The following article was published in N-SPHERE Omega.

Name: Predrag Pajdic

Location: London, United Kingdom

Occupation: Artist, Author, Curator, Editor

Definition of personal sphere:
There can be no definition of personal sphere as I am completely against the boxing and labeling of creativity. How can one label something which occurs organically, perhaps spontaneously and always passionately? To be free of labels and to continuously create with every breath in and out, is the only sphere worth occupying.

Artwork in 4 words: Make Your Mind Up

What is inspirational for you: Everything that is not limited or defined by ten words or less.

Currently favourite artists: How many can I put? To include just a few would exclude so many and every day brings exciting inspiration.

Tools of trade: Atoms and molecules, did I say in all shapes and forms? Ah yes, I did.

Current obsessions: This afternoon, it was tiny plastic objects that made me laugh and the reconnection with the past linking to a bright future, yesterday it was rest and grace after the exhausting but rewarding launch of my book Beneath The Shadows The Soul Walks as my incredible supporters and friends had traveled literally from all over the world to attend and tomorrow, well, tomorrow will most likely be the next concept to develop.

Personal temptation: Beauty, I am eternally tempted by beauty in every shape and form, both dark and light. Just beauty. It’s always about beauty.


Artwork: Predrag Pajdic. Noetic corpus: Sojourn of the Soul. Part of series. Courtesy of the artist

Full article here.



The following article was published in N-SPHERE Omega.

Following their concert at Brave Exhibitions in London this June, we sat down with Die Selektion to discuss their influences and current projects. Formed in Stuttgart, this young band that combines the live fierceness of early DAF with glacial synths and emotional trumpet melodies, is bound to make an impact on the minimal wave scene.

How did you guys form the band?

Luca: I’ve known Hanne since we were six, we went to school together. And then we met Max three years ago, at a concert. My old band with Hanne split up and that’s when we decided to form a new one, called Die Selektion.

I’m sure this is something you hear often, but why did you choose this distinctive instrument, the trumpet?

Max: (laughs) Everybody asks us this question and always have the same answer: we didn’t think of it. Hanne played the trumpet and we decided to give it a go.

Do you have a musical background?

Max: I’ve been making music for a long time, I tried many different things. I also play in a noise-rock band called Die Nerven or making techno music. I didn’t stick to just one thing.

Hanne: I’m the only one who studied music, I studied the trumpet.

What other projects do you have?

Luca: Max plays in a noise-rock band called Die Nerven. And it’s a kind of a techno/electronic project, like he said. And I’ve been working for a long time on a dark folk/neo folk project, called Death of Abel.

Hanne: I’m involved in a classical music project, I play in an orchestra.

Do your colleagues in the orchestra know about Die Selektion?

Hanne: Yes, they know about it. We play modern music in our orchestra and I can see parallels with our band. But basically all music is based on classical music.

What bands do you listen to currently?

Max: I really like the new album from Agent Side Grinder. Also Xeno&Oaklander. And I’m really into a German noise-rock band called Mutter.

Luca: For one or two years I’ve been listening daily to Death in June and Current93 as well. These two bands are currently my favourite bands.

Hanne: Well, I still listen to bands like Motörhead, but I still like the minimal wave stuff, like Xeno&Oaklander.

And in terms of the aesthetics of the band, who’s in charge of the visual aspect and what’s the concept behind it?

Max: We like to keep the focus on the music because they’re too many bands and take music to the background. We just want to keep the design and the appearance very clear and simple so that people can concentrate on the music.

In terms of new bands or bands that you played with, who do you admire?

Hanne: For me the guys from Berlin, Schwefelgelb. They’re quite young and their music is new and somehow similar to what we do.

Have you been compared to them?

Luca: Yes, but I don’t mind.

Max: I don’t know why people have to compare, but they have to. It’s quite difficult to find a band that is similar to us.

And you are often compared to DAF.

Max: Yeah, but the main influence from DAF is their energy, the stage presence.

Luca: And the idea behind it. In the early 80s, they wanted to make punk music with synthesizers. I wouldn’t say that we want to make punk music with synthesizers, but the point is to create powerful electronic music.

