Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dream Painting: Ice Tooth and Flying Meats

Gabriella Novak: "Ice Tooth and Flying Meats". Aquarelle on paper

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mesozoic Assemblage Art: Giant Triassic Cephalopod

News bulletins tell us that yesterday at the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Minneapolis, there was a presentation suggesting an explanation for the weirdly geometrical patterns of ichthyosaur bones at a famous site in Nevada: an unseen giant cephalopod who would arrange the scraps from its giant meals according to patterns that pleased it.

Read the abstract of the talk, or one or the other among newsflashes.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Malacological-musical anecdote

Spending a stint in the US, yesterday I attended a part of the Baltimore improvisation festival High Zero – it turned out that by chance the marvellous violinist my friend Katt Hernandez, about whom I had just written (just scroll down) here, was coming over from Sweden at the same time as me and playing here while I was in the area. One of several notable musicians catching my attention this evening was bassoonist Katherine Young, squeezing a wealth of strange, atmospheric, partly unheard, noises from this unusual instrument. Then let me mention that I noticed someone in the audience hanging around with the other musicians (most people know each other at impro concerts) as somehow striking and whom they called Amy. Later studying the festival program, I realise she was one of the performers too, only not playing this particular evening. The program informed me that Katherine Young and Amy Cimini both are some kind of musical prodigies from New York City, playing in all genres and being some kind of local superstars, with Cimini also having a PhD in musicology and studying philosophy of music. This might have interesting aspects or not, but what did arouse my interest was that the two had a duo, named "Architeuthis walks on land". For non-malacologist or cephalopodophilic readers, Architeuthis is the giant squid. Thus, the terrestrial cephalopod. A sibling of this site, or just another harbinger of an upcoming invasion?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two instances of new space

A few days ago I met, and saw perform, two musicians whom I feel inclined to count among my favourite performers, and to say something about why. Both relate sound to space, in a way that makes it once again perhaps possible to say something about the nature of musical improvisation and its remarkably little analysed general relationship to inner models, automatism and atmosphere.

There is something rather uncanny about how as soon as Katt Hernandez touches the strings of her violin with her bow, a space is being instantly created, a particular cave suddenly claiming the area it happens to occupy, a hollow full of rain and flashes. We could see it as a bubble in reality, or we could regard it, considering the fact that it is framed by being triggered via the ears, as the charged void filling our cranium. It's like magic. The weird riverlet, the lit tunnel, the furry bloodstream of the tones and sounds gushing forth takes us places we'd never thought we could go. If varying the pitch of a violin note habitually makes us feel a certain dizziness, or to nervously look around for insect swarms, or have the feeling that we are seeing the air densifying, the storm brewing and the buildings start crumbling, these are still but temporary rafts to grab on to in the midst of this flow which fundamentally remains in the yet indeterminate, that which is perpetually becoming. Hers is a magic formula for opening up this space, and some of our imaginary lives are curled through its tunnels like an unusual respiratory cord through muddy waters, glowing in ore scarlet like the proverbial red thread.

Henrik Olsson sits in a circle of a few chosen objects, waiting, concentrating, and then dancing around among them, barely touching something here something there, thus making these objects sing, in an unexpected way. The way they sing and ring tends to build up an image in architectural terms. Also the liberal use of silence takes part as one of these solid building blocks. It looks like an inner model, a vision. His controlled yet organically disenveloping movements, this dancing or ritual patterns, tends to wonderfully emphasise the aspect of eroticism in musical improvisation, since what there is emerges suddenly out of the conjunction of smooth movement, touch and sound. Unafraid of waiting in silence, unafraid of clear and pure sounds, even unafraid of emerging raw harmony, his erecting this particular castle in the sky, is a conjuring act too, a poetic witch recipe at a modest oven, cooking up this strange mist that takes the shape of endless stairs, unusual angles and incredible little ornaments. Not to mention the frogs and little birds hiding in nooks, crevices and spandrels, squeaking, telling their weird anecdotes. And chaotic yet calm reflections of light and sound between these cloudwashed surfaces. Space.

So both Katt's and Henrik's are conjuring acts, directly involving space: while the one is using her bow as a wizard's staff to immediately create a new, imaginary, real space; the other takes more time to shamanistically dance through a temporarily charged space to slowly build up that new, imaginary, real space. For those who don't see what I mean by "space" here, start with "atmosphere". Any atmosphere or ambiance which is very clearly emerging from some psychic beacon (a manifestation of creativity, a thought assuming its rights, a poetic act, be it arising out of one mind or from a point of objectivity or intersubjectivity) charging the situation with something unusual and tangible, above a certain threshold where it is undeniably tangible, is a spatial manifestation of the imaginary. In some way it occupies the same spot as the ordinary space where it emerges, which can be described in euclidian coordinates, yet still it pushes this common space aside.

