Jun 062008

Anders Wahlgren – Pistolteatern 1964-67

Ett av Runkbåsets outtalade uppdrag är att gräva sig fram genom gamla sluskiga andrahandsaffärer och dammiga, halvt avvecklade bibliotekskällare följandes det heliga snusket, den helande världssmutsen… hett eftertraktade artefakter, skrapiga inspelningar… osluttänkta historieskrivningar, osedda samband, förbisedda dokument… för att kunna bredda händelseförlopp och göra oväntade kopplingar… för att bringa ljus och respekt till de gamle, och en viss sorts släktskapskänsla till de yngre… någonstans i detta fack faller läsningen av filmaren Anders Wahlgrens Pistolteatern 1964-67.

Boken handlar om nåt gammalt teatraliskt 08-kyffe där författaren fick sin fostran redan som gymnasist genom att sköta teknikerbåset och producera kortfilmer till teaterns föreställningar i mitten av 60-talet, vilket borde varit ett intressant extraknäck.

Pistolteatern hörde jag först talas i samband med Doktor Kosmos, vars andra platta “var en rockopera med en historia om en kille på glid”, och som 1998 blev “en föreställning som gick på Pistolteatern i Stockholm med bandet på scen.” Doktor Kosmos historia är dock inte lika intressant som Pistolteaterns, och det nyproggiga 90-talet bleknar i jämförelse med det experimentella 60-talet. När man läser Wahlgrens bok får man intrycket att Pickan i sin barndom hade mer gemensamt med exempelvis Lars O’månssons godmodiga absurdism än en trångkörd kulturrörelse som såg ner på populärkultur och amatörism. Scenen i Sverige innehöll även förr annat än vissångare, plakatmålare, duktighet och mjukisstalinism. På Pistolteatern satte Öyvind Fahlström upp sina pjäser när Dramaten dissade honom, här reppade Nam June Paik internationellt med musikaliska nakenskandaler, och här sippade Janne “Loffe” Karlsson rödtjut och blåste fint hasch före det dagliga experimentella jazz-jammet satte igång. Man blandade elektronmusik, reklamskyltar, super 8-filmer, lite naket, neo-dadaistisk, pre-Cobainsk möbeldestruktion, psykedeliska färgprojektioner, happenings, ljud-kollage, och mycket annat… sammanfattningsvis, om du är en av alla dessa SQUARES (som ser världen fyrkantigt, istället för svagt elliptiskt, vilket vore mer korrekt) och HATERS (som hatar på experimentell amatörism i allmänhet, maskinungdomens sexuella revolution i synnerhet) så kan du suga samtliga närvarande i Runkbåsets kukar… inte så att jag får lust att sätta ihop någon slags fri teatergrupp, men ändå… den här boken är faktiskt läsvärd.

Jan 062008

Copyriot har länkat hit under rubriken Kringkultur. Det är passande. För oss är motkulturen jävligt död, och kanske även begravd på en specifik plats. Samma sak med förkulturen – förhuden är inte betydande eller helig för oss, men möjligtvis stortån, eller det mänskliga ägget.

Jan 062008

(This is a translation of Södra Stockholms dödsbok, published by the mysterious and notorious Högdalen Business School. The original text can be found here.

Lorenzo Lamas, guest professor at Högdalen Business School, presented us with a broken text, the first part clear and concentrated, and in the second part a stiff genre-formalism sets in. The reason for this is probably that the author wanted to publish the text in some glossy business magazine. However, this forces me to modify the text, delete some repetetive and stereotypical parts, save the essentials, and so change a little bit of the meaning, or at least change the form in which this mix of theory, satire and lived literature is presented in.

South Stockholm’s Book Of Death can be read as a continuation of a theme common to christian, muslim and buddhist mysticism, that is killing your own self, your ego, “cutting the head of your personality”. When this mystic practice meets with the de-individualization of present day society, and is put in contact with the revolutionairy activity of the working classes, it’s fucking dynamite.)


South Stockholm’s Book Of Death

Death is nothing to play around with. You have to handle it carefully. Not like Antonin Artaud who one day in november 1947 declared war on his own organs. That is clearly taking things a bit far. But it can be good to kill yourself a little bit now and again.