So it’s very important for you to create a powerful live experience. In terms of stage presence, who do you admire?

Max: I think Agent Side Grinder have a really great stage performance. There are many bands that make great music, but they’re stage presence is bad. There’s this band that that have amazing live performances, but I don’t really like their music. I think it’s called Future Islands.

Luca: I saw John Maus play in Berlin. It was just twenty-five minutes of playback music, but it was great, the energy was incredible. He goes completely mental and crazy.

What are your next projects?

Luca: We’re playing more and more, in Russia, Austria and so on. And we’re planning to do a second album.

questions by Simina Neagu

photo | Die Selektion. Kai Fischer. Courtesy of the artist

Full article here.



The following article was published in N-SPHERE Omega.

What: Exploitation. The Movie

Where: The Netherlands

When: October & November 2012

Director: Edwin Brienen, Independent Filmmaker

Soundtrack: Enfant Terrible

Exploitation is the new film by dutch independent filmmaker edwin brienen. Enfant terrible produced the soundtrack for this gothic-noir satiric fresco. 90 minutes of music to be enjoyed both as true soundtrack as well as a sequel to previous enfant terrible compilations… but more dramatic and ritualistic in the way the record is building up… it will please fans of minimal electronics and (post) industrial music but also moves into different styles such as idm, tekno, angst pop and chanson… while always keeping a dark and cold mood and/or dream state feeling throughout…

Exploitation uses the so-called mise en abyme principle and shows a fict tious film in the film, called apoca­lypse, part 3: a breathtaking abendland of dreamy pictures and nightmarish vi­sions. It’s all there: baphomets, paganism, bizarre costumes. Especially some old-time obsessions of the director are highly celebrated here: the esthetics of death in june, the works of painter arnold böcklin, or aleister crowley’s thelema spirituality.

photo | Exploitation. 2012. Filmstills by Dong-Ha Choe. Courtesy of the artist

Full article here.



The following article was published in N-SPHERE Omega.

Hello and welcome to the Spheres. To introduce you to our readers, tell us, who are the Popovy Sisters?

We are twin sisters – Ekaterina and Elena Popovy, professional artists and fashion designers.

What is your artistic background?

We graduated at Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts in Yekaterinburg. We started making dolls in 2004.

What brought you to created these wonderful miniatures?

At the beginning we were interested in realistic human gestures. The magic of certain personalities inspired us to create their images. We tried not only to make portrait dolls, but also to convey the nature of the characters through the gesture and costumes.

Thanks to this interest we deepened our knowledge of human anatomy and facial gesture. We also learned how to work with various artistic materials: China, self fusing plastics (paper clay, efa plast, la doll), fumo, baked plastics.

However doll portraiture didn’t let us express ourselves as designers, so we started experimenting with materials. Finally we found a perfect solution by combining our passion for fashion design and dolls art. This has grown into small conceptual collections of 10 to 15 dolls.

Where do you find inspiration for the themes you use in your projects?

Everything inspires us. travels movies, stories, countries, history.

What does your work process involve? How do you usually start a project?

At the very beginning, we do a lot of research on our theme, reading historical files, finding pictures, doing a lot of paperwork sketching and so on. We learn as much as we can, this helps us to fully and deeply get into the theme. It takes a lot of time but it’s an important stage of creation.

Many of your pieces have a culturally specific air to them. Is any additional research taking place at the beginning of a project?

Of course we learn the history behind them.  As I’ve said before, we study as much as we can. Sketching, finding textures, proper materials.

How would you describe the level of difficulty in creating your pieces, both in design and development?

We find it difficult. The most difficult part is to create our own techniques. Like for example wigs, this is our own technology, it’s hard to develop from theme to theme. We also do a lot of work as designers, as I’ve said before – sketching a lot. We follow modern fashion trends. It often happens when we come up with something and then we see other fashion designers going in the same direction. I can say that we have good sense of fashion trends, and we use it.

What tools and materials do you usually use?

