archive - issue 4
So there I was, beyond laughter, beyond tears. I had quit hoping that the reaper would come. I didn't have as much funding as I would have liked, but then, who does? The view was awesome - I could see all my futures splayed out before me, and if I turned my head slightly to face the past, a hideous mask of grinning wrinkles stared right back. I realized that the reaper I'd been waiting for was none other than myself. I'm guessing now, but perhaps that's always so. Certainly in this age of transparency, now that everyone is exposed to everything, we can all laugh at death because, hey, what else are we gonna do? I looked up my name on Google. There are no secrets anymore. Nobody brought me the new planning schedule today. If you have a slave you are his slave. Her slave. Horror and humour amalgamated to relieve me of my body. Funny that, before I glorified the female body I was a vivisectionist. Now strange things happen to me all the time. The asylum was a joke. I left to become a garbage truck driver, ate about a million hamburgers. There was no censorship back then. Censorship is always a bunch of cynical old fogeys generating their detritus onto the rest of us. I've been great. I've been OK. Now analyse that. Ten year olds have laughed at me. Trash culture always puzzles me. I've never subscribed to disfigurement, it's a very personal matter. I cut off her thumb before she even knew who I was. It's not a cult as such, I simply don't like girls with thumbs. They look ghastly with thumbs and no vaseline or sweetener. That's fake sugar.
I got a reprieve. The reaper called. I said "Just who the hell do you think you are?" He hung up on me. Went back to the crypt. So I'm here for another roll of the dice. I couldn't say no. Didn't even bother going into withdrawal. All I have are two more questions: where and when? The phrase is bloodlust. I was desensitised before puberty, not even wet dreams could get me hard. I've been glued to the TV set for years now. Sister Mercy and Sister Thankyou. Where are they now? Grinding away at the futility of this daily round. There are no choices whatever. Most of life turns a horrible brownish red as you get older. The yellow dye runs out. It's not entertainment. None of it. I'm still waiting to be turned loose. I'm on in a few minutes. It's something weird. I've forgotten the content of it. I was always an outlaw in this business. Bladder explosions aside. I was always happy to see the fascist in me surface. It didn't happen often. Maybe I should have gotten into chess earlier. I like gobbling pawns. You probably don't know what I'm talking about. Every generation has its own terrific story. We don't sit here forever. There's fading. Inevitably. Then one day you wake up and who's gonna argue? True, I got a reprieve, but in my opinion it's all psychobabble. Nothing is in my control. I hate it when I can't commit. Oh, the attacks I've suffered over the years. It's better than being ignored.
Everybody started whispering. All together. Just like that. I'm not saying they're necessarily whispering about me. I'm not even all that concerned about what it is they're whispering. For me the fact that they're whispering is enough evidence that something's up. And the timing. All at once, as if pre-arranged. A secret signal. An arcane code. Thus far no one has actually pointed at me. There have been glances. But one should not read too much into what, after all, may turn out to be nothing more than careless synchronicities. Increasingly the women seem younger and more beautiful. But far away. So far away. The voices of all these people seem buried in the mix. The effects track predominates. It's bizarre. There's been some discoloration or else someone's placed a filter in front of the globe. Why would anyone do such a thing? I once walked out of the movies. It was Charles Bronson, who I found so tiresome. The laughter always grates me. "Gets on my nerves" my mom always used to say. It always sounds so unconstructed, improvised. I like to know where I'm headed when I drive. It's been a long, pot-bellied road, littered with non sequitirs all along the way. There is nothing more redundant or ridiculous than a flat-chested girl. Of course I had to kill them. They were in the way. It was a kind of garbage delivery. Refuse disposal. I'm not dyslexic. I'm not a rasta. These locks are an affectation. Yes, it's true I tend towards terrible self-absorption, isn't that what paranoia is after all? The ward psychiatrist told me that. She told me lots of stuff I can't recall but for some reason that one stuck. Strangely enough there are no women anymore, neither beautiful nor young ones. I've said goodbye to all that. At least not for free. They pay her to take down those infernal notes. Notes for the devil. Everybody stopped whispering. All at once. Just like that. Obviously there's a secret cue. You don't need to be paranoid to figure that one out. All action is governed by laws. I'm not a guru or anything, believe me. Merely an observer. When they all stopped whispering, you could have, I believe the saying goes, cut the silence with a knife. I like that saying. I like knives. The first cut is the deepest another saying goes. Nonsense. You have to keep cutting deeper until they stop screaming. Have you ever listened to the heartbreaking sound of lipstick, lies and gasoline? I've been in love, I've been wanted, but none of it ever made much sense. Time inside isn't wasted, let me assure you, these days not even the whispering can phase me and by the time they come to take me down that spicy corridor and put the needle in I'll have made some sense of this tragic mortal round. Say buddy, have you got a cancer stick to spare an old man who's past his prime?