If both are highly trained, experienced and concentrated, (and especially Henrik emphasises that he has to move very exactly so as to pull the full sound out of his chosen percussive objects rather than just a muffled clattering), they still cannot be said to be "in control"; the purpose of training is to make that which is learnt obsolete, to be able to enter into the communion, first with this impulse, but not with the impulse because that's not primary but in a sense merely a response too, but rather with the instrument, but not with the instrument because that is just the tool in the magic process, half-assimilated half-antagonist, alien extension of the body, but perhaps rather specifically with this new imaginary space being realised in the moment, and the sea of possibilities inhabiting it?

(Of course I may have to emphasise that Katt and Henrik may not at all share my particular interpretation and thoughts. And that this is not a review of that particular performance evening at Fylkingen, which contained other highly notable elements too such as Tippi Tillvind's aggressively shapeshifting photocollage and Erik Ruin's lively space-weaving live light projections)

Mattias Forshage

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Uncanny Tardigrade

On Lovecraft's birthday and Benoit's deathday on the 20:th of August, a celebration of the uncanny at The Secret Garden in Stockholm. Some pictures with readings by Jonas Enander and Mattias Forshage, and musical performance by Katt Hernandez, Johannes Bergmark and Tippi Tillvind:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Additions to the constellations of known skies

A few minor updates:

The investigations in the phenomenology of the infernal machine (previously promised in an earlier post here) are posted in english and turkish (far down, keep scrolling) in the "Destruction 2011 Final report"

Webpage for International surrealist exhibition in Reading, Pennsylvania, US january 2012 is now up.

Recent surrealist meeting in Athens including among other things a discussion and exhibition on the theme of "Surrealist survival kits" was a great experience and results will be popping up in different forums.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Limestone quarry phantoms

The surrealist group exhibition at the Nationalgalleriet, Skomakargatan 3 in Old Town, Stockholm, is at the moment of writing still open a few more days (-18/6) and among the sights to be seen there are the following:

(Some pictures from the opening are displayed at the swedish-language sister site)


Speaking of art, we should perhaps admit that the post at this blog of six months ago, listing sites of contemporary Swedish artists that we consider interesting for one reason or another, is being continuously updated (yet out of sight) with whomever gets in our way in a manner that results in some kind of spark. Check it out here.

Curtains of the palate

The ongoing surrealist group exhibition in Stockholm marks the first collaboration between the group and the film collective Gomfilm. Some info and a small smorgasbord for the palate is to be found at

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Symbiotic Lime-Stone Quarry Phantoms

– Yes my marble eyes are still working

The Surrealist group in Stockholm, with friends, invite you to their exhibition
Location: Nationalgalleriet, Skomakargatan 3 in Gamla Stan, Stockholm
Opening: Saturday June 11, 6pm to 9pm
Opening hours: June 12 – 18, 3pm t0 9pm

Paintings, drawings, collective projects, sound, scents, video sculpture and poetry readings near the place of the skull.

Book table in the gallery with publications from the 25-year history of the Surrealist Group.

Sphinx Bokförlag presents the newly republished Swedish translation of André Breton's surrealist manifestos.


Joel Abrahamsson
Christian Andersson
John Andersson
Johannes Bergmark
Peter Bigestans
Paul Cowdell
Christofer Dahlby
Jonas Enander
Kim Fagerstam
Çeren Findik
Merl Fluin
Mattias Forshage
Helgi Fridjonsson
Patrick Hourihan
Riyota Kasamatsu
C M Lundberg
Robert Lindroth
Emma Lundenmark
Niklas Nenzén
Eva Kristina Olsson
Sphinx Bokförlag
Theoni Tambaki
Tippi Tillvind
Ika Österblad

For full information:

Background info:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Field characteristics of the infernal machine

a collective work by the Stockholm surrealist group
executed in Yikkim 2011 exhibition in Istanbul may 2011 by Johannes Bergmark and Mattias Forshage,
(with integrated pre-cooked parts by Emma Lundenmark and Ika Österblad)
based on a long series of games, discussions and investigations in Stockholm, among CA, JA, EB, KE, JE, MF, EL, NN, IÖ, etc.

