Cinemagician: Conversations with Kenneth Anger
A film by Carl Abrahamsson, Sweden, 2019. 48 minutes. Camera/sound by Åsa Ersmark, Carl Abrahamsson, Brian Butler. Color grading by William Tottie. Music by Sinnelag. Written, narrated, edited, produced and directed by Carl Abrahamsson.
Iconic American filmmaker Kenneth Anger has inspired generations of creative storytellers since the late 1940s. He is a unique visionary who drifts from pure poetry within his magical filmmaking to sardonic gossip in his bestselling “Hollywood Babylon” books. In-between these extremes we find a person who never tires of exploring his own creativity. In this intimate documentary, Anger lets us in on his fascinating life story, his approaches to filmmaking, and his relationship to British occultist Aleister Crowley.
A film by Kenneth Anger, 1972, 29′
A film by Carl Abrahamsson, Sweden, 2019, 38′
Vanessa Sinclair (US) and Carl Abrahamsson (SE) work with textual cut-ups, which are recorded and set to music. The musical pieces are then assembled in sequence (as an “album”), which is then the basis or groundwork for a film. Their latest film is called “Mementeros”, and touches upon the mysteries of the flesh in union and separation.
Dr. Vanessa Sinclair is currently authoring “Scansion in Psychoanalysis and Art: the Cut in Creation” forthcoming from Routledge (2020). Dr. Sinclair is a founding member of Das Unbehagen: A Free Association for Psychoanalysis and facilitates psychoanalytic events and conferences internationally.
Carl Abrahamsson is a writer and lecturer specialising in arts & entertainment, esoteric history and occulture. He also works with filmmaking, publishing, photography and music and has his own publishing and productions companies, as well as a digital music label. He’s the author of Occulture. The Unseen Forces that Drive Culture Forward, 2018.
The flesh is an emotion in itself. Our flesh is divided as we move along; dissociated from the humble origins. Blotted out; looking for freedom in friction. This is beyond good and evil, and asexuality is also a sexuality for all we know. Each piece of flesh is a colour, a destiny, an enlargement of the first view – the one we hunt for the rest of our lives; even beyond capacity and function. Sweet life of death – incentive of all incentives. A skeleton and an hourglass transcend all known symbols and all unknown poetry. He knew and was prescient up until the very last moment. In that moment, a very different kind of movement. “Sex and death are my religion.” Grabbing the flesh is not so much dominance as it is submission to the sublime. The desired holds all keys to all kingdoms. Can it for some reason no longer be retained in the emotional sphere? Is that physical sensation so overwhelming? Even so, think of it in colours that rapidly paint an inner room: a psychic chamber only for you and the one you desire. It’s all in the mind; it really is. An illusion so strong it can break down the barriers of that negative kind of subjugation – not to a singular force (which is Eros) but to an entire power structure (which is Thanatos). Sartorial tendencies in the male – a dead give away. Fingers, hands, fists uniting in a poetry of the real. But, dear courtesans of the world, what is actually the “real”? Are your enticing orifices really the only way to the truth? Consult the prophets and find allusions and illusions in equal measure. That can happen between the sexes too, when union is made possible by emotional nudity and a temporary upheaval of the intrusive fireworks of fantasy. Then and only then is progress as fast and clear as the formation of new life (desired or not). Each colour then speaks a new language; utters a new sentiment; conveys a new message of the flesh. “Long live the new flesh!” (but only for a brief moment). We see each other in a flash, a micro-eternity, a diaspora of doubts, and an overflowing ecstasy brings us closer to the unknown pleasures not of the body but of the soul. We cannot go higher, lower or anywhere else then. We are then prisoners of our own souls and there is no moment more precious or divine. Yes, the grabbing fingers leave bruises in the skin tissue. But just as the sun rises, the skin will repair itself to pristine vigour and radiant survival for potential procreation; a feast of the senses more than anything else. Isn’t it better to feel something than to feel nothing? This question sums up all of human philosophy and all our aspirations of life. The soul, the senses, the flesh, the macro-phallus, the micro-phallus – all communicating in a language you yourself constructed because of deep need. Be proud of yourself, your ingenuity and of your power to attract both life and death. Anything could come of this. Anyone could come of this.
Vanessa Sinclair & Carl Abrahamsson, Stockholm, July 2019