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The Dark Knight meets The Italian Job II:
time-lapsed open-access purging of the italo-sized art book queue

Fulvio Leoncini

(Fulvio Leoncini ... see below)

Dear Internet,

We are now into May .... here is what the 30 days of April looked like from our p.o.v. .. in 30 seconds (one photo a day taken about the same time every morning ....

Yesterday we found a severed woodpecker head below riverside church (the tower in the above video), where apparently a peregrine falcon roosts .. tho we have yet to see him for ourself. We've only heard him & seen such severed evidence (normally pigeon parts .. strange that peregrines would prey on a woodpecker).

Species types .... we take these things as signs .. we think of our chance encounters with select animals in the same way some people interpret dreams .. our encounters are not completely by chance, but part of some massive collective ecosystem/consciousness .. extending to every reach of the phylogenetic tree (wherein we recapitulate this phylogeny in our own ontongeny .. identifying species holographically with our own individual traits). Both woodpecker & peregrine appear in The Becoming (& in our current roosting static state of mind, the peregrine has become our mantra) .. in fact a red-headed woodpecker figures prominently as a step-father figure (whose role is as a sort of scribe to peck the muck matrix into the shell of the loggerhead turtle (who is a surrogate step-mother figure, since our real mother, the wolf, died giving birth to us).

( .. & if you, the Internet, are wondering what the muck matrix is .. that's how we determine whether something is edible or not .. by trail & error, since, being feral Kaspar Hauser-type orphans & all, we have no knowledge-base to draw on.)

We've revealed other notable woodpecker moments in other 5cense posts, but here's a woodpecker story we've never shared that dates back to when we lived in Tucson .. in a house with a woodstove with a long metal chimney that extended up thru the roof. Almost every morning at almost the same exact time, this woodpecker used to come around & start pecking on the metal stovepipe .. which inside our house resonated loudly, the standalone pipe acting as an amplifier. It essentially became our alarm clock. Why the woodpecker was pecking on our metal stovepipe, we could never figure out. Our neighbor (the illustrious Max Cannon) suggested we throw a rubber snake up on the roof, or mount one of those owls, but we kind of liked having the woodpecker come around & be our alarm clock .. our siren .. we considered his pecking to be an intent to communicate with us .. in some sort of woodpecker morse code.

.. & the introduction of sea turtle as our stepmother in The Becoming we imagine had something to do with our chance encounter with one in Indonesia .. wherein we removed a hook from her mouth.

Anyway .... as usual, when we started to write this, we didn't intend this to be about woodpeckers .. we labeled the file "Italian_job.htm" but we're not sure why. We didn't care much for the film going by this name. When the movie came out, we were working at Napster (2.0) .. & multiple friends told us «you have to see this movie .. The Italian Job ..it's about this guy who first had the idea for Napster but Shawn Fanning .. who plays himself! .. came along & stole his idea ..» .. but in reality, the scene is like an incidental 5-second sidenote to the movie.

Napster Italian Job Shawn Fanning

When we worked for Napster it wasn't the real Napster, but some pre-existing shit-ass music service (pressplay) with the Napster brand slapped on top of it .. Napster 2.0 .. total scam. Shawn Fanning was given some sort of honorary position .. more for P.R. than anything. The only time we saw him was once in the L.A. office .. playing chess with the other creative boy-genius in the office (Glenn Kaino).

But this post isn't about any of this, either .... though we have been reading the blog of Aaron Swartz lately .. speaking of maverick hackers whose mission it is/was to liberate files & information for free public consumption .. only to be persecuted as a thief .. a story stemming from the MIT campus far more tragic & sad then recent events there (which was just random & meaningless violence). Like us, Aaron Swartz kept a blog, not as an outward-facing soapbox to preach his beliefs, but as a personal journal, a way to process his thoughts:

«Whenever a thought crystalizes in my head, I type it up and post it here. I don’t read over it, I don’t show it to anyone, and I don’t edit it — I just post it. I don’t consider this writing, I consider this thinking. I like sharing my thoughts and I like hearing yours and I like practicing expressing ideas, but fundamentally this blog is not for you, it’s for me. I hope that you enjoy it anyway.»

