Weird Studies

A filmmaker and a professor talk art and philosophy at the limits of the thinkable

About the show

Professor Phil Ford and writer/filmmaker J. F. Martel host a series of conversations on art and philosophy, dwelling on ideas that are hard to think and art that opens up rifts in what we are pleased to call "reality."

Weird Studies on social media

Episodes and Blog Entries

  • Episode 16: On Dogen Zenji's 'Genjokoan'

    Episode  |  May 30th, 2018  |  1 hr 11 mins
    dogen, genjokoan, metaphysics, religion, zen buddhism

    Phil and JF discuss a classic work of Zen metaphysics.

  • Episode 15: On Tarkovsky's 'Stalker' - Part Two

    Episode  |  May 23rd, 2018  |  1 hr 4 mins
    chernobyl, liminality, samuel delany, stalker, tarkovsky

    The second part of Phil and JF's conversation about Andrei Tarkovsky's masterpiece, "Stalker."

  • Episode 14: On Tarkovsky's 'Stalker' - Part One

    Episode  |  May 15th, 2018  |  41 mins 3 secs
    cinema, genre, stalker, tarkovsky, zone

    The first part of JF and Phil's conversation on Tarkovsky's 1979 masterpiece, "Stalker."

  • Episode 13: The Obscure: On the Philosophy of Heraclitus

    Episode  |  May 9th, 2018  |  1 hr 21 mins
    death, dreams, greek philosophy, heraclitus, sleep, soul

    Phil and JF riff on randomly generated fragments from the work of a truly weird philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus.

  • Episode 12: The Dark Eye: On the Films of Rodney Ascher

    Episode  |  May 2nd, 2018  |  1 hr 28 mins
    documentary, horror films, rodney ascher, sleep paralysis, the shining

    Phil and JF discuss the work of American filmmaker Rodney Ascher, contemporary master of the weird documentary.

  • Episode 11: Art is a Haunting Spirit

    Episode  |  April 25th, 2018  |  1 hr 15 mins
    aesthetics, mezzotint, mr james, walter benjamin

    A discussion of M. R. James' ghost story "The Mezzotint" turns into a disquisition on the nature of art in the modern age.

  • Weird Stories: M. R. James' "The Mezzotint"

    Episode  |  April 23rd, 2018  |  27 mins 34 secs
    mezzotint, mr james, story readings, weird fiction

    An unabridged reading of M. R. James' classic ghost story, "The Mezzotint," read by Weird Studies co-host, Phil Ford.

  • Episode 10: Philip K. Dick: Adrift in the Multiverse

    Episode  |  April 18th, 2018  |  1 hr 23 mins
    multiverse, parallel universes, philip k dick, time

    JF and Phil discuss Philip K. Dick's seminal essay, "If You Find this World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others."

  • Episode 9: On Aleister Crowley and the Idea of Magick

    Episode  |  April 11th, 2018  |  1 hr 16 mins
    aleister crowley, magick, occult

    JF and Phil talk about Aleister Crowley's 1924 work, Magick in Theory and Practice.

  • Episode 8: On Graham Harman's "The Third Table"

    Episode  |  April 4th, 2018  |  1 hr 12 mins
    idealism, lovecraft, materialism, panpsychism, philosophy, zen

    JF and Phil discuss Graham Harman's essay "The Third Table" and discover that even the most commonplace objects, seen in the right light, are strange to the core.

  • Episode 7: The Unspeakable Mystery at the Heart of Boxing

    Episode  |  March 28th, 2018  |  1 hr 5 mins
    bloodsport, boxing, martial arts, sublime, violence

    JF and Phil wrestle with philosophical issues surrounding violent sports.

  • Episode 6: Dungeons & Dragons, or the Reality of Illusions

    Episode  |  March 21st, 2018  |  1 hr 18 mins
    d&d, fantasy, imaginal, roleplaying games

    Phil and JF use D&D as a lens to locate the vanishing point where fantasy converges with the real.

  • Episode 5: Reading Lisa Ruddick's "When Nothing is Cool"

    Episode  |  March 13th, 2018  |  1 hr 8 mins
    critique, essence, lisa ruddick, nihilism, soul

    Phil and JF do their best to weird the cultural politics of the postmodern academy.

  • Episode 4: Exploring the Weird with Erik Davis

    Episode  |  March 7th, 2018  |  1 hr 21 mins
    erik davis, techngosis, uncanny, weird

    Scholar, author and journalist Erik Davis joins Phil and JF to talk about Weird Sh*t.

  • Episode 3: Ecstasy, Sin, and "The White People"

    Episode  |  February 21st, 2018  |  1 hr 19 mins
    arthur machen, ecstasy, faerie, sin, the white people

    JF and Phil discuss key themes and ideas from Arthur Machen's weird story, "The White People."

  • Weird Stories: Arthur Machen's "The White People"

    Episode  |  February 19th, 2018  |  1 hr 36 mins
    audiobooks, machen, the white people, weird fiction

    A complete reading of Arthur Machen's 1904 novella, "The White People," by co-host Phil Ford. This reading accompanies the upcoming episode of the Weird Studies podcast where J.F. and Phil plumb the imaginal depths of the classic weird tale.