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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Michael Horowitz

Michael Horowitz, archivist for Dr. Timothy Leary offered Gen refuge after his Exile From england...

He is the husband of author Cynthia Palmer, and the father of Winona Ryder and Uri Horowitz.

A former close associate of Timothy Leary, he is responsible with his wife for the creation of the world's largest library of drug literature, the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Memorial Library.
Horowitz and actor Leonardo DiCaprio are planning a biopic about Leary to be written by Craig Lucas.

The following excerpt appears as a full article written by Gen in Love Sex Fear Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment by Timothy Wyllie, edited by Adam Parfrey, published by Feral House.

In one of those classic magical moments I had thrown a heap of post in my bag as we left England. Whilst trying to make sense of becoming an exile and refugee overnight I idly opened one envelope. It was a letter from Michael Horowitz, archivist for Dr. Timothy Leary, and his partner Cindy Palmer. In it he had written, "If you ever need a refuge, call me at this number." I did, and he immediately offered me and my family sanctuary at his home in Petaluma, where we lived in Winona Ryder's old bedroom for several months.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mr. Sebastian...

Mr. Sebastian

Alan Oversby, the London-based master piercer and tattooist known to fans and clients around the world as Mr. Sebastian, died on May 7 1996. The reclusive artist practiced body modification in the UK long before it became a popular fad; he gained some notoriety in the US with the publication of RE/Search's Modern Primitives, in which his piercing and tattoo work appeared adorning Genesis P-Orridge and other TOPY members. Originally an art teacher, Alan Oversby left his initial profession to pursue his interests in tattooing and piercing instead. From his studio in London, he promoted both tattooing and body piercing, especially within the gay leather community

His vocals were used in the Psychic TV track "Message from The Temple" which appeared on their first album Force the Hand of Chance.

Operation Spanner
In 1987, Alan Oversby was one of 16 men charged as a part of Operation Spanner, a series of raids that resulted in the arrest of men who were all engaged in consensual homosexual BDSM activities.

Alan, like the other men, was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm for performing a genital piercing on a client. He was also charged with using anaesthetic without a licence and for sending obscene material through the post (photographs of piercings).

As the judge was not willing to take the consensuality of the participants into account, Alan pleaded guilty along with the other 15 men. He received a sentence of 15 months, which was suspended for two years.

A funeral was held in London on May 16 1996.

Excerpt From a Genesis interview from "The morning news"  sept 2009
"Our belief is it is really about power. S&M and festish activities were for a long time (centuries) primarily the vices of the aristocracy and royalty, who could afford the luxury. As the so-called common person developed an interest in these privileged sports, they were harassed, intimidated, and eventually jailed. One gay man in the infamous Spanner Case got three years in jail for piercing HIS OWN foreskin. The local pharmacy saw his snapshots and turned him in. His trial, with 11 others, was at The Old Bailey, London, with a judge, but NO jury. All were found guilty and for a shameful time the U.K. had no legal rights to tattoo, pierce, scarify or practice S&M. This was in 1991. It was the primary reason we were forced into seven years exile as an “instigator” though we were NEVER charged with even a parking ticket. But cultural engineering is a powerful force and look at the world now! Everyone and their brother is an expert on “Body Modification”. We say hurrah. The alternative repression is far worse."

Excerpt from jan 2008 Gen interview Stay thirsty
Thirsty: They wanted to just completely put a stop to it back then?

Genesis: Yes. They declared it illegal. And as we say they jailed several people, and ruined the lives of other people. One of them was teacher who had pierced himself. He lost his job. He was ridiculed in the media. It was a terrible, terrible attack, and in the original case, there were 13 people that they were arresting through the courts, and one of them was me. And they’d got all the names by going through Mr. Sebastian’s appointments book. And then suddenly my name dropped off that list. And of course, it turned out to be, because they wanted to deal with me separately. And we found out later that was the time they began on the whole strategy to raid my house and stop me being in Britain, encouraging this horrible decadent behavior. (laughs) It’s a wild story, and if we didn’t have all the documentation, it would be hard to believe. But Jaye used to say to me when we would walk down to St. Marks and we would see all these kids with dreadlocks and loads of piercings and tattoos, and she’d look at me and go, “I blame you for this.” (laughs)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

my own Psychic cross branding

For those who may be own Psychic cross branding, performed 7/24/10 by the amazing Craig Hart in Dayton,Ohio....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kondole notes...

Liner Notes from the Psychic tv release "Kondole" below. The album is named after the mythical figure, Kondole, from an aboriginal creation myth from the peoples of Encounter Bay, Southern Australia. Genesis has spoken many times that he believed the rescue of the two dolphins from the Brighton dolphinarium, led directly into scotland yard raiding his homes and beginning his England exile.

Imagine if the Yellow Submarine kept travelling. Through the sea of holes, through the sea of monsters. Imagine if the consensual hallucination of the 1960s transmutated into a parallel quest for sentient enlightenment & political activity. Through oceans of time, through oceans of mystery. Eventually it would have chronicled the entire evolution of all life forms & states of consciousness throughout the omniverse. Doubtless in the process it would have encountered Master Voyagers, like dolphins & whales, whose voices contain precise threads of spiritual information. & doubtless it's return would prove that all beings are charged with discovery & navigation.

Prior to settling in California as exiles, Alaura & Genesis P. Orridge coordinated a campaign to expose & close down the Brighton dolphinarium. The Transmedia Collective eventually succeeded in rescuing & rehabilating 2 dolphins; released into the open oceans one year after the dolphinarium closed. The perseverance & passion of a few CAN win practical & permanent victory against the odds.

The following excerpt appears as a full article written by Gen in Love Sex Fear Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment by Timothy Wyllie, edited by Adam Parfrey, published by Feral House.

Through a mutual friend, Eve, I was introduced to Timothy Wyllie. Eve knew of my "fascination" with The Process and my search for the realities behind it, rather than accepting the tiny, vague amount of gratuitous misinformation available, when she introduced us. Timothy was everything I'd hoped he might be and more, and his sharp, dry intelligence and wit combined with his encyclopedic knowledge and application of spiritual matters blew me away in the same inspirational cosmosis of energy that Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs had. Timothy was living in New York at that time and was directing his beneficent resources toward dolphin sentience, extraterrestrials and angels. Brighton had a Dolphinarium where two dolphins suffered terribly, both psychologically and physically, from cruel conditions. TOPY decided to try and close the Dolphinarium by boycotting the entrance every single weekend and peacefully asking people not to go inside and thus financially collude in the ongoing torture of these supra-intelligent beings. For over a year TOPY picketed the Dolphinarium, eventually enlisting the support of animal rights groups. Psychic TV, Julian Cope, Captain Sensible of The Damned and other caring friends participated in benefits. TOPY Individuals visited local schools getting the children involved in dolphin art projects and study groups. We even released a CD called Kondole (the Aboriginal name for a whale spirit) to finance the campaign. Eventually we succeeded and through a charity of the Aga Khan, our two dolphins were flown to the Turks and Caicos for rehabilitation. Timothy Wyllie had inspired us and as a marvelous side effect he has become a lifelong friend and mentor

Monday, July 19, 2010

Zuccarelli Holophonics

A few notes on "Zuccarelli Holophonics"...
the classic Psychic tv album "dreams less sweet" album was credited as being recorded with this technology and and "no microphones at all", according to the sleeve notes. A large part of the ambience, which permeates the album, is due to the fact that it was recorded using the  Zuccarelli Holophonic technology, similar to the Artificial Head system used by the 70's Berlin Krautrockers. Extra spacial dimension and clarity become disorientatingly apparent. This encouraged Psychic TV to record sounds and environments which would make the most of the recording system. Locations included The Hell Fire Club caves 300ft. underground, Christ Church in Hampstead, and Caxton Hall. The album is full of sounds designed to exploit the 3D effect. It's an amazing experience on headphones.

Just prior to the release of "Dreams less sweet" in 1983  , the "Just drifting" 7" single from the "Force The Hand Of Chance"  1982 album contained the following liner notes...

"This is a Zuccarelli Holophonic TM recording made with the assistance of Mike King. This system gives 360 degree sound or Three Dimensional sound. For best effect place speakers opposite each other and sit in the middle, or use headphones. Close your eyes, play quite loud and try and read the pcitures. Walk through the rooms of The Temple Ov Psychick Youth."

"If you sit with fear, a star too far, almost lost in this storm of Life. A blazing ghost can become the host, and you breakthrough to the room of dreams."

Excerpt from a april 2009 interview with self-titiled website.

GPO: ... But whatever happened to holophonic sound? Dreams Less Sweet is still the only album in the world that was completely holophonic.

EC: What’s holophonic?

GPO: Dimensional sound.

EC: When did that come about?

GPO: We recorded that in ’83, so [the] early ’80s. This guy called Hugo Zuccarelli invented this special new way of recording sound. Part of it was a real human skull, with latex skin and real human hair, called “Ringo” cause it was the skull of a Mexican boxer called Ringo who died in the ring. Which is…interesting. Not really useful to the sound, [laughter] but…inside that, he had little bags of liquid where the inner ear is, so he tried to construct as near as he could an entire person’s head with a sack of liquid for the brain, and so on. And right in the center of that was something, which he wouldn’t tell, and he hid the papers all over the world, which went through a wire and into a black box. And in the black box, the digital information from this whatever, was changed back into code that could become sound again.

