2016.11.03-19 AG Davis interviewed by email by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

As I recall, my attention was 1st called to the work of AG Davis by Monty Cantsin in Belarus, probably in 2015, who told me that Davis was one of his favorite sound artists or some such. Not long thereafter, an offer was made to publish a split 7" lathecut record with a piece by me on one side & one by Davis on the other.

We got in touch with each other online & traded by snail-mail. Davis sent me his "Bionicism" CD & a tape done in collaboration with {AN}-Eel possibly entitled "airporting roseate with crude basement xenakis" (nicely wrapped in fake fur), & a book of his entitled "Báthory" published by Abstract Editions (my review of the book is here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/515255-b-thorying ). The proposed split 7" didn't happen & AG proposed that we collaborate. I counter-proposed that we each interview each other for my "Interviewee" & "Interviewer" websites. My interview by AG is here: 2016.11.02-19 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE interviewed by AG Davis.


tENT: I don't know you or your work to any major degree but my initial impression is that you're passionate, driven, probably 'dangerous' - but diverting that dangerousness into an intensity that has some structure.  I use terms like "psychopathfinder" & "criminally sane" to describe myself & other people who seem to be directing their/our energy in ways that defy societally demonizing norms in the interest of taking control through self-definition.  I think that the work I'm most interested in is actually seeking to redefine the terminology of social relations to show the harm of dominant paradigms & the potential benefits of some versions of outlaw culture.  THEREFORE, I ask:  

01. Do you consider yourself to be an outlaw?  &, if so, how does this manifest itself in your work?  If not, why not?  

AG: I consider myself to be an outlaw, yes; laws, order, structure mean very little to me - most of my time is spent staying out of trouble, which I suppose is its own form of order and structure, but it is one that I am control over, and not anyone else, despite the fact that my own order and structure of avoiding being strung up are principally based on the order and structure imposed upon me by society. I generally enjoy being outside of the system as much as possible; jail or prison never seemed like ''fun'' propositions to me. I don't like structure being forced ipon me; however, i do work best under my own structure(s), ones that I have created. The creation of ''Art'' to me is a great and obvious alternative to the penal colony; if I had no legal outlet for the baser aspects of my psyche, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have been locked up years ago. And then we can talk about the legality of my work in itself. Well, it is legal (some live performances aside), but the ideas behind it most certainly aren't. I'm always flirting with the concept of impending ruination as far as my moral being goes with my work. To be honest, I don't really care whether I am an outlaw or not. I am who I am, and nobody can change that. My work as an artist is totally my own doing . . . there might be and are precedents, ppl i have been inspired by - but - i am for the most part totally unto myself. If it seems as if I sometimes seek attn through my work, this would be undoubtedly true - but the attn i seek is only a positive one for myself, and not necessarily for the benefit of anyone else. If someone enjoys my work, so be it. I am thrilled by that prospect - but - it certainly is not necessary. I consider myself a fractal being, so this answer to your question could be projected back to you in numerous different ways. I only answer as I am now. I can change on the drop of a dime./


Pitched maledictions are stuck within the borders of foul cards, a private read that spells ''INTENT'', these cards portray noumenal meat; Christ was possible, this condition remaining a bleeding jugular objecting to the reproving of the magnetism of self-espionage; because where does the desire derive, and what is desiring to excavate? But without love, or, with love in superabundance, I reproached the dead for their silences; and, as it goes, this maelstrom ­ this deathward wish of being recorded and stripped to bone ­ this vortex ­ it is nothing but a sincere desire to quickly 'wander' at all costs, to become pure noesis briskly volatilizing the arc of violent interruption(s). So, the thought was wrong to tarnish this red rope hanging limply around its neck (LAW) ­ seedless, vacant ­ whilst writing letters attached to my potential movements; and these relief capacities rearrange themselves, becoming strange alphabets, since there are other columns that lean embarrassingly toward the ground begging for their own dissolution: the difference defined within the bread. (Then I hunger for hunger, as time abbreviated is still waiting for other times ­ times better spent.) But ­ it must be said: if I am truly criminal, it is for my OWN benefit, meaning YOURS. The criminal is this FLESH, and my FLESH is sewn in YOURS.

[further addenda:] i have to warn you, that altho i am very introspective, i have great difficulty putting my conclusions in regards to myself into words. i write better in a poetic form. straightforward answers are very difficult for me. i just don't want you to think i am a complete imbecile as per the first response i gave you. - i feel like my first response was lacking and stupid.

