nedjelja, 7. listopada 2012.

Graeme Revell - The Insect Musicians + SPK (Surgical Penis Klinik...)

Revell od 1990. štanca muziku za holivudske filmove, no ovdje nam je važan kao osnivač industrijskog benda SPK, kao izvođač glazbe Adolfa Wölflija te zbog totalno ludog albuma The Insect Musicians (1986), koji je objavio u svojoj izdavačkoj kući Musique Brut. Simfonija kukaca - muha, moljaca, zrikavaca. Priroda je audio-tehnološko pojačalo.
Da, da, to je čovjek čijem su bendu "militantnih mentalnih bolesnika" parole bile "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb for mental health", "Kill, Kill, Kill for inner peace", "Turn Illness Into a Weapon" i "Therapy through violence" i koji je na pozornici jeo ovčji mozak i zezao se bacačem plamena.

Graeme Revell, The Insect Musicians

The Insect Musicians
The Insect Musicians is an album performed and produced by Graeme Revell. It is a symphony of tsetse fly, death’s-head hawkmoth, bog bush cricket, screech beetle, queen bee laying eggs, and 35 other insect sounds collected from around the world. Revell saw the potential for insects as an auditory art medium: «Perhaps the most fecund territory for future explorations in art and music lies in the miniature; in detailed experiments with nuances of rhythm and timber, detail and colour. And perhaps the ultimate horizon of technology is Nature itself.» Graeme Revell was born in New Zealand in 1955, Graeme Revell moved to Australia were he founded the legendary industrial band SPK in 1978. After three records of extreme noise assaults and controversial subjects, SPK turned into a synth-pop band in 1984, consisting of just Revell and his wife Sinan Leong. In the mid 80s’ Revell started the Musique Brut label to release some solo recordings in the fields of ambient and experimental music. Graeme Revell is now a prolific and appreciated composer of movies soundtracks for a lot of mid and high-budget Hollywood productions. Alas I don’t have the booklet that came with the vinyl, but the text can be copied from here. The Insect Musicians was released on vinyl by Musique Brut (BRU 001) in 1986.


SPK (Surgical Penis Klinik / System Planning Korporation /  Sozialistisches PatientenKollektiv / SePuKku / Selective Pornography Kontrol / Special Programming Korps / SoliPsiK)

The Post-Industrial Strategy

Note: These manifestos tare taken from RE/Search #6/7 -'The Industrial Culture Handbook'.
There's also a long SPK interview in the book, see the Interviews section.

The true meaning of the slogan, We are all German Jews, is not solidarity but the inescapable fact that these people are not deviant phenomena. This situation is the norm. Death is everywhere in life. SPK is not fetishing a situation. It is exposing
this cathedral of death.
The strategy is not dialectical - liberation vs. control, unconscious vs. conscious, deviant vs. normal, sexual vs. chastity.
The strategy is CATASTROPHIC - pushing the situation to the limit.
The strategy is SYMBOLIC - using the system's own intolerable signs against .
The strategy is ANONYMOUS - the refusal to be categorizable as another star deviant. We are the norm. We are the twilight.

(Twilight Of The Idols)
Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish: the mechanism of social control has changed from liquidation or internment to therapeutic. Criminals or the insane are now simply recycled and turned into normalized homogeneous citizens. Both the right and the left wish to feel responsible for these problems and to reintegrate the deviant. We must not do this Our interest in social deviance must be to maintain and extend the disability of the system to keep its margins under its control.
Another fiction is the idea that by liberating the unconscious or the "psychic" we can attack the post-industrial simulacre. To begin with, the modern notion of unconscious is just another metaphysical concept. The primitives had no need of it because they had no distinction between the civilized and the savage mind. Only with emancipation or the idea of freedom did the need arise for the Master to be interiorized in us all and alienation begins. All savage, wandering and symbolic processes came to be called "unconscious" and were thereby domesticated like death. Any idea which maintains this artificial separation is tragically missing the point. Furthermore it is foolish to think that a social code which created the unconscious is not able to inscribe and
control it, just the same as it manipulates our conscious lives. Indeed this is the most effective method the code uses for its perpetuation. Psychic liberation is the very form of the system, not a radical solution as the drug experimentation of the Sixties showed. Changing individuals does not necessarily change societies.

It has been some decades since Western culture could be accurately described as Industrial. Since the under-consumption crisis of the Thirties, we have shifted entirely into a social structure dominated not by production but by reproduction, not by equivalence but by commutation, not by merchandise but by the model. We live in a post-industrial world. A world no longer where all labor is exchanged and loses its singularity but where labor and leisure become entwined. Not a culture bought and sold but one where all cultures simulate one another. Not a place where love is prostituted but where a liberated keel sexuality is compulsory. And an era in which time is no longer accumulated like money but is broken in a confused web of nostalgia,
fetishism and futurism.
SPK has always been certain to establish its separation from any label like "industrial" because it has always pursued a strategy radically more efficient - the successor to industrial society. The realization of this difference is vital for any strategy: artistic, revolutionary, terroristic. If not, we shall only continue to confuse the symptom for the cure...
If the industrial era was determined capitalist mode, then the post-industrial is hypercapitalist. And in the sphere of signs the society has become indeterminate and codified. In the pre-industrial era every sign had a corresponding reality. In the industrial, every sign became equivalent to all others with money as the mode of social coherence. Now, however, all signs have become models, slightly differentiating all social reproduction - a generalized code of simulation. The real horror is that this process no longer stops at the factory gate but penetrates our homes, our loves and our minds. All our time becomes marked time...
Walter Benjamin (McLuhan later) was the first to realize that technology was not a productive force but a MEDIUM - the principle - the FORM of the new society of publicity, information and communications networks. Seriality or the mechanical reproduction of exactly equivalent clones had given way to models generative of all forms according to a modulus of differences. This digitalized genetic cellule - the code-produced all questions and all possible solutions. A DNA generative of control of the social organism.

The system has produced a special kind of death, a calculated system of signs. If the cemetery and the asylum are in the process of disappearing it is because death is everywhere and no longer needs to be hidden away. Today it is ethnocidal, judicial concentrational, sensational. A complex fetishism of death as deviance - hence "star" deaths like Manson, Jones or Vietnam are just part of the system's own sensationalist fetishism. The true horror is statistical death which is the by-product of normalization and the therapeutic. Serums and laboratories are only the alibi for the prohibition of the speech of the dying.
It is quite obvious, then, why all our attention is focused on violent death, which alone manifests something like sacrifice - the transmutation of the real by the WILL of the group. All artificial death is therefore a product of a social death.
Suicide equals murder (from the manifesto of the original Sozialistisches Patienten Kollektiv).

The "sexual revolution" was nothing but a neutralization of all sexuality by its extension to all significations. It is a spectacle, an imperative, an advertisement. The fetishes are no longer private or anti-social as in de Sade - they are compulsory, they are normalized, they are transparent. Transparency is not a radical idea but a fundamental demand of the system today. Michael Foucault in The History of Sexuality (vol. 1) shows how all sexuality including deviations are "confessed" so that the code can be total. Read Penthouse Forum. Every sexual possibility is cataloged in some cheap porno movie to be reproduced by us in our private lives.
The body has become entirely sexualized/but sex without qualities. Nudity is sexually redundant, the body having passed to a mannequin to focus signs - clothing, make-up, furniture, restaurant, car, etc. The body is fetishized as a manipulation of masks; the idea of the optimum body becomes nothing but the "you" of the advertisement - fragmented and reconstructed as a model.
The only possible attack on this totality is the exhibition of intolerable bodies mutated, diseased, deformed, dead. Hence our extensive file of unacceptable flesh. This is not our obsession - this is merely the obverse of the obsessive code.
Marcuse called this sexual revolution "repressive desublimation." It is no longer violent and aimed at the genitals, it is more subtle and seduces us to play. Death is the only possible pornography for this system... there is no radical sexuality...

To demand that information tell the truth is to revert to a pre-industrial mode. Today there is no reality, or everything is real and everything is unreal. Today the object no longer refers to the real nor to information. Both are already the result of a selection, a montage, a taking of views. The role of messages is no longer information but a test - of success at interpreting the code according to the code for the perpetuation of the code. Thus the control problem is not one of surveillance, propaganda or paranoia. It is one of subjective influence, consent and extension to all possible spheres of life. The incorporation of the code into the corpse itself (Cf. Baudrillard: the "leucemisation" of all social substance, 103).
Modernity is not the transmutation of values - the myth of progress and change - but a commutation, combinatory and ambiguous. In this process art and reality come to simulate each other. The dichotomy between real and imaginary collapse and commerce, the political, and the scientific become immersed more in aesthetics than in reality in the old sense. Symbols everywhere - ideologies, personalities, publicity - the new form of power. In politics as in art and culture, the obsession with the "new" is always limited to the rate of change tolerable without altering the essential order. And our lives, as works of art created by this public/ity code, participate in the same re-production.
"It remains to be seen if this operationality is not itself a myth, if DNA is not itself a myth." (Jean Baudrillard, L'Echange symbolique et la Mort, p94)
We are living at the beginning of an epoch which history will come to know as another Dark Age. But unlike the first one characterized by the concealment of information, we suffer from an almost opposite problem
- information overload. The demand for more information is not radical - it is to demand exactly what the system already inundates us with.

We live entirely a fiction of evolutionism: for capitalism a belief in an eternity of accumulation and progress; for science a faith in an infinite march towards truth, for social manipulation a belief in control from cradle to grave. The profound law of the prevailing social order is therefore not economic but the progressive manipulation of life and death. From birth control to death control it's the same system of extermination. Only now there is no longer any need for actual death. The operation is realized in forced survival which only suicides not made of despair can breach. Society in the post-industrial era is one of slow-death where all time is marked, where all subjects are the (in)voluntary recipients of the unilateral gifts of employment, social security, material/sexual gratification and most of all the incessant bombardment of how one ought to look, think, and act. A living death.
Power always rests in the last instance on the power to put to death - actual, threatened or symbolic. And in the modem case this power operates symbolically by the naturalization, or MEDICALIZATION of life and death. "Primitive" societies treated death as a social relationship, hence the initiation ceremony or sacrificial rite was a shared or social birth and death respectively. No "individual" was ever bom or put to death. This symbolic exchange ends the disjunction between life and death (a concept of naturality which is just part of our modem scientific idealism) and therefore also between real and imaginary. Instead we have autonomized death as an individual fatality, thus absolving society from most responsibility.
--SPK, 1983

