head gallery (FD): ... so, yes, ummmm ... we want to ask some questions...

head gallery (NN): ... about the new show...

Lindy Dennis: DEAD?

hg: Yeah, yeah...Is that the final title?

LD: Yes ... DEAD. The DEAD show.

hg: So, ummm, OK, where did the idea come from?

LD: I had this idea rolling around in my head for a bit of putting together this show which would cut across temporal specificity. But not like a historical show or a themed show that tried to bring together different historical works. Or tried to link things thematically. More like things cutting across time, things still contemporary in some dimension but teleported here, cutting out the aging process, the build-up of historical patina and all that stuff. And kind of ... not connected. Not like something with selected historical artifacts ... but more vital. And then I had already worked with seance enhancement technology in the past so it wasn’t a big jump...

hg: there was a curatorial objective...

LD: ...curatorial? Well, no, I didn’t think of it like that. As a control thing. Or an organization thing. It was ...

hg: … so you mean you passed the buck then?

LD: ...well, yeah ...

hg: But with Colin de Land!? He’s such a rich kid fetish...With the books and all...

LD: Hey, I just wanted to work with de Land. He was the kind of first name that came into my head. With the recovery of the books, I guess his name was just in the air. You know those things have made such a splash.

hg:...they are cool...

LD: Yeah, but more than all that ... I was attracted by … his kind of genius for … positions … and positionality … I mean …he was an art dealer ... but he was an oddity even within this context or ...err typology. We have to remember that. He had an apparent disregard for commercial success. He ran a number of innovative and highly influential art galleries for almost 20 years, a kind of maverick or aesthetic provocateur, a fearless leader of pathological risk-takers, a voyeur no one could take their eyes off, a self-taught genius in the esoteric art of thrift couture and a wastrel of such laconic decadence that he made ill-health magnetically sexy. Once he even closed his gallery for a month, and filled it full of human faeces collected from the gallery toilet in the previous 12 months, to protest the commercialization of art. And then he cavorted naked painted purple on a bed with a feminist circus group which was characteristic of his humor and intensity. Colin was an innovator and knew better than anyone how to create a dynamic social space. There was always a great mix of artists, animals, art-world veterans, and a few brave collectors to be seen there at any hour of the day or night.

hg: And so the show is on the spectrofilm?

LD: No, no. We managed to hammer out a pocket of space in one of the layers between here and the spectrofilm, a giant hollow cavity where we hung the work. Where the show was located. Colin has baptized it 'Heaven'. What you see in the head gallery show is the spectrofilm relay … or a recording of it.

hg: And how does Michael Jackson fit in?

LD: Well he was an iconic figure in 20th century popular music. But a kind of cross-over. 'Thriller' is a groundbreaking composition. Even now. I thought it would be interesting if he was involved.

hg: So what you contacted him. Or was it Colin’s idea?

LD: Yeah … OK … right it was Colin’s idea.

hg: So, how did you physically contact him?

LD: Well. So, I’ve been working on the SE [seance enhancer], tricking it out. And I just put it to the test. Plugged in and went looking for de Land. Yeah, yeah. So, I plug in and begin to surf the spectrofilm, sniffing out clues until I pinned him. with his post-genetic coords.

hg: Was it hard?

LD: Well, it wasn’t easy. Have you ever been to the spectrofilm?

hg: No.

LD: It’s wild and slimy. Everything gets ecto-coated. Everything start looking the same.

hg: Sounds painful.

LD: Well, it was a shitload of work, dredging the spectrofilm, looking for a ghost. Imagine trying to look for two. I had originally intended it to be a Seth Siegleb/Colin de Land collaboration, but I just didn’t have all that free time to blow. Got to Seigleb, too, a couple of times, but he just didn’t cooperate much.

hg: Who is Seth Sieglaub?

LD: He put on a load of shows in the 1960s, working with artists like Robert Barry and Lawrence Weiner. I was keen to work out how they would work together. In the post-spectro séance we got them both a couple of times. It was fairly equal. I think you can say it would have been a proper collaboration...or a total disaster.

hg: So, only de Land then. But how do you know it was him curating (laughter)? Yeah, how can you be sure you didn’t contact Maria Lind or Hinki Zeno by mistake? Maybe they were impersonating...

LD: Yeah that would be a problem. But no, the technology locks onto specific aura specs so its not possible. Once you pull the right coordinates off the spectrofilm, the results are certain.

hg: And so the artists. That’s a kind of weird mix ... Isn’t it?

