Pendu Arts Interview

There is a new interview with me on Pendu, a great site for art, culture, etc.

http://www.pendugallery.com/raymondsalvatoreharmon/interview.htm

Enjoy

Raymond Salvatore Harmon
raymondharmon.com

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Depresja Fest Poland

We traveled for what seemed like a decade. Ciechocinek, Poland is a long way from anyplace. After flying from London to Wroclaw and spending the night we took a 5 hour train to Torun, where we were picked up by the festival organizer Piotr (there were two guys, both named Piotr).

Ciechocinek is a strange town. Very old (from the 13th century) it is a spa town, where for centuries people have come to breathe the special air that is there. The air has a salt smell like the sea because of these strange structures that have been built long ago. They take salt and spring water and filter it through huge walls of sticks that then emit this odor of salt across the town. You can not imagine how big these walls are – something like 600 meters long and 12 meters tall.

The festival went very well. Some astounding work by Piotr Kamler as well and shows by Woody Alien, Ed Wood and the two bands I performed with Hati and Mikrokolektyw.

Both Hati and Mikrokolektyw put on exceptional sets and the festival was held in a very cool old cinema. All and all a god time.

After tow days of festival we headed back for an afternoon in Torun, where Copernicus is from, to explore the city. Breakfast at a great little restaurant but then the rain started. We saw as much as we could but soon gave up and headed back to the train station for the trip to Wroclaw.

The two Piotrs put on a great fest and it is amazing that people like them exist, trying to make culture happen in these tiny towns. Isolated from the attention of the mainstream cultural establishments yet still working very hard to make things come together.

Back in Wroclaw I started the first film shoot of an as yet unnamed and secret feature film; shooting in the dark on Ostrow Tumski (the cathedral island). Someday soon this project will start to shine. Time and much more footage will be required first.

Fuck you, Hirst

Today I read on the BBC that Damien Hirst has skipped the gallery process in a “more democratic” approach to art by selling everything at auction directly to collectors. Not even considering viewers who do not have millions of £/$ to own a piece of his art.

Hirst has basically sent a big FUCK YOU to anyone who wants to look at art and appreciate it, instead pandering to the private collectors who horde the worlds art in their estates. This blatant display of greed and disregard for the public’s art appreciation is exactly what is wrong with the art world today.

I like Hirst’s work, have since I was a young. It appeals to the juvenile angst that most of us feel in our teens and that we suppress even as adults. If this was Jeff Koon’s I would laugh, as I expect as much from him.

In a recent interview I ended the conversation with this bit of text when asked if I had any “cryptic messages” to send to the readers:

“We are approaching the 100 year anniversary of the birth of the Dadaist movement. From its inception dada attempted to deconstruct the established artworld and to force an evolutionary model on that art world. It gave birth to 20th century art in all of it forms and informs the entire process of creating art today because dada itself was appropriated as the language of the art world.

We live with an art world model that is based simply on the glorification, if not deification, of objects and there creators for commercial reasons. By making someone famous we make their objects worth more, thus they become collectable commercially and an investment to those who ‘collect’ art, be they institutions like the Tate and MOMA or collectors like Saatchi.

This model is a dead end. The experience of art is an important commodity, not the art itself. Being able to interact with, see/touch/feel a piece of art is far more important than ownership of the object. But those that own the object control access to art, charge admission, etc.

We need to create a new artworld model, something that deconstructs the established commerciality of art in exchange for the ability for anyone to experience the art itself firsthand. As the world has evolved around the exchange of information so must art evolve to become a cross platform experience, not just object deification. Artists must stop making things and start making experiences. Only then will art truly become free.”

Reading the story of the auction and the quote from “art expert” Charles Dupplin stating “It’s another landmark and an astounding day for the art market in a year that has seen many long-standing records demolished, despite the gloomy world economy.” Makes me want to burn down all of the museums that charge admission and attack private art collectors on the streets.

