Beyond the Valley of A Day in the Life
the Beach Boys
& stepping outside history
by Pacôme Thiellement
The relationship between the Beach Boys and the Beatles is at the heart of some key issues in pop culture, namely: can pop music function as a tool of knowledge? And if so, how? Author and essayist Pacôme Thiellement has published several articles on pop music, poetry, and black magic; here he offers an exegesis of Beach Boys’ and Beatles’ masterpieces in the same vein as his book on pop and gnosis, Poppermost: Considérations sur la mort de Paul McCartney (Paris: Musica Falsa, 2002), a theory of pop culture elaborated through a comparison of the Beatles and the Residents.
Thiellement has also published an essay on Frank Zappa from an anthropological perspective ( Economie Eskimo: Le rêve de Zappa , Paris: Musica Falsa, 2005) and, most recently, a study of Nerval (L’homme électrique: Nerval et la vie, Paris: Musica Falsa).
A Pop Project in a Hick World
(Or, How Ultralocal Becomes a Respectable Place)
by Guadalupe Echevarría
In this text, Guadalupe Echevarria compares examples of the political power of pop in various yet specific contexts at different points in history. From the birth of American folk music to Brazilian tropicàlia via Bob Dylan, her essay offers insight into the transgressive function of experiences that juxtapose art, popular culture, and politics in an age of ultralocal critical theory.
Echevarria is the director of the École des beaux-arts in Bordeaux.
Arcadia, Here and Now
by Emilie Renard
Emilie Renard’s L’Arcadie: ailleurs et autrefois, ici et maintenant et l’année prochaine is a project—built around a central text expounding her approach—that comparatively analyses numerous writings, pictures, and documents related to the notion of Arcadia. Study of the myth of Arcadia allows her to shed light on its multiple appearances in contemporary art, articulating notions of counter-culture, of collectivity, of community, and of an unknown or idealized “elsewhere.” Renard’s tentacular critical approach stems from research that attempts to explore what might now constitute a major artistic shift. It also includes an original method of categorization, organized into four main groups divided into subgroups, themselves composed of various elements. This collage-type method triggers startling ramifications, not unlike one of the explicit sources of the author’s technique, namely Dan Graham’s interpretative approach. Indeed, Graham’s text ARCADIA , translated into French and placed in perspective by Renard, occupies a specific place in the project.
Renard is an art critic and curator who lives and works in Paris.
La vague et le vague.
Gilles Deleuze on surf
by Arnaud Viviant
Gilles Deleuze on surf, la vague et le vague, a “performance lecture” by Arnaud Viviant, implements a kind of free, intellectual, and progressive drift within the philosophy of the “surf” concept. From Wikipedia to surf music and from the Beach Boys to Gilles Deleuze, Viviant sketches a theory of pop and of our contemporary relationship to culture.
This video piece documents a lecture given at CAPC in the context of a symposium titled A travers le miroir. La culture pop et au-dela (CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, December 7–8, 2007).
Daniel Johnston R.I.P
by Wilfried Paris
In this article, Wilfried Paris adopts a unique approach to one of the key figures of pop culture: Daniel Johnston. An American songwriter born in 1961, Johnston is a mythical figure in more ways than one, since his life and various activities (including drawing) make him an archetypal (post)modern (anti)hero. An epic text—halfway between rock criticism, pop philosophy, and metaphysical fiction—reflects the ambivalence of its subject.
Wilfried Paris, a musician and journalist, here offers a unique, dense, almost imaginary analysis—the first of its kind—in the form of a portrait of one artist dreamed up by another.
by Atelier pensée nomade, chose impriméeLos Angeles, 1984
Lux & Ivy Favorites
by Archives 4 taxis
Hey, they look like the living dead!”
“Don’t panic! I’d rather think of jellyfish.”
Freshly exhumed from the 4 Taxis archive, this excerpt comes from Lux & Ivy Favorites, a videotape devised by the Cramps at the request of 4 Taxis.
A pair of VCRs, as useless as the faded pictures they record, display a frenetic series of events compiled from exploitation films, TV shows, and vintage trailers.
To some extent, a guided tour of a supply store designed for the likes of Richard Prince, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley & Co….
“Most of these films were made in a garage or living room with basic equipment and were shot in no time,” say the Cramps. “B movies are like going into a trance: they’ve got soul, but ask no questions.” The video piece, which lasts 4 hours and 45 minutes in all, was shown in November 1983 at the Sigma Festival in Bordeaux during a 4 Taxis evening, as an appetizer to the issue devoted to Los Angeles.
When everything is fake, it all becomes real.
Many thanks to “l’oreille d’un sourd”, a.k.a. Philippe Garnier.
In Search of Pop: From Seductive Beat to Global Ecstasy
by Yann Chateigné Tytelman / Florent Mazzoleni
In this e-mail exchange, Yann Chateigné Tytelman and Florent Mazzoleni discuss what are the stakes of “pop culture” today, extending from art and music to criticism. They address the forms it takes, its economy, its geography and its politics right from the birth of worldwide pop, ranging from the USA to Africa and back again, not overlooking the “French situation.”
Mazzoleni is a writer, journalist and photographer whose publications notably include L’Épopée de la musique africaine (Hors Collection, 2008), Disco (Flammarion, 2007), L’odyssée du rock (Hors Collection 2004) and, more recently Les racines du rock (Hors Collection, 2008).