08.03.2017: Make Yourself a Podcast!
A beginner's guide to making a podcast, in Berlin. Learn how to prepare a show, present music and stories, edit, mix and make it all sound nice. No fancy equipment required: just a laptop, a good idea, and an open ear. Enquire within.
I consider myself very lucky that I still get to spend my time making sonic approximations of the things that happen in Sam's brain, and I'm even more chuffed that BBC Radio 4 saw fit to turn us loose on their night-time programme, along with a super-talented cast including Henry Paker, Freya Parker, Mike Wilmot and Sarah Kendall, to create more confusion on the airwaves. Produced by Alex Smith and Joe Nunnery, sound design by me, music by Ducks! Hear it here.
04.01.2017: Sam Simmons is Not a People Person
03.12.2016: How to Predict the Future
How do you know if the song you're listening to is an important song? Because you won't like it... yet. A little talk on the idea of the future in art and music, from Gertrude Stein to Jaden Smith, presented by The School of Life Sydney.
A monthly live event in Berlin, where we learned about the people and ideas that shaped our world while watching the kind of music and movie clips people play in the later stages of a 4am youtube party.
24.03.2016 - 24.08.2016: Culture Club Kino: The Secret History of Music, Movies, Art and Ideas.
10.09.2015: The J-Files - Love in the 90s
Double J Radio presents highlights from the documentary series, along with more music and stories from the 90s. Presented by Caz Tran. Listen to the program here.
21.09.2015: Art Criticism in the Digital Age
Blogs, vlogs, podcasts and more have created new platforms for those with something to say about contemporary art, offering ew spaces and places for criticism, while at the same time transforming it.
Twenty years ago, critics had to hope for a position as a reviewer for a magazine if they wanted to reach the public. Now, anyone with a smartphone and an opinion has access to a potential audience of millions. And as the new technology democratises criticism, larger media companies also embrace and adopt the new mode.
So how do we make good use of these new opportunities as art writers? And how can we use new technology to say what we want to say about art today?
12.07.2015: Jarvis Cocker (DJ set) + Ducks! at Neue Heimat Berlin
Live performance by Ducks! following the first official screening of 'Pulp: A Film About Life, Death and Supermarkets'. Lani Bagley: singing, dancing, tropical side-eye, shiny surfaces. Craig Schuftan: Synths, backing vocals, make-up.
2.7.2015 Entertain Us! The Rise and Fall of Alternative Rock in the Nineties: UK and Europe Release.
A journey through the decade and its music, from Sonic Youth’s Kool Thing to Radiohead’s Kid A; Lollapalooza ’91 to Woodstock ’99. Three years after its first publication, Entertain Us! is now finally available in the UK and Europe through Harper Collins publishers. Pre-order your copy here!
5.6.2015: Black Mountain College: Alternative Nation
Official opening of the exhibition 'Black Mountain College: An Interdisciplinary Experiment, 1933-1957', at Berlin's Hamburger Bahnhof Museum for Contemporary Art, and accompanying catalogue, edited by Dr Catherine Nichols, and featuring the essay 'Alternative Nation' by Craig Schuftan.
30.5.2015: Gertrude Stein's 'The World is Round'
Short talk on Stein's 1939 children's book, followed by performance of a short excerpt with music by Ducks!
Hosted by Entretempo Kitchen Berlin as part of the 'Literary Dining' series, curated by An Paenhuysen. Photo by Akane Kimbara.
Watch the performance and listen to an interview here, on An's blog.
29.5.2015: Ducks! Present: 'Into the Trees'
Original soundtrack music by Ducks!, to be played at the opening of Agnes KR Patience's exhibition, Schwarz-Weiss-Zwischenwelten, n_how Berlin.
