Thursday, 4 December 2008


More Milk Yvette has abandoned its never ending search for a likeness.

for Clay Felker 1925-2008

So there were lots of ideas and they kept changing but then it occured to me that it should be possible to have a magazine about experimental film that had reel-end flare, horror resolution, art-glossalalia, sneeking in and sneeking out, avant-flow, HD adverbs, buzz text, so you weren't sure if it was a book or a website or some deranged, paranoid comps list.   

Think Clay Felker's New York magazine: Tom Wolfe's Radical Chic and Nik Cohn's Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night. Think out with the art crit and in with the New Journalism. Think both, and it's unruly. Unholy, like Radical Chic, again, but it's not Leonard Bernstein's party for the Black Panthers, it's a screening of Ray Gun Virus or a Robert Beavers retrospective. 

Think the magazine poised on the edge of e-book, funded by Google Maps, amok and agog in a fashion information database. Forget the rhizome, this is modeled after the architecture of a pan au chocolat. Think:


Think change has come to the experimental film blog. Think celebrity culture according to Josef and Anni Albers, instead of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. It's like Humphrey Bogart as the screenwriter of In a Lonely Place. What he's adapting, high on love, is not some dross novel but the third, revised edition of Visionary Film. It's nothing like the original. It's nothing like church-gallery confusion, or a wine list, or seeks lifeline from US treasury.

Nor is it all about thinking, or looking - which is just thinking with the eyes turned inside out anyway, before the meltdown. It's about adrift in language, soaring high, biro-wings, dodging Mac Book angels, declaring an amnesty concerning use of the word phenomenological... 

It's... it's... it's, oh, who knows. A magazine with no hands. Because I had the idea there is a way of writing about experimental films that locks into some magical rhythm where the film is connected to everything else, and the film and the writing just becomes this simple, perfect, cultural manifestation, like gourmet sausages or capoeira. 

It's like bloggers have taught us about the Oyster Card: soak in acetate, peel away the plastic coating, and you're left with a chip and antennae to embed in anything you can still place on the Oyster Card reader. The parallels with experimental film magazines are irresistible. Only fear, legality and laziness have stopped me realising it before this very moment. 


I also worried that my writing was naive, but then I discovered the library of unreadable books by the non-naive and I was happy. Things are great now. The best thing about this new kind of experimental film magazine is that it writes itself whilst I'm levitating in the next room. 

This post was bubbling inchoately for a while, to be finally prompted into being by Jack Roberts tribute to Clay Felker in Bad Idea, Issue 7, Autumn/Winter 2008. A range of film-related manifestoes are included in the first issue of INCITE! :Journal of Experimental Media and Radical Aesthetics. This post also unexpectedly became a response to Mark Leckey's thoughtful post-Turner prize winning interview in  The Guardian, particularly his shock at the hatred and vitriole he had received for work that sought to be an engaged participant in contemporary culture.