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                                                                                                                                                                         YOWN!
  Is it about d.i.y. culture,
      or d.i.y. cultures?
                                                                                                                                                                           O
                                                                                                                                                                 A Manifesto of Confusion
                                                                                                                                                              to Make War on Nonsense!



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DO-IT-YOURSELF CIVILIZATION
                                                                                                                                                                A journal celebrating the decentralized, radically par-
                                  Can you write                                                                                                            ticipatory do-it-yourself underground, mass-produced and
                                about the former                                                                                                           distributed by a vanguard elite? A broadside emphasizing
                                without examples                                                                                                           your capabilities by glorifying the adventures and achieve-
                                  of the latter?                                                                                                           ments of a privileged few? A fable chronicling traditions of
                                                                                                                                                           revolt, a pioneer expedition into the past, a retelling of time
                                                                                                                                                           to rescue the future? History or story, legend or legerde-
                                                                                                                                                           main, anthropology or propaganda?
   But aren’t those
    examples just                                                                                                                                                These are tensions we cannot resolve here, tensions
  distractions from                                                                                                                                        we care not to resolve. Consistency is the hobgoblin of                         History is not something       Liberty = Autonomy + Culture
 what people can do                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Individuals cannot be autonomous—we are formed by relationships:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         that happens to people—
                                                                                                                                                           little minds, paradox the dynamo of evolution1. Where the
themselves? Think of                                                                                                                                       contradictions are sharpest, the soil is the most fertile; and                                                 without them, we do not exist. One cannot create meaning in a vacuum—but
punk rock, anarchism,
and so on—don’t they         Or do they give
                           people a voice to try
                                                                                                                                                           fertility is what we seek above all. Work out for yourself
                                                                                                                                                           which of these roads you want to follow, if any—they all
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         it is the activity of people.    neither can one be anything but at the mercy of and alienated by a meaning
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that arrives from on high. One must make meaning with others, cooperatively,
trap people in “doing
  themselves” what         out on their tongues
                          until they can develop
                                                                                                                                                           lead into terra incognita, and it’s trailblazing you’re after,
                                                                                                                                                           right? Certainly nothing less will serve to make this enemy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Culture does not dictate      for it to be meaning-ful. Likewise, freedom is not standing alone, “man ver-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sus humanity”—those who set out to “pursue their desires” as individualists
  others have done,
  instead of coming        voices of their own?
                            Isn’t that the role
                                                                                                                                                           soil into the no-man’s land we long to call home.                                        human behavior—       neglect to consider that even those desires are socially constructed. Neither
  up with their own                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       is freedom to be found in unquestioning “obedience to the law”: we do that
 answers, their own        of ritual and myth?
                             Shouldn’t we be
                                                                                                                                                                 Burn every toy store and replace them with playgrounds,                       it is the sum of human     social constructing ourselves—those are our laws, whether we take credit for
      questions?
                          looking to learn from
                           our ancestors, even                                                                                                                                                the Editors/Gatherers                         behavior. Technological       them or not. A free human being is not a law-follower or a law-breaker, but a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          law-maker and re-maker, a part of a tribe. “Ideology” is what we call a culture
                            as we destroy and
                            create everything
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               progress is not a force    when we want to rebel against the limits it imposes; but escaping culture is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          equivalent to escaping existence, not becoming free in it.

      But don’t
                          anew? Don’t you think
                            someone has done
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          of nature, either. There is           So here it is in one sentence: When we speak of liberty, we mean the cre-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ation of our own cultural context for life, which is necessarily collective; when
      the little
    subcultures
                            that before, too?                                                                                                                                                                                             no civilization without us      we speak of autonomy, we mean the opportunity to do that creating without
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          interference.
   people create
  today just act
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            civilizing, no capitalism           Culture is made up of languages2: languages of words, of numbers, of
   as diversions
      from the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      without us capitalizing and         concepts, of musical conventions, of aesthetic expectations, of solutions for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          problems, of answers to questions. Languages write our lives: they set the
     important
     project of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              capitulating. These are     options whenever we make a choice, however free we may be in the selec-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          tion. At the same time, it is our use of them that reproduces them, keeps them
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      hard things to remember in


                                                                 O
    undoing and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           alive, makes them what they are, as they make us. Terms in languages work
   rebuilding our                                                             ne hundred thousand years ago, the storyteller begins, your                                                                                                                                 only because we hold them in common; language-writing is the ultimate col-
  entire society?
                                                                              ancestors lived much as the folk you will read about in this journal                                                                                       the boss’s office, let alone     lective activity, is the common denominator of all social activity. To be free of
                            Or do they give us
                          the practice we need                                do. They created and solved their problems together, in the process                                                                                        working the checkout line        language is impossible in human relations—that universe as we know it is not
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          only described by language, but exists as language. [*]
                          for such a task? And
                             for that matter—
                                                                              not only arranging for survival but also fashioning their world by                                                                                             at Wal-Mart. The mass              Yes, languages enforce their constraints upon us—or, more to the point,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          those constraints are us—but if we are the ones making those languages, we
                          who says we want to                    attributing meaning to an overwhelming and alien cosmos.                                                                                                                   media encourages us to        make ourselves: every time we alter or subvert a concept or expectation, we win
                          rebuild a mass-based
                                                                        Under capitalism, you too live in that alien, overwhelming cosmos, she                                                                                                                            our freedom, we make our freedom. Liberty is not a condition of being undeter-
                          society, or that real
                           life only takes place                                                                                                                                                                                       feel sentimental and proud         mined—that’s impossible—but of doing the determining, or at least sharing it with                                Foraging versus agriculture,
                                                                 continues, just as your ancestors did so long ago—but because you are inundated                                                                                                                          your comrades3 and a trusted universe. It is in this constant redefining of terms, the   primitive versus civilized, culture versus nature,
                             in the context of
                             one? What if real                   constantly with culture that is mass-produced for you, you forget that this
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        of “our” achievements: the        ongoing creation and negation of forms and assumptions that freedom becomes                underground versus mainstream, avant-garde
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        versus institution . . . these questions are not
                              life, for some of
                           us, is what we make                   creation and attribution of meaning is the central question of human life. Self-                                                                                             space shuttle soars, the    possible—for those, at least, who take part. Therefore, if we’re looking for liberty,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          we do best to take our stand with the ones challenging the languages that exist                    the point here. It is too easy to divide the
                               ourselves in our
                            small groups, today                  determination, let alone self-realization, is impossible without addressing this.                                                                                         disease is cured, the star     today,4 and with the parts of our lives in which we currently join in interactive
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          culture.5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         world into rigid oppositions and take sides,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          as if no other approach were possible; the
  While the world
                          as well as after your
                                 revolution?                            Find your way back to the wilderness, she urges, back to wildness—or rather,                                                                                      gets the girl at the end of           A cancer of mass-produced, impersonal, prefabricated culture threatens                one who does this unquestioningly is truly the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       pawn of a language that sees only in binary.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          our species. A creature does not die “of” cancer—a creature dies by becom-
    around us is
    governed by
                                                                 recognize that this is the Wilderness, this is not your “natural environment,” this                                                                                         the movie. But sitting in    ing cancer, when its cells begin reproducing sameness at the expense of                      These terms function best in metaphors to get
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      at what is free and unfree in human life, what
   forces beyond                                                 is the forbidding, inhuman, senseless dystopia your philosophers, unable to                                                                                           theater or classroom seats,        diversity. A culture that sets up a million franchises with workers in matching
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       is liberating and inhibiting in the possibilities
  our control, is it                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      uniforms executing identical tasks is a cancer out of control, a monster riding
                                                                 see beyond the insides of their own heads, have projected onto the Wild. Once
   possible to say
   you are free in                                                                                                                                                                                                                           in front of the television   the humanity that gave birth to it into an untimely grave. We need a culture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          that is a dialogue, an interplay between us and the languages we think and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       before us; let’s not trap ourselves in debating
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   the particulars of any metaphor, but pursue the
                                                                 you recognize that the important question for you is the same as it was for your
    any context?
     Is freedom                                                  ancestors millennia ago—how to impart meaning to such a place—you can begin to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  or computer screen,     speak and live in—not a monologue arriving out of a loudspeaker.                          traces of poetry that, as in any language, exist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        between the lines: the truths hidden between
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fighting for this, we attack the average, deny the universal, and
   something you
 can experience in                                               do so, and catch up to where they were.                                                                                                                                         alienated, exploited,    nurture the anomalous.                                                                        the lies that words and all concepts, by their
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        very nature as abstractions, necessarily are.
     fragments?
                                How can we speak                        The tale-spinner concludes her tale: When you set out on this journey,                                                                                            bored, and disappointed                                                                                                                    Here, unconcerned for a precious
                                   about freedom                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   instant with truth and falsehood alike (let alone
                                 at all, whether in              do not reckon yourselves modern primitives, but primitive post-moderns: the                                                                                                   by this self-destructing                                                                                                     with being proved “wrong”!), against the
                                the future or the
                                 present, without                first of an ancient order. Imagine that you sow the seeds of a long-deferred                                                                                             society, between calls for      2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             For an advanced exercise and an alternate account, reread this passage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       protection racket of non-participatory culture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and the mythology of fear and powerlessness
                                 referring to the                future, seeds hundreds of thousands of years old.
                                moments of it we                                                                                                                                                                                             resistance, we begin to      replacing “languages” with “stories.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In former times, culture was developed in tribal groups, on a small enough scale
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                that sustains it, let us create a counter-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mythology of possibility. After all, the chief
                                  do experience?
                                     Aren’t those                                                                                                                                                                                            pose ourselves the next      that everyone could participate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Not with the artists or “postmodernists” who retain their modern roles as
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     significance of any story is how it enables—or
                                moments, and the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              disables—the ones who tell and hear it.
                                   initiatives that                                                                                                                                                                                        question: when our lives       experts, nor with the radicals who play their predictable part as the loyal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          opposition of the established order—but with those who refuse and transform
                                    create them,
                                  always the most                                                                                                                                                                                       are in our hands, what do         their social roles.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So yes, by all means, form another basement punk band—but do it in a way that
                                important part of
  And how do you
  propose to make                life, on whatever                                                                                                                                                                                       we do with them instead?         challenges punk rock, or you’ll be killing it, not keeping it alive!
   a journal about              scale they occur?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     less—that language itself is

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     would oppose nature to culture

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     former alone; we should be as
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           [*] Some have argued—in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     lovely and moving prose, no

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the absence of freedom. They

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     and locate freedom in the


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     anyone who professes to speak
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     for or about Nature, as it is the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     modern equivalent of the God
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     would-be masters once spoke
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     for. “Nature” and “culture” are

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (that is—terms in a language, in-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     terpretations made of language),
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     and form a dichotomy which—

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     down under enough scrutiny. Do
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     bees in a hive, who communicate

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     over time, have culture, or just
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     nature? Just like us, the bees


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     be something static and dictated
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     by an autocratic deity (“Mother


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     shock in effect! What is natural




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     language, it makes more sense
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     to consider nature and culture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     two faces of the same dynamic


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           These maniacs, in their
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     declarations that freedom existed




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     millennial moment of revolution:




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     insists all life will be a paradise




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     contents of our own lives, what is




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     all. To measure the value of any
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     themselves abstractions, anyway



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     like all dichotomies—breaks




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     are their culture—this culture is




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     nature has no laws, only habits
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     that change and can be broken.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Rather than ascribe super-natu-




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     force, and to see language as a



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     before civilization and vanished
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     with its arrival, have more in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     common than they would care
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     to admit with the other maniacs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     who insist that freedom, impos-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     sible today, waits ahead for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     us around the bend of some

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     both of them situate everything
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     that is precious in life over some
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ultimate horizon, whether before


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     conceive of that perfection with-



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     after the revolution and can only
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     be a hell before it is speechless in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the face of the paradise discov-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ered by a lovemaking couple; the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     hard-line primitivist who writes of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     how magical everything was be-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     fore our “fall from grace” is simi-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     larly disoriented when it comes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     right now. We would do better
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     to orient our values around the


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     begin our project of liberation




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     in total world transformation is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     craziness, just as it is craziness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     to reject everything that exists in

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the point is always what is hap-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     pening—the process, not the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     product, the means, not the ends

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the beginnings we never knew.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     suspicious of them as we are of




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     with a language which evolves



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     their nature!—it only appears to


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Nature”) because we view it from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     such a distance: that’s culture

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     is what we imagine and create:



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ral origins and characteristics to




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     or behind us, without troubling to



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The old-line revolutionary who
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     explain how we are even able to

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     out an example of it on hand.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     to the question of what matters




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     start or steer such a project at

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     undertaking by whether it results




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     at which we never do arrive, nor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     possible in them: for if we can’t

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     from what we know, we can’t




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     favor of everything that doesn’t;




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Freedom is made up of moments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     in the present or else it is indeed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     an abstraction, a mere ghost of
them, to celebrate
 the world of d.i.y.
   without making
    it something




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     manifestation of this.
 external to what
   real people do?




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     language.
                                                      1
                                                       Che Guevara had been declared completely unfit for military service by the Argentine army. Don Quixote, the most errant of knights, was conceived in the confines
                                                      of prison. The first anarchists were aristocrats. “All power to the Workers’ Councils!” demanded the famous advocates of the abolition of work. “I hate you,” the lover
                                                      swears. Solipsist artists speak to all, for all. Feminists fight to put an end to gender. Barricades which close streets simultaneously clear the way, as the vandal smashes
                                                      glass out of tenderness—to make love is to make war. As Nietzsche wrote, you must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
    When the question of human nature comes up,
                                                                                                                                                                                       We Are Continuously Giving
the programmed always point us to their history
books to show that all human beings ever do is fight,
command, obey. Before we look at those books, let’s
                                                                                                                                                                                       Birth To Our Ancestors
look a little closer at history itself: when they say his-
tory, which history do they mean? Time and space
                                                                                                                                                                                           I began to stay up later and later to find time and
                                                                                                                                                                                       space for myself. At four in the morning, the city was
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           difference than we can imagine, great multitudes of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Atlantises, each with currencies and cosmologies un-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ““Tool-using primitive peoples were actually
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    more accustomed to exercising their intelligence
 are both so vast that one could not hope to begin to                                                                                                                                  deserted; at a quarter past five, birds strutted on the             imaginable from this vantage point. Write your own       than we are—they were used to inventing their tools
   record either in full: any record is inevitably selec-                                                                                                                              streets cars would monopolize two hours later. I                    stories of what our ancestors did—they’re probably       and solutions,
    tive in the extreme. Could one write a history of                                                                                                                                  walked there, too—it was a fairyland, an alternate                  true—and use them to kindle the courage you’ll need      while
      heartbeats, of kisses, of picnics? And yet aren’t                                                                                                                                universe in which this crowded, heavily policed dis-                to live the stories you want. Tell those fables around
       these, proportionately speaking, a much greater                                                                                                                                 trict was my own domain, a measureless paradise                     the fire before the next great adventure your clan
          part of human history than anything in the his-                                                                                                                              such as Adam and Eve might have awoken in. My                       undertakes, be it transcontinental migration or




                                                                       History
            tory books?                                                                                                                                                                joy in it was so profound I almost wanted to rush out               anti-imperialist demonstration; whisper
                   Today we are in the belly of a hier-                                                                                                                                and populate it again with a new race of offspring.                 them into your lover’s ear when he
                 archical leviathan, which naturally                                                                                                                                       After months of enjoying this solitude, I was                   needs reassurance that he is not
                   tells the stories of other hierarchical                                                                                                                             joined by first one, then a few friends, who started                crazy for breaking ranks with
                      empires as “the” history of the                                                                                                                                  to stay up and walk with me. Surprisingly, this did                 this “global village” of can-
                         human race: contests for eco-                                                                                                                                 not spoil the pleasure, but increased it: now I had a               nibals. If anything is
                            nomic and political power,                                                                                                                                 people with whom to share my world!                                 for sure, it is that
                               books of laws and philo-                                                                                                                                    So late at night, we walked the streets of our                  your predeces-
                                  sophical rationalizing,                                                                                                                              Greensboro, North Carolina, across the asphalt on                   sors did the




                                                                       As We Live It
                                     the trivia of the lives                                                                                                                           which automobiles drove by day. We didn’t speak it                  same!
                                         of “great men.”                                                                                                                               aloud, but we knew that one day, when there were
                                            But the ma-                                                                                                                                no more cars, all the inhabitants of this land would
                                                jority    of                                                                                                                           follow in our footsteps. This was our universe, ex-
                                                    human                                                                                                                              tending before and behind us through eternity,
                                                                                                                                                                                       and its past and future were as real to us as
                                                                                                                                                                                       the industrial revolution was to the mo-
                                                                                                                                                                                       torists. It occurred to me then that ev-
                                                                                                                                                                                       ery people exists in a unique time
                                                                                                                                                                                       continuum, planning for the
                                                                                                                                                                                       future and interpreting
                                                                                                                                                                                       the past in its light;
                                                                                                                                                                                       and perhaps
                                                                                                                                                                                       time itself
                                                                                                                                                                                       is




