Do you like seriously insane music? Well try Chicago Footwork/Juke and you'll find out! Amazing!!!!
a DJ Lonely mix...
1.DJ Spinn-2020 2.Traxman-WTF? 3.DJ Rashad-Madnezz 4.Traxman-Movelt Jungletronic 5.DJ Lil Rome-I go Hard 6.Tha Pope-Jungle Juke 7.DJ Diamond-Ready Motherfucka 8.Traxman-Compute Funk 9.DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn-Space Juke 10. Traxman-Get Down Lil Booty 11. DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn-Footcrab Remix 12. DJ Rashad-Jule Dat Juke Dat 13. Chi Boogie-Move Back 14. Dude n Nem-Watch My Feet 15. Chrissy Muderbot ft. DJ Spinn-Bussin Down 16. DJ Pillsbury-Bedrock (Juke Remix)
Spotted: the fantastic and enigmatic Bruce Benderson in the Bijlmer, Amsterdam. Who would have seen that one coming? The American novelist, essayist and journalist stayed for one month as a writer in residence in Amsterdam Zuidoost (bravo, Street of Sculptures!!!). And one windy afternoon, he appeared at FATFORM with a lollypop, an e-cigarette, a glass of red wine and a whole lot of Ashkenasi humor to celebrate having finished doing his back taxes. After that, he regularly climbed to the roof with us. A few hours before he left on the Train à Grande Vitesse for Paris, Bijlmer-based artist/DJ Daniela Bershan had this conversation with him at FATFORM.
Bruce Benderson (BB): [SCREAMS]
Daniela Bershan (DB): What are you screaming for?
BB: I don’t know, I just... you know, in times of change it generally happens like that.
DB: So, did you enjoy your stay in the Bijlmer?
BB: I liked it a lot, actually. But it was a complicated experience. When I was invited to come here, my American friends said: "Oh you’re going to this GHETTO where most people are non-white", and that kind of stuff. In America, it would have been a more hostile experience, there would have been more tension between the races. There’s a whole history of blacks in America and your supposed relationship to that. So I sort of came with that in mind, like: "Oh wow, I am going to be the only white man." But it wasn’t anything like that, and I realized that they weren't living with the same history in their minds that they would have been if we were in America. They say it’s pretty violent here [De Bijlmer], but compared to America, it’s nothing, it’s kindergarten. This feels more like suburban Queens to me.
DB: Sounds like you were disappointed?
BB: No, I wasn’t. It was more comfortable; I didn’t need to be on my guard all the time. In America you really would have to watch yourself. Still, I sensed certain types of hostility here from people who weren’t white, especially from boys between the ages of 12 and 15 who'd try to stare me down. But most people just ignored me, as if I didn't exist.
DB: You write a lot about class issues. How important is class for you, or better: escaping your class?
BB: In America the middle class has swallowed the working class, they all dress the same, watch the same TV programs, have similar politics. All there is, at least in the sense of culture, is one gigantic middle class, and rich people belong to it, too. The only alternative class is composed of unemployed slum people, an underclass. Those are the only two classes nowadays. So when wealthy people are watching the same TV programmes and dressing the same as middle class people, there is no novelty to it, you don't aspire to such a scene culturally. But if you hang out with lower middle class people you soon discover that they desperately aspire to middle class taste and hate any member of the working class and all those who are poorer than them. So my only alternative when it came to urban inspiration, to cultural experience in an urban context, were really bottom-of-the-barrel lumpen proletariats, especially since most of the men had an accessible masculinity that I found fairly exciting. And that's the reason Times Square became my turf in the years before it was renovated and Disneyfied. At a certain point during those years, I knew almost every single Latin King gang member below the age of 25. It was one of the most violent gangs in New York, but all the junior ones between the ages of like 18 and 25 who were entering gang life after a first prison term, well, they had to make a living somehow... and there was a period where there was one at my house every single night.
DB: Do you experience the Bijlmer as homophobic?
BB: That's a good question because Krist [Gruijthuijsen] keeps insisting that there are a lot of gays living here. Do you think the crowd we know here is homophobic?
DB: Here? [at FATFORM] No way!
BB: Maybe a little bit?
DB: Look ,Bruce, I don’t think that everyone is as open to experimenting with their sexuality as you are, but that doesn't make them homophobes, right?
BB: Yeah, but if I acted real "gay" around them, I don’t think they’d be comfortable.
DB: Mmmmh...But what is acting real gay?
BB: Well, good point. [pause] Like: ‘HEY, YOU’VE GOT A GREAT ASS!’
DB: Yes, that's a good one; you should try that on somebody here…
BB: [SCREAMS REALLY LOUD, then laughs. ] Anyway, the Bijlmer is like a village, it’s not urban. It has a good neighbour provinciality to it, you know what I mean?
DB: Did you write anything while you were here?
BB: I'm supposed to write a fictional text of 40 pages inspired by my stay here. I feel like I don’t have any ideas yet, they're in hiding, will pop out at a certain time. For example, I was talking to this architect who explained to me that people in Holland can never completely own a piece of land, in the American capitalist sense. Here they have to survey the land cause it could end up underwater if it’s not taken care of properly. So the government has to run the show.
Then there was that plane crash [the ELAL airplane that landed in the Groeneveen and Klein-Kruitberg flats of the Bijlmermeer in October 1992] that happened next to where I stayed. I'm interested in all the conspiracy theories and trauma it has caused. And if you combine the two ideas together, one, that the land could disappear any moment and that the government has to be involved, and two, that the plane crash might have been a conspiracy involving certain governments... you know, those ELAL Jew-w-w-w-s, for example [laughs]... the combination of the two is very interesting.
DB: I feel as if there’s an above-average sense of conspiracy in the Bijlmer, don't you think?
BB: Yeah... But imagine how dramatic the plane crash was for the people living here. It was like a miniature 9/11, and I experienced that, so I know what it feels like. You feel like the ground has moved under your feet. I don’t live far from where it happened. You could see it from our roof about two kilometres away.
DB: Do you remember what you were doing when 9/11 happened?
BB: Yeah, it’s a funny story. At the time I was doing some fashion journalism, so I happened to be up earlier than I usually am, which I think was about 8:45, and it happened. I was talking to my friend on the telephone about the Marc Jacobs fashion show the night before, which was the highlight of Fashion Week, and all these famous rich people where there, and both of us had managed to go. And he said: "Oh my God, a plane just ran right into the World Trade Center, I can see it out my window." And I answered: "Oh wow, so what did you think of Marc Jacobs’ colour palette? I thought it was really interesting, there were so many degrees." And my friend gasped, "Oh my God, here comes another one!" "Really? But what did you think of those colours!" And he never forgot it. He still brings it up today as a perfect example of decadence because I was more interested in the Marc Jacobs show than in the WTC falling down.
DB: When did you start writing?
BB: When I was a little boy. I started writing mystery stories. But I got seriously interested when I was a senior in high school. Though I took many detours.
DB: Like what?
BB: I told my parents that I didn't want to go to college, and they said I had to, so I decided I'd study being a poet in college. That was my plan. So I took a creative writing course, and the teacher hated me. He was this very paternal Jewish poet who was just repulsed by me. I got very discouraged and I stopped writing for about four or five years. And then, after college, I became your ultimate hippy. I rarely wore shoes.
DB: Where did you go to college?
BB: Harpur College, which is called Binghamton University today. It was the jewel of the state college system at the time. Unlimited Rockefeller money. We got everything. The minute a French new wave film was released in Paris, they flew it to our college the next day. Andy Warhol's Factory people gave seminars, the Guarnari, a very famous string quartet, was in residence for years. We got things no one gets anymore, but at the time I took it very casually, to say the least. We just did a lot of drugs and I never wore shoes to class back then, either. I went to New York City for a week without any shoes. Just walking down the streets of Manhattan. Then I moved to San Francisco for five years and I was on welfare the whole time and I was with a group of people who lived like me. We just went to bars at night and drank cheap wine and took acid. And that’s all I did for five years. But while I was doing that I was learning how to write. I was reading bi-lingual books, and I was learning French on my own. So by the time it was over and I realized I had to do something and move back to New York, I was already 27 years old but was also already quite a good writer and could translate French.
DB: Do you think bohemia is dead?