We like to use antique materials as well as modern high quality materials. When we travel in different countries we always buy new materials there. It’s exciting to have many antique fabrics from different countries. We also like to use modern Japanese silk and other materials. We also use organic materials such as animal bones feathers, insect parts.

How long does development usually take?

We work on the whole collection, it is difficult to say… our preparation stage can last up to two months. To create one doll can take from one week to more, it can take three weeks or so. It depends on how complex she is.

Which of your projects do you consider to have been most rewarding, both on a personal and a profesional level?

We can’t specify any project. All our projects are on top level. We can work one year on each project until we feel that it’s done the way we want. So each of our projects has been made with a high level of professionalism, we tried to get the maximum out of each one.

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment we’ve started our BJD line. It opens a whole world for us. Now we begin to work as fashion designers as we’ve never had before. Because it will take less time to create bodies. When we now make prototype molds and get their copies from the factory, we can spend more time on our art ideas, creating different themes, costumes experimenting with makeup and so on.

What future projects are in store for you?

We have so many interesting ideas for the future, if we could just work day and night without sleep ha-ha. We usually keep our new themes as a secret before their official presentation. but i can assure that there will be a lot of interesting stuff going on!

If you were to describe your work in 4 words, what would you say?

Concept, art, fashion, doll.

Artwork | Popovy Sisters. Bony and Light. Courtesy of the artist

Full article here.



The following article was published in N-SPHERE Omega.

What makes cinema such a powerful environment is its ability to make the worlds presented seem real. Indeed, literature does that too, but in many cases cinema does this faster and with greater impact, because of its immediacy. Whereas literature has to create from scratch those worlds, cinema only has to make them believable. While this is not very difficult when it comes to a neorealist motion picture for example, or a documentary, one cannot say the same about those movies that deal with fictional aspects. Here, things may get a little complicated, but they also get more diverse, because there is no standard recipe as far as this aspect is concerned. Basically, in my opinion, this is where cinema starts: in depicting the less-familiar.

Fiction and intimacy go hand in hand here, because there is no standard pattern that is applicable on large scale in the real world and even if there would be, many would prefer to avoid it. To make things even more fun, this does not apply to the plot development only, but to the way the characters are developed as well. It is a matter of perspective.

One of the first movies that comes to my mind, in this particular case is Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures whose protagonists end up taking a life. However, the film revolves and is constructed around the notion of fantasy and even the real scenes have the same feeling attached to them. This is, indeed, a fairly standard approach and I am aware you have seen it before in many films, but what is not so standard about it is the way the protagonists are being portrayed. Not even in the final scenes are they directly depicted as murderers. The fantasy layer here goes as far as to alter the »real« layer as well as if the real protagonists were mirror images of the characters fleshed out in the fantasy world, not the other way around.

El Laberinto del Fauno by Guillermo del Torro revolves around the same notions and goes even further, by directly linking the two worlds. Therefore, here we do not have fantasy and reality going hand in hand, but two distinct worlds, both real in their own rights, interacting with one another. This is, again, another pattern that is used on a large scale. The first example that comes to mind is Darren Aronofsky‘s The Fountain and even Gerard McMurrow‘s Franklyn. The latter depicts both worlds very convincingly, so the end of the film is not really that relevant: take it out of the table and you will have an even more delicious movie. The list can go on with many other films. In these particular cases, the real/fantasy junctions work mostly only on the level of storytelling, they create new possibilities and sometimes may even give the viewer some new ideas.

However, in spite of everything mentioned earlier, strictly on a cinematic level, this approach is pretty plane and some dedicated cinephiles may find it unrewarding because in most cases it revolves only around the story and the same things could have happened in case of a book.