Chainsaw No. 11 : February 1981

This interview took place after their set at a Final Solution gig in Heaven, Charing Cross, supporting Throbbing Gristle and A Certain Ratio.
Heaven is normally a meat-market gay disco and it must rank as the most sordid venue I have ever been to - I'll certainly have doubts about going there again. It was unbearably hot, smoky and very dark towards the end of the evening it was literally impossible to see from one side of the hall to another. Decor (and background music) rather over-the-top disco. All in all, probably just about sordid enough for a Throbbing Gristle/SPK gig.
Incidentally a couple of years ago this. place used to be called the (Global Village and had occasional gigs then too - the last time I saw the Users was in there. My, how it's changed.
I first became interested in Surgical Penis Klinik when their single "Meat Processing Section" came out in the summer last year (although it was recorded in their native Australia in 1979). This was in fact their second EP, the first (No More/Contact/Germanik) was released on their own label Side Effects Records early in 1979.
Tonight their set was quite an experience, to say the least. It is probably best described as an all-out attack on your senses. First, there was the sheer volume of sound - the constant low-frequency noises that were played at deafeningly loud volume. The sound itself - deliberately loud so as to cause distortion - more like the "Slogan" side of Meat Processing Section than the "Factory" side, but always with the booming low frequency noises in the background, that were missing on the records. The lights and the strobes were pointed straight at the AUDIENCE and not the group...
Current line-up:
Operator - Synth/Tapes/Rhythms
Mr Clean - Production engineer
Wilkins - Guitar/Bass
Genesis P-Orridge told me once that this group were the most deranged group that he'd ever come across. After seeing their set, and doing this interview, I almost agree...
Charlie: How long have SPK been going?
Operator: First started in January 1979 I think, but the first time we played together was June l979 and that was with me, a psychiatric nurse, a guy called Nehil who was a mental patient - schizophrenic, and two punk guys we got to help us, who left soon after to become pop stars.
Charlie: Who with?
Operator: They've got a group of their own in Australia called Secret Secret who are just making a lot of money in the clubs.
Charlie: Are you all Australian?
Operator: No. Wilkins is English, comes from Bristol, and Mr Clean and I don't come from anywhere in particular. We consider ourselves stateless.
Charlie: You were born in Australia, weren't you?
Operator: That's not necessarily true. But don't push it. That's an assumption that we wish to maintain.
Charlie: How many copies did you make of your first single?
Operator: We did two EP's in Australia - three tracks on each - and we made 500 copies of the first one and 500 of the second one, and then we had to do a re-release of 500. Then I came to England on my way to France, to live there - and Genesis of TG wrote to us and said he wanted to do a re-release in England of the second one, so we said yes. The second one has three tracks on the original - the third track was a throwaway which was fucked up after I left and re-mixed by the psycho guy, before he killed himself.
Charlie: He killed himself?
Operator: Yes... and actually recently we had another guitarist who killed himself, so that's why the group's so unstable all the time.
Charlie: Why did they kill themselves?
Operator: Don't know. They didn't tell me. They didn't leave me anything in their wills either, which is annoying.
Charlie: Who writes the lyrics? The words of some of your songs on the first single are a bit over the top.
Operator: Those lyrics were written mainly by Nehil who was the Schizophrenic, but we were working in collaboration all the time. I handled the music, he handled the lyrics. But all the lyrics are over the top. It's just that some of them are sung in German so they'd be over the top to a German, I suppose.
Charlie: There's no point in going over the top in a foreign language.
Operator: Why not?
Charlie: It doesn't seem over the top then.
Operator: But lyrics function as a dictatorial device - if you've got a set of lyrics, they'll tell you what they mean. You've then got no choice about any particular meaning in the piece of sound. So if you write lyrics in German, bad German at that because I can't speak any German, then the audience is free to take whatever meaning they want to from whatever the sound is.
Charlie: Your microphone was very distorted tonight. Was that intentional?
Operator: No, not particularly, but you can't help it when you've got that much noise going on. You can't get a good mix on a mike like that. Plus I'm shouting quite a lot in German because I like the language - it's a little fetish of mine.
Charlie: When you sing in German do you understand exactly what you're singing?
Operator: They're translated from an English idea, but they're usually cut up afterwards, so they probably don't mean anything to a German person either.
Charlie: So do you ever wan to play in Germany?
Operator: I have had thoughts about going to Dusseldorf because that's where DAF and Pyrolator are working, but I'm not sure whether I like their stuff anymore, I just don't like England all that much.
Charlie: Then why are you here?
Operator: I don't like places with any characteristics, I'd like a place that didn't have any characteristics, so I wouldn't feel oppressed by any particular culture, or anything like that. I'm not expecting to find anything, though.
Charlie: It's probably freer here than most places, though.
Operator: It depends what you mean by free. A lot of the things we're doing now are about information overload. For example tonight there was a tape which you probably couldn't hear properly because of the distortion, it was a compilation of chemical warfare and side-effects of psychotropic drugs which is an indication that if we're all excited about chemical warfare, it in effect started in mental hospitals in 1952, with people subjected to it all the time. Another case is a cut-up between several porno loops, hard core and the soft core that you get on advertisements, so we packed them all together, which is the state that you have in the so-called free society. You're just bombarded with shit all the time. And that's what we're saying. We're not trying to dictate any particular set of lyrics to anybody at all.
Charlie: So what kind of a place would you want to live in?
Operator: We'll all end up living eventually inside the head. A head without a world. I have no material needs at all - I live on £5 a week. In London that is some achievement, so they tell me.
Charlie: Do you ever get bored?
Operator: Never. You only get bored if you're expecting something better. And there isn't anything better, everything's the same.
Charlie: Isn't that a negative attitude? I get bored sometimes.

Operator: You must be looking for something. You must have your highs. I think I'm a pluralist to the extent that as much diversity is the best thing. It's categorisation, lines and so on that you get in the music scene in London which kill you. I can contradict myself one second after I've said something, because consistency is just another closed way of thinking.
Charlie: Doesn't consistency mean that you know what you're talking about?
Operator: Consistency generally means sticking to a set line, for example Marxist or left wing line, left wing / right wing - it's all the same - everybody's realising that now.
Charlie: Well I believe in some things and not in others.
Operator: Noem Chomsky, who's a really left wing linguist just signed a manifesto of the Fascist party in France saying that they should be allowed to continue. Because he says it's the only way it'll be controllable - there's no point in trying to stamp it out, that's the way to go about things. That's the way I think.
Charlie: Allowing any party to exist doesn't necessarily mean that you agree with what they are saying.
Operator: Exactly. That's why I wouldn't follow either opinion. One day I'd say that not allowing it to happen is OK. You can't make a decision either way. On any subject. It might help to fill in a bit of background here on why I think this way - it comes from experience in mental hospitals where no decision is ever right. For a schizophrenic person, for example, there's nothing you can do or say to a schizophrenic person that will help them, and being silent doesn't help them either. So what do you do ?
Charlie: What experience have you had with schizophrenic patients?
Operator: In general... I worked with a lot of alcoholics... senile dementia... manic depressive psychosis... schizophrenia... Schizophrenics are quite interesting. It's a series of superimposed masks with no personality behind - all they can do is switch from one to the other. They're not happy with any of them - they're unhappy with any of them. It's just a series of options - they don't believe in any one of them, they don't think any one of them is better than the other - they don't have anything behind it to stabilize on.
Charlie: Do you identify with them in any way?
Operator: Yes. There is considerable biological evidence that there is an entire schizophrenic system in everybody which surfaces more dramatically in some than in others. Yes, I think most people are schizophrenic to a certain extent. Not the classic split personality bullshit, but in the sense that at times the overcoating devices, the rationalities just break down and they'll go haywire - go crazy. One of our songs is called Retard, about a guy who just went crazy-killed somebody - no motive, nothing at all. He's spent thirty-five years in a mental hospital, paying for it. They couldn't have let him out though, he might have done it again. It's these dilemmas, no-win situations which intrigue me. That's what our music's about.
Charlie: So what are you intending to do now, as a group?
Operator: We'd like to do another gig, on our own, cos we were fucked around a lot tonight. When we were playing, in what position, and all this sort of thing - in other words we were shoved to side and they forgot about us. Not that I mind - I just don't like feeling some asshole's pushing me around. I didn't complain, or anything like that, but I'd rather control it myself.
Charlie: Where would you want to play?
Operator: Interesting venues, hopefully. Not the Marquee, or that sort of stuff. I'm looking into... they've started to rent out the old World War Two underground shelters under London. There's a huge network of them. I'd like to play down there, and if anybody got tired they could wander off and have a look. Some are run by the GLC, some by the police. They're useful for storage, mostly. But anywhere that comes up, I'm willing to play. I got approached by a guy tonight waning to put us on a compilation album of futurism, like Eric Random and Naked Lunch and stuff... I don't want to be labelled as futurist, just like I don't want to be labelled with Industrial.
Charlie: So you won't be doing anything more with Industrial?
Operator: I don't think so, no. It's a mutual agreement, we don't want to lump everything together - we want to diversify.
Charlie: Why did you release that second single on Industrial?

Operator: Publicity really. I couldn't afford to do it . It's not money, I think I made £15 out of the whole thing, even though they didn't have any pressing charges. We sold quite a few but I never saw any money - but that doesn't bother me because it was only to get a name.
Charlie: It didn't get much publicity in the music press.
Operator: It only got mentioned in Sounds - one line, it didn't get mentioned in the NME or Melody Maker, possibly because they had their big strike at exactly the time it was released.
Charlie: Would you have wanted more mentions?
Operator: Oh no, not really. It's a very difficult situation where you're trying to stay underground but still get a few people to know you. It's a situation where you say you want exactly 5000 people, no more and no less, any more and you're selling yourself and any less and you're wasting your time. It's difficult, cos you've got to tread that line all the time.
Charlie: So what about the future?
Operator: It depends on everybody else really. I'd like to diversify and do video, and maybe do some soundtracks for the video, I'm also writing two books, one on music, one on words - it's a hybrid of philosophy and fiction. Just on different types of thought, rather than the narrow ones we're restricted to at the moment. I like violent change, convulsive thought... ripping from one thing to another so nobody can tie you down and say "You are this, you are that", so if you gave me this interview tomorrow I'd probably tell you something completely different.
I didn't do the interview again, so I'll never know now whether that is true. Anyway Surgical Penis Klinik gigs are very thin on the ground to say the least - this was the only one they've done in England so far - so the best way to find out what they're like is to listen to their "Meat Processing Section" single which is still available on Industrial. I prefer the "Factory" side, which I still consider to be one of the best things to be released in 1980. Operator prefers the other side "Slogan" which is probably nearer the live sound.
Postscript. I went round to Operator's place in Vauxhall a couple of weeks after the gig/interview... The group did not want pictures of them to be published, as one of their primary aims is to discourage identification with the star and other heroic images, and promotion of self-importance in individuals... They have chosen three images, one for each of them. Fourth member "Tone Generator" rejoining the group from Australia at the time of press.