LD: Well, I guess some of them are unknown now. I mean there are giants in there, like Rachel Feinstein and Claire Fontaine. Then, others not so well known. I was particularly interested in Feinstein being in there. She was just so political in her day - hard-core fem-anarchist, funneling her earnings to support the anti-globalisation movements, hiding the Black Block in her Palm Beach vacation house. Palm Beach wasn’t always the necropolis that archeologists comb through these days. I wondered how her polymorphism would translate in this context. The way she balanced a singular pursuit of feeling, a memory of unanchored beauty and timeless fantasy with political subtext. The way she presented history and romance, in two-dimensions, like a shadow of reality cast upon the wall of a cave.

And then Claire Fonatine, a Paris-based collective of artists, who pretended to be bourgeois rich kids, named after the notorious area of Paris where a series of riots occurred. Their productions involve a denial of individual skill, authority and originality through the collective détournement of signs, symbols, images and objects available in contemporary visual culture.

CF also wrote prolifically, and her texts were crucial to understanding her project, including trenchant assessments of the artist’s political role and her immediate responses to socio-political events in missives and tracts - for example Parisian suburban riots - which were first realized as piles of texts freely distributed to exhibition visitors. Rachel Feinstein worked with them on the idea of a "human strike,” inspired by Italian feminist groups to counter the poverty of collective political discourse and action with silence and proposals to halt human reproduction. In the DEAD show Colin included “Untitled (Thank You)” which is a red outline of Karl Marx’s face superimposed with a blinking white “Thank You” in neon semen-script, which was installed along with another neon work, “ALL FOREIGNERS ARE CUNTS” written in Middle Arabic that so few people have a grasp of these days.

I talked to Claire Fontaine in the séance and she says she knows that works like these only function symbolically. She has no illusions about her political impact, no utopian vision, no nostalgia for the avant-garde. Quite simply, art-making is her way of engaging with questions that preoccupy her, individually and collectively, in the present. Those questions are political. She clarifies her position this way: “We are like any other proletariat, expropriated from the use of life, because for the most part, the only historically significant use we can make of it comes down to our artistic work.”

hg: …and so the show.

LD: Yeah … the show was amazing. The space was …like … expansive … very big …. Like maybe 20,000 square metres … like big white walls … and the reception was mobbed …. 10 maybe 20,000 people … it was wild.

hg: … but you didn’t attend..?

LD: …well no, obviously not in person but …. we were tuned in through the necro-enhancer … connected up using ‘feel-it’ technology. It’s like you were there. And the Michael Jackson performance was wild..

hg: …he does a remake of…

LD: …yeah a remake of Thriller … but kind of mixed up with Viennese Aktionism. Otto Muehl and some of those guys. There was like maybe 1,000 zombies all synchro-dancing and then Michael jumps out dressed up in one of his Kim Jong-il military coats with golden tassels and medals and starts rocking out a dance, slitting his own stomach with a metal hanger, country abortion-style, through the metallic blue coat. A jet of green glitter shoots out of him, as his intestines just start to slither out of his torso. And he was also holding onto his penis which is writhing like a snake with a kind of rat head. Maybe he had a veil on it. It was hard to tell with all the commotion. Then Vincent Price or maybe it was Bela Lugosi jumps in and he’s doing a voice over but with new lyrics – obscene and magical. And Michael starts crying. And then Elke Krystufek starts fisting Herman Nitsch, who opens his mouth and this turquoise slime-lava blasts out.

hg: … and so all this is all on the relay-film you made..?

LD: Yeah, its all just straight filming – no edits, no touching up – just raw footage

hg: … and how did the art … err fit in …

LD: … you get some shots of the work. Like I said Claire Fontaine show their "THANK YOU" and "ALL FOREIGNERS ARE CUNTS" work. You can see them flashing away. And Rachel Feinstein replies to this with some of her social realist photographs from the "My Cock, Your mouth" series. And Velezquez went super classic with a straight painting to which he added broken crockery and a still from a Bill Viola movie.