[tENT reply (edited):] The 2nd answer is more interesting & less informative.  We don't need to 'sweat' about the 'perfection' of any of this b/c, if all goes well, when we feel like we're 'done' I can organize the questions & answers & we can both get copies of them to tweak until we're satisfied before I put it online.  There's no hurry, I doubt that either of us is going to die anytime soon (but, ya never know).  I'm not completely satisfied w/ the answers I just sent you either b/c I'm writing in the midst of various distractions but the answers will do for now & if I DO drop dead tomorrow they won't be entirely unacceptable for leaving behind.

tENT: Out of respect for yr having written me that "i have to warn you, that altho i am very introspective, i have great difficulty putting my conclusions in regards to myself into words. i write better in a poetic form. straightforward answers are very difficult for me." I've decided to take a different tactic for asking my next question.  Maybe my tactic will change w/ each question.  My inclination is to ask you questions designed to generate elaborate explication.  Instead, I think I'll ask a question so banal that a poetic response to it will make it much more fulfilling:  

02. What shoe size do you wear?  

AG: ship size of inconstant variables, compasses wayward by Algerian storms, strained and battery, something could tilt to pour into unlucky isomorphic chain symbols, static # root for calling amphetamines in engagement with sex cords in the spheres of mt. Fuji (aural borders), exquisite geodesic (anal) gypsum as indeed interrupts the flow, and flowers intercourse in rivers and seas, but never toward Oceania or Charon's nose fished up in the aureola, encased in a size unpopular, AND some footfucker cried for a bigger box, the shrew quickened her pace - one box too big, the other with a central circumference to small, every circumstance by analogy, and every analogy unto circumcision (male or female). if the shoe fits 1122111211221122 my computer won't wear (sic)

tENT: 03. What size box would a shoe-chuck upchuck if a shipsize could chuck-up?

AG: failing and vomiting are not the same thing. the idea being as perpetual of an intake and regurgitation as humanly possible. if the box doesn't accommodate, the ship wont sink. it also will not be spouted out in order to fall back in. it will, as a tumescent stanchion, await the grip of the mouth or hand(s), feet being permitted as well. and then the latter depends on her (yet possibly his) shoe size as well. so, it's a very bad line of reasoning to begin with.

tENT: 04. What is poetry to you & why is it your best medium for communication in an interview?

AG: poetry is simply short-cutting expression; there is no searching involved in attempting to arrive at precision of meaning from my side. this does not mean that meaning is absent. To me, it is evermore present in this mode of communication. regardless, it is simply the way i think. i mainly think in images - superimposed images - with words audibly shooting and darting around the images. i then capture the words, the words seeming the most relevant, and interpret them in a grammatically correct way for everyday conversation. with poetry, i don't necessarily have to do anything ''correctly', at least as far as structure is concerned. my thoughts tend to move a million miles per second. i often have trouble capturing bc of this. this sometimes makes it difficult to speak to people. i have a serious deficit bc of all of this. it most certainly does not mean i don't think. quite the opposite. this is why i prefer ''poetry''. 

tENT: I think that's interesting. Your statement that "i mainly think in images - superimposed images - with words audibly shooting and darting around the images" reminds me of the book by Russian psychologist A. R. Luria known in English as "The Mind of a Mnemonist". In it, he describes how a man capable of vast memory, a man who, in fact, found it difficult to forget anything, remembers by having an imagistic stream associated w/ words. Similarly, the 2 Japanese men who've memorized Pi to the most places memorized narratives associated w/ the number that they then replayed in their minds to enable recitation of the numerical sequence.

05. Do you have a large memory capacity?

AG: yes, but my imagination overruns it, sometimes creating false memories. i have  a lot of ''memories'' that i am not quite sure happened or not. my mind is usually in hyperdrive. i find it hard to slow it down in order to speak and write. i speak very slowly. a lot of people think i have a subpar intelligence because of this. if you remember, i misquoted you in one of my questions to you. this is because your statement triggered a memory of an article i had read a awhile ago, and my mind tangled your statement and the statement of the article up. so while i may have a very good memory, it is probably no better than the average man's in terms of how it can be used, simply because i tend to think not moment to moment, but in streams...these streams sometimes leading to an ocean of images and words that swallow one another until nothing is left but a confused liquid mass---one that i have to sift through in order to arrive at ''true'' meaning--which i find next to impossible. this is all a source of constant embarrassment to me. i simply don't relate to most, and it hurts, only because i know my mind has a different way of cataloguing things than others.

tENT: I've been using the acronym "TTQEA" for over 40 years now to stand for "Thoughts Too Quick Expressions Anachronistic". There was a time when I tried to speak in 3 simultaneous sentences. My friends found this very annoying & insisted that I speak in a way they could understand. This ties in w/ your preference for communicating "poetically". Otherwise, unfortunately, many people make the mistake of mishearing or misremembering what others say based on what similar things they've heard in the past.