I remember what happened when I died. That's sinful to understand. And I was sinning. I was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness. My father was an atheist. Jews and Jehovah's weren't allowed to take Religious Instruction. We were excused from class. I liked the military band. On cadet day. I was prepared for Armageddon. I built up courage. I used to ride Aunty Rave and wear platform shoes. I started licking girls. I wanted to taste them. Where is this heaven? It's all man-made anyway. It's got to be digitized alright? If Kain killed Abel where do we all come from? Incest. It's always been Kain and Banana. I am busy making history. Shaping people's opinions. My point of view is, I'm in a constant juxtaposition with myself. You don't know what I'm saying? Soundbytes that mean bullshit. I am sitting on my camel for forty days. Everything is bullshit. Nothing really matters. It's important to live your own truth. I'm not allowed to ride on the Sabbath. My mother taught me to knit. Where will that get me? It'll get me a jersey. The nuclear family is built on pedophilia. All these gay guys want a son so they can fuck him while he's growing up, dinkum. Ditto for the straight guys and their daughters. That's why they want these huge houses with lots of bedrooms and long corridors in between. I'm going to have to love and leave you.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1946
When we think of the cinema’s future, we always mean the destination it will reach if it keeps going in the direction we can see it going now; it does not occur to us that its path is not a straight line but a series of curves and tangents, constantly changing direction.
The RE:MIX is one of those tangents. It is a possibility of cinema.
The RE:MIXER creates an emptiness of cinema. But this emptiness was already there, potentially. It merely needed to be filled, to be actualised.
I still find my way of RE:MIXING new, and it keeps striking me afresh. That is why I need to repeat myself so often. It will have become second nature to a new generation, to whom the repetitions will be boring. I find them necessary.
The RE:MIX is a practice of diluting, or haemorrhaging the subject in a fragmented, particled sound/vision language diffracted to emptiness.
The atomic unit of the RE:MIX is not the shot, but the fragment, which is a clump, a volatile conglomerate. Granular, dense and stuck together. Division of this fragment occurs only to produce still another irreducible cohesion.
RE:MIXING is precisely the act which unites in the same labour what could not be apprehended together in the mere flat space of representation.
The RE:MIX reminds us that the rational is merely one possible system among others: it suffices that there be a system, even if this system is apparently illogical, uselessly complicated and curiously disparate.
Each of the RE:MIXES I make is trying to say the whole thing, ie. the same thing over and over again. It is as though they were all simply views of one object seen from different angles. This is the metaphysical aspect of RE:MIXING.
A RE:MIXER is very much like a metaphysician whose aim it is to represent all the inter-relations between things.
The RE:MIX has the fundamental characteristic of a denial of development. All one can do with it is to scrutinise it, not to solve it as if it had a meaning, nor even to perceive its absurdity (which is still a meaning).
The RE:MIX’s accuracy obviously has something musical about it (but not necessarily a music of sounds).
The RE:MIX never describes: its art is counter-descriptive. A collection of literally “untenable moments” that constitute themselves as nostalgia for the future.
