"Call the Next Witness," by Maggie Taylor (2008, archival pigment inkjet print)
Maggie Taylor’s beautiful altered digital photography will be on display in Carlsbad, California, at the William D. Cannon Art Gallery from July 17th thru September 9th. She explained her inspiration, what led her to Alice, and process to the North County Times:
“I had been doing some digital work with rabbits, holes in the ground and Victorian children,” she said from her studio in Gainesville, Fla. “Several people remarked that it reminded them of ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ So I started to do a few images like that, but I didn’t know how much it would take over. Now it’s three years and 45 images later.”
Taylor, who has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Yale and a master’s degree in photography from University of Florida, discovered the computer photography program Photoshop in 1995 and soon saw the value of scanning in images and seamlessly stitching them together digitally. She often has 40 to 60 layers in her images. She scans items and photographs she discovers at flea markets as well as her own works to create something completely new.
For her “Alice” works, Taylor created dreamlike, warm images of Lewis’ fantastical literary creatures as well as daguerreotypes and tintypes of Victorian children. Houses can have bunny ears, and animated playing cards are sharp enough to be weapons.
There’s at least one performance on YouTube of György Ligeti’s take on “The Lobster Qaudrille,” a movement in his later work, the vocal a capella Nonsense madrigals (1988-1993). (Ligeti was a 20th Century Hungarian composer most famous for his experimental music used to great effect in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.) This video is labeled: “Presentación de MCV en el ciclo ‘Pintura de Palabras’ en La Scala de San Telmo. 6 de Julio de 2oo8, Buenos Aires, Argentina.” Thanks for putting this performance up!
“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail,
“There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle—will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?
“You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!”
But the snail replied, “Too far, too far!” and gave a look askance-
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.
“What matters it how far we go?” his scaly friend replied.
“There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England the nearer is to France—
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?”
Mike Batt’s The Hunting of the Snark is finally getting a U.S. release on July 12th on his own label Dramatico. The original 1980′s concept album featured Art Garfunkel, Roger Daltrey, George Harrison, Stephane Grappelli, Sir John Gielgud, John Hurt, Captain Sensible, Deniece Williams, Julian Lennon, Sir Cliff Richard and a kitchen sink. Mike Batt was interviewed last week by American Songwriter’s Evan Schlanksy, about his take on “Snark” and the history of the piece:
Give us an overview of The Hunting Of The Snark album.
I made this album in the early eighties, – purely on a whim, and having fallen in love with Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem. I wrote all new lyrics (and utilized his poem as narration between the songs). It’s a mad story of 10 characters who all go off looking for the SNARK, whatever it is, – and it is whatever you want it to be. Some might see it as money, some as religion, some as love, some as just a beast of flesh and blood. That’s what the album and subsequent stage show explore – the different points of view many people can take about the same thing. I made the album using the London Symphony Orchestra, and a great cast of stars, from Art Garfunkel to Roger Daltrey, Deniece Williams and even a cameo from George Harrison. It was a fantastic experience.
Why put it out now?
It’s never been out in the States – and in fact never had a full release in the UK either, way back, because of a dispute with the record company. I’ve now reacquired it and am issuing it on my own label, Dramatico. I think it is among my best work as a writer, arranger and orchestrator – and it would be a pity for it never to have seen the light of day.
Any favorite memories or interesting stories from the theatrical performance?
We played some fun concerts of it in Australia, – and also in the UK. Costumed concerts with the whole orchestra dressed up in nautical outfits, and the cast working in front of them, oratorio style. Then it progressed to the West End, like a full “Broadway” production. We had a 50 piece orchestra live on stage every night – so consequently we couldn’t afford to keep it on for long (7 weeks) but it was a hugely rewarding experience. We did things like plant dancers in the orchestra and so suddenly the cello section would start doing backflips, – we even had someone “fish” a viola player out of the orchestra from a bridge, above, using a fishing rod (and a flying harness!). It was totally insane.
Tell us how you went about putting the album together from a songwriting perspective.
I literally scored it straight onto full orchestral manuscript, starting with an empty page and working from front to end. It was before the days of Finale and Sibelius, so the good old 2B pencil and eraser were my tools. I had 3 months in which to write it, having given myself that deadline in order to perform it at an LSO concert I had been invited to conduct. I allowed myself a lot of freedom, but didn’t steal any lyrics from Lewis Carroll. I do, as I said earlier – quote him verbatim, as verse between the songs. I wanted to write something that was intriguing, originaland commercial. I think the fact that I was brought up on The Beatles has something to do with both my choice of subject matter and the whimsical quality of the songs.
Among all the projects you’ve worked on, what are some of your personal favorites? Which ones do people say moved them the most?
This new “brain-boosting” book by Robert Quine and John Nolan has an amusing title: 106 Impossible Things Before Breakfast ($14.95.) The question is, is it possible to do that many impossible things without pushing breakfast back at least to brunch?
“‘I dare say you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen . . . ‘Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’”
-Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking-Glass
Could there be a knife that never dulls? A gun with no moving parts? A broken clock that tells time?