BB: That is a really problematic question. It does not exist like it used to exist because of the media. The moment an individual culture gets any notice at all it loses its meaning, it becomes part of a car commercial, everybody knows that. But we are living in a fragmented age where there are little pockets - like FATFORM -- and they are all over and it is because they are so obscure and no one is interested that these little mini-bohemia’s are flourishing now everywhere now. Which is why a lot of artists travel constantly. It wasn’t like that in the past. No, you stayed in New York or in Paris or in London and that was enough. Now everyone I know who is part of a significant bohemia spends like two months in Berlin, three weeks in New York, stops in Vienna, you know, that kind of thing?
DB: But is that still bohemia?
BB: The ones that aren't well known and that are small --yes! But anyone who is already known is already contaminated.
DB: When did you publish your first book?
BB: Late, I was over 40. I acquired a couple of interesting mentors on the way. One was this French woman who was 30 years older than me and was a linguist and spoke six languages without any accent. Her name was Ursule Molinaro. She was amazing. Long black fingernails, spike heels no matter how old she got, Gauloises and fine white wines. And she was a brilliant novelist. She and I began translating together, and we read everything we wrote to each other. The minute one of us was finished with something, the other would hear it read aloud. She taught me never to read a manuscript but to always listen to writing when people are sharing writing. It was an amazing lesson. My ear is so sharp now, and that's how I myself teach creative writing. Everything is done orally.
DB: You have a strong need for intellectual exchange, and yet your work seems to be driven mainly by sexual adventure...
BB: I need both. I think whenever I am inspired it's always because I am in love or under the influence of a great passion. It’s the only time I write something really good.
I always think I am in love when I have sex. Even if it's nearly anonymous. I'm a romantic. The things that have inspired my writing haven’t been promiscuity but passion and obsession. I recently went through that again. Right before I came here. But it’s not working as it used to work in the past. I was always able, if I tried hard enough, to inspire the object. So that somehow these people would develop strong feelings for me, on some level.
DB: At one point in The Romanian, Romulus, the main character, whom you went to Romania to be with, describes you as being "open like a baby." Do you have the feeling that it's hard to maintain this openness, that you are closing down with growing age?
BB: Yes! But maybe not in me, but in the way I am taken by others. I don’t get the same response from people I used to. My routine doesn't work that well anymore. Maybe it's because the new generation doesn’t get it. But it never happened to me before that I didn’t get some kind of response. Even though it wasn't the one I'd hoped for, I always got a response! Because I put so much into it!
DB: Why do you write?
BB: I think I know why, and it’s probably why most writers write, even if they don’t know it. If I can take what’s inside me and put it outside and have it standing and shimmering there in front of me on the outside, somehow I have changed reality--in my eyes. Instead of itjust being this crazy thing circulating in my head, it becomes an object that certain others can relate to, so it becomes more real. So in a sense writing is like masturbation. I want to make my fantasies flesh, make them exist outside of me. It’s like building a world, a sophisticated form of fantasy, I think.
...Then, of course, you sell the book and it gets published. That’s a really important point that took me a while to understand. The minute you finish creating something, it no longer has that relationship to your inner mind that it used to. It becomes this object or product, and journalists and readers start seeing it in a different way. And you go back to feeling just as lonely. Which means you have to break up with that book and go on to the next one...
08/04/2011 - 22:18
Techno, from Germany to Detroit & black...the race is on!
An overview of the Detroit Underground by DJ Lonely...enjoy!
1. Electrifying Mojo Intro... 2. Model 500-No UFO's 3. Cybotron-Alleys of Your Mind 4. Plastikman-Plastique 5. Carl Craig-Void 23 6. Aux 88-Electronic Robots 7. DJ Assault-Nigga Music 8. DJ Godfather-OOO Im Tellin 9. Detroit Grand Pubah-After School Special 10.Bileebob-Call Me 11.Underground Resistance-Jupiter Jazz 12.Drexciya-Soul of the Sea
30 July 2011
Techno, from Germany to Detroit & black...the race is on!
(Detroit Techno part I)
When I left the Bijlmer we had a goodbye party on the rooftops of Kraaiennest. Coincidentally a Detroit DJ from Antwerpen played... there was synchronicityin the techno/house.
Techno in Detroit is not like Dancehall in Kingston or Baile Funk in Rio de Janeiro. The only ones HERE who cares are big eyed Danish tourists and Swedish/Dutch artists in residence. The techno stars of Detroit...Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Carl Craig, Underground Resistance, Jeff Mills, Kevin Saunderson, Drexciya, Aux 88, Detroit Grand Pubah or Richie Hawtin aka Plastikman from really VERY neighbouring Windsor in Canada, really a stones throw away (even a girls throw)can eat their Coney Island? hotdogs in Detroit in cognito.
For them in seems to be impossible to be prophets (one) in their own hometown. Bob Marley never seemed to have had any problems skanking in Kingston and there is this old hip hop saying "if you can't rock your own neighbourhood??!!...we'll rock Berlin, Amsterdam and London instead", seems to have been the techno godfathers answer.
If you listen to mainstream radio in the USA, it is as racially divided as ever. There is Rock music for the honkies and Hip Hop for the blacks. How did this happen? How could Detroit build up such a strong scene with so little local support from its homebase. So different from other strong musical scenes where truly new inventions are being developed on a daily/weekly basis. For example Baile Funk (Rio de Janeiro), Minimal (Berlin), Dubstep (London), Cumbia (all of South America except Brazil), Kuduro (Angola), Kwaito (South Africa) and so on aso...
In an interview in local magazine BLAC, Carl Craig explains: "There is so much more recognition of the contributions Detroit (Techno) has made outside of Detroit, and defenitely outside of the U.S."...Just as Eminem had to work a bit extra hard (or did he) to be accepted in Hip Hop. Race seems to have played a part in Detroit techno too, but more from blacks who didn't consider Techno or House black enough. This month there is "Black music month" on the local radio stations, "celebrating the musical contributions Blacks have given to America, turning poverty and misery into swagger and style".
And THIS seems to be the point too, not only race confusion but also class. Many of the stars of the Techno scene came from middle class background and weren't slinging crack in the projects. "Black music month" will NOT celebrate the black musical contributions of Techno (too middleclass and white) nor Chicago House (too genderbending and gay). But Techno DOES connect to a long tradition in black music, that of a liberating Afrofuturism..."space is the place" that goes back to George Clinton, Parliament & Funkadelic and P-Funk, Sun Ra, Kool Keith (aka Dr. Octagon or the Black Elvis) and Afrika Bambataataa or even Grace Jones.
A longing for something else and new that they ironically also shared with the German post war experimental Kraut movement of the late 60's and early 70's. To quote the singer of Amun Duul: "we were tired of Nazism and Germany, but we also didn't want to make Anglo Saxon music (The Beatles or Rolling Stones)...we wanted to go somewhere else...
so, space seemed to be an option". These ideas brought us the experimental genious of Faust, Can, Amon Duul, Neu, La Dusseldorf AND...Kraftwerk, which later got picked up by Afrika Bambaataa. AND the legendary DJ in Detroit who infused the local scene with all these new experimental ideas from Germany and Europe and mixed it up with Prince and P-funk , was called "The Electrifying Mojo (Charles Johnson). He had a radio show on a radio station geared towards the African-American market, and here he managed to experiment and break down gengre, racial, class and gender barriers. Not a bad achievement for a little DJ. He was the one who introduced Detroit to Prince for instance, something that the legend never forgot, he did numerous radio interviews for The Electrifying Mojo on his show (something that was always very rare and exclusive and something other radio stations could only dream of...). He also introduced Detroit to B-52, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream. Later he would also break open the market for Detroit Techno IN Detroit, something the new
and upcoming stars of Techno would never forget. They were thankful for Mojo's promotional help, but ALSO for the inspiration he gave them to start making music, after hearing Kraftwerk (mostly).
So the circle is round again... from Germany to Detroit and black.
This text is dedicated to The Electrifying Mojo (Charles Johnson) and all other barrier breakers!
18 July 2011
More Techno and Race...
(Detroit Techno part II).
So last night we went to see Underground Resistance play for free in Highland park. They did a very jazzy set under the name Timeline, with a saxophone player and a slick, flowy guy on keyboards. It was a nice mix of techno and free jazz.
After that the revelation of the night came on, DJ Al Ester. Swinging and dancing like a madman, he played a very housey set, with singing divas and all, but the way he mixed it, and how much fun he had with the FX's and taking out the high's, mid's and low's in a super synchronizedset was a true joy!