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           No
                                                                                                                                                                                                         deep and broad and full enough to
                                                                                                                                                                                         have room in it for all of these disparate histories.
                                                                                                                                                                                       Perhaps we need not judge which one is “true” of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Future In Nostalgia
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    we,     for
                                                                                                                                                                                       world, but instead admit them all as real for the ones              What the pundits say:
                                                                                                                                                                             com-                                                                                                                                   the most part,
                                                                                                                                                                                       who travel in them.
                                                                                                                                                                       munities;                                                                                                                                    simply receive them.
                                                                                                                                                               but we can tell by
                                                                                                                                                                                            The war to define the past is indeed a war to claim
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             “ “In addition to shorter and more flexible hours
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           and the more reliable safety net afforded by food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Similarly, they were more
                                                                                                                                                       the very rarity of such                                                                                                                                      practiced in the arts of enjoying life,
                                                                                                                                                                                       the soul of humanity. Old demagogues brandished                     sharing, foragers’ labor was more satisfying than
                                                                                                                                                records that they are not repre-                                                                                                                                    as they weren’t busy constantly struggling
                                                                                                                                                                                       the Will of God at us, new ones brandish Nature and                 most modern work is. We awaken to the alarm
                                                                                                                                          sentative of what all human beings were                                                                                                                                   to catch up to the progress of their civilization.
                                                                                                                                                                                       History. When we want to prove another world is                     clock—they slept a lot, night and day. We are sed-
                                                                                                                                 doing in those days, let alone before—or today.                                                                                                                                    Joy, and wonder, and friendship were the centers of
                                                                                                                                                                                       possible, we instinctively fight them for these—but                 entary in our buildings in our polluted cities; they
                                                                                                                                  Let’s speak of proportions again. The human                                                                                                                                       life, not survival—or else they would have developed
                                                                                                                                                                                       let’s be careful not to win a Pyrrhic victory by recon-             moved about freely, breathing the fresh air of the
                                                                                                                            race has been around for over one million years, but                                                                                                                                    their technological means more rapidly! Only today,
                                                                                                                                                                                       structing a past that outshines any possible present                country. We have bosses—they had companions.
                                                                                                            the    kind     agriculture, let alone centralized culture, has only ex-                                                                                                                                in our world of enforced artificial scarcities and un-
                                                                                                                                                                                       or future. It couldn’t hurt to remember that, as the                Our work typically involves one, or, at most, a
                                                                                                        of centralized      isted for about ten thousand: before that, we were all                                                                                                                                  bridled social change, are the nuts-and-bolts issues
history                                                                                                                                                                                bare remains must be interpreted to be read at all, the             few hyperspecialized skills, if any; theirs combined
has not been spent at                                                                          power and social con-        hunters/gatherers who let everything run wild, our-
                                                                                                                            selves included. Even inside of the last ten thousand
                                                                                                                                                                                       chief activity of any people looking the past is always             handwork and brainwork in a versatile variety of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    of mere survival the main focus.” ”
the Battle of Hastings or the cross-                                                 trol we see today is only a few                                                                   projection—historians tend to see what they are look-               activities, exactly as the great utopians called for.
                                                               thousand years old—and only became globalized in             years, only a small minority of human communities
ing of the Rubicon; most of the time, human beings                                                                                                                                     ing for, not what they are looking at. People always                Our commute is dead time, and unpaid, to boot—
were—and are, today, any time the boss has his back            the last few hundred.                                        have been as bellicose and coercive as this one—and
                                                                                                                            even today, only a small part of human interactions
                                                                                                                                                                                       cast behind themselves whatever past they need to                   they could scarcely leave their campsites without          “ “In that Golden Age, they lived as if they were
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    gods, their hearts free from all sorrow. When they
turned—just preparing food, flirting, daydreaming,                   If some of the earliest historical records are of                                                                 believe that what they want is possible: fine then!                 experiencing an adventure of some kind. Life, for
                                                               wars and conquests, it is because the first ones to          actually express that violence and subservience. Thus                                                                                                                                   died, it was as if they simply fell asleep. The fruit-
playing or working on projects cooperatively. The                                                                                                                                      We’ll do the same!                                                  us, is chiefly a source of anxiety, and a source of
                                                               catch the disease of so-called civilization were the first   we can see that, on every level, fighting, command-                                                                                                                                     ful grainland yielded its harvest to them of its own
times when slavemasters seized power and coerced                                                                                                                                            So let’s not argue that things were better once,               retinue for insurance companies; for them, it was a
                                                               to feel compelled to conquer and keep tally. Unbeliev-       ing, obeying comprise about one percent of human                                                                                                                                        accord—while they, at their pleasure, quietly looked
masses of people have been exceptions—though West-                                                                                                                                     but that they were different—as different as they are               feast—or perhaps, at times, a famine, but a famine
ern civilization has seen a disproportionate number            ably, these records are the only ones taken seriously        history. What about heartbeats, kissing, and picnics,
                                                                                                                            then? Aren’t those the heritage of our species?
                                                                                                                                                                                       now6. The past behind us is so vast it must hold more               nobler and more sensible than our greatest suffer-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    after their works, in the midst of good things.””
of these, to its discredit. Remember, our species has          by our tunnel-visionary historians, who discount the                                                                                                                                        ings and achievements here in the condominium and
                                                                                                                                                                                       6
                                                                                                                                                                                        The politician says “today things are more the way they are than
been around for hundreds of thousands of years, but            oral traditions and folklore common to healthy human                                                                    ever before,” and the media agrees with him—don’t fall for it!                  ”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           the cubicle.”
                                                                                                                                                                       people
                                                                                                                                                               really spent the    ( a n d ,
                                                                                                                                                      first nine hundred and       probably,
                                                                                                                                               ninety millennia huddled in         economic     sys-
                                                                                                                                         caves, motionless and terrified—is        tem!), into contact
                                                                                                                                    that how human beings reached Green-           with unfamiliar cul-
                                                                                                                              land and Hawaii from the forests of Africa?          tures and creatures—a far
                                                                                                                        Imagine all the wondrous journeys we undertook             cry from the identical airports
                                                                                                                      in the past million years—expeditions and escapades          and hotels those unfortunate
                                                                                                                to    that would be unbelievable to our historians even if         businessmen deem their natural
                                                                                                             hon-     they weren’t invisible to their instruments. Remnants        environment. We still set out on such
                                                                                                         or what is   of these linger in our fairytales still.                     journeys today, wherever one of us goes
                                                                                                    free, creative,         In prehistoric times, energy not expended              off the map; hitchhiking for the first time
                                                                                                  independent         on survival must have been employed as children              from Amsterdam to Stockholm, exploring
                                                                                             about all human be-      camping still utilize it today: to devise and narrate        the disused train tunnel that runs through the
                                                                                         ings, especially those       stories, explore untrodden spaces, plot impossible           darkness under Providence, Rhode Island, we
                                                                                     living now? Why celebrate        voyages—and sometimes carry them out. Surely,                cross paths with that woman who first ascended
                                                                                  only the foragers of the distant    unconstrained by apartment leases, border guards,            Mount Everest so long ago.
                                                                              past when people are foraging in        or ticket prices, people traveled more than frequent-
                                                                           the suburbs at this very moment? The                 flier businessmen do nowadays; adventure
                                                                       everyday human still invents. Engage
                                                                                                                                                                                   One million years of anarcha-feminism!
                                                                                                                                  was the order of the day, not something               It’s common knowledge that matriarchal soci-
                                                                    the trainhopper in all of us!                                                      imitated annually on        eties preceded patriarchal ones—but “matriarchy”
                                                                                                                                                           tourist vacations.      is simply an abstraction coined by unimaginative

                                                            One Million Years Of                                                                               And just imag-
                                                                                                                                                                 ine what they
                                                                                                                                                                                   men to describe what they can only picture as the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              scav-

                                                            D.i.y. Culture!
                                                                                                                                                                                   reverse of today’s gender relations. Those were days
                                                                                                                                                                   encountered     when women knew themselves, days when they                 enged
                                                                                                                                                                    as      they   were known by all as creators, conceivers of life,         food like
                                                                                                                                                                     traveled! A   bearers of the spirit world. The Amazons were only         modern
                                                   Thus         The Dreamtime, according to the Aborigines, is                                                                                                                                trashpickers
                                                                                                                                                                     week’s trek   one of hundreds of tribes of powerful women who
                                               the    an-   a time that runs concurrent with mortal time, as                                                                                                                                  do, traveled
                                                                                                                                                                    brought        kept these mysteries alive by courage, cunning, and
                                            thropologist,   well as having taken place at the inception of the                                                                                                                                like     hitchhik-
                                                                                                                                                                    them into      compassion. The Great Wall of China was built by
                                         the sociologist,   cosmos. It is the world in which people dream new                                                                                                                                 ers riding rivers
                                                                                                                                                                   another         patriarchal empires as a desperate defense against
                                      and the Greek poet    worlds into being—and in which worlds dream                                                                                                                                       and hopping ocean
                                                                                                                                                                   ecosystem       the Samartians, a nation of horsewomen who lived
                                   (Hesiod, in 700 B.C.,    themselves into being, through people.                                                                                                                                            currents around the
                                to be exact) celebrated                                                                                                                            without masters and were buried in their armor; ac-
                                                                                                                                                                                   cording the (male!) historian Herodotus, a woman of        world, celebrated life
                             the lifestyles of human be-        That Dreamtime is perhaps the best model                                                                                                                                      with folk music made by
                          ings immeasurably removed                                                                                                                                their tribe would not take a lover for herself until she
                                                            for our new mythology: a heritage as old as our                                                                                                                                   their friends, passed down
                       from them by time and space—                                                                                                                                had slain a man in battle. The witches who followed
                                                            species that can become new in an instant, an                                                                                                                                     folk culture they devised. You
                    but you could as easily replace                                                                                                                                them eighteen centuries later were keepers of the
                                                            ongoing history we participate in by conjur-                                                                                                                                      can bet some of them had dread-
                  the foragers, primitive peoples, and                                                                                                                             same secrets, as we are today when we share herbal
                                                            ing it, a time and space in which it is always                                                                                                                                    locks, some homemade tattoos and
              golden gods with, say, “trainhoppers”                                                                                                                                alternatives to doctoral dogma or fill the streets on
                                                            the first day of Creation. Invoking this                                                                                                                                          scarification, some patches proclaim-
           to make the passages refer to the present                                                                                                                               the 8th of March. We gather in woman-only spaces as
                                                            story, any time, any place, we reenter the                                                                                                                                        ing their allegiances.
        day. After all, why let dead people have all the                                                                                                                           our ancestors did at the dawn of humanity and redis-
                                                            Garden of Eden to invent our universe                                                                                                                                                  There used to be as many human be-
      fun? It does little good to glorify the past at the                                                                                                                          cover our powers as they discovered theirs, guided by
                                                            from scratch. So—to orient ourselves                                                                                                                                              ings in the world as there are punk rockers,
   expense of the possibilities of the present, even                                                                                                                               goddesses who have lost their names only to receive
                                                            for looking ahead, let’s look back, and                                                                                                                                           now. When you consider our situation in that
though some do take a perverse pleasure in mourn-                                                                                                                                  new ones. We still refuse any attempts to define or
                                                            thus around:                                                                                                                                                                      light, it’s easier to trace the parallels between their
ing their own lives before they are dead. There are                                                                                                                                silence us, still devise and revise our own genders
                                                            One million years of explo-                                                                                                                                                       lives and ours: where once there were saber-toothed
people today living the lives these passages lionize, in                                                                                                                           just as pre-historic transsexuals and transvestites
                                                            ration and discovery!                                                                                                  did, still take each other fiercely and fearlessly in      tigers, there now are security guards; where later we
cities and distant deserts alike!                               The first human being to climb                                                                                                                                                fought Sumerian mercenaries, Pharaohs’ armies, Ro-        fore the radiowaves
      And why stop at that change? Laud “trainhop-                                                                                                                                 strong arms and gentle hands. As Sappho declared,
                                                            Mount Everest reached its peak                                                                                         in the words of Rita Mae Brown, an army of lovers          man legions to assert and protect our liberty, today      were invaded—we met to              reach consensus
pers” as a class, and anyone who has hopped a train will    20,000 years ago. What, you don’t                                                                                                                                                 we contest corporate conglomerates and so-called          long before the first ballot was tampered with! When
instinctively assume you’re speaking about everybody                                                                                                                               shall not fail.
                                                            believe it? Do you think Columbus,                                                                                                                                                democratic governments. We were squatting caves           a few of us come together in any liberated, communal
but them. Deep down, no one ever feels included in          or Leif Ericsson, or the Phoenicians,                                                                                                                                             before they erected buildings—we painted graffiti         space to share those songs and stories and strategies,
any abstraction, in any genera(liza)tion. Praising one                                                                                                                             One million years of d.i.y. punk!
                                                            for that matter, were the first to dis-                                                                                                                                           on those walls before sandblasting was invented—we        we are participating in the same tradition our ances-
demographic implies a standard where there should                                                                                                                                     For over 50,000 generations, our ancestors didn’t
                                                            cover America, too? Do you think                                                                                                                                                  were composing and passing on our own songs be-           tors practiced with their neighbors one thousand
be none, anyway. Why not rewrite all these passages                                                                                                                                shave their legs or armpits or wear deodorant. They
generations ago. We can claim one million years
of d.i.y. culture and resistance for our heritage; the
tyrants have to their credit only a few senseless wars
                                                          man institutions are made up of human lives, there
                                                          will be resistance, and afterwards there will be cel-
                                                          ebrations just as there are today. Our war can never
                                                                                                                   strated, several thousand years before the Roman
                                                                                                                   Empire, human beings were able to circumnavigate
                                                                                                                   the globe in wash-through bottom boats many hun-
                                                                                                                                                                                   Correspondences:
                                                                                                                                                                                   Thor Heyerdahl and other Folk Scientists, Folk Sing-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            “At night, when the tropical stars twinkled
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        from the black sky and a myriad of phospho-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        rescent plankton twinkled back from the sea,
and asinine inventions, the self-important treatises      be entirely lost; theirs can never be won.               dreds of feet long; since solid-hulled boats became             ers, Folk Warriors                                                                                                   we too felt like gods on a flying carpet in the
of a few rockstar ideologists, a handful of short-lived                                                            common, the expertise to fashion such crafts has
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        universe. There was nothing but us on the
empires—which we’ve always eventually razed to the        One million years of folk science, folk                  been lost to all but a few isolated groups, but evidence            When his colleagues insisted, on account of the         place. The other ninety nine percent consists of the
ground! The ruins of their failed nations, wrecked                                                                 suggests that the wash-through model was actually
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        raft, surrounded by darkness and stars. We
                                                          medicine, folk everything!                                                                                               vast distances involved, that similarities between the      kind of life held in common by all human beings.
temples on hills where metropolises stood mere cen-                                                                better adapted to ocean travel than its successor.                                                                                                                                   could well understand the pre-Incan artists
                                                              Did you know—people two thousand years ago                                                                           technologies and folklore of the ancient peoples of              Such correspondences between human activities
turies ago, foreshadow the end they know awaits—          took birth control pills? They made them by boiling            Proof remains at Stonehenge and o n Easter Island         the Mediterranean, the Americas, and the Polyne-            past and present exist everywhere: A woman adjusts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        who depicted Kon Tiki and other bearded and
our way stretches ahead of us infinitely, through the     down the urine of female pigs. The early Egyptians,      that technology is not a singular force that develops in        sian islands must be coincidental, Norwegian Thor           a recipe her mother passed down to her, as her pre-      hook-nosed deities as traveling on serpents
                          entire future of our species:   and those earlier than them in China and the Middle      a straight line, that different technologies are always         Heyerdahl left the specialists’ ivory tower to test their   decessors did ten millennia before. German squatters     undulating among the stars, symbolically
                                         for as long as   East, having not invented a process for making iron,     evolving and disappearing—the ones who insist that              theory. He contracted reed boat builders from Lake          decorate and defend their walls with fragments of bro-   pulled along by bird-headed men while they
                                                 inhu-    fashioned iron tools from fragments of iron that ar-     such marvels must be the work of aliens just reveal how         Titicaca in Peru, among the only people in the world        ken glass, as their forerunners would have prepared      themselves enjoyed pulling in fishlines that
                                                          rived in meteors fallen from the sky (an Egyptian hi-    colonized their imaginations are by modernist indoc-            who still understand the complexities of such design,       for Roman attacks. Nomadic volunteers till organic       had hooked rays, sharks, or sea monsters.
                                                            eroglyph represented “heavenly iron”); the peoples     trination. The folk-scientific method, as it is practiced       to fashion the kind of vessel those ancient peoples         farms as Celtic peoples did before them. An adoles-      We too pulled in giant fishes. Aboard our
                                                                 of northwestern Greenland were still doing        today by every adolescent astronomer with a cheap tele-         used, and set out with an international crew (“a Rus-       cent runaway beholds Paris with the same wide eyes       balsa raft, real life became like a fairy
                                                                     this less than two centuries ago—polar        scope and a notebook of personal discoveries, has more          sian, an African, a Mexican, an Egyptian, an Ameri-         Rimbaud did over a century earlier, perhaps as the
                                                                                                                   in common with science as most human beings have
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tale. After all, this real life was a
                                                                         explorer R.E. Peary was shown three                                                                       can, an Italian, and a monkey”) to find out just how        first human beings to reach that site did at the dawn
                                                                                                                   practiced it than anything the books tell us about Archi-                                                                                                                            fairy tale. How else could one de-
                                                                              enormous meteorites which they                                                                       far they could sail in one. In this boat, the Ra II, they   of time. A singer-songwriter discovers she can make
                                                                                  had been visiting in yearly      medes or Einstein. Omnipresent cultural propaganda              sailed almost effortlessly from Morocco to Barbados         her language her own, just as Percy Shelley did; both
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        scribe the fact that the twinkling
                                                                                     pilgrimages for centu-        insists that the present is utterly unlike the past, glorify-   in only fifty seven days.                                   experience the same sense of wonder shared by the        plankton in the sea around us
                                                                                         ries to obtain tips for   ing the “unprecedented progress” of the present day as                                                                                                                               were the ancestors of the
                                                                                             their    harpoons.    it simultaneously portrays that past as a golden age to                                                                                                                              six of us who sat above
                                                                                                 And!—as Thor      which there is no return—but the technologies, medi-                                                                                                                                 water and looked
                                                                                                    Heyerdahl      cines, arts of today have analogues dating back perhaps                                                                                                                              down upon them?”
                                                                                                        dem-       to the very beginnings of our species. No need to cling in                                                                                                                           -Thor Heyerdahl in
                                                                                                            on-    fear to “modern technology” and the scant comforts it                                                                                                                                Green Was the
                                                                                                                   provides—this is the dark age, if there ever was one!                                                                                                                                Earth on the
                                                                                                                         And again, the only question to ask is—what to do                                                                                                                              Seventh
                                                                                                                       to make our own Enlightenment? How do we fol-                                                                                                                                    Day
                                                                                                                           low in the footsteps of those from the last one
                                                                                                                                hundred generations who defected to make
                                                                                                                                    their own way through the world, leav-
                                                                                                                                         ing only cryptic messages scratched
                                                                                                                                              into trees behind them: Gone
                                                                                                                                                   to Croatan . . .




