Gen's upcoming events and Misc.upcoming projects...

GENS MISC. UPCOMING PROJECTS: Heartworm Press are publishing “Collected Lyrics and Poems of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge – Volume One 1961 to 1971. Later they will publish Gen's first novel, written in 1969, “Mrs. Askwith”. Other books will follow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2003 era interview with Montreal mirror

originally appeared on

Elves on acid and Hitler in drag

Interdimensional investigator or shamanistic shyster? Post-gender pandrogyne or perverse little imp? Genesis P-Orridge is all that and more


Genesis P-Orridge is an artist and not a pornographer. - William S. Burroughs

If his new book Painful but Fabulous: The Lives and Art of Genesis P-Orridge is any indication, he is not only an artist and a pornographer, he’s a constant presence in some of the most subversive and original undercurrents of high art and popular culture around.

Genesis P-Orridge (born Neil Megson in Manchester, England, in 1950) invented industrial music and pioneered techno with Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV and Temple ov Psychik Youth. The Sex Pistols’ image of the Queen was ripped off from him. He collaborated with the likes of Burroughs and Timothy Leary. He is a well-respected “pandrogynist cultural speculator” and noted proponent of shamanistic “magick” (as opposed to rabbit-in-the-hat “magic”).

He has a German shepherd tattooed on his penis and a penchant for fascist fashion. His wife, Miss Jackie, holds him personally responsible for the current mass popularity of piercings - though his own adventures in body modification and transcending gender have gone so much further than a mere nipple ring or two.

P-Orridge is coming to Montreal to present a retrospective of his first project, the actionist performance group Coum Transmissions, at Concordia University’s VAV Gallery. Alongside his wife, Miss Jackie, and select number of participants, he will also be performing a number of sigils - “neo-magick rituals based around ecstasy, will, desire and knowledge.”

Prepare to have your mind expanded.

Mirror: How are you doing, Genesis?

Genesis P-Orridge: I’m pretty good - trying to decide what to do for me birthday later.

M: It’s your birthday? Happy birthday!

GPO: Thank you. I’m 53 years old. Timothy Leary used to joke about getting old and how it gives you the excuse to remember and forget anything you want. What it tends to give you is this incredibly humiliating hindsight when you realize that you’ve just been a reactive organism and you didn’t even realize it. You start to wonder, have I ever actually thought anything? Or am I really just a compression of all these different reactions? And, of course, in the end, who gives a fuck? Luckily, I always get to the ‘who gives a fuck.’

M: So what are your birthday possibilities?

GPO: We were gonna plan what to do for my birthday last night. We started to sip some wine and eat some nice food. I, of course, forgot that I’m on pain medication ’cause I had a root canal last week. I got nice and woozy and very content and smiley - nyiiiiii! Then suddenly it was 8 o’clock in the morning and we thought we should all go to bed. We didn’t plan anything. Maybe that was the party. We’ve already had it! So that was pleasant. Then I woke up to a nice sequence of e-mails. I got a phone call from Bruce LaBruce. I’m going to be in his next movie as Eva Adolf Braun Hitler, which is the character you picked for the cover of your magazine. So it’s all flowing together. Everything is very comfortable, like the soft, furry cogs of the people I appreciate being near and around are all cogging and furring and rubbing and clicking nicely. I feel good!

New boobs and Nazis

M: Tell me a little bit about this Eva Adolf Braun Hitler. What’s up with that?

GPO: That’s definitely someone I’m channelling. If there is such a thing as channelling then she’s being channelled. This is what she explained to me - ready?

M: Yes.

GPO: The official version of the end of the Second World War is of course completely inaccurate. Adolf Hitler actually murdered Eva Braun and then escaped in her drag when the Russians were coming. In all the confusion they just burned somebody else’s body next to hers. Adolf escaped and eventually, via various routes, got to America and is now living as a janitor in an old industrial building in the Midwest. However, through the guilt of having murdered the love of his life, and all the trauma of being who he is/was, he has become completely possessed by Eva. So he lives now as Eva Adolf Braun Hitler in this basement, in this boiler room. So that’s the basic story. She’s completely and utterly demented and suffering in hell. Yet she’s almost prudishly politically correct about gender issues. Ha, of all things!