After that the highlight of the night was supposed to be Juan Atkins "the Godfather of techno" as he was announced, who was part of the legendary "Belleville Three", the other two being Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. But this was a sad, sad affair to have to watch, Juan couldn't mix two trackstogether to save his life, and he dropped records on the floor, had the needle skipping back and forth on a track for bout 20 seconds (which is a loooooooong time if you're DJ ing in front of a extremely knowledgeable crowd (I am not talking about me here...hehehe)).
A couple of times UR's manager Cornelius, who was the MC of the night between the acts had to try to save his ass, by encouraging people AND Juan to get into it again. Juan just looked lost and looked as if he was suffering more than we did. I TOO mix like shit, but at least I do it because I think that is they way it should sound, it is part of my "vision" (or lack of it) and I am really into it while DJing, but with Juan it was just painful. He seemed to be totally somewhere else. He fucked up a reunion of "the Belleville 3" at Awakenings in Amsterdam, by mixing like crap and just not being present. It was extra sad because you could really feel the potential of the music, the track selection was awesome, his own mega hits as Cybotron "alleys of your mind" and "cosmic cars" and Kraftwerks "numbers" boomed out of the system, and for a moment you felt "wow" this is why I came to Detroit, to be able to hear Juan Atkins pump Kraftwerk into a beautiful summer night at Highland park. But the overwhelming feeling was one of sadness. Well at least Underground Resistance and DJ Al Ester was blockrocking!!!
After that we went to the incredibly sleazy temple bar in the most run down part of town, an AMAZING bar! So the night was still perfect in the end. I was talking with a Dutch artist who now lives in Detroit, as we were dancing in front of the stage. We were SOooOoooo surprised to see so few people at the festival. If you have Underground Resistance, Juan Atkins and DJ Al Ester (trust me he is one for the future) playing for FREE on a warm beautiful summer night in Vondelpark, you would probably be able to get more than 80 people to show up???!!! Ok..earlier in the evening there were more, and it also had to do with Juan Atkins crappy set, but STILL???!!!
One of the reasons that she came to Detroit was her love for techno, the same as me.And it's a story often told, Detroit Techno is HUGE in Europe and Asia but has soooo little support in Detroit itself (or the rest of USA for that matter).
Last weekend I went to a Chicago house picnic festival IN Chicago.The 21st annual edition of the Chicago House Music picnic and it was PACKED!!!! Even though you had to pay 10 $ to get in, 1000s of people were grooving and dancing to Frankie Knuckles and the Chosen Few among others.
And what was also very interesting, I was the ONLY white person at this picnic, I am serious!!??Here...check this video from last years picnic and try to spot any honkies...
I don't know why race, class and music is so interesting to me, but you could make tons of anthropological studies on this subject and it would be very revealing. Rio de Janeiro was another very interesting case, with its Baile Funk, Samba and Bossa Nova, but Brazil is much more racially mixed than Europe and USA. The Brazilians that we had living with us in Bijlmer last summer in Flatstation were shocked to see the extreme separation between the very black Bijlmer and
the very white grachtengordel,they couldn't believe it!
Anyhow...So Chicago house music has MASSIVE local, black support and Detroit very little local,
black support. At the Underground Resistance concert, there was a bunch of De.Bug t-shirts and European football shirts (soccer), which made you suspect that at least part of the audience were European fans who had come a long way to see this spectacle.
So why does Chicago House connect and Detroit techno not?
While in Chicago we also went to see Moodyman, a DJ using the Chicago sound,
though originally from Detroit and according to his wikipedia page...
"He is outspoken on the current state of dance music, decrying the lack of black techno and
the white domination of the genre."
"An outspoken voice in the normally non-confrontational world of electronic dance music, Moodymann (Kenny Dixon Jr.) is committed to keeping a distinctly black imprint on techno and house."
So for all of us who thought house was..."one nation under a groove" where race, gender, class and sexual orientation would all be absolved into one fruity love juice drink.Moodyman is again bringing RACE into the mix!
I once read a very interesting little piece about house music in De Appels F.R David publication where someone wrote a piece about house music debunking the myth of all the love bullshit, saying something like...house was born out of an atmosphere of racism, homophobia, transvestites trying to save enough money to go to Brazil to do sex changes,gay prostitution, drug addictions, and suicides...so this "love dream" surrounding house music needs to be at least more nuanced.
If someone knows who wrote this text I am happy to include the name(I couldn't find it) in this text. After the Moodyman concert me and Chris had a small after party together with two black transvestites and a white gay guy in their very tiny appartment.Stumbling out into the bright day light the morning after, I thought we had a very fitting ending to a night out in Chicago,
sampling the local house music scene.
But I DO have a little theory as to why Chicago is so succesful and Detroit less so when it comes to hooking up to local (black) support. Chicago house music is much more linked to soul, gospel and
R n B. Tons of screaming little divas who sing on top of the house tracks, so the links to other classical black forms of music is very clear. Detroit Techno's VERY obvious flirtations with Kraftwerk (especially) and European (white) electro pop and new romantic music (as they called it in the UK). Takes the music into an another direction, less rooted in classical black music forms.
Detroit techno is much less connected to classical black music styles such as Gospel and Soul. On the other hand it is very much connected to the ideas of "Afrofuturism"that you can find in the works of Sun Ra, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Funkadelic & Parliament, Africa Bambaataa or even Grace Jones.
There is something very sad about the state of music,
if we STILL have to discuss race and music, as in...
Can black people sing the opera and country music?
Can white people techno?
Can white people rap and sing reggae?
Just like we whites know what we mean by a whigger (me?!), someone who totally wants to jump into blackness, Detroit techno kids could possibly be seen by the local black population as bounty's(brown on the outside, white on the inside).But this is not something I know enough about, but I will research this further here in Detroit.The problem with this kind of knowledge is that it is often not spoken out loud, it is a gut feeling, and maybe something that you would not say to a white person (if you were black).
But on the other hand these stereotypes DO play a role and to try to totally ignore this debate would do a disservice to the development of music and the ideas surrounding it. In the case of Techno I think that black Detroit Techno stars are TOTALLY accepted in Europe and no one even thinks of race as an issue in techno, whereas in Detroit I get the feeling that the black population in general thinks that the local techno kids got a bit TOO close to European electronic music, as if they were not proud enough of "their own" musical heritage.Almost like a sort of betrayal, and of course betrayal is different if you are part of the majority i.e. whites going black, than if you are a supressed minority, blacks switching to white music.
But to even be able to TALK like this we would have to accept certain musics as "white" and "black" and I think this could be very dangerous. BUT...on the other hand it could ALSO be dangerous to NOT see the history of music and its links to its past. How could you understand reggae or hip hop OUTSIDE a context of racism and the history of the oppression of black people?
I guess it is important to understand where a music comes from and its roots and history, but music is in its essence is universal and it explains why hip hop now works as a great vehicle of expression for oppressed people all over the world, be it Banlieu kids of Arab descent in Paris or Palestinians in Israel.
And I think THIS brings me back to my old argument...Europeans are VERY good at contemporary art for A REASON! Which is also why Indonesians in general are less good at it, but good at other things, such as shadow puppetry for example.
And this is NOT meant as a racist statement that Indonesians can never get good at art, or that white people can't rap. Everyone can get good at anything...BUT, you need to live in an environment that stimulates that growthwhere you can develop, and compete against the best.
That Eminem could get good at rapping growing up in Detroit does not surprise me, or that Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson could get impulses from abroad AND at home and develop a scene that later influenced the rest of the world.
And this is where racism get's confusing when I give lectures. When I for instance say...
if you lived in New York in the 80's with the possibility to listen to KRS one and Public Enemy,and having radio station playing hip hop 24/7 chances are GREATER that you too could become a good rapper, no one has a problem with that.
But If I say that...if you grew up in Europe with the Dokumenta, the Venice bienale, amazing museums where the best of the best are collected and discussed, with newspaper articles on a daily basis discussing art shows, with the best artists, critics, collectors, galleries and so on aso...chances are that you will become a GREATER artist faster in Europe than in Indonesia, who lacks the necessary infrastructure to feed this necessary development...then I often have a problem and people accuse me of racism.
The chances of there being TRULY great contemporary art outside of Europe and USA is smaller,
just as there are slim chances of there being fantastic samba bands outside of Brazil,
NOT impossible, but less probable. This is the problem we now get when we debate the globalization of every art biennial, we need THIS many artist from Sudan, THIS many women, this many gays and this many peadophiles and rapists, it just doesn't automatically create quality.