Next to the suburb where I live there is an old grown-over landfill. I go here often, sometimes in the middle of the night, when I feel restless or unsatisfied in some way. I feel like that pretty often, so I consequently spend quite some time here. The top of the landfill is the highest point in Stockholm. I am sitting in an old car-seat right by the edge, looking down over the south of Stockholm. I go here when the world is turning to slowly, to fast, when you never call me, or when the five last missed numbers on my cell phone ends in zero zero(1). Most often when the world is going too slowly. I get stressed of not being stressed and I have to produce all the time to feel good. Do things, find new artificial needs, new kicks, new drugs and new people to fall in love with. I am completely empty and have to find things to fill up with all the time. Once upon a time this scared me. It felt “unnatural”. I was not “myself”. But now I have killed “myself”. Now I am my desires. No more and no less. Since I have realized that is has to be this way I feel so much better, in fact better than I have ever felt. I can die and be reborn all the time. I don’t have to be anything I don’t want to. Least of all I have to be normal. I can be whoever the fuck I want to. I can die and resurrect as Lorenzo Lamas, a b-actor with writer-ambitions and a strong homoerotic image. The only things I have to pay attention to are some basic needs like eating and sleeping.

It is exactly at this point you have to be careful. Not to go to extremes. I suspect that was exactly what the french playwright and actor Antonin Artaud did that day in november in Paris. Artaud however had an extra big reason to be mad at his own organs. When he was a kid he had a brain fever that never really let go. He had a headache his entire life. Besides that Artoud suffered from cancer and died a couple of months after his declaration of war.

But he was on the right track, despite the exaggeration. It is totally logical that Artaud who said that he was born of his own works, of his creativity and not by some mother, sooner or later have to deal with his own organs, his own body. With the illusion of “the human being”. We are what we do. Not what we are born to or what we are expected to do. There are no housewives who like to be housewives because of nature or men that are born to be car mechanics. That things end up that way anyway depends on the way that we are trained to believe it has to be that way. That we are tricked into believing that there is an original human being that is made in different ways from the beginning. That we during our entire life are divided into a bunch of categories. Man, woman, white, black, worker, young, old and so on. Most characteristics are forced upon us so that it will be easier to control and make money of this control. If women are to work for free in the homes it is of course good if they believe that this corresponds well with their inherent caracteristics. If society needs car mechanics it is convenient if some people think that they are genetically suited to be intrested in engines. If someone wants to sell popular culture it’s not a bad idea to invent the category “youth”. There are a lot of forces telling you that you are in a specific way. Ad agencies, school, Rigmor Robert(2), psychologists, christian democrats, big business. All of them are of course lying because of highly selfish reasons. For you to behave in a special way that they profit of. I could be a little bitter and claim that we work round the clock producing personalities that fit into the different categories. But I will save that for another time. Now you have been warned anyway.

Start from the other way instead. I am nothing(3), but can become more or less anything. Grab ahold of something and start producing yourself. A different human being, an activity or a thing. How does this thing work? What can I become with it? Be careful when it comes to things though. Most products are totally idiotic and the way we are meant to use them are even dumber. But everything can be used in a different way than it was originally designed to. Well, not really everything. Perhaps not shampoo against dandruff, but definitely popular culture, alco-soap(4), Internet, spray cans, pieces of cloth, sidewalks and cobble stones. And of course, all ways are good except the bad ones. And remember that things are useless in themselves. It is only when you use them that they fill some kind of function whatsoever. You have to give away, or perhaps even throw away all things you have not used the last month.

The only thing left is the same old problem. Society, also known as “The Empire” or “The Global Biocontrol Industry”, is thus designed that you have to work in order to get the things that you want. We are also divided into categories that make it easier for us to be controlled. But if can we kill ourselves perhaps we can also kill society. Let us all form a big death cult, where we once and for all can settle with all the ideas about ourselves. Kill categories like “human being”, “normal”, “man”, “woman”, “worker”, and all other stupid labels they opress us with. Kill the idea that we have to produce anything else than things that satisfy our desires. Society, as we know it, will fall the day when enough people feel that they don’t have time to work if they are going to be able to satisfy their desires in an effective and stimulating way. When we no longer allow those who make money on our work to define how we “are”. Then we all together are going to be forced to find a new way to organize existence. New ways of being. A new world where you work very little, but produce things all the time anyway. I imagine that society as a fat orgy in roman times, but with modern toys. Or perhaps not. That is something we have to reach a conclusion about together, and we’ll see where it all ends up. Until then you have to promise not to go to extremes, like Antonin Artaud. You are probably going to have to both eat and sleep. But don’t forget to kill yourself every now and again. That can be real fucking refreshing.

