x

 

bubble

bubble
bubble


bubblebubble

bubble
bubble



bubble
bubble

bubble

bubble
bubble


bubblebubble

bubble
bubble

x
xxx
x

HOME

xx
TEXT VERSION

Public Fiction (the museum of) > > 749 Avenue 50 / Los Angeles / 90042

Presenting > Yvonne Rainer, Danh Võ, Jordan Wolfson and Helen Marten (as part of MADE IN LA).

‘THE WORKING CLASSES CAN SUCK MY TEN INCHER’,

20 July – 7 Sept



PERFORMANCE ON
SATURDAY, 19 JULY 2014, 7 – 9PM
2ND CANNONS PROJECT SPACE
2245 E WASHINGTON BLVD.
LOS ANGELES 90021

 

 

x

 

 

 

> > ------------>>

Fiat aurto works, TURIN, 1977
The working class will go to paradise (La classe operaia va in paradiso)

This exhibition CAPTURES in full detail the scandalous sexual history of the operaista movement, particularly after Australian entertainer Rolf Harris and the cyclist Eddie Merckx became a fellow travellers in the mid-1970s. Cycle pedo-porn and operaismo melded.... collaged with contemporary oppression of Pakistani textile workers and other exploitations across the world.

Beginning with Merckx's victory speech at his last victory at Kluisbergen on 17 July 1977, where he has just been converted to operaismo after a MASSIVE ORGY at Paolo Virno's.

‘The proletariat give me a fucking HARD-ON.’ The words clung to his throat like semen. Luigi turned his face to the crowd, looking at the lined faces, bald heads and work jackets. The cheap acrylic of his trousers stretched across his straining hardness – a precise crease which he had ironed in that morning:

‘And striking … makes me HORNY’

 

xxx

 

xxxx

 

x

Multitude=orgy group
radio alice=chick who is a screamer
the commowealth=tronti's massive cock
the soul at work=a big black dildo imported from America

In fact this actually recounts a participative performance, produced from a script found in a time capsule buried by James Lee Byars in Death Valley before the apocalypse and recently retrieved by the Head Gallery. The performance is called "Blowing Kisses in the Air, All Together" and it is also known as "You are the Only Question." The participants in this project are plugged, through a spider-electrode in their rectum, to an affecto-transferance unit that pumps into them the feeling of 1977, so that they can collectively reenact the sexual adventures of the operaistas, what the latter coyly called their "other worker's inquiry." It is thought that Byars produced the script during an evening that he spent with Merckx in the editorial offices of Quaderni Rossi, after a hard day of striking at the Fiat plant. It was here that the shit-centered sexual adventures of the editorial board were first revealed to Byars. The shock of the what he witnessed and participated in was of such magnitude that two days later he had to be retrieved by the fire department from a tree in Cologne, which he had climbed with Martha Rosler. Invited to produce a perfomance in Bern in 1979, Byars attempt to produce "Blowing Kisses..." but found that the necessary technology wasn't available. So, he dressed himself in a golden suit and laid down in the lobby of the Kunsthalle attempting to imagine the pleasure of an spider-electrode in the rectum.

The exhibition shows the alienated labour, the machines, the rhythm of the assembly line and the factory that makes the workers ill and eventually kills them. The workers take the alienation and physical exhaustion back home where both contaminate their private relationships. The film criticises the contemporary student activism at the 'factory gates', where ‘student activism’ is now advertised as a module, as well as the unions.

After the TEXT's first publication at the Mostra del Cinema Libero Head Gallery insited on its destruction. But all, in the end, is a current, post-apoc orgy in which the participants are plugged to an affecto-transferance machine....they have been plugged into the feelings of 1977....the smell the fumes of burning tires as it swirls up into their nostrils....so, the orgy is really at head gallery and it is a participative performance by James Lee Byars, full of golden dildos and marble butt-plugs, counter working class accroutements as what is secretly desired by workerists--this is why they all lecture in the artworld....

 

xx

 

 

 

 

xxx

 

And so once they’ve welded the fire doors shut and started the fire it is obvious to everyone it is an artwork. Double screen installation. With a shot of the exterior of the building – relatively calm – and then an internal camera with all the textile working manically scrambling to get out and then the inferno takes over. And just as this was all going on … well the perspective changed.

To the left, two other films are playing. One of them is a 12-hour fixed camera shot of a submerged Bjarne Melgaard fiberglass sculpture of a white woman where the cratered aperture of her eaten-off head is shrouded in a swarm of bubbles. She is sitting on a black woman, rendered in a sexualized fashion with her legs over her shoulders, but with her head replaced by that of a taxidermy ermine—more bubbles collecting around the rotting white fur and glass eyes reflecting back the void. With a Reena Spaulings flagpole—with a stainless steel weathervane - the head of a rabbit attached to it rather than a flag— planted in her asshole. At an angle - set against the stark horizontality of the seabed. The installation is semi-buried in the sand, as fish and crabs move across and the first coral takes hold. It seems the sculpture has been there for some time, its surfaces tarnished; barnacles partly obscuring the rabbit’s face - factory perfection corroding. Lit in high relief it stands out against all the war junk strewn around on the ocean floor. At one point a shark swims past. As the film develops the murky waters clear once in a while to reveal silhouettes of other artworks - the outline of a Cicciolina-Koons collab ‘Made in Heaven,’ but overlaid with a neon that reads “Since When is Police Brutality Sexually Unstimulating?” (This may be a collaboration between Monica Bonvicini and Claire Fontaine, both now in their therapeutic-autobiographical Reichean phase).

