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BEYOND THE MACHINE
2020 Exhibition Text
Beyond The Machine
EXHIBITION INTRODUCTION 2020
Tales of Entanglement, Escape
Australia: +61 414 414 658 NZ: +64 22 474 6530
Wellington + Sydney video artists, musicians, sculptors, writers, actors NICHOLAS FROST and NICHOLAS KEALEY...
Mouths of Illusion completed their inaugural video, text and physical installation BEYOND THE MACHINE for 17 days in the New Zealand 2020 Fringe Festival. With over 1000 people through the door and vigorous debate from visitors on the exhibition's technological, consumerist and spiritual themes, and despite the tragic passing of our great friend and collaborator Nick Kealey one week before opening, MOUTHS OF ILLUSION continue to nail the Zeitgeist!
Mouths of Illusion's text publications and video works appear on this website, on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and through our MAILING LIST.
Where public space for art is competitive, cliquey or tendentious, we critique the character of MACHINE – the technological, consumerist, medial, cultural, spiritualist paradigms and propagandas of this culture. Cut-through soundbites – MANTRAS told by big-brother guru faces – soothe a world of minimum attention-span, instant body-soul gratification, conformism to utopian beliefs, need to be ‘liked’, want for continuous superficial happiness without its necessary opposites. Big-scale VIDEO plus big-scale text, sculpture and sound deliver obsessive messaging. Sensory-emotive-intellectual lures deliver the ironies of hypnosis and alienation. Gratify your transcendent wanting with hypnotic wise cool propagandist dystopian machine MANTRA THERAPY.
MACHINE - OH PINNACLE OF HAPPINESS! In glassy tower rooms, foggy hives, workday warrens - whitey-shirted and tied we ponder at screens, send missives from pillar to post, confer and ruminate and fret, deliver decisions, await consequence, quake at superiors, mop sweat, furrow brows… Any hippie from Mars ’d see we’d all gone barmy. Why do these earthlings grovel to serve the levers and buttons and dots that feed their own pastime machine? And they built a fractal computer as big as a planet and clipped and snipped every genetical bit, with a nano-fiddle here and a nano-faddle there, till THEY birthed the fattened PIG of MONEY AND MEAT they could feast on forever… Oh SYSTEM, MY SYSTEM. Life’s smelly red-offal carpet spring-cleaned, laid out for benefit of humo-bots. BUT What will you do when the system serves you no more? When no-one cares because you’re smelly trampish and old, when not a soul registers what you want or think or vote? When you’re alone and lonesome death awaits. Lonely person-bot, you only exist in terms of lonely otherbots.
My advice? Face the stupid emptiness, and breathe.
THERE IS NO FISHER OF MEN in the canyon city. So many lonely fish in the rainbow sea. City crowd-shoals flitter in machine synchronation but reefs abound. Swim on. Pools of human eyes come at you come at you, never can hide their mind-flood. What secret rivers of tears are unleashed by people aching for the sea? We are the fish, thinking musing fish in our watery grave of musing, in liquored veins of streets whose horizon is the tips of skyscrapers, all unheeded by white winds of the sky. And down here our minds over aeons encrust pearl-shell identities, our clam bodies brood on lies and doubt and dreams. And on such strands and reefs we cast our nets and seek one fish who’ll look at us, who’ll moon through lips and eyes in private dance with us, who’ll join our wan undersea world of lonely consequence…
I WISH I WERE BOUNDLESS. I should cut myself, purify by red streams. Only the empty can swallow the world. Here I am! Only light behind the eyes perceives the darkness. Only the wind hears the thrumming of a drum. Every breath is my last. Madmen claim to stopper death, humans claim death exists, but only the killed may come to life. Only the lonely know a friend. There’s no suffering but this. I imagine a razor so thin it cut through emptiness. A particle so small it never saw another. A sorrow so deep it swallowed the night. A castle so dense none ever escaped. A love so entrenched it fed on itself. A net so fine it scooped the sea. My clock is ticking. For every gesture, the anti-gesture. For every breath a vacuum. Every dream a rude awakening. The razor’s edge is immeasurably thin, yet microbes journey forever. The caravanserai sets off. Is never seen again. Military columns have no end. War is here. Bell tolls for me. The night has no dawn. Here. Here. Don’t wait, don’t wait. There’s no time. Hurry. Hurry.
THE GURU SAID: Bring me water. the student brought him water in a cup. The guru flung it away and shouted: I asked for water. I did not ask for a cup!
