louis Couperus, Midas Dekkers, Douwe Fokkema, Arnon Grunberg, W.F. Hermans, P.C. Hooft, Harry Mulisch, Saskia Noort, Paul Van OstaijenErik VlaminckGuido GezelleWillem ElsschotLouis Paul BoonErwin Mortier and Leonard Nolens.

Photography

Photography by Sara Rinaldi

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA RINALDI

From The Street Kids (Ragazzi di vita), by Pier Paolo Pasolini:

Nadia was lying on the sand, unmoving, her face filled with hatred for the sun, the wind, the sea, and all the people who had come to sit on the beach, like an invasion of flies on a table that’s been cleared. They were there by the thousands, from Battitini to the Lido, from the Lido to Marechiaro, from Marechiaro to Principe, from Principe to Ondina, in dozens of beach clubs, some lying on their backs, some on their stomachs, but those were for the most part old people: the young people — the boys in their long trunks, baggy or form-fitting, so that everything underneath was visible, the girls, those dopes, in very tight suits, their hair long — walked back and forth without stopping, as if they had a nervous tic. And they all called to one another, shouting, yelling, teasing, playing, going in and out of the cabanas, calling the attendant; there was even a band of young men from Trastevere in Mexican hats who were playing in front of the cabanas with an accordion, a guitar, and castanets; and their sambas were mixed in with the rhumbas of the loudspeaker at Marechiaro that echoed against the sea. Nadia was lying there in the middle in a black bathing suit; she had a lot of hair, black as the devil’s, curling and sweaty in her armpits, and the hair on her head was black like coal, too, as were her eyes, blazing furiously.


Sara Rinaldi began taking photographs in high school, and studied video making, performance art, and photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. She carries a camera almost all the time and takes pictures of everything – lights, people, colors, places. Her friends and the female body are her main sources of inspiration, and photography is her messy diary. She is currently living in Milan and working on her first photo book. Follow Sara on Flickr and Instagram

Literature

Berlin’s Third Sex (Excerpt)

Berlin’s Third Sex

By Magnus Hirschfeld

translated by James J. Conway

 Transvestite and transgender sex workers at the popular Berlin gay bar Marienkasino in the 1920s. 

Transvestite and transgender sex workers at the popular Berlin gay bar Marienkasino in the 1920s. 

The issue of male prostitution has already come up on several occasions, and we really cannot avoid this lamentable practice if we wish to produce a more or less comprehensive account of the diverse forms in which uranian life manifests itself in Berlin.

Like any other metropolis, Berlin has both female and male prostitution. The two are closely related in their origins, nature, causes and consequences. Here, as elsewhere, there are two reasons that always come together, of which one or the other soon prevails: inner inclination and outward circumstances. Those who fall prey to prostitution are marked from youth onwards by certain peculiarities of which the most pronounced is an urge for fine living combined with a tendency to laziness. If the external circumstances are favourable to these qualities, that is, if the parents are well-off, the young person will be safe from prostitution. But if there is domestic squalor, a miserable livelihood, unemployment, lack of accommodation and possibly the greatest of all problems, hunger, then stable, steadfast characters might well withstand, but the weaker will seek out the ever-present temptation, succumb to it and sell themselves, ignoring their mothers’ tears.

There are humanitarians who expect improvement to come from freedom of the will and others from force of circumstances; one longs for education and religion, the other looks to the state of the future. Both are overly optimistic. Those who wish to help must strive to improve conditions from within and without, such that girls and youths are not obliged to sell themselves, and help improve people with particular consideration for the laws of inheritance, so that the obligation to sell oneself as a product falls away.

You might say that is impossible, but I say he who surrenders is lost.

Prostitution’s sphere of activity is the street, particular areas and squares, the so-called ‘beats’. A homosexual showed me a map of Berlin on which he had marked the ‘beats’ in blue; the number of places thus designated was not inconsiderable.

Since time immemorial the various parts of the Tiergarten have played their own particular part. There is no other forest that is so interwoven with human destiny as this park measuring over 1000 acres.

It is not the beauty of its landscape nor its artistic ornaments that lend it significance, but people – their lives, loves and laments. From early morning, when the well-to-do work off their meals on horseback, until midday, when the Kaiser undertakes his ride; from early afternoon, when thousands of children play in the park, until late afternoon, when the bourgeoisie goes strolling, each pathway has its own character, in every season, in every hour. If Emile Zola had lived in Berlin I do not doubt that he would have investigated these woods and that his enquiries would have resulted in another Germinal.

But when evening falls and the sun turns to other worlds, the breath of dusk mingles with the questing, yearning breath from millions of earthly beings, all part of that global spirit that some call the spirit of fornication but which in truth is just a fragment of the great, powerful drive, higher than everything, lower than anything, which ceaselessly shapes, prevails, forges and forms.

Couples meet at every crossroads in the Tiergarten – see how they hasten to one another, how joyfully they greet each other and stride into the future pressed close in conversation, see how they alight at the now empty benches and silently embrace, and how the high, inalienable kind of love sits side-by-side with the more vendible variety.

