F.J. Ossang: The Grand Insurrectionary Style by Nicole Brenez


F.J. Ossang: The Grand Insurrectionary Style   

Nicole Brenez
 

Cinematographer, writer, singer, messenger: F.J. Ossang, born in the Cantal on 7 August 1956. Practices poetry in all its forms. Subject of a retrospective at International Film Festival Rotterdam, 25 January – 5 February 2011.
 
He makes music – nine albums with his band MKB (Messageros Killer Boys) Fraction Provisoire; he writes prose – some twenty books, including De la destruction pure (1977), Corpus d’octobre (1980), Descente aux tombeaux (1992), Unité 101 (2006) and the emblematic Génération néant (1993); he makes films – ten movies and as many visual poems, if poetry means a violent outburst of vitality.
 
Ossang pretends not to concern himself with painting and drawing, but he has created sublimely beautiful tones of grey in Silencio (2007), and always gives carte blanche to his outstanding cameramen: Darius Khondji for Le trésor des îles chiennes (1990), Remi Chevrin for Docteur Chance (1997) and Gleb Teleshov for Dharma Guns (2011), making it possible for them to create radiant images without equal on any silver screen in the world. Joe Strummer said (after Docteur Chance) that Ossang is the only filmmaker he would immediately work with again. Ossang’s work belongs to the grand insurrectionary style that runs throughout the history of anti-art, from Richard Huelsenbeck to the films of Holger Meins. (1)
Ossang’s aesthetic has the singular capacity of displaying his expressive, narrative and rhythmic inventions in the context of an iconography of the most popular kind – in such a way that their poetic intensity transforms archetypes (bad guys, social groups, femmes fatales, warriors) back into prototypes, and facile effigies into fascinating creatures distraught with love, emotions, flux and space. He is a great filmmaker of adventure: bold images and scenarios in the form of expressive epic poems; the psychological vicissitudes of characters who move from rapture to ecstasy until they evaporate in the upper atmosphere because they can never again descend – like, for instance, at the end of Docteur Chance.

The story does not present events in the dreary manner of the average film, but allows room for visual developments, like Jean Epstein or the Soviet masters, including the Mikhail Kalatozov of I Am Cuba (1964). Instead of showing the chase or the race, Ossang films the world that produces such velocity, plunging into the substance of colours and the experience of sensations. Whatever the story may be, it springs from a love of words: not so much the dialogue but the formulation, the insert, the slogan, the point – giving rise to the monumental handwriting that so characterises his work.

But, most of all, Ossang’s cinema involves bringing back epic gestures to popular visual culture, tearing things apart until they become inconceivably beautiful. In Dharma Guns (2010), he creates a poetry of the ‘final images’, fits of giddiness, psychological account-settling that invade our brains as death approaches – the gleams and flashes he has still to extract from his much-loved argentic.


For More on This Visit F.J. Ossang: The Grand Insurrectionary Style by Nicole Brenez 

Claude Pelieu and Mary Beach


Mary Beach was born in Hartford, Connecticut in on May 8, 1919. In 1925, after her mother's divorce, she moved, for six months out of the year, to France with her mother and two sisters. During the first part of World War II she lived in the small town of St. Jean de Luz, but, with the entrance of the United States in the war in 1941, she was soon viewed as a suspicious alien and was, for a time, interned in a Nazi prison camp known as Glacière.

Despite her parent’s protests, but perhaps under the influence of her distant relative Sylvia Beach, famed proprietor of Paris's Shakespeare & Co. and the first publisher of James Joyce, Mary pursued her life as an artist with great passion from an early age.

Her first solo show was at the Galerie du Béarn, in Pau, France in 1943, and she has since then continuously exhibited her work all over the world.