(1) Telephone numbers from swedish governmental and municipal institutions usually end with the numbers zero zero.
(2) Rigmor Robert is a swedish psychologist who is know for defending a “biologist” point of view in public debates.
(3) Or, like Olof Petterson says in Deleuze och Platon – Filosofi som förvandling “I am a black hole, a singularity, with only the simple experience of once having been sun”.
(4) There are cases in Sweden where teenage girls have drunk this kind of soap to get drunk. It works, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Nov 162007



Precis som travbanan går historien runt och runt, och det bakomläggande systemet löses trots trägna studier upp i otydlighet.

En fjäder, eller fritt fallande lättpartiklar, eller exempelvis en plastpåse, rör sig helt och hållet beroende av yttre förhållanden (vind i atmosfären) i spiraler, i fria bågar.

En fluga ritar upp ändlösa vektorer; det är en enhet som besitter en sorts intelligens, som trots sina begränsningar visar på en fantastisk ingenjörskonst.

En fågel är nåt helt annat.

Nov 162007

I och med 1900-talets sekularisering i västerlandet behövdes nya Jesus-gestalter, något som Goretex, trots sina tillkortakommanden, hade klart för sig när han talade om Non Phixion som “the new religion, like Hendrix down at Rainbow Bridge“. Varje rock-stjärna erbjuder Jesus-poser, och i varje nedslag i den moderna musikens historia går det att finna ett slags trosystem. Populärkulturen har till viss del övertagit religionens roll att förmedla mytologi och föreställningar om den värld som är bortom och bakom vår synliga, fattbara existens.

Poulärmusikens historia är mytologi, inte bara i meningen överdrifter, skryt och obekräftade anekdoter, men också mytologi som ett sätt att organisera och förmedla erfarenhet bortanför teorins och propagandans gränser (på samma sätt som Gudstanken är ett sätt att tackla tillvaron där vetenskap och rationellt tänkande är otillräckligt).

David Bowie är likt Kraftwerk, Pink Floyd och Metallica tankemusik; men enbart polygon, enbart nihilistisk värdeförstörelse. Arkitekturen, porrmodellerna är av polygoner, allt här är ljus, elektricitet, här föds en människa som är helt och hållet framåtstörtande, destruktiv kraft. Vad är viktigt? Andra sidan av Low, Space Oddity, Starman, Life On Mars. Allt annat substanslös, mjäkig “rock-lyrik” och icke-polygonskt poserande.

Likt Kapten Nemo vet Major Tom att verklig hastighet endast kan hittas på havets botten. På andra sidan av Low stöter den nihilistiska processen på maximalt djup, splittras i polygoner, och slungas vidare i polygonsk bärkraft; en hypermodern, innehållslös farkost som lever vidare i elektricitet och elektronisk kultur.

C.R.A.Z.Y. är likt River’s Edge och Rumble Fish en trevlig nordamerikansk ungdomsfilm, men också en film om den heliga, helande musiken och dess uppenbarelseformer. I det fantastiska ljudarbetet sträcker sig skärmen ut mot synaren i en polygonsk rörelse, men det är inte en öppen film, den följer mallen där regissören tryggt knyter ihop allt i slutscenen, istället för att låta historien spinna vidare i ditt huvud, trogen tillvarons trasighet. Livets musik är assymetrin, ogreppbarheten, att “Guds vägar äro outgrundliga“, Joy Division, New Order. Helvetet är en värld utan sammanträffanden.

jmf: “Toward The Plastic: The New Alchemy”, By Giddle & Boyd

Oct 212007

“Out of bed early. Went to the window, like every morning. I’m asking the world, or at least this place, with this morning ritual.”

Some works continue, refreshingly undisguised, into Johan Jönson’s books of “poetry”; some jargon from Heiner Müller, some drug-and-sex-metaphysics from Burroughs, and some concepts from Deleuze, Virilio, and others. However, it is also possible to absorb him as death metal, grindcore, Skinny Puppy, Meshuggah, Autechre, Merzbow. That is probably the interpretation that will get you the closest to these books.