And in general I think this is the most amusing aspect of the Venice biennial for instance, to see the amount of crap art from Uzbekistan or Iran. Would it be possible to assume that democracy is neccessary to create good art? Probably not...Brazil did amazing stuff during the fascist era, China is also doing amazing art. In the case of China you could also add that they have different taboos than in Europe, which creates a interesting grey zone (from OUR perspective) the by now very famous performance "I'm gonna eat a little fetus with a glass of chardonnay" would not be possible in Europe. So so much for freedom in the democratic world hehehehe...
So here the west and the east are complementing each other in the taboo world.
In China the artists can't talk about Tibet and democracy, and in the west we are not allowed to eat fetuses or use dead AIDS women on ice in our installations, but we STILL get by.
But of course, every year the gap is closing, and the best way to increase quality is to let the Sudani artists compete with the best of Europe, just look at football.And this is also why it is such a good idea to have artists in residencies, to spread the knowledge.
BUT...also infrastructure is necessary, if there are no contemporary art museums in Sudan, or art magazines, or artschools, or critics, or galleries, or biennials, or or or....HOW are they gonna get good? And if there is no critical mass who is interested locally it doesn't HAVE to be a HUGE dilemma. Look at Detroit techno, but it would help!
But on the other hand, what is the problem if not every country in the world are good at contemporary art, I am sure that they are good at other things.
If they have drive and fantasy they have to get rid of their energy somehow.
At the Sao Paulo bienial last year there was this HUGE debate of how underexposed the Nigerian artists were, or the Sudanis or the Angolans and I basically said...well maybe you should get GOOD at art first and THEN we can talk!
Of course I know that this is a radical thing to say, but imagine if we would come with quotas for the next reggae sunsplash festival in Kingston!!! You don't have ANY artists from Mongolia, zero reggae artist from Poland and no gay white dancehall stars...what's up????!!!We would get laughed out of town!!!
So to the all the Nigerian artists of this world I say, you want to participate in the next major biennial in Europe? Then make sure that you create a good art scene where you live, start art schools, galleries, debates, art magazines, radio programs, academies and so on...create a critical mass, create a scene...Just like they did with Baile Funk music in Rio de Janeiroor with Kwaito music in South Africa or Kuduro in Angola or Dancehall in Jamaica or Country music in Nashville and so on aso...Or to quote KRS one "If you can't rock your own neighbourhood...". And of course this will take time and money, but it is not really about money, as we have seen in the examples mentioned above.
Of course it is also unfair to compare art and music, since we can't upload installations, paintings or sculpures and send them as MP3's as of yet.So music has an ENORMOUS advantage in how fast ideas can spread over the world,with a decent internet connection you can be on top of all the developments in music ALL over the world. We are not there yet with art. Which is the reason why London, Berlin and New York will REMAIN art centers for the forseeable future. Whereas in music, Rio de Janeiro, Angola and South Africa can EASILY overtake London or New York in musical invention and probably already has.
Of course, developments in the art world is also related to first world power, racism and economy also. Look how hard women had to fight to enter the art world, but they did it and the developments in Europe have been very succesful on that front...
Ok I am blabbering on...I don't really know what I am saying, but that is why I am saying it...
to find OUT what could be the truth...so please feedback me with ideas and critique.
A Techno Argument...
finally I will give you two links to an old Detroit Techno argument...
1. Underground Resistance- AfroGermanic
Celebrating the links between Germany, Detroit and Africa...
And as a piss take off that, another Detroitian (DJ Ass ault),
who is basically just ripping up that argument with his hit "Nigga Music",
which the first time I heard it...I just thought it was a bad/good joke,
but if you understand the heated debate about techno music and race here,
it is much more subtle and deep than I first thought.
2. DJ Assault-Nigga Music
Jonas Ohlsson reporting from Detroit, thanks to Expodium in Utrecht!
2 August 2011
The Political Techno of Underground Resistance
(Detroit Techno part III).
The Detroit techno research is going great. I have seen a lot of concerts,Juan Atkins (twice),
Moodyman (twice) Underground Resistance, DJ Al Ester, Matthew Dear and a bunch of small unknown acts at a 2 day picnic that UR organized for the benefits of "backpacks for school children" and another festival they organized in Highland park.
I have been to a sleazy after party in an industrial warehouse
(wasn't as good as it might sound, some straight 4 to the floor DJs from the suburbs).
But it all adds up to greater knowledge of the situation in the city and the history of techno.
I have gone to a lecture given by the label manager of UR, Cornelius Harris and had a good talk with him afterwards. And I have gotten a guided tour of Underground Resistance's HQ.
I have seen the very cute little Techno museum above their record store Submerge.
Cornelius Harris, label manager of Underground Resistance,
tells the history of Detroit Techno in their own little
"Techno Museum" above their record store Submerge.
In the glass display Box containing "inspirations" there was of course a bunch of Kraftwerk stuff,
as expected...but just as much Yellow Magic Orchestra records,
(Kraftwerk but with MORE humour from Tokyo), which was interesting.
They also had another glass box with all their old drummachines and samplers.
Yet another with posters & memorabilia from their first tours abroad to Europe.
Holland was on the list.
I got some signed UR 12 inches and bought a T-shirt, and basically lived out all my girly
little Justin Bieber fan dreams (but with Underground Resistance).
I was also asked to sign the names of Baba Electronica and DJ Lonely on the walls of Submerge...next to Richie Hawtin, Sven Väth and DJ Hell and many others.
A proud moment for the DJs of FUCK!
Underground Resistance's record store Submerge and UR's HQ on East Grand
Street in Detroit...tjohooooooo!
Submerge is a closed record store and you only get in by making appointments in advance,
they say that the people who really WANTS to come to Submerge will find it anyway.
It is an interesting approach to business, but maybe understandable if you know that they sell 70% of their records overseas, Europe and Asia mainly, and some to South America.
Shook hands with "Mad" Mike Banks of UR, (an imposing figure for sure with a very natural charisma) who with his booming moral anger and political awareness has made UR the Public Enemy of Techno and while we were there Juan Atkins!!!???
(the originator and founding father of Techno in the Early 80's)
knocked on the office door while Cornelius Harris was showing us videos of police violence in Holland (By the way Underground Resistance is boycotting NL for the moment, since one of their friends in Holland, who helps organize their tours, got beaten up by the police in Den Haag during the culture cut demonstrations). Juan Atkins knocked on the door and came in and sat down. A very gentle, almost shy person, with tiny skinny legs sticking out under his shorts. Very polite and unassuming. Outside URs HQ his silver Hummer was parked, which was kind of a contrast to his very shy, introspective, quiet persona.
"Mad" Mike Banks OF Underground Resistance is pissed off at the European Techno world and
feels that some of the enormous amounts of money circulating in Europe
(think Sensation white and black in Arena for instance) should somehow trickle back to Detroit in the form of Technological help for Detroit's inner city kids, the next generation of Techno stars.
He feels that Europe took Techno and ran with it and nothing trickles back to "the motherland",
I don't know how realistic that is.
One of the questions I had for myself concerning Underground Resistance
(who in Europe (I sometimes get the feeling) sells more T-shirts than records).
Was...just HOW political can you GET with instrumental techno music?
But they heroically built their own ideal world thru their record label, networks,
studios, record shop aso...
And in the often sleazy world of dance and the music industry as a whole they
have managed to set their OWN standards and lived by their own rules.
And when you see their commitment to their community, they sponsor little leagues baseball teams for inner city kids (just like Snoop Dogg by the way), and how they get all their mega stars DJ buddies to play for free in Detroit (Both Juan Atkins, UR and Moodyman could get paid much more playing in Europe, or moving to Europe). Also the faceless appraoch of UR, who usually DJs with masks, makes sense in a Techno world more and more focused on Star DJs, like Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin and Ricardo Villalobos who cruise from Ibiza to Miami to London fetching HUGE fees along the way. The local dedication of UR and their dedication to their own city makes them something else. There is also something very endearing about certain levels of their amateurism, for example in their cute little UR Techno Museum. It is NOT the high tech madness of Richie Hawtin or even Jeff Mills (founder of Underground Resistance together with Mad Mike Banks). It is something else. Their political involvement also stretches to Indian tribes in the amazonas who they support with video cameras to film and document the abuse they get from lumber companies there.
So behind the cool look of UR, there is something very genuinely angry, commited, aware and dedicated. I am attracted to the realness & grimness of their message (and image I have to admit) plus the fact that their "from the roots up" approach is so refreshing, which takes them into a league of their own and sets them apart from much of the so called political art of the vanilla left, that I ridiculed in my other blog...
