domenica 15 febbraio 2009

Ira Cohen

Ira Cohen, poet, photographer, filmmaker, traveller born on February the 3rd, 1935 to deaf parents, began developing his vision at one year learning to spell with his fingers. In 1961 he took a Yugoslavian freighter to Tangier where he lived for 4 years and publishedGnaoua, a magazine devoted to exorcism introducing the work of Brion Gysin , William Burroughs , Harold Norse and other members of the interzone mob. He also produced Jilala, a mythic recording of trance music by a sect of dervishes, which was recorded by Paul Bowles.

In his loft on the Lower East Side, Cohen created the "mylar images", future icons developed by a "mythographer".
Among the reflected artists in his mirror: John McLaughlin, William Burroughs and Jimi Hendrix who said that looking at these photos was like looking through butterfly wings.
Timothy Baum, noted expert in Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, said that these images were jewels and should be shown at Tiffany's. With this shamanic and tantric exercise Cohen explored the whole spectrum of photography from infrared to black light.
He also directed the "phantasmaglorical" film the Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda and produced Paradise Now, a film of the Living Theatre's historic American tour in 1968.
In 1970, He went to the Himalayas where he started the starstream poetry series under the Bardo matrix imprint in Kathmandu, publishing the work of Paul Bowles , Charles Henri Ford, Gregory Corso and Angus Maclise and developing his art of bookmaking working with native craftsmen.
In 1972 he spent a year in San Francisco reading and performing and then returned to New York mounting photographic shows.

In the 80's,Ira made very special and important trips to Ethiopia, Japan and back to India where he documented on video the great kumbh mela festival which is the largest spiritual gathering on the planet.
In the late 80's Synergetic Press (London) published On Feet of Gold, a book of selected poems. He was also a contributing editor of Third Rail magazine, a review of international arts and literature based in Los Angeles.

In 1994 Sub Rosa records released his first CD, The Majoon Traveller, with dj Cheb i Sabbah, the well known San Francisco DJ who mixed his readings with ritual music (Joujouka, Jilala ...) which also included the work of Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman.

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