Working on RE:MIXING – like work in philosophy in many respects – is really more a working on oneself. On one’s own interpretation. On one’s way of seeing things.
I really do think in the medium, because my head often knows nothing about what the editor is doing.
The space of the RE:MIX is one of pure fragments, a dust of events; this is because the RE:MIX’s time is without subject.
One might say that the collective body of all RE:MIXES is a network of mirrors in which each mirror reflects all the others and so on to infinity, without there ever being a centre to grasp.
In the RE:MIX, what is abolished is not meaning, but any notion of finality.
RE:MIXING is by nature intransigently unfinishable: the process could, in theory, go on and on.
RE:MIXING sets everyone the same traps. It is an immense network of easily accessible wrong turnings. And so we watch one man after another walking down the same paths and we know in advance where he will branch off, where walk straight on without noticing the turning to the side, etc.
I don’t believe I have ever invented a line of editing. I have always taken over one from someone else. That is how Standish Lawder, Kenneth Anger, Marguerite Duras, Sergei Paradjanov, Richard Kern and Franz Zwartjes have influenced me.
In RE:MIXES, density of texture frequently obliterates the contours of the original sound/vision line.
RE:MIXING ought really to be performed only as a poetic composition.
Joyce’s technique of verbal fragmentation provides the essential background to any understanding of the art of the RE:MIX.
As in Joyce, fragments, often chosen to represent salient features of the source material develop a strikingly individual resonance in isolation and combine to generate new and unexpected meanings.
In RE:MIXES, isolated phrases can give rise to new semantic affinities.
You must say something new and yet it must all be old. In fact you must confine yourself to saying old things – and all the same it must be something new! A RE:MIXER has constantly to ask himself: “but is what I am RE:MIXING really true?” – and this does not necessarily mean “is this how it happens in reality?” Yes, you have got to assemble bits of old material. But into a building. In this sense, Schwitters's Dada masterpiece, the merzbau, is the first RE:MIX.
The RE:MIXER poeticises the image by emphasising its musical values (chromatic oppositions, dissonance and compositional rhyme).
Semantic stutterings (loops) galvanise the source material into nervous life.
The RE:MIXER compounds his audience’s estrangement from the structural relations of the source material by presenting different fragments simultaneously, forcing them to grasp at momentarily comprehensible gestures within the general sound/vision overload.
The RE:MIXER is fascinated with working at the very limits of coherence.
Massive clusters, dynamic contrasts, aggregate rhythms, layered imagery, chromatic quagmires, major audio-visual dislocations: these are the characteristics of the RE:MIX.
One’s style of RE:MIXING may be unoriginal in form and yet one’s images and sounds may be well chosen; or, on the other hand, one may have a style that’s original in form, one that is freshly grown from deep within oneself. (Or again it may, of course, just be blotched together out of old bits and pieces – like mine.)
Sometimes a RE:MIX can be understood only if it is experienced at the right tempo. My RE:MIXES are all meant to be viewed slowly.
The RE:MIXER is a man condemned in advance. He must have neither romantic relationships nor object to engage his feelings. He should even cast off his own name. Every part of him should be concentrated in one single passion: the RE:MIX!
I didn't want a manifesto about RE:MIXING. I wanted a manifesto that was itself RE:MIXED. Burroughs's cut-ups provided an historical precedent, although it was probably Kathy Acker's work on Dickens that gave me the confidence to plunder at will. Cage's absurd vertical texts "lifted" out of Wittgenstein were also of use. Finally I always remembered Gertrude Stein. Barthes, Camus, Wittgenstein, Fritjof Capra and Gary Zukav were my plunder sources. (Remember, this has been happening in music for a long time now, ie. John Wall's groundbreaking Plunderphonics.) RE:MIXING can be poetry but in the wrong hands it runs the danger of becoming propaganda. SAMPLE AT WILL THERE IS NO COPYRIGHT!