Monday, July 17, 2017

Urban mushroom diary - summer 2017 - 2

About this series:

In Münster I saw these multi-part ceramics by Ursula Commandeur. They combine the fungal feeling with the "horns of the underground" feeling. They're absorbing, listening and whispering.
In Kassel I saw several books by Agnes Denes. This is the work Investgation of World Rulers  - Napoleon overlooking Elba and Still Life #1. I'm aware that these are not mushroom related, but the similarity in shapes is striking.
In the Kassel natural history museum I saw a few dioramas with local wildlife including a few mushrooms. I wish they had such clear labels in the wild. That would be easy! (Leccinum scabrum, Macrolepiota Procera, Boletus Badius).
 Finally I saw the following mushrooms in Rotterdam. This is the reliable Leccinum Duriusculum that grows in the same place, under the poplar trees, every year. This year, after first drought and then rain they look healthy and gorgeous. They're edible but they grow in between dog excrement. So I will not try them.
This beautiful mushroom grows in a new spot under linden trees. I suspect it's some bolete. But there's only one in this spot so I don't want to take it.
During a walk in the woods near Woensdrecht we saw beautiful Boletus (I suspect Edulis) that smelled very good. We also saw many Amanitas (I suspect Pantherina, because of their pale colour. But that's totally not realiable.) Both grew by the side of the road.
It's difficult to photograph mushrooms with my mobile phone. The colours are all wrong, because it's dark near the ground. And finally some organism that might be a slime mold or a primitive mushroom.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Particles of deep topography - 23

Mannequins

Text: The White Hands and Other Weird Tales (Mark Samuels)
Text: Matthew 16, 24-26
Text: My Work Is Not Yet Done (Thomas Ligotti)
Illustrations: Empty storefronts in Rotterdam, 2016

Sometimes we go through life automatically. We're no better than the mannequins that we see in shop windows. Pretending to be alive, but never succeeding:
As I drew closer to the mannequin I noticed that the background hiss had acquired a new element. There were definite words amongst the static, though broken and garbled, like speech distorted by poor radio reception. I could not make out the words, but the voice seemed to speak as if in pain: almost as if it were incoherent with that pain.

It's about priorities, opportunity costs and discernment. Not easy at all:
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Finally, looking back from the deathbed of your entire life in the working world, you would be left exclaiming, ‘What was that all about!’ (In this sense the world of the company mirrored the world itself, which sometimes managed to stage a rousing first act, and perhaps even provide a few engaging scenes of a second before devolving into a playwright’s nightmare, wherein the actors either butchered their lines or entirely forgot them, scenery collapsed, props misfired, and most of the audience left the theater during intermission.)
It's about disrupting the robotic voices coming from inside the puppet:
‘You’re making too much of this,’ said one of those secondary selves that are implanted inside every one of us and that come to attention on these occasions, spitting forth idiotic clichés like a mad schoolmaster from a worn-out textbook of conventional wisdom.

About this series Over the years I've collected many place descriptions. It's a waste to keep them on my harddisk. So I'll publish them from time to time. I will add some pictures when suitable.
Enhanced and amplified topographies can be found in a broad range of literature. The best ones link to metaphysics or mysticism and (pre-) load the landscape with unexpected layers, sheets, slabs and strata of meaning. We can appropriate all this work to enrich our everyday surroundings.

Previous posts are 1:The paranoid method, 2:Rooftops and sacrifices, 3:Oil and electricity,  4:Sewing machines, 5:Rooftops and apparitions, 6:Woods, 7:Mushrooms, 8:Formlessness (2d), 9:Formlessness (3d), 10:Autumn, 11:Monsters and mad scientists, 12:Empty spaces, 13:Stars and planets, 14:Addiction against emptiness, 15:Suggestive vagueness,  16: Ominous places and books, 17: Military technology, 18: Ominous telephones, 19: Observation, 20: History distortion, 21: Spy stories, 22: Dead places.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Particles of deep topography - 22

Dead places

Text: Teatro Grottesco (Thomas Ligotti)
Text: The White Hands and Other Weird Tales (Mark Samuels)
Text: The Concrete Grove (The Concrete Grove Trilogy) (Gary McMahon)

Illustrations: Photographs from the Dordrecht art museum (Hans Broek, Colorado Blvd, 2004)

Dead places, ghost towns and derelict places are like the biblical desert. Places to retreat to and confront God, confront yourself. In cheap movies the hero's family dies at the beginning and then he's free to go on his quest. Going to dead places is a better way to shake off your chains:
It specifically announces that this is to be an excursion, and I quote, to a “dead town, a finished town, a failed town, a false and unreal setting that is the product of unsuccessful organisms and therefore a town that is exemplary of that extreme state of failure that may so distress human organic systems, particularly the gastrointestinal system, to the point of weakening its delusional and totally fabricated defenses – e. g. the mind, the self – and thus precipitating a crisis of nightmare realization involving . . . ,” and I think we’re all familiar with the shadow-and-darkness talk which follows.
Confronting your own dead organisms can lead to catharsis and regeneration:
The point is, Grossvogel promises nothing in this brochure except an environment redolent of failure, a sort of hothouse for failed organisms.
Dead places can lead you to new life:
This tower was vacant: a void. ... So completely abandoned, it seemed to me a consummation of a terrible beauty. For what was it now but a vacuum, an oasis of nothing, where all else around it was but the maddening whirl of asinine human activity? I viewed it as a vertical desert, closed off from the outside, a region without the distractions of the commonplace.
But dead places can also lead you to ruin and tragedy. It's not easy to see the difference:
These openings bled darkness; they provided small, square glimpses of something black, unhealthy and rotten. If she allowed herself, Hailey could imagine things moving in there. Strange things. Dark things. Things that lived in such forgotten places.

About this series Over the years I've collected many place descriptions. It's a waste to keep them on my harddisk. So I'll publish them from time to time. I will add some pictures when suitable.
Enhanced and amplified topographies can be found in a broad range of literature. The best ones link to metaphysics or mysticism and (pre-) load the landscape with unexpected layers, sheets, slabs and strata of meaning. We can appropriate all this work to enrich our everyday surroundings.

Previous posts are 1:The paranoid method, 2:Rooftops and sacrifices, 3:Oil and electricity,  4:Sewing machines, 5:Rooftops and apparitions, 6:Woods, 7:Mushrooms, 8:Formlessness (2d), 9:Formlessness (3d), 10:Autumn, 11:Monsters and mad scientists, 12:Empty spaces, 13:Stars and planets, 14:Addiction against emptiness, 15:Suggestive vagueness,  16: Ominous places and books, 17: Military technology, 18: Ominous telephones, 19: Observation, 20: History distortion, 21: Spy stories.