The Poetics Project

The Poetics,from right: John Miller, Tony Oursler, Mike Kelley, Bill Stobaugh, and John Arnheim
The Poetics,from right: John Miller, Tony Oursler, Mike Kelley, Bill Stobaugh, and John Arnheim

The late Mike Kelly was known for his work with Destroy All Monsters, a band he formed in 1973 in Detroit with Jim Shaw, Niagara and filmmaker Carey Loen, but audiences might be less familiar with The Poetics, an art rock band he played in with fellow artist Tony Oursler.  The loosely assembled group kicked around between 1977 and 1983 and worked on various projects including a radio show, a sound track and a dance piece involving mop poles entitled ‘The Pole Dance’.

Still from Pole Dance by Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler and Anita Pace, 1997
Still from Pole Dance by Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler and Anita Pace, 1997

During that period Oursler kept notes from each of the Poetics brainstorming sessions, later used as inspiration for The Poetics Project Installation created by Oursler and Kelly in the late 1990s at Metro Arts in New York that went on to tour internationally.  Together, they re-examined the projects they’d begun in the 70s, re-mastering and releasing old tracks, re-executing The Pole Dance and creating an installation that was hailed by the New York Times as the ‘most irritating show in New York City’ (to Mike Kelley’s delight).

The Poetics Project by Mike Kelley and Tony Oursler. Installation view at Centre Pompidou, Paris, featuring a projected interview with Genesis Breyer P Orridge (right)
The Poetics Project, installation view at Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2013, featuring a projected interview with Genesis Breyer P Orridge (right)

Both artists were interested in exploring the conventions of documentary video and ‘rockumentaries’, and one element of the installation was Synesthesia, a suite of videos by Oursler featuring interviews with twelve legendary underground figures of the downtown New York art and music scene in the 1970s and 80s.  Participants included Genesis Breyer P Orridge, Lydia Lunch, Kim Gordon and Suicide’s Alan Vega.  Sadly difficult to watch online!

Still from Synesthesia: Alan Vega by Tony Oursler
Still from Synesthesia: Alan Vega 1997-2011 by Tony Oursler

There are however some great texts about the project written by Kelly and Oursler respectively that you can read here and here.  And you can watch Tony Oursler talk about The Poetics Project in situ in its 2013 incarnation at the Pompidou Centre here.

The Poetics Project

Bight of the Twin

LOL hero Genesis Breyer P Orridge is involved in a new film project about voodoo.  Directed by Hazel Hill McCarthy III, Bight of the Twin explores the relationship between Vodun and Western secular art and performance. Focusing on Vodun culture in Ouidah, Benin, McCarthy’s research had particular resonsance for P Orridge following the discovery of the ‘twin fetish’ and its associated rituals, which have curious interrelationships with P Orridge’s own practice and relationship with her late partner, Lady Jaye.  P Orridge is recorded participating in twin fetish ceremonies, reactivating his bond with Jaye, and in the process, creating a film that becomes voodoo in its own right. Bight of the Twin is still in development with a second trip to Benin scheduled for later this year. If you want to support this project and generate some voodoo as well, you can donate here, but do it quickly – the campaign closes on November 22nd.

Bight of the Twin

Breyer P-Orridge at Warhol Museum


Visual artist and Psychic TV front wo/man Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is about to have h/er first solo institutional exhibition at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.  S/HE IS HER/E contains over 100 works made by the artist from the 1970s to the present.  Created in collaboration with his late wife Lady Jaye, P Orridge’s ‘Pandrogyne Project’ is the focal point of the exhibition. In an ongoing proposition, the couple sought to combine their two identities (through surgeries, cross dressing and hormone therapy) into one pandrogynous being; ‘Breyer P-Orridge’.  The video above, included in the exhibition, addresses this collapsing of gender.  Following the death of Lady Jaye in 2007, Genesis continues the project by occupying Breyer P-Orridge completely.

S/HE IS HER/E opens on  June 15th.

Breyer P-Orridge at Warhol Museum

Luftbobler


Remember Luftbobler, Dinos Chapman’s first foray into electronic music recorded in his basement?  Well, last week the album was officially launched at The Vinyl Factory in London, complete with a live AV display by the artist.  The result looked like an odd rave/gallery opening crossover but Leg of Lamb’s quite partial to the low key, saturated footage that Chapman created to accompany each of the tracks.  Nice that he’s named the number above after Kurt Vonnegut’s famous refrain from Slaughterhouse 5 too.


Apparently Chapman was heavily influenced by industrial granddaddies Throbbing Gristle when he was making the album.  Gristly frontman Genesis Breyer P Orridge was incidentally in Australia last year with his band Psychick TV as part of Adelaide Festival, and one of his video works, Blood Sacrifice was included in I am Heathcliffe, a group show at Daine Singer too.  Above you’ll find footage of Genesis as a young man doing what he does best.  S/he’s amazing.

Luftbobler