**********

Spreading his cramping hand as far as it will go, and raising his arm. Teardrops of jissum dangling tenderly from his fingers, waving to the rhythm of his clumsy stride, pulsing in the moonlight like blue gel. He unfurls one of his lizard tongues and expertly flicks up a dangly tendril. Then, as he continues on his way to the exhibition, under an intermittently black-to-orange sky and in the heart of a storm of jade dust (gathering strength), savoring the slide of the semen around his tongue. He is getting addicted to this: the rub against the walls of his oiled vagina and the slick afterward, the finger licking. Privately he calls it ‘the Healing’.

In the middle of his chest, framed by an incomplete exo-ribcage, and proudly displayed (currently) in his cut-out cycling shirt. It’s a cunt constantly feathered with olive oil to accentuate the intricate contours and subtle colors of labia and clitoris.

He is a casualty from the cataclysmic Apoc Wars of 86; a twisted-up reminder of the heights of brutality the conflict achieved and maintained for so long, fully paid up and sanctioned by the first world Mega cities. He is one of the famous mutated ‘goblin-babies’ from the Sino-Belarus peninsula, who survived by living in tunnels. He was brought to Nu York by wealthy charity-junky foster parents (following an emotional appeal in the media). To be fair, they tried their best to bring him up right for a few years. But in the end they got bored and sold him to a low-end pedo-ring.

 

xxx

xxx

xxx

x

xxx

 

 

 

x

x

 

 

xxx

But despite all this, Bifo is unstoppably cheerful. He never stops smiling. Spewing laughter. A grotesque kind of laughter – brimming with imprecise threats. Rising to infernal guffaws and guttural snorts. Bouts of laughter splitting his face without notice - contagious but aggressive, joyful, sick-making, with morbid vibes welling up in it and spiraling around - because, make no mistake, he is NOT a nice person. This much has been clear to you, ever since you met him a few years ago. Some of the things you’ve seen, or half-seen. And there are many rumors about his behavior.

As he gets closer to the gallery, five men are dragged out in front of the building. They are pulled by the neck with short rope leashes and clubbed and tied to posts (which have suddenly appeared). Bifo can hear the usual begging. One of the tied prisoners pisses himself. Urine stench fills the air. But the masked soldiers don’t listen. They tie the prisoners impassively, but with firmness, to the stakes. Then, as the rain subsides, they pull glinting machetes from the bedazzled sheathes attached to their waistbands and start hacking at the screaming figures. Flesh is sliced. Blood splatters. Limbs fly. Filleted meat flaps. Bifo walks right on through the scene. Cuts through the illusion-project, dulling the fantasy scenario. The illusion zaps minimally and glitches out momentarily, shutting off for a couple of seconds, to then flicks back on. He’s sick of these Alonxo Delaware projectionz. This is one of his famous ‘Conflict-Zone’ critiques. It is cut with the usual footage of preteen-on-animal sex footage and random stuff off the TV – game shows and soap operas. He walks into the gallery space.
hhhjhjhjhjh
The exhibition is installed in a cavernous semi-derelict industrial-unit--or a simulacrum of one, erected with quartzed coral sponge-cinderblock and decorated with nano-engineered vines lodged in the faux crevices that continuously seep sap-clone, lime-flavored human cum as neo-margarita mix simple-syrup with a citrus twist hallucenigenic. The exhibition is organized so that a multitude of films are projected in the space – each onto a separate screen (there are innumerable screens hanging in the space, planes bisecting anything quadrilateral). And each of the films has the appearance of a series of separate bubbling aquaria - this is the curatorial conceit - each pumping endless tendrils of rising spheres, like animated hanging gardens in reverse. An ironic red, militant flag-parody curtain, embroidered with a thousand miniature white carnations and a political slogan, tacked to a beam near the entry door using a bio-thread which vibrates at high-pitch. As your hand pushes it aside there is a looped acid house sequence.

You go up to the bar to procure a cup of neo-margarita at the ice-carved bar - the bartender is tall and her face is the result of one of the facial asymmetricalizing surgeries that were in vogue a few months ago. If the face works—and it does, but barely—it’s because she has stretched the oval aperture around her eye sockets so that her head looks like a slip-cast white cherry. The brilliant part is that she has refilled her sockets with milky resin and reinserted her pupils, but in a surgically reduced size, and faceted, so that they look like talismans of carved ebony. Your eyes meet her small black optical beads – like lobster eyes, as you saddle up to the bar, in search of your own neo-margarita. You nod. She understands the request. Pours you a cup. ‘Bonjour Comrade.’ You smile as you turn, taking that first glorious sip, you meet Bifo’s slightly squinted eyes. You greet him with a vacant smile. But he doesn’t acknowledge it. You feel buffeted by the indifference. A few other visitors are milling about.
2
The film playing behind the bartender is a long-lost work by Chris Marker. It uses footage appropriated from a documentary about the geriactri-sex industry where ninety-year-olds pay 30,000 credits a shot for orgasm augmentation and Old Aged Citizen Units schedule twice-daily viewing sessions of tightly-trimmed young-flesh genitals. This young guy interviewed with a polarizing lens on the camera is saying: “Every time my Father cums that’s thirty large off my inheritance.” He is just a red, green and yellow blob with a nauseating personality. The film is bookended by old school animations of saber-tooth tigers running in a burnt city that has been appropriated from a video game.


