ART ON THE INSIDE, BLOOD ON THE OUTSIDE
“Platoons of the latest replicas of Banksy roam the landscape, led by General Clone Banksy, a talentless nobody who once found a sample of Banksy DNA on an empty spray can. A rowdy gang of Tracey Ermin’s wrestle half a dozen dazed Andy Warhol’s to the ground. It is the future and all forms of art are free, perfect replicas exist of every masterpiece ever created, copyright and ownership are meaningless, ideas are cheap and replicated ad infinitum. Artists have realised that their own identity is the only thing they can own or control, so fans become clones of artists in order to spread their art/identity. One final piece of uncorrupted art remains, yet to be copied: a living story told by Neonate Muses.” – Institute of Contemporary Arts.
Part One of Dead Language, at EsoZone 2007. (Stay tuned for part 2.)
(Stay with it, things really start several minutes in.)
When you learn how to write an article(tm), you are generally taught that you’re supposed to frame things for your audience with your lead. But in this case I would only be giving you a copy of a copy of a copy. When you’re posed with a performance like Dead Language, it doesn’t so much matter what your critique is. I don’t come away from this with any need to make sense of a plot or analyze the performance based on traditional criteria. I’m not thinking anything at all. Everything that happened was visceral, emotional, possibly subconscious. So what can I tell you? If you went to see a play, and it terrified you so much you pissed all over yourself and broke your leg trying to flee the building, would that be a “good” play?
Not saying that my experience of Dead Language was one of terror, but I think you can see my point: this is not like watching Les Miserables.
Short of being at ground zero, the video above gives you a vicarious, even voyeristic glimpse into… What? Call it weaponized art. Call it ritual. Simply call it the experience of what happens when language dies. Just don’t call it a play or one of this group might just show up in your nightmares and kill you.
After watching – or perhaps participating – in this performance, I had a chance to talk about some of the concepts that played
into this work of interactive theatre with John Harrigan, the writer and director of the Foolish People.
In my previous article
target="_blank">Redefining The Real
target="_blank">Redefining The RealI wrote:
“Reality as fiction? Fiction as reality? In this day and age, it seems we
need to re-evaluate what these things even mean. We have moved beyond
post-modern ponderances of “the reality of the simulacra” (or copy) to
something more immediate – are our relationships with individuals, conducted
through electronic medium, any more or less valid than those that occur
outside of those confines? Should we feel just as hurt if they die? Feel
just as cheated if it turns out their death was merely a part of some
elaborate game, or conversely, if real deaths are written off as part of a
game of a more sinister kind?”
The work that you do seems to play with a lot of these ideas about real and not real – utilizing
theatre as a means of interacting with an audience, making that “fictional” space
“real,” and bringing them in, hopefully, to an experience they simply
couldn’t have in a normal theatre situation. One where there is the audience
sitting safely over here, and the actors over there on stage…
off from the majority of our basic senses and forces us to engage senses
that are still in development and are not fully evolved. The Internet is
such an important tool, but we have been tricked into believing it is the
ultimate destination, when as you know more than most, it is not. Also the
majority of the time we are investing in character/archetypes which are not
our own, they belong to myths that have been created by others who are not
fully equipped to lead people blindly into myth.
The majority of story makers have let us down, not seeing that they belong
to a very important order that have existed within our species for a very
long time, fulfilling a very important task.
As Shaman, Magician and Witch it would have been vital for the story maker
to lead society/culture into confrontation with key archetypes in the
adaptation of personal information into key myths which must be confronted
and overcome to allow us to individually and collectively to evolve, to
I couldn’t agree more. However, isn’t this an issue, no matter what
medium you’re using to develop myths?
and if like the net it presents itself from some quarters as a replacement
for the meat, the Internet is immediate and offers us real time responses,
the difference is you cant see the twitch of the eye, or the sweat on the
face of someone as they manifest pure archetype. This level of depth causes
interesting feedback loops. Music of course offers easily the most direct
and immediate manifestation of Myth.
Yes, and also possibly the most subjective. Also while on that- what
exactly do you mean when you use the word ‘myth’? I assume we’re both kind
of coming from a Joseph Campbell sort of interpretation, as the cross-roads
between personal consciousness and the cultural and universal spheres, but a
lot of people might think you mean the more colloquial definition- “a story
that’s not true.” Something to amuse or frighten children with, something
you were forced to read in grade school, that kind of thing…
Myth means many things to me, but if I was to locate it in its purest form,
I would say its the moment when someone realizes that their own story is
pure narrative and as important and vital as any character. Dead, alive,
real or unreal.
Right, yes, this is what I was getting at with ‘Redefining The Real.’ In
regard to that, how do you see yourselves as creating myths? –I assume,
from what I’ve seen, that that’s the case.
that’s more or less a machine that pumps out myths with the ultimate goal of
changing everything inside and outside.