"My (THE) problem of community art...
and why William Burroughs eat Superflex any day of the week".
(see blog below).
All in all it has been a great period for me and for my increased understanding of this city...
Also I have spent a lot of time researching what there is to research on the internet about Detroit Techno and the city of Detroit....See the links in my other blog below.
A great BOOK, on Techno...
Dan Sicko's book "Techno Rebels...the renegades of electronic funk"
is a must read for anyone interested in Techno and
the city of Detroit in general. Very well written.
Dan is a Detroit native who in his book remembers the high school parties that nurtured the scene and gives enormous insights. He is a huge fan of Italo/Euro disco and connects Detroit Techno to this often forgotten source of inspiration.
According to Dan Sicko's book, there was an absolute craze in Detroit about Europe
(much like our whigger fascination with gangsta Rap, but reversed).
All the clubs had Italian names, and everyone was wearing fake Italian suits and trying to look suave, cosmopolitan and European.
Some of the HUGE Euro/Italo hits in Detroits early highschool parties were.
Alexander Robotnick-Problemes D'amour
As well as Kraftwerk and YMO of course, that the lyrics were often in French or German
(that none of them could understand) was seen as a chic, cosmopolitan bonus!
The Detroit Techno scene has become so big now worldwide and the influx of money and attention creates a lot of tensions locally.
There is jealousy and infighting between the various scenes and generations.
The Ghetto Tech people (DJ Assault, Starsky & Clutch & DJ Godfather among others), feels that they don't get the respect they deserve from the old school garde, who often helps programme the annual Movement festival which is Detroits one and only festival with a large international audience. They also feel that their sleazy brand of Techno is more working class and bluecolor than the more intellectual approach of the legends, and that THAT in itself is seen as a problem.
A bit the same debate as you have on Jamaica, roots reggae vs. dancehall.
Daft Punk's favorite DJ, DJ Funk (left) from Chicago,
next to Detroit's finest Ghetto Tech DJ...DJ ASSault
Usually the Ghetto Tech DJs perform mid day,and the late night spots are reserved for the legends, and even the legends fight among each other who should finish the night off.
Derrick May or Juan Atkins? Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson or Blake Baxter? Plastikman, Eddie "Flashin" Fowlkes or Jeff Mills?
and with Underground Resistance, Suburban Knight, Stacey Pullen, Moodyman, Kenny Larkin
on the reserve bench you have a DEEEEEP team.
So of course tensions may arise, as the picking order and hierarchy has to be settled.
There is nothing minimal about Ghetto Tech!!!
There is also some resentment towards "white boy" Plastikman,
aka Richie Hawtin's world wide success.
Is Richie the Elvis or Eminem of Techno, coming to steal a culture from the black Techno Detroitians to make buckloads of money? Of course, releasing a record called "the future sound of Detroit" when you live in Windsor, Canada doesn't help your cause much.
Even though it is only a 5 minute bridge ride away.
But probably one bridge too far in the eyes of many local Detroit Techno purists.
And there is a sense that Richie was given chances and opportunities that the others did not get.
On the other hand, just as with Eminem, there is no one, black or white, young or old in the Detroit Techno scene doubting Richie Hawtin's qualities. His stuff IS amazing and you could maybe argue that he injected much needed innovation and depth into a somewhat stagnant scene.
If you listen to Plastikmans early records you realize, this is something else! This is a totally brand new chapter, MILES above and ahead the (at times) overly Kraftwerk inspired sounds of Aux 88 for instance.
I myself had a somewhat complicated relationship with Detroit Techno.
Since I grew up listening to Human League, Heaven 17, OMD, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, YMO, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA and so on...
I at first failed to understand what was NEW with this so called "Techno music".
But as time grew I could see the developments and innovations.
That much of it was instrumental for instance, was new...NO lyrics?!
It had a more direct link to black funk, Cabaret Voltaire, and others would sometimes be called "white electro funk" and Detroit Techno had a very direct relationship to the dancefloor, whereas with Industrial or Synth music, that was more a happy bi effect in some cases, but in most cases totally not. It was not "made for the dancefloor" in the same sense, even though you could sometimes consider dancing to it.
Techno was also born out of a DJ culture.
Most Detroit acts has at one time or another DJ'd,
either before they started making their own music or afterwards.
Depeche Mode and Cabaret Voltaire were BANDS and none of them even thought of DJing as a culture in itself.
That most Detroit Techno artists are NOT in bands, but do things on their own,
as DJs and/or artists are also a difference.
Techno is also interesting because the mental idea traffic between USA and Europe (and to some extent Japan) has been so heavy...back and forth, back and forth.
Maybe you could argue that Rock and the Rolling Stones who also borrowed from the blues had some inter atlantic traffic, but probably not as much back and forth as Techno.
Of course also aided by MP3 culture, internet and cheaper air tickets (relatively speaking).
If we compare it to Hip Hop or Reggae, the idea traffic has been VERY dense indeed,to the extent that you have no idea anymore what or where is the centre of the Techno universe.
So it's an extremely international movement. Helped of course by the fact that it is mainly instrumental, so you bypass the debate "should we rap in Dutch or broken English".
It is freed from the language hierarchy...Techno as the esperanto of music.
And even though Detroit has been a place that has had is heavy, heavy share of race riots and racism, and there might be some resentment towards Richie Hawtin from less fortunate (and in some cases, just less talented) Detroit Techno acts. Techno (and House) is unique in its relative color blindness when it comes to race and music. Especially compared to Hip Hop, Country, Soul, Funk, Reggae or Punk music, Maybe Ska music could be an equally racially mixed music style, but I don't know enough about it.
You could argue that Hip Hop is ASLO very international and racially mixed,
but then we sidestep the fact that everyone knows who's the boss and originator in Hip Hop.
African Americans acts like KRS One, Public Enemy or NWA!
And I know from up close in East L.A. how hard the Chicano rap scene had to work to get
(a tiny little bit of respect) and no matter how good and talented the Bijlmer rappers will get,
it will take some time before they can outdo their American buddies in influence and respect worldwide.
From an Amercian rap perspective it will never be more than a curiosity what their French compatriots can do with "their" music, rap.
So the hierarchy in Hip Hop is much more set. Even people in the UK (who speak decent English) could not get much influence or respect in Hip Hop until they just gave up and invented their own version of it and called it Dubstep, Drum n Bass or Jungle.
Last weekend Underground Resistance organized a small 2 day Techno picnic for the benefit of "backpacks for school children". The Picnic culture is an event that I don't think we even have in Europe, everyone brings there own food and beer and set up their little tents to protect them from the sun, people BBQ and sit in their fold out chairs, it is free and there is nothing to buy??!!
As I noticed in Chicago at the House music picnic there, no beer for sale!!??
It is a mixture of a family picnic (which we DO have in Europe) and dancevalley.
It was a small intimate event no more than 80 people and everyone hangs around and dances to each others DJ sets, Juan Atkins in the background nodding his royal approval to Moodyman's housy set. Juan Atkins (the originator of Techno) DJ'd on Saturday and did a really good set, MUCH better than two weeks ago in Highland Park. Even squeezed in some obsure Michael Jackson track, if I 'm not totally mistaken (didn't recognize the song, but for the voice). Juan also came out on day two to check out the competition. Moodyman is the better DJ to be frank, and so is DJ Al Ester (who is phenomenal!!!). But of course if Juan DJs, the younger DJs stand behind him in awe, trying to check out his LPs and giving him high fives. At Moodymans concert I counted 45 dancing people, and at Juan Atkins Saturday gig there was not many more in the audience.
And this is of course mindblowing for us Europeans, imagine a free Underground Resistance, Juan Atkins, Moodyman, Suburban Knights and Al Ester concert on a warm summer night in Vondelpark,
I think more than 45 people would show up, some of the other "family" picnics in the park had more people. We have a bigger crowd at our Kraaiennest parties than Juan Atkins!!!! hehehehe...
But this is of course the charm of seeing Techno in its birthplace, Detroit, the intimacy. DJ Al Ester swinging like a madman to Juan's set, while Underground Resistance gives their approval from from the sideline, and while Detroit Techno Militia is watching from the back. It is a cosy event, for free...
Detroit is a very warm place!
( Juan Atkins aka "the originator", Cybertron, Model 500 and Infiniti DJ's on
Underground Resistance "Backpacks for school children benefit" picnic event
on Belle Isle in Detroit, July 30 2011).