And Peter Fend’s contribution was amazing: he dropped ten thousand feathers from an endangered species from the ceiling. It was like soiled snow, like a dirty blizzard. Sublime! And the fowl smell was so repugnant. It didn’t take long for everyone to figure out that the feathers were hiding wads of fresh bird shit that were also coming down. Yue Minjan and Jason Rhodes' paintings got completely covered by it--but that was an improvement. It was a rank stench; waves of it whipped everyone's olfactory systems, eating away the nose tissue, searing the eyes. Nostrils began to slide off faces; they just ran like melted wax. The tissue would harden again over people's mouths, sealing them permanenetly. A sea of faces with gaping holes. And so, in no time, a shallow layer of avian feces covered the floor. It mixed with the glitter that was pouring out of Michael’s slashed stomach and the slime-lava that Nitsch was vomiting and the melted tissue. And Michael’s corpse was slowly surrendering the last vestiges of life, but the people in the crowd just pounced on him. They began wantonly fucking him everywhere. In his mouth, his ears, his ass, his navel, his glove. They tore open larger holes where his nostrils had melted. His intestines were slashed so that people would have places to penetrate. Women fitted their teak and bamboo strap-ons and went to work. Someone said that the strap-on had something to do with Rachel Feinstein’s hardcore politics, with postcolonial politics and the liberation struggles in South East Asia. And the women who didn’t have strap-ons began to violently fellatio Michael. As this goes on, one could read in the faint slime that disfigured his face that he sensed something soft and sweet penetrating him. Felt it enough to release a whimper, finally relishing the artful self-disembowelment he had undertaken. He spasms one last time. Orange jelly spurts out. Everyone fights savagely to get a turn at him. Michael's music was replaced by the slushy sound of wood being pumped into slimy flesh. It turns out they were real zombies. Colin figured out how to tweak the seance technologies to reanimate rotting corpses. And while this is going on, Krystufek is still fisting Nitsch,who is about to pass out. She’s so deep in him, she can massage his intestines. She has already blown out his rectum and his hemorrhoids. And she herself is getting arm-fucked--with a stray zombie limb--by Rudolf Schwarzkogler. He has tried to pump his dick in her. But since it’s split, it hardens in two directions, jutting out at 45 degrees, making a V. He was puzzled by it. And so he just lets two women fellatio him simultaneously. The feeling of their tongues on his split eurethra is indescribable. His eyes are blood-shot. Veins outlined against yellowing balls. Colin, again with enviable timing, capitalizing on the daze-frenziness, starts playing some ancient DJ music, dims the lights, drops three rudimentary lightning systems, and warp-adjust the reality-coords of ‘Heaven‘ so that the scene morphs into a post-disco but pre-Thriller Michael vid-space. The zombies, puppeted by de Land, grow small Afros. Like crystal growths on their flesh, small, finely-carved mirrors start to appear. Each of the zombies is eventually covered in a gridded skin of mirrors, like a disco ball. Walking disco balls with Afros. And then the spiral configuration of Dash Snow's mattress artwork emerges out of the centre of the gallery, moving upwards, growing into a strange five-part form with five anuses, like an exotic fruit or seedcase. Sprouting upwards and then suddenly shit pours out of for of the arseholes - silver shit - pouring down on the art congregation below who have all returned to their synchro-dance. But half of them are amputees now and topple over. And out of the fifth arsehole there is a burst of multi-coloured human - birds. And by this time, the crowd had literally eaten most of Michael. With glittery blood running down their chins and pieces of skin hanging from their teeth and orange jelly coating their gums, the crowd members seem satiated. Signs of exhaustion multiply. But on stage Krystufek has now both Nitsch and Schwarzkloger kneeling before her, as she is violently fisting them, driving her entire forearm into them. Wojnarowicz, grinning luridly is sewing them all together into one object. She's going at it vigorously.They are both vomiting slime-lava now. Krystufek is naked but for an immense wooden crucifix with spikes and hooks that she has swung over her shoulder. It bounces up and down, pulling chunks of flesh of her back, as she pumps into the two old men in front of her. Nitsch finally collapses. The spikes of the crucifix have written out the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” on Krystufeks’s back, in Morse code. It'll scab nicely.

hg: …and I saw on some promo images … those little flowers …

LD: Yes … that was strange. Once everything had calmed down, these kind of tiny, delicate, lilac-coloured flowers started to sprout – a kind of pale violet flower, very small about the size of a bean-sprout. At first it looked like dust, covering everything: the artworks, bodies on the floor, the shit, the living people. Everything looked pink. We zoomed in with spectro-view and we could see it wasn’t dust but tiny little flowers blooming out of each pore, growing out of the skin, or out of the shit. It grew fast and then we could see that a tongue was growing out of each flower like a stamen.



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