EC: Analog?

GPO: No, this was digital…three-dimensional digital, it was the first time ever it had been done. Pink Floyd used it on…Meddle, maybe?

EC: Did you need a special player to understand this?

GPO: Oh yeah, when we used it, Sony brought an entire mobile studio they built specially, and the tape was circular but it was twice this diameter.

AW: Bullshit! [Laughter]

GPO:- And it was only this thick; it was really strange.

AW: That has gotta be mega-expensive.

GPO: Well, they did it for free, because they’d been trying to get people to do it on a whole album and no one else would. Pink Floyd used it for sound effects only, and Michael Jackson used it on Thriller but only for the sound effects, and we said we’ll use [it] for the whole fucking album. So they created this whole studio for us, at this place called Jacob’s.

We tried all these things—we put it in a coffin, buried it, so you can hear yourself being buried alive, on the record, and we got this guy from a film studio to come with a license and fire guns past its ears so you could hear bullets flying past…all kinds of stuff. We did a tattoo on it [laughter]. We got clippers and pretended to cut its hair, we put it on a rope and swung him so he was flying around the studio while we played live so it was recording wherever it went.

EC: And what happened to all this?

GPO: It came out, it was released as an album…on CBS.

...GPO: It was very funny, we went into the Hell Fire Club caves, because Zuccarelli reckoned it would pick up atmosphere as well; we recorded in the place where Aleister Crowley did his Rites of Eleusis and gave out magic mushrooms; we recorded in a church with an opera singer. This choir, they were actually singing Craft Ebbing’s “Psychopathia Sexualis,” so if you translated the Latin it was actually about a woman who had a perversion about young boys. It was wild, we couldn’t believe our luck. And the more ridiculous the things we suggested, the more they’d go, “Yeah, that sounds great, we’ll organize it for you.” [Laughter].

More on Zuccarelli Holophonics....

Holophonics was created by Argentine Hugo Zuccarelli in 1980, during his studies at the Politecnico di Milano university. It, along with Zuccarelli, rose to fame in 1983 with the release of a recording entitled Zuccarelli Holophonics (The Matchbox Shaker) released in the UK by CBS which consisted entirely of short recordings of sound effects designed to show off the system. These included the shaking matchbox, haircut & blower, bees, balloon, plastic bag, birds, airplanes, fireworks, thunder, and racing cars. In its early years,

Zuccarelli states that the human auditory system is a sound emitter, producing a reference sound that combines with incoming sound to form an interference pattern inside the ear. The nature of this pattern is sensitive to the direction of the incoming sound. According to the hypothesis, the cochlea detects and analyzes this pattern as if it were an acoustic hologram. The brain then interprets this data and infers the direction of the sound. An article from Zuccarelli presenting this theory was printed in the magazine New Scientist in 1983. This article was followed soon after by two letters casting doubt on Zuccarelli's theory and his scientific abilities.

Holophonics, like binaural recording, reproduces the interaural differences (arrival time and amplitude between the ears), as well as rudimentary head-related transfer functions (HRTF). These create the illusion that sounds produced in the membrane of a speaker emanate from specific directions. To produce digital holophonic or binaural recordings, a mono source requires many HRTF channels combined.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gen's intro to Steven Johnson Leyba's bio"The Last American Painter"

Purchase Steven's The Last American Painter here

In the tradition of the eccentric artist’s memoir like Salvador Dali’s Secret Life, The Last American Painter is a revealing and personal account of the life of an artist. Leyba is a painter, a trickster, a social critic, a controversial public performance artist and folk hero loved and hated by many. He unapologetically embraces the warrior philosophy of his Apache ancestors, radical sexuality, contemporary Satanism, revenge, the use of sex acts and blood rituals as well as painting with his own bodily fluids. Experience a life and world few could even imagine was possible. He takes us into his very personal yet public life and exposes the contemporary life of a renegade artist in a world that praises entertainers and ignores mavericks. The Last American Painter delves into the cultural fireworks and controversies over his art and life, alludes to various governmental investigations and political scandals including the "Apache Whiskey Rite", a whiskey-sodomy protest ritual that scandalized San Francisco.

Steven has allowed thee Archive to share Gen's full intro to his book below. Gen give some great insight into Steven's amazing work..I did a show with him in 2009 and i must say if you ever get a chance to see his art up-close...YOU MUST.


As our species begins its first tentative explorations of the 21st Century, we exist immersed in a new-way-on (eon) of entropic ultra-consumption. We find ourselves immobilized in a state of suspended evolutionary animation by a potent and power-FULL all pervading, all devouring, covert and heavily cynical underlying structure. A structure that is reliant upon novel variations of the traditional formulae of addiction in order to maintain social and behavioral inertia in the service of those already wielding the tools of expensive and extended power. The primary force that drives this materialist engine is an understanding by the corporate powers that be of the essential “algebra of need” as isolated and explored in the literary body of work of William S. Burroughs. This culturally imposed state shares the underlying nature of true addiction. That is to say an appetite artificially developed that promises an illusory expectation of infinite satisfaction by indulging in a form of consuming that is innately and destructively insatiable. Burroughs proposed, using heroin as a metaphor for social control, that “junk” was the perfect commodity as the addict would pay any price for an unknown quality and no advertising was required. In cultural terms this proposes that no matter how much of one’s given “drug” of choice one can access it can never be enough nor can it supply a finite, completed experience.

“Art” ( or as we prefer to call it, simply CREATION), which for the purpose of this text implies a striving by the creator to expose the covert dynamics of every possible interpretation of its contemporary socio-cultural environment, is a metaphysical drive, a calling with an inner sense of unavoidable duty. Burroughs observed and analyzed a linkage between totalitarian control systems and the deliberately provoked symptoms of a “suburban” material need for symbolic luxury, unleashed with apocalyptic fury on post-World War 2 America using irresistible addiction as a key.

In a similar way, Steven Leyba uses his disciplined calling as an artist to reveal a predominant, over-arching, meta paradigm of 21st century mass consumerism that acts as a safety net allowing society to maintain a voluntary structure of denial. We surrender passively to tantalizing promises of the fulfillment of all our desires by purchasing obsolescent luxery goods, but like all addictions the prime dynamic by which it operates is that by definition the appetite can NEVER be permanently satiated. The incontrovertible quality of addiction presupposes an inability of the item desired to ever more than temporarily give an illusory mirage of resolution.

There is a similar effect of illusion, delusion and alternative resolution in Leyba’s paintings. Distance from the image directly affects the viewer’s interpretation, which in turn affects their emotional and intellectual responses. Just as advertising sells unnecessary goods by utilizing subliminal, and exposed sexuality, so Leyba expertly generates a pulsing, strobing effect as our eyes see both a recognizable portrait in one moment and a tangle of genitals the next. All that we are seeing is true, but not everything is permitted. We see the basic logo of a person, their face, but we also, in a unique and singular way,similtaneously see their body. More than that we see their flesh, their most intimate private parts mutated to RE-present their public image. Suddenly our nervous system is stimulated by sexual explicitness composed from an erogenous tissue of flesh that bypasses inherited taboos and an explosive fountain of meanings and resonances breaks out from the surface in a rush of considered, deliberate contradictions of meaning.

Right in the vortex of this flesh fountain will be found black holes, sucking our reactive interpretations in, through, and out of the canvas in the deepest and most significant revelation of all. None of his portraits have eyes. They are always missing! Leyba simply paints them away with black oil paint. Eyes are the gateway to the soul in established traditions, but in Leyba’s world we are already damned and soulless. The artist sees us, observes us minutely, but we do not necessarily have the ability or comprehension required to look back. There is a terrifying emptiness at the core of all that substance that we take for granted as it lugs our baffled brains around.

In spiritually volatile times such as this we, as a species, need to ask ourselves some searching and uncomfortable, even disturbing questions. The miraculous unfolding and ongoing survival of humanity against incredible environmental and climatic odds throughout the ages has been preserved, catalyzed, directed, inspired, mirrored and sanctified on our species’ behalf by the shamans, soothsayers, storytellers, sorcerers, wise ones, alchemical healers and (once upon a time) by the Artists of each age. These oracular beings fearlessly explore additional dimensions to those of mundane nonsensus everyday “reality”. They push the boundary of established social protocols, using the discipline of brutal self questioning to carry out an independent cultural autopsy on the often putrefying body of humanity during any given age. These courageous and often vilified individuals are essential to the psychic hygiene and mental health of the social order or civilization of their time.

As our ways of life have separated further and further from a balance with Nature, the role and prestige of these visionary gestalt therapists working on behalf of their community after an, often involuntary, initiation by near death experience, has been in decline. For around 2000 years these “creators” evolved from obsessed, possessed, magical shamans chosen by circumstance (not by self will) to artists still serving the Divine and the transcendental through the Church in the West and bureaucratic religions in general. This interaction with the Christian church in particular led to the artist’s gradual subservience to patronage, as, during the Holy Roman Empire in particular the separation between nobility, priesthood, church and state became forever intertwined in ever more cruel, exploitative, vicious, bigoted, hypocritical, politically devious and divisive ways. Church leaders and landowning lords became more and more often one and the same which, very ironically, resulted eventually in positioning most artists on the payroll of the most anti-visionary, anti-change, anti-questioning and monolithic enemy of unbridled, uncensored, unlimited creative passion and inspirational perceptual exploration. To displease one’s patron was to risk execution. This unfortunate historical progression has led to the most fundamental problem concerning the basic nature and purity of intention of art. What is its function?

