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Grace Jones

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Author, researcher, and psychedelic pioneer Timothy Leary could have added another title to his name: creator of an amazing, incredibly weird take on William Gibson's Neuromancer showcased by Wired. Since acquiring Leary's archives in mid-2011, the New York Public Library has been uncovering and publishing details about Leary's work, including fragments of Leary's plans for scrapped computer games. In 1985, he helped develop and publish Mind Mirror, a psychoanalytic game that let players build and role-play personalities — Electronic Arts, which put out the title, reportedly sold 65,000 copies in the two years after release. But according to material that the library released to researchers last week, he also had far more ambitious plans.

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Original author: 
Megan Gibson

Many artists perceive power in movement. Photographer and visual artist Chris Levine seeks to illuminate the power inherent in stillness.

His larger-than-life subjects — which include Queen Elizabeth II and singer Grace Jones — might be among the most photographed people in the world, but Levine has a knack for capturing them at rest, as if in the calm of a storm. “Every opportunity I got [to shoot a portrait], I tried to distill it back to just pure essence without any suggestion or iconography or anything,” he told TIME during a recent visit to his studio in Oxfordshire, England, ahead of his solo retrospective show at The Fine Art Society on May 17. “I’m experimenting with that and trying to get stillness in the image.”

He says the challenge as a photographer is to distance himself from the idea of his subject  and focus on the person he has right in front of his lens. In a recent sitting with Kate Moss, Levine says he was determined to ignore Kate Moss, the supermodel, and instead tried “to bring her back, just to Kate – Kate, Kate, Kate.” In doing this, he manages to take one of the fashion world’s most recognizable faces and show it in a new light.

Which may explain why an artist who largely focuses on lights, lasers and holography — as Levine has done since his student days at London’s Chelsea School of Art; his light installations will be included in the retrospective at The Fine Art Society — has made a name for himself in recent years for his portraits. The Canadian-born Brit, now 41, says that he never expected to be shooting icons at this stage in his career. In fact, back in 2004, when he received a call from Buckingham Palace asking him to shoot a portrait of the Queen, Levine initially thought it was a prank. “I thought it was a hoax at first! Seriously, I really did. It just seemed so far-fetched.”

Once Levine was sufficiently convinced that it was not a ruse but a Royal request, he went to work preparing lights and equipment, wanting to put his knowledge of light and holography to use capturing the monarch in a truly modern fashion. Setting up the visual light equipment in Buckingham Palace took Levine about three days – “and it took every second,” he recalls – and the shoot itself took about an hour and a half. However, the resulting images, including Lightness of Being as well as the shot selected for TIME’s cover on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, are arresting and timeless.

“I think [these images] struck such a chord because it’s going somewhere into a more spiritual dimension and into a deeper realm,” he says. ”It’s what we are but people don’t very often connect with it.”

Chris Levine: Light 3.142 is on display from May 17 to June 15, 2013 at The Fine Art Society in London.

Chris Levine is a Canadian born light artist based in the United Kingdom.

Megan Gibson is a writer and reporter at the London bureau of TIME. Find her on Twitter at @MeganJGibson.

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FvF Mixtape #43 by Max John Buschfeld

Having studied at the University of the Arts in Berlin, the DJ and producer Max always pursued his love for music. It first began behind closed doors but step by step he took his passion to the clubs of Berlin. In 2006 he released his first tracks via Oliver Koletzkis infamous Stil vor Talent label, followed by more output most recently on Mother Recordings in 2012.


01. The Supremes – It’s Time To Break Down
02. Jedi Mind Tricks feat. Planet – I Against I
03. T. Dyson & Company – It’s All Over
04. Taco – Puttin’ On The Ritz
05. Galt MacDermot – Coffee Cold
06. Freddie Foxxx – Feel Like I Been Here
07. Rolling Stones – She’s A Rainbow
08. St. Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart
09. Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together
10. Kariya – Let Me Love You For Tonight (12 Inch Mix)
11. Barbara Keith – All Along The Watchtower (Rayko Edit)
12. Ten City – That’s The Way Love Is (Underground Mix)
13. Sixto Rodriguez – Inner City Blues
14. Alessi Brothers – Seabird
15. Dinosaur – Kiss Me Again (Altervative Version)
16. Lusine – Two Dots
17. Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover (Dimitri From Paris Edit)
18. Grace Jones – I’ve Seen That Face Before
19. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Anemone
20. Rawcotiks – Going All Out (Instrumental)
21. Nil’s Jazz Ensemble – Hard Work 

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