1
Outside the exhibition space, shooting out in the opposite direction from which Bifo came, a Mexican night has been coded molecularly into an artificially proliferated cloudscape by the Second Weather Underground. You can’t tell anymore, in the wake of the SWU’s constant thermo-meteorological-phenomenological sabotage, what time of the day it really is. Or what time of year. Nothing as unimaginative as daytime to contend with any longer. No fucking dawns, no cycles of light and dark. No seasons, one behind another, in their predictable formation. Like a disciplined line of meathead soldiers. Instead, the erratic switching from day to night, often in high-speed flicker sequences. Strange flip-outs from devastating drought to beautiful autumn dusks. This arbitrary climatological re-sequencing has infused what used to be called everyday life with something grotesquely electric. New kinds of experiential impoverishments and new kinds of ecstatic release. It has certainly made perception no different from any other kind of neuro/sensory-stimuli. All is just manipulated data juicing up the synapses. Which means that eyes are now dead equipment. Optical infrastructure is carcass. The weather is less outside than a torrent of script slicing through you.

Algorithms fix what feels like late evening Mexican air—no other name for it and it occurs to everyone simultaneously—to the skin of anyone or anything walking around - a kind of evanescent sting riding lightly through it. Very subtle. We are on the verge of becoming Aztec communards, heart-eaters. Jade dust embedding itself in pores as receptor-blanket for the pulsations SWU is shooting out into the city. The stronger the storm grows, the more impact the SWU can have on individual neuro-epidermic loops. You like it. You like it when they unleash this Mexican atmosphere. Something nice about it, about the way in which it reels you out into some indeterminate remoteness.

Then a stream of cyclists pour through the gallery or a projection … of the final stages of the infamous Paris-Roubaix race, across the cobbled roads and mud of Old-Belgium, through the reek of broken drains, raw sewage and the stench of rotting cattle. Trees with blackened, ragged stumps, and twisted branches pushing to the sky like the crippled arms of a dying man. And everywhere mud. The cyclists seem to be moving but somehow fixed in the same place.

************

Still some distance from the show but approaching rapidly, along the curvy glide afforded by high-end hovva-travel, cutting through this Mexican night air, in their chauffeur-driven Li-moou-scene, the seven Hatori-hyenas are jacked into the Hindro-Fi. Their hoooowling-laughter traces a hive-connect back to the tube-tank servers murmuring in the pyramidal towers of NeverBangkok. Synth-tears cut a path down their powdered cheeks. They are coming down from some designer-lube cranked high. Stretched out across the whole synapto-slide, melted in. Their edges are gone. Total de-parameterization. Flesh dissolved.

CarlY7x Hatori, the most pretentious of the quasi-indivisible seven sister-sisters-hyenas-Hatori, looks out the window, shored up, as they say, and whispers in her low-pitched voice, which rises out of surgically implanted ostrich vocal chords, laced with chiropter sonar capabilities:

“It is said that this is where the working classes come to kill their own children, in Aztec rituals --- so that they might not provide surplus-value for future generations of Capitalists, to cease perpetuating the structures of Capital and let the whole thing implode --- A killing field where, after gouging into baby chests and extracting hearts that are set to ferment in mescal bottles --- on the way to sustaining all-night binges, the workers might smash in their heads so their brains become like shit mixing with the blood --- Battering rams against private accumulation; sliding neuromatter as allegorical mush of --- rampant currency devaluation.”

5

The rest of the Hatori turn mechanically to watch her, but seem unable to register any acknowledgement of these words. Its like a micro-tragedy of communication. And then the Hatori tune out again. CarlY7x remains looking out the window for a few moments with her lips slightly open. Moisture collects at the edge of her eye. A tear falls. Then she melts back in. The Hatori, when fully plugged in, cannot determine where they each start or end or at what point they dissolve, each into the other -- epidermally and affectively -- multi-sharing a low frequency and ineradicable data-panic as “substrate feeling” across the whole lobe-zone and also a kind of pumped-out elation. They are unable to conceptualize or even sense where their collective body-sprawl ends. Or where their emotional interiorizing begins. Or what it is made of … or into.

