Links, Curiosities & Mixed Wonders – 19

Boy, am I bored. Luckily, there’s a new collection of links on Bizzarro Bazar.” (Photo: Tim Walker)

Forget icecream: to fight the heat, nothing better than some icy and chilling reads, directly from my (mortuary) freezer!

  • James Hirst (1738-1829) used to ride on a bull he had trained; he kept foxes and bears as pets; he built a wicker carriage so large that it contained a double bed and an entire wine cellar; he installed a sail on his cart, so as to navigate on land, but at the first road bend he ended up flying through a tailor’s window; he saved himself from a duel to the death by placing a dummy in his place; he received dozens of garters from English noblewomen in exchange for the privilege of standing inside his self-constructed eccentric coffin; he refused an invitation from the King because he was “too busy” teaching an otter the art of fishing. (I, on the other hand, have vacuumed the house today.)
  • Jason Shulman uses very long exposures to photograph entire films. The result is spectacular: a one-image “summary” of the movie, 130,000 frames compressed in a single shot. “Each of these photographs — says Shulman — is the genetic code of a film, its visual DNA“. And it is fascinating to recognize the contours of some recurring shots (whose imprint is therefore less blurry): the windows of the van in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the static scenic desing in Méliès movies, the bokeh street lights of Taxi Driver. And I personally never thought about it, but there must be so many close-ups of Linda Lovelace in Deep Throat, in order to make that ghostly face appear… (Thanks, Eliana!)

  • Since we’re talking about photography, take a look at Giovanni Bortolani’s manipulations. In his Fake Too Fake series he has some fun slicing up and reassembling the body of beautiful male and female models, as in the example above. The aesthetics of fashion photography meets the butcher counter, with surreal and disturbing results.
  • It’s still taboo to talk about female masturbation: so let’s talk about it.
    A nice article on L’Indiscreto [sorry, Italian only] recounts the history of female auto-eroticism, a practice once considered pathological, and today hailed as a therapy. But, still, you can’t talk about it.
  • While we’re at it, why not re-watch that nice Disney cartoon about menstruation?
  • I thought I’d found the perfect summer gadget, but it turns out it’s out of stock everywhere. So no beach for me this year. (Thanks, Marileda!)


  • You return to your native village, but discover that everyone has left or died. So what do you do to make this ghost town less creepy? Easy: you start making life-size rag dolls, and place them standing motionless like scarecrows in the fields, you place them on benches, fill the empty classrooms, you position them as if they were waiting for a bus that’ll never come. Oh, and you give these puppets the faces of all the dead people from the village. Um. Ms. Ayano Tsukimi is so lovely, mind you, and her loneliness is very touching, but I haven’t decided yet whether her work is really “cheerful” and poetic, as some say, or rather grotesque and disturbing. You decide.
  • If you can readItalian well, there is a beautiful and fascinating study by Giuditta Failli on the irruption of the Marvelous in medieval culture starting from the 12th century: lots of monsters, skeleton armies, apparitions of demons and ghosts. Here is the first part and the second part. (Thanks, Pasifae!)

  • What is this strange pattern above? It is the demonstration that you can always think outside the box.
    Welcome to the world of heterodox musical notations.
  • But then again music is supposed to be playful, experimental, some kind of alchemy in the true sense of the term — it’s all about using the elements of the world in order to transcend them, through the manipulation and fusion of their sounds. Here’s another great nonconformist, Hermeto Pascoal, who in this video is intent on playing a freaking lagoon.
  • I am going to seek a great perhaps“, said François Rabelais as he laid dying.
    Now I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark“, Thomas Hobbes whispered.
    Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!” Karl Marx muttered in his last breath.
    Have you prepared your grand, romantic, memorable last words? Well, too bad that you probably won’t get to say them. Here is an interesting article on what people really say while they’re dying, and why it might be important to study how we communicate during our last moments.
  • Speaking of last words, my favorite ones must be those pronounced by John Sedgwick on May 9, 1864 during the Battle of Spotsylvania. The heroic general urged his soldiers not to retreat: “Why are you dodging like this? They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” Soon after he had said this, a bullet reached him under his left eye, killing him on the spot.

Sedgwick: 0 – Karma: 1.