                                                                                                                       “Since the time of his youth, Crazy Horse
                                                                                                                   had known that the world men [sic] lived in
                                                                                                                   was only a shadow of the real world. To get
                                                                                                                   into the real world, he had to dream, and                           One can in-
                                                                                                                   when he was in the real world everything                        terpret Heyerdahl’s
                                                                                                                                                                                   project in the framework
                                                                                                                   seemed to float or dance. In this real world                    of Western civilization’s suppos-
                                                                                                                   his horse danced as if it were wild or crazy,                   edly linear development of knowledge
                                                                                                                   and this was why he called himself Crazy                        and technology—he was simply adding to “the”
                                                                                                                   Horse. He had learned that if he dreamed                        store of human knowledge, albeit by returning to
                                                                                                                   himself into the real world before going into                   the lost lore of the past. But Heyerdahl himself tells
                                                                                                                                                                                   it differently: in rediscovering the prehistoric lore of
                                                                                                                   a fight, he could endure anything.                              ocean travel, he felt a close kinship with the human
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               human beings
                                                                                                                       On this day, June 17, 1876, Crazy Horse                                                                                 who invented the
                                                                                                                                                                                   beings who had made this same journey before, in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               first words. Knowing he
                                                                                                                   dreamed himself into the real world, and he                     a similar craft. Outside the linear timeline, men on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               would be denied at the border, an an-
                                                                                                                   showed the Sioux how to do many things                          Heyerdahl’s ship and women on ships perhaps four
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               archist with full facial tattoos hops a freight train
                                                                                                                   they had never done before while fighting                       thousand years earlier stood beside each other by
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               into Quebec to fight in the streets with his slingshot
                                                                                                                                                                                   night, gazing upon the same stars. Speaking propor-
                                                                                                                   the white man’s soldiers.”                                      tionately, once more: even on excursions that end up
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               against the enemies of his community as they meet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               to discuss the “Free Trade Area of the Americas”:
                                                                                                                                                                                   in the history books like this one, what gets recorded
                                                                                                                   –from Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee                                                                             this is tribal war.
                                                                                                                                                                                   is only one percent of the actual experience taking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bicycle mechanics and folk scientists Wilbur and Orville Wright test one of their                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A whole herd of crash test dummies aboard a modern jumbo jet flight with no idea
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            inventions, with assistance from Dan Tate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      how the damn thing works




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is important for the                                                                                                                                                                                           We in the West face two dilemmas: one in the problems we must solve to lead meaningful lives, and another in our doubt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                reader to understand                                                                                                                                                                                       that contemporary problems are as serious and as worthy as the ones faced by our ancestors. But one can be bored to death. We
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           that the examples of folk                                                                                                                                                                                       jump off bridges just to have a taste of irrefutable meaning. We have been convinced that our depression, distraction, boredom,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             science our laboratories                                                                                                                                                                                      and frustration are adversaries less real, less honorable than hungry black bears or bubonic black plagues; but I declare that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              have produced are not                                                                                                                                                                                        these things are mighty enemies.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          just homemade tools with                                                                                                                                                                                               Even outfitted with the most advanced apparatus of our age, especially outfitted with it, we are destitute. Poverty—this
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             “practical” functions—                                                                                                                                                                                        is very important—is not a material but cultural condition: that’s why a hobo or unvanquished aborigine can be richer than a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               they are chiefly about                                                                                                                                                                                      factory worker with full benefits. Poverty of goods doesn’t trouble anyone rich in more important things; poverty of self and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               troubleshooting in the                                                                                                                                                                                      family, that’s serious. This is serious! The background music in the shopping malls, even blasting out of our own car stereos, self-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          realm of wasted time and                                                                                                                                                                                         medicated, drowns out the songs in our heads, and we wonder why on earth we have tongues in our throats. They’re for singing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           creativity. The Sub-Sub-                                                                                                                                                                                        hymns, not “can I take your order please”! And the priests our muteness keeps in business, they are idiots—they know nothing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Contra-Bass Blaster is a                                                                                                                                                                                       about religion7. We must teach them about it!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hand-crafted machine for                                                                                                                                                                                              We demand a Saint Kathryn who slipped from the jaws of school with desire afire in her arms, we search for Saint Kids
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             creating inaudible bass                                                                                                                                                                                       hanging upside down from the overpass to decorate grey concrete, Saint Etta who ate the cake and loved it, loved it! Fuck you Kate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            tones, yes, but it is also a                                                                                                                                                                                   Moss, fuck you Twiggy and Tommy Hilfiger. We pray to young Saint Aaron who risked everything, holding hands and dancing with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           machine for snatching its                                                                                                                                                                                       Saint Paul. We wait for you, Saint You, reading this passage we compose in these moments of clarity, these stolen moments. May
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            maker from the jaws of                                                                                                                                                                                         you find us when they have passed and we are in despair—and will you pluck us from the jaws of that beast? It is no less murderous
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          boredom with a process of                                                                                                                                                                                        than the Nature they say would starve us to death or the dragons of legend. The demons that we face are real, they are real.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         production that requires so                                                                                                                                                                                            There was a moment in our lives when no object or space or time suggested one use over another. As we grew up, we
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           much time and focus that                                                                                                                                                                                        discovered that the sofa is not for building forts, the mall is not for skipping and singing; but that moment sometimes flickers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             there is nothing left for                                                                                                                                                                                     back. It happens in times of disorientation and abandon. Believe it or not, you can get lost in a 17’ by 26’ room. You can unlearn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           the usual suicidal fare of                                                                                                                                                                                      a car with wrenches and saws.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There is an invisible world connected at the handle to every tool—use the tool as it is intended, and it fits you to the mold
                                                                                              the Silence




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           sleeping, eating, working,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               and being entertained.                                                                                                                                                                                      of all who do the same; disconnect the tool from that world, and you can set out to chart others. Every time we turn a tool back
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Resisting that predatory                                                                                                                                                                                       into an object, every time we turn a word back into a sound, we are unwriting the cosmos. We do not do this because we hate
    Laughing and crying there in her office at the Academy,
Zoltan said to his brilliant but anxious wife: “It used to be

his life that he had been handed his head on a platter. We
said of a man who had suffered a catastrophic setback in




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           cycle is one of the greatest                                                                                                                                                                                    language, nor because we think we could or should be free of it, but because we love to invent it—for it is in the inventing that
                                                                                                                                                               because it’s never too late to reinvent the wheel                                                                                            challenges facing human                                                                                                                                                                                        our freedom takes place. For tales of invention, read on.
                                                                                                            reports and field notes from the Collaboratories
                                                                                              with Folk
                                                                                              Breaking




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        beings today, and it is no less                                                                                                                                                                                             -CrimethInc. Ohm Canon
                                                                                              Science!
are being handed our heads with tweezers now.”




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       formidable than being chased
    He was speaking, of course, of microchips.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              by wolves or gathering                                                                                                                                                                                       7
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To refer back to the Neech again: “You say you believe in the necessity of religion [/technology/the arts/academia/etc.]—
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   enough food to eat.                                                                                                                                                                                     be honest! You only believe in the necessity of police!”
                                                                so just in time, it’s . . .




                                                                                                                                                                                                                   One day, a group of vil-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lagers paid a visit to her
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           hut. They sat down on the


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   and one of them addressed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               her: “Ever since you came
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           here, you have been ask-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ing us a lot of questions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Now we would like to ask



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           drinking glass, one of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        few relics of her civiliza-


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  her. “Please,” he began,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tion she had brought with


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             politely, “how do you make


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   she
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            stumbled, trying to col-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       lect the right words in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 their dialect to explain the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                process, “it’s quite simple,




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    “Ah ha!” the villagers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             enthusiasti-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            cally nodding their heads
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        as they passed the glass
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   around their circle. “To-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               morrow, after breakfast,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          we will meet on the beach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      after breakfast, and you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 can show us how to do


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Her hosts understood
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   none of the jumbled, inco-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                herent protestations that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            followed. They did, howev-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         er, understand her refusal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Thereafter, they let it be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    known throughout the vil-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                lage that the real reason
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            anthropologist’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               them


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   had been sent because
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           she was an incompetent,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        grass mats on the floor,




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The speaker picked up a




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               really. You take sand and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           you heat it with fire, and




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          had been revealed: she



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     incapable of the simplest
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        then you mold the glass.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   well,”




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 crafts of her culture.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               among
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              you a question.”




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         this ourselves.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   yes,




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             responded,




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               presence
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “Oh
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          this?”




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            for
                                             Report #1:
                                                                                                        #17. 6:15pm Thursday, 8-24-00:                  play roof tag. Daurghty was my first
                                                                                                                 I wandered into a tidy encamp-         idea but it looked too easy. The UC?            sidewalks posed no threat; people
                                                                                                                                                                                                        don’t look up. Wholly unchallenged,              My little cousin asked me why the sun doesn’t fall down: we looked at a picture of the solar system and asked which
                                                                                                             ment under the East side of the            I found a window open on the third

                                       One Prehistory of
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I found my spot right along the ridge       way was down. Here is a myth that rearranged my approach to the universe and made new things possible.
                                                                                                             Schenley Bridge. It featured a sofa, an    floor, but new buildings don’t have
                                                                                                             easy chair, a coffee table and a moun-     good roofs—so I was off to claim the            of the roof and, in full view of an un-
                                                                                                             tain of soda bottles. It was where I       CFA. I squeezed out of an attic story           suspecting city, claimed the CFA.           Appendix:
                                         Auto Re-Vision                                                                                                                                                                                             The Myths of Compression and Tension
                                                                                                             had seen the man pissing on Tuesday        window and plopped onto the wood
                                                                                                             afternoon moments after I arrived          of the scaffolding. I was just in time
                                                                                                             and marked my first territory. I delib-    to catch the tail end of sunset; a sooty   Cutup Two: “You Gotta Eat”
                                                                                                             erately set out to piss on his spot out    orange nebula was fading to steel                                                               There once was a time when people sensibly assumed         Flat ear th mind vs. Round ear th mind
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I gave this truism my best shot, but
      “Incredulous, we set off to see if the earth was round                                                 of an (unrequited) sense of camarade-      gray. Steel gray is the darkest it ever
                                                                                                                                                                                                   after three days of not eating there wasn’t     that Universe was flat. By every indication Universe con-
                                                                                                             rie, but when I saw the living room I      gets in Pittsburgh.
       and found that it was not.”                                                                           had to reconsider. As territory mark-      Tonight                                    much left in life. So the question changed:     sisted of layers: Sky on top, Earth on bottom. Furthermore,     Universality - A flat earth has a local sense of up and down
                                                                                                                                                                                                   “If I must eat (find shelter, wear clothes,     everything that rose above the surface of Earth did so in       that is perfectly consistent with a universal up and down. On
                                          -Pippi Longstocking                                                ers, sofas and coffee tables trump piss.                                                                                              the form of a stack. Mountains, animals and pillars alike       flat earth, you could say that the sun is “going down” in the
                                                                                                             The spot is his. Grasping at straws, I                                                get from place to place), how can it be-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   come interesting? How can I attach cun-         were all piles of material ultimately resting on founda-        exact same way that you could say you are going down into
                                                                                                             skulked further down the hill                                                                                                         tion Earth. These were compression structures: one part         the cellar.
                                                                                                             and, in a quixotic but                                                                ning, possibility, and magic to my
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   pressed on another part until the pressure reached the               A round earth maintains a local sense of what is up and
H       ere are a few details of a particular folk     Yoga. It would be a practice of creating              satisfying ges-                                                                       shameless addictions?”
                                                                                                                                                                                                        For month two in Pittsburgh I would        earth. Compression guided our design of structures. Com-        what is down but these terms are meaningless as universals.
        scientific method as it evolved over the       contacts, interactions and flows between              ture, claimed the
                                                                                                                                                                                                   not pay for food. This prompted a new           pression structured our thoughts, as well.                      “Up” in Pittsburgh is 90 degrees away from “up” in Zagreb.
last six years. Folk scientists keep track of clues,   myself and a social body. Machines, experi-           railroad tracks.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   orientation. I mapped the rhythmic cycles            Gradually humans learned more about Universe and           Furthermore, the terms up and down are worthless in the
stories. We’ve all been told that patterns will        ments, toys and musical instruments began
                                                                                                                                                                                                   of my area’s wasted resources. My nose          decided that the world was not a flat slab. It was a round      solar system. This allows us to tell different stories about life
arise; I look for a moment when they don’t.            to emerge from my shop: and they did new         #27. 7:45pm Saturday,
                                                                                                                                                                                                   became keener . . . literally. I spent a lot    planet that orbited the Sun. If Earth was orbiting the Sun,     in the universe. Universal truths and absolutes become sus-
These moments (failures, incongruencies, prob-         things that my solitude never had.                    8-26-00:
                                                                                                                                                                                                   of time walking. Gradually I got used to        it certainly wasn’t sitting on anything. And so the idea of     pect. Objects take on meaning based on their relationships
lematics) are the hot spots—signposts that sug-                                                                 I passed a feral cat
                                                                                                                                                                                                   picking trash in public and eating after        compression structure, the stack, was supplemented by           not something fundamental within them.
gest the next turn.                                                                                          and a fat woodchuck
                                                        Social Yoga: Behavioral cutups                                                                                                             people.                                         the idea of tension structure, gravity. Gravity was an invis-
                                                           In a surrealist cutup, written text is            on the way into a little                                                                                                              ible and ubiquitous set of “cables” tying objects to one an-    Connection - In a compression universe, structures can be
     I try to express my process in stories.                                                                 thicket on the embank-                                                                     I never considered myself a very in-
                                                        randomly cut and recombined in search of                                                                                                   tuitive person, but I developed a certain       other. The tension of gravity ties Moon to Earth and Earth      independent from one another. A column on one end of
Here is a story now. It is a setting for what                                                                ment across the road and
                                                        new meaning. The resulting randomness                                                                                                      intuition about what food was safe and          to Sun.                                                         the temple can be removed without effecting the column
will come next. It starts in North Carolina,                                                                 over the rail off the North
                                                        exposes the perverse structure of rationality                                                                                              what was not. Every so often food that               Compression suffered another blow when it was de-          on the other.
USA, my birthplace, in the squalid shack                                                                     West corner of Ween Hall.
                                                        and habit that governs creativity.                                                                                                         seemed fine would creep me out so I’d           cided that everything in Universe was composed of tiny               In a tension universe, every object is tied in some large
I rented from the owner of a Christmas                                                                       I found an entrance to the
                                                           Behavioral cutups use the same method                                                                                                   throw it back with no questions asked.          particles called atoms. Atoms are not unlike planets and        or small way to every other object. You can’t do something
tree farm in rural McLeansville, population                                                                  steam tunnels, a thick metal
                                                        on personal or social text. A favorite method                                                                                              This strategy worked: I never got sick.         stars: none of these particles actually touch one other. Like   to the moon without effecting the earth and sun as well. This
1,100.                                                                                                       door left open in the side
                                                        for integrating such a practice is to choose                                                                                               Which of the “five senses” is that? At the      planets and stars, atoms are held together (and apart) by       allows us to tell different stories about life in the universe.
     Each time he visited my house, the                                                                      of the hill. I pissed there so I                                 the sky is trimmed
                                                        a mundane part of life and attach some                                                                                                     end of that month, I was able to calm my        invisible tension.                                              We rely less on well-defined categories, and gain a sense of
propane man would survey the mess and                                                                        could remember to come back at                            rust red where it touch-
                                                        stipulation to it. This brings awareness to                                                                                                parents by reporting a weight gain of four           These discoveries changed Universe from a place            complex relationships in which nothing can be changed
tell me sternly, “I’m not supposed to fill                                                                   night                                            es the city; a galvanic reaction
                                                        the action and makes it a fertile ground for                                                                                               pounds, good health and a sense of intu-        of compression to a place of tension. Stone pillars and         without changing everything.
tanks in houses like this without an inspec-                                                                                                            between dissimilar worlds.
                                                        new experiences. If you have ever chosen a                                                                                                 ition where before there had been none.         pyramids became minority structures occurring in a small
tion. They’d condemn it you know.” Then                                                                 #66. 9:01pm Sunday, 9-3-00:                        I climbed from the scaffolding
                                                        dietary restriction, this may sound famil-                                                                                                 And of course, I haven’t paid for food          zone of the vast range of scale between micro and macro.        Space - A flat/compression earth is composed of discontinu-
he’d grin and top off my tank as if he was                                                                       I was pacing back and forth, anx-      onto the pitched metal roof and be-
                                                        iar—food cutups can raise consciousness                                                                                                    much since.                                          This paradigm shift is only just taking hold in struc-     ous objects with “voids” or “negative space.”
enjoying the secret we kept, as if his house                                                                 ious and irritated from the day-long       gan crawling up on my belly. I imag-
                                                        about source and content of food, as well as                                                                                                                                               tures of our thought. But this shift does not occur in the          A round/tension earth is composed of one continuous
would not pass inspection either.                                                                            drive back from a wedding in Ashe-         ined that the two helicopters roving
                                                        tamper with the social institution of eating                                                                                                                                               matter of the universe, it occurs in the way we describe        space (energy, aether) connecting all objects. This allows us
                                                                                                             ville. It was strange and liberating not   around the city were patrolling for            Behavioral Cutups became a method
                                                        and thus put you in new situations. This is                                                                                                                                                our experience of it. It is a shift in language, but the lan-   to tell different stories about life in the universe. Space is
Making Visible the Invisible                                                                                 to have anyone expecting me. All the       me. But there was no such sport: it        for uncovering the adventure, unexpected
                                                        just a whiff of what is possible.                                                                                                                                                          guage we use to describe the universe goes on to serve          synonymous with flexibility and possibility, movement and
                                                           Mystics have employed behavioral                  repressed energy from the long sit was     was just me and the building versus        potential and possibility hidden within         as a model for what is possible within it. The flat earth is    connection. The production of objects (art and otherwise)
     Noone visits when you live that far out,                                                                awakening fast. I had to climb.            gravity, a worthy but predictable op-      activities that are normally shrouded in
                                                        cutups for thousands of years. In addition                                                                                                                                                 just as present today as the round earth. Few people think      stops being the primary tool for understanding. Intangible
and my housemates worked full time; so                                                                           I unloaded my stuff and ran off to     ponent. Even the people walking on         habit. I began to extend this idea about
                                                        to dietary regimens, they have practiced                                                                                                                                                   the earth is flat, but many think from a flat earth notion of   things become important: invisible connections, relation-
mostly I spent my days alone. This solitude
                                                        mimicry of animals, rituals of exhaustion,                                                                                                 transforming banal activities to the            structure, both physical and conceptual.                        ships, the white space behind the text.
fit well with my main activities: sculpture
                                                        deprivation and pain, the use of intoxi-                                                                                                   transformation of common objects.
and yoga. The word yoga can be translated
                                                        cants, ecstatic dancing, public nudity and
“yoke,” as in to yoke or connect the micro-
cosmic self (the individual, the body) and
                                                        other taboo acts, years of ceaseless standing                                                                                              Project: Bi-Cycle Re-Mix                           Flat Earth Terms
                                                        followed by similar years of sitting. These
the macrocosmic self (the spirit, the divine).
                                                        are time-honored techniques for indepen-                                                                                                       Chris and I made a bicycle into a              Matter - Universe is defined
     My practices of yoga and of art often
                                                        dent learning.                                                                                                                             record player by locking ourselves into a          by discontinuous particles:
traded thoughts. One of the (many) things
                                                                                                                                                                                                   room with a bunch of ingredients: tools,           atoms, planets, gold coins,
yoga offered was a different language for
                                                                                                                                                                                                   fasteners, a bicycle, records, scraps from         etc.
the structure of my body; a language of                Cutup One: “Claiming Pittsburgh”
                                                                                                                                                                                                   around the building, food and water. We
tension and energy rather than compres-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   found that our little room quickly became          Materialism - Because
sion and objects (see footnote: The Myth of                Finished with my days as a hermit,
                                                                                                                                                                                                   organized around our processes: food and           objects are held as the
Compression and Tension).                              I decided to move to a place I had never
                                                                                                                                                                                                   water in one corner, trash and the shit            essence of Universe, they
     In my sculpture I tried to make vis-              been before, and not just geographically:
                                                                                                                                                                                                   bucket in the opposite one. It was enlight-        are viewed as the dwelling
ible the esoteric structures I was discover-           my whole life was to change. As I drove to
                                                                                                                                                                                                   ening to live with all of our byproducts for       place of meaning.
ing on my yoga mat. The sculptures were                Pennsylvania, I decided I needed a plan for
                                                                                                                                                                                                   a few days: we felt like yeast.
large steel and concrete abstractions full of          precipitating and observing these changes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       It was also important how this seclu-          Separation – Because of
high-stakes balance and potential energy.              Thirty miles outside of Pittsburgh, I ar-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   sion limited our choices. The sealed room          the focus on particles and
I would work on these pieces three and                 rived at a solution. For my first month in
                                                                                                                                                                                                   prevented us from running to the hard-             objects rather than the
four hundred hours each. When I showed                 this new city I would not urinate indoors.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   ware store to solve a problem. We were             “negative space” around
my friends who were not “artists” what I                   I called the game “Claiming Pitts-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   forced to switch from the consumptive              them, flat universe is
had done, they would look long and be                  burgh,” referring to the way animals mark
                                                                                                                                                                                                   mode, in which solutions are selected, to          viewed and handled as if
impressed, perhaps they would see beauty,              and claim territory. Ironically, in the con-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   an inventive mode in which solutions are           it were many separate bits
but they never had much to say. I began to             temporary urban setting one who must
                                                                                                                                                                                                   produced.                                          rather than a continuous
think that the sculptures, having been made            piss outside lays claim to nothing and
                                                                                                                                                                                                       It took us fifty hours before we played        whole.
in solitude and inspired by solitary prac-             risks punishment to boot. This situation
                                                                                                                                                                                                   our first record. By this time, the realities
tices, were for me alone.                              forced me to constantly observe my new
                                                                                                                                                                                                   of the world had started to look pretty            Aesthetics - A connoisseur-
     After three years of this isolation and           world with an eye for private spaces, hiding
                                                                                                                                                                                                   negotiable. If there is adventure hidden           ship of objects that focuses
a lot of satisfying work, I felt the need              places. I became oriented in a special way
                                                                                                                                                                                                   in habit and a record player hidden in a           on nuances of appearance.
to connect my practice to other people. I              because of this.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   bicycle . . .
imagined a new yoga, a yoke still but this                 For this cutup I recorded the time,
time between myself and others: Social                 place and circumstances of each piss:
                               Report #2:                                                                                                                                                                                                         Report #3:
                                                                                                    the new world we had claimed. They would         corrugated steel architecture, pavement, phone                                                                                                                                 scenario that had become clogged and                      brought to a lecture in an auditorium
                                                                                                    be inconceivable in the terms of the outside     poles and litter all followed. A huge hospital                                                                                                                                 dysfunctional, a scenario that kept us all                or a protest in a city square had clogged
                                                                                                    world . . .                                      building with emergency room dock was                                                                                                                                          snoozing dangerously in our comfort zones.                the arteries of possibility, dulled my