Stabmental fanzine : 1981

S.P.K. stands for Surgical Penis Klinik, for System Planning Korporation and for many other things. They make an incredibly violence, distorted and disturbing type of electronic music, overloading the senses with volume and with information. They have released an ep. on Industrial Records called Meat Processing Section and an LP and an ep on their own Side Effects Records. The LP was released recently and is called Information Overload Unit. It was released in UK. The original ep 'No More/Contact/Germanik' was released in Australia which is were the group were originally formed.
SM : Who is in SPK and who has been in the past as I know there have been numerous lineup changes.
SPK : "At the moment the lineup consists of Operator-synths, rythms, traetments, vocals. Wilkins-guitar, bass, tapes, vocals. Tone Generator-syth, treatments, vocals. Mr. Clean was until recently involved as technition but left immediately after we recorded the LP. The previous lineup was based around EMS/AKS and NI/H/IL in collaboration with 2 punk musicians in Australia."
SM : How did the LP emerge ?
SPK : "During the period of relapse of SPK, the move from Australia to Europe there were many ideas formed, many of which were realised on the LP, but there were other ideas added by incoming members of the group. As far as production goes we decided to do everything that we possibly could independantly - we raised the money ourselves, bought the equipment - designed the sleeve and info.handouts. The only thing we didnt do ourselves was distribution and Rough Trade did that. We have distibuted to Europe through our own connections however, and are working on a deal with Japan as well as handling mailorder. All the production was done on a strictly limited budget which is why we only released a I000 to begin with, but it looks like were going to have to do some more."
SM : How many times have you played live ?
SPK : "Four times. once in Britain althogh by the time you read this it will be at least once more." (They have oplayed in London with Nocturnal Emissions since) "We were a little disappointed with Heaven although it was sordid enogh. We would like to find somewhere more interesting to play. Idaelly we would like to play in a mental institution or the underground bomb shelters in London. We dont fit in to standard musical structures so we dont fit into standard musical surroundings."
SM : Why do you play live and do you enjoy it when you do play ?
SPK : "We have to anwser presonally. Operator thinks he might enjoy it if it were in the right surroundings but otherwise dosnt enjoy it at all. Wilkins likes the elements of chance and uncertainity that come into live performances. He feels that you can to some extent feed off the surroundings and the emotional balance of the occasion and channel them through the sound. Tone Generator likes the element of feedback from the audience - that if people see you live they are more likely to approach you rather than if the only contact is a mailing address. We enjoy playing live if we can do something interesting and are in control of what is happening, but that rarely happens."
SM : What is the audience reaction like at your concerts ?
SPK : "Largly confusion - we dont really get a balanced picture of the audience because if they dont like you then they leave or stand around silently so you only get feedback from those that enjoyed it. The first time we played was in Aust. and we were pelted with beer cans and had the mains pulled out three times. At Heaven, the latest one they cheered and danced. In fairness there was one shout of 'Get Off' but largly that was a very favourable reaction. Someone may even have been standing on his toe."
SM : Why have you named yourself after a Baader-Meinhof offshoot group ?
SPK : "IMPORTANT: The SPK were NOT a Baader-Meinhof offshoot group, although it existed in Germany at the same time. We take our name fromthe Sozialistiche Patiensten Kollektiv which was a group of psychiatric patients in an institution, bought together by one Dr. Huber who helped these people express the content of their repression in their Manifesto which is quite a long document and reads very coherently. They also formed the working Circle Explosives which was a bomb making collective. It represents for us an effort whether or not we agree with the ethics of what they did, an attempt to extract themselves from the institution, from the situation into which they had been forced. It is also important that they saw mental illness as a label tagged onto them by a system that had failed, couldnt take them into consideration and had to hide them away in an institution. The fact that they failed by blowing themselves up is quite important to us too. In that any attempt to work your way out of a situation there is bound to be an array of interferences that are going to occur and must be anticipated. They dont appear by obvious crushing of a movement, they occur because of the internal socialisation procedures that have already gone on. They appear to come from you and it is important not to be discouraged by such problems as they occur - just accept them as part of what you are doing ! In that sense it relates to to the way we construct sound. We let the interference from the ma chines take as much weight as seems appropriate and oten inappropriate to the expression of the idea that we are working on."
SM : Do you admit to being influenced by anybody ?
SPK : "Obviously a number of musicians have influenced us in the past and we are still being influenced now. It is important to stress that music is not the only form of influence on us. All forms of media in particular film, literature, painting, television, bizarre visuals interesting documents, conversations, sounds, accidents, fate, etc."
SM : Do you like any contemporary groups ?
SPK : Theres no common ground amongst the members of SPK, some members like things that the others despise. So some of the following names could appeal to one member, equally could be tolerated by all: - Can, Neu, Der Plan, Harmonia, Cluster, Faust, La Dusseldorf, Kraftwerk, Cabaret Voltaire, Captain Beefheart, Pere Ubu, Throbbing Gristle, Joy Division, Wire, The Fall and The Residents."
SM : Do you like London ?
SPK : "We are fairly nomadic and experienced in different types of culture and civilisation - London isnt really very different from any other city. The London scene ? We are not really part of it at all, people just seem to be following fashion without giving it much thought. The same thing will happen in New York, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Berlin etc so no cities are really that different."
SM : Can you give any sort of a statement to describe what you intend your music to do for people ? How can they be influenced by listening to it ?
SPK : "There are 2 possible ways of interpreting the word influence. The first and usual approach , is to try and influence somebody into thinking/acting in the same way as you do. Such aformat uses familiar materials in order to transfer an established message to a passive recipient with as little loss of information as possible. Often an emotive context is established around the message in order to heighten its impact. However such practises are really only coercive, at no stage is the recipient able to construct anything for himself.
the second, or experimental approach is to attempt to influence somebody into thinking or acting differently from both his habits & you. This usually requires some sort of a jolt as weve said before - either by an intensity (or overload) effect or by confusion. It also requires to break out of mood formations which are just as coercive as message dictation because they can lull a listener into passive unconciousness very easily. This is a danger experimental music always run and often fails to realise - it too can degenerate into familiar categorisable musak. We are trying to avoid this trap and it is very often the first response on listening to SPK that there is something wrong or 'deviant' about it. "Diseased" is a word that has often been used to describe it, which we like. Generally we would like to be happy with the maximum possible number of variations in response - but any listener has to do a lot of work for himself."
SM : You seem to have a lot of interest in aspects of mental illness - can you comment on this and how you have had so much contact with it.
SPK : "The original SPK started as a collaboration between NI/H/IL who was a certified schizophenic patient and EMS/AKS who was a psychiatric nurse in a state institution. It semed that mental illness was a much neglected area in terms of atrocities commited on people, which we try to bring out in our music. The LP track 'Macht Schrecken' for example contains a juxtaposition between the sideeffects of anti-psychotic drugs and the effects of chemical warfare agents. The list reads almost exactly the same, the only difference being usually that the administration of the drugs in mental institutions does not end in fatalities, but these fatalities do occur, largly through suicide.
There is that negative aspect to mental illness - there is also a positive one where there are some so called mental disorders, particuarly obsessive/compulsive neuroses, schizophrenia and manic depressive psychosis which have a great deal of positive content. This is suspessed not only by institutionalisation but mainly by the overpowering pressure of society to conform to the behavioural norm. We are not concerned solely with mental patients but with deviants of all kinds, we feel that they should not be 'cured' or conform to any 'norm' that they should be allowed to give free reign to what they are, and that society should drop all pretension to cohesivness with one group speaking for the rest."
SM : Can you say why your music is so violent ?
SPK : "There is a certain threshold of intensity needed to shift people from habitual ways of thinking, appreciating or interpreting in formation. If you dont reach that threshold then theres nothing to stop them continuing in the same way. If you supercede that threshold then you have a chance, however small, of jolting their way of thinking. Were trying to jolt them out so that they have to form a choice between multiples. We are not perpetrating fascism. Fascism is the preclusion of choice. It is not violent per se. We are using violence to enable choice and we think that we think that it is necessary to force a choice given that violence is already occuring in suppression of options.
Also our expression of the content of mental illness often requires violence as many mental conditions involve internal as well as external violence. There is a violence not only as a reaction to a suppression, there is also a violence of sheer energy, which is a very valid thing."
SM : What ideas have you got for video. Ive heard that you plan to make widespread use of them ?
SPK : "A lot of people are using video now and it seems that all they do is take pictures of themselves, fiddle with the image and its just like looking in a mirror. its very narcissistic. We hardly ever use our own pictures as we feel there are a great deal more images of more interest. We are not trying to hide our own images, but due to the nature of the media the 'performer' is regarded as the focal point of the performance when really there is far more important images to be used. This is why we tend not to offer pictures of our selves so they cannot be used to the exclusion of images we consider to be more valid.
As far as the content of our videos goes, were trying to convey visually an image of another world from that which you are shown by the media. The only time you ever se anything out of the ordinary happening, is as something which is deviant which is considered to be a crime or something that is wrong with the system. The only way any changes are going to occur is if something 'goes wrong' in the main stream structures. To quote Deleuze, writer of a very good book called 'Anti-Oedipus', "The machine works by breaking down". We try to give the counter-side of history.
Our video works in conjunction with the music - the two are not necessary to each other, they are simply the utilisation of two different media to realise the same end. Video is not an appendage to provide something for you to look at while you listen to the music. Equally the music is not something for you to listen to while you are watching the video. They exist independantly of each other and are equally valid.
There is an order to the way we do things, we dont leave anything absolutely structureless. A lot of what we are doing is working on the idea of different dynamics of organisation. It will sound odd to many people, it will not even achieve widespread underground popularity because it is not structured in a linear organisation where every noise comes in succession after the one before it to give the impression of variation. What we do is to cram information together and achieve a depth of dynamics in which things are layered on top of each other, bury each other and interfere with each other which reflects disorganisation and the idea that all information cannot be grasped at one time. Things aren't just arranged neatly so that people can follow them exactly and that is the way things are with our music.
Another intereting thing we are working on is the idea of experimenting with subliminal images. It is of course well known that much advertising still uses subliminal sexual messages and symbols to induce perchasing "(note the Cadburys flake advert-SM)" "It is not generally known that certain Us agencies even used the just-invisible word SEX scrawled all over newsreel pictures of Vietnamese atrocities in order to make thier campaign more palatable, subconciously erotic or attractive to the public. This is perhaps the ultimate obscenity.
But as is often the case, what usually is a fascist tactic can be used for other purposes. We intend to use a variety of subliminal data (many of non-sexual nature) to disorder perceptual patterning habits at hte unconcious level like we do with music at the concious level. Because once you forced some kind of change in conciousness you usually find that the uncocious is lying there prestructured in some way to comfortably reorder everything again. This is what is missing in most left-wing revolutionary theories & is why the whole thing collapses into a mess of ideological disputes. But thats an entirely different question. Naturally we will have to question people about their feelings to see just what the effect of this tactic is, after seeing the video."
SM : I have read that Operator is writing some book or other, what is it concerned with ?
SPK : "The one Im most interested with is concerned with a mixed fictional-theorectical complex of symbolic architypes. It is derived from some of Jungs psychology, the idea that all human thoght is dominated by a few architypal arrays. But my particular set of ideas has been influenced by the most recent work of Gilbert Durand, who summerises the structures of the imagination into 3 common perceptions of notion, to which all (or nearly all) human creativity seems to conform. They are the linear, 'progressive' or heroic dynamic, the regressive, internal downward movingdynamic, & the synthetic, circular dynamic. Where he stops is where I think one should begin - using such a structuralist approach to derive other possible dynamics which may give new creativity to an imagination in morose decline. The ones I am working on are alternatives like 'convulsion', a violent epileptic of constant change, 'proliferation', a disordered spreading, cancerous and 'coma', the absolute zero of motion. There are many others I am generating for the book but these seem to be the most relevant or useful to subversive activity. Stylistically however, I am writing it as fiction to try and make it as interesting as possible.
The other book that Im writing with a friend in France concerns the alternatives such as ideas might provide to the field of machine intelligence. This science doesn't seem to be getting very far because there are still no models of human imagination which can be transfered to algorithmic form. The old rational binary search and destroy system (at high speed granted) continues to be the best working proposition (eg. in computer chess).
The whole man-machine relationship cant seem to get beyond the two alternatives - either dominate the machine by flash pseudo-virtuosity (like Emerson or Wakeman) or humanise it by pseudo-emotion parodies (Joy Division etc.). We are writing about alternatives to machine as slave and/or lover. Incidentally this will end up telling us a lot about human imagination."
SM : What are the future plans for SPK ?
SPK : "There will be a second LP before the end of the year, there may even be product from other artistes being released on Side-Effects Records. However they would have to stand up to the strictest standards of Information Overload demanded. This is not to say that they should sound like us - they should sound like nothing that we have ever heard before. There will be videos (as discussed) and possibly some cassettes. We are going to release an SPK live in UK/USA tape sometime in the future. Some members of SPK are leaving Britain and going abroad (Back to Australia ?) but they will probably return at some time. Side Effects (UK) will continue as usual, and there will be bases of Side Effects abroad wherever SPK members happen to be living."
SINGLE I.Meat Processing Plant. MECHANO/SLOGUN (Industrial)
LP I.Information Overload Unit. EMANATION MACHINE R.GIE I9I6:SUTURE OBSESSION:MACHT SCHRECKEN:BERUFSVERBOT: 2:GROUND ZERO:INFINITY DOSE:STAMMHEIM TORTURKAMMER:RETARD:EPILEPT:CONVULSE:KALTBRUCHIG ACIDEATH. I think that the tracks on the Industrial EP were taken from another Side Effects EP for which I havn't got the original tracking.
"The project ideal is to express the content of various psycho-pathalogical conditions, especially schizophrenia, manic - depressive psychosis, mental retardation and paranoia. Information Overload supersedes normal, rational thought structures, forcing deviation into less restrictive mental procedures of so-called 'mental illness'. SPK is trying to be a voice for those individuals condemned to the slow decay of mental hospitals and chemical / electro / surgical therapy, without fetishising them into blatant entertainment product. 'SONIC FOR MANICS' aims to be a vehicle for sharing mental experiences through sound. Owing to the instability of personalities associated with SPK output is likely to be irregular, as it has been up to now. We would like to hear from anyone interested in what we are doing, especially those with interest in, or history of, psychotic disorder. We will reply personally to all correspondence. Our name and material will vary with each project, but once established, you will have no difficulty in maintaining contact. Write to Mike Wilkins,/I5, King Edward's Road/Hackney/London E9 7SF.