Women offer themselves for sale on three widely distributed paths, the men on two. While female and male prostitution are intertwined, here each has its own ‘beat’. Of the men’s, one is filled every evening almost exclusively by cavalrymen, their sabres glinting queerly in the dark, while the other, quite a long stretch, is largely occupied by those reckless lads apt to refer to themselves in Berlin dialect as ‘nice and naughty’. Here you will find one of the typical half-moon-shaped Tiergarten benches, where from midnight onwards thirty prostitutes and homeless lads sit close to each other, some fast asleep, others yelling and shrieking. They call this bench the ‘art exhibition’. Now and then a man comes along, strikes a match and illuminates the row.

Not infrequently the lads’ shrieking is interrupted by a shrill cry, a call for help from one robbed or manhandled in the thicket, or the snatches of music wafting over from the Zelten are punctuated by a sharp bang, reporting of one who has answered the question of life in the negative.

And anyone looking for the colourful city characters erroneously reported to be extinct will find no shortage of them in the Tiergarten. See the old lady there by the waters of Neuer See with the four dogs? For forty years, with brief intermissions during the summer, she has been taking the same walk at the same time, always alone, ever since her husband died of a haemorrhage on her wedding day in transit from the registry office to the church. That desiccated, hunched apparition with the shaggy grey beard? He is a Russian baron who seeks out a solitary bench, sits down and cries ‘rab, rab, rab’, a sound much like the crowing of a raven. This mating call draws the odd ‘cheeky grafter’ from obscure paths – his friends, to whom he distributes the ‘dough’ left over from his daily earnings, usually three to five marks.

Male prostitutes can be divided into two groups – those who are normally sexed and those who are themselves homosexual, or ‘genuine’. The latter are often particularly feminine, and some occasionally wear women’s clothes, a practice met with particular disfavour by female prostitutes. This is ordinarily the only casus belli between the two groups, because experience has shown that neither would rob the other of clientele were it not for this fraudulent representation. I once asked a fairly well educated prostitute to explain the good relations between female and male prostitutes. ‘We know that every john wants what he wants,’ she answered.

There are often unusual pairings among Berlin prostitutes. Normal male prostitutes, the so-called dollboys, not infrequently conduct cooperative ‘work’ with normal female prostitutes. I have even heard tell of pairs of siblings of whom both sister and brother fall prey to this lowly work; often two female and not infrequently two male prostitutes will cohabit, and finally there are also cases of female homosexual prostitutes who take male homosexual prostitutes as pimps, finding them to be less brutal than their heterosexual colleagues.

It is established fact that there is a large number of homosexuals among female prostitutes, estimated at 20 per cent. Some might wonder at this apparent contradiction, after all commercial prostitution primarily serves the sexual satisfaction of the male. Often it is said that they suffer from surfeit, but that is not actually the case, because it has been proven that these girls usually know themselves to be homosexual before taking up prostitution, and the fact of their homosexuality only serves to prove that selling their bodies is simply seen as a business, one they regard with cool calculation.

The relationships between prostitutes are noteworthy. Even here the system of double morality has made its presence felt. Because while the manly, active partner, the ‘father’, is at liberty, free to pursue female contact beyond the shared bedchamber, he demands the utmost fidelity from the ‘female’, passive partner when it comes to homosexual activity. When this fidelity is breached he exposes himself to the most grievous abuse. It also comes to pass that the manly partner forbids the womanly partner from pursuing work for the duration of their affair.

The female street prostitutes of Berlin also maintain diverse relations with uranian women of the better social circles, and on the street they might even make advances to women who seem homosexual. Here it is worth noting that the fees for women are much lower, and might indeed be waived altogether in some instances. One young lady who certainly appears decidedly homosexual reported to me that prostitutes had made her offers of 20 marks and more on the street. The poor example of both female and male prostitution is not just a threat to public morality, and to public health – for it is far from uncommon that infectious diseases from scabies to syphilis are passed through male prostitution – but also public safety to a large degree.

Prostitution and criminality go hand in hand; theft and burglary, blackmail and coercion, forgery and embezzlement, every sort of violence; in short, every possible crime against person or property are a way of life for most male prostitutes, and what is particularly hazardous is that in most cases the anxious homosexual fails to report such crimes.

While twenty of Berlin’s uranian population of 50,000 souls – this figure is surely not too high – are caught on average by the ‘long arm of the law’ every year, at least a hundred times more, that is, 2000 a year, fall victim to blackmailers who, as the Berlin Criminal Police will gladly attest, have built a widespread and particularly profitable profession from the exploitation of the homosexual nature.

