By Marina Galperina
Last week, artist Petr Pavlensky nailed himself to the ground near Kremlin in the Red Square, “by the balls” — technically, the scrotum — and it echoed dramatically in the press.
Though he was initially detained and released without charges, he is now facing a vague “hooliganism” charge and up to five years in jail. I spoke to the artist at length this weekend, over the phone in Russian — about the recent developments in case, about Pussy Riot, about art, forms of resistance and the Russian society’s passive fixations, about physical pain, jail and other phobias.
He says he’s not a performance artist, but an actionist — if you must classify him. He has no political alliances. Ideologically, he’s an Anarchist. This is our interview. Stay tuned.
Has international press attention directly impacted the investigation and resulted in charges now suddenly being filed against you?
To charge me with anything, plaintiffs had to be located. I learned through a link to a forum that a group called “The Society of Resistance Against Russophobia” (or something like that) filed a complaint. How will this unravel? I understand what context I am in, politically; I account for my actions. To me, the consequences – the authority’s reaction, its displeasure – may express itself in several forms. I’m in a dialogue with the authority.
Alright, besides the 70′s era Z-Boys, I would have to say the the Alva Posse days were pretty fun for me. I dropped out of the tenth grade and started silkscreening skate boards for Alva in 1985. All I can say is every day was an adventure and that time is a part of my life that I will never forget. A couple years later, I moved back to Venice and got real close with Jef Hartsel and John Thomas, who took me ramp skating on the daily. The Alva Posse had a major influence on skate culture in the 80′s and beyond…Check out this retrospective of the bad boys of skating!
GILA MONSTER JAMBOREE: This gig, January 5, 1985, 100 miles out into the Mojave Desert, was our first “L.A.” gig, first time we’d played on the west coast, part of an airplane tour from Seattle on south. That picture of us “in the back of a Chevy” on the Death Valley ’69 12-inch is also from this trip. The gig was organized by one Stuart Sweezy, now of Amok Press (check it out!), who had this penchant for strange locations — Minutemen and Meat Puppets on a barge on the S.F. Harbor, another desert gig with Einsterzende Neubauten… your ticket entitled you to a map to the gig site which was not handed out until the morning of the show (to prevent scans). Else you could buy a place on one of the buses hired to transport those transported souls with better things to do than cope with the road. The gig started early in the day with Psi-Com, which featured a barefoot Perry Farrell skanking in the sand and waxing poetic. Redd Kross followed, and by the time we went on it was about twilight. These songs were mostly brand new at the time, from the as-yet unreleased Bad Moon Rising LP. We’d waited a long time to make it west, and this was a pretty perfect introduction. Bob Bert was on the drums with us at the time. The cover photo, by someone named Alan Peak, all trails and blurr, sums up the occasion quite well. Band portrait by Naomi Petersen. This video was shot by the folks at Flipside Magazine. After us came the Meat Puppets, who played on into the night as the desert cold set in, under a big ring around the moon.
How many of us have felt like they were born in the wrong era? There is a mystique that the past holds; imagining what different lives we would have lived from our parents. I can’t tell you how many times as a youth that I reflected on the fact that my parents could have seen Black Sabbath’s original lineup, but didn’t. That if I had been born just 10 years earlier, I could have experienced punk in its heyday. Now that I’m older, and I’ve realized how to be happy with my own life experiences, it doesn’t bother me as much, but as a teenager I thought that someone had fucked up by releasing my soul into the world in 1980 and not 1950, ’60 or ’70. Many people who inspired me as a young woman were long dead by the time I was able to truly appreciate their contribution to music and the world. As a newly disgruntled 14-year-old, I had only just professed my undying love for Nirvana a few months before Kurt Cobain went and died, ensuring I would never, ever get to see them live. Now Sachs Media Group has commissioned photo restoration/manipulation company Phojoe to breathe life back into some of the world’s favorite dead musicians. The results are kind of hilarious, and actually make me reflect that although some of these men and women died very young, they were meant to – they had completed their mission and made a massive impact on the culture of music, and maybe if they had lived, that legacy would have gotten all fucked up. Janis Joplin cds sold at Starbucks, John Lennon cds at Whole Foods, both of them living off their massive royalties in the Hollywood Hills? Not a world I would want to live in. Check out nine notorious musicians if they had been alive today…
The paintings of Takato Yamamoto have a vicious beauty; their stunning detail is akin to the Ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the 18th century that initially influenced his work, but Yamamoto has developed his style into something he calls “heisei aestheticism.” He combines brutality with serenity in his paintings – blood and gore envisioned in intricate and delicate lines, with a graceful flow running through each scene. There is a vibrant sexuality in much of his work, but he also works in death and torture in the disturbingly erotic way that you expect from manga. Yamamoto’s work is available as high quality prints here, and you can also pick up books of his work. Step through the gates of the underworld and check out a gallery of his work below…
Jimmy Nelson‘s photography is beyond amazing, and this fact can be seen in his photo series entitled “Before They Pass Away.” The series took him to over 31 countries, and four years of his life, and results in some of the most unreal pictures I have ever seen. He is able to capture the art in his subjects, making it even more striking than his technique. Now it’s time for you to check out Jimmy Nelson‘s pictures, because they can say way more than I ever could!