(nb the wrecking crane is not to be seen, since it was hiding on the balcony)

(detail: the route up the ladder from the bathtub)

(MF and JB playing on the machine)

Texts about the phenomenology of the infernal machine to appear elsewhere, while its metaphysics are treated in Swedish in a recent blogpost, its particular visual mechanism in the "behind the image" series to appear elsewhere...

Menu board

of the bar opposite the exhibition building of Yikkim 2011 (Destruction 2011) Istanbul

(chalk drawing by Ceren Findik, Theoni Tambaki, Mattias Forshage)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lord Peter in the City of Jackdaws

Lyric sheets for a lost concept album

for John Andersson

1. Lord Peter Quits the Band

His lordship’s riding the underground
With a golden baboon sitting on his knee
And while the baboon sits and looks around
His lordship’s combing its golden hair
And singing it lullabies shiny as beer
They’re a crime-busting duo
And they’re guarding the city
And they say click-clack, click-clack, click-clack

His lordship bailed on the honeymoon
And rode the tvärbanan to Alvik and back
And sat on the platform with open flies
And a grasshopper jumped from between his thighs
Which are harder than sugar
And whimper like meadows
When he says hush-hush, hush-hush, hush-hush

His lordship’s eyeliner’s started to run
As he watches Miss Vane climb the scaffold steps
Then he stalks through the grounds of the royal estate
In a harlequin costume and naked feet
He’s packing a pistol
With red bees for bullets
And Miss Vane’s lovely throat goes snick-snack, snick-snack

2. Lord Peter Has His Secrets

Somewhere beneath the inlet
Beneath the grey horizon
He scrabbles among the reed beds
Frantically looking for his grandmother’s musical box

Its revolving dark interior
Absorbs those black dimensions
When the boys catch fire under water
And grebes dive up to break the surface of the sun

3. Track three (lost title)

He tethers his steed
By the methadone clinic
And heads into Söder
To gamble for eyes

Starts in the wet bars
Around Medborgarplatsen
Cops a feel at the bar
As he orders his port

And cuts quite a dash
With his white-painted forehead
Playing nursery poker
And chancing his arms

The planes of his face
Start to glitter like harpies
The sway of his torso
Leaves marks on the stairs

As he laughs at the pearls
And police in his boudoir
And scatters glass shards
Through his own scalding hair

And dances in fountains
Does coke in the ladies
And ejaculates chaffinches
Over his hands

Then hotwires the sculpture
Of George and the Dragon
And impresses the ladies
With his knowledge of Greek

Spends the dog-end of night
In the bell-end of labour
Wakes up in the icehouse
With scars on his back

4. Tender Raven Lullabies

Hush little raven, don’t you squeak
Daddy keeps his black tongue inside his beak

And when that black beak breaks and falls
In the night that tongue will come after us all

And if it catches you on the stair
Then mummy will love you in the rocking chair

And if it catches you under the bed
The mummy will love you with a swollen head

But if it catches you on the wing
The Little Lord Raven will speak and sing

And if he flies as he sings so fine
He’s just gonna break this spine of mine

5. The International Language of Ice

Queen of scaly creatures
Her fist becomes a cloud
Sky glitters beneath her
As all the world goes west

He drinks it down, he wipes his chin
Oh Peter let the darkness in

Beast of other natures
Repetitive as coal
Burials and fractures
In complementary coils

He drinks it down, he wipes his chin
Oh Peter let the darkness in

Cuss-words in the pantry
Discharge of a vice
Sun cream on a latchkey
The earth swallows the sea

He drinks it down, he wipes his chin
Oh Peter let the darkness in
He drinks it down, he wipes his chin
Oh Peter let the darkness in

6. The Man in the Blue Mask

Here it comes like an eel again
Suckling livestock to drain the fen

There’s a man waiting
In a blue mask
With a scrumping-halter
In his golden hand
And he pays off the gardener
And he’s waiting for night
And he’s cranking the juicer
In the greenhouse

There’s a man standing
On the castle grounds
And he’s wearing skis
That are made of rifles
That shoot small bells
Right into the crowd

Here it comes like an eel again
Suckling livestock to drain the fen

7. Sunrise

Peter wants to go dill-fishing
Clod-clipping, skinny-dipping
Declare war on the shamans
And ride oily steeds
Through the forest of pigs

He checks out at sunrise
King of kings, lord of flies
With hieroglyphs behind his eyes

His chauffeur puts the car into drive
Nobody lives in the woods

Pdf version available to download here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Autobiographical nightmare