This question is complicated by the, by now, entrenched relationship between; those who wield power, by political or financial authority and who tend to directly, like Andres Serrano’s “collectors” ( read on!), or indirectly, via support of Museums and other art institutions and those artist/creators who were/are charged with limitless imagination on behalf of us all. Artists have been envisaged as incorruptible beings, acting as our fearless and peerless guides into the unknown possibilities and impossibilities of a future; pleasant or not, safe or not, comfortable or not, requiring radical change by us all, or not. This conundrum of how can the hireling freely enter into open conflict with the hirer raises a further question…Is there a different path than that represented by the “Art World” the “Art Market” which by now is almost a surrogate stock market? Is there a form of art, a way of being an artist that is independent and unique enough to serve the original functions of Art, which included its very EXISTENCE being almost a side-effect of its BEING innately FUNCTIONAL, being a ritualized form of aesthetic magical practice?

Whilst art history does have a subtext, an almost secret cabal of visionary artists who practice art as magic and inter-dimensional exploration in potentia, examples of artists truly and irrevocably, chemically wedded to functional, romantically existential, ritualized ART are still scarce, and getting scarcer, as the Age of Greed and Need crashes in upon us all. It is the belief of this author, both as an individual AND as one half of the merged artist Breyer P-Orridge that art that is not in a sense messianic, that is trying to both save and kick-start into mutational evolution, is not true art but what Brion Gysin use to describe to me as Deceptual Art.

This introduction will attempt to locate and to some degree clarify that Steven Leyba’s work is truly devotional, ethical, respectful, loving, intimately vulnerable and exciting. Furthermore we would argue that his work sits squarely within the quasi-religious, psychedelic, spiritual and shamanic source of the very notion and warrior path of true art itself. As he himself says:

“I am not a slave to the photographic image. It is a slave to me. It can always be painted over…but one must have the essence of something, someone. Something one can’t verbalize…that gives it life and makes it (true) art and not just the sport of craft. I create to celebrate and understand this life. The greatest artistic joy is to manifest something of refreshing and new meaning out of images usually discarded as crude or too private, something our of what is generally conceived of as nothing. It is the most liberating experience and I am driven to do it regardless of any consequences.” Steven Leyba

There are two contemporary themes running through mid-20th Century art that relate to the inevitability of the emergent disciplines that are essential keys to a deeper comprehension of the paintings of Steven Leyba.

Painting in America began to look more and more closely at the entire purpose and intrinsic value, or lack of it, in traditional canvas based and, primarily, figurative art. The subject/image contemplated was studied more and more closely in an ever greater magnification of the “surface” itself. This paralleled in several ways the development of technological and scientific ideas (especially in physics, chaos mathematics and quantum particle theories) leading to effervescent mappings and intricacies of light itself. In the avant-garde Brion Gysin’s “DREAMACHINE” became the first artwork “to be looked at with eyes closed” as it utilized light itself in conjunction with mathematics. Better known this exploration was classically rendered in the paintings of Jackson Pollock. Pollock approached the dilemma of representation of the essential inner matter of his subject from a passionate, physically involved direction. The creation of a painting being a performance action, a meditation of oil paint, the flesh and muscle of his body and legendarily …hard liquor.

The use of alcohol and other substances to induce or amplify access to shamanic delirium in all forms of artistic expression is an age old one, we do not have time to explore at length in this introduction, but suffice it to say Steven Leyba’s modus operandi when painting follows in this grand intoxicated tradition along with Francis Bacon, Cocteau, Allen Ginsberg and the Beats, Rothko, Rimbaud, the New York Abstract Expressionists, most denizens of Warhol’s Factory if not Andy himself, the artist “Breyer P-Orridge” and countless other confessed and closeted hyperdelic travelers. We mention “Breyer P-Orridge” not for a gratuitous namecheck but because it was similarity of creative practice around an evolutionarily based re-insertion of the human figure into the art object(s) that made us mutually aware of each other’s work and led to our becoming friends and allies.

Being a friend and ally of Steven Leyba inevitably leads to a moment of hilarious and shocking intimacy as, stripped bare (like the bride even ), one discovers oneself spreading wide those buttock cheeks to clear the way for anus close-ups followed by vaginal, penile and breast portraits so detailed as to be medical text book quality!

At the same time as the limitations of the canvas were leading to stripping away layers and layers of consensus reality to try and capture the molecular essence of light, and the uncertain mystery of inner “meaning”, other routes were being explored. Pop Art, of course, looked beyond the traditional figurative, landscape and still life options of painting and focused on the superficiality of consumerist America. We had become so materialistic so afraid of an atomic war forshadowed future that we were, in a sense, socially hoarding artifacts, objects, symbols of wealth…STUFF! As the media became more globalized finally and truly earning the concept “mass media”, (later to be updated, post-digitally, to mediascape with the omnivorous arrival of the internet) so we saw silk screened, mass-produced “paintings” from Warhol, large scale reproductions of comic book “PULP” fiction print from Lichtenstein and, once again, our means of perception were magnified to a point where the viewer could see the tiny dots, particles of paint equivalent to essential basic matter that give the illusion of solidity to a “realistic” image.

One of the great mysteries of existence is, “Where does one form of being stop and another begin, or end?” If, as we use scientific hardware to peer into the very moment (alleged) of Creation, the gaps between the particles that make up what we experience as solid matter get larger and larger until, in a very real sense comparatively, there is so much space in between that we cannot honestly describe where nothingness begins (or ends) and what we experience as beingness begins (or ends). Art and science have tended to arrive at similar conclusions as the 21st Century begins. Everything is interlocked, interfaced, compressed in infinite layers simultaneously without time having a beginning or end. Time is viewed now as an energy, except for biological time which unfolds in a way we inevitably perceive as linear. Although the probabilities are that even THAT is an illusion that filters the enormity of attempting to contemplate every instant of sensory “life” by becoming a recording that has become inevitable and therefore always happened. We seem to either exist in a looped spiral of eternally repeating events that have already happened and by their very nature as recordings of choices will always happen again. OR, we exist on an immeasurably thin knife edge of “PRESENT TIME” as William S. Burroughs called it once to me.

Our lives, then are a sequence of choices made nanosecond to nanosecond and they intersect with, co-manifest amongst the infinite choices moment to moment of billions of other sentient beings, including all forms of life by the way. This swamp of choices is given substance, or the illusion of it, by the interpenetration of so many choosers. But the precise instant a choice is made it is over, gone, obliterated and more choices are being made. We are rushing “forward” with everything that ever happened already gone and everything in a future yet to be decided and thereby momentarily “created” before it too is past.

Human beings tend to suspect this underlying awareness of a past and a future really not existing in the traditional way of picturing existence. Past and future only exist as an ongoing expectation and it makes them uneasy, afraid, and desperate to cheat the onrushing inevitability of oblivion.

Once again, many people in America especially (although the consumer addiction virus is spreading, and being deliberately spread very effectively, by the accelerating global reach of the digital age where at last the “VIRTUAL” the illusory, the basically deceptive and dishonest reign supreme) are now deified by the new template for social control, TOTALITARIAN CAPITALISM. China and Russia are way ahead in socially defining that first word and America wins hands down for championing the most vacuous form of that second word, but, the way things look, soon everything, everywhere, will be pretty well balanced out and a homogenous new human breed of voluntary technoclones will emerge hotwired into the very surveillance systems and consumer addiction processes that oppress them so subtly via television and the entertainment industries (which includes fashion by the way).

When he writes…

“I am a painter and painters paint no matter what ! Consumers consume, fuckers fuck, governments govern, painters paint.”

…Leyba is crying out in aesthetic anguish, screaming with primordial PAINt for us to see THROUGH the deceptions and trappings, tricks and edits and thereby validate his heart, his deeply passionate compassion.

Leyba paints his most intimate sanity as his renaissance hands cling for DEAR life to nonesensus reality, the skin of those same hands’ fingers white, almost to transparency, with the effort of avoiding that last infernal plunge into the infinite pit below. For Leyba that pit is America. A nation founded upon death and denial. Death the execution of the indigenous population ( both human and buffalo) and denial their implicit belief that there was never (even worthy of hesitation) anything, nor anyone, in this predestined judeo-christian Paradise created by God specifically for the fundamentalist flotsam and jetsam of Europe to occupy and subdue before they arrive. That selfish, righteous unquestioning path of destruction continues to this present day. These American consumer boomers, these people are the wreckers of civilization. With a scientific rigor that is so rare amongst any artists in this day and age, Leyba uses a combination of photography, oil painting, collage, shamanism and an aesthetic interaction of his own body with the body of others to offer himself the possibility of attempting the work of Creator, putting himself in the very problematic place of a God he doesn’t believe exists located in a country built of sick and ailing illusions.

