Lucas Camargo

The draw of Lucas Camargo’s work, I think, is its density. Packed into each drawing is a cacophony of tiny details, jostling to make themselves known. They’re almost like those once ubiquitous Magic Eye images, at first they’re a mess of lines until, suddenly, their long-faced subjects unveil themselves.

Via supersonic electronic

In Remembrance: Kenneth Grant (1924-2011)

Artist and researcher M.S. leDespencer has kindly written the following obituary in honor of Kenneth Grant. The more esoterically inclined readers of Coilhouse will immediately recognize that name. Those who are unfamiliar –but curious– may wish to click the many hyperlinks attached below and begin to explore Grant’s strange and beautiful work. Condolences to Grant’s widow, Steffi, their family, and friends. ~Mer

Portrait of Kenneth Grant by Austin Osman Spare

“So life takes fire from death and runs. Whirling amidst the suns.”
~A. Crowley
Liber Pyramidos

It was announced today that occultist, author, artist, and gentleman Kenneth Grant passed away after an illness on January 15, 2011. He was 86 years old.

Grant, long a compelling figure in the world of occultism, has a legacy that extends back over half a century. He was the last man alive to have close ties to Aleister Crowley, having served as personal secretary to “The Beast”, and having been initiated into the Ordo Templi Orientis and Argentum Astrum by Crowley himself. After Crowley’s death, Grant and his wife Steffi were among the few attendees at Crowley’s funeral service. Subsequently, Grant became well known for helping to keep Crowley’s concepts and philosophies alive in the troubled decades following his death, and for the further continuation and expansion of Thelemic ideas over six decades.

Kenneth Grant’s occultism was not the fervent, dry adherence of the ideologue. Rather, he fashioned a deeply personal, fantastical, dynamic, and intricate system of magic woven together from syncretic elements of Tantra, Voudon, Gnosticism, Surrealism, fiction and a variety of other exotic threads. Building on the foundations of Crowley’s work, Grant expanded the current understanding of the meaning and implications of the “Law ofThelema”. Much like the mystic William Blake, Grant forged his own path beyond esoteric speculation, writing first-hand accounts of what he perceived to exist outside of the range of mundane experience.

Over the course of sixty years, Grant cataloged his evolving exploration of Crowley’s system of Magick and philosophy across a series of nine books that came to be known as the Typhonian Trilogies. Grant had stated that he wanted the act of reading these books to be an esoteric experience in and of itself. Certainly, the trilogies contain a maelstrom of esoteric ideas, dream imagery, and highly technical esotericism that, for the receptive reader, can border on a consciousness-altering experience. In addition to these seminal works, Grant wrote a variety of articles, fiction, and poetry, all of which are being made available via his official publisher, Starfire.

Portrait of Steffi and Kenneth Grant by Austin Osman Spare

Grant is also responsible for the enduring legend of the occultist and artist Austin Osman Spare, who had a profound influence on both his and Steffi’s art and world view. As Spare’s executor, Grant helped to catalog and publish Spare’s paintings, drawings, and writings, securing his friend’s art the long-term influence and respect it wields today. Were it not for the Grant’s loyal championing, the world would most likely lack knowledge of the rich, haunting body of work that Spare left behind.

Mr. Grant is survived by his aforementioned wife, the artist Steffi Grant –who has been an integral presence in Grant’s work since the beginning– and their family. His work continues via the Typhonian Order and individual explorers the world over. Through whatever strange spheres or iridescent geometric shapes he may choose as his vehicle among the scintillating transplutonian stars, may his journey continue!

The Music of Jupiter

An oldy but a goody, posted both for those who have never heard it, and those who have heard it a hundred times already. The serene and mysterious ambient music of Jupiter as captured by NASA Voyager:

These sounds are the result of “the complex interactions of charged electromagnetic particles from the solar wind, planetary magnetosphere, etc.” (Via Andy Ristaino, thank you.)