ACCEPT IT, ACCEPT IT ALL as the thread of the Human - just as light flickers on the sea, as flowerheads sputter on the wind, as nuts tumble from trees… Not one universe but a million billion, all passing through and searing one another like ghost-fibres in a silken cloth as muscular as the sea. Universes of the microbe, of the flea, of the wind, of fishes, wolves, women, clouds, muslims, bakers, butchers, tallow makers, painters, lawyers, infidels, songs, science, apes, america, crabs and cranes, me and you, the gatepost, pole stars, lonely planet mars… And the realm we call Thought gossamer-passes through them all. Out of energetic mists of mind a notion is spawned, becomes obsession, spurs all acts, makes us cry, makes us lie, makes us die. Insanity! Words. Meaning. Literature. Gurus. Sacredness. Burn them ALL… Peace.
WHATEVER FORM YOU APPEAR TO TAKE is passing away with each breath, each atom-second, into another form which passes away to another form, forever. And when this ‘last form’ appears to collapse, when the light of the windows of the eyes seeks the beyond, when the zephyrs of breath labour and flow outward into the wide air, when the bag of flesh hesitates, falls and hugs the earth and will not get up or walk on no matter how its companions urge it to, then we can say that the person, whosoever and whatsoever that may be, has moved beyond our sight into another room, a new garden - to pluck a fresh adventure, new entertainment for her eyes, new movie to titivate her, fresh parlay with the ineffable converse of life. Inside or outside time and space, we cannot say. And we will reconstruct her story, or not, and reframe her former outward being in our eye, in our own tangle of grief and love, our narrative. Until we will think of her no more, since you also will have moved beyond this frighted quivering set of atoms, breathed too many of these intemperate breaths, replaced too many of these beaver cells, and walked on down the hallway into the dark or light.
And then a hush will fall on our ancestor soap opera, our construction, our painted little stage set, for whom there is no audience any more, for whom everyone has gone home to bed, and for whom a hush and a forgetting now falls in the camera-show of the world of men. Never to return by this road, but passing on into the dawn. Who will we meet and do our business with in future pleasure gardens? Walk on. Be sure of this: nothing ever stays what it is, and yet no fish is ever plucked from the infinite sea. Walk on. Don’t look sideways, or grasp at myriad operas of invention that beckon from the verges of your cosmic road. Instead be the garmented nothing that you are, and let your train trail behind you like the stars of an emperor, and let those who come behind pick up the cloth and treasure it - or not, as they choose.
THIS THIS THIS On a journey of a thousand miles we die to every step… And the great ticking shuffle of shift and change whispers to our ear: you’ll never come back, not by this road, not by any road. You are a ghost who walks, a mist of bones, a catenation of ideas; you dissolve in the very sun above that loves you. And in the darkness, in the primeval world-past from whence we came, from whence we evolved, that we claim to revisit with the torch of greater understanding, with the torch of the future - we are confronted by a bloody laughter that shakes us to the core. And we see that all we are is an ape in a suit, eyeballs in scholarly glasses, bloodied hands with a manicure, a grist of primeval ooze that fashioned letters and words. We are the indescribable mass of churning life that blindly seethed over countless ages toward order, toward the sun. Now all these ages are washed away, so that this moment is the only thing that is. All time is slaughtered for this insouciant sweet moment. Oceans of blood have fried in the sun for the sake of the smile on your infant face. Billions of years of moments, all gutted and gone - so that you and I may stand here, in this sunlit woodland in the morning, and thrill to the soft perfection of ourselves. Thanks to the darkness.
There was once a person who lived and passed away, of whom nothing was ever written, no photo was taken, who did not a thing noteworthy or remarkable, who lived in a place all forgotten in a land ruled by no remembered king, who tasted nothing but humble baked bread of a wheatfield, and who felt all seconds and minutes and days of his life sufficient unto himself in unutterably quiet harmony with his breath; who felt the wind and sun, and the night and the stars on his skin in the darkness, who had never the mind to wonder at the wonder of being or birth, who passed away in the quiet tides of the unknown, his head on no soft pillow known to another (except a casual spouse who shared his days and doings then herself passed on), a person who is not even a dream in the mind of another, or a memory or cause or consequence, who is clean beyond the intrusions of myth and make-believe, and who lies still, without future or past, in quiet earth turned by the casual plough of some other soul unknown, in some other story in some other dimension. I believe there once was such a person.