As a longtime adjunct professor at an unnamed college in suburban Saint Louis, I’ve seen around a 1,000 young people move through my classrooms over the years. The very first group, as all good pop songs would tell you, is one that I still remember. But do I remember it fondly? Well, there were some good moments, but with only five students in the class (four of them friends) and with myself totally unable to go from zero experience to quality instructor, it was a touch of a challenge.
Of the five, I’ve followed a couple of them over the years, hyper-creative sorts who’ve bounced through all kinds of media and projects and arts and successes. As Jason Wallace Triefenbach once opted to miss a class in order to interview Genesis P. Orridge, I had a feeling that he’d be off to some interesting adventures during life. For a number of years, those played out in Saint Louis. In recent years, he’s been cranking out the magic in Los Angeles.
He’s been a vocalist in a hard-rock band, an actor in silent films, a creator of multi-disciplined/room-sized artistic flights of fancy… In short, he’s been a creative cat and I wouldn’t have expected his responses to TS5Q to be anything but creative. In fact, he added to the mix, by tackling all five options on Q5, giving this installment the full disco remix treatment. Dig it.
One. Which of the seven deadliest sins make for the best art?
I had to check Wikipedia to remind myself what the seven are. There I read that “LUST” was originally “EXTRAVAGANCE”. So I’m going to choose extravagance because in a time when things like photographs of empty white walls purport to tell me something about perception, I prefer works with the overwhelming clutter of a Boredoms album or a multi-hit acid trip. Whether one is working with jumbles of trash or a million dollar budget, I’d like to see more excess, please.
Two. For what are you going to need a little more evidence?
At this point everything is up in the air. I can’t even be sure that I exist.
Three. For personal creativity (or productivity), are you better served by contentment or restlessness?
I’m not sure if I know what contentment is. Maybe the image the Jehovahs give you where the kid is hugging the tiger and the vaguely brown folks are picking flowers with the little girl smiling like she’s never going to be made to feel ashamed of her body? I think that in my life and in my artistic output I am fueled by restlessness. To keep pressing onward. Isn’t that our duty as energy clusters? Intake and output? Ride the vibration and BE the vibration? “The Universe is Music, Kevin.”
Four. Likeliest occurrence within your lifetime: true peace, total war, or the arrival of spacemen/spacewomen?
This question is the hardest for me to answer. And the most crucial, from my point of view. I can feel the RIGHT answer teasing on the outskirts of my ability; but in the interests of ending my long procrastination with these questions, I’ll settle for crude and none-too-exact:
I have tried, and continue to strive, for a life in which I am totally IN LOVE with the world, and at the same time totally AT WAR with the world. This comes down to small actions and gestures on the daily plane- chipping away at the foundations. For instance, every time I get a parking ticket, I jam a few meters with flattened out staples. Where I live, a quarter buys you fifteen minutes of parking. And I’ve guess-timated that it takes the city about three days or more to come by and fix the meter. So at twelve dollars a day, times three days, I cost the city roughly thirty-six dollars every time I pull this little “prank”. If I break three meters in a row, that’s one hundred eight dollars I’ve stolen from the bloodsuckers. That’s a hundred bucks NOT going to pay some pig to shoot black people. A hundred bucks NOT going towards some city councilman’s new golf clubs. A hundred bucks NOT going towards corporate welfare… try this at home!
So I think total love IS total war- action and vigilance, avenging the tortured spirits stuck beneath the asphalt- whereas when I think of Peace I think of some state of being in the astronomically distant future when all points in the Universe will reach a common, constant temperature, and eternal stillness will be manifest. Until then, I have my own law.
As far as the space people, I agree with Thollem McDonas. And maybe someday we’ll meet ourselves out there.
Five. Select/discuss any one of the following options.
Five-a: You lost it as a child and you want it back.
Before I hit puberty, I could masturbate forever without cumming.
Five-b: You are concerned about your food and its origins.
I try not to think too much about cancer, but it appears to be coming for most if not all of us. But I don’t eat at McDonalds, where they tell you right on the wall that their french fries contain acrylics.
Five-c: These are your generation’s greatest successes.
Fuck my generation.
Five-d: For you, this is the book, play, recording, painting, poem, scripture or (item X) that made all the difference.
Thankfully, it keeps happening. My uncle used to play me his Black Sabbath records when I was a toddler. In the fifth grade my art teacher showed us Salvador Dali: Soft Self-Portrait. In high school I read The Stranger and Naked Lunch, and saw GG Allin on the Jane Whitney Show. In college someone told me about Joseph Beuys and Hermann Nitsch. Since then? Werner Herzog, Kenneth Anger, Alejandro Jodorowsky… lots of moving images. People don’t seem to write good books anymore, and the “visual artists” are stuck in grad school nonsense- celebrities, middle class ennui, and rehashed Minimalism with a sarcastic paintjob. Most recently, I was deeply impressed by that movie Winter’s Bone. Really took me back to my early years.
Five-e: Do you have a question for me? (What is it?)
Will you interview David Berman?
Jason’s 2007 video piece DREAM WARFARE 3 will soon be released on DVD by the Penny Ante company.