LUDWIG & THE GALLERY OF BEAUTIES
(THIS IS A STORY ABOUT HORSES)
Ludwig II, the young king of Bavaria, was born on 25 August 1845 with the sun in Virgo and the moon in Scorpio, presiding over a personality that was passionate but withdrawn and aloof: a conjunction that produces great beauty and even greater tragedy. His horoscope directed him to a higher destiny; the poet Paul Verlaine would call him the last true king of Europe. He came into the world on the same calendar date and at the same hour as his grandfather, King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and was named after him. This was his first public act as a future king: male members of the court being on hand to witness the delivery and establish the legitimacy of his succession. Ludwig II’s mother was a Prussian princess. She gave birth to him at Schloss Nymphenburg, the Nymph’s Palace on the outskirts of Munich, in a simple moss-green bedroom that still looks out over its bright ornamental gardens.
THE AIR SHIP
Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh.
You are cycling up Holloway Road and towards Highbury, which is where he lives, and you wonder if you will see him – because he is not at work today, it is possible. You imagine that you will see him and because your feelings for him are strong, your image of him is fine-toothed. You believe you are having a hunch: you will see him.
At the heart of it, Hustvedt is most concerned with the previously neglected relationship between science and emotion. Why has science been so slow to catch up with the thought processes of literature and art? “We cannot begin to understand human experience if we don’t understand emotion,” says Hustvedt. “I offer one of many reasons why: emotion consolidates memory. We remember what moved us in one way or another. If we weren’t moved, we are likely to forget the whole thing.”
THE PHOTIE MAN
Forging a lyrical, complex, and infinitely rich depiction of his adoptive city of Liverpool, Tom Wood was amongst the first photographers to turn their lens on modern Britain, elevating the beauty and complexity of the everyday to form a record of the region’s past that still resonates across culture and society today.
Filled with fleeting, everyday moments as familiar as they are compelling, each image holds an intangible mix of meaning and understanding many would be hard pressed to put into words. But maybe that’s the point. “I’m not trying to document anything,” Wood says over the phone from his home in North Wales, “I’m not trying to explain how something is, I just explore what’s around me. I don’t think about it, it’s what I do.”
When we, at Exhibit A Pictures, announced that 78/52 would be our next feature-length documentary – the first feature ever attempted about a single scene – people kept asking:
“Is this really necessary?”
“How can you possibly make an entire film about a single scene?”
“Don’t you think you’re going a little too far, this time?”
It may surprise you to discover that the man known as the 'Pope of Trash', 'King of Bad Taste' and 'Sultan of Sleaze' is also an ardent fan of the most traditional of holidays: Christmas. Not one to do things by half, John Waters has celebrated the season on film (in his 1974 cult classic Female Trouble), on record (he released a compilation album of his favourite Christmas songs in 2004) and on stage, every winter, for the past 15 years. The Pink Flamingos and Hairspray director takes his annual one-man show, A John Waters Christmas, on the road this month – hitchhiking into a town near you with a sack full of yuletide profanity, smutty stories and Santa-sized laughs. Speaking to us on the phone from his home in Baltimore earlier last month, Waters promised that this year’s show would address everything you’ve always wanted to know about Christmas – “Is Prancer the only gay reindeer?”, “Has Santa ever been nude?”, “Should you disrupt living nativity celebrations this year in the name of political action?” – but were too scared to ask.