Another Room Vol. 2 No. 9 : March 1982

SPK Updates: 
SPK will be visiting San Francisco for performance, etc., sometime in April as part of a fairly auspicious tour of the North American art hubs. Attendance is mandatory for those wishing a litmus for their ability to assimilate such intense data as SPK has to offer. For background on the more clinical aspects (highbrow, if you will) of their approach, please refer to their essays which appear in S.F. Research #3. With luck you might even ferret out a stray copy of "Dokument," #1 or 2, a tract published by SPK to further their efforts to publicize mental and physical disorders considered irrelevant by society. Vinyl is available in the form of a single on Industrial, their first E.P. is on the Side Efforts label (theirs) and their second L.P., which is due to be released domestically on Thermidor in April. Finally, our proofreading staff would like to point out that all spelling and structure on the part of SPK is (sic).


the    her d
tone was never a mental patient. he was admitted to spk on the grounds that he has twisted view of the world. because his eyes look in opposite directions. when he was a little boy his eyes were straight. he had an operation for some other thing and the surgeon fucked it up, result was his left eyeball turned 50 degrees to the outside. they operated to get that one straight and succeeded, but the right one turned out instead. they operated and got the right one straight again, but the left one turned out again. his mother ran out of money …
once again, if yu like. it's just a neutral term indicative of removal of subjectivity by bureaucracies and machine technology. also a desire on all our parts not to be known as one persona, so we can change, so nobody can take us as models (as if they would want to). and it also has something to do with the best book never published: The Agony of the Plasm by Rudolf Cynek but it's too complicated to go into here.
can't see the correlation between playing muzik and killing girls.
shame, because most of them are quite interesting before the Organization phase takes over. even Christianity. the probably exception to this kind appraisal is Judaism. no we're not anti-semitic fascists. but the religion is too dogmatic to be nice about.
a girl to kill
no, the media does that for us
someone has given yu some inside information here. can never get shoes to fit so always have to leave them untied. did learn to tie of sutures at age 10 however.
can't answer that until we play live in November. we are considered as a minor legend so they tell us, but that doesn't mean we have    a great impact. Australia has a strong tradition of anti-intellectualism. for example, a relatively mainstream band was recently criticized for their ‘pretentious’ desire to play live only rarely so that when they did it could be different each time. that's the sort of things we have to contend with so we just stay VERY out of it all.
Not really. All reactions are interesting. Some more predictable than others. Suppose the old one about provoking any strong reaction is success and no reaction is failure may be right. But there is never really no reaction at all.


we feel that there is one thing which sets spk apart from the 'fringe' in general. that is that we are not interested in either art or entertainment. it is no longer necessary to make any sort of compromises in order to attract a wider audience. we give whatever people who want to us some credit for being intelligent. in this way we don't need to do anything cute like producing pop singles. we feel that there is little enough time as it is without wasting it on entertaining even if it does go under the disguise of cynicism. the task of creating new things is not to run around in little circles taking the piss out of everything else. it is to try to make the quantum leap into another way of thinking or arranging. we also try to do the things in as intense a way as possible. this intensity and inaccessibility of course turns a lot of people away. but then we are not interested in those sorts of people anyway. and that's not elitism, it's incommensurability. look it up.
a hypothetical question. to be left unkontrolled must sure be better than what happens to us now. but the real problem is that there can be no ideal condition where there is absolutely no kontrol. it is in getting down to the SPECIFIC ways in which we can decontrol all the restrictions on our thought that the work of the future lies. and this is why we place so much emphasis on mental phenomena. not just on mental patients, but on the some syndromes going on in all of us. you can blame the media or the army or the cia or whatever but unless you know the exact mechanisms by which we internalize and mirror their ways of thinking (normalized) we will never get anywhere. your mind is not to blame but it is where the problem has its greatest impakt. psychosis is one way of breaking out but so often it is regressive and simply repeats established patterns, because there is also normalized madness. this is how deep the kontrol goes.
philosophy. To answer has taken about 8000 years so far. suffice to say that we are interested in plurality/diversity. we spend a great deal of time researching things that others have done just so that we can avoid repeating their work. we are very conscious of this need for DIFFERENCE but sometimes naturally we fail. have avoided the question a bit because it is too broad. chaos interests us perhaps more than balance, which implies average, compromise, order, homeostasis, normality. but we can say that chaos has its own kinds of order always, and we are not simply chaotiks. though it would be an interesting disorder to go along with neurotics.
have you ever tried memorizing (even loosely) an hour’s worth of a mixture of medieval hebrew-based magik, incoherent russian, and a crazed medikal latin from 1621?
yes. but doubt if we have any choice in the matter anyway. do you honestly think we would ever get enough people in one place at an spk assault to take us out of the intimate class?
film in progress = L'Etat Haemophiliaque (Internal Bleeding) which will be shown next year at our assaults in the USA etc. along with our collexion of slide which we were unable to screen in san francisco last year.
moving the organization slowly over to specializing in synthesized video and soundtrak material. the medium of the immediate future.
construktion of an insectarium for breeding initially albino cockroaches and other delights. experimental purposes. time-lapse photography. micro amplifikation of activity. future film use.
watching world series baseball of course.
spend a lot of time in medical libraries in the pathology and forensick sections. plus artificial limbs, venereal diseases, dissektion: also wander around hospitals and medikal schools with a camera. look at things set up our own variation. recently researching artificial intelligence, robotology, medieval religio-beliefs. all good sources of material have good collexion of specialist journals on these subjects. also psychology, terrorism, military, technology.
no. maybe make some tape transkripts available i.e. those that aren't our own but are for that reason more interesting. or the forthcoming album none of the verbal material will have been written by us. using for one side our illegal tape bank taken from mental hospitals. for the other curious modern-ritualist incantations konstrukted from medieval magik medicine/20th century autopsy tapes/ russian chantz etc. these may be worth publishing at some later date.
at the risk of destroying some image you may have, we all still have to work as least from time to time to support the expense of spk. two of us work pouring drinks, one in a university library, but most of the time just on the dole, with the masses. have to trouble with normal society keeping up the average façade/ anonymous. would never consider working again as we have all tried working in institutions of various types to help people but have found it futile in view of the structures within and the shit outside which you always come back to in the end.
Surgical Penis Klinik
Review by Johny Meyers