M: So she’s going to be in the new Bruce LaBruce film?

GPO: Somehow we’re going to weave her in and out of the movie, almost like a Greek chorus, wandering around with these gender-queer statements and lavender revolution and so on.

M: Sounds Brechtian. Extreme Brecht!

GPO: Oh, I’ve got those. That’s the other surgery I’m recovering from. I got my breast implants last week. On Valentine’s Day, Miss Jackie and I both got our breast implants.

M: Seriously?

GPO: Yeah!

M: How are they?

GPO: Very nice. And sore still, ’cause we had it done under the muscle. It was our 10th anniversary of being together. And as you know, I prefer to immerse my entire being in the work that I do. I don’t like to only discuss, I also like to experience.

Dialogue with the divine

M: I would like to talk to you about magic -

GPO: Okay, what I’d like you to do - ’cause I’m a nosy little bastard from Manchester - is tell me a little about you. I know it’s hard ’cause it’s the other end of the stick and all that, but give me some background.

M: Well, I’m a writer, and I’m in a band called We Are Molecules.

GPO: I love the word ‘molecule!’ Good, good, good. Yummy. Go on.

M: I’m also in a group called Participation Mystique. We try to play music from all over the world, but are just two people.

GPO: Mystical participation? That makes total sense with what we’ve been trying to do. Invoking a dialogue with the divine, which is the root of music all over the world, the basic root of all calling down. So I get that one. Oh good! That’s exciting! I love to discover that something is inevitably happening that ought to be. I really feel that it’s one of these moments in time where it’s the duty of the artist to remember that creativity is the deepest luxury of all beings. The possibility of creativity. And with that goes improvising because of novelty, and explanation because of mystery. To be a little crass, the first book of the Bible is the Book of Creation. There’s a reason that’s what the order of things is. Creation is the highest form of being. I don’t know how it will unfold, but I have this feeling of it becoming okay to say that you have ethical, mystical, spiritual and magical considerations in the work that you do.

Metaphysics 101

M: Is that not the way it used to be?

GPO: Hah! Actually, no. Well, originally art was mystical and creative, but I think it’s been lost along the path. When I go and visit various art colleges and so on, I’m always amazed when I say to people, “What is it you want to do?” They say, “I want to be rich and famous.” When you’re talking about their art!

M: That’s confusion.

GPO: I would say 95 to 98 per cent say that to me. That’s frightening to me. Not in the traditional sense of frightening, but it’s bothersome. It concerns me that television culture has so homogenized the thinking process to the point that hardly any thinking is happening. You think about ethics, and sentiment, and emotions - where is the course for that at most art colleges? And yet, that to me seems to be one of the central themes of everything. The voyage of discovery to the unknown that is more fantastic than we ever imagined.

M: How would you change the curriculum?

GPO: We should have kids go to school to discuss metaphysics, but make it so exciting. Say to them, “Why not paint the whole street completely pink? Never explain it to anybody. Let’s just all paint it pink, and see what you find out about the way that people see the world and each other.” We have to not denigrate the idea of consciousness being the real issue. Consciousness is the only issue, the nature of consciousness. Are you part of me? Are we really all just one giant consciousness? Are we all the tiny fragments of God experiencing itself? Very possibly. So why not spend billions of dollars on that exploration, you know? How are we doing?

M: We’re doing great. I do want to talk about what you will be doing in Montreal.

GPO: Okay, let’s get practical. [Sings to the tune of Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”.] Let’s get practical, magical!

The universe in you

M: So just what will you be doing here in Montreal?

GPO: I’ll be working with Miss Jackie, making a large sigil. We’ll be working with a group of people who’ve signed on to participate in the collective construction of a piece. It will eventually be displayed on the last night. The origins of art are very much about inter-dimensional blocks, portholes and conversations, which is what a lot of people tend to forget.