The close links between prostitutes and criminals also arise from their use of the same shared criminal jargon. If the ‘beat boys’ are looking for their quarry, they call it ‘going on a collection tour’, blackmail itself they designate in various degrees: ‘scalding’, ‘burning’, ‘busting’, ‘fleecing’, ‘clipping’, ‘dusting down’, ‘plucking’ and ‘clamping’. Here it is worth noting that in Berlin there are also criminals who specialise in ‘plucking’ male prostitutes by threatening them with a charge of pederasty or blackmail. They categorise the ‘schwul  groups’ according to liquidity into ‘mutts’, ‘stumps’ and ‘gentlemen’, and the looted money they refer to as ‘ashes’, ‘wire’, ‘dimes’, ‘gravel’, ‘rags’, ‘dosh’, ‘meschinne’, ‘monnaie’, ‘moss’, ‘quid’, ‘plates’, ‘powder’, ‘loot’, ‘dough’, ‘cinnamon’, and for gold coins, ‘silent monarchs’. To have money means ‘to be in shape’, to have none is ‘to be dead’, should something get in their way they say that ‘the tour has been messed up’, ‘bunking’ means running away, ‘snuffing it’ is dying, and if they are picked up by the ‘claws’ – the criminal police, ‘the blues’, or policemen – they call it ‘going up’, ‘flying up’, ‘running out’,  ‘crashing’ or ‘going flat’. That is when they are brought to the ‘cops’, or the police station, then to the ‘nick’, the remand prison, and finally, as the euphemism goes, they move to the ‘Berlin suburbs’, understood as Tegel, Plötzensee and Rummelsburg, the locations of prisons and work houses. Only rarely do they leave better than they arrived. Well-to-do uranians often try their hardest to save prostitutes from the street, but only in very few cases do they succeed. Many ‘feast on memories’ when they get older by ‘drilling’ small sums of money out of known homosexuals with whom they once crossed paths, which they refer to as ‘collecting interest’ or ‘tapping’.


MAGNUS HIRSCHFELD (1868-1935) was one of the world’s first gay activists. Both a writer and a doctor, he sought not only to define sexual variation – homosexuality in both men and women, as well as what we would now refer to as trans identity – but also to repeal laws that policed their expression in his native Germany. His insistence that homosexuality was in-born, and that consenting adults should be free to form attachments without harassment from the law, was almost a century ahead of Western public consensus. Hirschfeld published in relative freedom under the German Empire and ensuing Weimar Republic but emigrated before Hitler came to power. As the Nazis cast his research to the fire, Hirschfeld resigned himself to exile, eventually settling in Nice where he died on his 67th birthday. Among his works already published in English are Transvestites and The Homosexuality of Men and Women.

Berlin's Third Sex is available now from the new publishing house Rixdorf Editions

Photography

Lifting Ground Shadows (Photography)

LIFTING GROUND SHADOWS
BY ENRICO DI NARDO

Enrico di Nardo photographed “Lifting Ground Shadows” in the territory that used to be Lake Fucino, Italy, which was drained in the nineteenth century. Di Nardo’s photographs are eerie, lonely, like bits of memory that have floated up to the surface. He highlights the uncomfortable meeting of new and old natural environments – the replacement of a noxious natural space with a productive-yet-bland man-made space. 

From The Draining of Lake Fucino (1876):  

Those who dwell by the side of a dangerous lake, are always exposed to the risk of seeing their fields become a prey to the advancing waters often for several years at a time, and when at last by the receding of the lake they regain possession of their property, they have to incur a heavy expenditure to render the land fit for cultivation, besides being exposed to all the maladies produced by the swampy condition of the soil. But how long can they be sure of enjoying what costs them such enormous sacrifices? Sometimes the land scarcely begins to be productive when a new rising of the lake reduces them again to misery. But on the shores of Lake Fucino this terrible state of things was more severely felt than elsewhere, for the Marsi, who inhabited the very mountainous country about the lake, had no other plain but that of Fucino to which they could look for their supplies of cereals and other produce of the soil. The rest of the territory being, in fact, nothing but steep mountain sides on which cultivation was next to impossible, and which the interest of the country itself forbade to be cleared of its forests and pastures.

The Marsi seeing their inability to cope with the evil, had recourse in their ignorance to a supposed god of the Fucino, they raised temples to him and were liberal of vows and offerings, but in vain, for the capricious god did not cease in the least from his hostilities. The moment came, however, in which his victims reflected that there was a human genius which might successfully cope with that of the lake; they turned their eyes to Julius Caesar, and he, desirous of pleasing the Marsi, whose friendship he had learned to value during the social war, promised to come to their assistance.


Enrico Di Nardo grew up in Pescara, Italy, and graduated with a degree in physics from Pisa University. After studying neuroscience, he moved to Paris to conduct research on the neural basis of memory. He taught himself photography while on leave from the university and studied documentary photography in Rome for one year. Starting in 2015, his works have been included in group exhibitions and slideshows in Italy, Malaysia, Greece, and France. He took part in the performances of TempsZero and his work was featured in the photobook A Place Both Wonderful and Strange (FuegoBooks 2017), a collection of works inspired by David Lynch's Twin Peaks.

Literature

The Island (Fiction)

The Island

By Ashton Politanoff

 From  Oedipus Rex  by Pier Paolo Pasolini

From Oedipus Rex by Pier Paolo Pasolini

From the mainland, he’d been searching for the island’s coastline day after day. Some mornings he could see it, depending on the smog. He wanted to escape the hustle, the bustle, so he looked at the boat schedule and made a reservation. He’d go for the day.   