RE/Search #6/7 : April 1982

The name SPK derives from a group of mental patients in West Germany who, inspired by the Baader-Meinhof, set up their own terrorist unit with a slogan Kill Kill Kill For Inner Peace And Mental Health. This group, the Socialist Patients Kollektiv, blew themselves up while trying to make bombs in their mental hospital.
Since 1978, SPK has been the nom en hommage of an Australian entity revolving around one person now living in London. The "group" has released 2 LPs, 6 singles, 2 pamphlets, cassettes and a videocassette, and has made several tours of Europe and America. Their graphics are graphic—the front cover of the Industrial Records 45 was a photograph of a shish-kebabed male organ with the title Meat Processing Section by Surgical Penis Klinik. It was not generally displayed in record stores.
In San Francisco they distinguished themselves eating brains from a sheep's head (1981), and by using a live flamethrower onstage (1982), inadvertently setting a member of the audience on fire. In concert, their relentless sonic assaults are complemented by vivid (as in blood red) color slides, video and film projections.. Definitely sensational, but memorable.
In the near future SPK plans to release psycho probes into the soundtrack medium, troublesome videos, as well as more research reports on the proliferating epidemiology of mental and emotional disturbances. What follows is an interview with Graeme Revell, plus Dominic Guerin, James Pinker and Karel van Bergen, an aggregate for SPK's 1982 U.S. tour ....
R/S: Can you explain why in your work you present images from forensic pathology, venereal disease and hardcore sex?
SPK: I'm not so interested in sex images. Hardcore porn usually seems to follow certain obvious lines. Like there's always some kind of power relationship going on, even in sexual perversion—especially so here, because it's heightened. Probably the a la mode variant of the moment is SM—I guess that's been a la mode since the 1700s. . .
R/S: Now some major publisher is trying to launch a middle class S&M magazine—
SPK: That's just a kind of mirror of an almost archaic society—porn is like a spectacle state society in microcosm, and that's why I don't find it very interesting, really. To come back to Freud, even though I don't agree much with all that Freud says, death is a great deal more powerful than sex, or at least as powerful. And there's a real fascination with images of yourself as dead, or images of others as dead. Today, even, when I was shooting guns with Mark Pauline I was quite terrified of what they can actualy do: you're just holding this little lump of metal in your hand, and having seen forensic photos and things like that, you can all of a sudden imagine just one tiny slip-up in half a second and some guy's got a fucking red hole out the back and he's dead, you know. Somebody—it could even be a friend. That kind of image is realy basic dream material, I think. And to actually see it, especially in a fairly clinical sense, not in one of these B-grade movies' violence-for-the-hell-of-it sense, is very striking. It is to me, anyway.
Plus a lot of what we're doing is dirt, is filth, and we all live in a society that pretends to be exceptionally clean. It cleans up everything, it paints facades and makes things shiny and bright. I think the unifying theme is that we are very conscious that whenever there's a winner in a clean society, there's a filthy loser as well. But that tends to be just shoved away either in a back ward or a jail or a back street or a dirty little squatter, whatever you call it here.
We have got this childish, if you like, fascination with the genre—it may not be childish but I will always admit that I am fascinated at looking at it, for probably not very noble motives. A reasoning behind that fascination may be that we feel as though we are bitting at the soft underbelly of society... at an area where there's a great deal of vulnerability. And people often criticize us for being negative, but it's just a focus of attention.
There's another reason behind our medical interests specifically, and that is the pretentiousness of science. There are some things which science does: testing procedures, all kinds of procedures which are not at all different from rites. And in several years' time they will be looked upon as bizarre rites, simply because of the techniques involved. We're just trying to put ourselves ahead, say 5 or 10 years depending on the acceleration-of-history factor, so we can look at them, thinking, My God, how stupid....Yet this pretends to be the state of the art; this is what humanity has achieved. We look back on old medical procedures now and we think bleeding, and the putting of typhus victims in hot baths—the old Tchaikovsky stove—
R/S: What's that?
SPK: They used to throw TB victims into boiling hot water and if they survived, It might get rid of the TB. They did that to Tchaikovsky's mother when he was very young, and that's why he deliberately drank infected water at one stage of his life and more or less committed suicide (and they threw him into the bath as well). We're trying to exhibit that kind of thing and show how close to magic it is. In a lot of ways we're not trying to say it's ridiculous, we're just trying to question the idea of truth associated with it, and isolate its mechanisms, its obsession with empirical verification of everything—that nothing can be true unless you can see it to be true. Because this acts to the detriment of the imaginative faculties which could come up with something in a surrealist sense (or whatever sense you like), but because it's only art, it's never accorded the value of other "truth" like sciences.
People think: Oh yes, that's interesting, but we would never actually form any belief in an art. But I think great art is the equivalent of science—you can believe in it equally as much as you can in science. It's very important to believe in the power of the imagination, and not just let the rationalistic function, the logical side of the brain, dominate.
R/S: Don't you think the roots of this comes from a convergence of scientific research and art? If you're reading Maldoror which was written over a hundred years ago, it's obvious that Lautreamont had completed a certain amount of scientific study, in biology at least, before he elaborated imaginatively. . .
SPK: All the way through 20th century art that's been very important. Our whole project is to independently get our sound production to a kind of a research stage where we can be totally precise about everything we do—do everything with a laboratory perspective. The same as Mark Pauline was talking about today: he says he's only just getting to the stage where he can almost challenge military-technological development using layman's technology—show that they're not the only ones that can do it. Obviously he can't get to nuclear technology, but he can build a helicopter, for example; he can build his own laser. And it's just to de- institutionalize the process of science, and to link it with art. I just hope the process can continue without requiring enormous sums of money.
R/S: Back to the problem of using medical images—some people think you're just trying to raise people's threshold of shockability—
SPK: That's really just a function of novelty. . . a strangeness index.We find that somebody who's been exposed to those sort of images for a few months doesn't really get shocked by anything at all. And none of that affects me like one particular guy in the mental hospital I used to have to wake up every morning. He had gangrene all through his body. He couldn't speak, and he had a leg and an arm on one side and nothing on the other side. He used to have pressure sores all over him because he sat all the time in a wheelchair, and he'd shit and piss himself in bed every night. So every day I'd pull back the covers and there'd be this pile of feces—a foul smell at 6 in the morning. I had to pick him up and get all this shit over my arms and chest—there was no other way to do it—and take him down to his bath and desperately try and—can you imagine how difficult it is to put somebody in a bath when they haven't got anything on one side of their body to hold them with? So each time he'd tend to twist and fall and go in headfirst. And if he heard a female voice he'd scream at the top of his lungs.
R/S: He didn't want any women to see him in that state—
SPK: That's right. That was the ultimate for me— there's nothing that's ever remotely bothered me since!
R/S: Another accusation made is—you're just engaged in criticizing society, but you have no positive suggestions, or vision to offer.
SPK: I think that's shortsighted to a very large extent. When we first started playing, I can't really think of many other bands who attempted to put out fairly uninterpretable noise walls like we do—probably only TG. So we were characterized as being just like TG. We thought we didn't sound very much like them at all; in fact we desperately tried not to sound like them.
Now, what happens when people first come across this sort of thing is: they can't differentiate between products like that, or between ideas. I think our sounds are an attempt to give an impression of a different world order. And we were being critical but we were also trying to be positive in the sense of trying to put in a lot of energy, because one of the things we were criticizing was apathy. And, we were giving impressions of different landscapes.
Also, being positive is not just our problem—it's the listener's as well. And we can put in a lot of energy, we can create our landscape, but if they can't see any differentiation, if they just find that whole thing anti-music (which we don't think we are), then I guess we've failed to a certain extent. But then I think they've failed as well to understand what we're doing.
I think our visuals reflect a bizarre world view. . .a sense of beauty in the bizarre. We're not totally stoic, depressive types who forbid anyone to have an idea of beauty, but what we do reject is any aesthetic idea which is dictated to us either by a convention, or a social more or anything like that—most of that's just Tinsel Town stuff, or overly's just all watered down—it doesn't bear any relationship to any real unconscious processes. That's why in a way we don't really tamper with any of the images, we don't bring that kind of conscious learned art into it. We do do collages, but more recently we haven't been— reality seems to be sufficient. And I think there's a beauty in everything—me personally, I'm trying to surround myself with a kind of a world I would like to live in (even though I couldn't live in it). A Fellini or Jodorowsky landscape or something rather more obscure, inhabited by freaks—just so everything wasn't so fucking normalized all the time!
R/S: How do you relate your work to Dada?
SPK: I think that in all great movements there is an immense process of ideas very early; they get watered down in such a hurry, and don't get developed either. What happens is: the ideas get swamped in the products. The thing that annoyed me about Dada was that even though they were attacking the bourgeoisie, they were entrenched—doing it with a kind of flippant looseness. It wasn't precise enough. I'd like to show how a line can be developed from then to now, probably visually more than any other way. Man Ray's photographic work is just brilliant—
R/S: As well as the result of accident—
SPK: The solarization was completely accidental.
R/S: But it was his recognition of its potential that mattered, not so much the accident
SPK: So—there's a great deal still to be done, especially with film and video. That's what we really want to work on.
R/S: There's still so much potential, especially in film collage, moving collage. Max Ernst took the collage to an advanced development, yet he never used modern photographs, or modern scientific photographs.
SPK: I've always been very conscious that the most important thing about collage or Cut-ups is what you're cutting up. There is such an immense amount of material still to be cut up. After this bloody obsession with structuralism that we've had to go through in the 60s and early 70s, finally people are deciding that we've got to get content back into the thing, somehow.
And, most important, our work will be centered around the idea of an inorganic unconscious. I really enjoyed that short story by J.C. Ballard he rewrote the horoscope, saying, "We've got to get rid of these Chaldean farmyard animals." That's a really important realization: that the modern unconscious must be different from the blood-shit-piss-organic-womb-phobias Freudian-associated neurotic gamut unconscious of yesterday. We've still got a large organic hangover.
But, say if you were writing a prelude to a description of the insanity of a future society, you can easily imagine what all the psychos of tomorrow will have running around in their brains. You've got a lot now— radars controlling them, radioactivity, brainwaves being read, stuff like that, that hasn't really been developed yet. There's an immense scope there for future collage ideas, that also ties together dreams, the unconscious, madness. (But everyone's mad in a sense.)
So, I hope we can work towards a kind of formalizing the pluralistic possibilities; to open up the space for a much wider range of unconscious delusions and artistic/creative inter-possibilities . . .
Something you find all the way through philosophy is a basic idea of primum moveos: there is something in man that causes him to try to transcend himself. One of the big questions in philosophy seems to be why man alone seems to be like this. So, when you encounter the idea of man as, say, the desiring machines in Deleuze, I think that was limiting the idea to one kind of description. I didn't think that desire need be couched in terms of machine imagery. Then again Duchamp had quite a machine idea; he designed senseless machines, bachelor machines. A sad sardonicism in that.