Someone says something about the glass being tempered glass. What glass? Who said that? Some random clip of conversation. Maybe it was the driver who is opening the door for them, now they have arrived at the Head Gallery. Maybe he said something a few miles back or a few hours ago about raising the glass partition. Or who knows. Maybe it’s a fragment of a conversation that took place years ago, in one of their childhoods. Or something that they read stamped on a tray in their refrigerator, when they still ate solid food. But however it happened, the tempered glass has returned and its not nice. It has materialized as the colonizing advance of tempered glass, as the vicious stalking of transparency. And at this very moment – dilating - with the swish of the Limousine, to infinity. ‘What the fuck?’ the Hatori think in unison, the question ricocheting along the outer edges of their collectivized neurospacing, in what remains undissolved at the fringe—not quite them, but some vague thing-almost-them. ‘What the fuck?’ The question, its echo, melts into the hive, weaves itself somehow within, like the hand-eye coordination diagram of a crab. You can see it happening. You can feel it. As an index of absorption - of this new perturbation data plugging into their system—a jolt down in their labial-receptors. Tempered-fucking-glass. They can’t move. Glass becoming predator. In the neuro-lines. Across the entire synapto-slide. They feel a kind of vitrification of their bones.

The driver just stands there holding the door, unshaken, kind of bored, waiting. He has seen this all before. It always takes the Hatori a few minutes to get their shit together after he opens the door. They sit stiffened-stiffening. Waiting for a new command for their collective circuitry to move. Some new disturbation-data that will rearrange things again. Finally it comes. Memories of their Mother(z) crying and looking down at them, as babies about to have their hearts gouged out. They recall the police raid that prevented this. And then, the tragic death of their parents, beaten to pieces with truncheons: And holding two limp pre-corpses in their arms, telling them they/we love them as they slide out of consciousness. But they are doing this still as babies, so the whole thing is perhaps only an animation coded for voluntary recall into their collective circuitry. They realize, prodded by who knows what, maybe by the love in their dying mother’s eyes, that although their bones are tempered glass, now stiff and transparent, they are also hinged. Like the Limousine door. Their bodies still have joints. Full mobility is possible. They slowly make their way out of the Limo. Adjust their polyester pink mini-dresses and rub their oversized prosthetic orb-flowerz, rimmed with stylized protrusions along their edges, and flick on the scent receptors inserted where their eyes once were. Turquoise looksmellz and other stylings. They feel the jade dust of the storm engulf them like a materializing serape. They begin to absorb something that makes them feel Mexicanized.

 

4


The Hatori make their way to the door of the gallery, but only to realize, double-quick - all at the same time - that it is not their bones that are glass. They have only become this, de-calcified and brittle, because a viral colony is coursing inside their bodies, a slimy amoebic set of capillary organisms that are slowly feeding on their wet insides and leaving behind not putrid slush but hardened glass replacements of what they consume and digest. But in perfectly carved replica shapes. Glass doubles slowly aggregating into a crystalline ocean.

The Hatori fear the amoebas will soon climb into their lungs and vitrify them. They will choke from the inside. They should panic at this, were it not becoming obvious to them, all at once, that the amoebas are uninterested in their vital organs. Instead, they have drilled their way through to the surface of the skin. Their epidermal layers are slowly turning to tempered glass, a sharp crystal savannah with tiny jade insets. They freeze at the entrance of the gallery, in the makeshift vestibule, hypnotized by the vibrating carnations, but somehow manage to waft their way inside.

Once inside, the amoeba colony dies. This viral holocaust was brought on maybe by the change of temperature or light or airborne pollutants inside Head Gallery. Maybe it was the Mexican air outside that was feeding the colonizing amoebas. No one can be sure. But they also sense a much bigger problem. Panic grows. Their glass skin is distending. Stretching, relieving itself of the contour-tyranny of their petite bodies. It wants more. To encase large expanses, interface with unexpected things. It wants to be SPACE. To wrap other bodies. And it’s stretching itself as it chases this goal. The skin is becoming…has become the very substance that the air in the room is made of—not the same as the Mexican air outside, but a nouveaux proletarian atmospherics. An atmosphere like glass, but gelid and gelatinous now. More Chinese. There is something erotic about this, and the Hatori feel that they want to rub themselves with this slimy and sharpened atmosphere. They want to re-wrap themselves in their now-razored skin, prick themselves with its sharp barbs and decorate their thin limbs with rivulets of blood, some caked and some running perennially. Fountain-arms. They start to twirl-dance in order to fold again into their sharpened surface. Move in unison, choreographed by some inner command-section, shredding themselves with razor-air. They love this. They are twirling themselves from one orgasm to the next. Swimming in this vast aquarium. Their blood becoming its contents, rising tendrils of revolutionary blood bubbles.

After who knows how long, the Hatori grow exhausted with their dance. Now only in jeweled underwear and boots - with slashed arms - they move further inside the exhibition space.

It finally dawns on the girl-girls-hyenas that there are quite a number of films playing in the space. Hundreds. Maybe thousands. Each film projected onto its own screen. Hanging in the half-light.