There’s something deeply comforting and astonishing about this, isn’t there? Our universe is so far from silent. A wide range of heavenly bodies are constantly emitting unique electromagnetic signals that we can pick up and process, provided we have the right instruments. The stars do sing.

Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea

These images are from the stunning book “Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea” by artists Kahn & Selesnick. A description from the artists:

On an altered yet recognizable version of our neighbouring planet, we find a world populated solely with two women. We do not learn their names nor how and when they came to Mars, but we observe their wanderings in a desolate landscape which they attempt make navigable and habitable with an amalgam of high-tech components retrofitted to found artifacts and monuments that appear to be the remnants of a long-gone civilization. The remains of massive stone listening devices are littered about the landscape, leading us to wonder: is this a colony that has collapsed and lost touch with earth? How did its occupants become stranded? Or are these the nocturnal imaginings of two post-apocalyptic survivors?

The book can be viewed and purchased on Blurb. The artists write on Tumblr, “the ideal book we designed for the series, 12”x12” hardcover, 80 pages, available now through blurb online only, until a publisher daring enough picks it up. A full preview of it is on the website.” $108 may seem somewhat pricey, but that’s actually because Blurb is expensive for people to use, not because they’re trying to make a huge profit. If a real publisher picked up this book, it would be more affordable. Fingers crossed.

More images, after the jump! [via Synaptic Stimuli & Wurzeltod]

All Tomorrows: “Fear is the mind-killer”

After a brief hiatus, David Forbes’ All Tomorrows column, your informal classroom on the glories of sci-fi’s Deviant Age, returns to Coilhouse. Welcome back, David!

Paul took a deep breath to still his trembling. “If I call out there’ll be servants on you in seconds and you’ll die.”

“Servants will not pass your mother who stands guard outside that door. Depend on it. Your mother survived this test. Now it’s your turn. Be honored. We seldom administer this to men-children.”

Curiosity reduced Paul’s fear to a manageable level. He heard truth in the old woman’s voice, no denying it. If his mother stood guard outside… if this were truly a test… And whatever it was, he knew himself caught in it, trapped by that hand at his neck: the gom jabbar. He recalled the response from the Litany against Fear as his mother had taught him out of the Bene Gesserit rite.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Chilton published car manuals. So it must have come as some surprise, 45 years ago, when, out of nowhere, they released a lengthy, phenomenally strange science fiction novel by a nearly unknown journalist. The man’s agent wasn’t even enthusiastic about the manuscript and it had seen rejection from every reputable sci-fi publishing house before squeaking into the pages of Analog.

Dune, read the imposing cover, with its evocatively psychedelic sand swirls and tiny white figures straining against an implied storm. The John Schoenherr art revealed little about the plot or themes inside, other than to convey a sense of struggle and desolation in an otherworldly place.

Opening it up, the reader was plunged into a story of universe-shaking drugs, dynastic backstabbing and heterodox mysticism sprinkled with a tumble of words (Bene Gesserit, Kwisatz Haderach, Sardaukargom jabbar) so strange as to constitute a second language. Whatever the sci-fi readers of the day might have expected, this was doubtlessly not it. By all rights, this unexpected book should have sunk beneath the proverbial sands, awaiting rediscovery in a friendlier artistic age.

Instead, after a somewhat tepid start, it proved a runaway best-seller, sweeping every award sci-fi had to offer. Dune would go on to define the rest of Herbert’s life and ripple into the surrounding culture with an impact that no one, including its author, could have foreseen.

In many ways Dune was the epic Omega to the Alpha of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; released about a decade before. It was sci-fi’s answer to fantasy’s magnum opus, and its only book that can rival Tolkien’s in terms of cultural influence. Herbert’s masterpiece proved tenaciously infectious, its tendrils stretching into all sorts of unexpected corners of the culture, with even its mantras showing up as warning or inspiration.

What is it about this ornate myth that keeps fascinating new generations, why has Dune outlasted its era with such influence?

