Archive for February, 2011

Fortean Times

Much of your earlier more pop-oriented musical work evokes Ballardian themes of desolation – crumbling cities, dystopian suburbias – but where did you draw inspiration for your more ambient work, albums like DNA and Cathedral Oceans?

JF: ‘I guess everything really came from The Quiet Man book. The DNA work is a loose set of music for imaginary movies also generated from the same source.’

Your photographic work also reflects the two sides of your musical personality – the images of verdant, overgrown man-made structures reclaimed by nature that accompany Cathedral Oceans, versus the surreal film-noir meets science-fiction imagery of, for instance, My Lost City. Where do these two seemingly opposite visual directions stem from? And what photographers or artists have inspired these two paths?

JF: ‘I think they stem from a childhood that coincided with the dissolution of the factories in the north of England.
There was a series of other major shifts at that time, from the devastation of Second World War bombing in Liverpool and Manchester, right down to the decline of cinemas and the incoming construction of the motorway network in the early 1960s. Everything was change – decline, ruins, overgrowth, then regrowth.
Cinema also played a great part in connecting and condensing all this.

Every time I saw a science-fiction film, I imagined it to be located somewhere in the local landscape. This really came into focus with Quatermass, which was set in urban and industrial Britain.

I suppose the artists who inspired some of these things would be the Surrealists – Max Ernst’s collages, Rene Magritte’s paintings and ideas, and Un Chien Andalou – that marvelous film by Bunuel and Dali.

Then there’s Marcel Duchamp, (who I think is the most important figure in contemporary art. Everyone else seems busy reconfiguring aspects of what he laid out over seventy years ago).

Empty city and surreal movies, such as The World The Flesh and The Devil, and especially Last Year in Marienbad.
Various film stills, such as the one from The H Man, which always stimulate the imagination.
Powerful and beautiful images such as Piranesi’s ‘Carceri’ series and his marvelous etchings of Rome in ruins. Turner’s sunsets are in there too.

Also, some marvelous Czech animators such as Walerian Borowczyk, Jan Lenica – and the Brothers Quay, who are British of course.

I also saw a painting in the early 1970’s by an artist whose name I can’t remember. It appeared to be an aerial perspective of a jungle or forest. Gradually, you came to see that it was an overgrown London, viewed from Centrepoint.’ › Continue reading

Thursday, February 10th, 2011 MEDIA No Comments