This is why some directors and viewers prefer a different approach, one where the fantasy elements are not treated/rendered differently from the real ones, where we don’t have indicators to tell us which is which. On the one hand, this may be a more effective approach because, if anything out of the ordinary will happen in real life, I am pretty certain that we won’t have any »indicators«, but those things will happen in the same way every other casual thing happens. So, in this case, the real challenge is to make those scenes extremely convincing. In mainstream cinema, one of the most popular examples is The Blair Witch Project, which not only attracted praise by both the public and the critics, but also a considerable number of copycats. However, The Blair Witch Project was not the first film to use this approach, but the first modern film to bring it back into the spotlight. More than two decades ago, an Australian film had walked the same grounds. It’s named Picnic at Hanging Rock and it was directed by Peter Weir (The Last Wave, Dead Poets Society). The difference between the two of them is that Picnic uses a far more poetic tone, but, interestingly enough, to the same effect – to »summon« a new protagonist: Nature (this will occur in Weir‘s later effort, The Last Wave as well). Of course, younger audiences may find this film dated, some would not understand what is the big fuss about it, mainly because of the two decade difference between the two films. On a similar ground, but on a more »metaphysical« tone, we find Tarkovsky‘s Solyaris or Stalker.

However, fiction does not only include supernatural events; a fictional event may be also something we imagined we have seen, someone we imagined we met or we think we are –  I will choose three films here: Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock), Fight Club (David Fincher) and American Psycho (Mary Harron). In Psycho we have a pretty clinical and straightforward approach, but also an effective one. We do not see Norman’s mother in the flesh, but we do hear her in the end and somehow feel her presence. Psycho is effective because it does not show much, but suggests a lot. The film does not focus on showing how its protagonists became who they are, instead it’s focused in depicting »the result« in a very convincing manner. In simple terms: we are not told or shown, in detail, throughout the film, how Norman developed his possessive alter ego (his mother) – we are given a brief explanation in the end – but the more we watch Norman, the more we are convinced that we are face to face with a deeply deranged human being. This strategy of focusing on depicting convincing characters or events, instead of wasting time with useless explanations was frequently used by Carl Theodore Dreyer and the resurrection scene in the end of Ordet serves as a perfect example.

Whereas Psycho suggests, Fight Club shows. Here, the protagonist and his alter-ego are treated as separate entities. An obvious choice after all, since the film does not spend too much time on clinical observations regarding the evolution of its protagonist. Instead, it takes a rather »positive« attitude towards his condition – »OK, I am having a stranger period, let’s see what I can make of it« – which, indeed, points to a more stylistic approach. Many things that happen throughout the film (the ending included) are more legit as pure fiction, however, because it is very verbal and has a rather pragmatic tone. Fight Club makes its viewers forget these minor details and so does American Psycho: even if Bateman remains a serial killer only in his mind, in the end of the film he makes a convincing serial killer outside as well.

I mentioned before Dreyer and explaining versus suggesting. While this is a very effective approach on its own, Polanski proves that we can have it the other way around as well, especially in films such as Repulsion or The Tenant. In both we are shown how a mind can turn against itself. However, do not expect a standard recipe here, because none of these two films are wasting time giving lectures. Instead, Polanski accomplishes his task by using very little. Basically, he takes small events that can cause slight distress, and plays them against a character who has a predisposition to paranoia (for example: the scenes in which Trelkovsky asks for Gauloises, but he is served only Marlboro because the bar he was in »conveniently« ran out of Gauloises and Marlboro was the only brand they had). There is also another detail that I think contributes a lot in creating the right atmosphere: the way the people’s faces are shot. It is menacing, as if those people are ready to kill you anytime.

There is another category of interesting films here: the ones in which you cannot tell for sure whether what you see is fiction or reality, or in more exact terms: you can’t tell for sure if it is one reality or another. There are these films who use two opposite assumptions simultaneously and they never give you a direct on clue on which one is real and which one is fiction. For me, these films are interesting both on a storytelling level and on a cinematic one. The most recent film exploring this ground I came across is Sound of My Voice by Zal Batmanglij in which we are given reasons for both sides and – what is even more amusing – that we are given plenty of reasons to believe that both sides are true simultaneously. What I like about these films is that they are exploratory by definition, and somehow they encourage you to make various connections, to expand the material and it is not an easy task to accomplish cinematically, either.

