If there is no longer a place that can be recognized as outside, we must be against in every place… The will to be against really needs a body that is completely incapable of submitting to command. It needs a body that is incapable of adapting to family life, to factory discipline, to the regulations of a traditional sex life.—Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire
Always Against Herr Campbell & the Pasty Liberals
Discussing the recent death cuts with a businessman makes it all sound so rosy–it’s just the belts tightening. Alberta had to do it, so did Ontario: rape the poor, destroy organised labour, infantalize the public, enslave the population to the cold hard “reality” of the Dollar. This is what the “economists” recommend, and when you try to argue on humane grounds against these murderous policies—well that’s “politics” and not “fiscal reality.” But what the businessman fails to tell you is that the policies come from the Fraser Institute, and that there is a far more HUMAN model from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. What the businessman blatantly ignores is the death, the despair, & the depression these cutbacks will bring. The mess is incomparable, and the Liberal’s response is, “Well, that’s what we need to do.”Like hell. And how long will that take? Five years? 10? 50? The capital machine will fight this tooth and nail until the end, providing years of unemployment, poverty, and downright starvation to all those caught in the Empire policies of global feudalism. Why? Because it makes good “business sense.” I mean fuck it, why not go all the way, Herr Campbell? Let’s get the hell out of this lame nation called Canada and join the States, where we can whip out the Drug War—hell, a DEA office is on the way anyway—and set up “work camps” for the newly unemployed (with showers), axe all EI, Worker’s Comp, and Medicare. Then we can sell BC’s Best Export back to the newly revamped East End ghettos and arrest the users, setting up our own prison-industrial system… Fuck–Why Not?
Vancouver’s Black Crack
The vinyl addiction is the sweetest of them all. There is a perverse desire in stroking the smooth grooves of a fresh disc, and Vancouver is no stranger to the wax festishism, with several new labels launching their first releases. Witness Vernon’s Deepen label, which is now on its second release of tech-house by Jay Tripwire. Taking its cue from the sounds of the UK and snatching a sample of DJ Leanne belting out “Just Wanna,” Tripwire embraces a smoothly percussive and vocal-filtered tech-house sound. The first release shows promise with flashes of beauty from Elan Beneroch, whose “One Time Staggered” tips the hat to Gavin Froome and Vancouver’s deep house heritage, with a deep acid groove from Tripwire and a jacking techno track from Primordial Nature, aka Noah Bouddit, to boot. Continuing to make the biggest waves, and for a damn good reason, is Spencer’s Victoria label itiswhatitis, which has pressed brilliant releases from Matt Johnson and Steb Sly (with an upcoming track from Ben Nevile). These folks—unlike Deepen—are not so much influenced by tech-house as they are by the sounds of Germany, San Francisco, and Detroit––with a healthy dose of minimalism, dub, and jazz. Itiswhatitis regularly releases tracks from Canada’s Eastern artists such as Mike Shannon and Bodensee as part of its “East Meets West” series with remixes from John Tejada and Ricardo Villalobos (word is that Perlon’s Zip also wants to get in on the action). Not to mention the DrumKomputer releases which are a collaboration between Dietrich Schoenemann and experimental nut Taylor Deupree of 12k fame. That’s some serious musical movement. Speaking of Dietrich: Quietly pushing its own tradition of addiction is Sinusoidal, aka Si. This label is usually overlooked due to its experimental urges and underground stature, but it has hands down put out some of the best Vancouver material, including Un Jin’s Rainjacket album. Haitch Cee of Sinusoidal (and of Plutonian Nights, Thursdays on CiTR) has just had a track picked up for re-pressing and re-mixing by the UK’s John Selway on his and Dietrich Schoenemann’s CSM label. It’s a small world…There are several other labels to keep an eye on that will be covered next month, including Jay Tripwire’s Northern Lights imprint; a new label by Boomtown Records stalwart Kris Palesch; a Leaf Recordings offshoot called Totem, run by one of Vancouver’s original and most brilliant house DJ’s, Little-T, in conjunction with Graham; and Nancy Kyd’s label Twisted Roots Recordings.
Avatars and Art
Net-art has always been a nebulous thing—a real trip-out of some sort, encompassing either Joshua Davis Flash beauty or Jodi.org malfunction madness—but what about galleries on the Net? Or, hosting a gallery exhibition primarily on the Net? The standard for a permanent “gallery” of net-art has been set by Rhizome.org, whose “Artbase”––funded by the Whitney in NYC––is a meticulous curation of the best in net-art, cross-referencing all works by keywords and attempting to deal with the evolution of technology by maintaining the work in a form that net-users 30 years from now will be able to view and hear. This is no small feat and poses unique challenges to an online curator—how does one make art viewable that was created using obsolete versions of software and hardware? In any case, turn to Rhizome.org. On an entirely different plane, the Grunt Gallery and the 536 Arts Society are hosting an “Avatar” Talent Show on April 4th. Avatars are completely immersive (and usually 3D) online community environments where users can create their own characters, build houses, cities, shopping malls, art galleries, and whatever and talk in real time to other avatars. Why pay for long distance telephone calls when you can meet your Finnish friend and talk real-time in his online castle? 536 and the Grunt will be using the avatar software “OnLive Traveller” to experience the avatar talents. And any quick scan of online art would be out of place if the CBC’s under-promoted 120Seconds. com did not get due mention. This venerable sideshow of CBC Freaks (quite possibly the only place where the majority of the staff are under 30) are pushing all sorts of boundaries by curating freelance net-journalism and net-art experiments, from interactive Afghanistan coverage to videopoems and tactical media on September 11th. These kids should be given a bigger budget—along with the rest of the “Radio 3” branch they are a part of, including newmusiccanada. com and justconcerts.com, which feature Canadian artists and live performances, respectively. Thirty years ago Hunter S. Thompson said that the future of New Journalism would be in video and tapes: this has now come to be in the online world, and it is time to support these outlets for free expression. In the meantime– mort aux vaches, and check out Sutekh and Safety Scissors at the Video-In on Feb. 9th. Info at ww.shrumtribe.com.
Until The End Of Empire! •