The morning of, he arrived at the harbor near the port and parked his car under the green bridge. A section of bridge was being repaired. Every time a car drove overhead, he’d hear a loud clatter coming from the steel plates. 

After picking up his ticket at will-call, he took a seat under the sail tent. The speaker above his head played swing. He took a Dramamine and as other people showed, he placed his bag next to him so no one could sit too close. There were several boats in the fleet and he was hoping for the catamaran—that boat, he knew, could slice through chop like butter. Instead, when the crew called for them to stand in a line and split their tickets, they were directed to the old mono-hull. He swallowed a second Dramamine and walked across the gangplank. He mounted the stairs of the ship to the upper deck. He tested the white aisle bench with his finger and used the back of his backpack to soak up the cool morning dew. Then he sat down facing the front of the boat. A tall woman in a peach dress sat directly across from him. She had leathery skin and two earrings in each ear—a hoop and a diamond. She already had a drink, a Bloody Mary, and sucked it through a straw. When she was done, she removed the pickled green bean and ate it, showing her front teeth with each bite. 

What are you doing on the island? she asked. 

Getting away, he said. 

Oh, she said.

When he didn’t say anything else, she said, Well I’ll be eating and drinking. 

That’s nice, he said. I’ll be getting off on the second stop. 

He was thankful when the boat finally started to move, and when a family of four had crowded next to them—he wouldn’t have to talk to her anymore. The father of the family told his children about the sea life they would see, and the animals on the island. Buffalo, he said. A red fox.

A red fox? the young towhead with neon green shoelaces asked. 

Yes, the father said. A red fox. No one knows how it got there, the man said, but it lives on the island. 

Through the harbor, the boat passed a container ship with scrapings on the side.

From going through the Panama Canal, he heard the father say. 

They passed the prison. He couldn’t get a view of it, just the watchtower. Abandoned warehouses stood nearby. In the dark water, a seal popped up and then took a dive. 

Soon they were at the break wall, and once they emerged through the passage known as Queen’s Gate, into the open ocean, the boat sped up. The water was no longer calm, the wind blowing. A swell coming from the west pushed against them, the boat lifting and lurching. He steadied his eyes on the horizon line and zipped up his windbreaker. He raised the hood and wore it, pulling the drawstrings tight to create a hole with just enough space for his nose and eyes. With his fingers, he slowly and carefully tied a square knot. 

As they approached the leeward side of the island, the water calmed. The island was mountainous coastline peppered with sandy coves with yachts in each. Some coves had cabins or yacht clubs. Others had quarries. The air was cleaner here. He could finally see the sky’s ceiling, the low clouds that were starting to burn off. 

The first stop was in the touristy section where there was a casino and shops that sold trinkets. The boat slowed and briefly docked and the woman got off without saying goodbye. The family left too, as did most people. The next stop—his—didn’t have a hotel. The only passenger in sight was a man holding blue prints. He wanted to burn the man’s blue prints. 

Out in the ocean again, they climbed north for close to twenty minutes before turning into the intended harbor, a place known as the isthmus—another harbor was just on the other side. The neighboring mountains dipped down creating a flat strip of land. From a distance, it looked like two separate islands. He could feel the wind blowing across from the windward side as they approached the pier. 

Tied up, they disembarked starboard. He had four hours before the boat would come back again to take them home.  

The town itself had one bar, a diner, and a general store. There was a shower for those who had been at sea, but it required eight quarters for three minutes and twenty seconds of usage. 

At the diner he ordered a bagel sandwich and a large cup of coffee. The chair he sat on had a cushion that deflated. He tried another with the same result. Plants hung from the ceiling and a spinning fan wobbled a little. It looked like it could break off and fall any second. The diner started to get packed. He felt elbows, smelled odors. He ate quickly and didn’t finish his coffee.

Outside, after, he headed to the beach with the imported silica sand, the palapas available for rent. But there were kids and families with dogs and a group of teenagers, girls and guys, with floaties and blue cups that concealed alcohol. Yes, the water was clear, but people were in it with their kayaks and stand-up paddleboards or snorkels. So he walked to the other end that was cobblestone instead of sand. There was only one person there, a thin man in a Speedo. The man was lounging in a beach chair, taking sun with his eyes closed. 

With mask and snorkel, he butterflied around finless. The water was colder than expected—he should have brought a wetsuit top. He saw the orange Garibaldi, the clingfish. He took a deep inhale and dove to the bottom, running his fingers through the eel grass swaying from side to side. When he breached the surface, he blew the water out of his snorkel with a burst and lifted his mask. The man in the Speedo waved and smiled. 

He got out of the water and gathered his things. He didn’t wait to dry off, to heat up again in the sun. He just left, until he was on the oiled dirt road that led to the windward side, the other harbor. He only saw one car, a van with taxi written in the dust of the rear windshield. He wasn’t sure if this was a real taxi or not. 

He appreciated the natural flora and fauna surrounding him, the leaning foxtails, cacti, the sticker bush. There were tall bundles of eucalyptus that looked like giant bouquets in the clearing. A wooden swing hung from one of the trees. There were dwarf palm trees scattered about too. 