PS...I post a lot of links to Detroit Techno music on youtube on my facebook page.
Befriend me and you have access to a pretty vast library of handpicked, filtered diamonds.
you will find me, Jonas Ohlsson here...
07/31/2011 - 20:20
FATFORM vs DETROIT....ideas
FATFORM vs DETROIT....ideas
I think one of the most interesting aspects of Detroit, is the new emptiness and how people fill it with new energy and ideas. Of course first you NEED people, so many left.
Some artists from other parts of the US are now moving in, with renewed energy and inspiration.
What we do with FATFORM on the rooftop of Kraaiennest has links to what is happening here.
Redefining the use of an old deserted parking garage. But in Detroit they are not going to run out of empty deserted buildings for the foreseeable future, even if a million artists from New York moved in, there would still be emptiness and shabby looking structure everywhere.
Our problem in Amsterdam is that we are running out of undefined places, everything is becoming finished and polished and given a specific function. This is a problem that we have in the Bijlmer too.
Indirectly it is also a compliment to Amsterdam, that so many people want to live there.
Sometimes I dream that we could keep the Kraaiennest for a couple of years, if they tear it down, we loose a great space in a fantastic location that has so much potential. Also an old "historic" part of the Bijlmer would be gone. What is considered historic is very interesting of course.
There is freedom in Detroit when it comes to space, you can just start somewhere. People don't care...check out the Heidelberg project, which was just a guy who started to use his neighbourhood as an installation, 25 years later, we have this: http://www.heidelberg.org
And I know of another artist couple who just bought 8 houses and just uses them as sculpture parks. Not for living...But for art.
This made me realize that maybe there IS hope for art in public space. Maybe you CAN do something that equals the freedom that I feel in my studio and in my head, in public space.
I was quite disillusioned after doing a couple of those projects, just the hustle of getting ideas accepted and approved of various external commissions and powers, made me think that maybe the public space was not the ideal place for freedom and art, but maybe there is hope...
If we can just bypass comissions and the approval of city planners. But for that we would need free space, and there is very little of that in Holland (like I wrote about on this website before...)
"Space out in Holland...It's not an option!"
But I think we have achieved that with FATFORM, that feeling of freedom and generosity.
There is nothing I can think of...that I can't do on our rooftop freestate.
That FATFORM is semi public makes it possible, it is not something you have to be confronted with every day when you go shopping, it is a conscious decision to go upstairs, even though it is open for everybody, and maybe THIS is the key to success with art in public space.
I have been thinking a lot about how various culture forms are consumed.
A book for instance is always a very private experience, unless you read it out aloud in front of a class. Music can be either public, as in a concert or private, as in headphones.
Art is usually always consumed in semi public spaces, galleries or museums (and of course public art in squares), unless you buy an art piece, you almost always consume it with other people around you, and this is a very interesting fact, it influences the art being made and how it is consumed.
Consider the two very different experiences of watching porn on a computer in your bed or having to watch porn on the sofa with your parents next to you. This is what I mean with HOW a culture form is supposed to be consumed and in what way and where, also of course influences the way it looks and feels. If we imagine the MOST radical, ruff, tuff, looking shock art....what comes to mind?
Maybe Jake & Dino Chapman or Paul McCarthy...and yes...it is ruff on the eyes sometimes, but within 6 seconds I could easily internet my way to RUFFER looking images...
There is something to be learned here, I just don't know WHAT yet...
Which is partly the reason why I write about my ideas and questions uberhaupt, to throw it out there to be able to have a look at it, and together with other people we might gain something from it.
Ok...back to FATFORM
Also how our project came into being, was anarchistic and without any official approval of city departments. So in that sense it is a moral role model for freedom and the Nike spirit of....just do it.
It has politcal and moral implications that goes beyond and above, the art and music that we do there. Daniela's excellent vegetable park/sculpture just strengthens this added dimension and makes this something MUCH bigger and more important, than "just" a place where we show art and music.
Of course it is linked up to what artists have always done and what W139 did during the punk years with their occupation of the building, which was THEN located in the sleaziest, most dangerous part of town. We have the added dimension that we are almost not doing this with FATFORM in Holland, Bijlmer is not Holland, it is something else, so it ties into this idea of belief in the multiculti ideas, just when everyone is declaring those ideas dead.
What we are doing is important for sooo many reasons and it hooks us up to a global movement that wants to redefine space, that wants to redefine what a city can be and what we believe in.
It is a brave project in that it defuses fear, it takes away the argument used against the Bijlmer and its inhabitants. As a dangerous place where you can not live or work without fear for your life or belongings.
And of course we are also very succesful bridge builders, who manage where many others have tried and failed, to get various groups together and to mingle and sniff at each other.
This is starting to sound like some politicians old promo election speech rantings, but it IS important that we don't forget how good it has become....FATFORM. And the more I travel (and I travel A LOT) the better I think it is.
And without Jeff and Sara's power and strenght it would also never have worked. They have lived their whole life in the Bijlmer, without them the bridge could never have worked to the Hip Hop community or the rest of Bijlmer. So in this sense, this project is not only a result of the 3 years we have put into it, it is a coming together of lifetime achievements.
It is because we have lived our lives the way we have BEFORE that this is now coming together.
Without Jeffs and Sara's video editing and hours, weeks and years working for free for hip hop crews who couldn't pay them 10 cents, we wouldn't have the respect and ingang to that world.
Without me and Daniela's frantic travels, we wouldn't have hooked up to the Brazilian scene or we would not have the worldwide exposure that we now have.
Or without Irene de Craen focus and energy, and general intelligence coupled with her raw rock n roll spirit, things would also look very different.
I met a Dutch curator that came over from Chicago that I have never met, who was talking about FATFORM and who came with questions.
The people in Detroit are following what we do, and I have had two people ask if they could do residencies with us...All I want to say is. THIS...what we do, is BIGGER than what we sometimes think when we sit up there with a beer, dragging some cables upstairs or replant some tomatoes.
This is a big and meaningful project and the world is watching, because for reasons that I discussed above....sooooooo many people are TRYING to get to where we already are, but they can't.
In Detroit for instance, the artists who live here have no connection yet with the local black population, because they have no natural way in. Here we live with 20 white artists on one street surrounded by the rest of the black population.
The only way that works right now is to give workshops for children from the ghetto, but as I discussed in my other text "My (The) Problems of community art...aso..." this is difficult for them.
soooooo....we are in a very blessed state right now, our mixed group of people, Nedra, Nana, Robert, Herve, Sabrina, Jeff, Sara, Irene, Daniela & me and all the others helping out, seems to be at the right time and place in life to truly achieve something spectacular.
Also the political climate in Holland and Europe at the moment makes this project all the more important and neccessary.
OK....just had to get all those things off my chest!
NOW...let's move on...
Undefined space and pirate utopias have interested me, ever since I heard about Christiania in Copenhagen, Denmark. In Sweden (and other parts of the world) it had this romantic and a bit dangerous reputation for us kids..."they sell drugs, the police are not allowed to enter, they build their own houses, it is a city within a city".
After reading Hakim Bey's, Temporary Autonomous Zones TAZ, many things fell into place.
Me and Daniela would visit the favelas of Rio de Janeiro for a good night out full of dancing. But also to see how they had created THEIR structure. Their city within a city...where again the police where not allowed to enter.
Of course many of these situations are much less romantic than you dream of as a little boy. In the favelas people have to create their own police system, their own hospitals and schools. Since no one else is doing it for them.
What DOES work here in Detroit is the idea of living the politics that you dream of.
It IS a political move for all the white kids to come back from the suburbs and again live in mixed communities and with artists coming in and living again in the gehtto's of downtown Detroit.
Their parents would NEVER have done it...
Downtown Detroit is 90% black. The whites left after the race riots in the late 60's. The locals are pleasently surprised to see white kids again playing in their hood.
An old man told me at a liquore store "ahhh...a white person, yeah I read about it in the papers...that you are coming back to downtown."
It was a very friendly comment, not meant with any type of resentment. Just happy to have you back.
In that sense I see people here tryin to live their art, by coming downtown with ideals. By doing a LOT of urban gardening, which is HUGE here. There is soo much free space and it is green everywhere. I did hear about some problems with lead, too much bad minerals in the earth, so that you had to do tests first, where you started your gardens, since Detroit of course had a lot of really heavy industry with the car business and all the companies surrounding all that.