The two years from Johan Jönsons debut Som Samplingsdikter (“As Sample Poems“) to Näst sista våldet (“The Next To Last Violence“) are important. The form has been straightened up – each spread is four lines, an empty line, another four lines, and the same thing on the other page, which is a contrast to the debut’s rambling, lightly edited first person monologues. The subject-matter also finds itself more concentrated. The undertitle Stycken ur anställningen (“Pieces from the employment“) hints at a movement away from the autobiographical to stark images of work in hospitals, laboratories, apartment buildings, subways, civil war, insect-consciousness. The text has become more naked, open, without hope – and fertile. We can continue here.

Much of the bleeding heart anarchist-sentiments that always could be found in the earlier books have been sweated away when we come to I krigsmaskinen (“In The War Machine“) – even though the tendency to research and analyze the planet remains. Something could be said here about writers who take efforts to create other stories than those from their own short life, who write themselves out of their own shitty angst and self-absorption (what Swedish poet-turned-aphorist Vilhelm Ekelund called “lyrical ‘unhappiness’ -: cowardice, a feminine bluntness in reasoning-tools, feminine self-pity, lack of interest in the truth“.

I read MONOMTRL as “one material” – a mass where everything affects everything, everything is needed (an outgrowth on the Spinoza-Deleuze-branch) – but also “materialistic”; all noise is needed, all the dirt, all distortion, all the patient, waiting, trying, testing, experimental work. Here it means descriptions of cities, blurry monologues, over-edited samples, noise, work-place-reports, distortion, repetition, in an unstructured composition; an open system, a continuing work.

Unresolvable oppositions.
Other people’s suffering.
Sex-less blow jobs.
Short stories about God.”

Here follows some excerpts from MONOMTRL, translated into english.



Vibrations woke me up in the middle of the night. Had dreamt about death as a well-doer. An infinite number of nurses in white that floated forth and gave deadly and painless injections to everyone who preferred to be dead, but were afraid of the process of dying itself. Before the injections the nurses fulfilled everyone’s last sexual desires.



… an open space in different grays … between … the cast concrete-foundations that … gives support to the city-states streets and squares … an annihilating light … on its way forward … entering …


… a parking place … thrown out into space … outside of … the city is felt … in connection to … an incalculable shopping center … but … going away … or drowning … a dull electric ocean in an artificial green that … floats … a slow-flowing transparence … an interstellar gel … reflections of light … and subject the decorated shopping cart … that is about to speak …


… steppe-desert-landscape-sepia … insoluble with the sepia of the production … heaven and sand is blurred together … chopped-of cattle head … or buried cattle … close … in the feverish and very slow phenomenology … dusk and dawn … unidentified floating particles … dissolution between vision and experience … a deserted barn … mild hallucination about wide-spread death … and a possible newly awoken glitch … to restart from … to finish …


… glistening green corridor in movement … geometric waterfall of fluorescent lamps … a clinic and seducing vacuum-draft… right in front of … on the same level … nothing behind the mute and static light-flow …



If we could see the networks of electricity, telephone- and computer-communication with our own eyes, we would see that matter has freed itself and has started thinking and that the earth is covered by an aura of diffuse light.



1. Play. Cum. Noise. Through

2. me. Yes. Rectally. De
stroy. Play. Re

3. Make me. Stop. Wombs
pump. In
spurts out

4. 5. symptom-carriers. Silver dots. Directly
in the motor-wheelchairs. Rec. The Dollar Sign.
Rerewind. In the out
march of microbes. The front
asses constitutes a. Noise. Single. In.

6. 7. 9. A coordination system. One.
Mumbling. Wide open mechanical and.

8. Flat abyss. In. Silence. Still. All
directions. Play. The surviving.
Mumbling. Shit on the or
igin-machine. Give us
residence permits and. Fastforward.
Our daily. Blood sacrifice. I
give birth and kill. One

10. 11. 14. triangle. Becomes and
becomes. What you want. Pause.
Die. My body. A negative circle.
Are no longer. Use.
Noise. Flicker. Play. Here.