Like Man Ray’s “Rayograms” Leyba is x-raying the most central “object/thing” that we ALL perceive as representing US, our “avatar” as video/internet gamers would label it, the/OUR human body. He is not alone. The pioneering work of French artist Orlan investigated classical painting’s representations of female beauty, of fleshly perfection as personified by the “Mona Lisa” for example, and by using her skin as a contemporary canvas she allows us to “see” through male perception. To some degree Orlan has been able to repossess and redefine biological aesthetics and sensuality in her performance pieces ( receiving plastic surgery procedures whilst conscious and reading ironical texts in a deliberately theatrical setting, playing on the word “theatre” amongst many witty yet vital aspects of gender politics and identity issues).

The Australian artist Stelarc has worked ruthlessly to reduce the myth of the human body being sacred. Beginning with works of physical endurance that required his denial of the reactive “pain” functions of his own flesh, Stelarc has moved beyond an inherited biological container towards a future where function and choice rule supreme, enabling us to realistically plan and initiate colonizing space and, in the process of so doing, reject our birthwrong as passed on via DNA. Stelarc has successfully constructed a third arm that he has taught his muscles and nerves to independently signal to complete tasks, such as signing his name. He sees a vast proportion of our internal organs as redundant and “taking up space” as opposed to his ultimate dream of “taking us up into space”. Technological hardware could be housed in the body cavity and replication could be genetically designed and executed. His work raises outrage and paranoia because it confronts major issues facing our species. Overpopulation and overcopulation the ignoring of which has led directly to the current and ongoing collapse of a Western economic fantasy concept based upon neverending and endless economic growth and economic productivity. Refusal to accept inate material limitations on our resources has led to the dramatic crisis facing our species today.

Breyer P-Orridge’s works since 2003 have centered on their commitment to the conceptual and, as far as medically possible, physical creation of a THIRD BEING they call “The Pandrogyne”.

A Pandrogyne is neither male nor female, but an hermaphroditic symbol of two becoming one, of an end to the biological and cultural tyranny of binary perceptions, of “nonsensus” reality. They propose the Pandrogyne in order to move the human species from its primitive, pre-Astoric behavioural patterns of violence and intimidation being unleashed upon any thing, entity, creature or idea that is “different”, unknown, novel or alien. The current polarizing of macro and micro communities into warmongering, bigoted posturing is the endgame result of this mute mass acceptance of inherited social systems that require inertia to survive. Leyba’s artistic practice and philosophy is appropriately aligned with this rare but cutting-edge lineage of alchemical stormtroopers of evolution spawned by Breyer P-Orridge, Stelarc, Orlan and their kin.

In a tryptich of this Pandrogyne Leyba’s multi-layered textures of meaning work full force, illustrating the blending and merging of identity and gender in both intimate and taboo forms, as well as arcane and archetypal dimensions where other traditions of painting would be incapable of reaching. On the left is Lady Jaye, composed of her own genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics, on the right is Genesis created likewise, and, inevitably, in the centre, is a Pandrogyne assembled from the reproductive organs of both that illustrates their idealized vision of becoming one being by their absolute surrender to the merging of two. Ironically at the same time Leyba reminds us of their proposal to end biological replication of the species!

This incredible intimacy is a crucial element of Leyba’s works. We have created a socio-economic MACHINE so huge, so global, so all pervading that our SELF hood, our very sense of corporeality is swamped, submerged in a cultural tsunami of trivial consumerism. Inevitably an alternative subculture rises up in response, populated by unorthodox thinkers and anarchic collectives. So we look. We seek. Trying to reconnect with our SELF. First we engage at the surface with tattoos, then with the flesh itself with piercings, suspension on hooks, scarification.It can SEEM nostalgia for lost shamanism but it is NOT. It is a very contemporary existential angst driven, as we lose contact with even our own means of procreation, our vital organs, our VITALITY, as we ourselves find our identity submerged, erased and homogenized by the current, and ongoing, explosion of interconnecting technologies. Our bodies have become “cheap suitcases” as Lady Jaye would say…

The irony is complete. As we are conceptually (soon literally) made available to every other human being and every bit of uploadable data we find our SELF more lost and ALONE than ever before…

How do humans CONNECT at the deepest level in order to counteract this drowning in superficial bottomless pools of the datasphere? They make love, they fuck, they masturbate, they make babies. They fuse with another sentient being at the most profound level we so far know through orgasm.

This desparate quest for any connection whether base, debased or romantic and altruistic is the “grail” of Leyba’s art. He returns to PAINTING, to romantic mythologies and operatic scale in order, as Brion Gysin would say, “…to paint himself out of the picture.” So great is his disgust at the blinkered delusion rampant in the American mediascape today. Like all great artists, he can’t help himself. He knows he can’t help us either, but he is “duty bound” nevertheless to try. It is the greatest secret of all art that we try to expose the most disturbing flaws of our species not from anger, or hate, no matter what he says, but hidden away almost as a matter of shame, for how can this be? He is driven by his LOVE for us.

One of the ongoing criticisms of Steven Leyba’s art which is valuable to address is the occasional inclusion of his faeces within the actual oil paint. It seems quite clear that the constant references to most human being’s inate repulsion at their own intimate bodily functions is camouflage. Rather than seriously consider the artist’s intentions his dissenters exploit socialized privacy to avoid radically altering their own conception of these works or to distract any new audience from contextualizing the “bigger picture”. They try to dismiss a life-long body of work that has its roots in the mists of human history and, more importantly in an art historical context, that is firmly founded in modern art unorthodoxy. Salvador Dali famously deified his shit in his diaries and theories, whilst other more contemporary precedents include Gilbert and George, the infamous Madonna portrait with elephant dung at the “SENSATIONS” Exhibition in New York that Rudi Guilliani tried to ban, nazi style, as decadent ,and, right now ( September 2008) in New York, seeker of generalized publicity Andres Serrano has an exhibition opening with 66 images of shit that begin with a close-up of his own pooh!

Why does Leyba’s inclusion of his shit cause a deliberate and deafening silence from an art world that lauds Serrano’s neo-medical prattling parallel? Because Serrano first begs “permission” of himself, and of the art establishment, and, through an interview in the Village Voice ( August 27-September 2, 2008) where he justifies his project by saying, “Just before I started to make these pictures, I had a moment of panic: What if I can’t find beauty, diversity? What if they don’t look good?”… He then goes on to say, speaking of himself, “…a true anarchist doesn’t give a fuck. I’m very lucky that I create work that finds collectors. I think this is great work- it’s not only beautiful, it’s unprecedented.”

How a self-declared anarchist can motivate himself primarily by a desire to please collectors is baffling! As too is his wholly inaccurate and self-serving claim to be making unprecedented work! If anything, focusing upon the bogus central novelty of breaking an aesthetic taboo that is already established is a sign of a tired plagiaristically inclined imagination.

Why then does Serrano get a full page of unchallenging publicity whilst Leyba is vilified over and over? Because Leyba is a visionary artist, a missionary artist involved compulsively on behalf of us all in a form of creation that evolves our understanding of existence, is fully engaged in the original and true meaning and only real point in making any art, to reveal human transcendance and inspire our evolutionary expansion from animal to divine. An artist who is a prophet trumps an artist INTO profit every time!

So, despite getting in really close to a subject that repels him, Serrano remains trapped in superficiality. How does he get away with it? Well, especially in America with its early origins in extreme cultish Christian fundamentalism, the general population have been trained to shy away from, rarely discuss or even visualize the various excretory bodily functions. Nakedness when associated with sexual fantasy is acceptable to many. What remains hidden, almost inconceivable is our necessary but unspoken need to regularly defecate and urinate, and bleed from those same places associated with officially sanctified sex. Sex that is still claimed as sacred by the Christian minority whilst treated as shameful. This dual secret function has accrued so much contradictory emotional baggage, guilt and fear that it has, quite literally, been kept in the (water) closet.

We are dictated to by our social conditioning to thoughtlessly accept a tacit cultural agreement we had no part in that pretends, and tries to illusorily maintain, that we are, as a species, more than animal, freed from demeaning biological necessities. To accept, to confess our body’s animal processes undermines our arrogant assumption that we are Gods that are above and in control of Mother Nature. Our sense of superiority over all other creatures and our environment is exposed for the farcical lie that it is as we hide in our toilet and grunt and push.

Steven Leyba’s incidental inclusion of various excreta comes from a very different place than a veneer of arrogance and shame. His works are produced compulsively, continually, physically and become a socio-aesthetic statement of ecstatic abandon rooted in his keen awareness of the implicit power of empathetic magic.

Leyba creates paintings in the tradition of cave paintings, sand paintings, temporary Tibettan mandalas made of colored powders and rancid butter, the sigils of Austin Osman Spare and Breyer P-Orridge that are ritually channeled into plasticity in order to increase the potential of making something positive actually happen above and beyond the vacuous modernism that sees the construction of an “art” object solely in terms of “finding collectors”.

Art that exposes hypocrisy in our cultural conditioning is dangerous, it disturbs a status quo, it spawns discomfort in those born of denial. The contradiction in our attitudes to pooh are easily illustrated. As a baby one is encouraged to learn to use a potty in public. Applauded for success, given big smiles and cooed over. Then, as soon as the technique, the biological lesson has been thoroughly learned the same child is immediately banished to a closed, private room and ordered to stop expecting any more mention of their confusing situation! Even the room is referred to in coded language as a “restroom”.