R/S: Which of your aims do you feel is most difficult?
SPK: Something that I would personally like to achieve is the ability not to be able to discriminate between quantities of beauty. For example, making love with what appears to be a very beautiful woman and making love with a pinhead or mongoloid: questioning the differentiation in the sense of being able to overcome it. There might be an erotic fascination for making love with a "freak," but I think there's always that mental discrimination. I like to question every idea of beauty, but I think that seems to be one that's almost impossible to get around. Fetus Productions was showing pictures of deformed children and questioning the idea of Miss Universe, but as far as their own personal experience went, they never did anything to prove they believed their theories. And I think it's important to show how you can live in the idea.
R/S: The world's still ruled by the idea of eugenics—
SPK: Even though it changes subtly. Over a very short period of time (about 10 years), the model of a female body changes. Twenties skinny, Thirties quite plump, Fifties large breasts—Marilyn Monroe, Sixties thin again, Seventies getting taller. And maybe the very erotic response is dominated by that kind of motivation. It's disgusting really, but there's so much media overkill that even an intelligent person can't get around it. I guess we're just an extremely visually-oriented species at present in our development; our aural faculties are very, very poor. Certainly smell is almost ruled out—by pollution, body sprays and a million varieties of soap.... We can distinguish fuck-all as far as hearing goes—the minute you get any kind of noise signal coming in, the 20th century human being is still quite poor at translating that into any kind of meaning. . .
R/S: What do you think is the value of so-called primitive cultures?
SPK: Of course, to us the Aboriginals are very close. If you look at the Australian aborigine, they're almost decimated. I don't think another culture in the world's had their society destroyed like that—thousands were hunted down like animals. The Tasmanian aborigine didn't even know how to use fire, and that's primitive. I don't think there's another one being discovered anywhere who didn't know how to use fire, and it gets cold there.
R/S: Mastery of fire required some kind of intuitive leap. Everyone's trying to develop their instincts—that faculty by which you make intuitive leaps....
SPK: I think that the area of archetypes is one of the most important ones to look into—Jungian, post-Jungian.... A French anthropologist called Durand (whom I'm very influenced by) has this idea of archetypes as types of movement, as dynamic processes, rather than static forms of information. If you apply that to the unconscious, you could do something by looking at primitive societies and seeing how they reason, or un-reason, and come up with something different. Yet to leave everything to spontaneity is inimical to me. I've never been a great fan of spontaneity—I think you get a lot of rubbish turning up.
R/S: Then again you can also have the trance state—
SPK: Sometimes, sometimes. But sometimes a lot of drivel comes out of It! It needs to be directed in some way. This is the problem: I never feel anti-rationality—I don't think we should go into Irrationality pure and simple. That's just the back side of the mirror—you can't see much there. In a way, you have to be quite rational to be irrational, or to be consistently so, anyway. You've got to really look at logic— you get pre-rational consistency theorems, things that seem to have some claim to truth. I think logic's an important area of study—It claims to precede mathematics and be a complete science—there is nothing you can do with it, therefore it must be true. Hopefully someone will come along and disprove the whole thing!
R/S: The problem with logic is the often-present x factor; often there are not enough information bits to begin with.
SPK: Right. There're also the well-known paradoxes, which are sort of unprofitable, like Russell's paradox. And I read in an article on Artificial Intelligence about a problem which is basically this: whatever you think of, there's always something outside that which doesn't fit in with what you've just thought of, that can annihilate it.
I don't know; I would just hope that this whole "Industrial Counterculture" can have the ability to actually become a guerilla movement in some way, a propagandist guerilla movement, instead of just another little set of ideas.
R/S: Basically you look at the people actually involved very individualistic yet—
SPK: All quite cooperative in a way, as long as they don't have to live on top of each other—have meetings, and shit like that.
R/S: And some are conspicuously able to defend the convolutions of their careers—
SPK: A lot of that is the ability to rationalize yourself out of awkward questions... There's a lot of ex post justification of things that really you do just for the hell of it. Most of the people are sort of smiling when they come up with some kind of justification—there's a lot of humor that goes on. It's just the ability to handle the required argument systems. . .while continuing to entertain.... Entertainment—now there's a loaded word!
R/S: I think true entertainment involves new information or new angles or new ideas. There are thousands of new patents taken out every year—somebody should start a weekly magazine dealing with the patents taken out that week, just taken as ideas. The context could be the pleasure of invention.... I'm sure Mark Pauline gets a certain satisfaction out of piecing together meat and metal parts and a motor to create an entity, a rabot or centipede that actually works, that's got a life of its own—its own biorhythm, or bio-mechanoid rhythm....
SPK: Robot terrorists, for technical mayhem! No, I don't think they'd make great terrorists. To be a terrorist you've got to have a good publicity organ—a public voice and public opinion. And that's where the Red Brigades succeeded where the Baader-Meinhof didn't. They're precise—they don't blow up anybody that they're not trying to blow up. They don't put bombs in rubbish bins on trains—they go up to a guy and they knock him off, like the Mafia does. And they've usually got some bloody good reason. And from what I've read, they've usually got all the symbolic implications— when they kidnapped Moro they took him from a certain place like the Fountain of Youth to the Place of Death in Italy. It was beautiful the way they organized it—
R/S: Poetry and revolution—in the best sense!
SPK: Yes, it's a great shame they'll have to come to an end eventually. In fact it's a shame that they have to do it at all, but I guess they have a lot of fun doing it as well.
R/S: A short and exciting life.
SPK: Mark Pauline came up with the statement that he thought wars were fun! I said, Well what about Vietnam—isn't there a difference between that and. . .? He said he guessed so, but he still liked the idea gratuitous violence, out-and-out instinctual killing. That's something I find very, very questionable. I don't care if bloody America runs around killing itself, but to wander off into another country where it's got no fucking business and kill the natives for no apparent reason, is totally beyond....
I'm definitely anti-violence. Even though we might show violence, I think it's in a negative sense. I'd rather there were no violence. Given that there is, Malcolm X said once "Violence is neither right nor wrong, it's an aspect of the situation." Since there is violence, obviously there has to be more—in order to counter it. I think that's the way society gets away with a hell of a lot: it pretends to be passive with respect to violence when in fact it's committing atrocities all the time—but they're hidden. And that's alot of what SPK's got to do with it. We're showing their atrocity exhibition, whereas they don't choose to show it, even though they perpetrate it all the time. Such as when they try to make juxtapositions with accepted things, like drugs to mental patients, while the same drugs with the same side effects, when administered to soldiers, is the ultimate horror.
Also, the idea of distinctions between hardcore pornography and softcore pornography—if you do linguistic analyses you find just the same situation in both, men and women in the same situation, except the softcore stuff is a lot more sublime!—It's more dangerous in a way because of that. I find most of the soft things, the ordinary things that go on in a society, like advertising, quite atrocious—they're an atrocity on my brain, that's for sure. I feel as though I'm being needled all the time, from everything that comes in. It's possible to say I'm exaggerating, but really, if you have got a kind of self-respect for your own intelligence and your own ability to think, this sort of thing coming in at you all the time is insane.
Of course, any person who's adjusted can deal with it—that's what adjustment's called—filtering, really. Obviously you can't get away from it. I stay at home, I don't watch television, but it's always there, you know it's there. Every person wears it all over themself, and you can't get away from yourself. It's a paranoid unconscious space we live in.
Art Brut painters like Robert Gie whose painting I love—I always think: God, what would it be like to a psycho, and to actuary be able to hear all this crap over the airwaves all the time, and to not be able to get away from it. Imaginary or real, it doesn't make any difference—if you could hear, say, KUSF 24 hours a day, rattling away at your brain.... I guess we must thank 'god' that we are not telepaths—what would we be hearing? If it was just drivel it wouldn't be worth it.
R/S: Why do you like Art Brut?
SPK: Because it's so original. A lot of the trends in art have been pointed to, often very much before they became popular. And very unself-unconsciously, very primevally in a way, usually from no knowledge position.
R/S: No verbalized theory—
SPK: Just a perfectly sort of naive artistic attitude in a way, but still in a weird way reflecting the times. But I think even more are the little landscapes that are painted so accurately. I suppose all art is about the unconscious, really.
I respect Dubuffet for what he did—giving up his career, just devoting himself to be a researcher, collecting all that stuff. He tours it around Europe all the time.
Art brut is not necessarily mad art, even though alot of it is from institutions—jails and mental hospitals. It's also people who've died in their home and when they found them 6 weeks later sort of rotting away, their home was covered with murals orbits of writing. Some of it's quite ordinary art but the people themselves were so obsessive about what they did. So it's just a collecion of people that have no artistic training, not much knowledge of art, who just documented their mental processes. It suggests that there are millions more that do the same thing, except not quite so obsessively. . .who would never be heard of. In fact, people that never even documented what their capacities actually are. That's what it suggests....
Obsession's not necessarily about quantity but about commitment. Or, there are people who've almost had no output—wrote half a poem, but that half a poem was fucking good (there are plenty of people who've written a lot of poetry and none of it was any good). I think one of the most important things in art is the art of differentiation—the art of not copying.
It's too easy to be cynical. Not a totally original idea but one of those that needs to be hammered out and stated all the time. You can do a Warhol which you can do at once—that period of art makes me want to chuck up. You can almost make a statement about it, that it's not art. I don't know what it is. I like the way Robert Hughes attacked that.
R/S: What did he say?
SPK: He was really sarcastic about it; he just said that it was public art, and that you can always take the piss out of anything. . . parody's not amusing. Warhol's like a parrot or something.
Getting back to the idea of differentiation—it's a whole recognition that art is a real sort of convulsive change, or it can be a convulsive change....
I could ask you a question I've always wondered. You always talk about information, in the sense that you're researching information, trying to make it more available. What about concentrating equally as much on imagination as non-factual information?
R/S: We're always looking for suggestions, ways to trigger the imagination, bringing it into actual usage more and more. That's why reading even a biography of a relatively uninteresting artist may yield an account of how he (or she) got an idea or inspiration, and that will be more interesting than anything the artist ever created. Basically, the big goal is changing the process of perception, rather than selling people a set of perceptions or life 'styles' to consume—you know, this year's fashion selection. People should be able to look at anything themselves and make an independent judgment. And not even so much a judgment as a differentiation based on—
SPK: Taste?
R/S: In another part of this handbook, Boyd Rice talks about the necessity for no taste—the necessity for absolute abolishment of the whole idea of taste I know what he's trying to get at—
SPK: I sort of know what he's trying to get at, too. It's like, as I said, the idea of (to put it blatantly) screwing a Playbody girl and screwing a Mongoloid. It's the purest idea, the idea of no taste. I wonder if it works....
R/S: I think he means a sort of all-around aesthetic cleansing process.