The other harbor was less busy; there were only a few vessels, sails down, and a woman rowing in her shore boat. He could see people hiking on a ridge, but they were far off—it would take them hours to reach him. But then, two elderly women claimed a nearby bench. He hadn’t seen them coming.

He left the main road into the clearing, walking until he settled on a breezy meadow. There, he pulled out his Mexican blanket and rolled it out on the dirt to lie down. The dry grass tickled his face, his bare arms, his feet. It was nice. He felt things in his hair but didn’t care. Through a squinted gaze, he watched a cloud drift. 

           

The peel of three loud horns woke him and he found this appealing at first. He checked his watch and saw the time. It was his ship, about to back out of the dock, he knew. He shot up and grabbed his bag, but felt a tug of something else, a red flash in his periphery. He craned his neck and saw the bushy tail high and the erect ears, frozen still. He let go of his bag and ducked down until he himself was on all fours, peeking above the grass. 

He set his face forward, unblinking, and sniffed before plunging deeper into the meadow, for what he wasn’t sure. 


Ashton Politanoff lives in Redondo Beach, CA. His writing has appeared in NOON, Golden State 2017, Sleepingfish, Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Green Mountains Review, and elsewhere.  

Literature

The Strange World of Willie Seabrook (Excerpt)

The Strange World of Willie Seabrook

By Marjorie Worthington

“Another Toulon Day”

It was about ten o’clock when we reached the hotel. That was pretty early for Toulon, but the big yellow Victorian palace of a place, with ornate chandeliers and Brussels carpeting, seemed very quiet. We almost tiptoed to the door indicated to us, and knocked. A voice asked who was there, and when Willie answered, “Seabrook,” there was a happy laugh and the command, “Entrez.”

It was not a suite, but just one enormous bedroom, with lots of chairs around, a fireplace, and a bar set up on an ormolu cabinet. The princess had expensive tastes and an income much more modest than that of her friends, and she must have been in one of her economy streaks. 

She was wearing a silk pajama suit, the kind that was worn for afternoons and evenings in the South of France at that time. Her bed was fully made, and she was lying on top of the creamy satin spread. At one side of the bed was a table on which was laid a lacquered tray containing all the paraphernalia for smoking opium: a small spirit lamp, a sticky lump of black stuff, and a long, ivory-colored pipe with a small cup-like thing near one end. The little lamp was lighted and she was rolling some of the black gum into a ball, or pill.

“Make yourselves drinks,” she said, waving to the bottles and glasses with her free hand. “Then come and sit near me and tell me what wonderful and scandalous things you have been doing. I am starving for news of you.”

We did as we were told, and Willie talked, telling marvelous tales, some of them true, most of them not. I sat quietly drinking my drink and listening some of the time, and thinking my own thoughts; but mostly I watched the princess, who spent so much time preparing her pipe for what amounted to one deep puff. Being a rather lazy person, I wondered what there was in that puff to make it worth such a long and complicated process. I decided not to find out.

The room became filled with an acrid-sweet smell that mingled with the fumes of the cognac in the glass I held in my hand. Willie had joined the princess on the bed and she was teaching him to fill a pipe. I felt very drowsy. There was a chaise longue in the room, and I settled myself upon it and waited. A musical clock on the mantel chimed the hours of twelve . . . one . . . two . . . three. . . . 

I remember making, or being asked to make, a pot of tea. I found what looked like a solid gold teapot and put it over the alcohol lamp I found near it, and lit the wick. When I remembered about the tea again, the whole beautiful little gold teapot had melted down into a nugget. Evidently I had forgotten to put any water in it. I was very sad about the teapot and told the princess so, but she was off in some exalted region with Willie tagging behind on his own cloud. And it didn’t matter.

The clock went on ringing out the intervals of hours. Through the cracks in the venetian blinds I could see daylight. The murmur of voices had been going on forever: Princess Telle describing her childhood, then her marriage and her happiness, and then her sorrow. I slept through most of it, almost as drugged, by the fumes, as they were by their pipes. And then it was six o’clock, and Willie was standing up and telling me we must go.

We went out very softly; the hotel was not awake. But as we walked down through the city, people began to sweep the sidewalks before the shops and caf.s, and some of them greeted us with a polite “bonjour,” to which we responded. We reached our studio somehow, I leading a remote Willie by the hand most of the way. I didn’t know how many pipes he had smoked, but I knew they were too many for a neophyte. I was worried enough to become heroic and attack the primus stove by myself. I made a large pot of coffee and kept pouring cup after cup until he had drunk enough, I thought, to counteract the opium. Then we slept for a while, and then we woke up and went to our respective typewriters. Another Toulon day had begun.


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Photography

Philosophy in the Bedroom (Photography)

Philosophy in the Bedroom
by Sofie Amalie Klougart

Sofie Amalie Klougart: “Philosophy in the Bedroom” is a portrait of the subculture of Danish swingers. I started working on this project in March 2012 and finished in June 2013 with an exhibition in Øksnehallen, Copenhagen. During this period I photographed all of the swingers clubs in Denmark (there were nine at that time), as well as private meetings/events, and interviewed and photographed numerous swingers from across the country.