The Hatori walk in front of you, as you slurp the last of your first drink. Bifo is rolling along a couple of feet behind, laughing every now and then. The few other visitors are scattered around - too dispersed to evacuate a sense of emptiness from the space. Bifo gives you a nod, finally acknowledging your presence, the low-vibe friendship the two of you share. He smiles weirdly. And then he laughs, crosshatching a sick vibe into the atmosphere. It seems in consonance with the ambiance of the structure/exhibition space itself, which feels military and proletarian, at once. The whole thing could just be the insane project of some mad, wealth-engorged oligarch zimploid like Anita Zabludowicz, who, having just walked through the door, jacks into her own Hantri-Fi, wasting some credits to get onto the same wavelength as the Hatori. She links up with their authenticity-porn in order feel a little wet. She is touching herself. She knows that the Hatori’s twirling, and the ways in which they are scratching and tearing into their arms and shoulders, and tearing off their dresses - it may be pain, but it is also a (sort of) life.

You join the Hatori and Bifo and follow them toward what seems to be the centerpiece of the exhibition – a film projection looming vast in front - maybe 50 feet high - projected at inhuman scale - documenting the working day of a sub-aquatic, Atlantic ‘processing-squad’ as it tracks the dark form of a whale moving through the gloom of waters 200 miles from the toxic coastline of NuGreenland. At first, the camera focuses close-up on the whale’s pitted, textured skin, as if the animal were brushing up against an aquarium glass. Screen as glass wall; glass wall as frontal lobe. It feels live in such a deep and undeniable way. The Hatori feel the animal’s cold slide across them, through them. As they are disappearing into this sensation, however, they realize that the film has become a verité documentary, shot in archaic 16 mill subaquatic film and affecting a ‘handheld’ jitteriness. It captures the process of ‘cubing’ – that is, the on-site harvesting of exact 1M cubes of blubber from the body of the living whale, using the latest anesthetic hot-wire, vacuo-packing, and insta-portation technology to service restaurants across the US/Chinese delta. This involves simultaneous extracto-quarterisation (including auto-septic) and max-extract of the meat facilitated by the squad’s precise techno-bank of organ-persistence. The whale continues, oblivious to the removal of its body-chunks - tracing its prehistoric-trajectory through the darkness - as its form is progressively staircased out as a flesh cut-out, ziggurated - across its body like the spread of a geometric virus. Silhouetted from below against the feint purple glow of the sky above, it moves like strange gothic archetype.

3
The Hatori, in unison, glitch out for a moment. This registers, to anyone looking at them, as a high-speed facial tic that they all suffer at the same time. They glitch in and out in this way because, on the one hand, they begin to feel that cubes of their own flesh are being extracted. Parts come out as glass bricks. Tempered glass bricks. And, on the other hand, they feel themselves covered in a soothing coat of whale fat and felt. A coat of blubber, like a large and slimy mink coat. Mongolian. Or Northern Chinese. The Hatori squeeze it tight against their flesh. Begin to roll in it. Roll it into them, as they roll out of the glitch. It works until they realize that the fat has an agent that is eating away at their skin, extracting cubes. Cubed-out twice. Instant panic that leads to full paralysis. From glitch into glitch-loop. The soothing of the fat, the terror of the extraction, the soothing of the fat of the terror of the extraction. The Hatori stand stiffened in a corner - faces contorting at high speed as a flickering repertoire of grimaces.

xxxxx


After about 50% removal of whale flesh, the squad checks their life support monitors before moving into the terminal phase, with the hot-wire process-coordinated according to a ‘last breath’ checklist hierarchized around retaining whale balance-momentum mechanism operative for maximum retrieval. One of the divers moves towards the viewers. The Hatori howl as they feel him splash up, the cold water hitting their faces, snapping them from the glitch-loop. He gives a thumbs up (as if he knows we’re here and that the sister-sisters-hyenas are OK again).

With the premium blubber now removed and reconstituted in Nu York processing plants, the divers move on to harvesting organs and muscle tissue, working upwards from genitals to lungs to heart. And finally, after approx. sixty percent extraction of body mass, the whale’s nervous system goes into shock. They slice off the tail and fins as whole slabs, allowing the still convulsing whale - serrated flesh now resembling a badly pixelated image of a post-digital artwork - to sink away from camera into the depths.

 

spinal
spinal
spinal
spinal
spinal
spinalspinal
spinal
spinal

As you snap back from being mesmerized by the film, you turn and look at Bifo, who you can hear sobbing behind you. Whimpering. He is curled on the floor holding his head in his hands. His alabaster skin is pressed between his grotesque fingers, like kneaded dough. This is odd because he is not usually given to this sort of emotional display, not if you judge from past behaviour. But something about the scene has cut into and defiled whatever it is that he protects … and interiorizes. It has reached some limit. And whatever it is that has unmoored itself from his pain and become—how to word this right?—a desperate inaudible frequency, a momentary atomic densification or concretion, formally imprecise but somehow affectively micro-focused—wrapping around you and squeezing in. You wince, feel bifurcated. You know there is more than empathy’s flimsy connection assuming shape here. It’s hard to say what. It’s bewildering somehow. Words refuse to come. Until a thought finally clots: you are a proletariat. It’s hard to explain: you know, because of your own shape and your deep and secret pains, what it feels like to be working class without being one yourself.