By merely refusing to EXCLUDE any aspect of his artistic practice from the resulting works themselves Leyba strikes at the very heart of a modern human dilemma of contradiction and reveals many unanswered questions and unresolved issues. Privacy thus becomes a metaphor for more than bodily functions, it begins to represent what he sees as the very heart of an American corruption of our basic, and healthy, Nature. “Privacy” in this context is also the oppression of the ambiguously instructed “child” that is in turn the indigenous and rightfully original population of this America. Paradise is soiled by ignorant intimidation. Innocence is imprisoned in a darkened “room”.

“TRUTH, an artist should stand for truth, an image should facilitate that! To obscure truth is immoral.”
Steven Leyba.

Leyba writes:
“Nobody here gives a shit, why do I? Because I am the modern alchemist taking the shit of our society and making it gold. Art should never be about going along with the program and business as usual. I am about subverting the programming and my business is the business of putting the mirror up to the moral insanity of business as usual. That is what the Coyote mythology has always been about, instincts and challenge over apathy and acceptance.”

VIVA LA EVOLUTION … says Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Now available from Weiser Antiquarian Books:Arcana V: Music, Magic and Mysticism

Now available from Weiser Antiquarian Books:

Arcana V: Music, Magic and Mysticism

Edited by John Zorn, with various authors, including William Breeze, William Kiesel and Genesis P-Orridge

ISBN: 0978833791
$ 40.00 plus shipping

Softcover. Large 8vo. viii + 9-460pp. Glossy black covers lettered in purple, colour and b&w illustrations.

"Mysticism, magic and alchemy all come into play in the creative process. For centuries musicians have tapped into things spiritual, embracing ritual, spell, incantation and prayer deeply into their life and work. Although the connection of music to mysticism has been consistent, well documented and productive, it is still shrouded in mystery and largely misunderstood. For this special edition, Arcana focuses on the nexus of mysticism and spirituality in the magical act of making music. Far from an historical overview or cold musicologist's study, these essays illuminate a fascinating and elusive subject via the eloquent voices of today's most distinguished modern practitioners and greatest occult thinkers, providing insights into the esoteric traditions and mysteries involved in the composition and performance of the most mystical of all arts.

Contributors include: Gavin Bryars, Steve Coleman, Alvin Curran, Frank Denyer, Fred Frith, Peter Garland, Milford Graves, Jerry Hunt, Eyvind Kang, Frank London, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, Trey Spruance, Greg Wall, Z'EV, William Breeze, Jeremy Fogel, Sharon Gannon, Larkin Grimm, Tim Hodgkinson, Jessika Kenney, William Kiesel, Yusef Lateef, Dary John, Mizelle Tisziji Muñoz, Mark Nauseef, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Adam Rudolph, David Chaim Smith, David Toop, Peter Lamborn Wilson.

Just released!

Place your order direct via Weiser Antiquarian's secure website at:
or email them at

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

upcoming ...

Psychic TV Journey to thee Center of thee Mind:the Agit Reader 2008

Psychic TV

Journey to thee Center of thee Mind
the Agit Reader interview

by Stephen Slaybaugh

In the short time since we started publishing, there has perhaps been no artist we’ve covered more appropriate to be under the Agit Reader banner than Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Since the late-60s, while fronting such acts as COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, s/he has been a constant agitant in the cultural waters. Even as P-Orridge’s musical output has morphed from industrialized assaults (Genesis was the first to use “industrial” to describe music), shape-shifting pop, day-glo acid house (again s/he coined the term), to places in-between and elsewhere, s/he’s consistently created challenging work while simultaneously confronting convention. As such s/he’s garnered the attention of a devoted following as well as British authorities. (In 1992, police raided his home while he was out of the country feeding the poor.)

For most of the last 30 years, Psychic TV has been Genesis’ primary musical concern. But s/he spent much of the turn of the century concentrating on his spoken word project, Thee Majesty. At the same time, P-Orridge and other half Lady Jaye had begun exploring pandrogeny, a set of philosophical ideas that led them both to undergo surgeries to more closely resemble the other.

With some prodding Genesis formed a new Psychic TV in 2006, releasing Hell Is Invisible... Heaven Is Here the next year. Unfortunately, tragedy would strike the same year, with Lady Jaye dying as a result of complications from stomach cancer. Still, Genesis and the band found the courage six months later to perform on NPR’s World Cafe, coming home from the broadcast with tapes that would lead to the recently released Mr. Alien Brain Vs. The Skinwalker. Nearly entirely improvised, though the band had been working on the songs, the record shows PTV3 to be as potent as any prior version of the band and that Genesis is still being guided by an unyielding creative itch.

I caught up with Genesis at his home on the Brooklyn-Queens border, where we spent much of the afternoon discussing the here and now of Psychic TV, as well as past projects, and the guiding principles behind all of it.

You moved here to New York in 1996?

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: February 1996, Lady Jaye and I drove from Sonoma County to New York. What had happened was we had been in Los Angeles doing a secret Psychic TV gig, and Love and Rockets had just been signed to American Recordings by Rick Rubin. They were living in Harry Houdini’s old mansion on Laurel Canyon, and they had installed a temporary recording studio there to do demos for a new album. We had known each other since the ‘70s and when they heard we were coming into town, David J said, “You can stay with us if you like. We’re in this big mansion and there’s loads of rooms.” So they checked with Rick Rubin’s office and it was fine.

We were sleeping there when at six in in the morning we heard a voice screaming, “Get out! Get out! The house is on fire!” And sure enough, it was. David J and myself were trapped at the top of the house, and the rest of the house was already engulfed. In escaping the fire, I fell out of the upstairs window and smashed my left arm. The elbow alone was broken into 36 pieces. And I had broken ribs, a broken wrist, nerve damage on the left leg. So basically the result of that was that it was impossible for me to make any money or work or play music. Plus there was traumatic stress disorder, which turned out to be a real phenomenon.

Lady Jaye was a registered nurse, and she was going to get a job nursing to take care care of us financially while recovery took place. But it takes a year for a New York license to be ratified by the California State, which we couldn’t afford to wait to do. So we came to New York.

This was her grandmother’s house. Her grandmother was an invalid. She was wheelchair-bound and very, very sick. So in return for Jaye and I taking care of her grandmother 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, we got this apartment rent-free. So that’s how we survived for the first year. We ended up in New York by just a fluke. This house, though, is really where Jaye grew up. She was basically raised by her grandparents. When her grandmother passed away, she was really keen for us to inherit the house. Not for free, though, we had to buy it. By then we had settled the court case with the insurance company on the house, which we used to pay the hospital bill, which was $120,000. We had to take it to court, all the way to the Supreme Civil Court of California, with a two-week jury trial, which we won. So we paid off all the debts, bought the house from the family, and the money that was left over we used to pay for my gold teeth and to begin the pandrogeny project. And Jaye began working as a registered nurse.

How long had you lived in California?

GBP: For me, since early 1992. I moved there from Katmandu with the children. We were living in Winona Ryder’s parents’ house, Michael Horovitz and Cynthia Palmer. Michael Horovitz we knew from the psychedelic scene from the ‘60s. He used to look after Timothy Leary’s archives. When Leary was in jail, it was Michael Horovitz who kept the archives hidden and safe. The FBI and the authorities did everything they could to intimidate Michael and get him to tell them where the archives were. So we were staying with Michael, and one day he said, “Oh there’s someone on the phone who’d like to talk to you.” So I picked up the phone, and it was Timothy Leary. “Hey Genesis, it’s Timothy Leary here. I love your music and I’d love to meet you and talk about ideas. Come to L.A.” So we borrowed a car and drove to L.A. and hit it off with Timothy. We started doing video light shows and audio mixing for his performance piece, How to Operate Your Brain. Then quite often he’d have me do a talk about how I was forced out of the U.K. and how they were after my archives just like they were after his archives.

They’re always trying to find out what the alternative culture is really doing and one way they do that is to attack some significant people and try to get hold of their works so they can learn from it what their new strategies might be.

Could you, if you had any desire, go back to England?

GBP: Yeah, now. We were never ever charged with anything. Which means they took two tons of our archive and, as they claimed, destroyed it all with no legal right whatsoever. But in Britain, there is no Bill of Rights. One reason we’ve not been allowed in the common market of the EU is because the government of England refuses to have a bill of rights, and it’s a prerequisite to join. But after seven years, the statute runs out on any potential charges. We were doing nothing wrong. There was no evidence of any wrongdoing of any kind.

Now the irony is that they’re showing the work they used to vilify at museums in Britain. The Barbican just showed the tampon sculptures and had a catalog with full-page color reproductions of them, when in the ‘70s they said that those proved we were wreckers of civilization. And the Tate Gallery is very interested in acquiring the archives for their collection, rather than destroying it. So everything goes in circles. You were saying earlier that maybe if you stick to something long enough that it comes round, so maybe that’s beginning to happen to us. Sometimes I get a funny feeling about letting go of the archives and letting it go to the same government that tried to destroy my life. But things change, times change.

Do you think that society has begun to catch up to you or at least begun to understand what you are doing?

GBP: There certainly seems to have been a shift lately, in terms of people taking the body of work we’ve been involved with more seriously and starting to see something that is of value, or at least some use, to them. But it’s hard to say. I mean, have they caught up to me or have they caught up to me 25 years ago? Because that’s what they’re interested in acquiring: something we were saying 25 years ago, which isn’t something we are saying now. So it’s hard to say. There’s definitely been a big increase in serious interest in the things we say, but sadly it’s been mainly since Lady Jaye passed. Like that made people wake up and reconsider how serious we were and realize that it wasn’t just something whimsical. That it had a lot more thought and weight behind it.