Mary returned to the United States in 1946, where she married Alain Joseph (an American soldier she had met in France) and had two children, Pamela and Jeffery. She attended the Hartford Art School (where she won first prize in her class), and also attended school at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
 In 1957 Mary and her family returned to France, to Strasbourg, and then Paris in 1959. She attended the esteemed Grande Chaumière, where she studied under Henri Goetz. She exhibited at the historic Salon des Indépendents in Paris in both 1957 and 1958; won the Prix du Dome at the Salon des Femmes Peintres in 1959; won 1st Prize, Vichy, France, and Silver Medal in 1959 as well; and was exhibited at the Salon des Surindépendents in Paris in 1960.



These early accomplishments stand alone, and would be exemplary for any artist. But for an American woman in France -- for a wife and mother in the late 1950s anywhere, Mary's success in the male-dominated art world is truly astounding. She is one of the great, under-appreciated pioneers of her generation.

After the loss of her first husband, Mary met Claude Pélieu. While living with Claude she continued to work and exhibit all over the world (Galerie du Moulin Rouge, Biennale de Paris; Suzan Cooper Gallery; Galerie Wandragore, Rouen; etc., etc.). During this time she worked at City Lights, in San Francisco, where she discovered and published the poet Bob Kaufman and, under her own imprint of Beach Books, Texts, and Documents, published William Burroughs. She also collaborated extensively with Allen Ginsberg.

Claude Pélieu and Mary Beach met in 1962 and, until Claude's unfortunate passing in December of 2002, shared an exemplary rich and creative life. Traveling extensively while living primarily in Paris, New York and San Francisco, their existence was a bohemian adventure during which they ceaselessly explored and continuously created.



With a keen and graceful eye they deconstruct, critique and reinterpret the classical and contemporary worlds of art and media, while creating striking new works of wit and beauty -- drawing subconscious associations that are both mysterious and poetic.




Long hailed in Claude's native France as the natural inheritors of the Surrealist legacy (a direct line has been drawn by French critics from Picasso and Braque to Schwitters and Duchamp to Warhol and Pélieu), their works are highly prized and respected.


However, in Mary's native America, the pair remains relatively unknown, their work still awaits discovery by both mainstream critics and collectors. Mary passed away on January 26, 2006, after a long illness. Up until a week before she passed, Mary was still drawing and painting. She was contemplating a new series of ink drawings.

If you would like to see a slideshow comprised of Mary Beach and Claude Pelieu's Collages which they created later in their lives, please visit this link: Ginger Eades Tribute to Mary & Claude (Dedicated to Pam)    




Poem by Jonathan McElroy

Another Breath


When you take a breath
Take like it's your last

You'll never know

Give thanks for another second
Embrace the sunrise
Love the homeless
Forget about yesterday
Smile because there's no reason to frown
Don't let anyone bring you down
But lift them up
Play in the rain
Get burnt in the sun
And enjoy every season that passes
Meet new people
Make new friends
Don't be afraid of what's out there
It's not what's out there but what's in here
Inside you
That's your life
Make memories
And don't live in regret
Don't forget
But remember every thing in life is lesson
Never stop expanding
And never forget
That Every morning you wake up
You were granted another breath
Instead of death








William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)


Collage by Ginger K Eades


Call Me Burroughs


  1. Bradley The Buyer
  2. Meeting Of International Conference Of Technological Psychiatry
  3. The Fish Poison Con
  4. Thing Police Keep All Board Room Reports
  5. Mr. Bradley Mr. Martin Hear Us Through The Hole In Thin Air
  6. Where You BelongÊ(Rewrite)
  7. Inflexible Authority
  8. Uranian Willy (Rewrite)

NOTES

CALL ME BURROUGHS contains excerpts from the novels NAKED LUNCH, NOVA EXPRESS and THE SOFT MACHINE.
Reissue producers: James Grauerholz, James Austin.
Recorded at the English Bookshop, Paris, France in 1965. Originally released on ESP-Disk (1050). Includes liner notes by Emmett Williams, Jean-Jacques Label, Barry Alfonso and Barry Miles.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.



