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Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler
Edited with text by Tom Eccles, Maja Hoffmann, Beatrix Ruf. Text by Jordan Bear, Karen Beckman, Branden Joseph, Fred Nadis, Stephanie O'Rourke, Jim Steinmeyer, Chris Turner.
Since the late 1990s, artist Tony Oursler (born 1957) has amassed a vast personal archive of objects and ephemera relating to magic, the paranormal, film, television, phantasmagoria, pseudoscience and technology. For Oursler, the archive functions as an open visual resource, historical inquiry and--most intriguingly--a family history. One of the collection's many digressions records the friendship between the artist's grandfather Charles Fulton Oursler--a famous early 20th-century author and publisher--and magician and escapologist Harry Houdini, and a historic interaction with Arthur Conan Doyle, who, beyond his Sherlock Holmes series, was an important advocate for spiritualism and the paranormal.
This publication features up to 1,500 objects from Oursler's collection, including photographs, prints, historic manuscripts, rare books, letters and objects. Additional topics include stage magic, thought photography, demonology, cryptozoology, optics, mesmerism, automatic writing, hypnotism, fairies, cults, the occult, color theory and UFOs.
Photograph, 20th century, is reproduced from Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
Oursler’s archive is the mother lode of all things occult: it has everything...
The New York Review of Books
Devoted to so much funny, engaging, and ultimately moving evidence of our search for instructive or simply comforting messages from the beyond... [Imponderable] reveal[s] the intriguing connections between the work of video artist Tony Oursler and his encyclopedic and obsessive collection of over 2,500 images and objects.
FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 11/13/2015
In JRP|Ringier's fascinating, epic, 666-page artist book / occult ephemera compendium Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler, essayist Christopher Turner writes, "The pseudoscientist, a vivid dreamer, builds entire worlds; fragile, elaborate, over-inflated bubbles that, despite a barrage of criticism, they never allow to burst. They employ every tactic, every hint of proof, and every defensive justification to protect their creations from collapse. In 1952, Martin Gardner published Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, with the subtitle “The Curious Theories of Modern Pseudoscientists and the Strange, Amusing and Alarming Cults that Surround Them.” In his analysis of L. Ron Hubbard (scientology), Wilhelm Reich (orgone energy), and Immanuel Velikovsky (catastrophism)—each of whom built up cults around themselves that have survived long after their deaths—Gardner concluded that the pseudoscientist’s paranoid tendencies were exhibited in five traits: 1: He considers himself a genius. 2: He regards his colleagues, without exception, as ignorant blockheads. 3: He believes himself unjustly persecuted and discriminated against. 4: He has strong compulsions to focus his attacks on the greatest scientists and the best-established theories. 5: He often has a tendency to write in complex jargon, in many cases
making use of terms and phrases he himself has coined." Featured photograph is of Dr. R. L. Noran, an ESP practitioner, with half-dollar coins taped over his eyes, c. 1978. continue to blog
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USD $39.95 | CAN $55.95
Pub Date: 11/1/2022
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