There are swingers clubs across Denmark located in derelict countryside farms or in the suburbs. The windows are covered with black paint or veiled with dark curtains. When you step inside, you pay an entry fee, put your clothes in a locker, and walk into a bar or common room to meet, talk or have a drink with other people — and then, maybe have sex. Swinging is a sexual activity that can involve partner swapping, group sex or sex with your own partner in other peoples’ presence. In swingers clubs, people aim to explore their own sexuality and inhibitions, either alone or with a partner.

The rooms have sexual themes; one is for tantra sex, one for S/M; there is a doctors’ room and a darkroom.

There are many rules in the clubs. For example, nobody touches anyone without having made a relation or an agreement beforehand. You do not step into other peoples’ sexual acts without an invitation; you always wear protection and always take no for an answer. This way, people try to make sex less complicated. This is a study of a sexual subculture in Denmark, which challenges the traditional monogamous relationship.

This resulted in both snapshot photographs of interiors, noisy digital images of sex, and small texts based on my meetings and conversations with people within the culture, plus sound recordings.


Sofie Amalie Klougart (b. 1987), is a visual artist based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She graduated as a photojournalist from Danish School of Media and Journalism in 2013. She has exhibited her photographic projects in renowned institutions as well as in more experimental formats. Thematically, her primarily long-term projects revolve around the themes of love and migration. She has been awarded The Danish Press Photo of the Year several times, and in 2012 she was selected for The Joop Swart Masterclass for “Philosophy in the Bedroom.” In 2015 she was selected for The LensCulture Emerging Talent Award with the long term project “Reaching Europe,” raising awareness of the migration crisis. The project was also awarded the journalist stipend from the Danish wing of Doctors Without Borders, and has been exhibited around the world. Visit her website here.

Photography

Fourth Floor (Photography)

Fourth Floor
4e étage

by Joseph Charroy

From “Clarita,” a short story by Anna Kavan

I was lying on top of the still unmade bed. I had to get some sleep somehow. I was dead tired, but the rash kept me awake. At last I dozed for a few minutes. Then I was awake again, scratching. All the triangles had somehow collected in the folds of the sheet crumpled under me. They were pricking me with their points, and one had embedded itself in my thigh. The itching was intolerable by the time I'd extracted it, the sheet was burning my back.

I rolled off the bed, and standing there naked, thoroughly scratched my arms and armpits, my navel, my shins. I must have done some pretty thorough scratching before this, while I was still half-asleep, judging by the amount of blood. I was surprised my blunt fingers could produce those long, deep, bleeding furrows, which looked more as if they'd been inflicted by claws. Blood was running down my shins on to the floor and there was blood on the mattress as well as the sheet. 

Clarita appeared, in a long gold dress made of some soft silky stuff with a lustrous sheen and little ripples all over it, like calm water reflecting a sunset and ruffled by a light breeze. I could only think how lovely she looked. She must have said something I didn't hear, because she was gesturing with her hands and the nails flashed in the light. The next thing was that somehow my arm was around her, I was clasping her tight with one hand, while the other hand went on scratching until it hurt, and really I couldn't tell whether her hand or mine was tearing the flesh as I hugged her. I can't explain it. Then she pushed me so hard that I nearly fell over. I thought her beautiful dress must be covered in blood, but there wasn't a spot on it anywhere. That frightening look she had sometimes was on her face, I knew she was furious with me without listening to what she said. 

(from Julia and the Bazooka, published by Peter Owen Modern Classics.)


Joseph Charroy, born in 1982, lives and works in Brussels. After studying modern literature, he taught himself photography; his photographs often depict a wandering state and the passage of time. Check out his small publishing house Éditions Primitive, and his photography books, which were published by Éditions Lamaindonne. Visit his website here, and don't miss the rest of Fourth Floor!

His work is currently being exhibited at the Musée de la Photographie de Bruxelles

Literature

Case Nine from Psychopathia Sexualis (Text)

Case Nine from Psychopathia Sexualis

By Richard von Krafft-Ebing

 Self-portrait by Austrian painter Richard Gerstl (1883—1908)

Self-portrait by Austrian painter Richard Gerstl (1883—1908)

“He found it absurd, and did not repeat it”

F.J., aged nineteen, student; mother was nervous, sister epileptic. At the age of four, acute brain affections, lasting two weeks. As a child he was not affectionate, and was cold toward his parents; as a student he was peculiar, retiring, preoccupied with self, and given to much reading. Well-endowed mentally. Masturbation from his fifteenth year. Eccentric after puberty, with continual vacillation between religious enthusiasm and materialism — first studying theology, then natural sciences. At the university his fellow students took him for a fool. He read Jean Paul almost exclusively, and wasted his time. Absolute absence of sexual feeling toward the opposite sex. Once he indulged in intercourse, experienced no sexual feeling in the act, found it absurd, and did not repeat it. Without any emotional cause whatsoever, he often had thoughts of suicide. He made it the subject of a philosophical dissertation, in which he contended that it was, like masturbation, a justifiable act. After repeated experiments, which he made on himself with various poisons, he attempted suicide with fifty-seven grains of opium, but he was saved and sent to an asylum.