                      Automobile Re-Vision                                                                                                                                                                                                Bear Shaped Kisses:
                                                                                                            Yet, inevitably, we made drums, basses,  inertia-free and hot on our tail. Ambulances                                                                                                                                      We had begun to question the academic                  connection to life’s potential.
                                                                                                    didjeridoos, thumb pianos, slide whistles and    screamed and ran hot just to catch up and                                                                                                                                      context in which we were operating, where                     But there was no way out: in a matter of
                                                                                                    little percussion tools. Even                                      deliver their goods.                                                                                                                                         specialists lectured to a snoozing and passive            days we were to take the stage and deliver a


  Cutting Up the Road Trip:
                                                                                                    the mechanical drum
                                                                                                    machine was derivative
                                                                                                                                                                           Even the inside of our
                                                                                                                                         We rearranged the building transformed: one                                                                    Civic Angioplasty for                                                       audience about facts or performed music
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    that the audience could not understand.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lecture on contemporary art. A lecture. We
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              were haunted by this image: 500 students
                                                                                                                                      world like a DJ cuts moment a living room with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Heart Broken Towns
                                                                                                    of instruments we had                                                                                                                                                                                                           What do you do in an auditorium equipped                  sitting in an auditorium maintaining the
  Epic Travels in a Tiny Brick Room.                                                                seen. But didn’t we
                                                                                                                                 and mixes recordings to stories in the air, thedining       next a                                                                                                                                 with heavy maroon curtains and rows of                    trip school had put on them. And wouldn’t
                                                                                                    use the instruments                                                deafening garage, a                                                                                                                                          folding chairs? For that matter—what do                   we, “the experts,” be just as responsible for
                                                                                                    to make music that             make them live again. room, a studio . . . seconds later                                                                                                                                         you do at a demonstration in a city square,               this distance and complicit participation?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Angioplasty - A medical procedure for treatment of a heart attack. A
                                                  under the repression of the church.
                                                                                                    was a pure expression        The recordings, realities we stumbled into a house of                                                                                                                                              where everyone carries signs communicating                         The whole scenario would be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 tube is fed intravenously into a blocked artery. A tiny balloon at the
  H      ere is the procedure for an                                                                of a hermetic society?                                             worship with high walls and a                                                                                                                                political jargon and recites                                        confined to the nowhere-land
                                                  Alchemical references to the elements lead
                                                                                                    As it turns out, no,             and habits that seem ceiling fresco of living green.”                       end of the tube is inflated to open the artery. When the balloon is                                                chants?                                                             between real learning on one hand
         experiment we organized                  and gold are coded speech referring to
  involving a 1985 Saab 900 turbo that            esoteric transformations of a magical and
                                                                                                    the music we made                   predetermined and                                                        removed blood can flow freely.                                                                                                                                                          and total rejection on the other
                                                                                                    could only be a strange                                                Necessities: Of all the                                                                                                                                                                                                       (wild children playing soccer in
  had belonged to a friend. The car had           spiritual nature. Today alchemy continues
                                                                                                    hybrid between the
                                                                                                                                 non-negotiable, become things that were going on
  been pronounced terminally ill by its                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   the rows, taking the stage and
                                                  to develop under the repression of the
                                                                                                    circumstances we             subject to manipulation in the room, people liked to                            Civic Angioplasty - A treatment for urban ennui. A space, empty                                                                                                                           drowning out our words). It
  long-time mechanic and given three              limited sense of possibility bestowed
  weeks to live. That is—she decided                                                                choose and the music             and change when we come to our window and ask                               of desire or creativity, is suddenly filled with these and more. The                                                                                                                      seemed that we already knew
                                                  upon us by science and culture. Our
  she’d rather dance to it than drive it.                                                           we had heard and made                                              us the simplest question of               space is just as suddenly emptied leaving a (more) conspicuous                                                                                                                             the ending if we were to deliver
                                                  misconception of the true nature of
                                                                                                    all our lives . . .”                    remix our world. all: “If you’re locked in where                                                                                                                                                                                                                 a “lecture” within the context
                                                  alchemy well serves modern specialist                                                                                                                          absence, a kind of newness, a sense of possibility.
  Procedure:                                                                                                                                                           do you go the bathroom?”                                                                                                                                                                                                              of the auditorium. We had
                                                  science, the purposes of which are quite
  For the two weeks starting May                                                                            Another Kind of Road Trip: When we       We immediately recognized this coded                                                                                                                                                                                                                     to do something to reinvent
                                                  limited to (the object) gold.
  26 and ending June 8, 2001, five                                                                  travel are we in search of the unfamiliar? Is    speech and would give them a coded                                                                                                                                                                                                                   spontaneity: for we knew the
                                                        So we locked ourselves into a room
  collaborators will be confined to a
  26’ by 20’ [squatted] room with an
                                                  “to turn a car into musical instruments
                                                  and instruments into music.” But this too
                                                                                                    it the unfamiliar in our surroundings or in
                                                                                                    ourselves? What happens when traditional
                                                                                                    modes of travel no longer provide us with
                                                                                                                                                     answer.

                                                                                                                                                     “. . . We use a bucket. The system is called
                                                                                                                                                                                                           W       e can disrupt our existence in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   the world by deliberately placing
                                                                                                                                                                                                           ourselves in physical or emotional jeopardy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        with man-made obstacle courses], to lure
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and coerce their middle management into
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        trusting one another and the company
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Why can’t the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           demonstration in the city square
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              world only becomes ours when we can
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              never know or predict the ending.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Of course, it was the only possible
  automobile, food, water, fasteners,             was coded speech for the myriad of subtle
  adhesives, tools, makeshift sanitation                                                            the unfamiliar? One thing we can do is           Humanure. We shit and piss in a five gallon           Disruption reminds us that we need the                       through a single moment of disruption.                      become a place where kite-flying gives                    solution. We made a fifty-foot-long
                                                  transformations we sought.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        expression to the ideas on the picket signs?
  and documentation equipment.                                                                      travel in place by making the familiar           bucket. After each use we add a layer of              elements of surprise and risk to drag us                     But what does risking failure and                                                                                     inflatable teddy bear and hid it in a
  Everything that begins in the room will                                                           unfamiliar.                                      sawdust. So, by an act of renaming,‘waste’            from the comfort and complacence of our                      embracing permanent disruption have to                      As “lecturers,” how could we initiate a                   custom-made collapsible podium. We
                                                  “. . . The steel door slammed and was barred                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      game of soccer in the auditorium, instead
  end in the room with the exception of:                                                                                                             becomes wealth: after we leave the room, Etta         living room couches. Even corporations                       do with pharmaceutical research?                                                                                      began lecturing and showing slides like the
                                                  shut; there was a moment of silence as each of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    of lecturing ourselves? I realized that had
                                                                                                    “. . . Our building never stood still. In it we  will compost it and use it in her garden. Not         use such tactics, in the form of and                             Here is a ropes course we designed.                                                                               specialists on art we were pretending to be,
                                                  us stared at the four strangers we would live                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     acquired many conditioned expectations
  -Heat, light and air - flowing in and out                                                         roamed through the rain of one region into       only does it not stink, it barely has an odor at      creative leadership seminars and ropes                       It began with thousands of feet of                                                                                    then, at the shivering climax of boredom, at
                                                  with for two weeks. An instant later, a rush                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      for the formats and codes we use to
  -Electricity - flowing in                                                                         the cold of another. Through the open roof and   all. It’s going to seem wrong to get out of here      course retreats [on which strangers set out                  painters’ plastic and packing tape and a                                                                              the height of passivity, of non-participation,
                                                  of excitement spread over the room: there was                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     communicate. The expectations I
  -Web-cam data - flowing out                                                                       our one window we met a world increasingly       and shit into clean tap water . . .”                  together in a fabricated wilderness stocked                  desperate desire to transcend an education                                                                            we flipped the switch.
                                                  spontaneous clapping laughing and shouting—
                                                                                                    foreign as we became a world of our own.
                                                  then another silence. We looked around the
  • While in the room, the group will                                                                       Our open roof would seem
  dismantle the car and make its parts into
  musical instruments; music will be written
                                                  room, and then at the car—and saw that it
                                                  had been a musical instrument all along. We
                                                  drove here in that car, but in this room, by an
                                                                                                    to show us the same
                                                                                                    sky through the leaves
                                                                                                    of the same six trees.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Inflatable Bombs You Can Blow Up Again and Again!
                                                                                                                                                                                                           You’ll Need:                                                 Instructions:
  and rehearsed on the new instruments;           act of declaration, it had became nothing less
                                                                                                    But as we traveled,                                                                                    1.) Plastic painter’s tarp. This is available at any hard-   For our demonstration, we will be using a teddy             9.) Unroll and unfold your plastic; if you want to be     then folds the other 50% over onto the other side.
  video footage will be shot and edited into      than a limitless material . . .”                                                                                                                         ware store. Rolls of plastic should indicate                  bear, because of its availability. There are plenty
                                                                                                    Pittsburgh’s black-                                                                                                                                                                                                             especially careful in your craft, you may make a grid     While Person 1 is tearing off more tape, Person 2
  a documentary video; words and images                                                                                                                                                                    the weight (2 mil, 4 mil, 6 mil, etc.) on                      of simpler shapes to make, for which all these            of 1 foot marks along all four sides of                                                             squeezes
  will be collected for a ‘zine.                                                                    orange midnight was                                                                                    the package. 2 mil is lightest and most                                   instructions still apply.                      your floor so that you can easily align
                                                       So We’ve Heard: “The beauty, nature,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the seam to
  • On June 8 the collaborators will                                                                left behind for the                                                                                    compact, 4 mil is bulkier but more                                           1.) Begin by making a small drawing         the uncut plastic. Make sure the grid                                                                 make sure
                                                  truths and laws of the world are imparted                                                                                                                durable. You should never go heavier                                           of your teddy bear. It doesn’t have
  emerge to perform music, show the                                                                 ultraviolet glow of                                                                                                                                                                                                             you lay out is square (90 degrees).                                                                    it is tight.
                                                  upon it, not inherent within it.” Fine, but                                                                                                              than 4 mil. Plastic tarps vary in the size;                                    to be spectacular; you’ll just need       10.) Armed with your blueprint,                                                                       14.) When
  video, and distribute the publication in                                                          a late morning that
                                                  what can we do with this information? I for                                                                                                              we suggest acquiring the largest                                             a picture for reference after you cut       permanent marker, and tape mea-                                                                    assembling
  as many venues as possible.                                                                       promised to soak us all day.                                                                           rolls possible (20’ x 200’ is good):                                         up the bear.                                sure, transfer your small plans onto
                                                  one find that my aesthetic programming                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             the inflatable,
  • On June 11 the group will empty and                                                             And it did. The next day we                                                                            that way you will have less piecing                                           2.) Measure the length, width, and         the plastic. With care you should end                                                          leave a space in
                                                  is unbelievably tenacious. The social ideal                                                                                                              together to do when making the                                                   height of the stuffed animal. Write
  clean the room, then disband.                                                                     drifted under a sunny gap in                                                                                                                                                                                                    up with a very close (scaled up)                          the bottom of one of the feet so a fan tube can be
                                                  of beauty was installed from day one and                                                                                                                 largest panels of your inflatable.                                                  the measurements down on             duplication of the shapes on your                         built. This hole will also allow you to go inside the
                                                                                                    the clouds. We climbed up to
                                                  meticulously maintained thereafter—and                                                                                                                   2.) Clear 2” packing tape. Don’t                                                    your drawing.                        graph paper.                                              inflatable to finish the final seams.
                                                                                                    the old I-beam structure                                                                               go budget on this, get the name                                                    3.) Carefully cut off all the ap-
Journal entries:                                  for my first years as an artist, I cultivated                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     11.) Label the pieces as you cut them out so you can      15.) Tape the fan to the designated hole, or to an
                                                                                                    to be closer to the sun.                                                                               brand stuff—Scotch, 3M, etc. Start                                            pendages right along the seams and         remember how they fit together and to which parts         extension tube if you wish to make one. Be extra
                                                  and developed that ideal actively. Just                                                                                                                  with around 4 rolls. Avoid anything                                     put them in a safe place.
                                                                                                            On the West                                                                                                                                                                                                             they belong.                                              thorough with your taping; this will be a high-
“. . . We all met at my place at 7:00 this        because my thoughts have moved away                                                                                                                      that says—“EasyTear”—that means                                        4.) Pull the stuffing out of the torso and cut    12.) When all of your pieces are cut out, tape them to-   stress connection.
                                                                                                    side of the building a plate
morning, packed up the car and (thank god         from an exclusive (scarce) notion of beauty                                                                Suffering for Art: Visitors sometimes
                                                                                                                                                                                                           it is weak.                                                                       each seam so that the pieces lay       gether. I suggest doing the parts (torso, arm 1, arm 2,   16.) Inflate your teddy bear by turning the fan on
                                                                                                    door with an expanded steel window was                                                                 3.) 1 box fan. Any 2-speed box fan                                                     flat like pieces of a puzzle.     etc.) separately. When you have completed all of the
it started!) shoved off for a two week road       does not mean my gut has followed—yet.                                                             misunderstood our circumstances as hard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              high. IMPORTANT: once it is fully inflated, turn the
                                                                                                    our only outside human contact. Through                                                                will do the job. Don’t think that                                                      5.) Label each piece so that      pieces, assemble them into your final shape.              fan to LOW. When your bear inflates for the first
trip. By 7:30 am we had traveled eight and a      Addressing this dissonance is part of my                                                           or painful! Some of this came from the fact           you’re going to need an industrial                                                    you know exactly how they
                                                                                                    our window we saw blazing hot streets,                                                                                                                                                                                          Taping: The most labor intensive part of the project.     time, seams will pop open—this is normal. Leave
half miles, more than enough driving for one      practice now as an “artist.”                                                                       that we didn’t “get to” take showers for two          fan to inflate a huge sculpture, the                                                 fit together. Indicate on your      13.) We have developed a system of taping in pairs        the bear inflated and, with one person inside and
                                                                                                    pedestrians sweating in shorts, motorists with
day. We idled briefly in front of a small brick                                                                                                                                                            only requirement is constant air flow.                                              drawing where each piece goes.       while seated on the floor. Person 1 tears pieces of       the other outside, add patches that are the shape
                                                                                                    windows rolled down and windy dogs sticking weeks. Part of it came from the idea that it               (I once saw a table top fan inflate a 50’                                          Do not skip this step: when all       tape into 6 to 12 inch pieces (12 for seams that are
building before driving through its double        “. . . We began by locking ourselves in, but it                                                    is human nature not to get along with one
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              of each hole. Remember, holes are not necessarily
                                                                                                    out all over. All of this while our massive                                                            sculpture.) The advantage of using                                                 your pieces are cut apart, they       straight, 6 for seams that are curved). Person 2 holds    a problem; the fan will constantly be pumping in
doors. With a turn of the key, the car’s engine   was just as much a lock-out. We locked out as                                                      another. Folks would often ask through                a bigger fan is faster inflation time.                                             will be very hard to recognize
                                                                                                    brick walls kept us cold and our flywheel                                                                                                                                                                                       the two pieces flat together like two pages in a closed   air, and that air has to go somewhere. If you want
went quiet for the last time and our travels      much of the world as we could, in an attempt                                                       our window: “Aren’t you all going crazy in            Because we needed our teddy bear                                                   and easy to mix up, lose, etc.        book. Person 1 applies the tape lengthwise onto one       to leave some holes, just reinforce them with tape.
                                                                                                    trees made the long-gone rain coast on for
began . . .”                                      to find modes of collaboration and production                                                      there?”
                                                                                                                                                                                                           to inflate in around 2 minutes, we                                                 6.) Repeat this labeling process      piece of plastic, so that 50% of the width hangs over,    We found that the older our bear got, the better her
                                                                                                    hours. The incongruity between out and in                                                              used something slightly beefier than                                               with all the appendages.                                                                        seams became: maybe tape gets stickier with age.
                                                  that had been inconceivable in our day-to-
                                                                                                    proved our suspicions and confirmed the gap                                                            a box fan.                                                                         7.) On 1 inch graph paper (you                                                                  17.) Your giant inflatable sculpture can roll up to
     Don’t be fooled: Alchemists were—            day experience. We locked-out to make new                                                          “. . . We had put out word that on the morning        4.) A large flat space, preferably inside.                                         may have to make this grid your-
                                                                                                    between worlds. Nevertheless, we dragged the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              an amazingly small size, and weighs very little. Re-
and are—mystics unconcerned with the              instruments and new music. These would be                                                          of the 8th, people were invited to come help us       This is the most difficult thing to come                                           self with a pencil and ruler) trace                                                             cruit help for this step: the more people you have
                                                                                                    whole scene with us as we went: windowless
economic value of lead and gold. The              exclusive products of                                                                              celebrate our exodus. But after falling in love
                                                                                                                                                                                                           by. It is helpful if one of your collabora-                                        the individual labeled pieces of                                                                the tighter your inflatable will pack.
science of Alchemy was first developed                                                                                                                                                                     tors is connected with a school, because                                           the bear. These tracings will serve                                                             18.) Your final instructions: become a secret agent,
                                                                                                                                                     with our circumstances, leaving didn’t seem           a gym or auditorium stage is ideal.                                                as your blueprint when you lay                                                                  stalk your city in disguise looking for lifeless spaces
                                                                                                                                                     like such a cause for celebrating. Moments            5.) A pattern. The most readily available                                          out the shapes on the plastic.                                                                  (they’re everywhere): public parks, street corners,
                                                                                                                                                     before we were to emerge, we changed our              patterns are found in stuffed animals.                                            8.) Now decide how large you                                                                     town squares, corporate campuses, municipal lob-
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Every orifice of the world explodes                                               want to make your inflatable                                                                     bies, children’s play grounds . . . Now pack up your
                                                                                                                                                     minds. We began to play our instruments,              with unwanted stuffed animals, so that                                            and compute the relative propor-                                                                 giant teddy bear with a fan and extension cord,
                                                                                                                                                     building from a whisper up to out and out             shouldn’t be a problem. You may want                                              tion between the length of your                                                                  take it to your spot, and blow it up. Blow it up as if it
                                                                                                                                                     chaos, then threw open our doors and let our          to create your own pattern, but this re-                                          small teddy bear and the length                                                                  were a bomb. Make it an occasion. Dress up. Claim
                                                                                                                                                     friends come in because . . . ‘Aren’t you all going   quires extra skills. If you are excellent at                                      that you want your inflatable. For                                                               credit under a false name. Be legendary.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           sewing, you’ll know what I mean. If you                                           example, the teddy bear we used                                                                        Make art that is an event, then steal away in
                                                                                                                                                     crazy out there?’”                                    chose this route, make a model first.                        was about 8 inches long; to enlarge it to 40 feet, we                                                                 the confusion. Hammer out reports, dispatch bul-
                                                                                                                                                                                                           6.) Tape measure. 7.) Permanent marker. 8.) Scissors.        made each square inch of our blue print grid equal to                                                                 letins: you are a phantom, a heroine, a soldier, a
                                                                                                                                                                                                           9.) Utility knives, x-acto knives, or razor blades.          five square feet of plastic.                                                                                          pillar of your community.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Report #4:
    We flipped the switch and, like the           5:00AM, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
fiery oration we wished we had the power              The horizon was just beginning to bruise
to deliver, our bear erupted through the          to a blackish purple in anticipation of a new