But in many places the earth is fine, and in Detroit, where housing is cheap, but food is not, the act of growing your own fruits and vegetables makes very much sense.
Downtown Detroit is full of liquor stores and churches, but no supermarkets. I have to drive 10 minutes out of town to go to Hammtramck, a Polish-Bangladeshi neighbourhood to do my food shopping!
Detroit has the largest Arabic population outside of the middleast in Dearborn which influences the city. There is a different vibe than in the very Jewish dominated Los Angeles or New York.
When you buy olives in the supermarket here, they are from the West Bank, Palestine?!
That has never happened to me in Los Angeles, where I have been going to a lot since 1986.
Ok I ramble on and on....me mind goes form left to right.
You can find many of my music links and my facebook DJ sessions with comments.
just look for Jonas Ohlsson...
Ok more later...just a little hello from Detroit.
I heard that the ELECTRO SHAM was very successful, I am very happy and proud. I wished I was there. Went to see Juan Atkins (who invented Techno) it was very nice, but also very small, I think we had more people at the Kraaiennest. Can you imagine, little us outdoing Juan Atkins.
But he was very great, so also happy to have seen that.
I miss you all and I will see you all soon!
28 of August we gonna blow that place UP!!!
Long live FATFORM!!!!!! Jonas
07/27/2011 - 16:37
Welcome Tantao and Ze!
Yesterday Ze Flores and Carlos Antonio Mattos (aka Tantao) arrived in the Dam from Brazil. Off course we had to take them straight to the Mekong River bar in the red light district to have some drinks. After they've recovered they will dj this Saturday at FATFORM - ELECTRO SHAM. And since they'll be hanging around for a while, much more to come!!
07/20/2011 - 21:50
My (THE) problem with community art...and why William Burroughs EAT Superflex any day of the week!!!
Last night our new found friends from Chicago came to visit us in our little house on Farnsworth street in Detroit.
We talked a lot about art, and again (as it often does here in the midwest) the discussion turned to the virtues (or not) of community art and audience participation. Kevin Kaempf was talking about an artist colleague of his who did a project where she would install plastic containers at the toilets of friends and collect their left overs to produce manure, which she would then later return in a cup, ready to be used in the nearest flower pot.
We talked about how LONG she would be able to sustain this practice and if that was important or not for the project. Or if it was maybe enough that the art worked on a more metaphorical, symbolic level. Apparently this woman was also a great communicator and had managed to get support from powerful people (Patricia Arquette) in high places (Hollywood).
Surely this could be a very useful, green and worthy art project with many possible positive benefits for mankind and the planet as a whole?
And it is usually around this point in the discussions surrounding community art that I fall asleep spiritually and mentally.
And it's not ONLY because I am a mean spirited, jaded cynic, who can't value utilitarianism.
But because it is sOoOOoOoooOOooooo different and alien from my own experience of art and culture.
If I look at my own experience of culture I think about what was important to me, what changed me as a human and what helped me to develop.
I value and respect Greenpeace, the Red Cross (and the Crecent) or Médecins Sans Frontières
just as much as the next guy. I just don't think it's art, and I don't think that they see it as art either. It would take some truly hardcore relational aestethicist guy or girl to claim that as an art piece.
There were very few utilitarian reasons for me to listen to Sex Pistols or Throbbing Gristle,
or read books by William Burroughs, Charles Bukowski or Jack Kerouac, or laugh myself silly reading Robert Crumb....au contraire! There was NOTHING healthy about it.
Which of course was partly the reason why I got into it in the first place. Does anyone SERIOUSLY believe that people listen to Death Metal or experimental Jazz for any health reasons?
But it DID help me to become a more complex person, it did challenge my beliefs and it did force me to open up to new ways of looking at the world.
It DID fuck up my hard disk and after that I can't process information and ideas in the same way as I did before and I think that's all you can ask of art.
Here in the midwest (as I have written about before) a lot of the little support there is for art,
is tied to educational projects. I have no problem with this, I TOO teach, but I don't call it art!
In the 60's and 70's there were huge debates in Europe and USA. Usually from a leftist perspective. Wasn't it time for the artists to FINALLY get off the fence and make themselves useful for the workers and join the revolution? Every artist and writer joined either the Communist party or the RAF, except Salvador Dali who just wanted to make preciooooooous GOooOoOOOLD!
"Make yourself useful, go into Bijlmer and help some poor Surinam kids". Was the mantra from the politicians who felt that maybe they could finally get some economical and social returns from the artist parasites they had subsidized for much too long. I am already doing this by the way, but for other more "culturally perverted (=sound) reasons" than the powers that be maybe would like.
Now these calls come from the cultural right (or maybe the cultural nihilists would be a more correct description). Go and entertain Henk and Ingrid in Apeldoorn (the Suriname kids are of course out of fashion).
I don't mind being useful or utilitarian, but I rather call that teaching, lectures or workshops
to be able to keep my art free, dirty and perverted.
And if you haven't paid attention, most poor, uneducated people ALSO prefer their culture dirty and nasty. See Baile Funk in Brazil, Geto Boys and Gangster rap in the states and so on... and they find it condescending when we honkies come up with another well meaning Do Good-er project in the Bijlmer, Rio or Detroit.
So let's keep REAL culture SICK n NASTY and leave the Do Good-erism to Greenpace. And if you absolutely can't restrain yourself and just HAVE TO DO SOME GOOD... just call it a workshop and you're off the hook....
Jonas Ohlsson reporting form Detroit thanks to Expodium
07/15/2011 - 18:43
From Kraaiennest to Detroit...
So this is how we roll in Detroit, in a Dodge RAM...It is like a floating bordello, with beds that go down, cheesy lightning, VCR and a lot of buttons that you can push for all kinds of special effects.
HOW could Detroit's auto industry go wrong one wonders,
when they create ace monster machines like this one?
It is un American to drive small Japanese honda civics and the like, but I guess the gas prices caught up with the Americans too, even though they don't tax it as heavily here as in Europe...But they will have to in the future
Which validates Churchills statement...
"you can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they tried everything else".
Here is an interesting debate about public vs private transport in Europe and the US.
For leftists like myself, it comes as no surprise that private companies "sometimes" have a greater interest in their own earnings than in what's good for the public.
But to see the devastation that the big three GM, Ford, Chrysler has managed to do to Detroit is still quite shocking.
In Holland now these ideas are again being embraced as if the financial crisis never happened.
What pissed off a lot of people in the USA with the bail out of the banks, and the bail out of the auto industry was the overwhelming sense of...
"Let's privatize earning when things are going well and let the taxpayer take care our the losses
when things go south".
Of course greed is not unique to companies alone.
But I think it is worth to keep things a little bit in perspective, now when USA is being seen as the role model for everything in Holland.
DAMN!!!!...I thought we all agreed after the crisis we just barely got out of that the Neo Con ideas did NOT work.
But here we go again in Holland, as if nothing happened...
So get prepared...this is how Utrecht will look in 15 years from now...hehehe
And here we have Sittard....
Only kidding, I hate to be the self rightous, nagging, left wing guy, pissing on America.
I like America a lot, always have, since I came here for the first time in 1986 as an au pair for a year.
It always become a simplification and there are many benefits to their system and their way of thinking too. Their total distrust of the state, makes them very rebellious and independant,
Also the old positivistic American idea that everything is possible is VERY infectious, even though we jaded Europeans would just dismiss it as naivite, but then on the other hand we never sent anyone to the moon or invented internet or facebook.
I prefer American optimistic naivite to European grey jadedness anyday!
Brothers from another mother, that's what we are, USA and Europe, nagging like little siblings,
but also listening to each others critique of one another more than we would like to admit.
And yes...the Americans are also looking to what Europe is up to.
At the moment...cycling is the big thing in the BIG cities of the USA.
with envy they look at Amsterdam or Stockholm or even London and try to copy good ideas as best they can.
But of course the situations are very different. As I noticed when I was taking my drivers license this spring in Amsterdam. Amsterdam was built for boats and horses, not for cars.
Urban sprawl is a phenomenon that we are totally unfamiliar with in Europe.
"sprawl to where?" would be the first question, Bijlmer might be an exeption, but after that?
In Detroit as well as in Los Angeles space was infinite and everyone wanted to have their own garage, their own veranda and their own house. They idea to live on top of each other in apartments
is totally foreign to most Americans (not New York people, where space was limited).