Patient was destitute of moral and social feelings. His writings disclosed incredible frivolity and vulgarity. His knowledge had a wide range, but his logic was peculiarly distorted. There was no trace of emotionality. He treated everything (even the sublime) with incomparable cynicism and irony. He pleaded for the justification of suicide with false philosophical premises and conclusions, and, as one would speak of the most indifferent affair, he declared that he intended to accomplish it. He regretted that his penknife had been taken from him. If he had it, he would open his veins as Seneca did — in the bath. At one time a friend had given him, instead of a poison as he supposed, a cathartic. Instead of sending him to the other world, it sent him to the bathroom. Only the Great Operator could eradicate his foolish and fatal idea with the scythe of death, etc. 

The patient had a large, rhombic, distorted skull, with the left half of the forehead flatter than the right. The occiput was very straight. Ears far back, widely projecting, and the external meatus forming a narrow slit. Genitals very lax; testicles unusually soft and small. 

The patient occasionally suffered from onomatomania. He was compelled to think of the most useless problems, give himself over to interminable, distressing and worrying thoughts, and become so fatigued that he was no longer capable of any rational thinking. After some months the patient was sent home unimproved. There he spent his time in reading and frivolities, and busied himself with the thought of founding a new system of Christianity, because Christ hd been subject to grand delusions and had deceived the world with miracles (!). After remaining at home some years, the sudden occurrence of a maniacal outbreak brought him back to the asylum. He presented a mixture of primordial delirium of persecution (Devil, Antichrist, persecution, poisoning, persecuting voices) and delusions of grandeur (Christ, redemption of the world), with impulsive, incoherent actions. After five months there was a remission of this intercurrent acute mental disease, and the patient then returned to the level of his original intellectual peculiarity and moral defect.


The unabridged Psychopathia Sexualis by Richard von Krafft-Ebing is listed here, and it is available to purchase new via Bloat Books.

Photography

Broken Ground (Photography)

Broken Ground

by Ana Catarina Pinho

Ana Catarina Pinho: “Broken Ground” is a particular landscape developed in the periphery of urban spaces, where a different kind of interaction between man and space is visible.

The idea of borderline and of observing the social and visual differences connected to urban space were the focus of this series, which highlights landscapes and interactions between people and the places they inhabit. The “borderline” is conceived as something directly connected to people and to how their thoughts and behavior about territory and possession lead to separation, misunderstanding, and conflict.

In Broken Ground,” we perceive an intent to unveil certain contemporary social issues and contradictions, relating them to architecture and urban space, putting people—with their expectations and emotions—at the core of the series.

Images of diverse suburban areas belonging to Portugal and Turkey are merged, creating a fictional place that calls attention to the similarities of situations and people of different cultures, showing at the same time the psychological and spatial border that divides people and spaces in many of our contemporary territories.


Ana Catarina Pinho (b. 1983, PT) has a background in Fine Arts and Documentary Photography and Cinema, and she is a practitioner and researcher in photography. Her work has been published and exhibited internationally. In addition, she collaborated as a lecturer in the University of Coimbra and the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and she is currently an FCT research fellow, developing a Ph.D. within the European Centre of Documentary Research at the University of South Wales. She is the founding editor of ARCHIVO, a photography and documentary research platform, which she has coordinated since 2012. Visit her website here.

Photography

Dal Mago (Photography)

Dal Mago

by Renato Gasperini

Renato Gasperini turns his wry, intuitive eye on a local restaurant in the small town of Morro d’Alba (in the province of Ancona) in his series “Dal Mago.” Loud, bright reds and yellows predominate: there is red wine, meat ready to be sliced, red curtains, red walls beside painfully yellow walls. Gasperini’s photographs show a surreal, garish place, beautiful and horrifying, its oddness accentuated by periodic portraits of the restaurant’s mysterious former owner. This former owner is the most fascinating aspect of it all, with his peculiar frozen smile, which is echoed in the grimace-smile of the taxidermied fox that has been appointed to guard the liquor. Follow Renato Gasperini’s work, as he continues his excellent, ongoing project to photograph Ancona and the surrounding regions.


Renato Gasperini was born in 1967 in Ancona, Italy. He studied with photographer Guido Guidi, and he was in photography workshops with Davide Monteleone, Giorgia Fiorio, Ferdinando Scianna, Diego Mormorio, Valerio Spada, Gerry Johansson, Joachim Brohm, Peter Fraser, and others. He has been exhibited in galleries throughout Italy, and his work was recently highlighted in the 4th FotoFilmic//PULP Print Showcase in Vancouver. Visit his website here to see more of his work.