Uncomfortable yet undeniably entertaining to see one's life in the mirror of a television screen, one's life in the proverbial bush of ghosts, with one's dead father sitting nearby in the sofa enjoying the show. O all the things we thought we had done, and now reduced to the inquisitive monkey making elaborate faces just to try to identify which of the characters shown in the mirror is in fact oneself-

a little game by Kalle, Mattias, Emma, Niklas and Kristoffer N

Maresfield gardens

Hanging by just a little trail of the old dogs hair

and retaining the colors of a few hours sleep

far too bright and spacious

as the sordid background for a sleepy murder

with bees and pleasantries and a small murmur

all that which there was no way of having become

Monday, February 21, 2011

just behind the forest curtain

A dream image: I was pointing to an eagle flying towards us, but it turned out to be a swan (they are just as big, of course), and then I saw that just behind a thin curtain of trees there were big Maya monsters looking at us, and behind the trees on the north side of the road there was a huge polar bear sporting a cap. My first main reflection based on all this was that huge objects in dreams tend to be 20-30 meters high, like a normal 9-storey apartment building or slightly higher than standard trees in a boreal forest that hasn't been allowed to reach old growth. If they were higher, it would be difficult to see them well when standing close...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Librarians of the dungball

The sister site Icecrawler/Heelwalker typically posts long theoretical works which may not be suitable to read on a computer screen or with the constraints on typographical options imposed by the blog format. Many of the writings there, and elsewhere in the general area, have now been collected in theme-based pdf anthologies, available at the new Bibliotheca onthoplanctorum pdf library at the Stockholm surrealist group site.

Romantic afterharvest

Investigating romanticism is a laborious task, very much like the slow scavenging of yesterday's battlefield in the morning, looking for body parts severed in suitable sizes by the canons and bombs, to collect in one's rucksack for the evening's poorman's barbecue. (I couldn't believe he was building the bonfire naked.)

Romanticism is a hermaphrodite with huge breasts and a huge penis, with rodent foreteeth, and some difficulties walking.

Romanticism is a clay pigeon machine, spurting out clay pigeons which are breadcakes of pizza dough, covered with blood as if it was tomato sauce, but not yet with cheese, so that during their aerial trajectory they collect seeds and spores and grow a luscious vegetation or at least a decent turf of grass.

Romanticism is located at the south end of the big lake, at the edge of the fault, and the sun rarely shines. Would you like to have your sand shipped from there?

Romanticism grew as a parasite in the longing to be loved of a sweet little witch who was a christian anarchist riding a broomstick. It acts like a big snake. It knows who its enemies are but not its friends. These are the outskirts of town. Our friend the little witch is left in the middle of the lawn at dusk.

Romantics be recognised by their sloppy beards, which are completely unintentional, but far better than scurvy.

But the ones you easily identify drunk in the cellars are on their way losing it. Usually you see the beard emerge as a result of your own doubt. And you never know with all the karyatids, with the reeds by the pond, and with the scaffolding at the construction site. The women of romanticism are invisible in certain angles. Their beards will emerge only as the Cheshire cat's smile. Or through the glass coffin. You never know if you are looking in or out.

The power of romanticism was due to the fact that it was speaking Finnish at a time when only the devil knew how to speak Finnish.

Because romanticism is made up entirely of skarn minerals. All this pubescence and all this blood, all this cursing and all this lovemaking, are epiphenomena. As extenuating circumstances they are held forth by the followers. Romanticism cannot be reeled in.

MF (which one of them?)

The example of swedish romanticism

Time for a new offensive against narrow rationalism?

A new text by Mattias Forshage, presenting an overview of situation, ideas, aims and poetry of the romantic movement in Sweden, starting out from the perspective of the importance it has had for the surrealist activities here – is now made available at the "Bibliotheca onthoplanctorum" pdf library. And perhaps especially in these days, taking poetry seriously remains one of the most promising banners for the resistance against utilistic-ideological call-to-order power-supporting no-nonsense narrow-rationalist blinders-reinforcing alleged Enlightenment...

(also available in a swedish version at the same address)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Summer dreaming

The golden U-turn
The dog-glass bowl
The only restaurant cheek
The summer has kissed
She is the reign of the animal
She listened to me
There’s always torture
It only transpired
Then turning the wheel
Clearing conscience with
The spiral kiss
False erector she
Of the blameless life
Swollen horse soul
The hardy Winchester goal
I concur when
Targets use only chalk
Crystals insult me
She’s a sensory mean
Take your bangles off
Cos they’ll be destroyed

Friday, January 7, 2011

Theory of Flux

Tough plant foods are good for the jaw musculature but may be detrimental to metaphysics.