Originally released in 1965, this spoken word record was the first foray into the recording industry by Beat legend William S. Burroughs. Subsequently Burroughs recorded a number of solo projects, in addition to collaborating with everyone from John Cale and Laurie Anderson to Tom Waits and Kurt Cobain. The CD booklet contains a wealth of information about Burroughs, the manner in which these recordings were made, and about the Beat community in Paris in the 50's and 60's, as well as including the liner notes of original 1965 edition of the album.

    This collection features excerpts from three novels, NAKED LUNCH, SOFT MACHINE, and NOVA EXPRESS. The excerpts--which, read as short stories, are independent and do not require listener to be familiar with the novels--follow the exploits of junkies, prostitutes, doctors, and others as they move through grisly underworlds without concern for the borders between reality and hallucination. By turns, they are blackly funny and deeply sinister, often within the same piece. Delivered in an instantly recognizable, craggy and clipped mid-western drawl, CALL ME BURROUGHS gives these words a voice that will reverberate for listeners wherever Burroughs' name is mentioned.

from Singer Saints blog:
The "frogman" Charles M. Bogert's jaunty midwestern tones inevitably suggest the native american strains of William Burroughs reading from NAKED LUNCH and NOVA EXPRESS, captured for posterity in Paris in 1965 and released on - you guessed it - ESP-Disk. This recording remains the perfect introduction to the world of William Burroughs. What had previously been an avant-garde experiment on the page - the notorious "cut-ups" - is magically transformed by that familiar sepulchral yet amazingly flexible voice into vivid characterizations, hilarious routines, surreal poetry and a surprising poignancy, a nostalgic quality never entirely absent from Uncle Bill's reminiscences. 


Collage by Ginger K Eades

Breakthrough in the Grey Room

1. K-9 Was in Combat with the Alien Mind-Screens (13:29)


Early cut-up of tapes made by Ian Sommerville and WSB around 1965, probably in New York and London.

2. Origin and Theory of the Tape Cut-Ups (3:43)


From a lecture given by WSB at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute, April 20, 1976.

3. Recalling All Active Agents (1:25)


Excerpt from tape made in 1960 by Brion Gysin at BBC Studios in London, using BG's permutational technique.

4. Silver Smoke of Dreams


Tape made in early 1960s by Ian Sommerville and WSB, using the "drop-in" method.

5. Junk Relations (2:56)


Excerpt from a radio talk by WSB in 1961 in London. "A Day in the Life of a Junkie." Tape courtesy of the University of Kansas Libraries.

6. Jojuka (1:30)


Excerpt from live tape made by WSB at the Jojuka Fetival in the hills of Morocco with Ornette Coleman, Jan. 18, 1973.

7. Curse Go Back (1:12)


From early 1960s tape, WSB chanting an anti-curse.

8. Present Time Exercises (2:18)


Casette work by WSB in London, ca. 1971, using radio, television, several tape recorders.

9. Jojuka (0:42)


10. Working with the Popular Forces


WSB cut-ups with Dutch Schultz's last words and news texts, shortwave radio noise. Mid '60s, London

11. Interview with Mr. Martin (2:59)


Excerpt from WSB performance at the ICA in London, Feb. 28, 1963.

12. Jojuka (1:26)



13. Sound Piece (2:14)


Produced by Ian Somerville using the inching technique, 1960s?

14. Jojuka (2:39)


15. Burroughs Called the Law (1:34)


WSB routine recorded mid-1960s - dropping a dime on the Nova Mob.


