When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults and they enter society, one of the politer names of hell. That is why we dread children, even if we love them, they show us the state of our decay. —Brian Aldiss
Author Archives: Peter Blegvad
Signs for noses (Noses Imagined) drawn by Italian children
Whispering gallery, St. Paul’s cathedral
A disc of wicker beside a pill of zinc “Two Equivalent Forms”
Figure made of two copper pyramids glued base to base with sap (Quote from Swedenborg to the effect that angels fucking shed light)
Cylinder of dust “Silo”
Salt cross with a crust of iodine “Referee”
Plank of pine “Threshold” (meant to be flat on the floor, part of a door none can see)
Loaf of rust “Altar from a Metal Cathedral”
Mixture of paregoric and dew in a creosote cone “Fuel for a Tiny Machine”
Pillar of yeast in linoleum jacket “Dry Cell”
Circular puddle of yoghurt and neon “Lunatic Mirror”
Arrow of ice wrapped in surgical gauze “Signal from a Memory”
Coin stacks, several columns, voltaic piles of gold-plated bamboo “Ladder of Kings”
Water in a bakelite box, and a box full of oil “Ransom to Secure the Release of a Mother and Child”
A yolk of leather in a tobacco egg “October Seventh”
Citronella spilled in a spiral upon a blanket of fat “My Uncle’s Monocle”
Hollow cone of tobacco “Dunce’s Trumpet (for V-)”
C18th object drawn by Philippe Simmoneau. Amateur translation of the title: “Tree of Iron or Red Iron Vitriol” This image illustrates a report by L. Lemery le Fils (1677-1743) on the presence of iron in plants. Lemery presents his research on “les cendres de castoreum dont les grains sont attiré par l’aimant.” (Ashes of castoreum, […]
A pin drops with a deafening clang, the sun and old aquariums buzz, numinous objects provoke “epiphonies” which keep the amateur in a state of perpetual awe.
Object by Richard Johnson. Barnsley, Yorkshire, June, 2005.
“We have to choose between the quick and the dead. The quick is God-flame, in everything. And the dead is dead. In this room where I write, there is a little table that is dead: it doesn’t even weakly exist. And there is a ridiculous little iron stove, which for some unknown reason is quick. […]
In Mississippi John Hurt’s version of “John Henry” the heroic steel-driver lays down his hammer “all painted red.” (With the hero’s blood, one supposes, as if he’d burst in his exertions). This red hammer can be added to a hoard which includes William Carlos William’s “Red Wheelbarrow” on which so much depends, Bob Dylan’s “Little […]
The caption reads: SINGULAR ROCK, by the road side, ten miles from Carnarvon and three from Beddgelert. It is called PITT’S HEAD, because it bears a sportive resemblance to the head of that celebrated statesman.
Two near identical objects, only one of which is numinous. Two extremely different objects, both of which are numinous. Go figure.
Excerpts from notes on teaching a creative writing class to “gifted and talented” 14 to 16 year olds, summer ’06: Read from Al Alvarez article. “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” in New Yorker (March 8, 1993) abt childhood fears. “The best ghost-story writers know that by night fear is a free agent, […]
Bank sign, Duesseldorf, 2005 Misericord, Amsterdam cathedral, 2006
“Just as man himself has an ambivalent potential for good and evil, so do objects. According to numerous informants, the most dangerous and poisonous substance is a simple lime, properly prepared by the bokor. If a bokor cuts a lime transversely while it is still on the tree, the half that remains on the limb […]
You mean to tell me that a li’l ol’ lime cut in half by a bokor can be more numinous… … than THIS? [A digitated lemon with very curious finger-like extrusions and outgrowths. From Cassiano dal Pozzo’s “Paper Museum”]
In “Memories of My Father Watching TV”, Curtis White writes: “Once in his reach, Neal would take a horrible chunk of heavy metal, like an iron pineapple, like an icon of some unconscious horror, out of the car trunk. (An old question resolved: the location of the unconscious is the car trunk.) …Perhaps once this […]
by GEORGE TTOOULI (posted on the Gists and Piths blog) There’s a curious lineage in poetry which focuses on the use of language both as a means of looking for the charge in objects and as a way to invest objects with energy. The names for this charge are various. Aristoteli described the ‘substance’ and […]
In our files under NEW MATTER we find man-made polywater, edible cotton, element 118 (ununoctium), strange quark matter (a “strangelet nugget” of which we’re told could destroy the earth), dark matter, quorn, twisted nematic liquid crystals, superglue, electrically conductive polymers made using ruthenium as a catalyst, a lighter-than-air solid made of agar, etc. etc. BUT […]
“The search is what everyone would undertake if he were not stuck in the everydayness of his own life. To be aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.” —Walker Percy, “The Moviegoer”, quoted by Lawrence Weschler in “Seeing is Forgetting […]
“The finger which I carry about on me is a finger only as long as it is part of my organism; the moment I cut it off from my organism it is no longer a finger, it decays. In the same way, if we think of man as a physical being separated by a few […]
The European Commission apparently outlawed the use pig’s heads to decorate the Swedish Christmas dinner table. As a fully-fledged meat-eater I object to this lilly-livered intrusion into our freedom to enjoy the natural beauty of animals on our carving boards. information source: Mr. Clevberger, Swede.
Musicologist Marc Medwin writes from North Carolina: Does my blindness prevent me from experiencing numinosity? If, as the patriarch of 100 Years of Solitude insanely (but correctly) believes, the sun buzzes, then surely numinous objects emit sound as well as light? I hope such “charged” epiphonies are not limited to the sighted.
Gunther Neubaum from Fort Lauderdale, Fla, writes: I don’t dare mention to my partner that the reason I haven’t complied with her repeated requests to get rid of our old aquarium is that, for me, the thing is charged with a powerful sense of immanence which just mesmerises me. I’d much rather watch it than […]
The device with rechargeable batteries. When they run down the device loses definition, if it were sentient we could say it’s having an ‘identity crisis’ but of course it’s not so we can’t. You’re shaving with it when the note of its buzzing drone drops and fades and suddenly instead of an electric razor you […]
A step on the stairs is nothing, 1 : Nabokov’s memory from childhood of ascending stairs with eyes closed so that he wouldn’t know when he’d reached the top. His mother would playfully call “step” as she had all the way up — young Vladimir’s “foot would be automatically lifted… and then… would sink into […]