spinal
spinal
spinal
spinal
spinal
spinalspinal
spinal
spinal


The camera tracks the whale’s recession into the lightless void until the screen breaks up into pixelated black, except for the haze of plankton and the odd iridescent fish-body. Plaintively, a squid floats across the screen. Its giant eye seems to catch sight of the viewers in the exhibition space. It moves purposely up to the screen/picture plane, and then looks down as if searching for its whale friend, then back at us, as a kind of accusation. Hatori make eye contact and flip out into collecto-hysteria, as they think they can read its thoughts. Start mewling. A new osmo-ride. But it’s not quite that they read its thoughts. It’s that something is bulging on the surface of the screen, something is blistering, releasing a strange and unmistakable odor to announce its presence. The squid’s thoughts are articulating themselves through their very rotting, in putrid stench. The Hatori read its mind through their olfactory passages. They begin to understand how the animal is uploading an antagonistic strain into a work of straightforward documentation. As a critique of art-as-critique of art as vanguard of non reproduction - politics cancelled, radical pseudo-negativity & bourriaud style market utopia back as we repeat the 90s in normcore paralysis? Are you complicit? It demands to know of the audience. Are you voyeurs? Enervated, the Hatori imagine that they may write a review of the show - for Anita’s blog, because no one is picking up on the squid’s critical demeanor.

x


The building is larger than one imagines: Head Gallery may have expanded since its last exhibition, or maybe this is an offsite project. As you move around this large screen, now all black, like a block of a ‘cubed’ Reinhart monochrome, as the squid’s eye presses against it, the scale of the installation becomes clear. There are hundreds of screens stretching off into the distance– the furthest so far away that for a moment it seems like an optical illusion. And located some distance away, there is another, smaller, projection which seems at first to be simply an octopus floating in a tank. The scale and perspective of the projection conforms exactly to the experience of standing in front of a tank. This effect is heightened by the lighting (slanted upwards from below with blue-inflected tonalities). A line of seaweed fringes the bottom of the screen and a black border bolts in the image – as if the edges of the screen are the edges of a tank. You watch the octopus and its strange intermittent jerking movements. The Hatori watch it, too. They feel compelled to imitate it. They tune into its strange dance of propulsion-paroxysms. And slowly begin to mimic it, slowly putting more effort into it.

Bifo has recovered from his cathartic breakdown and joins in, flinging himself into a series of moves of his own, rubbing the crotch of his leather leggings, and then, after cracking open his zipper, squeezing his engorged penis and rubbing it raw, over-enthusiastically. ‘The Healing’, he thinks. ‘The Healing’. The whole thing is like a crazy puppet dance, or epileptic marionette ritual.
bubblebubble

bubblebubblebubble

bubblebubblebubble
bubblebubble

Behind the octopus, instead of ink, a strange pink-to-crimson plume spirals upwards. After five minutes, the octopus starts to slowly rotate (either that or the camera starts to move around it—it’s not clear), and with the Hatori and Bifo and you, now collapsed in exhaustion, prostrated before the screen as if worshipping an Octopus God, a human figure becomes visible behind the octopus. Once the rotation is complete, we see it is the figure of a young man. A Palestinian freedom fighter. His torso is crisscrossed with whip marks, nailed through the wrists to the octopus’s back. We are informed by a caption that vintage crucifixion-era nails have been used. These were discovered recently during an archeological dig in Gaza and purchased at Sotheby’s in what was a vicious price war that involved off-planet Neo-Vaticanists.

 

xxx

The crucified figure is a fiberglass reconstruction/reanimation produced by the artist Helen Marten. Finely carved in extinct zebrawood with an animated look of optimism, expressed through the eyes looking upwards and lips minimally parted in expression of joy. The naked body is carved with detailed musculature and a penis represented by a large wooden tubular wind chime (poplar) and oversized shiny plastic purple glace cherries hanging beside. The cherries wittily inject a sense of genital ambiguity or even a sense of (non) castration. The playful un-phallus of the un-presence; or presence as stand in for ‘lack’. The arms are depicted in a cubist-style, in a quiet nod to Art History. And the blood coming from her wounds turns out to be cherry aid. This is why the plume in the water is pink-to-crimson. And also why there is a certain sweetness in the air. The artwork is titled: ‘In the Art world no one can hear you cherry poppin’’ (2026- on-going).

xxx

The octo-cifixion seems to float closer to the viewers at one point. The super HD res allows you to inspect the intricate carving of the wood-face. It includes skin pores, eyelashes - and as the expression of the face changes through material-manip-programming we see terrified eyes, and even a detailed version of the interior of the screaming mouth (the tongue is made of chair canning). You can even follow the progression of individual bubbles emitting from the man’s mouth (which are doubled in the space, you just noticed, by glass orbs suspended by monofilament from the ceiling), upwards to the top of the tank/screen. The Hatori realize, in unison, imbued with new energy, that they are inside the crucified figure’s mouth; that the gallery IS this inside, a wood-lined Victorian drawing room. And that we, the rest of us viewers, are like unmoored teeth, cratered molars with exposed nerves, maybe able to walk on exposed roots but often dragged by saliva-currents. And after five minutes the octopus rotates, slowly again, and we are re-presented with the frontal image, this time armed with our knowledge that there is a figure nailed behind and that we are teeth. Or like teeth. Hard, enameled bodies. But with arms and root-legs and wooden face-masks.

