There’s something pretty epic (or perhaps just biblical) about sculpting life out of clay and Sean Pecknold has quite a knack for it – make of that what you will. His work includes videos for Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear and the BBC under the visual initiative, Grandchildren. We were keen to see what literary reference points a prolific animator would use so here they are in the form of our Bookshelf feature…
The Red Book Carl Jung
For years this was locked away in a Swiss vault, only recently revealed to the world. It’s a fascinating book, covering Jung’s so called ‘voluntary confrontation with the unconscious’. He would force himself to hallucinate, what he called “active imaginations,” in order to explore the world of the unconscious. Basically it’s about Jung trying to regain his soul and overcome spiritual alienation. Printed with it’s original handwritten calligraphy in Latin and German, and translated in English. Accompanying the text are beautiful paintings of symmetrical mandalas, snakes, and dragons. Plan a night alone, cuddle up by the fire, and get lost in your inner you.
An always entertaining collection of short films, put out by McSweeney’s a couple times a year. Off-beat, obscure narrative and documentary shorts and animations. I recommend in particular issue No. 6 which includes Please Vote For Me, a fascinating documentary about kids running for class president at a Chinese elementary school, and Big Foot – A Beast On The Run. Some of the films are fresh off the festival circuit and some are online, but there is still something nice about sitting back on the couch and watching a good curated batch of shorts, without the distractions of the alt-tab attention span.
Whole Earth Catalog Stewart Brand
What a pre-internet resource this was. Filled with instructional and inspirational ways of exploring and utilizing the world. Curated by Stewart Brand, who went on to publish the CoEvolution Quarterly, which is also a fascinating read. The focus being on books and things from broad range of subjects from film-making, to agriculture, cybernetics, astronomy, domes, the FUTURE!, living on planet earth, and on, and on. Archival print copies are available from random places online, and scans of the issues are available for viewing on the Whole Earth website. It’s fun to flip through and see the things that seemed so new and interesting 40 years ago. I would recommend in particular the Fall 1968 catalog which contains insightful reviews and analysis of books like the Human Biocomputer, The Mind of the Dolphin, and a product review of the Hewlett-Packard 9100A Tabletop Calculator for 4,900 dollars! Gather your friends, flip through one of these and send money away for a solar powered yurt, then sit back and hope the place is still in business.
Sometimes A Great Notion Ken Kesey
Never Give An Inch! An epic family story, set in the Oregon lumber days, in the midst of a bitter union strike. It turns and rolls along slowly like the river the Stamper’s house sits on, but it’s worth the ride. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest is one of my all-time favorites but I think I prefer this one. This summer, pack a lunch, take it down to the river with your crush, and read chapters to each other as the sun sets behind the pine trees.
Who Is Sleeping On My Pillow Mamma Andersson & Jockum Nordstrom
Super inspiring book on the work of the Swedish super couple and their ridiculous amount of creative output over the years spent together. Paintings, collages, photos, and interviews. Includes a fantastic collection of family photos as well as reference photos for some of the pieces.