2002: Archibras

It interests me how one thing leads to another. When I (barely) graduated from high school in 1971 I started thinking about how I'd need to start doing more research to keep my mind active. SO, I started walking to a public library that was serveral miles away. I must've somehow known about Marcel Duchamp by then, I don't recall learning about him (or much else) in school. I remember looking at a Duchamp book in the library & coming across mention of Alfred Jarry (& Raymond Roussell) & being intrigued.


SO, it wasn't long before I was reading Jarry & loving it. He's still one of my favorite authors/thinkers more than 40 years later. Jarry had referred to a place where he'd lived as a "Phalanstery" & otherwise made reference to an "Archibras". I didn't know what either was so I researched & that led me to the 18th century 'utopian' philosopher Charles Fourier.


That led to my finding a copy of an André Breton book about Fourier.


I read the Jarry & the Breton but I still haven't read the Fourier even though I eventually found the above book.


In 1992, I was on tour with the "Official" Project & one of our stopovers was Dreamtime Village (you can check out footage from that tour that includes DV on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: http://youtu.be/EN5U7JANpRA ). Author Peter Lamborn Wilson was there & he was working on a book about Fourier called "The Universe, A Mirror of Itself" to be published by Xexoxial Endarchy. Apparently I typeset that but I don't remember doing so (thanks to Miekal And & Liz Was for giving me credit or I wouldn't've known).


That book featured the above reproduced section on the Archibras. Fourier is reputed to've been full of ideas about lifestyle philosophy that were very forward-thinking. He inspired many people & was taken seriously. Apparently, the main thing that he foretold that was an embarrassment to people who otherwise liked him was that after 16 generations of following his proposals people would develop an extra useful appendage: tails with a hand on the end with an eyeball in the middle.

At the same time that I find that, ahem, highly improbable, I still find the idea delightfully absurd. For one thing, a hand with an eyeball in its middle seems like a hand that's going to blind its eyeball pretty quickly. For another thing, a hand with an eyeball in its palm that's right above the asshole seems doomed to some pretty shitty experiences. No matter, it's still a great image! I embrace Fourier's imagination!!


SO, in 2002 I met a new young tattooist named Jason Angst & told him about my idea of wanting to have an Archibras tattoo. I haven't followed Fourier's philosophy but I am about halfway through the number of projected required generations for the growth of an Archibras so it 'makes sense' that the Archibras wouldn't be fully manifested yet, that it would only be an image on my back.

After my 1st 3 tattoos, "It's Not A Matter of Life & Death": DNA, Crossed-Bones, & 3D Brain, I'd progressively lost interest in tattoos & bothered less & less to even photograph my tattoos when I got them. As such, for the 1st 14 years that I had this tattoo the above photo is the only one I had of it.

It was taken by my friend John Anders Evans for me when we were visiting Coney Island during the off-season. I was standing in front of a "Shoot The Freaks" 'amusement' where the public could shoot paint guns at live human targets, perhaps Coney Island's bearded lady or some such. Interestingly, there's a collection of DVDs called "Animated Soviet Propaganda" of which disc one is called "American Imperialists" - a 1979 movie by V. Tarasov. The 6th movie in this collection is called "Shooting Range" & it's about an out-of-work American who acceepts a job as a live target for a fat cat capitalist's shooting range. Hhmm..


I asked Jason to do a drawing for me of a wagging Archibras in which a fist opens & waves & the eye winks. He did the somewhat cartoonish drawing that became the above tattoo. Note the motion lines.


Perhaps you can see it a little better in this detail enlargement.


My house is a large archive/workshop filled with information & tools. One aspect of this is that I have 30 file cabinet drawers filled with folders containing odds & ends about my various interests. Once I put something in a folder I rarely look at it again. I pulled out the "Tattoos" folder while looking for material to post on this website. This article about tattooist Richard O. Tyler conducted by Vale, of Re/Search, caught my interest because of the mention of Tyler's "Uranian Phalanstery" on the Lower East Side of New York City. The interview was conducted in the early 1980s shortly before Tyler died in 1983. That was an era when I spent a fair amount of time on the Lower East Side & I don't recall knowing anything about this guy which is surprising because he would've definitely interested me. I didn't remember this interview at all so I glimpsed through it & found the above-scanned discussion of his Phalanstery as a 'coincidental' piece of relevant info to include here.





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