We just did a talk at Rutgers University, where we were invited as a visiting artist. After we finished talking, we showed the Pandrogeny Manifesto, we talked about Jaye and the whole project of evolution. The head of graduate studies came up to us afterwards and said, “You know that was the largest attendance for a lecture in the history of Rutgers University.” We also did a talk at Columbia a few weeks ago, and the same thing. And at NYU’s gender studies, we did a panel on the changing view of masculine identity, and again they were shocked. The room they picked, they had to take out all the furniture because so many people wanted in. It was standing room only in the actual room, and then there were people in the corridors outside trying to listen. Again, we showed the Pandrogeny Manifesto and we talked about the theories that Jaye and I were developing.

People are genuinely listening. The whole premise of cultural engineering is not to consider one’s self smart or unique or special if one comes up with something that is relevant, so much as it is just to observe the culture and try to see the trends and indications of how things are unfolding and then try to point them out. Say, “What do you think this might mean?” or “Where is this taking us as a culture? Is it helpful or is it dangerous?” We remain primarily cultural engineers and use whatever tools are available to try to create dialog, and most of all to break inertia and to inspire everybody’s imagination in terms of what’s possible. For us, it’s very hard to imagine that what we do is in any way special. We come from a place in the ‘60s where if you did anything that appeared to be self-congratulatory you were accused of being an ego-tripper. That was the dirtiest word you could have thrown at you. So for me, it’s very uncomfortable to be singled out.

How has Lady Jaye’s passing changed or influenced the transformative process you were going through?

GBP: People tend to assume that the pandrogeny process and project must somehow grind to a half with Jaye dropping her body—or throwing away the cheap suitcase, as she would say. But actually in the 12 months since she dropped her body, the first thing we did was go and see a plastic surgeon and say to him, “Could you take a look at me and could you do whatever is necessary to make me as near as possible to how Jaye was at the moment she passed on?” So we got a breast reduction because she lost a lot of weight, which is a funny thing to tell people, that we just had a breast reduction surgery. So he did some surgery there and some more on my face to make it the mean average of how she was. Then Lady Jaye had this tattoo on her left arm, so we had that reproduced on the anniversary of her passing. And also got this [shows tattoo portrait of Lady Jaye on right arm]. To me that symbolizes she’s been absorbed into my physical body. Lady Jaye represents us both in the immaterial world, and this body represents us both in the material world.

We talked a lot before about what would happen when one of us became non-physical, and how we would communicate with each other. And this is where it got strange. We came up with some basic rules. We thought that we couldn’t just come up with a word because it’s so easy to say, “Oh yes, I heard this word” or “This word came up in a conversation.” It’s too vague. It has to be something material, like an object, something that actually physically happens with stuff. It has to be witnessed by people who have no vested interest in her still being around or not. And it has to have some private or special significance to the two of us. Really quite rigorous demands.

My children came here for the funeral, and three days afterwards, we were in that room next door with three or four friends and they were trying to persuade me to go back with them to California for a few weeks to get over the trauma and the shock. And we were vacillating whether to go or not. While we were thinking about it, we thought, “Well, if we do go, we’ve got to have a picture of me and Jaye to take”—strange things one thinks in a state of shock. We went into the bedroom and went to pick out a picture. We had a collection of photos of us kissing that were on the wall on Jaye’s side of the bed so that the first thing she saw every morning was lots of pictures of us kissing. And we picked out this one that was taken in Katmandu. It struck us that it’s almost like one big body with two heads kissing [both Genesis and Jaye are draped in red in the photo] so it was very much the pandrogyne. So we brought it back and we put it on some shelves flat and far away and sat back down. We were saying, “Should we go or not?” and while we were thinking, we said, “Maybe we should stay here with Jaye.” And you may or may not believe this, but there were at least five or six witnesses. That picture then flew up in the air, crossed the room, turned over and dropped to the floor. We took that as a sign that she wanted us to stay here with her. That’s one example, and it fits the criteria: it’s something very material that broke the laws of known physics and had a lot of witnesses and is very special to us.

In May this year, we were invited to do some concerts with Throbbing Gristle in Europe. When we go to Europe our friend Ryan Martin, who does DAIS records, he comes to the apartment to live with Big Boy [Genesis’ dog] to take care of him. Ryan works in Manhattan and every day he gets up and takes Big Boy out and gives him his breakfast. He’s very neat and tidy and he always makes the bed before he goes to work. The day we were due back, he thought “Well, Gen’s fight could be delayed.” So he came back to the house to check on Biggie. No one else had a key to the apartment. He went into the bedroom, where he had made the bed, to check that he hadn’t left anything behind. He looked at the bed and someone had folded back the bed covers in a perfect triangle and two rainbow-colored, wooly bed socks had appeared on the sheet. He said that he nearly fainted. How could that happen? What he didn’t know was that whenever we had to go away and leave Jaye behind, she would always make the bad and fold back the covers like that to welcome me home. No socks were in the drawer when we left; we didn’t even know they existed. Ryan took photographs of the bed, he was so shocked and wanted proof of what he had seen.

Again, it was a very specific example. It’s not easy to believe, even for me who would want to believe that they are messages from Jaye. My logical self says, “How can this be? How could she be that powerful that she could make these things happen from some other dimension?” What it tends to suggest is that first, that she’s one of the few beings we’ve heard of that’s capable of giving really physical, clear evidence that there is some way for consciousness to continue to maintain its autonomy after physical death, and be able to communicate from that zone. Tibetan Buddhists, they’ve learned how to do it very near consciously with reincarnation, and future Dali Llamas have been able to pick out what used to belong to them from a whole array of stuff when they’re two-years-old. So the Tibetans have figured out a system that makes that feasible, but for Lady Jaye to have done it solo is remarkable and very encouraging because it tends to suggest that she’s waiting.

One of our good friends Baba Larry Ji, Larry Thrasher of Thee Majesty, he’s a devotee of Meher Baba, the guru who passed away but was relatively popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He does normal awake meditation everyday. He didn’t even know that Jaye had passed and he was meditating in California a few days after she passed. While he was sitting there in whatever zone he goes into, Jaye turned up and started talking to him and gave him various messages. One of them was—and this was in October last year—“Tell Gen the American economy is going to start going down in the spring and then at the end of the year it’s going to get really, really bad. So sell the house as soon as possible.” So we had an advantage! We knew what was going to happen to the economy in October. And there were other things she said too, but those are obviously private. Those things she said through Larry Ji made it clear to me that it was Jaye.

So people can take that how they wish. We’re not trying to proselytize. We’re not trying to speculate how or why these things occurred.

Do you have specific beliefs as far as death?

GBP: We’ve never had specific beliefs except that the world and the universe are far more fascinating than people. And this—we call it nonsense—this reality is a tiny portion of whatever is going on. Personally, it’s impossible for me to know if this is even happening. I was just thinking this morning that it’s totally possible that this is someone else’s dream. Material reality for us has become so tenuous and fragile and transient. It’s like holding steam or vapors. It’s impossible to take it seriously, and as life has gone by for us, we’ve been very blessed with all kinds of incredible adventures and psychedelic journeys, meeting all kinds of shamanic people and wise individuals all over the world. But the one thing that’s for sure, we have no fixed idea about what’s going on, and Jaye being able to communicate is staggering. We’re still trying to assimilate the implications of that. We always promised each other that if there really was something other than oblivion—she called it door number one—that we would wait for each other. The ultimate point of pandrogeny, for us personally, is to be able to be together forever infinitely in some form, even if it’s just a form of merged consciousness with no tactile existence. Whatever is possible, we want to be with each other, and then the evolutionary part of it is sort of a surprising bonus: that we could be useful to the species. The human species has to live up to its potential and take responsibility to grow and change. There’s no reason to believe that we’ve reached the evolutionary peak of what we can be. That’s a ludicrous idea.

Pandrogeny is an ongoing experiment and investigation that’s taken us to the strangest places. There seems to be no doubt in my mind—and Lady Jaye would agree—that there’s more than enough work to be done to last the rest of our physical life.

We did a poem with Thee Majesty, door number one, door number two, and so on. Door number one is existentialism. When you die there is nothing, but if that’s the case, it’s not very interesting to investigate. Door number two, is life after death in some form or another. Door number three is even more than that. Jaye’s position was always go to the most exotic door as a matter of principle and see what happens.

Well, it’s irrelevant if it’s number one.

GBP: Exactly, if it’s number one we won’t know that we wasted our time. And anyway it’s not wasted, because potential and inspiration are never wasted. It’s no mistake that the first book of the Bible is the book of creation. That suggests that the ultimate energy is creation, no matter how you want to describe it or turn it into deities or parables or whatever. Creation is the innate energy in all matter and non-matter. That’s why art and music and literature and creativity itself are so precious. It’s often where we find that our evolution comes from: the edges of the known world, from the people considered the outsiders or most extreme mystics.

It sounds like you had to be coaxed back into doing Psychic TV at the beginning of PTV3. Were you just not interested in the rock form any more?