  • Let’s get this party started!” These cheerful and jovial gentlemen who, with admirable enthusiasm, pop their eyes out of their sockets with knives, are celebrating the Urs festival, an event held every year at Ajmer in Rajasthan to commemorate the death of Sufi master Moʿinoddin Cishti. You can find more photos of this merry custom in this article.
  • And finally here is a really wonderful short film, recommended by my friend Ferdinando Buscema. Enjoy it, because it is the summary of all that is beautiful in mankind: our ability to search for meaning in little things, through work and creation, and the will to recognize the universal even in the humblest, most ordinary objects.


F.A.Q.: Come venire molestati

Caro Bizzarro Bazar, tutte le mie amiche sono state molestate sessualmente, prima o dopo. I miei amici maschi hanno tutti subìto avances da preti o altre persone omosessuali e/o eterosessuali. Come posso portarmi in pari con loro?

Semplice. Nuota con un delfino.


Hyungkoo Lee

Hyungkoo Lee è uno scultore Sudcoreano che ha creato un collezione davvero particolare. L’artista ha immaginato quali potrebbero essere le strutture scheletriche dei più popolari eroi dei cartoni animati. Modellando in resina, con fili d’acciaio, barrette di alluminio e altri materiali, e dipingendo ad olio la scultura, Lee cerca di rendere piuttosto realistici i suoi soggetti, quasi fossero degli antichi ritrovamenti di qualche paleontologo. Un paleontologo pop, potremmo dire.

Dopo l’iniziale risata che suscitano le sue sculture, è interessante come le opere facciano anche riflettere. Wile E. Coyote che insegue Road Runner è istantaneamente riconoscibile, così come Paperino, Tom & Jerry o Bugs Bunny. Anche se ridotti all’osso, questi personaggi irreali sono entrati talmente a fondo nella nostra mitologia moderna, da esserci più familiari di animali realmente esistenti. Li abbiamo antropomorfizzati e, in definitiva, li sentiamo vicini a noi. Li conosciamo bene, sono gente di famiglia. Ed ecco qui i loro scheletri, esposti in un museo.

Cosa significa? Forse che anche nel mondo moderno le mitologie sono destinate ad estinguersi? O che ad estinguersi è stata la nostra infanzia, e la nostra ingenuità così bene rappresentata da questi personaggi?

Secondo l’autore, si tratta semplicemente di analizzare e scomporre. Se i cartoni animati ci rappresentano così bene, decostruendo il loro aspetto si arriva a capire qualcosa anche di noi stessi. Abbiamo, cioè, creato i personaggi animati perché dessero corpo alle nostre gioie e ai nostri dolori, alle tribolazioni e alle vittorie: sono anche simbolo di un mondo ideale, in cui la realtà si può piegare a piacimento, in cui dolore e sofferenza sono momenti comici, e finire sotto una schiacciasassi ha per unico effetto quello di ridurci a sottilette ambulanti. “Spogliare” questi personaggi della loro illusoria carne per arrivare all’ossatura vera e propria è il senso di queste sculture. Gli scheletri, così essenziali, sarebbero un’espressione dei nostri desideri, delle nostre paure. L’essenza, cioè, della nostra caricatura.

Il sito ufficiale di Hyungkoo Lee.

Scoperto via Michael Sporn Animation.

Walt Disney

Uno dei primi classici brevi di Walt Disney è un gioiellino macabro (appartenente alla serie Silly Symphonies) intitolato The Skeleton Dance, del 1929. Diretto da Walt in persona, venne animato da Ub Iwerks.


Contrariamente a quanto vuole la leggenda urbana, Disney non si fece mai criogenizzare per poter essere “resuscitato” quando le tecnologie ne fossero state in grado. In effetti, la prima notizia di un cadavere criogenizzato risale a un mese dopo la sua morte. E, giusto per sfatare un altro mito, il suo corpo non sarebbe nascosto segretamente sotto l’attrazione “Pirati dei Caraibi” a Disneyland.

Eppure i film della Disney qualche segreto non proprio onorevole lo racchiudono effettivamente: ecco un filmato che svela come la pigrizia abbia in alcuni caso prevalso sulla creatività…