Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome at Expo ’58

Posted on May 21, 2010


Combining magickal moviemaking, psychogeography, drug poetry and crystallography:

[Kenneth Anger’s ‘Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome‘], which was created in 1954, was a 38 minute surrealist work featuring many Crowleyan and Thelemite themes, with many of the various different characters personifying various pagan gods such as Isis, Osiris and Pan. One of the actresses in the film was Marjorie Cameron, the widow of Jack Parsons, the influential American Thelemite who had died a few years previously, whilst Anger himself played Hecate.  He would subsequently exhibit the film at various European film festivals, winning the Prix du Ciné-Club Belge and the Prix de l’Age d’Or as well as screening it in the form of a projected triptych at Expo 58, the World Fair held in Brussels in 1958.

Some imagery from the film, remixed and set to a pseudo-Beatles drone (because the alternatives were even worse):

The 1958 World Fair also gave Belgium The Atomium. This calls to mind the opening lines of the Samuel Tayler Coleridge poem ‘Kubla Khan’, clearly referenced by Anger.

The Atomium,  Brussels (photo: Photographing Chris)

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan/A stately pleasure-dome decree"

The Atomium is a monument built for Expo ’58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Designed by André Waterkeyn, it is 102-metres (335 ft) tall, with nine steel  spheres  connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.(…) One of the original ideas for Expo ’58 was to build an upside-down version of the Eiffel tower; however, Waterkeyn felt that an atomic structure would be more symbolic of the era.

Expanding upon the structure of The Atomium:

Body-centered  cubic

A body-centered cubic

In crystallography, the cubic (or isometric) crystal system is a crystal system where the unit cell is in the shape of a cube. This is one of the most common and simplest shapes found in crystals  and minerals. (…) The body-centered cubic system has one lattice point in the center of the unit cell in addition to the eight corner points. It has a net total of 2 lattice points per unit cell.

Posted in: History