Tuesday 18 January 2011

the words that maketh ...

Four links to rather different kinds of material doing the rounds at the moment: all of them about language's constitutive power - what words do - and in particular the relations between language and violence.

They can be approached in any order.

PJ Harvey's new single 'The Words that Maketh Murder', from her forthcoming album Let England Shake:

Keith Olbermann on US television,
in the wake of the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords - in a long forthright speech to camera, he dismisses the role of violence in political rhetoric within democratic processes: see here

Martin Chulov in The Guardian (19 December 2010) with the extraordinary story of the Q'uran handwritten by a commissioned calligrapher using 27 litres of Saddam Hussein's blood over a period of two years in the late 1990s, and what on earth to do with it: see here

And finally, gently corrosive and hilarious guerrilla interventions in the streets of London by Charlie Veitch and the Love Police, megaphones in hand: 'Everything you read in the mainstream media is 100% true ...'

p.s. Here's Seamus Murphy on the making of the films for Polly Harvey's Let England Shake:

The album is a dense world of Polly's vision, but what interested me most was exploring the eccentricity and enigma of England. The present exists in a complicated relationship with the past and England's island status, and her relationship to her land, geography and tradition is fundamental to the country's psyche. Contemporary England springs from colonial adventures, military ambitions and industrial prowess. It is also shaded by fading power and its military role in modern geopolitics. To open myself up to a country I live in but rarely shoot, I took a road journey around England. I approached it as I would a foreign country, traveling wide-eyed with minimal equipment — light and alone. I documented life first-hand in classical reportage style, using available light and real-life situations, this time with sound and pictures. I normally have the still silent image as my universe. I photographed, directed and produced the films myself, and worked with editor Sebastian Gollek in Berlin to complete the project. The ballroom scene from Blackpool is one of my favorites; it has what I hope for in any project, to find the extraordinary in the ordinary and to be ambiguous enough to allow personal interpretation. I am not trying to deliver a message. Just showing what I saw, how I saw it and, sometimes, how I would like it to be.

For a pre-release stream of the entire album, see here.

Thanks to my friends Pete Harrison and Tim Etchells for a couple of these links, culled from their own web pages.

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