15. Chopped of body
parts. Of me.

16. 17. 29. Rec. Mirror-rectangular. I am made.
To that slave. Rerewind. Play.
I can constitute. If. Again. Bubbling

13. silver dots. I. Am re
territorialized. I.
The pentagon. On bare.
Knees. Stop. With gaping
eyes. And gaping

18. 20. 19. mouth. And. Noise.
Fastforward. Rerewind. Play.

24. Still. Rec. Mumbling. Chopped
up-bodily-ness. Here.
Scrawling. My Heart. Pause. But.

25. 26. 44. That is. Play.

29. 28. A technical. Artefact. Play. Pause.
Yes. But. That.
Fastforward. Rerewind. Still. Working.
For. Mumbling.

27. The girls. Noise.
Flicker. Silence.

23. Rec. About. Mani. Hackings.

31. Padme. Rec.

¥‡ºŠ™§. Hum. Mmmm.

Oct 162007

“I am the camera’s eye. I am the machine that shows you the world as I alone see it. Starting from today I am forever free of human immobility. I am in perpetual movement. I approach and draw away from things–I crawl under them–I climb on them–I am on the head of a galloping horse–I burst at full speed into a crowd–I run before running soldiers–I throw myself down with the aero planes–I fall and I fly at one with the bodies falling or rising through the air. “

Sep 262007

Erik Satie höll nog tungan jävligt rätt i mun när han för runt ett sekel sedan skrev om en framtida möbelmusik. Men trots den absurda söndagskrönikestämningen i Saties noteringar finns det nåt att dröja kvar vid här.

I viss mening kan möbel ersättas med hiss, och i detta sammanhang intar Kraftwerk en rent reaktionär position.

Hissmusiken hjälpte konsumenter att konsumera mer, men också en ny sorts musik på traven. Konsertformen och den passivt andaktiga, uppmärksamma lyssnaren fick konkurrens. Brian Eno släppte sin flyplatsplatta, och trettio år senare lyssnar jag nästan uteslutande på en slags aktiv bakgrundsmusik, en bruksmusik som är funktionell likt möblemanget.

På samma sätt som Satie föreställde sig en musikmatta som skulle fylla ut tomrummen i ljudmiljön och fungera som en auditiv skyddsbarriär mot besticksslammer och människoröster, så använder jag dub-house, minimalistisk techno och ambient för att neutralisera skrikande bildäck, reklamhögtalare och djungelvrål från störda individer utanför mitt vardagsrumsfönster.

Sep 172007

Vår blick för anti-politisk inspiration har vanligtvis legat bortanför vattnet, men Gyllene Flottan är ett gäng som alltid är välkomna på ubåten när vi rör oss mot den nord-västra passagen.

(Ungdomar, lyssna, att säga nej till TRÅKSOCIALISM är lika viktigt som att säga nej tiller CRACK.)

Den rotlösa kommunistungdom som förlorat sig i populärkulturen och den blog-verksamhet som intresserar sig för post-situationisk teori bör uppmärksamma Gyllene Flottan som en av sina nära föregångare. De var inte perfekta, men några saker gjorde de rätt. När Jan Myrdal reste runt i Kina och klädde sig som en arbetare och resten av landet var insyltat i auktoritär proggsmörja översatte dessa hjältar texter ur Internationale Situationniste och gjorde sin egen kritik av svenskt studentliv, och idag när Myrdal skriver vinkrönikor och nationalistpropaganda är namnen bakom Gyllene Flottan fortfarande höljda i fruktbart mörker.

Deras främsta förtjänster var dock varken teoretisk mognad eller förakt för författarnamnkulten; vad som mest lockar mig till att dröja kvar här är den närhet till populärkulturen som genomsyrar deras publikationer. När jag tittar igenom de få utgivna bladen ser jag ledare undertecknade Astro-pojken och Stålflickan, och James Bond-omslag och – vackrast av allt – på försättsbladet till Livets rum och tid, en seriealbumsastronaut och undertiteln “Hela universum är utlämnat åt arbetarrådens plundringståg“.

Kontrasten till dåtidens progg och stalinistiska kultursyn är enorm. Wu Ming säger:

“I think that if you don’t know pop culture, you don’t know your culture, thereby you don’t know the world around you. If you don’t know shit about pop culture, how can you be on the cutting edge of anything? If you don’t soil your hands with pop culture, if you snub and sneer at today’s participatory culture, you can’t be “avantgarde”, no matter how hard you try.”