SPK: I think as far as taste goes, most of us just discriminate on the basis of originality.
R/S: Well, that's one way I always try to find out who did anything first—Where have I heard that before? Seen that before? You can't help it. At the same time I hate to see in print comparisons—art in any form compared to other art.
SPK: That's part of the conditioning of classification—everything has to be classified.
R/S: Well, that's kind of the way memory works, doesn't it?
SPK: How much do you actually subscribe to the old animist psychological ideas? That perception has something to do with humans all going through stages of perceptive developments: from age nought to 6 we open our eyes. . .after the age of 14 we develop our abstractive capabilities—things like that. I think to a large extent a debate like this is political because it is useful to those who gain from any justification of inequality, that suggestion that some of us are endowed with this capacity to be geniuses and brilliantly imaginative and perceptive, while unfortunately the majority aren't. And therefore if I happen to be one of these people who are thus endowed I can get a lot more money and become king of this state—and you shall be the serfs.
Now this is an enormous problem, I think in some ways there is a large justification for this theory that there will always be that 90 percent of the population which is basically incapable of doing anything imaginative—
R/S: Or 99 percent.
SPK: But I'd like to refuse to believe that.
R/S: So would I, because—I look back on myself at certain stages and shudder.
SPK: Yeah, well I think everybody does. But we try not to fall prey to facile rationalizations like: It's only human. That's one of the most loaded phrases in the English language!
R/S: To deal with this problem, I usually think of Charles Fourier, who proposed that even the most apparently untalented of us have certain talents which usually just remain latent, but could be put to admirable use in a more enlightened society like, even simple-minded people might make wonderful mud sculptures that more rational people could never do.
SPK: Well, that's what art brut's about, in a way. You wonder what goes on in the mind of a retard, because we don't have the facilities to understand them—they don't happen to fit into our communicative structure and system. Once we have probably the greatest invention to ever come to mankind—the ability to actually put on a screen a dream or what is going on in another person's mind—that's got to happen in our lifetime. That would be the most important thing to happen in our lifetime. And then actually animate it—that's the next step. Science fiction stuff, but beautiful.
R/S:: Well, computer manipulation of color graphics is getting more sophisticated. You can now bring a tree from the background to the foreground, put people in the picture who aren't there, quickly and easily.
SPK: Some holograms aren't bad, but I actually think it's still quite poor. There's a lot of things we could do so much quicker if only we didn't have a fucking capitalist motive for everything; we didn't have to make immediate cash out of everything. On the other hand, capitalism is probably the most efficient system we've come up with so far to develop technology. Certainly the communists didn't develop the microchip....
R/S: I'd like to hear a bit more about your theory of the history of philosophy being the history of syphilis, which you're writing a book about?
SPK: In a way it's a book of humor, really. It's in the same vein as any book which questions the validity of knowledge as some kind of structured and unified theory. Just another questioning of truth, where you can look at people like—probably most of the Greeks had syphilis, what with their bestiality. The Romans as well. A little less recurrent in recent history—you have people like Nietzsche and Idi Amin—I wouldn't classify Idi Amin as a philosopher—
R/S: A very practical philosopher, actually!
SPK: Getting back, it's not so much a tongue-in-cheek laugh at philosophy and the great human knowledge, it's also an attempt to verbalize bacteria, if you like. And I think in a sense that's what that kind of philosophy did—it was more or less speaking for the bacterial component of the earth And that's why I'm interested in also writing something similar about viruses. The theory of viral cancer is fascinating, especially the idea that it's in the genotype of the human population. It's in everybody, but it's only expressed in about 10% of the cases. It's on the increase in the phenotype.
There's a theory that they actually travel in space and the earth contracted them because of the meteorites that fell onto earth. I believe satellites have seen them floating around in scans. They're quite extraordinary. They don't need a host, but they have a helluva lot of fun when they find one!
R/S: That's their art.
SPK: It's their self-expression for a bit.
R/S: Viruses from space kind of blow the old moral system out the window.
SPK: Yes. It's been quite a difficult book to write, sort of like a focus point for an idea of the human imagination as being influenced by some idea of a partnership with primitive life forms....
R/S: Why are you concerned with mutations?
SPK: They still represent the disgusting side of the society that we still live in.Why are all these mutations occurring in society at an increasing rate? It's crazy that they're all kept away from public attention—
R/S: I'm always trying to find out the real motivations for anything. And trying to become more scientific about death as well.
SPK: People actually believe so many different theories about life after death. Like New Guinea tribesmen have no understanding of the western idea of what life after death is. They couldn't even understand the body as a physical being in certain ways—wouldn't understand the electrical and genetic processes going on inside the body which are narrowed down to a cause-and-effect explanation. They have no faith in that kind of rationale.
Jean Baudrillard wrote a little book called The Mirror of Production. In it is a long chapter on the modern western inability to accept violent death—it has to be slow, peaceful and quiet. It seems to be a dynamic that we can't accept anything abrupt—it's got to be in some way cause-and-effect, an obvious, perfectly explicable decline or something like that. And even taking it down to the supposedly liberal idea of getting rid of capital punishment—maybe it's just that we can't stand the idea of violent death.
On the other hand you've got modern society where everybody delights in seeing bloody stupid TV programs with people getting shot up and killed in car crashes and things like that. But that's an attempt to make the violent thing—
R/S: Romantic?
SPK: I would have thought more a joke! There ought to be laugh tracks and whoopee and shouts when somebody gets killed in a cowboy movie or something like that—there's no horror involved in death whatsoever. How many people come into contact with an actual death? Very few.
The funny thing about all that is, in that sense we can almost make a claim that we are not sensationalists, and that we show death as real and in fact not sensational at all—those are real photos of people being shot and blood going everywhere—
R/S: I don't think many real images of death have been seen. In Street Cops there was only one photo in the whole book that affected me. It was of a guy who had just been shot by a shotgun in the stomach—there's vomit dripping everywhere, his mouth is full of vomit, and he looks sick....
SPK: In that book Violence In Our Times, there are photos like the one of the Jews all piled up. That's become a popular image—sensationalist in quantity, you know, and people've seen it 100,000 times. It's almost—respectable. But to show just one pathetic mangled body covered in vomit....
R/S: Incidentally, what ideas of yours have died on the vine, so to speak?
SPK: In our first album we tried to put a sperm capsule in every one. We lined up about five hundred capsules...and started putting the sperm in. After working hours, when we were finishing up the 500th, we noticed the first ones had almost dissolved—
R/S: Sperm's very acidic—
SPK: Yes, that was a tremendous waste of energy! It was kind of corny. We weren't going to say what it was. I just wanted to see how many people would put it in their mouths.
R/S: Of course people would—this is a pill society. People will take anything.
SPK: It would have been funny if Customs had opened up the luggage and found this, and then run tests on it. You couldn't be prosecuted though, I think.
R/S: It's art—Body Art, so to speak.
SPK: What if you had any sexual disease? Could they get you for smuggling?
R/S: Oh, like Columbus and the Indians? The Indians had syphilis, except to them it was like a cold. The white people got it by raping the Indians. It was amazing how fast it spread over Europe. Within a year it was all over Italy, down from Spain.
SPK: Today's fashionable disease is cancer. I'm most convinced that cancer in some ways involves a faith or belief mechanism. I don't think it's purely physical— don't think any disease is. I think that maybe the cure even involves trying to cooperate in some way.... It's only in the last couple hundred years that we've had the conception of progress, and with that we've gotten cancer as well. I definitely think cancer is a byproduct of this civilization because it's on the increase in spite of how much they spend on research. It's perhaps psychosomatic in the purest sense—you can't separate the mind from the body.
R/S: How does cancer fit into a modern mythology?
SPK: To begin with, Durand analyzed and integrated all these symbols into massive cross cultural myths, organizing these archetypes into:
Heroic, i.e. the sword and the spear, the penile erection, and things like that which are in some ways moving upwards. Like a cobra....
Then you had the intimate images; things like digestion, or going down—the mother, water....
Then you had the great cyclical myths: Taoism, Nietzsche—more like the great cosmic circle. The ultimate in philosophy seems to be the idea of the eternal return. The yin and the yang.
But I think you can go on from that. Take the idea of proliferation, which seems to be extremely relevant to our society at the moment. This is the age of everything proliferating—information, nuclear armament, cancer, disease, psychosis.... So I really think that's worthwhile analyzing in terms of modern archetypes, and probably would be for the next few years.
After that, the idea of the convulsion of everything: massive rapid changes, total upheaval, an age of extreme mutations—things like that which might come after the proliferation age....
All you many need to do is look at wave forms and imagine the kind of overriding dynamics which might create certain eras on the earth. I think we've gone through the progress era—that great romantic era. We probably went through the great mystical cycle era as well very early on—pre-Christ. Maybe the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages were the great intimacy, lost-in-the-wilderness type of era. But now, everything is in massive expansion, moving all directions at once. And not necessarily toward apocalypse. It seems like that's about to happen, but that's been a popular belief for a very long time. If you read about what happened in the year 1000—there was mass hysteria all over Europe because they all thought they were in a millenial age then. We've always been in the millenial age! It's sort of natural that when you come up to the year 2000, you expect it all to happen in 1999. I don't really think we're coming into any great Nostradamus-type prophecy.
I would like to see the convulsive age. That's the one I would like to theorize. It's really the anarchist idea of total revolution—continuous revolution where everything is in constant change and you no longer need any landmarks to get a fix on. I think that would be the eternal return really, because everything would be happening at once. And in that sense I think we are reaching that kind of situation where it's almost impossible to keep track of what's going on.
Technology has reached an unbelievable degree of sophistication, where computers are actually designing parts of other computers.... But I don't think there's really anything in there that defies the human brain. All it is, is the number of combinations and the speed of combinations that the computer can go through; the options. There is nothing on an individual scope that the human brain does not understand. It was the one that programmed the bastard to start with—to generate those structural options. I'm afraid that I'll always disagree with the idea that technology is moving that fast....
R/S: Technology specifically for the art of living isn't developing all that fast, but secret military innovation continues—
SPK: There's so much going on that we won't find out about for another 10 years, if we do find out. For instance, the Americans have these huge air fields on the west coast of Australia that have been landing American Air Force planes for years and years, and the Australians have never scrutinized one of them. They've only just found out about them, because of that 5-year (or whatever) lag in information. In some way a document was "leaked" to the press that the Americans are flying B-52s in and have built some actual underground cities in the desert. But—that's only a small fraction of what's going on.
R/S: Sometimes the information gap seems so enormous it's discouraging—trying to close up the gap. How do you keep on motivating yourselves to do more?
SPK: Through confidence and blind optimism! All the criticism we've gotten doesn't mean anything—I always think I know what I'm doing. We've had a long history of being outsiders....