EG: My collaborator Michael Pestel & I made a piece called "Harps & Angles" ( https://youtu.be/Qk_UOY0c1bk ). I named it that b/c it involved the use of piano harps & camera angles but I also knew that it was close to the common phrase "Harps & Angels" & I knew that people would confuse the 2 largely b/c they'd default to the common phrase rather than listen to what I actually called the piece. Sure enough, on one of the occasions when we performed it, the person introducing us introduced it as "Harps & Angels".

It can be extremely difficult to maintain a keen awareness of one's input & to avoid the pitfalls of defaulting to prefab material. I tend to be particularly critical of what I call "Stereotype Projecting", something that's been the bane of my existence for about the last 49 years. When I was 14 & started growing my hair long I discovered a new side of life: constant street harassment. Shouts from passing cars of such gems of witlessness as "Are you uh buoy or uh gurrrrlll?" became everyday occurrences.

As for your "i speak very slowly. a lot of people think i have a subpar intelligence because of this.": I've had similar experiences. I went to a performance of a friend's theater group in the 1980s. I was an extremely deviant looking character. A teacher at the school where the theater piece was being presented asked me what I thought of it. Since I give a great deal of thought to the subject of performance I framed my answer very carefully. I don't think the woman paid much attention to what I said. Instead, when I was done, she said very condescendingly: "See, that wasn't so hard was it?" as if I was a moron barely capable of speaking rather than someone at an intellectual level that she'd never even approach in her wildest dreams. Honestly, I wish I could've eviscerated her on the spot & rubbed her dying face in her own diarrhea. Instead, I might've rolled my eyes or some such & walked away. Ah, well, we can't always get what we want.

Similarly, when I attended a community college in the mid-1970s they wanted to place me in a remedial reading class b/c my high school grades had been so bad. What they didn't understand was that my grades were low b/c the classes I took were at such a low intellectual level that they couldn't possibly keep my interest. This was in the day long before specialty schools appeared that catered to different abilities. I had to talk my way out of remedial reading. What book did I then have to read? The same book, "Great Gatsby", that I'd read in high school. I hated it then, I don't remember whether I bothered to reread it. In class, the teacher would ask questions. No-one other than me would bother to answer them. Then when it was test time we were all asked the same stupid questions again. I wrote something like: "I was already the only person to answer these questions in class, I'm not going to waste my time answering them again." The result? I failed the test even though the teacher knew damned well that the other students were just doing their best to remember what answers I'd given in class so they could imitate them & pass. Such inflexibility on the teacher's part. No matter that around this time I was reading things like William S. Burroughs's "The Soft Machine" & James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" - works so far over the teacher's head that she & I might as well been different species. Anyway, the point is that in a just world people who'd think that YOU have "subpar intelligence" wd go into an alternate universe of 'their own kind' never to return. We shd be so lucky.

All that said, though, there're probably creative benefits to the state of mind that you describe, to the thinking "not moment to moment, but in streams" & to "a different way of cataloguing things". SO,

06. Creatively, how do the above characteristics manifest positively in your work?

AG: in all honesty, thinking in streams renders works always ''incomplete'' from my perspective. i never really view anything i do as being ''finished'' or ''done''. really, if i get bored with a work, then it is time to stop; but, i can always go back if  a new take on a ''bored work'' is slipped in. thoughts just occur as fractal reactions. i never was into the idea that there had to be a set time to finish something. mortality aside, i think everything i do is an ''open work'' for me. i often recycle my own material bc of this, using bits and pieces from a previous work (or the whole damn thing) to create a new one, or, giving a completely different take conceptually. sometimes one work can say diametrically opposed things simply by the way it is presented. even the slightest variation in presentation can do this. and i think that speaks volumes on perception in and of itself. all angles can never be known or approached, the angel (or devil) is in the details, the harp is either played well or not - but whether the harp player is good or not only depends on the angle one is perceiving at , and the details one submits oneself to - bc the level of detail one submits oneself to is the determinant - the determinant of what comes in or not. one can hear the most beautiful symphony in sheer white noise if one is attuned. consciousness is just as much what you let in as what you cancel out. usually these factors of letting in and cancelling out are both unconscious, but with will, one can attune oneself (or un-attune oneself) to control your reality. is this delusional? strictly speaking, yes. one must find a balance between self and others. i just feel like people make others more of a determining factor than they should be in how they perceive things. for me, i only get depressed when i take others into consideration; when i try and imagine what they 'see'', and feeling the almost palpable and impenetrable gulf between us. to answer your question in short form:thinking in streams and cataloguing things differently than most is just another take on the world. my take. i don't see it as being positive or negative. i think my take might be a little more ''interesting'' than some people's, - but this is simply bc of the difference. i do find that thinking this way enables me to at least think more, on different levels at the same time - i suppose this would be a positive in terms of creation - simply bc i can approach creating at so many different vantage points.