Än idag är Gyllene Flottans individuella beståndsdelar okända för allmänheten. Kanske bäst så, mina personliga spekulationer rörande lyckliga, solskenskäcka livsöden och försvinnanden in i sprit, trav, heroin och resfeber duger gott för mig.

Aug 272007

This is my first post in english – hopefully there will be more in the future.

Whether we are talking about a telekinetic splatterfest in a shopping mall food court, a vagina-like slit opening up in your stomach and swallowing your gun and your video-tapes, or just a dose of some good old car crash-sex, Canadian director David Cronenberg is responsible for some of the most brain-bending moments in cinema. Many of his movies concentrate on a fear of bodily transformation and infection, and therefore it is reasonable to talk about him as a maker of Body Horror-movies.

The theme of graphic descriptions of diseases and mutations turning human beings inside out was established in Shivers from 1975. In the BBC-documentary David Cronenberg And The Cinema Of The Extreme the director tells us that he “wanted to have a kind of claustrophobic, trapped feel, and there was something about a high-rise apartment building in which little dramas were unfolding in each apartment. I wanted to suggest that the proliferation of this strange disease was on one strange level liberating, and that gives the film I think its very disconsertive feel.”

To this zombie-maestro George Romero adds in the same documentary that “it’s really part of the job of the genre to rattle your cage and to create an environment that is not the environment that you’re in, it’s not the world, it’s meant to shake that world up, particularly if you’re using it as some form of criticism of the ways things are. The big problem I’ve always had with normal horror is that things are restored to normality in the end, whereas the whole genre is meant to bring down reality or destroy it.”

Cronenberg went on to direct many conceptually interesting and culturally significant movies throughout the seventies, eighties and nineties. The gore-remake of the classic The Fly is for all its broken eighties logic and dated dialogue and special effects an enjoyable two hours of popcorn-magic. Who better to remake this fifties classic of extreme science and bodily mutations than Cronenberg? And who could have been more fitting for the adaption of William S. Burroughs underground classic Naked Lunch to the silver screen? Here it is perhaps better to talk about mutation rather than adaptation, since the idea of sticking to the story in the book is wisely thrown away. Such a treatment would after all – according to the director – “cost 500 million dollars and be banned in every country of the world”. Instead we get a movie where episodes from Burroughs personal life as a bug-exterminator in New York City and as an expatriate in the lawless, drug-filled Interzone in northern Africa are mixed with dusted segments of typewriters turning into giant, slimy cockroaches and sadistic female nazi-officers interrogating him about who knows what.

In eXistenZ the reality matrix is distorted when players enter a deadly Virtual Reality game, without an idea of when they get out, or if they even can. The bad acting and technical glitches of certain video games are here taken to a higher level, and it is all fun stuff and weird moments. Crash, based on a novel by J.G. Ballard, tells us about a group of people with one thing in common, they all get really turned on by car accidents. The hot date between man and machine is yet again explored from an unexpected angle.

In the end, these are all more interesting to talk and write about, than to actually watch. All are fine, enjoyable movies, but none of the mentioned have the attractive low budget-qualities and the perfect narrative synthesis between sex, gore and brain that we find in three movies from 1979, 1981 and 1983 – The Brood, Scanners and Videodrome.

The Brood details the unorthodox practices of a pychotherapist who encourages his patients to let their mental problems run amok on their bodies. A man who is verbally abused by his father develops welts on his body as a manifestation of his pain, and another patient develops lymphatic cancer as an expression of his self-hatred. The main character wants to rescue his pregnant wife, who is undergoing intense treatment at this clinic, and the rest is an impressive seventies mess of mutations, gore and motherhood. This movie has a wonderful seventies grindhouse-feel, and several strong scenes you are unlikely to forget. The seventies was after all the golden, alchemical age of horror movie-making, where the amateur gore turns into an image of worship – a way out of this shallow world of our fixed senses, a bad performance is expanded into an unforgettable slice of low-life, and the drunk camera gives a point from which to view the world that is beyond both hyperrealism and surreality.

