I confess I first fell for Lindsay Stripling's more epic and weird watercolor tableaux. But then I happened upon this lovely witch work and had to post it because - well, you read this blog so I don't have to explain!
I've had this album on heavy rotation lately, and it's too divine not to share.
But first, a preamble: I was introduced to Jorge Ben's music by a work colleague during my trip to Brazil two years ago. He's considered a national treasure there (often referred to "BenJor" or by his later name modification, Jorge Ben Jor), and is beloved for his fusion of bossa nova, samba, and rock. I confess that while I liked the early samba album of his that I procured there, it's not something I found myself playing too often once I was back home for whatever reason.
Fast forward to my recent discovery of his 1970s work, in particular this 1974 album, A Tábua De Esmeralda. For you non-Portuguese speakers out there, the title translates to "The Emerald Tablet," and the music therein is chock full of references to alchemy, Nicolas Flamel, Paracelsus, and the one and only Hermes Trismegistus himself. In fact, one of the last tracks, "Hermes Trismegisto e sua celeste tábua de esmeralda" has the words of the Emerald Tablet as its lyrics set to groovy song.
Sonically, it's an eclectic, joyful album, with beautiful arrangements and irresistible rhythms. It sounds like summer. But the esoteric content has boosted this into my firmament of All-Time Favorite Things.
I am thrilled to announce "Green Witch: Plant Magic, Alchemy, and the Wild Feminine," an evening of conversation between myself and my teacher, the legendary green witch, Robin Rose Bennett. Some of you know that Robin has had a deep influence on my practice and my life on the whole, and this will be a rare opportunity for me to get to ask her even more questions and exchange ideas with her about plant energy, witchcraft, divine feminism, and more. It will be taking place on Thursday, July 28th, 7:30pm at The Alchemist's Kitchen in NYC's East Village.
"Green Witch: Plant Magic, Alchemy, and the Wild Feminine" A conversation with Pam Grossman of Phantasmaphile, and renowned herbalist, Robin Rose Bennett Thursday, July 28, 2016 7:30pmThe Alchemist's Kitchen, 21 East 1st St, NYC $20 tickets available here
There are many interpretations of the word "witch," and as an archetype, the witch is as complex as they come. But one thing is clear: she is a potent change-maker who is intimately connected to the Earth and her magick. Whether concocting a botanical potion, engaging in seasonal ritual, or crafting an alchemical spell, she is in constant relationship to nature - and to her own wild self.
In this evening of conversation and celebration, writer and esoteric art curator, Pam Grossman, will discuss aspects of witchcraft and plant energy with her teacher, the legendary green witch, Robin Rose Bennett. Topics will include herbalism and ecology, feminine (and feminist) power, the current rise in popularity of witches, and the ways that the witch can teach us how to heal ourselves, our communities, and our planet.
Pam Grossman is a writer, curator, and teacher of magical practice and history. She is the author of the illuminated manifesto, "What Is A Witch" (Tin Can Forest Press 2016), and the creator of Phantasmaphile, a blog that specializes in esoteric and fantastical art. Pam’s group art shows and projects have been featured by such outlets as Artforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Art in America. She is Associate Editor of Fulgur Esoterica and the co-organizer of the Occult Humanities Conference at NYU.
Robin Rose Bennett is an herbalist, writer, and educator who teaches WiseWoman Healing Ways of herbal medicine and EarthSpirit teachings. She is the author of two meditation CDs and the books Healing Magic: A Green Witch Guidebook to Conscious Living, and, most recently, The Gift of Healing Herbs. www.WiseWomanHealingWays.com
We had the very good fortune of seeing Tony Oursler's "Imponderable" Archive show up at Bard last weekend, and I highly encourage you to make the trip if you're able. Oursler has been collecting thousands of supernatural and occult books, objects, photographs, and other ephemera stretching back to the 19th century, and his archive is eclectic and vast. This exhibition is a comprehensive and beautifully curated "best of" if you will, and touches on topics from cryptozoology to Spiritualism to stage magic to witchcraft.
It also features some of Oursler's own entrancing, sly 4D video works which complement the exhibition well. Those, plus frequent references to his grandfather, Charles Fulton Oursler - a friend of Houdini's and noted mediumship debunker - give the show a personal texture. It becomes not only about humanity's history of seeking, but a slippery, winking portrait of the artist and his influences.
June 25, 2016 - October 30, 2016 CCS Bard Galleries
Imponderable is an extensive research project, exhibition, film, and publication that investigates the personal collection of American artist Tony Oursler, a remarkable trove of more than 2,500 photographs, documents, publications, and unique objects, tracking a social, spiritual, and intellectual history dating back to the early eighteenth century. The actual objects within the archive will be shown for the first time in this comprehensive exhibition, extending the previous iterations of Imponderable commissioned by the LUMA Foundation in Arles and Zurich, where the 4D film and publication were originally presented in 2015. Concurrent with the presentation at CCS Bard, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York will exhibit a full-scale theater screening of Oursler’s Imponderable film (June 18, 2016 – January 2, 2017).
The project’s title, Imponderable, suggests the idea of something that cannot be determined with accuracy. Eighteenth-century scientists used the word to describe magnetism, electricity, and other unquantifiable energies, many of which are represented in Oursler’s archive. The ‘imponderable’ also suggests an area of open speculation populated by numerous conflicting belief systems. Additionally, Oursler is interested in how even the most incredible ideas can be presented in such a way that they convince the audience of their veracity.
The landscape of the archive covers numerous categories such as: stage magic, thought photography, demonology, cryptozoology, optics, Mesmerism, automatic writing, hypnotism, fairies, cults, pareidolia, the occult, color theory, and UFOs. Oursler’s initial research into these fringe practices of media histories and occult phenomenon led the artist further into ideas of speculative thought, the boundaries of science, the use of the spectacular, all of which resonate with contemporary pop culture. For Oursler, nested and mirrored within this archive, is also an intriguing family history that includes his grandfather, Fulton Oursler, Houdini, and the author Arthur Conan Doyle.
Originally commissioned by the LUMA Foundation for LUMA Arles in France, this project investigates new possibilities for archives and artistic production, which is one of its primary concerns. Imponderable translates the original archival materials into the form of a film, an installation, and a publication, providing new insight into both the material gathered by the artist over many years, and the trajectory of his own work.
The 4D film-based experience to be shown at MoMA explores the conflicting and overlapping belief systems implicit within his grandfather’s engagement with the debunking of paranormal activity. In addition to the exhibition of more than two thousand objects at CCS Bard, the broader reach of the archival material is presented in a six-hundred page, fully illustrated, publication that makes the archive available to the public for the first time. Alongside a substantial visual catalogue of Oursler’s archive, organized by the artist, this publication gathers a large number of newly commissioned texts by scholars, historians, and fellow enthusiasts for material that certainly lies outside the mainstream.
Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler was commissioned and produced by the LUMA Foundation for the Parc des Ateliers in Arles, France. Curated by Tom Eccles and Beatrix Ruf.
The exhibition Tony Oursler: The Imponderable Archive, curated by Tom Eccles and Beatrix Ruf is on view at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, from June 25 to October 30, 2016.
Tony Oursler: Imponderable, curated by Stuart Comer and Erica Papernik-Shimizu, is on view at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, from June 18, 2016 to January 2, 2017.
(Many thanks to Susan Aberth for making sure we saw this!)