“Tribes and forgotten cultures teach us about aspects of humanity such as love, respect, peace, survival and sharing. There is a pure beauty in their goals and family ties, their belief in gods and nature, and their will to do the right thing in order to be taken care of when their time comes. Whether in Papua New Guinea or in Kazakhstan, in Ethiopia or in Siberia, tribes are the last resorts of natural simplicity.” – Jimmy Nelson
This totally speaks to the nerd living inside of me – Sholim’s Animated Gif & Surreal Mechanical Heads. In the age we are living in, GIFs have become a part of our culture and on certain levels have become art! When you look at Sholim’s work long enough, you can see the deeper meanings he is trying to communicate about our society. Besides all of that, they are fun to look at, so check them out NOW!
When you take a look at cultures from around the world, you see more similarities than differences. Case in point – while the west has often characterized rituals that involve masks, animal and supernatural costumes as being in the realm of “tribal” peoples, it is ignoring its own tribal roots, which are alive and well in many parts of Europe today. In most of Europe, there are traditions involving elaborate costumes that celebrate pre-Christian holidays and beliefs. While in the “New World,” Christianity and Walmart have been pretty much successful at whitewashing/eradicating any mention or celebration of “pagan” traditions from mainstream society, in European countries with centuries and millennia of history to reflect on, the practices are still alive. For example, the Krampus gatherings and parades in the Austrian Alps, the Bulgarian Kukeri festivals, New Year’s Day celebrations in Poland with the Macidulas or in Germany with the Wilder Mann, or the Festival of Bears in France. All of these and more involve community participation in pre-Christian traditions celebrating Nature, the solstices and humans’ place in the cycle of life, and many of the costumes worn would be at home alongside an anthropological exploration of First Nations’ traditional costumes or those found in tribal African societies. Organized Christianity occupied the territories and destroyed the traditions of people the world over, but has twisted history to make certain people believe themselves more “civilized” than others. But these pictures are clear evidence of the commonality of the human experience, and shows that greed and thirst for power are at the root of our separation from one another.
For “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott (August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004)
Steve Collins was my primary school’s resident expert on all things parentally unapproved: punk rock, horror movies, Stephen King and Sid Vicious. The introductions he made for me in the sixth grade alone would have been enough of a negative influence as any one person could be expected to have, but after the post-primary school holiday he turned up on the first day of seventh grade sporting freshly shoulder-length hair, the ability to play a guitar and a Pantera shirt, and the downward spiral continued.
Every guy in our class went home that day and either dug out their parent’s or older sibling’s until-now ignored guitar or else begged their parents to buy them one, and as soon as they’d all mastered a few power chords Steve lost interest and moved on to the drums, which of course he was also a master at. From there it was on to singing (voice like a choirboy, naturally), and ultimately gangster rap, but back in those days Steve was the mascot metalhead, and if you caught him early enough in the morning before the teachers did, you’d have a new band to go home and check out based on whatever shirt he was wearing before he was forced to change.
Photographer: Klaus Pichler
Based in: Vienna, Austria
This is a photo of my girlfriend in a hotel’s hallway in Odessa, Ukraine. We made a trip to the Ukraine three years ago and we stayed in this hotel for some nights. This was one of the hotels you can still find in Eastern Europe where the grandezza of the old days blends with the functionality and tastelessness of comunist days, resulting in a feeling which is comparable to a pre-Perestroyka movie version of ‘Shining’. We thought that a bed sheet ghost would fit perfectly to these uncanny hallways, and one night, when we were sure that all of the merciless heavyweight parlour maids had left the building, we staged this picture.