GBP: After the fire and then the court case, which gave us this little next egg that is since long gone, it was the first time in my life ever—since we left home in 1968, we just lived on our wits and our art and our music, squatting or whatever to survive—it had been a non-stop process. It was the very, very first time in my life to rest and take stock. Jaye said to me, “My gift to you now that we’re married and we’re together is that I’ll work if necessary as a nurse or whatever needs to be done so you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to do anything to make money. If you want to just watch TV, watch TV. If you want to read, read. If you want to do basketball, do that, but you have no obligations.” She felt that we had done enough already that we didn’t need to do anything else. She said, “You’ve done enough in your life to make a contribution. You don’t always have to keep trying.” So she gave me this amazing gift, this space to see if there’s something we really wanted to do.

She was also very skeptical about rock & roll having a real impact for change, that if often gave the impression of being a message carrier but in the long term didn’t seem to make a great deal of difference for the energy involved. It’s a very energy-sucking way of life for the returns that you get. It was like detoxing, like she had taken me to creative rehab. For the first year, it was really uncomfortable for me to keep waking up each day feeling like we had to do something but not knowing what. Bit by bit, it dawned on me that what we really liked doing was writing poetry. So after two or three years, we started pulling together the idea of Thee Majesty and focus on words and words as living beings and as entities and the way that language operated.

So it was poetry and a little music. Then we came to New York and we bumped into Morrison Edley, who was a friend of Jaye’s from when she was 15. He started saying to me that it was a real tragedy that I wasn’t doing Psychic TV anymore. Why? “You wrote such great songs!” What? Honestly, it had never occurred to us that we were songwriters, that we wrote songs in that way that stood up in and of themselves. They were always so tied to ideas. So he made a CD of his favorite Psychic TV songs and gave it to us and said, “Just listen to this as if it’s someone else. They’re good songs, Gen!” We did and thought that we did like those songs, “Arcadia” being one of them. We liked the song part of Psychic TV the most, in terms of personal pleasure. The songs actually stood up on their own and stayed interesting and pleasurable, despite time passing. There was something to them. Once he got me hooked, he started saying, “You really should start Psychic TV again.”

“No, no, no, it’s too much trouble. So much work and so much stress and it never makes any money. But if you think it’s such a good idea, you find a band and we’ll think about it.” So of course that’s what he did, and put together PTV3, then persuaded me to start coming to rehearsals, “just to see what it’s like.” Then it was just one gig. The day we played, there was a huge blizzard, with more than a foot of snow. It took us three hours to get to the venue, when it should have been 30 minutes, and we were convinced no one would be there. But we got there and there was a line outside. It completely shocked us. We did a set of the old songs, and it was beautiful. People were so warm and excited, it was a real celebration. That was it; we realized that there was this—audience isn’t the right word—there was this lost tribe or secret family that still existed that believed in us. They were people that to this day trust us to be as open-hearted as possible when we perform and when we create. And that deserved recognition from us.

So it was basically Morrison Edley. He’s a very driven person. He holds down a very stressful job at Sony and still spends all his spare time doing the work of a manager. He does all the things that made it hard for me being creative. He took all those responsibilities away. Jaye gave me the gift of being able to choose what to do, and he gave me the space to do it. That’s why the music has developed so much, it’s getting more and more pure. My singing is much more confident and relaxed, which has come from that support system. One of the most common things we hear is “It’s so nice to see you smiling onstage. It looks like you’re having fun.” And we are.

Yeah, I found that surprising. I expected it to be much more serious live.

GBP: Isn’t that funny? Well, we were more po-faced in the past, but times change and strategies change. And there’s so much love involved. Hopefully the audience feels included in that. It’s a combination: genuine pleasure turning into a useful demonstration of a more positive way of living. It doesn’t all have to be po-faced to be serious and intent. You can have serious intent and still laugh. That’s why comedy is so powerful, why Lenny Bruce could make people laugh but also make them change their mind. Somewhere near the beginning of this incarnation, we even said that pleasure is a weapon. In a dark time like this, with so much negativity and so much cynicism and people trying to be cool and not look unhip, smiling becomes shocking.

You’ve always seemed to blur the lines between public and private, life and art. Are there distinctions?

GBP: No! That’s one of the things that we’re most avid about, that there’s no difference. Life, art, mysticism—it’s all the same. It’s just one big soup of mystery. There’s no separation. In fact, one of the things that happened in Nepal the first time we went there in 1991 was meeting the Agori Baba, which is the path of no distinction. They’re a very extreme sect. They’ll eat human feces and then eat an expensive meal, and to them there’s no difference. It’s just eating, and all the rest is socialized. In one country, eating poo might be acceptable or even a delicacy and in another it’s taboo. We all know this, that social mores are contrived by society to police itself by the people in power. There are very few things that you can say are universal truths. Culture is completely artificial, and it changes with geography and it changes with time. At this moment that we’re speaking, there’s bushmen in Africa who are always naked, drink the blood from their cattle to survive, and basically live in the stone age, simultaneously with people living in a space lab. That’s absurd! And very strange, that after thousands of years, all the different eras of human history are actually present somewhere on this planet simultaneously. We don’t ever really erase the previous history; we keep adding on layers like an onion. That seems to suggest that it’s all very artificial and very arbitrary, and one needs to look for something outside culture, something that makes sense all the time, that has nothing to do with a specific culture or a specific imposed belief system. Is it possible to wipe the slate clean and create one’s own way of life? That means every action you take is equal and opposite. What can we do and are we taking ownership of it? Have we built it for ourselves or have we taken the easier route and just accepted what we’ve been told is appropriate?

A very, very long time ago, we decided not to accept anything without questioning. Question everything, not just authority, but everything. And when you’ve done that, question it again. Don’t even believe what we believed yesterday because today’s a different time. For some people, that’s a very hard thing to do, to be in a constant state of flux. It can make things very disorienting and confusing. For me, though, it’s hard to imagine that this person we are today is the person we were yesterday. It’s this thin line of being in the present and not having any attachment to what’s gone on before. And obviously that becomes more difficult with something like losing Jaye because that’s such a deep bond. Her presence, anyway, is sorely missed. But that too has to happen for us to keep on questioning without any sense of solidity. The longer things go on, the more baffled we become and yet the universe remains fascinating.

You were talking about wiping the slate clean and constantly questioning. Is it important for you to confront social mores or is it just that you’re trying to write your own narrative?

GBP: In the ‘60s, it was much more straightforward agit-prop. It was part of the zeitgeist of the times, to question authority and attack social mores as a matter of course. It was a very new approach because it was one of the first times in history when a mass of young people had the luxury of the time and space to actually try to experiment with new ways of life. It was a time of plenty that allowed this experiment to happen. But because of that first impulse of the ‘60s affecting me to challenge authority and look at social rules and social regulations and wonder if it’s what we really wanted to adopt, it became a matter of course, this process of questioning. It was ingrained as we were involved with art and a commune that did street performances. By 1969, it was set into me, that collective way of living and that constant questioning of behavior were essential to a creative sanity. Then it became much more analytical.

COUM Transmissions at the beginning was an extension of improvised theater and street theater. But as it went on through the early-70s, it became more and more obvious to myself and Cosey [COUM and Throbbing Gristle member Cosey Fanni Tutti] that we were really looking at human behavior. Nothing can change in the greater world outside, in the macrocosm, until human behavior changes. The great pitfall of trying to create utopias or ideal situations is human beings are self-defeating. If you can’t change the way we behave towards each other, then you can’t change society, you can’t change the culture into something focused on creation and compassion and evolution.

So what came out of all of that is, first of all, looking at how come it’s okay to be naked on a nude beach, but not okay to be naked walking to the shops. Why is my body somehow different outside Wal-Mart than it is in Saint-Tropez? What happened? How can I be arrested in one situation and photographed in the other? That’s not logical, either I’m naked or I’m not naked. Therefore, we experimented with being naked to see if it did make a difference or if we did mutate because we were near a shop. We were performing in Birmingham once, in the middle of this big shopping center, and it was a very simple sculptural piece where everything was either orange or blue. Orange was male and blue was female, and at the end we switched outfits, which meant that at some point we were both naked. There was a big crowd watching, fascinated. Of course the cops were called, but by the time they fought their way through the crowd, we weren’t naked anymore. So they couldn’t do anything. They only had someone else’s word for it. But that’s a very specific example that we didn’t just think about it, we took it into the streets to see what happened.

Then the same goes, how come I feel comfortable masturbating in bed, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable masturbating in an art gallery or in school or on the lawn or wherever? Where is the line about what’s okay and what’s not okay, and who put the line there? Who does the line serve? It was William Burroughs who said to me, “Gen, whenever you’re puzzled just look for the vested interest and that’s what is going on.” And that’s such a good map for finding out what’s happening. So simple but so true.

