2001.07 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE interviewed by Andrew Smith for his "Smokescreens in a wild storm" zine.
[interviewee's note: The file for this interview in the form I've currently found it in is dated July 24, 2001. I'd met Andrew in Melbourne, Australia in April or May of 2000 &, as far as I can reconstruct, he probably came to visit me 1st in BalTimOre In September of 2000 followed immediately after by 2nd in Pittsburgh in September of 2000 & then again in Pittsburgh in July of 2001.
I interviewed him for my magazine "Street Rat-Bag #5" (November 2001) on July 10, 2001. This interview happened after that one, maybe even the same day. Therefore, the interview was probably conducted in mid July.
the cover of the only issue of "Smokescreens" that I have - which I believe to be from early 2000
Unfortunately, I haven't archived a copy of my interview that hypothetically appeared in "Smokescreens" in my usual way so I'm not sure it was ever published or if I actually even have a copy. - August 22, 2014 note from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE]
Interview with tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
A - Ok. So, we're speaking to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE. Do you want to introduce yourself?
t - Hello. I'm tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE. I'm a mad scientist / d composer / sound thinker / thought collector / as-been / jack-off-of-all-trades / psychopathfinder / homonymphonemiac / air dresser / practicing promotextual / right-hand-man of the Princess of Dorkness / sexorcist / spleenius - and quite a few other things that my sporadically faulty memory isn't pulling forth at the moment.
A - Ok. So, the first challenge today: I have four words for you that I want you to comment on: they are art, activism, technology, capitalism - you could combine these all together in some meshed way if you want.
t - To make meshed potatoes? I'll just start with capitalism:
I don't think I necessarily have anything that spectacularly personal to myself to say about capitalism. It's pretty obviously something that the sooner we get over with, the sooner we will be healthier. It's kindof like a bad case of diarrhea: you're not really sure what it is that you ate that brought you to the point of having this runny shit come out of your arse, but you can sortof vaguely remember that you must have made a big mistake along the way and you're hoping to avoid ever eating that particular excuse-for-a-foodstuff again. Maybe it was those meshed potatoes?
Technology: I play with it all the time - but, it seems pretty obvious to me that if we were to describe the world in terms of a dichotomy right now, the dichotomy could be between psychical cultures and technical cultures - with technical cultures consistently working in the direction of making psychical cultures extinct. But, since technical cultures operate, in one sense, within the finite, the definable, the controllable - they're intrinsically self-defeating by being too limitation oriented. In other words, technology involves making machines, having these machines structured to perform specific functions, etc; whereas psychical culture is operating more within an acceptance of the infinite, with the unknown, with the out-of-control, with the mysterious, with forces that are vaguely perceived precisely because in order for them to be clearly perceived they'd have to be limited in a way that would destroy them. Because technical culture is always trying to reduce everything to the controllable, to the finite, to the graspable; & because technical culture doesn't understand everything because understanding everything is at least theoretically so-called impossible, technical culture is constantly failing to completely destroy all psychical cultures because psychical cultures are always popping up in the cracks, in the gray areas, in the unknown areas that technical culture hasn't managed to conquer, and will never manage to conquer. So, even though technical culture through technology is being pretty successful at wiping out huge quantities of humans & other beings in the world that exist more in psychical culture, it will never succeed completely - and I'm looking forward to a time when, even though I dearly, dearly love playing with my toys, psychical culture and magik will be seeping up through so many of the cracks that the world will become a far more mysterious place in a truly cognitively dissonant way.
A - So, when you refer to psychical cultures do you mean more nature-based?
t - Not necessarily. Dreamtime cultures. Cultures that understand that everything is not necessarily controllable. I think a psychical culture has an intuitive understanding that there are an infinite amount of forces and whatevers existing, that they're all infinitely interconnected, interinfluential, all the same thing at some level or another, and that to try to control-freak on it all is just a pathetic wish of people who don't have the mental strength to approach the infinite with a sense of humor and a quasi-accepting imagination. In other words, technical culture is obsessed with trying to control everything, and psychical culture is more inclined to be sensitive to what's there without control-freaking on it.
A - And the other two, art and activism - and you can combine any of these at the same time as well.
t - Well, if I could just avoid talking about art altogether I'd be happy - so I'll just go straight to activism. We Street Ratbags like to promote the concept of imp-activism, which of course is a pun meaning impish or mischievous, or devilish, or DEMONIC activism that, hopefully, has some impact. And, in most cases, given that everything must have some impact or another it does have some impact - but whether it has as much impact as we might like it to is a different story - and then, on the other hand, that brings in the whole issue of control-freaking, etc, and what type of impact one might want to have - which brings up the whole issue of power. People have asked me before about doing certain things in order to empower myself more and I'm always saying that I'm not trying to seek out more power for myself or other people, I'm trying to prevent other people from having power over myself. So, imp-activism may be aiming more for an impact in which other people have less power over the imp-activists rather than the imp-activists having more power over other people. Ah, of course that goes kind of contrary to the idea we were discussing earlier, when I was interviewing you, about isolating Free Trade Agreement of the Americas Summit attendees and sending them into outer-space - but, Hey! - there's plenty of room for contradictions and absurdities in imp-activism.
A - So, I guess I threw in the word art more so you could destroy it rather then agree with it - since art is a horrible term and is essentially useless as far as creating anything that might actually change society.
t - [sigh] It's just got so much baggage with it - that it's like: Wearing the intellectual baggage of art around your neck is something that will prevent you from ever being able to defy gravity. So let's just consider it over and done with and let's relegate it to the bone-yard that the word race should also go to. Not that I really want to get rid of words necessarily - but I'd at least like to do something more fun with them and art and race have become no fun at all.
A - Do you have any improvements to offer?
t - I'd kindof like to quarantine both of those words: put big signs around them that say "WARNING: these words carry so much infectious baggage that's harmful to your health that it may be better if you just create a negative space with their non-use."
A - So you don't feel there's a need to replace them?
t - Replacing them would just be creating a synonym, I don't want to create synonyms - I want to just do what it is that I think that I'm doing and refer to it in a way that I think is accurate rather than trying to use a synonym for something that I have no use for. I mean: if I'm riding a bike I don't want to call it a synonym for a car so that we can continue to act as if the car is more important than the bike or act as if they're equivalent when there're obvious significant differences between them. To speak metaphorically. So when I say that I'm a spleenius, for example, I'm basically being a megalomaniac and saying that I'm a genius at venting my spleen - which is an expression, of course, that means expressing my anger. Or, if I say that I'm a homonymphonemiac, I'm saying that I'm a person that has the severe unbeatable hots for puns. I wouldn't have any reason to use a synonym for art as a pseudo-synonym for homonymphonemiac when homonymphonemiac is exactly the word I want to use. And it's not a synonym for art or artist. And when I say that I'm a sexorcist.. - you know: any of you out there looking for a good time.. - well, oh never mind.
A - I want to talk about ludicrous activism - as far as a lot of the activism or spleeniusism is potentially relegated to the quarantined area of the lunatic fringe. Do you want to comment on that?
t - So, in other words you're asking: how do I address the issue that imp-activists are often rejected by the supposed mainstream of what's considered to be effectual activism?
A - Ah, yeah, you can answer it however you want.
t - I'm trying to understand the question..
A - I mean what's its purpose, what is its effectiveness, how do you deal with its rejection?
t - You know, I see our numbers as growing. I see the clown bloc, and I would consider clown blocs to be imp-activists, I consider the all-sorts-of-other-blocs which are, to some extent, outgrowths of the black bloc to be all kindred spirits to what I'm talking about. I just see more and more and more people acting in what I'd call an imp-activist way: in other words, allowing their own goof-ball individuality to come flagrantly out of the closet or the phone-booth or wherever people would like to keep it confined to.. So, having spent my entire life being a person who has been largely reviled as a weirdo, I think things are really going the way I want them to go and I'm quite happy to see it happen. I'm not worried about us being relegated to the quarantine area of the lunatic fringe because I don't think any quarantine area can completely confine us. It hearkens back again to Psyche versus Techne: the psyche will always surface in unexpected places that the techne can't contain. Maybe imp-activism is like a clown fart that the complacent majority just can't avoid & might even learn to enjoy after a while..
A - It would be interesting for you to relate other examples, neoism, subgenius, black mask, yippies, etc, and others in a kind of imp-activism geneology. What are the historical precursors/contributors to imp-activism?
t - Whew! One of the most limiting concepts of the "avant-garde" is the obsession with "Who's on First". There're a zillion different currents, some of which you've just metioned, that I find appealing & useful. It's easy enough to relate your examples to imp-activism but I wouldn't want to do so in a way that might lessen their own vocabularies or sense of self-importance or what-not by seeming to somehow reduce them to subsets (not that that's what you're asking me to do). Imp-activism, Schimp-activism, roight? All of the above-mentioned have socio-political critiques & senses of humor & perhaps even Modus Operandi of 'dominant paradigm sabotage' thru what we might call 'nonsense scrambling'. When you're facing an enemy that has tanks, robo-cop armor, nuclear weapons, etc, etc & you want to bring them down like David versus Goliath without creating your own warrior class or police state or other aggressor force that can all too easily develop into yet another oppressor (as traditionally happens short order in post-armed-'revolution') then what better way to fight it than with catapaults that launch teddy bears? My kudos to the people who thought up that one!! It just might be that the sometimes seemingly eternal struggle between 'freedom' & 'control' might just be won for freedom's side thru having the funniest sense of humor (if THEY don't kill us all 1st). I don't want to kill nazism by killing nazis, I'd rather disrupt the rigid paths with behavior modes that confuse rigid expectations. Ditto for the examples above perhaps?
A - It'd be interesting for you to talk about the dadaist "art into everyday life" concept and thus the end of art because it no longer exists as an elite category separate from life, and perhaps how imp-activism is or isn't part of that.
t - Whatever. Art & everyday life are both utterly banal. Concentrate on that little mole near your knee. It's the only escape.
A - Can you tell me about one group in particular that interests me: the Association of Autonomous Astronauts?
t - Yeah, the Association of Autonomous Astronauts haven't been that busy lately - there are some people that say that project ended and there are other people that say that it's an ongoing thing and that the people who say that that project has ended are being perhaps arrogant for saying that something once started can be ended by anyone in particular. The Association of Autonomous Astronauts wants to have its own outer-space exploration program that is not motivated by military drives. Obviously when George Bush wants to put missiles in outer-space he's doing it so that he can aim the missiles at the utopian islands that might be created by the Sprugnald Fluck Brigade or whatever - the brigade that can swim out to the island - and we just really have no use for blowing up the Sprugnald Fluck Brigades so, therefore, we really don't need star wars. We might accidentally drop a bunch of pigeon shit onto disneyland - but only after all the workers have gone home (if they ever get a chance to). So, the Association of Autonomous Astronauts: let's go into outer-space and, of course, fuck in a lot of positions we haven't been able to get into so far. Watch those blobs of sperm float around, watch the breast milk float around and go chasing after it. The main question is whether we should enter outer-space through technical or psychical means, given that I think that it's about time, as I was saying before, for psychical culture to come through the reality cracks of the technocracy, I think that outer-space travel will probably be part of a psychic pheneomenon. But that doesn't mean that our bodies won't make it out there as well. I think that we might just discover that there's a new outer-space that we hadn't even noticed yet and we might find out one day that we're already there. So, maybe the type of research we're doing just by the ways that we live is the research that will make us discover that we're already in outer-space and that that has beneficial aspects that we hadn't even thought of. Think of this: if you've taken mushrooms & you have an extraordinary experience & you describe it to someone & they say: "Oh, you were JUST on mushrooms" you can save up as a response to the same person, when they tell you that they went from Place A to Place B in a car, that "Oh, you were just on CAR" - as if being in a car is just some sort of 'unreal' drug experience (which it is!)..
A - The next question is kinda about plagiarism and copyright and how it relates to creating new things and how it relates to the legal aspects of that and how they infringe upon, how the legal aspects relate to capitalism and how they impinge upon the creation of new culture?
t - The main way in which I understand the value of the statement "property is theft" is by saying that the property that's referred to is something that, in accordance with some philosophy that you and I and most other people that we know share, should be communal and it is utterly ridiculous for it not to be communal. Most things that will be supposedly plagiarized are things that we would consider to be communal. Basically, I'm trying to avoid answering the question, in a way, because I'm not even concerned with whether things are called plagiarism or not plagiarism, the world is full of everything and I just use whatever I have access to in whatever way I have access to it. And I'm certainly not worried about whether what I'm doing is legal or not legal because I certainly don't make the laws, and wouldn't make the laws and have no intention of following the laws (after all, We are all UNEQUAL under the law & that's its purpose!), but really, in a way, I don't give a shit about it one way or the other.
A - Is there anything else you want to speak about? How you became a sound thinker, spleenius?
t - I think some of us just.. I guess I'm a crackpot, and I'm lucky to be a crackpot, I was born a crackpot. I was born lucky because I was born lucky to be a crackpot which means that somehow or another all of the strictures of society haven't been able to clamp down on whatever my intuition might be. SO, I'm a living example of how the psyche can avoid being constrained by the prisons of technocracy. My mind, for whatever reason - perhaps because of its cross-referential neuron pathways - has managed to not completely internalize the prison YET. So, since it has not internalized the prison yet, things just flit around in there in various ways and talk to each other and every once in a while, when it comes to my attention - it comes to the attention of my consciousness and then I just hopefully get a laugh out of it and try to apply it to the so-called external world - which I hope I figure out a way to understand as the internal world more and more as I get older, or as I get younger.
A - So, crackpots are born, not made?
t - That's another interesting question. I suppose they can be both - or they're inevitably a combination of the two, we are all born and made. Maybe I was born half-baked and that's why the pot cracked so easily.
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