There is another notion that rhymes with fiction and that is eroticism, especially if we talk about fiction of a darker nature. Ken Russell‘s Gothic does a fairly good job combining the two. While there are not many passionate character interactions in the film, one cannot deny it has a deeply erotic approach even it its sickest scenes. Russell‘s (and implicitly Gabriel Byrne‘s) depiction of Byron plays and important role, I would go s far as to say the most important role. He is not depicted as simple character/protagonist, but he is depicted nearly as a God of sorts, an entity coordinating everything and Gabriel Byrne I think is the perfect actor for this task. His performance is mesmerizing, submissive and passionate and at one point one may ask oneself on whether the film incorporates it or if this sole performance is guiding the film. And then, there is the imagery. No surprises here, for Ken Russell‘s ability to create vivid and striking images is well known (Altered States anyone?).

Another film I found particularly erotic was The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes by the Quay Brothers. In this case the first thing that comes into my mind is the story: it is both eerie, but strangely believable (not as in it can happen for real, but as in yes, this looks like a story). It does not have a particular message, but it can catch you in its web just by looking at it. The story itself if deeply cinematic. There is also the outlandish tone/acting, the animations; overall, it is a film to be experienced rather than dissected for a particular meaning.

With all its political allegory, Mircea Danieliuc‘s Glissando walks the same shoes. The film – which is an adaptation of Cezar Petrescu‘s short story Omul din Vis – binds together dream and reality, realism and surrealism and works best as an eerie fairytale with an occasionally Fellinesque touch (Satyricon, anyone?). And yes, the film contains a fair amount of nudity, but yes (again) this is an irrelevant aspect.

In the perspective discussed here, eroticism doesn’t necessarily imply anything involving a sexual act, but is referring to that specific type of energy. I think a film can be erotic without necessarily having sex scenes (Valerie and her week of wonders) and, even when it does have it, it is not those scenes themselves that give the film this tone, but the way they are crafted (the sex scene in Don’t look now or the more intimate scene in Tarkovsky‘s Offret are two examples). But if we are to talk about eroticism in both ways, we cannot overlook Walerian Borowczyk. In The Beast(1975), he takes a straightforward story and overlaps it with an erotic fantasy revolving around The Beauty and The Beast, framing everything in the tone of a farce. The latter was barely noticed at the time of the film’s release, due to its shocking content. While his name is sometimes unfairly and unwittingly linked to soft-core porn, Borowczyk‘s films (especially his earlier ones) show a versatile director, able to shift gears and create idiosyncratic and haunting films.

The list can go further with titles, names and approaches, but I believe that so far, this is enough. It is time for you, dear reader, to take your pick and viddy well.

by Shade

photo | The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes. Quay Brothers. Filmstill.

Full article here.



The following article was published in N-SPHERE Omega.

Stereo is a blurred vision of a telepath’s commune. Nothing could sound weirder than this, but Cronenberg delivers to the viewer a witty rendition of what could be an insight of the human mind. Not only considered in its neurological or psychological sense, but also probing the great beyond of the unconscious, the deepest roots of the Self, so subtle and so ephemeral. That underworld has been often visited often David Cronenberg throughout his career, in a descending spiralling pathway that counts on its steps masterpieces like The Fly, Scanners or Crash, among others. I figure that his movies could be considered as a peculiar itinerary because of the common experiences shared by the characters, all of them embarked on a journey that touches the shores of hidden realities.

The concept of an unconscious mind developed in western culture when artists and philosophers started to touch the deep chords which were more visceral than reason or aesthetic beauty. The zone where these chords resound is covered by forces connected to sexuality and primal instincts. Our flesh is the ultimate »weight« that takes us back to earth when the mind starts to become more abstract: flesh sends »its« loud cry, making people aware of its existence. Neglected or not respected flesh reacts to the human mind, giving birth to oddities. In The Fly and Scanners we could see scientists playing with bodies. The results are someway extreme: in the first case we could see the deterioration of flesh stripping down man to his mere biologic support, in the second case the overpowered minds of telepaths have a more relevant consequence on the faculty to manipulate the integrity of other bodies. The mind that could »swim upstream« until it reaches the inner-self, attains the power to manipulate reality, therefore distorting other people’s lives, until the extreme exit.