M: What is the first art ever?

GPO: Obviously, one can only try and track back and think down deep into the nether regions of the brain, wherever they are. I would imagine that it would at some point become apparent to our ancestors that there was a morning and an evening, that the sun came up and the sun disappeared and the sun was a very good thing. And that also the darkness was a very good thing for various reasons. So the first art was about passing on any information to do with functional survival that was cohesive enough to different generations that they could memorize it. It could be added to as an oral history that would maintain what reality appeared to be. The very first art was about maintaining materiality, staying real.

M: Sounds like what you are doing.

GPO: I think that’s a really important point in terms of where I work with my art, because that’s really what I’m right down to now, is identity and real. There is another argument, that we don’t really have any function beyond passing on DNA. So that DNA is really the supreme life form, or just the mitochondria, whatever. So again we’re back to your molecules! But I really do believe that very possibly the supreme beings on this planet are in fact molecular and we are the clumsy bio-clusters that give mobility and novelty and interaction to great big colonies of DNA. What does the universe look like to a molecule? There are billions and billions of them. And what are we to them? We are these weird, lumbering things that they can hitch a ride on. And the one thing that we do that is useful for them is we pass them on to the next lot of ourselves. They get immortality through us. So I really think the great challenge of the future is DNA, and what its role really is. That’s why as an artist I have to look at myself as DNA and say, “Who am I?” And that’s when you get to perception. So we really have to get back to focusing on creativity, perception, consciousness, and what the hell is DNA? So there you go!

Intersecting with elves

M: So how does this magic fit into what you do?

GPO: Hmmm. I do believe that everything that I do is a magical act. The more I think about my entire life, the more I think it’s been one constant magical invocation. That somewhere, somehow, I was blessed with this feeling. As a child most of us have feelings of moving stones around and making little shrines, dens and secret places to hide -

M: Like forts.

GPO: Yes. All I know is that in my own experience, if I focused and I moved things around in particular ways and I had a very clear intent or idea of something I would like to have happen, that some power, a combination of sensory deprivation or meditation or whatever the words are, would permit me to force the hand of chance. I could increase the odds of a conversation with that which appears to be hidden just beyond the other.

M: The other?

GPO: There are intersections with some other dimensional laws of the universe. There must be more dimensions. Perhaps everything that everybody experiences is happening all the time. I was thinking about psychedelic tourists the other day, and how annoying they could be. Imagine if people took ayahuasca or magic mushrooms and they go off to where Terence McKenna talks about and they meet the elves and everything -

M: Sorry - they go where? To meet whom?

GPO: They go to some psychedelic dimension and they meet with elves and strange creatures and they talk with them and they ask them questions. And they come back. Let’s suppose for a moment that that place where they are is just as real as where we are. So, all of our dreams are them on acid trips over here! Right? We’re actually visiting these other places, and blundering around in their world without any training or any etiquette. No one told us the right thing to say, or how to behave, and not to leave the rubbish behind when you take a shit. If you start just for a minute to think of it in a much more concrete way, you can imagine millions of people have been invading these idyllic other dimensions with not much of a plan. It’s an odd phenomenon. Magic is very wisely and very carefully recorded and documented journeys to facilitate the most diplomatic relationships possible with these other territories. There’s no way for me to prove where I am is any more real or material than other places I felt that I’ve been. When I’m sleeping and dreaming, it’s absolutely as real. I spend a third of my life or more - even if you just count sleep - in other worlds. And yet it’s not on the curriculum anywhere!

M: What are the ethical guidelines there?

GPO: Yeah! That’s what we have to look at. Some people are. I’m not proselytizing that anyone should or should not take drugs. What I’m pointing out is that there are possibly myriad realities, and for whatever reasons, people are travelling back and forth between them. It seems like this planet is one of the intersections. Maybe we talk to ghosts all the time and don’t know and they are just people on trips from somewhere else. Who knows what’s going on? :

No comments: