early 1986 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE interviewed by REVO (Trevor Blake) for his "Surreal Estates" zine.
[interviewee's note: This was the 1st interview with me that I can remember that was published in a zine. I was still in the process of getting my 1st series of tattoos done - the ones I called "It's Not a Matter of Life & Death". Such tattooing was unusual at the time, tattoos hadn't become a fashion yet. I show the 4pp of the original Surreal Estates layout & drop in REVO's larger text collage elements but otherwise render the text in html to make it more readable & more searchable.]
Surreal Estates Interview
questions by REVO
- conducted by mail no later than early 1986
01. Why do most people write your name tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE?
i was to participate in a Festival of the Disappearing Art(s) & the person who was making the poster for the festival [Ro Malone] wanted to put all the participant's names in upper case lettering - since tentatively, a convenience is partially meant to define a flexible entity boundary (& to, therefore, not be egotistical) i wanted these words to mingle more with the rest of the text than to stand out as representing a person - so, the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE compromise was reached - which i (&, apparently, other people) like because of the reversal of the typical name capitalization.
02. Have you ever participated in projects that failed?
usually i build in a fail-safe mechanism to anything that i do. in other words: the basic concept is enough to justify satisfactorily whatever happens. however, i am disatisfied with the outcome anyway about 1/4 of the time.
How did you know that they had failed?
if they did not come close enough to what i imagined they could be.
What is a successful project?
1 which i'm satisfied with the concept of & which i feel to have realized a substantial enough portion of the potential of.
03. What is truth?
i believe in everything. i believe in nothing. i don't believe in nothing. a double negative as not a positive. i don't believe in truth, but, nonetheless, i'm an honest person. lies may just be truthful statements that are out of sync with consensus reality..
04. When did you begin to write as you do now?
the earliest i can remember experimenting with writing was when i was 11 yrs old & b gan 2 invent my own abbreviation system (partially inspired by the inventor Charles Proteus Steinmetz - who i admired) - as 4 writing as i do now: oil well, different styles originated at different times, t he most structured of wch (wch i rarely use any more) was primarily created when i was 21 (11 yrs ago)..
Have you written down the grammer/structure rules for this method of communication?
4 sum aspects of it - mainly i pred termine whatever methodlogy i consider 2 b appropriate 4 whatever t he text's subject matter & audience is & then stik 2 t ha t m.o. w/ spontaneous complications..
Is it structured or created as you go along?
Why do you do it?
my language usage as 2 complicated 2 go in2 here, but, a consistently meaningful structure of mine involves preceeding any text w/ t he latin abbrv 4: 4 xample (e.g.) 2 indicate t ha t t he text represents possibility rather than fixation ("truth") & ends w/ a ? 2 indicate further it's tentativeness.. - my spellings r often meant 2 function as catalysts 2 ambiguous tangential thinking on t he part of t he reader..
05. What is surrealism?
to quote from a recent addition to a bit of writing that i've been working on for the past 9 or 10 years: "Do you know if this channel-inflator box was burnt down?"
Please describe a recent dream you had.
i was in an elevator with a camera-woman/director of a tv show who had a lot of equipment with her (a camera on a tripod etc) - we reached the 20th floor & the woman started to unload the equipment - to prevent the door from closing before the equipment was totally unloaded i fumblingly reached for the door button but it was too late because the elevator floor had already started to descend like a hinged trap door - my pressing the door button caused the floor to become detached altogether & to ripple wildly in a sine-wave like motion..
06. Do you claim affiliation with any organization or group?
yes. the enclosed "all-purpose poster" lists all but the 2 most recent which are: the pregroperatavists & the ShiMo Underground.
Describe if so.
since there are so many & since my perception of them is complex, i'll restrict myself to describing some of the ones that are currently the most important to me:
t he Krononautic Organism - a group interested in practical, theoretical, mythical, fictional, etc aspects of time, time control, & time travel.
The Church & Foundation of the SubGenius - the only group with thousands of people actually claiming (with some even paying members) to be involved which has managed to (eventually) accept & tolerate & integrate my more anti-social aspects. a cult group of the subhighest order!
the Neoists - an elitist cultural conspiracy minus the superfluous middle which includes everyone whether they like it or not..
the ShiMo Underground - a politically active group of flexibles who managed to survive the period of mass-media manipulation in the direction of making such activism unfashionable enough to enable another war like Vietnam to occur. a group concientiously trying to counteract those idiotic things that the rich & powerful do with the money that they steal from us with their systems & protection rackets..
07. What is your purpose in your work?
my purposes are multifarious. i like to catalyze people into breaking their habits, thinking more, being more tolerant, being more daring, being less lazy, being more imaginative.. i try to live in accordance with my imagination. the purpose of my work is for working to be playing.
Why do you take your particular approach?
my approaches are multifarious too. they depend upon my purpose. therefore, there's no 1 particular approach. i use abstraction, subtlety, & complexity to relate to intellectuals. i use bluntness, & shock to relate to non-intellectuals. i use humor to help people ease up. i use threateningness to command attention.
Do you think you are successful in this effort?
often - but more as a lucky fluke - since, despite my previous statements, i usually structure things in a way which deliberately neutralizes - &, therefore, minimizes certain types of imbicility encouraging manipulation.
08. What produced such a problematic entity such as you?
my own mad scientism - my own Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (& all the rest).
09. What prompted you to adopt the name tentatively, a convenience?
it answers the question: "What's your name?" by defining what i think a name's function is. i choose to use names other than my given name in order to more clearly present who i perceive myself to be.
10. Is there an extreme in art that should not be crossed?
1st, i'm not an artist - so, i'm not too preoccupied with what art's parameters are. i think any extreme is acceptable - but, i prefer justification of a particular nature (perhaps discordian in the Illuminatus Trilogy sense). i prefer some "extremes" to others. [August 19, 2014 note: There are many 'extremes' I'm completely against: genocide being an obvious example - despite my symbolic facetious statements elsewhere in this interview.]
11. Is there any project that you have thought of that you refuse to bring into actuality?
more fantasies than projects - once something reaches the project stage i'm generally serious about actualizing it. however, many, many obstacles exist which are thwarting enough to make me refuse to realize them in certain ways.
to give 2 specific instances of how i've been thwarted:
1. i haven't been able to find a tat[t]ooist to agree to tat[t]oo me as i've wanted to be (with a double helix from crotch to navel, cross-bones on my chest, & a brain on my head).
2. in conjunction with O.J.Dart i wanted to kidnap Dan White & force him to eat only Twinkies while bound in a chair & forced to watch The Life & Times of Harvey Milk over & over - videotaping him under these conditions for a week or so in order to make a piece called: Just Desserts. somewhat unfortunately, the pathetic critter committed suicide before we could get to him.
12. Is there a distinction in your mind between creative expression & insanity?
What is that distinction?
the 1st is deliberate, the 2nd isn't.
What are examples of each?
the insane person might become stuck in a "Lady Macbeth" loop of trying to wash their hands of blood which is hopelessly fixed in their mind.
the creative person might purge themselves of pain by channeling it into something positive to themselves.
13. What are your preferred mediums?
i use film, writing, audio tape, & video tape - as well as "live action" the most - but i prefer to use a larger variety of mediums (particularly psychic ones) - generally excluding painting & drawing (which i generally abhor)..
14. If it were within your power to conduct any project you could imagine, no matter the potential criminal nature, economic cost, or social repercussions, what would you do?
several projects occur to me off the top of my head:
1. to kidnap all of the people in the world calling themselves "leaders" (placing particular emphasis on those who overly control the lives of large populations) & to put them "in charge" of their enemies' countries' politics - putting big shot capitalist cowboys in charge of small time communist countries etc..
2. to put Mayor Wilson Goode (or whatever his name is) on a spit (keeping him alive) & to barbecue him (as well as a substantial portion of the Philadelphia police force) in front of his family - as a sign of my solidarity with the MOVE group.
3. to emigrate off of this planet with a select group of friends.
15. You describe yourself most often as a "mad scientist/d composer/sound thinker/t ho ugh t collector/as been". What do each of these titles mean?
mad scientist: a perverse researcher - a creator of the fantastic without societal approval.
d composer: an analyst, a composer of societally rated "d" booed usic.
sound thinker: an entity who thinks phonetically - thusly further exploring the double negative as not a positive escape hatch.
t ho ugh to collector: an assimilator of information & ideas.
as been: an entity willing to attempt to control their own fate & prepared to be rejected & ignored.
Why have you accepted them & not others?
because they come closest to satisfactorily describing my sense of purpose without confining me within unacceptable clichés.
16. Where will you go when you die?
every which way? SubGenius heaven/hell? (i hope) - my theories are many, my beliefs are none.. where did i come from? where am i going to?
17. Are you trying to shock or enlighten?
shock is a means, enlightenment is an end.
18. What if you discover that your philosophy of action is entirely wrong?
having already done so many times i'm at the point where i define my philosophy most succinctly by saying: "i had a philosophy once." i attempt to abolish the concepts of right & wrong from my action directing basises.
That all you are trying to achieve is empty, that your actions have not the effect you desire but rather the exact opposite or no effect at all?
all i'm trying to achieve is mt; my actions are often experiments to help me learn what effects they'll have - therefore, any reaction is instructive; no effect at all?
19. Do you consider chemicals that cause altered states of consciousness to be viable tools in some projects or are they for enjoyment?
i agree with Tim Leary's referring to them as tools - i rarely use them for strictly recreational purposes.
20. What do you like to eat?
most things commonly categorized as food (food usic).
21. Is the place you are living now conducive to your projects?
cr(ater) Bal Tim Ore city is primarily populated by people hostile to the ways in which i manifest my imagination. most cities are like that insofar as they are primarily populated by repressive normals who have no creative purpose in life & no understanding of those of us who do. as with most people, i tend to make my environment more conducive by simultaneously insulating myself & supporting myself with a subculture partially of my own making - this can be excrutiatingly difficult insofar as i tend to be too individualistic to tolerate any social strictures.
Is there any place or time that would be more condusive?
probably - but getting there isn't easy. as i wrote in reponse to question #14: i'd like to migrate to another planet (or type of physical environment altogether) as well as be able to travel through time differently than i do now.
22. What is health?
for myself: not being sidetracked, rendered miserable, or stopped by forces hostile to my vision.
23. What is the book you read last?
Philip K. Dick's "A Maze of Death".
24. What might a person get if they sent you some money or something interesting?
i publish many things which i trade &/or sell. these include:
t he book
t he referent 4 wch consists of
t he non-materialized transparent punch-outs from a letter/whatever stencil,
& a magazine called: DDC#040.002,
25. Do you do more projects alone or with others?
i do a lot of both. i like to collaborate for the sake of the fresh stimulation that it provides - for the extent that it breaks my habits.
How do you go about finding people to work with?
sometimes i seek out people i respect or who inspire me, sometimes i play with the people most conveniently & comfortably near me, sometimes i feel forced/compelled to resolve my relationship with certain people by involving myself with them.
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