x

Suddenly, a gigantic dead octopus on a hook descends from the ceiling, cutting through the sea of glass orbs. Is it real or is it in the film? It is unclear. The animal is studded with crystal minerals. The light hits it and it is shot back as beautiful rainbows of darting beams. The animal twirls like a disco ball. As its tentacles touch ground, at the end of the animal’s first full rotation, we—everyone in the room, including you, is now jacked into the Hatori lines and feeling like aggregated calcium clumps-- see it is gagged, but still alive, with a vagina-penis-beak refurb. Plastic cherries coated with glycerin dangle beside the prosthetic. A multitude of scorpions crawl out from around the cherries, from two small incisions that look like whale gills. They are blood-stained and swarm between the cephalopod’s tentacles. The climb into its vagina-penis-beak and the prosthetic swells up and splits. It turns transparent and glistens like a sun. The Hatori, and everyone else as well, moving as though lobotomized, cannot help but start licking, like a litter of hungry pigs, the octopus’ broken vagina-penis-beak refurb. Licking it intensely, you in particular, you and Bifo, spitting on it and biting it and rubbing it with our thumbs and digging your nails into it as blood drips down. Blood and fluoride. Bifo is digging in, beside you, in a particularly ferocious manner, with both of his tongues, allowing others to finger and lick his chest cunt, and jamming his finger into one of your rectal orifices. After about ten rotations, everyone realizes that the film is looped, although it is not possible to identify were the cut is - the looping of the film’s narrative syncs perfectly with the physical movement of the octopus. Everyone has been licking the screen.

When you look around you, you realize that the Victorian drawing room is again an old industrial-military folly and that the Hatori have moved off, unplugged everyone from their lines. You feel grounded again, but unsure as to where the sister-sisters-hyenas are any more. You hear their howls every now and then. And Bifo’s laughter booms out from one dark corner and then another. The cold dampness of the interior clings to your face, to your eyes and to the inside of your nostrils as you look around and acclimate to the interior, appreciate its vastness. It’s the closest thing you know to the lightless void into which the cubed-out whale was lost.

hhhjhjhjhjh

Moving on, deeper into the space and into neo-margarita drunkenness, you find a series of linked projections titled ‘Nauman 1 to 6’. It is a re-screening of Nauman’s classic studio-series projected blurrily onto the side of the Titanic wreck in its location off the coast of Newfoundland. But the Titanic is really a remake of the Costa Concordia with Godard’s sarcophagus supposedly chained to a bedpost in the captain’s quarters. (The insufferable JLG was finally buried alive by a group of paratroopers hired by the descendants of the cyclist Eddy Merckx.) An oscillation between historical reconstruction and cinematic entropy, complicated by our realization that the bubbles from the cameraman’s breathing equipment are streaming up in front of both projection and hull of the shipwrecked vessel - a complex layering of gaze, perspective and surface. It also slowly becomes obvious, in the decipherment of cinematic syntax, that these are not the actual Nauman pieces, but fuzzy ‘remakes’—that is, torture videos downloaded from the ‘Blows of the Apparatus’ blog. Truncheon rape sequences mostly, with various sections subtitled—‘Algerian Pleasure Howls’, ‘Black Out (and In) and Sometimes Red Right After’, ‘Africa on a Stick’…

At this point, deciphering these downloaded and degraded images, you feel a series of small creatures brush past your feet. When you look down you see it is a massive flock of some kind of beetle or scorpion, the size of a human hand, with green witch-fingers instead of stingers. They are the creatures that fell out of the octopus’s penis-vagina-beak refurb. Although disconcerting at first, it is clear that the beetles are harmless, scuttling back and forth beneath the screens. Nevertheless, it is not a pleasant experience and you decide it would be a good time to leave. Looking around, however, it is not easy to locate the exit. The screens block your view and you are not sure exactly of where you came in or where you are. Some of the screens are projected on both sides, sometimes with the same film. Some of them, on the other hand, seem to alternate with the projection of a series of different and unrelated films. And now you notice that it seems as if some of the screens rotate or move slowly around the space. All of which makes orientation problematic. As you move in what you think is the direction of the exit, you grow aware that you are going exactly the wrong way. There are further projections that catch your attention and fend off any despair around the possibility that you may be eternally trapped.

