Out-takes from Interview with Genesis P.Orridge

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Added on January 29, 2021

From :
https://tinyurl.com/xseb367s
This out-take from the interview is of note as it infers the strong cultural connections between Symbolism, Max Ernst, Collage, Brion Gysin, William Burroughs, the ‘Beat Generation’, post modernity, industrial music and transhumanism.

P-ORRIDGE:
There seems to be what has sometimes been called original sin. There seems to be a flaw in human behavior. For example, how could there ever be a Second World War? We’ve maimed each other, killed people we love, destroyed things we like. Why would we do that? We could never do it again. That was stupid! But we do it again and again.

OBRIST:
It’s like Nietzsche’s eternal return.

P-ORRIDGE:
And so, I wanted to think, how could we change that? If there’s no either/or, there can’t be the other, and that can’t become the enemy because there is no other anymore. So, if the two become one there’s this divine unity.

OBRIST:
So, then you will have peace?

P-ORRIDGE:
Yeah.

OBRIST:
So, it was actually a peace movement in a way?

P-ORRIDGE:
Sure, I’m a child of the ‘60s.

OBRIST:
And how did you begin? Because last time we spoke, you told me that it kind of all began when you were fifteen, discovering Max Ernst. 

P-ORRIDGE:
[laughs] Oh that was just the collages, really. The idea that you could take images of so-called “reality,” and then create one that never existed. This was an incredibly powerful aspect of creativity that sometimes is buried in commerce now. In fact, to me, art has always been spiritual. Always. And ultimately the art that really matters has to lead us towards the salvation of the species, otherwise what’s it telling us?

OBRIST:
How to fight extinction?

P-ORRIDGE:
Yeah, so I’m seeing these threads unfold more and more. I can remember when I was about eight or nine, watching my mother brush my sister’s long hair, and thinking, how come I can’t have long hair? And the answer was, because you’re a boy. So, at that point I saw that there was some misfiring in the logic. It was just an inherited, conditioned concept that didn’t make sense. And of course, as the ‘60s unfolded more and more, things that didn’t make sense, that were negative, were revealed and exposed for the insanity that they are. I’ve never changed my utopian view—that we have to work towards the species becoming one organism. No nations. No countries. No tribes. No either/or. No binary. We’re all human beings.

OBRIST:
So, it’s a very holistic idea?

P-ORRIDGE:
Absolutely. We truly are an artist who doesn’t just say that life and art are the same. From the very beginning, there has been no separation. That’s why I kept everything. That’s why I have an archive.

OBRIST:
Besides your autobiography, what books are you doing?

P-ORRIDGE:
We did a book on Brion Gysin that just came out.

OBRIST:
Brion Gysin brings things to your beginnings as well, because the other thing that seems so relevant in terms of your practice is this fluidity—painting, poetry, drawing, art, performance, music—you have so many dimensions. Poetry, as you told me last time we spoke, is quite at the beginning. And there are, of course, these two key influences, [William] Burroughs and Brion Gysin in validation of your entire creative and cultural engineering practice. How did you come to poetry, and why Burroughs and Gysin?

P-ORRIDGE:
I was at one of those horrible English private schools, I had a scholarship. It was called Solihull School. One day in English class, my English teacher said, “Stay behind after class.” And I thought, oh no. What have I done wrong? I must’ve got a bad mark on my essay. Then, he had this piece of paper, and he scribbled on it, “On The Road, Jack Kerouac,” and he said, “I really think you’ll appreciate this book. Try to find it.” My father used to travel a lot with his job, so I said to him, “Could you try and find this book when you’re driving around?” And one day he came home and he had a copy. He found it in a bargain bin on the motorway. And that changed everything again.

OBRIST:
On The Road was a bestseller then.

P-ORRIDGE:
It changed a lot of people I know from that era. But when I was reading it, what fascinated me about it was that it’s about real people. Although it’s written almost like a fiction, it’s real people. Who is Dean Moriarty? Who is Old Bull Lee? Who are they? I found out that one of them was William Burroughs. So then, I hitchhiked to London and went around all the old shops. I couldn’t find anything by William Burroughs back in ’65, ‘66. And then, I went to Soho, to the porno shops, and I remember I got Jean Genet and Henry Miller, because they were considered dirty books. And lo and behold they had Naked Lunch, since it had been prosecuted for being obscene. So, I bought the only copy, well actually I stole the only copy that they had. I read that and thought, wow, it’s a bit like Max Ernst. This is someone changing reality again. Reality isn’t linear.  Time isn’t linear. It’s in a state of flux and chaos and again, the creative being has the ability, the right, and the opportunity to change reality. And that’s what I want to do because the reality I’m in isn’t one I enjoy. So, it’s a second liberation. For me, art is always about the big questions.

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