Elder Sign and Cthulhu Stocking Stuffage

From Joseph Nanni and friends (the same twisted souls who brought us that Necronomicon infomercial) comes this important, potentially lifesaving message about Elder Sign:

Sure, this clip has been circulating on the internet for a while, but as everyone knows, flying polyp infestations are most rampant during the holiday season. If you suffer from “an overwhelming sense of dread brought on by the realization of your own insignificance in the universe” that’s possibly being compounded by Seasonal Affective Disorder, rancid egg nog or overexposure to Glenn Beck-parroting (read: polyp ridden) in-laws, you need Elder Sign now more than ever.

And possibly some *cough* stocking stuffers from the HPLHS Bazaar:

(ElderWear: “Because you don’t want Shoggoths in your pants.”)

Father of Fractal Geometry: Benoit Mandelbrot

“Clouds are not spheres, order mountains are not cones, order coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.”
—Benoit Mandelbrot
The Fractal Geometry of Nature

The visionary, revolutionary mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot has died, aged 85. He was a genius in the truest and most passionate sense of the word. May he rest in peace. Several fractalicious, Mandelbrotastic clips are compiled below for your edification and viewing pleasure:

The Protomen: Space Avengers From Nashville

Nerdcore. Chiptune. Gamewave. Bands Influenced by Video Games. It’s almost a given that we, as People of the Web, have heard at least one track we can assign to this genre. With MC Fronalot, Anamanaguchi, and Minibosses among the names at its forefront, this movement is a love letter to all things nerdy and wonderful. The Protomen may be lesser-known than some of the aforementioned folks right now, but not for long.

No, not for long.

Panther, the lead vocalist, is joined by a cast of nine, who, in his words, “noticed a void in rock and roll. A hole that could only really be filled with grown men and women painting up like robots and playing some fierce and furious rock music based on a 1980s video game.” Having just released their second album, the Nashville-based, Mega Man-inspired, silver-painted space cowboys [and girls] have been on a national tour since summer, and if you have the chance, you should definitely check ’em out. These guys are young, hilarious, and they’re damn good.

Despite all the tight production and shiny web design, this band is meant to be experienced live. As the countless performance clips on YouTube prove, you can expect some form of a mosh pit, costumes, eager audience participation, theatrics and a whole lot of RAWKK. Also, the odd Journey cover, or better yet, Clap Danzatar, a Pat Benatar and Danzig mash-up which must be heard to be understood. Simply put, if you like things like rock operas, video games, or fun, and can tolerate a little retro-worship, do yourself a favor and get into The Protomen. This fan-made video for Unrest in the House of Light, a track off their first album, is a good place to start.

Homemade Spacecraft

Watch this and see if you don’t agree that Luke Geissbühler deserves to win some sort of Coolest Dad of the Year award:

This is footage that Geissbühler edited together after he and his young son Max attached a Go Pro Hero HD video camera to a helium-filled weather balloon “that rose into the upper stratosphere and recorded the blackness of space.”

After months of research, planning, and flight tests, the intrepid duo and their friends traveled from Park Slope, Brooklyn to a remote area of Newburgh in Orange County, NY with their camera and GPS system carefully wrapped in a homemade styrofoam capsule and fitted with a parachute. The balloon that carried this hand-crafted vessel skyward was rated to burst at 19 feet in diameter, and reached a height of nearly 20 miles above the earth before that happened.

This was all done within FAA regulations. This is awesome. Not just in the colloquial sense of the word, but by its dictionary definition: amazing, awe inspiring, and provoking wonderment.

Breathtaking Time Lapse Show Reel by Mike Flores

via Jon Ascher

Mike Flores, a photographer and filmmaker from North County, San Diego, sets his state-of-the-art HD camera on a dolly that scoots it along at a snail’s pace, shooting time lapse imagery. The resulting footage –particularly that of natural desert landscapes and skies– is stunningly beautiful.

Soundtrack supplied by Hans Zimmer’s bombastic (and highly effective) Inception score. Visit Flores’ Vimeo account for more videos. Be sure to watch them all full screen.