To the right, a projection of Bill Viola’s ‘Ocean Without a Shore’ (2007; recovered 2189) onto the body of a swimming dolphin. This rearticulates Viola’s lyrical meditation on Life and Death and the Mystical River Beneath into slapstick comedy, as the diver/projectionist struggles to keep the film projection legible on the side of the fast moving dolphin. The dolphin joining in this game of high-jinx, twisting and turning erratically to make the job as difficult as possible - at certain points completely losing the projectionist and coming up to the screen to perform its bobbing head laughter and flapping its fins in pseudo-applause. Like a comedy character’s aside in a Shakespearean play. Or Jerry Lewis. But this may be no Viola film at all. It may be a Ryan Trecartin—who, it was finally revealed in 2082, never existed, being simply Viola’s alter-ego, side-projected as the final distillation of his Maimonian thinking—the video moves from the dolphin to a school of jittery mackerel, further fragmenting the already fragmented narrative of white-trash ventriloquism/mystical-contemplation-through-hidden-messages-in-hideous-voices onto the million silvered bodies of the fish swarm. The fish, at irregular intervals, reconfigure into a number that marks the exact time that has elapsed in the film—1:17; 2:39, 5:44, 9:12. This self-referential time-stamp marks, as the critic Nemamin Nemanon has insta-reviewed XV$XV$ XV4 Journal,
xxx
‘the apogee of the purging critique of the residual dimensions of representation and narrative. This systematic restriction to the elementary principles of a critique of representation combines all the strategies previously applied separately in the pictorial, sculptural and filmic conventions of representation: in this manner the real time principle is combined with the principle of self-reflexivity; the indexical gesture is superimposed on the language of pure performativity. Filmic representation in this advanced state of tautological self-reflexivity recognizes only the temporal and the kinetic dimension of its medium as the essential conditions of film (not its narrative conventions or its illusionistic representations).

“In this rigorous reduction of the filmic image to its elementary functions (pure duration, pure recording, pure indexical presence) the dialectic of late modernist rationality suddenly appears: that the elimination of narrative and agency, of representation and the imaginary from the (filmic) image, driven by the desire to dismantle the ideological conditions of media representation, makes manifest the very order of technocratic and media rationality that the calculated and industrially produced forms of narrative and myth conceal. Stripped of narrative’s compensatory function and of representation’s substitutional effects, the actually governing conditions of vacuity and separateness, the absence of sociality and communication ruling public space, appear now in undisguised violence within the restrictive prohibitions of the aesthetic structure itself.’

 

xxxxx

As you move on, the objects in the distance you were looking at, without much comprehension, come into focus. At first they seem like strange trees or cacti or some kind of strange desert flower. But you quickly realize that they are crucifixion-like structures. Each one is lit from below with a strange mauve light, more substance than just waves and particles. And at the top of each of these structures, there is a human figure, seemingly tied to it and squirming in agony or ecstasy. It’s not clear which. Only the level of animal intensity at which it is happening is easy to understand.

Suddenly, a figure moves in from the left. A large figure. A large version of the beetles that you saw scuttling by your feet earlier. Now that the creature is standing erect, walking on two legs with grafted oversized gorilla feet, the green witch-finger that was its stinger is transformed into a giant, fluorescent and throbbing phallus, the unpresence materialized and frightening. Lack undone.

‘Please come this way,’ the beetle says to you in a strange metallic voice, gripping your shoulder with a claw, at once sternly and reassuringly. You try to say something, but instead follow subserviently as the beetle, moving beside you, wrapping his arm around your shoulders like an understanding pastor, explains the predicament you now find yourself in.

‘I’m glad you finally arrived. I’m sure you must have had prophesy-dreams about this. In some ways this is what you have always desired. First, we insert a flesh root in your rectum and another up your vagina. The whole process will be lubricated by cherry cough medicine. We will castrate and insert the flesh root directly into your digestive system, with subsidiary life support insertions into your nose and mouth. Then, we have to extract your eyeballs. YOU WILL no longer have responsibility for your own experience which is obviously a curse.”

xxx

The beetle turns to you, gazes into your eyes tenderly, and says ‘These are wounds of love.’ And a strange emotion, a kind of mystical awe that words could never capture falls over both you and the insect. You feel can feel this in him. You can feel each other; feel yourselves inside each other. He kneels before you as if you are a little child again, the child you were when your parents died, during a police raid on an Aztec ritual ceremony in which they were going to extract your heart in order to ferment it and drink the essence of what was left of you. This is like a fault-line in the moment, in time, through which you are freefalling. The bliss would be complete if the shadow of a worry that you will eventually be snapped back into a miserable and barren existence could be eradicated.

The beetle says, "You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise." And the shadow of the worry is drained of something vital. This is your Healing.
xxxxxx
Hoisted up, you feel nails-tentacles slide through your hand and wrap back on themselves. Then, you feel your eyes scooped out and vortex nerve cut – black - as your penis and vagina are gutted out. You are sliced up your chest. Insects move into the cavity left where your viscera once sat. The beetle orders you be hoisted up on a green and fluffy cactus-cross. Its spikes dig into your back and come out of your torso, around the crevice-wound through which the insects are crawling in. The tips of the cacti spikes are crystal. Or they are just polished tempered glass. They glint. Your disfigured dwarf body has been invaded by the sensations that are impossible to remake as words. A collapse of language. These sensations are overtaking you. Extracting you from the banalities of life. You can remember exactly where this happened before—at the Fiat plant in Turin. Eddy Marckx was there. With the light playing through his sideburns.

And then the light is returning and you see the crowd in front. Crude features of workers. Odourous bodies and hairy limbs. You look down and the Hatori and Bifo are looking back up at you. The beetle is nowhere to be seen. You may be behind a screen, part of a movie in the exhibition. This sounds right. The crowd are stripping off and masturbating. Bifo is laughing, as he furiously pumps his penis into his cruciform vagina. Bifo is about to explode and heal himself again. Heal us all.

xxx