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Okupa Tu Tambien
panels of the podium and spilled over the         day. All over Greensboro fast food dives and
invisible wall of the stage. Like no lecture      greasy spoons were rolling out the morning’s
the dismal auditorium had ever seen, it           ration of buttermilk biscuits.
washed over the audience, touched their               Our hearts were with you as our red pickup
bodies and displaced them bodily. Did             truck sputtered to a nervous halt in front of
sheer displacement drive the students             Greensboro’s downtown courthouse and police                                                                                                                                 Where there is a ruin there is hope for a treasure . . .
onto the stage, or did the chaos make             department complex.
them desire that position? Was it their               Adrenaline grabbed the wheel. Supplies
first taste of unpredictable possibility, in      were ferried through a gauntlet of fierce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            T
a space that had always worn the same             mercury-vapor lights. Within seconds a power                                                                                                                                    raveling through the underbelly of        all just a little differently: there were herbs
mask yet revealed a different face when           outlet was located and tapped. Blades began                                                                                                                                     Barcelona, I saw the same graffiti        already growing in the garden, the roof
they commanded it to do so? Perhaps               to churn the air. Gradually, for the witness of                                                                                                                           everywhere: Okupa tu tambien! I learned         wasn’t in bad shape, and in summer the
one and then the next. One way or the             believers and non-believers alike, a fifty-foot                                                                                                                           it meant, roughly, “You can squat, too.” I      trees would be full of birds. If you looked,
other, they came. When they came, they            long teddy bear was deployed and abandoned                                                                                                                                wanted to believe it—but it’s one thing         you could already see everything the place
came as participants: they interacted with        by your faithful CrimethInc. Operatives D’Arc                                                                                                                             to squat in a city already full of squat-       could be, instead of just what it was. That
                                                                                                                 You can blow up a social relationship!
our bear, peered through her translucent          and Galston.                                                                                                                                                              ters, and with a long history of successful     was the view we decided to take, and we
walls into her body, the chambers and                                                                                                                                                                                       occupations to boot. Could it happen just       started renovating.
tunnels forming fat teddy bear legs and                                                                                                                                                                                     anywhere, even in the small town I came              We roamed the street on foot, by bike,
arms as big as a house. There was a roar of
conversation, speculation, questions. Could
they have ever have been that involved with
                                                   Appendix: paraSITE                                                                                                                                                       home to?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 In the end, it was a combination of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            longing, exuberance, bravado and sheer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            in borrowed and stolen vehicles, gather-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ing what we needed, scavenging supplies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            from other abandoned buildings and                 did, in deed if not in law; we knew that     property in exchange for his payment of
our words and paragraphs?                                                                                       had made a series of vents in Harvard Square                   The connection of the inflatable structure   necessity that led us to the door of our own    unsuspecting corporations. We found
                                                        An example of another application of the                                                                                                                                                                                                                               we belonged there, and we hoped our          water bills and property taxes.
    For the rest of the summer, the bear                                                                        “homeless-proof” by tilting the metal grates,              to the building becomes the critical moment      ruin, a shaky-looking little house in a quiet   that paint stores and building suppliers
                                                    inflatables idea, as formulated by a New Eng-                                                                                                                                                                                                                              certainty would communicate itself to              Of course it didn’t last forever. These
became the totem and tool of our class, an                                                                      making them virtually impossible to sleep on.              of this project.                                 residential neighborhood. For weeks we’d        were delighted to support our low-income
                                                    land folk scientist.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       everyone else. Rather than trying to hide    things never do. But what matters isn’t the
extension of our bodies. With her, we could                                                                     In his book, City of Quartz, Mike Davis describes                                                           been looking for a place to live, rent-free;    housing rehab project once we gave them            the fact that we were there illegally, we    start and the finish—the house used to
become small enough to fit in a suitcase,                                                                       a similar war on homelessness in Los Angeles.                                                               we’d already sent out lines of inquiry in       an official-sounding name, and thrift stores
                                                    parasitism is described as a relationship in which a
                                                                                                                He lists a series of these hindrances throughout                                                                                                                                                               let the neighbors know what we were up       be empty and still is, I started out home-
then, without warning, expand to fifty              parasite temporarily or permanently exploits the                                                                                                                        every conceivable direction, and we were        would happily make donations to youth-led
                                                    energy of a host.                                           the city:                                                      From February 1998 until April 1998,                                                                                                            to, and tried to make friends as fast as     less and ended up the same way. It’s what
times our size. Like expert cardiologists, we                                                                                                                                                                               beginning to exhaust the supply of friendly     social projects. Meanwhile we got rid of all
                                                                                                                                                                           I built seven prototypes of the paraSITE                                                                                                            possible. Our house-cleaning and renova-     happened in between. In those four short
examined the city looking for constricted                                                                                                                                                                                   couches. So when we found the cottage—          the ballast that anchored the house to its
                                                       paraSITE proposes the appropriation of                     “One of the most common, but mind-numbing,               shelter and distributed them to several                                                                                                             tions spoke volumes about our intentions,    months, we changed as much as the house
spaces where life did not flow. We made                                                                           of these deterrents is the Rapid Transit District’s                                                       empty except for a mountain of discarded        former life as a delapidated rental property;
                                                    the exterior ventilation systems on existing                                                                           homeless people in Cambridge, among                                                                                                                 but we also went out of the way to get to    did. Very quickly, our hard work became
surprise attacks in these places: “like                                                                           new barrel-shaped bus bench that offers a                                                                 clothes, a room full of smashed electronics,    we tore out a shuddering old electric heater
                                                    architecture as a means for providing tem-
                                                                                                                  minimal surface for uncomfortable sitting, while         them Bill Stone, George Livingston and                                                                                                              know people and integrate ourselves into     play—shared between us, the lifting and
angioplasty!” we decided, the medical               porary shelter for homeless people.                                                                                                                                     one hungry cat, and manic graffiti scrawled     and replaced it with a woodstove somebody
                                                                                                                  making sleeping utterly impossible. Such bum-            Freddie Flynn, who worked closely with                                                                                                                                                                             hauling and scrubbing that
procedure for opening a clogged artery using                                                                                                                                                                                floor to ceiling across every wall of the       was giving away, and built a new compost-
                                                                                                                  proof benches are being widely introduced on             me on the design and production of                                                                                                                                                                                 should have been exhausting
an intravenous balloon. By the time we left         parasites live on the outer surface of a host or inside       the periphery of Skid Row. Another invention,                                                             house—we didn’t stop to ask questions, we       ing toilet out of five-gallon buckets and
                                                    its body in respiratory organs, digestive organs, ve-                                                                  these units. Most were built using tem-                                                                                                                                                                            labor was transformed into a
a street corner, the heart-attack site of legal                                                                   worthy of the Grand Guignol, is the aggressive                                                            just moved in.                                  sawdust. We hauled mountains of trash
                                                    nous systems, as well as other organs and tissues.
                                                                                                                  deployment of outdoor sprinklers. Several years          porary materials that were readily avail-                                                                                                                                                                          raucous game, and we were
restriction and social congestion had been                                                                                                                                                                                       Our house didn’t look all that stable      back to the bins behind the strip mall,
                                                                                                                  ago the city opened a ‘Skid Row Park’ along              able on the streets (plastic bags, tape).                                                                                                                                                                          transformed along with it.
transformed. Now one could go back and                                                                                                                                                                                      from the outside, or the inside. The            where most of it probably came from in the
                                                        The paraSITE units in their idle state exist              lower Fifth Street, on a corner of Hell. To ensure           While these shelters were being used,                                                                                                                                                                          We became house-painters,
taste the absence of a big ridiculous bear:         as small, collapsible packages with handles                   that the park was not used for sleeping—that is                                                           foundation appeared to be made from             first place, and filled up the local free boxes
                                                                                                                                                                           they functioned not only as a temporary                                                                                                                                                                            electricians, gardeners, and
it had become an empty place, a space of            for transport by hand or on one’s back. In em-                to say, to guarantee that it was mainly utilized                                                          concrete poured into plastic buckets; mold      with useful junk. We asked our friends for
                                                                                                                  for drug dealing and prostitution—the city in-           place of retreat, but also as a station of                                                                                                                                                                         tool-acquisition specialists;
possibility, of potential where once clogged        ploying this device, the user must locate the                                                                                                                           was creeping over every porous surface, and     a thousand favors, which everyone knew
                                                                                                                  stalled an elaborate overhead sprinkler system           dissent and empowerment; many of the                                                                                                                                                                               as word spread about the
arteries now flowed with life’s blood.              outtake ducts of a building’s HVAC (Heating,                                                                                                                            the toilet had been thrown out the front        were gifts to a very uncertain potential
                                                                                                                  programmed to drench unsuspecting sleepers               homeless users regarded their shelters                                                                                                                                                                             place and people came by
    We listened to the wild children                Ventilation, Air-Conditioning) system.                        at random during the night. The system was                                                                door, where it lay leaking shit onto the        reality, and enlisted as much help as we
                                                                                                                                                                           as a protest device, and would even                                                                                                                                                                                to see what was happening,
rumbling in our guts. We found our equal                                                                          immediately copied by some local businessmen                                                              bricks. But if you squinted up your eyes        possibly could. When we didn’t know how
                                                    frequently a host provides a parasite not only with           in order to drive the homeless away from adja-           shout slogans like “We beat you Uncle                                                                                                                                                                              we became amateur folk-
ownership of the world together. We took                                                                                                                                                                                    and looked a certain way, you could see it      to install the chimney, we traded a home-
                                                    food, but also with enzymes and oxygen, and offers            cent public sidewalks. Meanwhile restaurants             Sam!” The shelters communicated a                                                                                                                                                                                  lorists and tour guides as
the world as our own by entering into                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  cooked meal and
                                                    favourable temperature conditions.                            and markets have responded to the homeless               refusal to surrender, and made more vis-                                                                                                                                                                           well. We became ourselves,
it knowing we could never predict the                                                                             by building ornate enclosures to protect their                                                                                                                                       two bottles of wine
                                                                                                                                                                           ible the unacceptable circumstances of                                                                                                                                                                             hard at play, and we were
ending. We took risks, and failed—but               The intake tube of the collapsed structure is                 refuse. Although no one in Los Angeles has yet                                                                                                                                       to some construc-
                                                                                                                  proposed adding cyanide to the garbage, as hap-          homeless life within the city.                                                                                                                                                                                     drunk on all of it, on sheer
found that failure had become something             then attached to the vent. The warm air leav-                                                                                                                                                                                                      tion-worker friends
                                                                                                                  pened in Phoenix a few years back, one popular               For the pedestrian, paraSITE func-                                                                                                                                                                             stubborn insistence that it
very different, and we embraced it. We              ing the building simultaneously inflates and                                                                                                                                                                                                       who were passing
                                                                                                                  seafood restaurant has spent $12,000 to build            tioned as an agitational device. The                                                                                                                                                                               could be done, even though
learned to manipulate our conditioning with         heats the double-membrane structure.                          the ultimate bag-lady-proof trash cage: made of                                                                                                                                      through town; our
                                                                                                                                                                           visibly parasitic relationship of these                                                                                                                                                                            we knew that we could
elaborate schemes. We learned that we could                                                                       three-quarter inch steel rod with alloy locks and                                                                                                                                    neighbor, a carpen-
                                                    but a host is certainly not inactive against a parasite,      vicious out-turned spikes to safeguard priceless         devices to the buildings, appropriating                                                                                                                                                                            potentially lose it all any
manipulate everyone else’s conditioning, too,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ter, brought over his
                                                    and it hinders the development and population
                                                                                                                  moldering fishheads and stale french fries.”             a readily available situation with readily                                                                                                                                                                         day. Legally, we didn’t have
and that we could offer these manipulations         growth of parasites with different defense mecha-                                                                                                                                                                                                  tools and helped us
                                                    nisms, such as the cleaning of skin, peristaltic contrac-                                                              available materials, elicited immediate                                                                                                                                                                            a leg to stand on; we were
as a gift to the world. We were on a crusade                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           hang weight-bear-
                                                    tion of the digestive aparatus, and the development         parasites respond to this defense by anchoring them-       speculation as to the future of the city:                                                                                                                                                                          squatters, the lowest of the
asking others to own the city with us. We                                                                       selves with hooks and suckers onto skin, or digestive                                                                                                                                  ing shelves on our
                                                    of antibodies.
                                                                                                                mucous membrane, and by developing protective de-          would these things completely take                                                                                                                                                                                 low, and while we liked to
learned to see things we had not seen before:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          paper-thin walls.
                                                                                                                vices and substances which lessen defensive capabilities   over, given the enormous number of                                                                                                                                                                                 think of ourselves as healthy,
for example, the town had supplied hundreds         In April of 1997, I proposed my concept and                                                                                                                                                                                                        When we didn’t
                                                                                                                of their host.
                                                                                                                                                                           homeless in our society? Could we wake                                                                                                                                                                             useful bacteria digesting
of outdoor outlets without us ever asking! We       first prototype to a homeless man named Bill                                                                                                                                                                                                       know what to do,
                                                                                                                                                                           up one morning to find these encamp-                                                                                                                                                                               societal waste, in the eyes
discovered that extension cords came in black,      Stone, who regarded the project as a tactical               The system by which the device attaches or                                                                                                                                             we asked somebody
                                                    response. At the time, the city of Cambridge                                                                           ments engulfing buildings like ivy?                                                                                                                                                                                of the law—in spite of our
and so our semi-permanent installations of                                                                                     is anchored to the building                                                                                                                                             who did, and when
                                                                                                                                                                               This project does not present itself as                                                                                                                                                                        success—we were parasitic
power were hidden and ready for use.                                                                                              is designed to allow the                                                                                                                                             we couldn’t find
                                                                                                                                  structure to be adaptable.               a solution. It is not a proposal for afford-                                                                                                        the neighborhood—we were quick to lend       leeches. But this house didn’t exist in the
    After gifting our bear too many times                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              anybody who knew,
                                                                                                                                  The intake tube can be                   able housing. Its point of departure is to                                                                                                          or borrow tools, to share our (dumpstered)   realm of laws and practicalities, or at least
to tell, we decided to offer her services once                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         we made it up.
                                                                                                                                  expanded or tightened to                 present a symbolic strategy of survival                                                                                                             bread or ask questions about their gardens   not only there. Invested with our the en-
more for good. We searched the city for its                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Once we
                                                                                                                                  fit the aperture of the vent             for homeless existence within the city,                                                                                                             or cats or kids. By the time the absentee    ergy of our dreaming and the sweat of our
most hopeless place, and found desperate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               decided to move
                                                                                                                                  through an adjustable lip,               amplifying the problematic relationship                                                                                                             property-owner came around, most of the      hard work, it began to live another, secret
need in the center courtyard of the downtown                                                                                      made possible by elastic                                                                                                                                             in, we didn’t bother
                                                                                                                                                                           between those who have homes and                                                                                                                    neighbors were on our side. Instead of       life, a life of potential realized.
Municipal Complex. Are cops and                                                                                                   draw-strings. Hooks are                                                                                                                                              sneaking around;
                                                                                                                                                                           those who do not have homes. This is a                                                                                                              shouting through a locked door, we had             I ride my bike past that place now and
magistrates not the most needy of citizens?                                                                                       attached to the metal lou-                                                                                                                                           in that neighbor-
                                                                                                                                                                           project that was shaped by my interac-                                                                                                              him in for tea and scones and explained      see the sagging roof and weedy garden and
    Wrapped tightly with her fan and                                                                                              vers for reinforcement.                                                                                                                                              hood, we knew we
                                                                                                                                                                           tion as a citizen and artist with those                                                                                                             all the reasons our occupation benefitted    boarded up windows.But sometimes when
packed in her suitcase, our bear arrived just                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          were going to be
                                                                                                                                                                           who live on the streets.                                                                                                                            him (maintaining the property, deterring     I tilt my head I can see what it was, with-
before sunrise that Friday morning so that                                                                                              there is tension between a host
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       seen, sooner rather
                                                                                                                                        and its parasite, since the host                                                                                                                                                       vandalism) as well as our politics behind    candlelight seeping out under the curtains,
the changing shifts could feel her blessings                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           than later, so we
                                                                                                                                        endeavours to get rid of the       (For assistance in building your own                                                                                                                squatting (why rent is exploitative, why     smoke trailing from the chimney and the
and grace. Hours later we would dispatch                                                                                                foreign body, while the parasite                                                                                                                               just acted as though
                                                                                                                                        employs new ways to maintain       parasitic guerrilla housing device, contact                                                                                                         land should belong to the folks who use      sound of a guitar—and I know that place
the following message from the public                                                                                                                                      Mjrakowitz@aol.com)                                                                                                         the house belonged
                                                                                                                                        the connection with the host.                                                                                                                                                          it.) Surprisingly, he agreed with us, and    didn’t go anywhere except underground,
library four blocks away:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              to us. Which it         we struck a deal to keep maintaining the     under my skin. It’s still there, waiting.
                                          Report #5:
                                                                                                   one man lying down, both in suits, each          the tree is in the seed is in the fruit is on
                                                                                                   pointing a shiny gun at the other/A              the tree. It was beautiful, the gold frames
                                                                                                   railroad car stopped on a siding, its porch      looking sober and important against the