 - February : Chainsaw 11
 - ? Helter Skelter Fanzine No.5
 - ca. April : Interchange No. 4
 - ca. May : Stabmental fanzine
 - ca. May : S/M fanzine
 - 15 May : KALX radio
 - December : Rockerilla 19
 - March : Another Room Vol.2 No.9
 - April : RE/Search #6/7
 - 24 April : Beyond The Pale No. 2
 - 7 May : WZRD Radio
 - November : Tone Death fanzine
 - 2 December : Neroberg concert
 - 9 April : NME
 - May : The Last Supper
 - May : Music From The Empty Quarter
 - 9 July : Sounds Back To The Dark Ages
 - 9 July : Subvert Magazine
 - ? : The Face
 - 22 October : NME
 - ? : Interchange
 - February : Zigzag
 - 17 March : Sounds
 - ca October : Buzz 3
 - 6 October : Sounds
 - 4 November : Tongue In Cheek
 - 17 November : Melody Maker
 - ? : Abstract No. 4

The Complete Story: militant mental patients, industrial band, more..

Chapter 1: Leftist Terrorist Group
"Sozialistisches Patientenkollektiv"
"Patients' Front"
Dr. Wolgan Huber - founder of SPK
Ursula Huber - in charge of Working Circle of Explosives
Carmen Roll - member of SPK Working Circle of Explosives
Sigfried Hausner - member of SPK Working Circle of Explosives
Bernard Brown - involved with SPK and Movement June 2
Friederike Krobbe - SPK member involved in Schleyer kidnapping
Hanna Krabbe - member of IZRU, group formed after SPK's demise
Alfred Mahriander - student member of SPK
Margit Schiller - student member of SPK
Christian Junshke - student member of SPK
Lutz Taufer - SPK member
Karl Dellwo - SPK member
Ulrich Wessel - SPK member
Ekerhard Becker - lawyer involved with SPK
Rolf Reinder - SPK associate
SPK was organized in Working Circles:
Working Circle of Dialectics
Working Circle of Education
Working Circle of Explosives
Working Circle of Judo and Karate
Working Circle of Marxism
Working Circle of Photography
Working Circle of Radio Transmission
Working Circle of Religion
Working Circle of Sexuality
"Bomb, Bomb, Bomb for mental health"
"Kill, Kill, Kill for inner peace"
"Turn Illness Into a Weapon"
"Therapy through violence"
SPK is a somewhat obscure "pro-illness" group founded by Dr. Wolfgang Huber at Heidelberg University in 1968. The group members were mental patients, and were considered by media to be a leftist / Marxist group. The group forwarded the view that the "capitalist performance of the Federal Republic was sick within itself and was thus producing mentally sick people which could only be changed by violent revolution." They organized into the working circles listed above.
In 1970, Dr. Huber and 120 patients were kicked out of the clinics they were using. The patients revolted, occupied offices, went on a hunger strike, etc. until they are provided with a few rooms. The patients revolted again, demanding blank prescriptions pads, and released a communique the same year supporting the SDS. The university lost patience with the situation and kicked Dr. Huber out, and tried several times to evict SPK. The patients released a communique titled "Suicide equals murder / starvation equals murder" after one patient committed suicide. Dr. Huber and some patients were arrested in 1971, prompting the group to release another communique titled "Turn Illness into a Weapon". The group's workshops included crime, guerilla activities and sex magic. Interaction between SPK and Baader-Meinhof group was widely suspected. SPK denied any connection. The patients demanded 500 weapons and raised hell in other ways before dissolving in 1971 and reappering under the name InformationsZentrum Rote VolksUniversität (Information Center of the People's Red University) ..IZRU Dr. Huber and several patients were in prison for the next few years.
There were numerous leftist terrorist groups active in West Germany at the time, but SKP was unique because of their mental therapy angle. Two of the best known were the Red Army Faction (RAF), also known as the Baader-Meinhoff Gang and the anarchist "Movement June 2", which took its name from the date in 1967 when a student named Bennoi Ohnesorg, was killed in anti-Shah riots in West Berlin. A famous RAF saying is, "Society is corrupt; it must be destroyed; that which comes later will be better."
A list of activites:
SPK set the State Psychiatric Clinic near Hiedleberg on fire.
The Working Circle of Explosives tried to blow up a train carrying the president of the Fexceral Republic, but the plans fell apart. Carmen Roil arrived with the bomb after the train left. Reinder Mahriand with two other members shot one of two policemen who tried to detain them.
Christian Junchke with other SPK members robbed a bank and were interrupted by a policeman. They tried to run him over and eventually shot him. Margit Schiller and two others were later approached by two policemen. they shot and killed both policemen.
In October of 1971, a woman from SPK and a member of the RAF were stopped by police in Hamburg. They were wanted for questioning related to the attempted murder of two policemen on the Freiburg Basle autobahn. The woman shot one policeman.
SPK members carried out their best known action under another name. On April 27, 1975, six people who called themselves the "Holger Meins Commando" seized the West German embassy in Stockholm. Four of the six people, Friederike Krobbe, Karl Dellwo, Lutz Taufer, Sigfried Hausner and Ulrich Wessel, were originally SPK members. By this time they were affiliated with the RAF, which is widely credited with this action. After entering the building, the six took twelve hostages: Ambassador Dietrich Stocker, several senior diplomats including military attaché Lieutenant Colonel Andreas Baron von Mirbach, embassy officials, secretaries and messengers. The "Holger Mains Commando" sent their demands to the Bonn government - within 6 hours, 26 prisoners including Esslin, Baader and Meinhoff were to be released, given $20,000 and be waiting safely in a plane at Frankfurt airport.
As these demands were considered, Swedish police inside the lower part of the embassy were fired on and warned by telephone to quit within fifteen minutes or Von Mirbach would be executed. When police refused to leave the embassy, the West German military attaché was marched to the window, shot several times, and thrown off a balcony on the third floor. He died shortly afterwards in the hospital. Then, minutes before the deadline expired, The Swedish Minster of Justice informed the terrorists that the Bonn government had rejected all demands. He then offered the gang safe conduct out of Sweden if they freed the remaining hostages unharmed. The economic attaché was shot and three secretaries released with a final ultimatum. Before this could be met, the explosives which Hausner had rigged up exploded, setting off live ammunition, scaring Wessel into dropping a grenade and blowing himself up. The explosives blew up the top floor of the embassy. The badly burned body of Heinz Hillegaart, the West German economic attaché, was found later in the wreckage. Hausner was injured in the explosion, and died in the hospital. The four surviving members of the "Holger Meins Commando" were deported to West Germany, tried, and found guilty.
In September of 1977, the RAF kidnapped top industrialist Dr. Hans-Martin Schleyer in Cologne, Italy. SPK member Fred Krobbe was involved. Five terrorists armed with sub-machine guns ambushed Schleyer's Mercedes as he was driven home from work, escorted by a second car carrying three armed bodyguards. The gunmen murdered all three bodyguards and Schleyer's chauffeur, then abducted the unharmed industrialist in a waiting van. They offered his life in exchange for the release of eleven imprisoned West German terrorists, payment of $43,000 each and safe transport to the country of their choice. A massive search was mounted for Schleyer. Five weeks later the kidnappers released a photograph of their drained, wretched captive, showing him holding a banner with the inscription "Commando Siegfried Hausner" and "Martyr Halimeh". Hausner was the SPK member who died in the hospital after the Stockholm embassy siege of 1975. "Halimeh" was the Arab name given to an unidentified German woman who was shot by Israeli troops when she tried to hijack a plane. They eventually killed Schleyer, and released a statement excerpted below:
"After 43 days we have ended Hanns-Martin Schleyer's pitiful and corrupt existence... His death is meaningless for our pain and our rage... The struggle has only begun. Freedom through armed, anti-imperialist struggle."
Dr. Huber is still active. He was a few books in print. Notable titles are "SPK - Turn Illness into a Weapon" and "SPK Indeed - What the SPK Really Did and Said". Huber denies some things that this article and historical sources have stated. This excerpt, for example, includes his explanation that he was not fired from the university and conventional history is wrong about the working circles. His writing is hard to follow, and an interesting window into how his mind works. You are encouraged to read it and decide for yourself. Huber's official website for SPK is He is a complex character who's activities cannot be fully summarized in this short article.
This webpage was first posted about 1997. At that time, there was little information about SPK available. I did not even know taht Dr. Huber was still alive and SPK was still active. It was a tad surprising when Dr. Huber sent outraged emails to Heathen World stating that the site was full of lies, demanding that the site be taken down, etc. Now that the Internet has expanded and more sources are available, I reviewed the subject and rewrote parts of this. The conclusions are still the same - there are just more details now.
Chapter 2: Industrial Music Band
"Socialist Patients Kollective"
"Surgical Penis Klinik"
An "industrial" band called SPK formed in Australia in 1978, alternately calling themselves "Socialists Patients Collective", "Surgical Penis Klinik", "SepPuKu", "Meat Processing Sektion", etc. Some of the members had worked in mental hospitals, and were inspired by the original SPK mentioned above. They researched similarities between past and present "science" and "primitive" magical rites. Their music was originally harsh electronics with bits of conversations, and real machine sounds incorporated. The visuals at their live shows incorporated everything from shocking medical images to hardcore pornography. A 1981 audience in San Francisco was shocked when the band ate brains from a sheep's head on stage. SPK released a video using their "Leichenschrei" LP for music and images including very old movies, autopsy videos, medical experimentation on animals, etc. Over the years, their style of shocking imagery and tribal/assaultive electronics evolved into electronic dance music. SPK also released an amazing CD called "Zamia Lehmannia", which is influenced by Byzantine music. The group started out with five members, and members slowly left until one original remained with new collaborators.
SPK no longer functions as a band. Member Graeme Revell now makes movie soundtracks in Hollywood. He made the soundtrack for "Dead Calm", which included parts of the SPK cd "Zamia Lehmanni". He also hired "Brian Lustmord" for his company (not to be confused with the metal band Lustmord). Lustmord was another ground breaking industrial presence throughout the 80's. Graeme Revell and Lustmord's work is always interesting and is worth searching out.
Chapter 3: Other SPKs
According to some late night web surfing SPK is a quality control system for urine specimens. "SPK-01 describes a urine specimen kit. SPK-02 is the method of urine shipment to the lab. SPK-03 is the urine specimen temperature at time of collection expressed as Farenheit."
Soviet cosmonauts used a propulsion system called the SPK. The thing in the picture that looks like a backpack with arms is the SPK.
Another site informs that "SPK - THE SOCIETY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF KNOWLEDGE" is a group of "rabble-rousing, hard-drinking, non-traditional librarians who gather twice a year at American Library Association (ALA) conferences for a never-dull dinner."
"SPK Cyber gear" cock rings with spikes sell for $20. SPK is a "common file format for NAIF's S-kernal and ephemeris portion of the P-kernel.
"SPK KNYAZHEGUBSKY" is a Russian agricultural production complex in the Kandalakshsky district that specializes in chicken breeding and milk.
"ALEXANDER SPK" is a "Server Protection Kit" for LAN networks, and (ofcourse)... SPK is a "Lagrange polynomial coefficient that contains the location of a planetary body or satellite. This object is used internal to the spk genus and is not directly used by a user."

SPK was the electronic/industrial/ambient brainchild of Graeme Revell - now known for his soundtrack music for numerous films and television programs. His sense of composition and orchestration (and I don't use that word in the traditional sense...) which are apparent in his current work have been present all along, to which this recording, originally released in 1986, will testify. This music is played/constructed/composed with creative brilliance and genius - there are many contemporary artists that owe a great debt to his pioneering work, and much of what passes for innovation in this genre doesn't hold a candle to this.
Revell utilizes all sorts of sounds - keyboards, orchestral instruments, percussion, ethnic instruments from around the world, voices (including solo voices recorded specifically for this music, as well as altered recordings of choirs and altered and looped voices from primitive culture rituals), found sounds (ambience from a railway yard, clanking chains, printing factory noises, a child's swing, sheet metal) and recordings from nature (toads, crows), mixing them not at random, but with precision and skill and emotion, to form a cohesive whole that is nothing short of astonishing. The resulting music has elements of the sacred as well as the profane - it is darkness and light, possessed of a heavenly beauty and gut-wrenching power, subtle and overt. The loveliness of many passages will bring tears to the eyes - and a chill to the spine.
Some of the notes from the CD insert are revelatory - a quote from Wellesz (from BYZANTINE MUSIC AND HYMNOGRAPHY) portrays Byzantium as `...the centre of civilization...' for Europe during the Dark Ages, `...and it now laid the foundation for the music of Christendom through a fusion of elements, religious and secular, eastern and western.' The image is an apt one - this recording is itself a blend of sounds from all over the world, an audio lens through which Revell shines the light of diverse cultures and belief systems, illuming the mind of the listener. There is also a verse quoted from `Byzantium' by W. B. Yeats, which expresses some of the mood of this album:
` the moon embittered, scorn aloud
in glory of changeless metal
common bird or petal,
and all complexities of mire or blood.'
The instruments (include in that definition: taped sounds) on this recording are played by Revell - the voices are by Sinan (who also appears on earlier SPK releases), Jan Thornton, and the Choir of the Russian Old Orthodox Church of the Holy Annunciation-Assumption of Sydney, Australia. There are voices that sound like they were recorded in perhaps Bali or Vietnam that have been made into loops - and Revell has done this with great care, preserving the rhythm of the lines sung so that the layers he has added contribute to that rhythm and feeling, rather than clash with it. Several of the tracks have an obvious influence of the Balinese gamelan orchestras, as well.
The mood changes from track to track, from section to section of each piece - but it does so logically, never jarring the listener. It's easy to experience to this in a `trusting' way, allowing the composer/performer to lift the listener and pull him/her along on this journey. As some of the titles reflect, there is darkness to be found here - but there is also much light. This is a stunning sonic document. -

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