Image of worship is meant as a part of the pop culture trinity Gore-Data-Sex, which dominates our screen society as a glimpse of that other world which is beyond our fixed senses. Meditating, contemplating in front of the image of death, in front of life’s shortness and fragility is the third, final way out of the prison of self, the first being sex; the union of bodies in orgasm as we are transcending and forgetting ourselves, in the way that Bataille describes in Eroticism. The second is the union of flesh and machine, where the self is forgotten in an intense, concentrated marriage with computers, samplers, synthesizers, editing equipment, photographic machines, etc.

Mutilated bodies – representing death – is a sacred image, watching gore-flicks is the ritual. What is the disintegration of our bodies, if not a union with the body that is beyond our finite senses, the Mind At Large, “that Other World which lies at the back of every mind” that Huxley talks about in his The Doors Of Perception and Heaven And Hell?

Scanners are people with extraordinary telpathic and telekinetic abilities, sought after by ConSec, a company specializing in weaponry and security systems. Being a futuristic thriller with lots of action, beautiful gore, and all the evil corporations, dangerous technology and doomed bodily transformations demanded by the genre, this was Cronenbergs biggest commercial success until The Fly, six years later.

Both The Brood and Scanners have their eye-popping moments that will impress even the most jaded genre-fan – but it is not all about the visual. Just like Akira and A Clockwork Orange these movies have something to say about institutionalized society and its “Guinea Kids” and machine martyrs, young people whose bodily fluids are subjected to experiments with fatal results, all in the name of science, morality and society. This is part of that critical nerve that adds to Cronenberg’s rare quality of being both nice and nasty at the same time. Even as your body is falling apart, you think it would be fitting with some sweet, sweet Boards Of Canada on the soundtrack. These movies breathe with the love of the cinematic craft and its possibilities, and when I watch the extra material for The Fly I get the impression that David Cronenberg is a really nice, quiet guy, someone who seems calm and easy to work with. He often uses the same crew for his movies, and the greater part is shot in Canada. Regarding this he has said that “every country needs a system of government grants in order to have a national cinema in the face of Hollywood”.

“The battle for the mind of North America will be fought in the video arena: the Videodrome. The television screen is the retina of the mind’s eye. Therefore, the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore, television is reality, and reality is less than television”
(Videodrome, 1983)

In the year after Scanners, The Message and Planet Rock were recorded, leading out one long-lived global wave of protest, and another of resistance and community. It was also the year when Philip K. Dick died, and I was born. In the year after Videodrome was released.

Videodrome began really with the idea of a man watching a program that came to him on television, that was a very strange, extreme program which he became obsessed with and which he could not discover the source of (…) It is, I suppose, a comment about media, the human body and the concept of reality being something that is a concept of will rather than some absolute that’s given to us.”
(Cronenberg in The Cinema Of The Extreme)

It is the ultimate movie about the television screen, a mythological tale of media and its psychedelic powers. In its own way a postmodern movie, you feed Videodrome by watching it on your television, and you begin to think to yourself: “What is it I am watching? What is the true nature of the screen?” In this way Videodrome is an open masterpiece, Cronenberg at his best hallucinating-discussing the marriage between media, flesh and technology.

“The most accessible version of the ‘New Flesh’ in Videodrome would be that you can actually change what it means to be a human being in a physical way. (…) We’re free to develop different kinds of organs that would give pleasure, and that have nothing to do with sex. The distinction between male and female would diminish, and perhaps we would become less polarized and more integrated creatures. I’m not talking about transsexual operations. I’m talking about the possibility that human beings would be able to physically mutate at will, even if it took five years to complete that mutation.”

If it was clever to cast Arnold as the terminator, it is pure genius on Cronenberg’s part throwing new wave-singer, sex-icon Debbie Harry in here as self-help personality and closet sado-masochist Nicki Brand. Videodrome has the same classic feel to it as sci-fi masterpieces Terminator, Aliens and Robocop from the same era, and just like in those movies the settings, the special effects and visual concepts are just beautiful. But Videodrome feels like it is growing more and more contemporary with time. Its exploration of an eghties video-underground projected into the future is also a powerful cinematic statement about our present screen existence; that social sphere created by media-addicts, otaku-maniacs, fan-fiction, blog-criticism, youtube, bedroom-bores, porno-scum, file sharing networks, reality games and affordable, easily copied CDs and DVDs.

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