                                   The Mendenhall
                                                                                                   cushioned with scraps of foam rubber/A           black wall, the pictures themselves detailed
                                                                                                   shady little hollow beside a small stream, all   and various. I didn’t doubt for a moment
                                                                                                   carpeted with new grass and yellow police        that it would happen. And it did.

                                  Guerilla Art Strike
                                                                                                   tape snared in the bushes/Long clumps of             When I was in college I had three good
                                                                                                   hair falling out of a burst garbage bag/A                                   friends. We ate
                                                                                                   baby pacifier, blue and white checks on                                      breakfast together
                                                                                                   the mouthguard/An                                                            every morning,
                                                                                                   angry woman                                                                   we took walks

G      lass flows. In window panes and
       watch crystals and paperweights and
perfume bottles it is forever shifting, gently,
                                                       The first building I passed was the
                                                  lumber company with its long black cinder
                                                  block wall. The wall hadn’t always been
                                                                                                   in a black
                                                                                                   wig. “Watch
                                                                                                   out, they’ll
                                                                                                                                                                                  together in
                                                                                                                                                                                   the twilight
                                                                                                                                                                                    and broke
slowly, imperceptibly, obeying the memory         black—it used to be a graffiti wall, a kind of   take your social                                                                 off branches
of its liquid state or perhaps listening to the   people’s art gallery where some of the most      security number                                                                   of weeping
deep majestic rumble of the lava rivers that      beautiful graffiti in town was layered on.       and keep all your                                                                 cherry to
cooled four billion years ago into the rock       Sometime last year our local police began        money. That’s                                                                      take back to
that became the sand that became the lump         cracking down on graffiti, and for some          what she did.                                                                       our rooms,
of hot glowing glass than became the bottle       reason that particular wall became their         Bitch.”                                                                             we shared
in your hand. When I was a little girl,           target. The owner of the lumber company               I kept                                                                          bottles of
no more than three or four, I discovered          had given permission for the painting, but       walking. I walked                                                                    shampoo
a corner of my bedroom window where               instead of letting it be the police threatened   out of the outskirts                                                                  and
the glass had pooled like that against the        the owner with a fine; in the end the artists    of town, into the                                                                     sweaters
frame. If I pushed my toybox across the           themselves brought buckets of black paint        country where flocks                                                                   and
room and climbed up on it I could rest my         and brushes down to the railroad tracks          of birds pecked at                                                                     books.
forehead on the glass and look out through        and painted the whole wall black, which is       the bare fields and                                                                     We        It was dinnertime and we put down our            birds beyond the dark porch screen. We,         We spoke very little, just picked a spot       down the wall other people were stepping
that one wavery spot in the window at a           how it remained. I kept walking. Walking         laundry flapped on                                                                       talked   books and pencils and went downstairs.           the second team, went down at 2 :45.            and went to work. Among all the people         backwards into the dark, looking at what
back yard and fence and trees that never          on railroad tracks on a December morning         the line. I began to                                                                              Now we’re in our 50s, or at least three of       We were met at the end of the street by         there—more than two dozen now—I                they had done. How can I describe it? In
existed any other way. Where the everyday         two days before the turn of the new year is      wonder how I would                                                                                us are. Two years ago Alice took her little      one of our number, posted there with            was the only one who had forgotten to          two hours we had made something where
yard lay still and flat, this yard—this yard—     an act of meditation. It takes concentration     get home, wondered                                                  seriously about silly         sailboat out into Duxbury Harbor on a            a walkie-talkie to sound a warning if           plan what I would paint on the wall: my        there was nothing. But it didn’t feel as
heaved up and down, trees bending and             to find the right stride, but when you           how long I had been                              things and made silly jokes about serious        windy October morning and shot herself           trouble came. All was clear; she spoke          imagination had taken me only up to the        though we had made it, exactly. It was
shimmering, fences sawing like accordions,        do it’s as though your legs have become          walking, wondered where I was.                   things. One afternoon in late spring near        in the head, leaning far over the edge so        quietly into the walkie talkie and waved        moment when I stopped on the darkened          almost as though we were archaeologists
clouds rocking back and forth on invisible        independent engines, have become wheels               And all the time I kept thinking about      the end of our sophomore year we were            her body would fall into the sea. Pei Loh        us on. I passed around the corner of the        bank and realized that it was really           digging down the seven layers of Troy—no,
runners, high peaks and deep shadowless           or churns or pistons carrying you forward        the wall. It made me angry. In my mind’s         sitting in my room together reading and          lives in Minnesota with her husband and          warehouse and paused at the top of the          happening. Now I was in new territory, in      past Troy, past the black paint, past the
hollows appearing all around the swing            without any intercession from the rest of        eye I saw a very different kind of wall, a       sewing and drawing, no one saying much,          her son, who has something like cerebral         bank, looking east. The silhouette of the       the part of the map where the edges of the     graffiti, past the cinderblock, into the
set like miniature Himalayas. I wanted to         you. I walked through downtown, past the         wall with pictures on it surrounded by gold      when someone started to sing. The window         palsy, although no doctor has ever been          highway bridge in the distance and the          continents take on speculative uncertain       heart of the wall itself, into the heart of
be there. I imagined what it would be like        backs of buildings, across familiar streets at   picture frames like a proper art gallery. And    was open and the air smelled of new grass        able to make a diagnosis. Mara lives in          dark bulk of buildings framed the denser        shapes and curlicue monsters plow perfect      the earth, into the dreaming molecules
to roll down the slopes, to lie on my back        unfamiliar angles. I have lived in my town       then I didn’t just imagine it, I saw it—I        and wet earth and when we grew quiet we          New Jersey with her third husband and            blackness of the tracks; peering into the       pen-and-ink waves.                             before the earth, into the generous void of
in the hollows, to ride the trees, to float       for 22 years but I was walking through           could almost feel the wall shift from the        could hear the soft descending notes of a        her heartbreakingly beautiful daughter,          darkness I could just see the intermittent            I had brought some tubes of acrylic      the universe. We had simply dreamed into
on the top of the billowing grass. I was          a town I had never seen before. I began          thinking part of my brain to the deeper,         mourning dove. Our song didn’t have any          just coming into adolescence herself. I live     flicker of flashlights and in that second I     paint and a tinfoil pie plate, and in the      being something that was there all along.
heartbroken with nostalgia for a place I          keeping an inventory in my little notebook       believing part of my brain where things          words, just four voices that wound in and        down the street from the train tracks and        knew that everything was going to be all        chancy beam of my small flashlight I           Oh reader, it was lovely.
had never been. Even though I was already         of the things I passed:                          that haven’t happened yet already feel like      out of each other and caught each other up       think about walls. Each of us is, I suppose,     right. As we scrambled down the bank,           laid out a perfect art class colorwheel of          Don’t go looking for the wall. It didn’t
learning a little bit about despair, I would           A black and white movie poster on the       memories. The wall that I saw didn’t exist       and climbed over each other like stairsteps      outwalking time and regret.                      the first team passed us going up to the        paint. As I picked up my brush the night       last more than a week: it’s black again,
still run out of the room across the kitchen      ground, torn and dirty—one man standing,         yet, but it did, in Dreamtime, the way           and sank to a vibration and then died away.           But reclaiming the wall was like that       street get the paints out of the van. We        condensed into a tight knot of solitude        black and blank, and really, that’s exactly
and out the back door as fast as I could in                                                                                                                                                          afternoon singing in my room. Everyone           had spent the previous afternoon dividing       around me; to either side of me I could        how this story should end. The art on the
hopes that this time, this one time, I could                                                                                                                                                         I talked to about it in the next weeks           up the supplies into four milk crates, each     hear the deep silence of people working        wall was too lovely to last, too precious
get there before that lovely other back yard                                                                                                                                                         understood it right away. Everyone saw           with jars of white and red and yellow and       in their own solitudes. I painted almost       to simply grow tattered and weather-
hid itself again in the sober motionless                                                                                                                                                             it. We picked a night in early February          green and blue paint, brushes, rags, and        at random, inscribing a face, a neck,          stained, to disappear in plain sight into the
contours of the everyday world.                                                                                                                                                                      and once we had the time set it seemed as        water. Some people had brought pictures         eyes, nose, mouth, hair, dabbing colors in     everyday background of the railroad tracks.
      One Sunday morning not long ago                                                                                                                                                                though whatever we needed came to us.            already prepared for wheatpasting inside        long brushy streaks. I stepped away for        The wall has returned to Dreamtime,
I decided to take a walk. It was a day or                                                                                                                                                            We had no picture frames, and then we            the frames. One person brought his spray        a moment and was startled to discover          has floated away into the past and lies
two before the end of the year, a bright                                                                                                                                                             had dozens. We didn’t have any paint and         paints and nozzles, neatly packed in a little   that I had painted a self-portrait of sorts.   shimmering in the future. And there will
late December day, warm enough for just                                                                                                                                                              then we had stacks of half-used cans of          black bag like a salesman’s sample case.        Abashed, I stopped. Looking up and             always be other walls.
a sweater and a scarf. For some reason I                                                                                                                                                             house paint, rifled out of friends’ basements
walked away from the direction of the                                                                                                                                                                and garages. We needed brushes; we had
park where I usually walk; I walked up the                                                                                                                                                           brushes. We needed Liquid Nails to attach
street to the train tracks. When I came to                                                                                                                                                           the frames to the wall; we had Liquid
the end of the street I kept going, around                                                                                                                                                           Nails. People we didn’t even know came
the corner of the warehouse and down the                                                                                                                                                             up to us and said they had planned the art
weedy bank to the double tracks that run                                                                                                                                                             they were going to put on the wall. We
into infinity in either direction. I sat down                                                                                                                                                        met at my house late at night and made
on the bank and took out my little black                                                                                                                                                             our plan. At 1:00 in the morning I had
notebook. “I feel like Ulysses,” I wrote.                                                                                                                                                            nearly two dozen people in my yard and
“The old thought: I could just get up and                                                                                                                                                            in my kitchen and on my porch, sitting
walk out. Now I’m sitting with my back to                                                                                                                                                            on the living room sofa flipping through
the known universe, sun falling through                                                                                                                                                              magazines, synchronizing watches in
the weeds, and in front of me someone has                                                                                                                                                            the half light of the back yard, shaking
lettered in black paint on a junction box:                                                                                                                                                           flashlights to see if the batteries were good,
THE THINGS YOU’LL NEVER GET                                                                                                                                                                          hunching into coats and scarves against the
BACK 1) TIME 2) REGRET. What                                                                                                                                                                         late winter nighttime chill.
will I know when I am done with this                                                                                                                                                                      The first team went down at 2:00.
walk, whenever that turns out to be? One                                                                                                                                                             The things we had worried about—
thing I already know—every other time                                                                                                                                                                getting caught, running out of paint,
I’ve sat here I’ve been filled with longing                                                                                                                                                          some overlooked technical snag—began
and restlessness. Now I’m simply here. I’m                                                                                                                                                           to dissipate. I sat on the porch quietly
going to walk east now, out of time, out of                                                                                                                                                          talking to a few friends, watching the
regret and into whatever I find.”                                                                                                                                                                    time, listening to the sleepy rustle of
                               Report #6:
                                                                                              was dancing up a storm. They absolutely          cover of the commotion outside, they
                                                                                              refused to allow us to remain mere               sent their children through the back door
                                                                                              spectators, grabbing us hand in hand until       of the longhouse. Inside, Ray and the