Literature

Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan (Text)

Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan

By J. G. Ballard

ballard-ronald-reagan-01

At the 1980 Republican Convention in San Francisco a copy of my Reagan text, minus its title and the running side heads, and furnished with the seal of the Republican Party, was distributed to delegates. I’m told it was accepted for what it resembled, a psychological position paper on the candidate’s subliminal appeal, commissioned from some maverick think-tank.
— J. G. Ballard

During these assassination fantasies

Ronald Reagan and the conceptual auto-disaster. Numerous studies have been conducted upon patients in terminal paresis (G.P.I.), placing Reagan in a series of simulated auto-crashes, e.g. multiple pile-ups, head-on collisions, motorcade attacks (fantasies of Presidential assassinations remained a continuing preoccupation, subjects showing a marked polymorphic fixation on windshields and rear trunk assemblies). Powerful erotic fantasies of an anal-sadistic character surrounded the image of the Presidential contender. Subjects were required to construct the optimum auto-disaster victim by placing a replica of Reagan’s head on the unretouched photographs of crash fatalities. In 82 percent of cases massive rear-end collisions were selected with a preference for expressed faecal matter and rectal haemorrhages. Further tests were conducted to define the optimum model-year. These indicate that a three-year model lapse with child victims provide the maximum audience excitation (confirmed by manufacturers’ studies of the optimum auto-disaster). It is hoped to construct a rectal modulus of Reagan and the auto-disaster of maximized audience arousal.

Tallis became increasingly obsessed

Motion picture studies of Ronald Reagan reveal characteristic patterns of facial tonus and musculature associated with homo-erotic behavior. The continuing tension of buccal sphincters and the recessive tongue role tally with earlier studies of facial rigidity (cf., Adolf Hitler, Nixon). Slow-motion cine-films of campaign speeches exercised a marked erotic effect upon an audience of spastic children. Even with mature adults the verbal material was found to have a minimal effect, as demonstrated by substitution of an edited tape giving diametrically opposed opinions. Parallel films of rectal images revealed a sharp upsurge in anti-Semitic and concentration camp fantasies.

with the pudenda of the Presidential contender

Incidence of orgasm in fantasies of sexual intercourse with Ronald Reagan. Patients were provided with assembly kit photographs of sexual partners during intercourse. In each case Reagan’s face was super imposed upon the original partner. Vaginal intercourse with “Reagan” proved uniformly disappointing, producing orgasm in 2 percent of subjects. Axillary, buccal, navel, aural and orbital modes produced proximal erections. The preferred mode of entry overwhelmingly proved to be the rectal. After a preliminary course in anatomy it was found that the caecum and transverse colon also provided excellent sites for excitation. In an extreme 12 percent of cases, the simulated anus of post-colostomy surgery generated spontaneous orgasm in 98 percent of penetrations. Multiple-track cine-films were constructed of “Reagan” in intercourse during (a) campaign speeches, (b) rear-end auto-collisions with one- and three-year model changes, (c) with rear exhaust assemblies, (d) with Vietnamese child-atrocity victims.

mediated to him by a thousand television screens.

Sexual fantasies in connection with Ronald Reagan. The genitalia of the Presidential contender exercised a continuing fascination. A series of imaginary genitalia were constructed using (a) the mouth-parts of Jacqueline Kennedy, (b) a Cadillac rear-exhaust vent, (c) the assembly kit prepuce of President Johnson, (d) a child-victim of sexual assault. In 89 percent of cases, the constructed genitalia generated a high incidence of self-induced orgasm. Tests indicate the masturbatory nature of the Presidential contender’s posture. Dolls consisting of plastic models of Reagan’s alternate genitalia were found to have a disturbing effect on deprived children.

The motion picture studies of Ronald Reagan

Reagan’s hairstyle. Studies were conducted on the marked fascination exercised by the Presidential contender’s hairstyle. 65 percent of male subjects made positive connections between the hairstyle and their own pubic hair. A series of optimum hairstyles were constructed.

created a scenario of the conceptual orgasm,

The conceptual role of Reagan. Fragments of Reagan’s cinetized postures were used in the construction of model psychodramas in which the Reagan-figure played the role of husband, doctor, insurance salesman, marriage counselor, etc. The failure of these roles to express any meaning reveals the nonfunctional character of Reagan. Reagan’s success therefore indicates society’s periodic need to re-conceptualize its political leaders. Reagan thus appears as a series of posture concepts, basic equations which re-formulate the roles of aggression and anality.

a unique ontology of violence and disaster.

Reagan’s personality. The profound anality of the Presidential contender may be expected to dominate the United States in the coming years. By contrast the late J. F. Kennedy remained the prototype of the oral subject, usually conceived in pre-pubertal terms. In further studies sadistic psychopaths were given the task of devising sex fantasies involving Reagan. Results confirm the probability of Presidential figures being perceived primarily in genital terms; the face of L. B. Johnson is clearly genital in significant appearance–the nasal prepuce, scrotal jaw, etc. Faces were seen as either circumcised (JFK, Khrushchev) or uncircumcised (LBJ, Adenauer). In assembly kit tests Reagan’s face was uniformly perceived as a penile erection. Patients were encouraged to devise the optimum sex-death of Ronald Reagan.

ballard-ronald-reagan-02

 

An image from NUDE REAGAN, a photography book by John Brian King.