14.5.2015: European Lab: 'The Next Cultural Decade'
Round table debate on the idea of culture defined by decades, and what might be in store during the next one. Hosted by Wyndham Wallace, also featuring Agata Pyzik, Relja Bobic and Jean-Francois Sanz
http://www.europeanlab.com/en/debat-la-prochaine-decennie-culturelle/ Photo by Marion Bornaz
9.5.2015: The School of Life Presents: Why Romanticism Matters
On why rock music loves misery, and the truth about Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Hosted by The School of Life, Melbourne. http://www.theschooloflife.com/melbourne/blog/2015/03/why-romanticism-matters/
8.5.2015: The School of Life Presents: The Philosophy of Disco
Art or Entertainment? Songs to make you think, or songs to help you forget your troubles? The history and practice of disco offers insights into a long-running intellectual debate in Western Culture. Presented by the School of Life, Melbourne. http://www.theaureview.com/interviews/craig-schuftan-berlin-sydney-talks-the-philosophy-of-disco
(Photo: Ray Mann)
5.4.2015: Hokey Religions and Ancient Weapons: Nostalgia for the Future in Star Wars IV-VI
Lecture and slide show on cultural nostalgia and retro-futurism, hosted by Somos Berlin at the opening of the exhibition, Future: Now, curated by Elisa Rusca. https://askhelmut.com/events/2015-03-05-19-00-opening-future-now
6.12.2014: Eine Kleine Nacht-Fieber; the Philosophy of Disco
Disco lecture and party, hosted by de Gym, Groningen. http://heyevent.de/event/1521098058176514/eine-kleine-nacht-fieber-lecture-party-on-the-philosophy-of-disco
29.11.2014: The Low End Theory: Hip Hop Lecture and Party
A History of loops and samples, a night of beats and rhymes at T Berlin, featuring music by Ray Mann and DJ Zimt
16.10.2014: Lady Dada: Collage and Photomontage from Weimar to Mileygate.
Lecture and slide show on the history of Photomontage. Followed by cut-up sounds from Moonsign and Ducks! Performed at the opening of the exhibition 'Mountains Beyon Mountains', Leuchtstoffe, Berlin.
"Could it be that we come to the city in order to achieve solitude? Such has been the unspoken premise of the modern city of utopian individualism. By solitude I do not mean isolation. Isolation is a state of nature: solitude is the work of culture. Isolation is an imposition, solitude a choice."
walkman | ipod | iphone | isolation | solitude | city | the crowd
"The whole human species, looked at from its origins, appears to the philosopher as an immense whole, which, like an individual, has its infancy and its progress … The totality of humanity, fluctuating between calm and agitation, between good times and bad, moves steadily though slowly towards a greater perfection."
Said nobody, at any time in the last one hundred years. Nowadays, our view of the future is more like the one seen from the middle ages than the Enlightenment. But from where he stood in 1750, or perhaps sat, on a chair a bit like the one pictured above, the French statesman and economist Jacques Turgot could look back on the past five centuries and see a gradual transition from primitive agrarians torturing and killing each other over superstitious nonsense, to the confident era of the Enlightenment, with its stupendous advancements in astronomy, medicine and physics.
enlightenment | progress | history | kubrick | 2001
'Thus it is well known that a child learns to walk, talk and to know his way around the world just by trying something out and seeing what happens, then modifying what he does (or thinks) in accordance with what has actually happened. In this way, he spends his first few years in a wonderfully creative way, discovering all sorts of things that are new to him, and this leads people to look back on childhood as a kind of lost paradise. As the child grows older, however, learning takes on a narrower meaning. In school, he learns by repetition to accumulate knowledge, so as to please the teacher and pass examinations. At work, he learns in a similar way, so as to make a living, or for some other utilitarian purpose, and not for the love of the action of learning itself. So his ability to see something new and original gradually dies away. And without it there is evidently no ground from which anything can grow.'
guns n roses | axl rose | daniel bohm | childhood | creativity
'That human life must be some kind of mistake is sufficiently proved by the simple observation that man is a compound of needs which are hard to satisfy; that their satisfaction achieves nothing but a painless condition in which he is given over to boredom; and that boredom is a direct proof that existence itself is valueless, for boredom is nothing more than the sensation of the emptiness of existence. For if life, in the desire for which our essence and existence consists, possessed in itself a positive value and real content, there would be no such thing as boredom: mere existence would fulfil and satisfy us. As things are, we take no pleasure in existence except when we are striving after something—in which case distance and difficulties make our goal look as if it would satisfy us (an illusion which fades when we reach it) ...'
rolling stones | arthur schopenhauer | philosophy | rock and roll | desire | boredom
'There is a sentimental rhetoric which readily waxes emotional about deserving paupers and unhappy millionaires alike, and which rails against money... These melodramatic and moral motifs are part of the everyday lives of poor people. Verbal propaganda of the rich, they make up the greater part of the average person's ideological baggage. Disguised as an indictment of money, they justify wealth by reducing it to a mere accident of the human condition...'
mo money | mo problems | lefebvre | biggie smalls | notorious BIG
'The bigots, the hysterics, the destroyers of the self - these are the writers who bear witness to the fearful polite time in which we live... Ours is an age which obsessively pursues health, and yet only believes in the reality of sickness. The truths we respect are those born of affliction. We measure truth in terms of the cost to the writer in suffering - rather than by the standard of an objective truth to which a writer's words correspond. Each of our truths must have a martyr.'
kanye west | spike jonze | susan sontag