                      Dancing With Ghosts
                                                                                              we were all dancing side by side, some of us     world he represents found themselves an
                                                                                              with considerably less skill than others.        emperor without clothes, as little children
                                                                                                  When the dance came to an end, an            ran around in the meeting openly defying
                                                                                              old man with white hair pulled two of            him and giggling at his self-important
   A Memoir of Tribal War                                                                     our band off to the side. “Did you bring         madness. Soon, the commotion got so
                                                                                              baseball bats?” he asked. We weren’t sure        out of hand that the local city police
                                                                                              what he meant, so we said that we were           showed up, along with reporters—an
                                                                                              “ready for whatever it took,” an equally         unheard of event in Ray’s territory. The
     If we are to stand a ghost of a chance      God, and State wrapped up in one man:
                                                                                              coded answer. He then started telling us         traditional Oneida took the police and
of surviving the increasingly imminent           Ray Halbritter.
                                                                                              stories, about bingo parlors burning and         reporters aside, showing them their home
catastrophe our culture is hurtling toward,          Known among the locals as “No-Face
                                                                                              Mohawk revolts, about the first winter           videos of Ray’s police beating women and
we must learn to adapt to new habitats. We       Ray” for cursing the ways of the Oneida
                                                                                              snow and about Ray’s mother’s facelifts.         destroying their homes. Smiles broke out         Art Exhibition: Graffiti Art Exposition at Sofia Bergrum,                 person to dream of going to art school and becoming an artist;          remarkable here, might as well skate down to Deluxe, buy
must be able to migrate with the seasons, to     and declaring himself against all sanity
                                                                                              After considerable mystery, he left us with      on all our faces when Ray turned tail and        Stockholm, Winter 2002                                                    but in the rest of the world, only the independently wealthy can        that new pair of Vans.
intermingle with unlikely allies and long lost   and tradition “Chief for Life,” Ray is
                                                                                              a simple message: “Gringo Windshield.”           fled. The ice that separated us from the                                                                                   consider this as a realistic career path. As the demands of the “free       But Polaroid says, “It’s what you don’t see that always
cousins, to hunt for opportunities to gather     attempting to develop this pocket of                                                                                                                                                                                     market” bend all societies to the model pioneered by the United         eludes you.”
                                                                                                  Ray Halbritter was going to enter            Oneida began to break.                               This is the notorious exhibition that was closed down by
momentum as if our lives depended on it. This    land, the thirty acres of the traditional                                                                                                      the city after one day for the debatable offense of giving space          States, even Sweden is bound to become inhospitable for would-              Huh? You snap back, “Who do you think you are with
                                                                                              the thirty acres to hold a meeting of his            There we stood, two tribes—one
is a true story about a time when we did some    Oneida, the last remaining sovereign                                                                                                           to artists working in a style developed by vandals. Public outcry         be artists from outside the privileged class. Legal “graffiti” walls    this inscrutable fortune cookie shit?”
                                                                                              cronies in an ancient longhouse that he          ancient and the other new—united against
of these things with a measure of success.       Oneida land. Women have                                                                                                                        forced the city to recant and allow it to proceed as planned,             can only be a superficial concession to quiet the radical demands           But you might as well take a second look, right? Pictures
     We received a spectral smoke signal         been evicted by Ray’s private                                                                                                                  and consequently “Legalize Art,” the organization backing the             of the masses (“we don’t want one wall, we want the whole               hardly give up the truth—just another image without a story?
of nybbles and bytes requesting our              “Housing Inspectors,” and                                                                                                                      show, was able to collect quite a bit of political capital for their      bloody city”)—and, worse, a step towards the institutionalization,      Sucks to think, maybe one day you’ll be one of them. So
presence in the cold plains of Oneida,                                                                                                                                                          campaign to persuade Stockholm to open walls for legal graffiti           specialization, and commodification of a folk art form. The time is     you give it a second chance. But this time it’s not what you
                                                 seen their houses bulldozed
                                                                                                                                                                                                art. Members of the organization, such as one spokesperson who            ripe for a culture offensive extolling insurgent, participatory forms   see, but what the photographer saw. Or, rather, it’s what the
New York. Not knowing what to expect,            before their children’s very
                                                                                                                                                                                                describes himself as a one-time tagger turned art-school hopeful,         of art such as illegal graffiti.                                        blindfolded photographer didn’t see.
our hearty band of improbable and                eyes. Shopping malls will                                                                                                                                                                                                     And so I put forth my own proposal for a graffiti exhibition           A blind guy took this?
                                                                                                                                                                                                insist that graffiti is a serious art form, one of the “fine arts.” All
impermissible white wanderers from               soon rise up, following                                                                                                                        this, of course, begs the question of what graffiti actually is.          that will truly celebrate what is vibrant and vital about the               “No,” says the Polaroid, “he wasn’t blind . . . not
the flatlands of the South journeyed to          the pattern of twisted and                                                                                                                         It felt strange—but perhaps it was not so strange—to                  medium. It will be called the Graffiti Expedition, and it will          normally.”
the snowy plains of Oneida. Following            terrible progress familiar                                                                                                                     hear people who attended the exhibition assessing and                     be open to all applicants. The event will be promoted in and                Our Polaroid tells a story of her siblings in that litter of
directions hastily and poorly translated         to any denizen of Western                                                                                                                      sometimes disparaging the artwork on purely aesthetic                     outside graffiti bomber circles a few months in advance; on the         ten exposures:
over an obscure pay phone, we came               capitalism and civilization. If                                                                                                                grounds. Were this artwork viewed on the streets where it was             preceding night, submissions will be received through email in              “More than a year ago, we were together in the dark
onto a stone longhouse, the home of the          you stand on the edge of the                                                                                                                   developed, aesthetics would probably take a back seat to other            the form of anonymous communiqués announcing where pieces               warmth of a blindfolded guy’s pocket trying to piece it all
Onyota’a:ka, the traditional Oneida of                                                                                                                                                          considerations. After all, graffiti art has always been separated         have been put up, according to the method already perfected             together. Each of us contributed a story while we waited for
                                                 thirty acres, you can already
                                                                                                                                                                                                from other visual arts by a gulf of context; it is that context           by the Environmental Liberation Front. The next day, the legal          the next exposure. The eldest shot (of a face being bandaged
the Standing Stone. We pried open the            see the future—a giant casino,
                                                                                                                                                                                                which differentiates it. One can take aesthetic ideas developed           representatives of the exhibition will lead all the patrons on an       at a kitchen table) said something about a completely
heavy wooden doors, and peered inside.           sprawling across the land like                                                                                                                                                                                           expedition around the city, to ooh and aah over the courage             blindfolded trip to Washington DC. The younger ones,
                                                                                                                                                                                                by graffiti artists and introduce them to the world of state-
     A mighty elder, Clanmother Maisie           a bloated carcass. A call to                                                                                                                   sanctioned fine arts, but in doing so one has not made graffiti           immor(t)alized in acrylic on the highway sign by the overpass,          always the radicals, had protest images. They recounted
Shenandoah of the Oneida, greeted us with        arms. Soon.                                                                                                                                    legal, but rather simply made legal art imitating graffiti. In the        the witty addition to the billboard advertising malt liquor, the        scene’s of George W.’s inauguration: streets full of anonymous
open arms and a broad smile. A powerful              Ray’s private army was                                                                                                                     graffiti world proper, on the other hand, which will exist as             one hundred matching tags recklessly bringing Main Street to            multitudes, uniformed police, frosty weather, the blindfolded
woman, she had seen generations come and         patrolling the thirty acres, and                                                                                                               long as there is private property, aesthetics are inextricably tied       life. Next time Legalize Art or an organization like them sponsors      guy on the street passing flyers out for a pirate radio station.
go, and she feared that this would be the        we were told that the official                                                                                                                 to context, and often subordinate to it.                                  an exhibition or political campaign, such a counter-event could             “Being blindfolded can mean getting away with a lot,” she
last to live in freedom. She explained that      explanation for our presence                                                                                                                       Graffiti itself is as old and varied as walls; this exhibition        provide the perfect complement: it would stress the subversive          supposes.
this thirty acres land we were now on—and                                                                                                                                                       simply drew upon its most recent incarnation in the arena of              heritage and power of graffiti, while simultaneously offering the           “Then there were the monument shots: pictures of the
                                                 was an invitation to a tribal
                                                                                                                                                                                                pop culture. Like booming sound systems, graffiti as we know it           city an alternative that would make the reformists’ proposal            blindfolded guy in front of the Lincoln memorial, ambling
the homes upon it—were the last of the           dance. Dancing it was. One
                                                                                                                                                                                                emerged as a means for the dispossessed to assert themselves in           seem more palatable—pressuring the city to heed their demands,          along on the national mall, with the Ken Snelson sculpture
sovereign nation of the Oneida people,           by one, all the Oneida families                                                                                                                                                                                          just as Malcolm X’s uncompromising stance reinforced Martin             in front of the Hirschorn Museum, in each image with the
                                                                                                                                                                                                an environment in which everything from rented tenements to
subject to no law except their own. This         of the thirty acres piled into                                                                                                                 the billboarded streets ostensibly belongs to another class. The          Luther King’s non-violent activism, just as, generations ago, the       same Mona Lisa smile. The youngest shot had the advantage
proud people and their land were under           the little longhouse, and with them they     had closed to the community long ago.            a common enemy. The ancient tribe was            tagger reclaims this environment by proclaiming her defiant               extreme demands of anarchists forced governments to parley with         of being around for bandage removal back at the same
assault from without and within (as they         brought a never-ending procession of all     His private army of goons was to be there        fighting for survival, and, unlike our           existence—legal or not, desirable or not—on every unguarded               reformists fighting for the forty hour work week.                       kitchen table.
still are8). One of their own had gone to        sorts of food and drink. After a rousing     to strike fear into the locals’ hearts. In the   ancestors at Wounded Knee, we turned             surface; the appearance of the tags themselves matters less                    In the meantime, let’s hope the money made from this                   “They argued a bit about the why of the whole thing. The
Harvard, gotten himself a business degree,       meal, one of the older men stood in the      morning the old man’s words rang true. A         our backs on allegiance to race, nation, or      than the sheer fact that they appear. Over time, graffiti artists         exhibition—for by its end half of the pieces had been sold, at          radicals explained some Marxist theory, the artists copped it
and incorporated the tribe as a corporation,     middle of the room and began chanting in     small line of us in full black bloc regalia      any other fiction, to join them in arms.         have improved and explored their craft, flaunting skills as a             prices ranging from 400 to 10,000 kronor—will be put towards            as a performance . . .”
building a financial empire spanning mid-                                                     surrounded the larger crowd of traditional       This alchemy released magic—police               way to celebrate their indomitable existence. White kids from             more spray cans and ski masks, not art school tuition, so our new           But the puddle Polaroid had her take. She overheard it
                                                 a tongue my ears could not comprehend, a
                                                                                              Oneida, who were for the first time in years                                                      the cultural desert of the suburbs, who gather like vultures              generation of artists can practice and present on the streets where     while developing on the coffee table of that regulation living
state New York. Oneida Nation Inc.—an            sound rich with dignity beyond compare.                                                       unable to police, children ridiculing kings.
                                                                                                                                                                                                around every expression that still holds life, have taken note,           they belong. Viva graffiti! Illegalize art!                             room:
independent fiefdom with its own laws, its       Children lined up behind his booming bass    going to contest Ray openly. We prayed           The Oneida’s struggle against extinction
                                                                                                                                                                                                and modern graffiti culture and aesthetics have become widely                                                                                         “A handful of people were watching a skate video: Big
own taxes, its own courts, its own (mostly       voice, providing a brilliant treble. Soon    that our threadbare patches of anarchy and       goes on, as does ours. Let us hope it goes       known; but all along, it has been the social context that gave            Skate Video: “Boob,” by Big Brother                                     Brother’s “Boob.” As a service, Blind Guy’s pal was describing
white) police, with Judge, Jury, Executioner,    the entire room, except for us white folk,   punk would protect us from bullets. Ray          on together, as we realize the possibilities     graffiti its identity, not aesthetics.                                                                                                            the scenes to him out loud. There’d be a few minutes of
                                                                                                        scurried into the longhouse at our     of tribal alliances that can overcome our            This context of transgression and affirmation also makes                 So much depends on a red painted curb. And in a puddle               skating followed by fifteen minutes of adolescent stunts (dude
                                                                                                          approach, and his goons tried        loneliest moments and the impossible             graffiti precious to people outside both the underclass and the           next to it, a washed out Polaroid of a regulation living room           dressed up in a gold jumpsuit running around Hollywood
                                                                                                          to arrest one of our burly black-    odds. In the end, we are not ghosts from         graffiti anti-/establishment. If you venture into the unused              scene: TV, VCR, coffee table, Ché poster, bookcase. Nothing             Boulevard, etc.) Why so little skating in a skate flick? But
                                                                                                          masked friends. I screamed “Let      the past, but ghosts of the future. Let us       stairwells, maintenance closets, and elevator operating rooms
                                                                                                          him go!”                             dance—together.                                  of some the buildings of Muir College at the University
                                                                                                                   Magic.                                                                       of California at San Diego, you will find walls thick with
                                                                                                                                                                                                scribbled stories and pictures. For over three decades, lone
                                                                                                                   Ray’s police did let him    “Here we are, the dead of all time, dying once
                                                                                                                                                                                                students and vagabonds have gone there to write out diary
                                                                                                          go. We were shocked. Since we        again, only now with the object of living. You   entries and poetry they would never share in person; there
                                                                                                          weren’t Oneida, Ray’s police had     have to get out of yourself to save yourself.”   are cartoons, confessions, lengthy exchanges spanning years,
                                                                                                          no legal right to arrest or even        -masked spokesperson of the black bloc,       even love affairs carried out between writers who never met.
                                                                                                          touch us. Bristling with badges,     Chiapas, Mexico                                  Gathered in an exhibition or displayed on a legal wall, these
                                                                                                          guns and clubs, they just told us                                                     obscene limericks, clumsy proclamations, and naive meditations
                                                                                                          to leave. We began laughing in                                                        would elicit impatient groans at best; experienced on location
                                                                                                          their faces and mocking them.                                                         by a participant, this secret world can be breathtaking.
                                                                                                                                               8 Their struggle continues today. To get in          Unlike participation in the “fine arts” as defined by capitalist
                                                                                                          “Police? You aren’t even real
                                                                                                                                               touch with the Oneida, contact:                  society, the role of graffiti artist is readily accessible to anyone
                                                                                                          police! Come on, just touch me!”
                                                                                                                                                                                                who can get away with it. The illegal nature of the medium
                                                                                                          “So how does it feel to beat up
                                                                                                                                               ONYOTA’A:KA PEOPLE OF THE                        makes fame and status undesirable outside of small circles of
                                                                                                          women in front of their children                                                      enthusiasts, and the artwork is made in defiance of commercial
                                                                                                                                               STANDING STONE
                                                                                                          for a living?” “Don’t feel so high                                                    concerns rather than in service to them—in contrast to the
                                                                                                                                               PO Box 450
                                                                                                          and mighty now, do you, boy?”                                                         elite few—“professional artists” who are able to make a living
                                                                                                                                               Oneida, NY 13421
                                                                                                                   The traditional Oneida                                                       by outselling their competition into waitressing jobs. Perhaps in
                                                                                                                                               315-363-2304 (ask for Maisie)
                                                                                                          were delighted, and began                                                             Sweden, which still retains some vestiges of the social support
                                                                                                                                               www.oneidasfordemocracy.org                      system governments of wealthier nations developed in the 1960’s
                                                                                                          joining in the taunts. Under
                                                                                                                                                                                                to offset popular unrest, it is not absurd for the average young
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Call for Submissions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We are composing an anarchist cookbook of recipes for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        actions, situations, tools, and adventures. Please contact
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        us to contribute your own knowledge and experience.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    PENULTIMATUM:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For more information, and examples of the format, visit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        www.crimethinc.com/cookbook.                                                                                                                                                Publish the next issue of Hunter/Gatherer!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    An open letter to the reader, a challenge, a double-                    ously for thirty minutes: say it fast, say it slow, spell it out, sing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    dog-dare:                                                               it to the tune of your favorite childhood song. Now take it with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         To publish the next issue of this journal, you will                you to the bank. Wear it as a shoe. Run a mile in it. Exhausted,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    not need permission, but you will need initiative and                   curl up with it for a long nap. Remove one of its shiny panels
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ideas. You will not need a degree or a license, but you                 and write a letter upon it to a friend with whom you have lost
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    must grant yourself a certain degree of artistic license.               touch. Invent a dozen other uses for it, and utilize it thus until
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You wonʼt need an apartment or a car, but it might                      these are habitual. Now toast seems so strange.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    help to borrow a semi-permanent address for receiv-                 -Squat one of those vast 24-hour supermarts for a few days. Con-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ing mailorders and feedback. You wonʼt need to know                     duct experiments, play games, graze on food in your “pantry,”
blindfolded guy, sipping on a bowl of vegan chili, turn out to be             “Street skating spread all over the world; more skaters        “So now here’s a video of people joking around, pulling off                                                                                                                                                                                            anyone who was involved in making this issue, but it                    find a quiet corner to sleep. Consider who organized this place
quite the thinker. He got all animated at the description of the          were experimenting, contributing—even as companies were            crazy stunts and taking unimaginable risks in solemn public                                                                                                                                                                                            will help to have your creative friends offer perspectives              and to what purpose. Pick a neglected category of items
video. Like a blind oracle he told a tale:                                profiting. Nothing was impossible: vertical walls, handrails,      spaces—and there’s no skateboards involved! You don’t need a                                                                                                                                                                                           and inspiration. Contrary to superstition, you need not                 (green plastic things, paraphernalia of insecurity, materials
    “A philosopher had this theory: art realized itself in 1963. But the  ollies higher and farther than anyone could imagine.               skateboard to skate, just like you don’t need a canvas to make                                                                                                                                                                                         be independently wealthy, but you will need to be rich                  not produced by slave labor, etc.) and, cartload by cartload,
process started a century before with the proliferation of the camera.    The skateboarding industry fed off of it and encouraged            art—now you can do anything, challenge yourself in any way you                                                                                                                                                                                         in time and patience to raise money for printing and                    establish a new section for it. Use stationary to write letters
Painting wasn’t the same after photography. Pulling off a faithful        it. Three companies made millions. Even when they                  desire or imagine, even visit a strange city blindfolded.”                                                                                                                                                                                             postage (assuming you cannot arrange for these by                       to friends, use the phone to invite them over. Throw a party
rendition of a bowl of fruit or a portrait of some rich fuck didn’t       collapsed, things went on: the dinosaurs died and others               You take a look at the Polaroid again, stick it in your pocket.                                                                                                                                                                                    other means) by selling advertising or organizing fund-                 (guests need not bring food or gifts). Take a disposable cam-
mean so much if a camera could do the same. So painting had to            just took their place.                                             Maybe you won’t go to Deluxe after all. Instead, you want to                                                                                                                                                                                           raising events or robbing gas stations. If you want to                  era off the shelf; after taking some unusual photos, repackage
find its own meaning.                                                         “But skating hasn’t changed much over the last seven           go to the beach to stare at the sea—because you know the                                                                                                                                                                                               use the printing company we used for this issue, call                   it as a gift to its future owner. Add to this list of things to do as
    “In 1963 Warhol made something identical to the thing it              years. Look at a deck from ’95 and one from today—what’s           possibilities are as real and mysterious as that water.                                                                                                                                                                                                them at 800.800.7980; they charged us $3,000, which                     the days go by and your derangement intensifies.
stood for: his ‘art’ Brillo box was just a Brillo box. So then, since     the difference? Compare two videos from then and now. The                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 we raised by selling punk records and collecting dona-              -Go to a public place where you can set up camp and establish
a certain tiresome perfection had been                                                                     tricks aren’t that different.     Compact Disc: “Insurgent Selections for Battery and Voice,” by                                                                                                                                                                                         tions, to make 35,000 of these. If you have any ques-                   yourself there, be present. Bring a project. It will have to be
achieved, perfection could be laid aside.                                                                          ‘80’s and
                                                                         The distinguishing In thefrom flared’90’s decks
                                                                                                           went               tails and
                                                                                                                                             the Infernal Noise Brigade (Post World Industries, 1122 E. Pike, Dept.
                                                                                                                                             949, Seattle, WA 98122, U.S.A.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    tions, or need the addresses of distributors and so on,                 a project that creates ripples of notoriety—rumors should
Art was obligated to nothing. After that it                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         write us at the address on the back.                                    spread about your presence. People will approach with stories
just blew up. In the 70’s people did all sorts            characteristic of a traditional small noses to the standard                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    To get in the spirit of the thing and be sure you have             for you: give them time, listen. You, above close friends, will be
of crazy shit. You could nail yourself to a                                                                double kick-pill shape with            This is a particularly clear-cut example of the tensions
                                                          folk game is that although it variations. Street skating was                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              something to offer others, it might also help to devise                 told of injuries, secrets, dilemmas, desires. Do not try to solve
Volkswagen, can your own shit, walk the                                                                                                      between immediate and mediated musical experience. As
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and undertake a vision quest. Perhaps you could:                        problems or offer advice: your role is to hold the stories as if
great wall of china, all with no obligation to has rules, they are not written. well on its way to becoming                                  I understand it, the Infernal Noise Brigade includes some
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -Cross a vast body of water in a vessel of your own making.             you were a hiding place. Your visitors will return to sort through
the traditional forms. As you can see in this                                                              what it is now—technical,         musicians who had been in more conventional bands
                                                          Nobody knows exactly what polished. We’ve reached                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         -Carry with you all the trash that you produce over a period            them, to make amendments and new deposits, to revisit old
video, today skating is no different.                                                                                                        before—bands that wrote songs, recorded albums, performed