Here, Dr. Michael Laufer and John Nolan reply, “Of course!” Through these conundrums, they show how to unleash the creative energies of the brain to solve even the knottiest enigmas. For instance, one could:
Reinterpret the problem
Change the rules
Change the solution
Whether it’s showering without water, driving a car without an engine, or using a computer without electricity, these are high-level challenges for breakout thinking. With this book, you’ll stretch your minds and be primed to solve the next “impossible” problem before lunchtime.
Eat me, drink me… bite me? C. L. Dodsgon falls foul of vampire favor in Anno Dracula by Kim Newman (1992, reprinted 2011). The novel is set in Victorian England. Count Dracula has survived Bram Stoker’s plot, married the widowed Queen Victoria, and now Britain is ruled by vampires.
A dour and silent vampire beside the Prime Minister gave him a ribbon-tied folder of papers. Godalming thought he was connected with the secret service.
‘Thank you, Mr. Croft,’ Ruthven said, ripping the ribbon. He
extracted a paper with finger and thumb and casually whirled it across the table to Sir Charles. ‘This is a list of prominent people suspected of conspiracy against the Crown. They are to be arrested before the sun sets tomorrow.’
Sir Charles’s lips moved as he read the list. He put it down and Godalming was able to glance over it.
Most of the names were familiar: George Bernard Shaw, W.T. Stead, Cunningham-Grahame, Annie Besant, Lord Tennyson. Others meant little: Marie Spartali Stilman, Adam Adamant, Olive Schreiner, Alfred Waterhouse, Edward Carpenter, C.L. Dodgson. There were some
‘Gilbert?’ Sir Charles asked. ‘Why? The man’s as much a vampire as you or I.’
‘As much as you, maybe. He has lampooned us constantly. Many cannot see a vampire elder without sniggering. Not, I think, an attitude we wish to foster.’
“Alice’s Wonderland” is the perfect title for Rebecca Mead’s article in the June 17 issue of The New Yorker, (the full text of which is only available in the print edition or to subscribers.) The article is about WalMart founder Sam Walton’s daughter, Alice Walton, who has built a wonderland of an art museum in the Ozarks.
We also just noticed another great Carroll reference in the May 16 issue. In Anthony Lane’s wonderful profile of Pixar Animation Studios, The Fun Factory, he muses about the unreality of their digital methods:
What needs to be emphasized is that none of this exists. [...]
But there are no lenses, or none that you can hold in your palm. They are purely options on a toolbar, and you scroll between them. To someone from the outside world, we must have sounded like Alice and the White King, talking about an empty road. “To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance too!” the King remarks.
UPDATE: If you didn’t see the comment below, Ann Buki found even more:
There is another reference to Alice in the June 13th & 20th New Yorker. It is in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Trading Stories: Notes from an Apprenticeship. This is on page 80: “Like the labels on the cakes and bottles that Alice discovered underground, the essential gift of my award was that it spoke to me in the imperative; for the first time, a voice in my head said, ‘Do this.’”
From Lewis Carroll (born Charles Dodgson), to Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and Victoria Lucas (Sylvia Plath), one chapter is devoted to each, with so much detail that the authors seem to become characters in Ciuraru’s book.
The names can be an excuse, reason or outlet to create. The Bronte sisters — Anne, Charlotte and Emily — wouldn’t have been taken seriously — or even printed. The male pen names of Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell gave them a chance to be published.
Others, like Carroll, author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” were well-established in their fields and wanted a pen name to separate their various selves.
A couple of years after the first publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the recently established Aunt Judy’s Magazine printed two new stories by Lewis Carroll: “Fairy Sylvie” and “Bruno’s Revenge.” Several years later, Carroll decided to use these as the basis for a novel, and in 1889 he was hard at work finalizing the first volume, Sylvie and Bruno, for publication.
Carroll enjoyed drawing throughout his life and he has been lauded as “the most outstanding photographer of children in the nineteenth century,” but he always turned to professional artists when it came to illustrating his children’s books.
The caricaturist Harry Furniss, who also illustrated the works of Dickens and Thackeray, worked for several years with Carroll on Sylvie and Bruno, and their collaboration is richly documented in a series of letters from Carroll to Furniss. Their correspondence discusses in detail the composition and illustration of the story, and Carroll has filled his letters with sketches to guide the artist.
Carroll hoped to see the first volume published by Christmas 1889, and in a letter (shown above) from September of that year, Carroll notes that “the case looks almost hopeless” because seven chapters still need to be illustrated. He then goes on to describe in detail a number of illustrations that he wants Furniss to try. To depict The Mad Gardener’s Song in chapter 12, Carroll asks him to show an Albatross turning into a postage stamp. He then acknowledges, “I’m aware it’s an almost impossible subject! But don’t you think there is a certain zest in trying impossibilities?”
Since it has been translated into most human languages, I for one welcome new translations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for our new robot overlords. Here it is now in barcode, thanks to Books2Barcodes, created by WonderTonic.com.
“This is the full text of The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland converted into 2D barcodes. Use a mobile device with a barcode scanner to scan each code and read a section of the book.”