The balance between the mind and the altered body causes an instability that could not be easily regulated: one of the most notable examples in Cronenberg filmography is Crash: struggling and pushing the limits of the body excites the mind, in a lethal and inuring imbalance.
From the first images we are introduced to an unusual kind of documentary, with several narrating voices revealing us information about experiments taking place inside a palace. Places are symbols, the zone where the movie unravels is built out of concrete, representing a sort of »brutal« introduction to the mind and visions of man, the modern man (or even the post-modern, if the »post-modern« term itself makes any sense to you). The filming is made in an amateur style: the viewer’s attention should be directed towards the development of the plot, well beyond the visual aspects of the movie.
Cybernetic experiments are conducted by Dr. Stringfellow with eight subjects, who undergone brain surgery (controlled by a computer) in order to develop telepathic abilities. We are then informed about the development of psychic addictions between individuals. Psychic aspects are also entwined with physical ones, and the knots of the net created between the telepaths give birth to manifolded sexual desires. The communication level becomes deeper: it goes to the origin of memories and emotion, and given the fact that reality could be considered a »logos«, the movie itself tries to show peculiar aspects of language.

The retro-viral enemy of Logos is language

Our »vision« is translated by language to other people, and language could be affected like a living being. Saussure explained the arbitrariness of language: the connection between the Signified (the object) and the Signifier (the word related to that object) is not logical, nor reasoned. This feature undermines the foundations of man’s rationality: the Eraclitan Logos is so inherently poisoned. This poison circulates in the blood of the telepaths, mixing with the impulses of flesh and crumbling down the structure of dialogue. What is latent on our daily experiences could be magnified in this experimental movie. These eight subjects become like messed up cells that cannot longer communicate. They are obsessively seeking for the satisfaction of reaching the meaning of their actions. Their ability to overcome the Signifier, as a part of communication, lets them see a crazy world of random elements moving in a Brownian motion.

The director’s choice of plot made it clear that he has a marvellous obsession with videocameras, television-sets (as seen on Videodrome and other movies made by him). Here the crisis of art and arts’ symbols produces a new electronic language that has shapes into addiction and dominance: the stronger telepath could assume the leading role, and couple with the weaker one, as in real life stronger individuals could shape the mind of others through ideas that spread like viruses (or memes, as Dawkins called them). Throughout the years, media developed to its full capability to shape minds: the Society of the Spectacle of the situationists’ has got a cancer, and this cancer is called infotainment.

I mentioned Situationism here to also point out the fact that experiments conducted in the Academy of Erotic Enquiry could be considered a way to discover new mediums for exploiting the desires of the masses. It is a sort of futuristic deviance of a society determined to obtain the complete control not only of the collective imagination, but also of minds and the bodies of the »citizens«. It is not simple as a chemical experiment, where often knowing the reagents we know where the reaction is heading to. As mentioned previously, the delicate equilibrium between mind and body, expanded now to a bigger level – the »collective unconscious« – body of the masses«, if touched in an invading and abusive way, it could react and bring the fall of the complex.

As time passes, media gets under the skin of the consumer: we are seeing a hybrid of human bodies with electric devices. Today life without social networking, without knowing each others’ thoughts through facebook statuses or single tweets means disability of relationships, at least for most of western-land-inhabitants.

The scene that sums up everything is the one portraying a telepath drilling its way in one another telepath’s brain: it represents the desperate Spectacular attempt to implant ideas (Memes) into an already formed system. The brain has got plasticity, but similar to all biologic layers, this plasticity could not be deformed beyond a certain amount of stress, without involving the death of Logos and of the physical body.

Stereo was ahead of its time (1969): the telepaths’ communication difficulties anticipate the use of the internet and mobile communication issues. Pervasive even if often necessary. It was an odd experiment, nowadays is the field of experience in which we are diving into, submerged in a massive fluxus of data. My hope is that humanity could have more success than the subjects of the experiment, using this »new« way of communication without becoming addicted to it, and losing vital parts of our intelligence like the telepaths lose parts of their

by Maurizio

photo | David Cronenberg. 1969. Stereo. Filmstill.

Full article here.