William S. Burroughs - Various Tracks

16. from Naked Lunch (1977)

17. from "The Wild Boys" (1974)

18. What Washington, What Orders (1974)

19. Keynote Commentary / Roosevelt After Inauguration (1978)

20. Benway (1978)

21. from The Gay Gun: This is Kim Carson / Just Like The Collapse of any Currency / The Whole Tamale (1978)

22. What the Nova Convention is About (1978)

23. Conversations | William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Timothy Leary, Les Levine, and Robert Anton Wilson (1978)

24. When Did I Stop Wanting to be President (1975)

25. "This, gentlemen, is a death dwarf..." (1965)

26. "Mister Bradley Mister Martin..." (1965)

27. William S. Burroughs - Introducing John Stanley Hart; He Entered the Bar with the Best of Intentions

28. William S. Burroughs - Twilight's Last Gleamings

29. William S. Burroughs - By Protagonist Kim Carson

30. William S. Burroughs - The Do Rights

31. William S. Burroughs - Salt Chunk Mary; Like Mr. Hart, Kim Has a Dark Side to His Character

32. William S. Burroughs - Progressive Education

33. William S. Burroughs - The Wild Fruits

34. William S. Burroughs - The Unworthy Vessel

35. William S. Burroughs - Excerpts from The Western Land: The President, Colonel Bradford, Everyman a God

36. William S. Burroughs - "Dinosaurs"

37.William S. Burroughs - "The Chief Smiles" from The Wild Boys (1974, 6:50)

38. William S. Burroughs - The Green Nun" from The Wild Boys (1974, 3:32)

39.William S. Burroughs - excerpt from "Ah Pook Is Here" (1975, 12:00)

40.William S. Burroughs - excerpt from "Cities Of The Red Night" (1975, 10:00)

41. William S. Burroughs - excerpt from "103rd Street Boys" from Junkie" (1975, 7:29)

42. William S. Burroughs - excerpt from "Naked Lunch" (1975, 20:28)

43. William S. Burroughs - "From Here To Eternity" from Exterminator (1974, 3:40)








Tracks 1-15 From the CD Break Through in Grey Room (Sub Rosa CD006-8)

Track 16, 2:14, St. Marks Chruch, NYC, April 9, 1977, from the LP Dial-A-Poem Poets Big Ego

Track 17, 8:20, 6:53, Recorded Duke Street, London, Nov. 19, 1971, from the LP Dial-A-Poem Poets

Track 18, recorded GPS, April 1, 1974, from the LP Dial-A-Poem Poets Disconnnected

Tracks 19-23, recorded at the Nova Convention, NYC, 1978 from the LP The 

Nova Convention


During the 1960s, William Burroughs was in Europe and England. The Vietnam War, the Cultural Revolution, hippies and the acid gospel, the U S. in tumult, all these were dispatches to him. Living between Paris and London, his only excursions to America were in 1965, when he lived for a year in New York at the Chelsea Hotel and 210 Centre Street, and revisited St, Louis and Palm Beach; and in 1968, when he covered the Democratic Convention in Chicago for Esquire in the company of Genet, Southern and Seaver. Burroughs had quit the States in 1953 exactly because he foresaw these police-state conditions.

But now the wild boys were in the streets, in London and Paris too, and Burroughs was inspired to hope that the world could really change. In the creative world-switchboard of the Beat Hotel, in various London hotels, in a house in the Arab Quarter of Tangier, he experimented with tape recordings, hoping to cut the pre-recorded time line of pre-sent time, and let the future leak through.

Many of these tapes are as much Ian Sommerville's work as Burroughs or even more. Ian's technical background enabled him to contribute to the early development of sound-and-light shows in London, and at one point he worked in a studio furnished by Paul McCartney.

Ian was a sorcerer's apprentice, and the other sorcerer was the late Brion Gysin. The development of all the early cut-up techniques was a pure collaboration between Gysin and Burroughs. It was Brion who led the way on a crusade to rub out the word, and with Antony Blach the cut-up was applied to film, in Towers Open Fire, The Cut-Ups, and Ghosts at No. 9.

It is a long way back to the 1960s and sometimes hard to remember the sense of urgency and revolution then, of danger and discovery, that informed the literature of opposition. That there is now, in 2001, a market for these archival materials shows that this work was seminal, even though it has been little distributed until recent years.