Ditto. And an un-copyrighted ditto at that.

Aaron Swartz as The Dark Knight

In the case of Swartz tho, it's downright creepy. It's like his brain has been fused with the Internet, on display, frozen in time. He left no suicide note or any direct indications of intent in the later entries on his blog .... but his last post was about The Dark Knight (which strangely is the last movie Heath Ledger made before his death .. & also the movie that was playing in the Colorado theatre massacre) .. in talking about The Dark Knight, «truly the final film in this nihilistic trilogy, documenting the hopelessness of anything outside that usual left-right struggle» .. a lot is revealed about Swartz. At first he seems to identify with the joker  .. or in any event, anarchy .. that the «only sensible way to live in this world is without rules» .... until the roles reverse & Batman becomes the bad guy that is persecuted & then his allegiance/identification changes (which brings into question the motive of self-betrayal). The final thing Swartz says in his blog is:

«Thanks to Batman, society doesn’t devolve into a self-interested war of all-against-all, as he apparently expects it to, but that doesn’t mean anyone enjoys the trials. Thus Master Wayne is left without solutions. Out of options, it’s no wonder the series ends with his staged suicide.»

One seriously has to wonder if The Dark Knight is cursed .... (also strange that 'schwarz' means 'black' in German). And his choice of words 'all-against-all' is interesting .. being as his main agenda in life was to make information by all & for all .. open & free .... all-for-all. Maybe Swartz' suicide was staged .. & he will rise again ....

Anyway, again, we didn't set out to write this post about Batman .. we don't harbor such grim thoughts .. nor do we really jive with Swartz's taste in movies & books (the only notable book he talks about is Infinite Jest) .. but this general all-for-all mindset is core to our own philosophy (regarding book publishing & art in general) .. authorship & copyright are evil forces that need to be eradicated for art & information (& subsequently our egos) to be free ....

And we blog here for the same reasons as Swartz .. this blog is our I/O filter. We pass information through our brains & parse out bits that are relevant to what we do, that drives our creative output.

Input-wise, we are still in heavy acquisitions mode. A few posts ago we listed some new purchases .. here's the stack we've acquired since then.

stacks to read

Obviously we are acquiring books faster than we can read them .... not to mention that we are reading submissions for Sleepingfish .. & even though we are not officially considering submissions for Calamari Press, there's been a spattering of submissions/solicitations lately. After not publishing anything by new authors for over a year, suddenly in the last few days it seems negotiations with three different authors are coming to a head. 'Negotiations' sounds funny .. it's not like our lawyers meet with theirs, it's more like we say «this is how we do shit, you cool with it?» It's premature to reveal what these three books are .. suffice to say at least one of these authors has a book in the above stack ....

With these new books though comes a sort of nagging stress to clear the queue, to at least make room on the to-read shelf. A lot of these books are lingering leftovers from our time spent in Rome. In our Roman Roundup of Italian art/lit pubs I we talked about one batch of mostly small press art books we picked up here & there while living in Italy .. but we never did get around to a follow up post as promised. So this is it .. these are some of those other books (in no particular order) ....

Maurizio Ceccato - No Capisco un'acca

Non capisco un'acca by Maurizio Ceccato—an illustrated novel wherein the letter H is never used .. mostly graphic collage/cut-up in steampunk/dada sort of style.