At the Dead Language performance, I was introduced first
hand to that ‘Noumenal Engine.’ You were hooded, essentially in a cage, and
in a deep trance of some kind, I was brought over, and you conveyed a sort
of “Jabberwocky” message- “All mimsy were the borogoves.” Subconscious
I think this experience made the missive you posted online before the performance make a whole lot more sense:
“We create ritual art, theatre, film and meta-events.
Some of the usual terms that apply to the world of theatre are not
applicable to our work. For example we do not create PLAYS.
The use of Theatrical terminology is a contentious issue for us as a
Theatre is full of the most awful and weak terms to describe a sacred art.
For the last hundred years the majority of my contemporaries have worked
tirelessly to weaken theatre with soft minds and pointless works of
entertainment that have been placed between our minds and what throbs all
The work conducted by the master magician Artaud has been deformed and torn
down by an army of wasted flesh who are only interested in money, fame and
FoolishPeople conducted the Eden Working within ‘Dead Language’ this weekend
at EsoZone to begin a new era within our work with the creation and
instigation of a new ritual movement: The Theatre of Manifestation.
We conduct a Theatre of Manifestation and create Weaponised Art in various
We don’t fucking make plays.”
That pretty much says it all. How did you come on the concept for the Foolish People, anyhow? And what has
the process of developing art that is so personal been like, working with a
FP came about first as a brand name for my own artistic work. Live Art,
Ritual Theatre, etc. It’s now of course a mean and efficient Egregore. It
can stir up shit when it needs to. Love when it has to, nurture it’s members
and the audience that its stand shoulder to shoulder with in it’s desire to
see us shift and engage fully with each other and every dimension available
to us as a species.
It’s been an amazing ride, horrible at times. It’s eaten me alive and spat
the gristly good bits out and reformed them as something that’s generally a
more useful and efficient manifestation. It’s been beyond deeply personal,
it’s gone through me and out the other-side, taken me to secret military
bases, introduced me to future and past selves. It’s been incredible. Just
alone for the people I have met and worked with.
As it should be with all ritual, or art. Are there any overarching ideas
influencing your work now, aside from this intent?
We are now in a position in which reality is throbbing with unanswered
questions, our world has shifted and now plans to plot the ultimate
conclusion to the myth of the human as we climb towards 2012 or whatever end
world Ascension scenario you invest in.
Funny you bring up 2012… We just ran several related articles on the
subject here on Alterati. When I was working on
href="http://www.fasferox.com" target="_blank">Fas Ferox href="http://www.mythosmedia.net" target="_blank">Fallen Nation
href="http://www.fasferox.com" target="_blank">Fas Feroxand
href="http://www.mythosmedia.net" target="_blank">Fallen Nation
many of those ideas came into play too, though it was a bit before the crazy
seemed to really hit… which is right now, it seems.
I’m looking forward to having sometime to sit down and read Fallen
Nation and some of the other stuff that’s coming out remixing the general
myth of 2012, I desperately feel like i need to feed my brain at the moment,
this year has involved pumping stuff out and i haven’t had much time to feed
I know, that’s kind of how I’m feeling at the moment. What do you make of
those myths? And are any of the myths you’ve been developing based on that
To be honest, for me I don’t care if it is 2012 or not. If 2012 is now, five
years or never. Its not important to me if people believe in it or not as
significant time marker for us as a species. As a writer I recognize its
significance as a narrative peak, and I choose to endorse that within my own
mythic reality. At the moment I’m working within Myth that’s set after 2012.
Dead Language is set quite sometime after 2012. After culture has died and
we have inherited a zombie culture feeding on itself.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Event that nearly killed me and other FP members due to a rather intense
Entity possession… Told simultaneously over the four levels of the
Galleries of Justice in Nottingham, which used to be a working court with
prisons, caves, gallows etc. It once had IRA prisoners and a lot of the
miners from the eighties miners strike in the UK locked up within it. The
place was and is a fucking amazing place for any Hyper-Dimensional artist to
I have just started work on version 1.0 of Dead Language a Weaponized Art
piece for the ICA in London, which opens on October the 18th. The Beta
version of Dead Language was presented at esoZone… FP are about to leave
for Prague for preparations with various Hyper Dimensions for Dead Language.
Then late October I begin work on the script for FoolishPeople’s first full
length movie project, which should be out sometime late 08/09 also possibly
another film project which I’m excited about the prospect of. I’m also
working on killing off the “Kind of” meme from my vocabulary. Its weak and
is a retroactive throw back signal from a time when I was thick little
product of England’s council estate ghettos with no idea who or what I
Well it’s been a pleasure talking to you, and I hope we can collaborate
more in the future – or just kick back for drinks sometime.
pics on flickr.