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       necessarily include different particulars and




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       perspectives does not necessarily constitute
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         of months.                                                         ones. They will offer you food. Occasionally they will ask about




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      vary in proportion to the air and light pollution obscuring
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the stars of the night sky. The more diversity, the less
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      10 The diversity of d.i.y. cultures does indeed appear to



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      industrialized monoculture, the more stars visible, the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      more different stories about where those stars came
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       already exist—the sooner, the better! That
                                                                                                                                             conventionally, as artists for spectators—and in this experiment,




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       reason for others to make and share their
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       hail. There are as many of these contexts
                                                          they are. The players have a the end of history, but you                   skate




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       derived from one specific context of d.i.y.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       prioritize different questions. All the more
    “A long time ago a bunch of surf rats,




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       an abuse of whatever privileges we may
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -Teach yourself to navigate your neighborhood with your eyes




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       doing-it-themselves referenced here are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            your life—but remember, they do this only out of politeness




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       culture, the one from which the authors


                                                                                                                                                                                                                       paper from any other community would



                                                                                                                                                                                                                       own, and for you to seek out those that
                                                                                                                                             they presumably wanted to break out of that model and make




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       said, relating our own experiences and
wanting some action during downtimes,                                                                      companies don’t want




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Obviously, the instances of individuals
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         shut. Make a map of that neighborhood.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       as there are stars in the sky10. A d.i.y.
                                                            tradition to guide them, but to know. You’re feeding the                         music that could confront listeners more directly, that could                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and habit, for they know that you are a magic person, you
took roller skates, you know with metal                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             -Punch a hole in a can of paint and take a walk around town
                                                                                                                                             be an unanticipated and uncategorizable disruption of their                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    have a project. As your relationships grow your needs will be
wheels, ripped them apart and screwed                   must settle among themselves machine, see—they churn out
                                                                                                           new products and pros every       environment. They have performed primarily at massive protests                                                                                                                                                                                              drizzling a record of your path. Use this method to chart          increasingly met by the offerings of your visitors. These gifts
them on planks of wood. In the 60’s                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      your movements on foot over a period of weeks.
                                                             the details of how to play a year, cheap decks that break,                      (in Seattle, during the 1999 W.T.O. meetings, for example),                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    carry with them the power to cast spells on their behalf. Heal
everything blew up: clay wheels, the first




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      from and what they mean to us . . .
                                                                                                                                             or in surprise marches, and resisted the commodification of                                                                                                                                                                                            -Learn to recognize all the edible and medicinal plants that            them, make them well.
mass-produced decks, the first skate contest
was in ’63! In ‘65 it all collapsed due to
                                                                                                                    wheels that get flat
                                                                            particular game. cruddySome kid turns pro and
                                                                                                           spots.                            their music and the social role of musicians/specialists as best                                                                                                                                                                                            grow in your region. Try surviving on them alone for a         -Concoct and carry out your own rites of passage. Invent a series
                                                                                                                                             they could. That this CD, a mummified relic of the immediate                                                                                                                                                                                                month.                                                             of games to play with your friends, and announce a month dur-
shitty mass-produced products and paranoid                                                                 becomes another cash cow. If
                                                                          I’ve seen somebody do a phat kickflip to 5-0 handrail grind        experience of a few of their performances, has been released,                                                                                                                                                                                          -Find an old typewriter. Spend an entire day copying down               ing which you will change your own lives in preparation for the
parents. It didn’t catch on again until urethane wheels and sealed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         your thoughts as continuously as they appear, without




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       have—does it?
                                                                          to 360 kickflip down a flight of 100 steps about, oh, let’s say    attests to the persistent seductiveness of the social “default                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 following year of changing the world. Examples could begin
bearings in the 70’s.
                                                                          500 times, what’s next? Well, when skating left the parks          setting” of musical production, if to anything.                                                                                                                                                                                                             looking back. Spend another day reading everything you             with elaborate scavenger hunts and conclude with a sequence
     “Skating mixed its surfing roots with concrete, and viola!
                                                                          and came into the streets, it started us down a path that’s             So yes, these percussion pieces, with scattered vocals and                                                                                                                                                                                             thought.                                                           of challenges: Starting at noon Friday at Danielleʼs house in the
the skatepark was born—a multi-million dollar business. All was
                                                                          carried us to the logical conclusion: we can do whatever we        samples, make for good listening, in the confines of a domestic                                                                                                                                                                                        -Ask your grandmother (or oldest living female relative or role         placid suburbs, who can get arrested first? [This particular ex-
groovy . . . well, at least until the early eighties, when the parks
                                                                          want. Do a technical trick or an old school trick, or just carve   setting—but that’s as far removed from the adrenaline-pumping                                                                                                                                                                                               model) to teach you her favorite song from her youth;              ample is tailored for the privileged children of the bourgeoisie;
closed and skaters were thrown out to the streets. Suddenly you
                                                                          around . . . or not, it doesn’t matter.                            adventure of a street confrontation between pigs and a guerrilla                                                                                                                                                                                            design and construct an instrument perfectly suited to             there are other equivalents.] Who can write the most fantastic
had to redefine yourself. Street skating (you know, what you did
                                                                              “But, even better, we don’t have to limit our creativity       marching unit as the sky is from the sea. You can’t expect simply                                                                                                                                                                                           playing this song.                                                 novel? [This is how Mary Shelleyʼs Frankenstein was written—
in the parking lot before the park opened) was all you had. So
                                                                                                                                             listening intellectually (or, worse, absent-mindedly) to these or any                                                                                                                                                                                  -Expand and refine the private vernacular you have already              it was her first.] If the world were to end tomorrow, what would




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Expeditions, Joe Kaneʼs Savages, Cracking the



                                                                                                                                                                                                                      downtown San Francisco for four months of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ADILKNO, ʻzine entitled 949 Market chronicling
                                                                          to when we’re on our decks. Skating opened our eyes




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Montanoʼs Art in Everyday Life, Teching “Sam”




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      People, Carl Sandburgʼs Rootabaga Stories, a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Synergetic Geometry of R. Buckminster Fuller
we atomized into secret pool societies and gangs at backyard half-




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      #79, San Francisco, CA 94110, U.S.A.), Linda




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Poetry of the Indian North Americans, and . . .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hsiehʼs How to Turn a Sewing Machine Into a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Design Science Collection), Fredy Perlmanʼs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Against His-story, Against Leviathan!, several




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      book called Shaking the Pumpkin: Traditional
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         begun developing with your friends. Write a story or poem




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      an incomplete reading list could include Amy




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sound Recording Device (and One Hundred
                                                                                                                                             rhythms to carry you away—at the very least you have to dance to                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               you do today? OK, on the count of three, go do it. What do you




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the life cycle of a public squat established in

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      year 2000 (contact Zara, 3288 21 St. P.M.B.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      of Thor Heyerdahlʼs books including The Ra
pipes. We scattered into the streets, changing them. Where they           to possibilities—now the streets have a secret meaning:




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Movement: Squatting Beyond the Media by
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      C. Edmondsonʼs A Fuller Explanation: The




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rebecca Schneiderʼs The Explicit Body in
                                                                                                                                             them, improvise your own motions to fill them out in space.                                                                                                                                                                                                 for them utilizing and demonstrating its fullest potential.        fear most of all? For the final exam, confront it, live through it.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Performance, Colin Turnbullʼs The Forest
                                                                          nothing is forbidden, everything is permitted! We hit those




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Other Pre-Apocalyptic Leisure Activities),
saw dull functionality, we saw infinite possibility: a parking lot,
bad corporate art, hand rails, a red-painted curb—the city was            streets again like we did when the parks closed, and this               Better yet—if you do indeed desire a purely receptive yet                                                                                                                                                                                         -Compile a list of axioms from your own experience: It is good          The ones who survive will be ready for anything.
never the same.                                                           time we don’t even need the equipment.                             profound listening experience, try this: Go to the nearest                                                                                                                                                                                                  luck to toss garbage over the fences of the wealthy. If your   -Donʼt just talk about those crazy ideas you have. Carry them
                                                                                                                                             trainyard, and hop on the back end of a grainer car on a leaving                                                                                                                                                                                            van breaks down in South Carolina, expect seven months             out. Live like fire so the ones who come after can model the
                                                                                                                                             train—one of the ones with the little hole for trainhoppers to                                                                                                                                                                                              of misfortune. When you see a police officer struck by his         mythologies theyʼll need out of the smoke you left hanging
   Appendix: Skateboarding and the New Games                                                                                                 hide and ride in9. Climb in this hole, and listen: as the train
                                                                                                                                             picks up speed, wheels pounding over the tracks, near-deafening
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         own tear gas canister, make a wish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    -With your itinerant friends and pen pals, establish an alter-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            in the air.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            These are all projects which have been and can still
      My friend teaches preschool and I was harassing him a little              2. New games – players are sacred, rules are                 rhythms will fill your ears. Listen into that quickening pulse:                                                                                                                                                                                             nate postal underground. Send parcels from hand to hand        be successfully undertaken. You donʼt want to leave all the
  about the way children’s games and eventually sports should be called             subject to selection or rejection. Rules that            you’ll hear a thousand drummers beating great casks and metal                                                                                                                                                                                               across continents.                                             excitement to professional archeologists, aborigines, van-
  “Ideological State Apparatus for Beginners.” He said I was paranoid.              privilege certain players throw the game off             barrels, each with a unique cadence, swiftly accelerating to                                                                                                                                                                                           -Enter an abandoned building with only food and water. Spend        ished ancient peoples, and other inventors/explorers, do
      Our conversation ended in a messy chart which is re-presented                 balance and make it no fun. The rules are                velocities impossible for any human arms. Pick out the layers                                                                                                                                                                                               a week there composing an on-site puppet show extrava-         you? Oh, and—if you feel guilty about “wasting” so much
  here in its edited form.                                                          adjusted. The game is a close match.                     of wild rhythms laid over each other, the sudden accents,                                                                                                                                                                                                   ganza using only materials found on-location. Leave to         time when you “should be” fighting capitalism, community
                                                                                                                                             the changes; take them to heart, make a music for yourself                                                                                                                                                                                                  flier. Return to perform.                                      organizing, etc., donʼt fret—your capabilities in everything
  Games For Beginners, That They May Never Stop Beginning—                      Example: Take basketball. Imagine an                         especially out of the parts that at first sound overwhelming and                                                                                                                                                                                       -Comb the environment you live in for places                                  from succoring to streetfighting are increased
  or, Making the Rules is Part of the Game.                                        uncoordinated but poetic new basketball                   unintelligible. Then—hit the streets, whether in the thick of the                                                                                                                                                                                           which have natural musical potential:                                         exponentially every time you step outside
                                                                                   player asking the ref. if she could improvise             next mass demonstration or in the dead of a hot August night,                                                                                                                                                                                               the rail on the bridge that rings                                                 the circuit your life has become. Try it,
  Limits: This chart rests on the assumption that competition is                   rhymes instead of dribbling while moving                  with a percussion device, and, with your life on the line, play                                                                                                                                                                                             when pounded, the train tunnel                                                      youʼll see!
      something salvageable. This comes from our experiences both                  with the ball. While that would be really                 back to the world what it taught you.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       with the perfect echo acoustics.                                                             If our crackpot scheme suc-




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      for this experiment, the CrimethInc.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             described herein may beggar belief.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             the CrimethInc. Atlanta address for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             the incredulous, or for those giving
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             have been documented on video:
                                                                                                                                                  It’s a safe bet that at least some of the players in the Infernal




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             to-record-player and automobile-
      inventing new games and attempting to play established ones.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             solidarity action, and the bicycle-
                                                                                   fucking cool, in the sports establishment she                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Compose a symphony from                                                                 ceeds, there will be 35,000 copies




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             exploration and experimentation




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             presentations on the theory and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             documentaries are available for


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             practice of folk science; contact
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tak, Liz, Mark, Asi, Scott, Kate,




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             At least four of them, however,
      That most games focus on competition is certainly worth some                 can just plain forget about it.                           Noise Brigade followed this prescription—but that alone will do                                                                                                                                                                                             these sounds, in a series of                                                            of this first issue of Hunter/Gatherer,




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             guerrilla art strike, the Oneida
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Brian, Hib, Harry, Stef, Darby
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Workersʼ Collective included:




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             tanks. Copies of these video
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             the Mendenhall/Mendenwall



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             to-musical-instruments think
      attention too—but that’s another chart entirely.                                                                                       you as much good as Chet Baker’s tribulations and transgressions                                                                                                                                                                                            movements. One evening, take                                                             and 35,000 versions of the second.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Some of the true stories of
  Assumption: Whether watching or playing, even uncle Ike prefers               Application: Right fork—get rid of player-selecting          did his polite, bourgeois audiences. Music, like everything else,                                                                                                                                                                                           your friends from site to site                                                           If we make a version of that second
      a game that is an even match. A blowout is no fun for the                     games like hockey, protest at sports events, get         has to be lived, not consumed, to be magical.                                                                                                                                                                                                               to perform the symphony in                                                              issue ourselves, weʼll be happy to
      winners, the losers, or those watching.                                       beat up by jocks. Left fork—get on with game-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sequence.                                                                               share it with any of you—but only in




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             more information.
  Thesis: Games go about trying to be even in different ways.                       making where players select the rules. Let that                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 -Take a well-known tool—for this                                                             trade for your own versions.
                                                                                    process teach and reinforce the idea that rules                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      example weʼll use a toaster—                                                                For a readership of authors, an
  1. Old games (“sports”) – the rules are sacred, the players are subject           are only worth a damn if they serve the players                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and turn it back into an object.                                                      audience of performers, a constitu-
      to selection or rejection. Players that are best suited to the rules          well. Make that double for laws, traditions,             9 To do this safely, order the second D.I.Y. Guide from the Fucken
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Take it far from the kitchen, per-                                                  ency of anarchists,
      (erroneously called “the best players”) are the ones who get to               dances, recipes, music, language and science             Urban Pirates department of CrimethInc. (cash or stamps postage                                                                                                                                                                                             haps to a mountaintop or an aban-                                                            -C.W.C. Central Committee for
      play. The game is a close match.                                              and culture.                                             donation to P.O. Box 2133, Greensboro, NC 27402, U.S.A.), and read
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         doned grain silo. Say its name continu-                                         Decentralization (Local 252)
                                                                                                                                             Isabell’s excellent introduction to the subject.
                                                         What didn’t get said:

             An aging automechanic lovingly strokes his sleeping wife’s hair.
                              A boy fits a razor blade to the vein in his wrist.
                 A naked girl touches one toe to a freezing river, and laughs.
         A dancer collects herself to give the final performance of her career.
A silver crescent, worn on a necklace, passed down through the generations
                                     to a grandmother who now has no heirs.
 The wonder of it—the moon in eclipse—the fugitive squats on the cliff at
       dawn, pissing into the mist, counting blessings mathematics cannot.

                             And you want to say that everything is politics?



                                      CrimethInc. Journey of Folklore and Folkwar

                                                            c/o General Delivery
                                                                   PO Box 1963
                                                             Olympia WA 98507
                                                                         U.S.A.

                                                            www.crimethinc.com
                                                             www.crimethinc.net

				
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