tENT: There was a time in my life when I mentally debated whether it was 'better' to be moral, immoral, or amoral. I decided in favor of being ethical - wch means something different to me than moral. Similarly, I debated about whether it was better to be as precise as possible or ambiguous. It didn't take long before I decided that both were equally useful. I think that it's psychologically useful to be able to feel closure & that that ties in w/ feeling that a work is 'complete'. However, I think it's very useful to feel that a work is 'complete for now' w/ an openness to changing the product some other time if inspiration hits to do so. W/ this in mind I don't find that you what you do to be "''finished'' or ''done''" simple enough but..

07. I do wonder whether you experience any discomfort from lack of closure or whether you experience closure similarly to the way I do by being satisfied w/ stopping when you do?

AG: 7. i do feel uncomfortable with lack of closure, but that feeling of being uncomfortable comes in waves - and when i do feel that way, that is when i revisit and rework the piece. the process can and does continue indefinitely. humans are by nature recycling creatures, whether they are aware of it or not.

tENT: One thing that I've noticed in your responses is the way that you take material that my questions & their prefaces supply & use them to partially channel the flow of your answers. EG: I asked "02. What shoe size do you wear?" & you partially replied w/ "AND some footfucker cried for a bigger box, the shrew quickened her pace - one box too big, the other with a central circumference to small, every circumstance by analogy, and every analogy unto circumcision (male or female). if the shoe fits 1122111211221122 my computer won't wear (sic)" - a process that some musicians wd call "riffing off of each other". Another example being that I wrote "My collaborator Michael Pestel & I made a piece called "Harps & Angles"" & you wrote in reply "whether the harp player is good or not only depends on the angle one is perceiving at".

08. Do you find that you riff off of most things that you encounter in your creative process?

AG: 8. i most certainly riff off of most things that i encounter in my creative process. it is in the nature of recycling - and changing - permutation - although i am intrinsically uncomfortable with change, i suppose it is its own form of closure as well. it depends on how you look at it.

tENT: As you know, I'm reading your book "Bathory". The title appears to refer to the infamous aristocratic 16th-17th century serial killer Elizabeth Bathory. However, the book doesn't exactly directly 'exploit' her as subject matter.

09. Why did you name your book Bathory?

AG: 9. Bathory, as an historical character, was for me a perfect analogy for what i attempt to do with words in my work; the book had next to nothing to do, obviously, with the historical character as you pointed out; she was only a point of reference, a way to branch off into different territory -:here is the description from the 'Bathory' webpage: "Báthory, is a ''metempsychotic journal'' that dismantles language just as much as it constructs it. Words as virgins to be sacrificed and drained of their life substance, until Language is put on trial, and the Pure Word is reborn in a different form.'' 

tENT: 10. Are you saying that you're kidnapping, torturing, & murdering the language you use?

AG: . in my mind, yes - in other people's eyes (possibly nearly everyone): NO. which means the book might be a failure from other people's standpoint and with my intention in mind. oh well, i put it out there. that is good enough for me.

AG: yeah, the interview process is NOT for me. i simply can't give detailed explanations, or rather, any explanations for what i do. if someone wants a detailed explanation they can run a brain scan on me and get the data. what i do comes naturally. i dont think or dwell on it, i act. no theory. no thought. anything that i've said about any of my work has been formulated (often poorly so) after the fact, but only because i was ASKED by other ppl (publisher, etc.) to do so. don't try and find anything HERE in terms of explanations. i'm also NOT interested in others' work processes. so yeah, throw the interview in the trash and sorry for wasting your time. i do admire your work, and i'm sorry if i annoyed you - not my intentions - but it is what it is. THIS TAUGHT ME A LESSON THOUGH, and that is that I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY BEYOND MY WORKS THEMSELVES, as they stand as products of my actions, without thought, or very little thought - i am a conduit. i am not here to theorize on my work or offer any explanations. thank you.





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