Maurizio Ceccato - Non Capisco H

(sample page from the above Non capisco un'acca)


Gianluigi Toccafondo - Rue Morgue

from Rue morgue by Gianluigi Toccafondo—wherein Toccafondo illustrates Edgar Allan Poe's short story of the same name in graphic slasher style


Gianluigi Colin - Borderlands

a spread from the collaged chapbook Borderlands by Gianluigi Colin, by the same publisher/art gallery as the above book, Corraini


Ester Grossi

from a book of Patrick Nagel-like portraits by Ester Grossi that we picked up from Spazio Meme .. the gallery that hosted an exhibit of ours when we first arrived in Italy (text is on transparent vellum, laid over the images)


Giuda - Geographical institute of unconventional drawing

from another graphic book/magazine of illustrations/comics we picked up at Spazio Meme, put out by GIUDA (Geographical Institute of Unconventional Drawing Arts) edizioni



not sure where we picked this up & we're all almost embarrassed to say it's a magazine published by Illy (basically the Starbucks of Italy)—this issue features design students from Kingston University in London .. where, coincidentally, one of the alluded-to authors whose book we are going to re-publish teaches



NERO magazine—these guys probably don't need an introduction, a great arts magazine out of Rome, but widely available in the U.S. with great online content too


Inventario - Gianluigi Bellucci

from Inventario, an artist chapbook/broadside with art by Gianluigi Bellucci & text by Luca Arnaudo, published by a tiny boutique press on the outskirts of Rome called Il Bulino


La Governante  Sara Gavioli

from La Governante, text by Edouard Osmont & illustrations by Sara Gavioli .. another one we probably also picked up at Spazio Meme

These next two were published by a gallery/publisher (or 'cultural space') in Rome, La Camera Verde—where we went to a few openings/readings:

Fulvio Leoncini

form an art book by Fulvio Leoncini (see also the opening image of this post)


Alfredo Anzellini

form Nudo Che Scende Le Scale a Parigi by Alfredo Anzellini

.. & last but not least .. these last two are from Kaus é Incisione .. a book we got thru our crew at Stamperia del Tevere, a sort of photo-documentary from another print-making school (where they learned their chops) named Kaus Urbino .. with photos by Laura Peres (she's the one with the scarf and camera talking to me in the last photo of this post)

Kaus Incisione



Kaus e Incisione

(from Kaus é Incisione .. presumably what she is staring at is the typeset formation used to print the facing page

These are mostly art books with not much to read (at least in English). Two other books we picked up in Rome that we recently read/are reading (albeit with haste due to their thickness (both are over 350 pages)) are Cosa Nostra & Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die.

Sacca & Vanzetti & Cosa Nostra

Cosa Nostra & Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die!

Cosa Nostra (by John Dickie) is a comprehensive history of the Sicilian Mafia .. besides just chronicling the exploits of the notorious capos & the brutal crimes, what makes the book interesting is that it delves deep into the mafia mindset .. very specifically the Sicilian mafia (as opposed to just organized crime in general) as it is a very specific thing .. 'our thing' .. with its code of honor, secret language & masonic-like cultish aspects to it. Not only does it trace/relate its origins/influence from the Arab world & other 'primitive' sources, but it goes into the psychology of the Italian mindset at large that has allowed for the mafia to exist, denying it's existence even .. whether it be by sympathy or apathy. Wish we would've read it before or while we were in Palermo, around this time last year, but interesting to reflect back now ....

Despite the title, Mark Binelli's Sacco And Vanzetti Must Die! is not really about Sacco & Vanzetti .. at least not the anarchist terrorists we remember them to be from U.S. history .. but instead they are more like Laurel & Hardy characters, slapstick comedians engaged in hilarious adventure .. in a role reversal that gradually equates slapstick to anarchism in a fuck them if they can't laugh way. We picked up the book because we hung out some with Mark Binelli in Rome & were surprised to discover he had a book with Dalkey Archive .. though really this is just a side gig for him (when he's not interviewing the likes of Johnny Depp, Britney Spears, Jay-Z or Thom Yorke for Rolling Stone or writing books about Detroit (in our minds the American sister city to Palermo)).

And speaking of Italy & Rome & ink .. tomorrow we're finally getting our Remus & Romulus tattoo .. on our tit .. stay tuned ....

  >> NEXT: Tit for (she-wolf) tat, mathematics & the rigors of rejecting & drawing conclusions

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