In Holland I am always amused by the fact that people say, 'I got a new house", when actually they mean that they got two rooms in an flat of apartments, the Dutch don't even distinguish between a house and an apartment...so used are they to share space.
OK... I will sign off now...much more to follow!
I have been a bit slow with blogging, I will lower my high quality standards of writing and just burp things out. Will be good for me, but after I write a really good piece like the "Space out in Holland...It's not an option" see homepage of this site. I get nervous to write a worse piece, almost like the second album, after a band rocked the world with their first...But FUCK it...yes indeed.
LONG LIVE FUCK...it looks great, we ARE up to great things with FUCK and FATFORM,people here in USA are VERY impressed when they see what we do, just don't give up.
KEEP the energy and the love floating!!! FUCK & FATFORM FO EVA!!!!!!!!
so many things to say and think right now so lets just GO!!!
BIG greetings Jonas Ohlsson from the Expodium AIR in Detroit.
When we came here two weeks ago there was a literal Dutch invasion of Detroit, Expodium was here, as well as Partisan Publik and Fonds BKVB and their artists in residence hangers on. The locals were understandably perplexed and wondered why so many Dutch people were suddenly interested in Detroit.
One of the reasons concerns urban space and freedom (or the lack of it). In mega densely populated Holland every square meter is planned, booked and spoken for. The relatively new situation in Detroit of urban shrinkage, frees up so much space, space that can now be redefined.
I always had a theory about the Dutch. The reason why they legalized prostitution and drugs were not only for economical reasons, even though the Dutch really likes money and are good at making it (but not as good as the Swedes...njä njä njä njä njääää=teasing 1). The prime reason for it was the lack of chaos in their surroundings. The Dutch had controlled everything that would have been called nature in thee olden days,
even the ocean was cut up into small controllable grachtengordel, polder pieces.
In Sweden I sometimes go into to the enormous forests just to feel small and get a bit scared. It puts me in place and in awe... Nature is something uncontrollable, the forest (and nature in general) is a symbol for the unconscious, for "the other", for the unknown...
There is nothing scary, wild, or uncontrollable in the Dutch landscape (except ganja smoking Italian tourists on bikes) and THIS fact created the need for some semi legalized wildness in the form of "ladies of the night" and drugs...Until recently I also used this theory to explain the great love for culture that the Dutch used to have. Culture as the unknown...wild, scary, thought and emotion provoking. How scary and unknown can a musical get??!!
If we take away the mind expanding possibilities in Holland of drugs, hookers and culture I think Holland will have collective panic attacks on a MASSIVE scale in a very near future. People will realize how small and claustrophobic Holland is. The new powerful political right is doing everything in its power to make Holland even smaller, to make the Dutch bitterballen walls come closing in...they come closer...and closer...
I came to NL as a Swedish western allochtoon in 1996, and since I come from a richer country than Holland (njä njä njä njä njääää=teasing 2)
I am in the unique allochtoon situation that no one will think I came here for the money or for the social security checks (they're MUCH fatter in Sweden). So I think I can afford (hehehehe...) to be blunt and speak freely.
I don't have a right to vote in Holland, but I voted FOR Holland 15 years ago when I moved here, with my life, my time, money, ambitions, passions and dreams. So I DO have a right to be critical. Holland NOW is not the Holland I came to 15 years ago. But I will stay and fight.
Thatcher, Reagan, Bush...Rutte?!
KICK OUT THE JAMS MOTHERFUCKERS!!!
(famous MC5 song which made Detroit famous as the pre punk city...
Iggy and Stooges also helped out, hence the name, Detroit-Rock city!)
Politically I also think it would be a good idea to stop focusing on Wilders. VVD is hiding behind Wilders and not the other way around and now the new right in Holland can let all their wet little neo con dreams become a reality. Wilders is not the problem, we have populist right wing manipulators in every country, massaging the assholes of all the "Henk & Ingrids" of this world. The weak CDA (the warm "socialist" christians of the right) and the strength of the VVD is the problem.
But also...as artists and culture makers... let's spend some time for a little bit of self reflection and self criticism too. After the murders of Pim & Theo, Holland suffered one of their greatest trauma in recent history.... how many of us artist did anything to deal with that drama in our art?
How many of us didn't just continue with our own discourses, when maybe this could have been a good time to get hip to the now. But we better get hip to THIS game quick though, otherwise the only option left will be... tune in, turn on, drop out!
But even that won't work....Wilders, Donner, Zijlstra and Verhagen wants to shrink Holland mentally into an even smaller hobbit country...and there are not enough drugs in the world to MIND EXPAND our way out of that dark, tight, scary shithole.
So our only choice is to fight back hard.
C U on the other side....
02/08/2011 - 19:05
We are FUCK!
FUCK was started in Bijlmer, Holland in 2006.
Not quite a gallery, but with the attitude of a band...THE band...A Flock of Seagulls.
FUCK is a useful name in the artworld.
It would be a bad name for a punk band from Kreuzberg and a horribly unimaginative name for a porn site.
But in the somewhat safe-ish artworld it still shines & sparks with unpolished rebellious magic.
When the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Conneticut asks you if your gallery should be mentioned and you say...
-Yes please...my gallery is called FUCK!
The name complicates things beautifully.
It reveals many hidden layers of meaning in an artworld obssessed with fake and real freedoms and makes you understand why others name their galleries Barbara Gladstone, Fons Welters or (Larry) Gagosian, less imaginative (since actually their parents named their galleries for them) but also easier.
FUCK (the act) is the NICEST interaction between humans,
and since Art is also an attempt at interaction between humans
FUCK (the art liquid) aims to be the SECOND nicest interaction between humans.
FUCK (the word) is impolite, rebellious, angry and in your face.
FUCK is more underclass than upperclass but also very human and hence class less.
FUCK experiments with the truth, the occult, emotions, stocks & bonds and
sex, drugs & curating.
(repeat 23 times fast!!!!)
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
WE ARE A THINK TANK SO WE THINK THINGS...TANKS MOSTLY, THANKS!!!!
01/27/2011 - 18:18
jump FIRST like rats...not LAST like the captain
We are inspired by sects and cults, but we don’t miss our leader!
We don't like revolutions since revolutions are born out of misery and desperation and we don’t like misery & desperation...
but if you gotta go you gotta go!
FUCK is not a gallery or a record label, nor a collective and also not a soundsystem...but maybe...a little bit
We believe in feminist critique but we also envy housewives and know that it's not easy being a sissy if your (not) a man.
We listen to post colonialist critique, but we also demand more white gay dancehall artist at the Sunsplash reggae festival.
We believe in wheelin’ & dealin’ and tit for tat and we know that it takes guts to be fat!
FATFORM...fat enough to contain all the radicals-that’s our aim!!!
Our next show for the summer of 2011 will be called
“beautiful girls who make art”.
We have kept saying that we would do this show for more than five years now...but this is part of our strategy!
Maybe this is one of those ideas that's so mighty that you don't even need to execute it?
Yes indeed...certain ideas are just too good and powerful...and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of a good idea
unless you own tons of guns and tanks or truck loads of money.
If you stubbornly stay on top of things you might be able to surf the zeitgeist wave twice or thrice in a life time.
Once we had jumped ship and left artists to move their objects & colors around in the lonely desert of yesterdays minds
and started to collaborate with the curators we were shocked to realize how different they were from our former friends...the artists.
In general the curators took much less drugs and they read a LOT more books than the artists.
In the beginning it was hard to keep up with the discussions of the global-local, post colonialism and the heritage of relational aestethics.
“The good” in the idea of curating was partly the idea of someone with exquisite taste making sense of all the information chaos that the artists came up with and partly the Duchampian idea of..art is MORE than retinal pleasures alone AND art is more than handicraft.
In music we had seen the same development...away from the skillful guitar hero Yngwie Malmsteen...via the (at first) clumpsy amateur synth knob fiddler (Throbbing Gristle)...via via the skillful synth knob fiddler Aphex Twin... to the super DJ Tiesto.
In economics we witnessed the same development...away from Detroit and car builders to Silicon Valley, facebook and Jesse Eisenberg.
So the evolution is generally from hand to mind.
Of course it could also be so...that we can sidestep objects TOTALLY in the future and just have ideas floating around at biennials all over the world without having to pay for expensive shipments, insurance, hotels and per diems for artists and assistants.
But we think it will take quite some time before we have come to that point.
Luckily...because we LOVE sweat and the intelligence of the body and physical objects and people in general.
Butt & SooOOOOoooOooO...right now>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
we give you FUCK.