“A writer, a musician, a photographer. Owner of Edda Publishing and Trapart, member of Cotton Ferox project and a head of Highbrow Lowlife netlabel. Carl Abrahamsson shares his thoughts on 2014”
How would you summarize this past year on an artistic and personal level?
It’s been an interesting year, as things have literally amassed to the point of breaking. Too many things have happened, and now I have to sort it all out as we approach 2015. Truly a “luxury problem”, I know. I’ve been writing more and also published more. More lectures. More books. I’m working on some philosophical writings too, which is terrifying at times. In all, a nice mix.
The films in the documentary series “An Art Apart” have all progressed nicely. Ten films in the pipeline now. Most of this first batch will be ready in 2015.
Cotton Ferox performed more than usual, and I feel happy with the integration of more magic in our performances. I’m not at all comfortable on stage in any normal contexts, but I do it now because it helps me process certain things and leave a particular residue – non-organic, I should probably add.
Which album have you listened to most often this year (not necessarily released in 2014)? (in your case you can also choose some literature)
That would have to be Warpaint’s “Warpaint”, which I’ve listened to at least 100 times. It was the same with their first album and their EPs. Very emotionally resonant music for me. They stomp on my old formative grounds with 1980s UK new wave/”emo”, but turn it into an American hybrid filtered through pure feminine beauty.
I also enjoyed Swans’ “To Be Kind” a lot – essentially the same beauty here but packaged in a distinctly more masculine form.
As for books, I’m happy to say I’ve read more this year than 2013. That’s good. I’ve been impressed by Tennessee Williams’ short stories and Barry Miles’ Burroughs bio. Pynchon’s “Bleeding Edge” was a disappointment, so I re-read “Gravity’s Rainbow” to balance that. Jung’s “Red Book” (text edition) was with me all the time. I also returned to Paul Bowles several times, as I wrote a lecture on his work. And a lot more. Re-reading Gore Vidal’s “Myra Breckinridge” and “Myron” is always fun, so I did that too.
What was the best gig you’ve attended?
I had the privilege of watching Michael Gira perform inside a mausoleum by/for the Norwegian painter Emmanuel Vigeland in Oslo. The natural delay in that space was something like 20 seconds… Very powerful stuff. Gira’s voice, guitar and walls painted with phantasmagorical scenes of life and death. Nothing could beat that.
What was the best non-music related cultural experience you’ve had?
The Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Royal Academy in London. It was such a massive and intelligent show that I probably have to place this in the all time favorite category or list. The sacredness in Kiefer’s large-scale expressions is not only a clue to the German psyche but also to life in general. Truly art at its most magnificent.
I also ploughed through the entire 13 DVD box of Werner Herzog’s documentaries. That was quite an inspirational boost, especially his lesser known work.
Although I missed the show proper in London, I was blown away by the catalog for Gilbert & George’s “Scapegoating Pictures for London”. I’m amazed how they can keep up such a strong and consistent quality in their work.
Was there an event within this past year that has significantly influenced your philosophy and outlook on life, or your perception of the world around you? For instance some specific place you visited, people you met and so on?
The death of my best friend in late July. Except for all the grief involved, it also put things in a really healthy perspective. Death is probably the most life-affirming experience there is. Perhaps I didn’t really change my outlook but the events made me more aware of the fragility of life and the necessity of Thelema and Individuation. Life is very short. Not even one little fragment should be wasted.
A Californian trip during the summer made me realize I love certain aspects of America very much. I would love to live there, at least for a slightly longer period of time than a couple of weeks.
A Macedonian trip during the early winter made me realize the transforming power of fiction, as I re-enacted certain scenes from my first novel, “Mother, Have A Safe Trip” in its correct environment. In a sense, from that moment and onwards, I can no longer be anything else but a writer. Everything changed then.
What was your greatest disappointment in 2014?
The death of my best friend. And the death of another dear friend too. It was a very brutal year with this demise of two relatively young people. A disappointment in general was also that I realized I simply cannot do all the things I want to without imploding or breaking. At least not all of them at once. All of these things together spell out that I have to be more focused and take better care of myself as a biological organism. That’s not a disappointment in itself of course, but my enthusiasm for life is quite often out of synch with the outer forms of reality. That can be very frustrating.
Your plans, hopes and expectations for 2015?
I hope to write even more and do more lectures. Finish novel number two. I’m committed to the film series so I will carry on with that to see where it leads on. But I also hope I can learn to say “No” more. I also often feel quite lonely so I should probably do something about that. Or perhaps someone else should?