So who does it serve to police the way our sexuality is presented? For example, how come it’s okay for rich people, usually, to see dominatrices or prostitutes or have their mistresses? That’s an acceptable, though naughty, activity. But for the common working class, it’s policed and you can be arrested and intimidated and harassed for doing the same activity. So there’s double-standards, to keep it simple. Who do double-standards serve? Bit-by-bit we kept on looking at these questions and we’d experiment on ourselves with different possibilities and what they implied. What we came up with by the time Jaye and I were looking at pandrogeny is that in prehistoric times the human species had a built in genetic program, where the male of the species was aggressive and it suited the small clan. But anything that was outside—anything that wasn’t understood, anything that was different—had to be seen as a potential enemy or threat and would be attacked if necessary. The females were the suppository of replication so they would be protected and also treated as merchandise. At a very early stage, that DNA program of fight, attack and kill something different or mystifying, actually helped the human species to evolve and survive. It had its use. It was a primitive response to a primitive environment. As we’ve gradually changed our environment to this futuristic science fiction environment that we exist in, we’ve done nothing to change our behavior or the pattern of our DNA program. So we have this primitive gene in a completely new environment. We haven’t bothered to apply the same research and development to our behavior as we have to our tools. We wouldn’t let a bunch of chimpanzees in a room with a lot of buttons that could let off atomic weapons, but that’s basically what we’ve done. The ‘60s was the only time people tried to redress the balance and work on consciousness and behavior. Then they were very skillfully maligned and smeared by politicians who had a vested interested in the status quo. Nowadays, people are scared to death to call themselves a hippie or say they believe in peace and love.

So Jaye and I feel that the world needs to stop in its tracks and embrace self-evolution. It needs to look at it behavior, admit that its primitive and very dangerous and that we’re moving towards potentially the darkest age ever because of the toys we’ve created. If we want to survive and be able to look back and be proud as a species, we have to mutate. We have to evolve again.

You once said that Psychic TV was a video group that played music. What role do you see the visual aspect playing in this incarnation?

GBP: It’s still very important. We spend lots of time working on videos and films. Marie Losier, who worked on the DVD and did the light show the other night, she met Lady Jaye and myself about three years ago. Jaye had been saying for quite some time that we needed someone who just wanted to document our lives all the time, especially since we were doing the pandrogeny project. And Marie appeared—just as Jaye wished—and started documenting us. So she’s been working for three years now on a documentary movie about myself and Lady Jaye and pandrogeny.

The video light show is an ongoing, organic mutating story that we consider essential to Psychic TV. While the music has shifted to a more traditional shape, albeit a very pure one, the videos become more important because we need to keep a balance of, for want of a better word, propaganda. The dialogue has to be presented too. If the interaction between the audience and the music becomes so relaxed and so sensual, we don’t want people to forget to think so we put more content into the video.

Is it subliminal or overt propaganda? Probably both. It’s also a demonstration of the attitude of sharing our personal lives and not being afraid to look vulnerable, to tell people that it’s okay to feel vulnerable and nervous. That exploring is always good therapy. We have lots of material stacked up that we want to start releasing in DVD form too so that people can not just see Psychic TV as the band, but if they’re really interested they can go deeper and get closer to the conceptual center. You can go in at any level and go as deep as you wish. We hope that it solidifies their personal desire to live a life controlled by themselves or to feel less isolated.

We’re going to be doing books again. There’s a press called Heartworm Press, and they’re working on The Collected Poems and Lyrics of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, 1961 to 2008, and then they’re going to do my first novel, which was written in 1969. Barrelhouse Press are in the process of putting out the Psychic Bible, Second Edition, which will be three times longer, as a hardback. We’re doing this with the hope that the information thus won’t be destroyed or lost, because once you’ve had your archive attacked you realize how easy it is to loose a lifetime’s work. So if we can make it available, even if it’s just to a thousand people, then it’s less likely to get erased by whoever controls the culture.

What was lost from the archive?

GBP: We used to visit Brion Gysin several times a year, and we always took a video camera and record all his talks. He’d tell me all these stories, tell me how to make the perfect cup of mint tea—all those videos were destroyed. We brought William Burroughs, Brion Gysin and John Giorno and everybody to London for a big festival where we wanted to show the link between the Beats and new groups like 23 Skidoo, Cabaret Voltaire, Psychic TV. Derek Jarman volunteered to be the camera person for the documentary. All that film was destroyed, and there were no copies. It’s irreplaceable. They’re dead now. Lots of things like that. It was a tragedy. It was stupid and just because they didn’t like the way we lived.

So if anyone thinks we’re being grandiose in the way we talk about culture, we talk from experience. We were in Katmandu doing soup kitchens for lepers, beggars, Tibetan refugees at our own expense. Feeding up to 600 people two times a day through the winter to keep them alive, doing good work. And over night, we lost two houses, our record label, all those videos and films—everything—just because our ideas were considered too radical.

Have you had any problems with the U.S. government since you’ve been here?

GBP: No. One of the reasons we’re still here is that for all the flaws in American society there is a bill of rights, an innate belief in the constitution, and there is a belief in freedom of speech, and that is an amazing gift. And for someone like me who’s been attacked so many times and threatened and intimidated so many times by their own government, it’s a very real gift. So we appreciate the American hospitality very much.

Talking of Psychic TV, though, one of the reasons it’s working so well is because all the people believe in the ideas. They may not proselytize the way we do, but they absolutely agree with the ideas. The band is used to project those ideas, and the musicians in PTV3 have made our dream of what it could be like in a way that never happened before. This is what we wanted it to be like 20 years ago.

The bulk of the new record was done improvisationally, right?

GBP: Yeah, straight to tape.

You’ve worked that way before, but I don’t think it’s sounded this coherent.

GBP: Absolutely. It’s the musicians, and I can’t praise them highly enough. This is what we wanted it to be like in 1968, and it might seem odd to say so, but this is what we were hoping TG would be like. We think that PTV3 is the genuine child of TG. It’s taken all the different elements and blended them in a way that is really convincing musically, but still contains the beliefs in improvisation, noise, sound, random chance and cut-ups—they’re all still in there.

Were the lyrics improvised as well? Was it the Beat idea of first thought, best thought?

GBP: Not first thought, best thought, but first several thoughts, best thought. We edit afterwards sometimes. After we recorded it, we had to transcribe it.

I started listening to you when I was 14, 15.

GBP: Oh, my God that must be so weird.

You scared me a bit.

GBP: Little old me! Which music scared you?

The first records I heard were Allegory and Self and Pagan Day.

GBP: They’re good records. That’s the media. The media has always been in love with this image of Genesis P-Orridge, scary person, weird magician, sorcerer. It’s never been very accurate. There’s always been a good sense of humor and a smile, but that’s been edited in favor of the archetype they created. But that’s one that goes back to TG. It’s not really Psychic TV at all; it’s a spill-over from a previous era. It’s frustrating to keep on and on re-explaining that’s not what we’re like.

You recorded at NPR studios. Was that for a show?

GBP: Yes, Howard [Wuelfing, publicist] got in touch and said that World Cafe wanted us to do a special in honor of Lady Jaye. It was about six months after. We all talked and decided to do it, if for no other reason than to record the songs that had been unfolding on the last tour with Jaye and for which she had made all the samples. So we went to Philadelphia. It looked just like Abbey Road, with one big room and baffles. They recorded us live with each of us in a little compartment. What was really cool was that we each had a box to control our own headphone mix. Everyone was really focused on making this as a good as possible for Jaye, and we all went into a really pure zone and listened to each other. The engineer they had was amazing. He basically mixed those tracks straight out. The tracks sounded so arranged. It was exactly what we’d been trying to say for ages. They said if we wanted a tape, we could have it. Then we thought, we almost have an album. And Michael Gira had already done that mix of “New York Story” and it was perfect. So it happened very naturally.

Given the happenstance way this record happened, was there another album in the band’s future?

GBP: Oh yeah, all these songs were towards another one. “Trust” and so on were developing on that last tour. It would have taken longer, because David lives in Switzerland now and Markus and Hannah live in Asheville, North Carolina, and been a very different sound quality. We just got really lucky, and stepped up to the plate, as they say here.

I wanted to ask you about the title of the record. “Mr. Alien Brain” comes from the COUM days, right?

GBP: It does, it does indeed. In 1972, at the Hull Art Center, we were invited to do what was the first COUM Transmissions public performance at a bona fide art center. It was called The Alien Brain, and Mr. Alien Brain was one of the characters that we invented. When we were living in the commune, we used to dress up as these characters. You’d have to spend two days as if you were that character. Mr. Alien Brain was visiting from another planet and thought these human beings were very strange creatures. He observes everything and is puzzled. So that character has been around since 1971. When Hannah and Markus were living downstairs, Hannah just loved the name the Alien Brain and has had a life-long obsession with extra terrestrials. She asked if we could have Alien Brain in the title of the next record, and we said, “Sure.” It represents viewing the human species from the outside and seeing its behavior has to change and that its ludicrous towards itself.

The Skinwalkers are the sorcerers, the dark sorcerers. The Anastasi Indians in the four-corners were a civilization that at one point had irrigation and agriculture. They were spread across a big section of what’s now New Mexico and Arizona. And then suddenly—and no one knows why—they moved up into cliff faces that were almost impossible to reach, which implies that there was something so terrible going on on the ground that they abandoned their civilization to hide in caves. And then they vanished, and no one knows where. There are no myths, no legends, no nothing—they just vanished.

One tradition on the shamanic side were the skinwalkers, who in their initiation had to commit a murder. They would wear wolf skins and supposedly if they passed their initiation, the skin would actually attach itself to their body permanently. They were reputed to be like werewolves, with these magical powers to travel huge distances very fast and to be able to disappear into the night. They had a terrifying reputation.

So basically the title is presenting the human dilemma as we see it now, and which way are we going to go. We could go with the dark forces, which might seem romantic and attractive, but would have a dark result in the long run. Or become something new and special and wonderful.