It has gone too far. Art is not a commodity. What they sell and trade is not art, it is financial masturbation among the rich. It is cultural objectification and the galleries and institutions that support this kind of idiotic “art market” should be stopped. Burn down the museums, shoot the collectors. Put an end to this art world and with its ashes make something new, something brilliant, powerful and free.

On Insects

Last night was the first performance of a collaborative piece between Dave Phillips and myself titled “On Insects: or Why do Humans Exist?.” I have really respected Dave’s work for years and it was an honor to be able to sit next to him in a smoke filled room and make light with his sounds. He performs field recordings of insect sounds captured in Vietnam and Cambodia. Eerie and haunting sounds. Perfect for some manipulated insect light.

Thanks to everyone who came out and to Mlehst, Lee Gamble and Mark Durgan for putting on some amazing sets of music. Special thank you to Bill (pan-act.com) for making the show possible and to Divus Gallery for hosting the night.

Check out pics of the night in my pictures folder.

information tax

I have just discovered something that will keep me from ever attempting to become a British citizen. Its the BBC.

It turns out that in the UK the BBC is still a government run agency and that there is a MANDATORY tax for all citizens who own any television device to pay a yearly amount around $300. If you buy any TV device, regardless of your tv viewing, you have to have a TV License. The list of devices includes video projectors (which do not have receivers), large computer screens, mobile phones with TV capabilities, and all television devices of any kind.

I have to ask, are the British out of their fucking minds?! Who watches TV?

Okay, I know that a lot of people do watch TV, but to make a mandatory TV tax is insane. It turns out that they drive around in vans with equipment that tells them which house has a TV on and if that address isnt paying for a license then they knock on the door and issue a £1000 (thats $2000) fine, if they can prove you watched tv. It like George Orwell’s 1984. They even make electronics retailers report all buyers to the BBC police.

Yes, the BBC has their own police called Capita, which is a private company not run by the government who acts as both sales people for the tax, I mean ‘license’, and vigilante enforcement (though with government permission to do so) for those who don?t pay!

In London there are literally millions of CCTV cameras watching the city everyday. This doesnt bother me at all. Let them watch. If it deters crime then great. But to make people pay for broadcast television regardless of how much and what they watch, even if they don?t watch at all, is fascism. No way around it. The best part is that if you are legally blind you get a %50 discount but still have to pay if you own a TV.

Currently the British government is looking into the decline of TV watchers as everyone switches to over the internet entertainment. One proposed solution is to have a similar tax on all PC owners. That means anyone who ones a computer will have to pay a tax for it, probably around the same amount or more per year. Just to own a computer, for whatever you do with it – create, consume, masturbate, educate. Is this fucking China? Is the UK a communist state, oh wait, No – if it were the TV would be free but very boring. What they are ultimately doing is creating a government sponsored information tax.

What this tax comes down to information control. You want to watch the news? Some sports? A little mindless entertainment? Well then you will have to pay for it. They even rebroadcast American shows that go out to America for free – think Simpsons. Not to mention that the BBC has just as much adverts on it as American television. So they get the advertisers money and the viewers get fucked, I mean charged, as well.

Democracy means something to me. I am not a ‘political’ person. I do not make political statements via my art and seldom talk politics with my friends. I know that in the United States citizens do not live in a democratic country, they live in a capitalist republic. Money is how you vote in the US. I think it will be great for there to have been a black man as president of the US but I think it will be great for reasons that have nothing to do with Barack Obama, his ideals, and his record up until now. They have to do with history, race and the self esteem of future generations of African Americans.

But Britain and other countries purport to be democracies as well. I believe that in a democracy the people should control the government and not the government the people. That there are certain ideals that every person should be able to aspire to and that ultimately all knowledge should be free to anyone who wants it for any reason. The limitation of people?s access to information, for reasons of profit or philosophy, amounts to a major digression from the concept of a democratic state. When a government limits your access to information through taxation it amounts to censorship of your rights, of your experiences as a person, of your desire and your right to know.

Is there a truly democratic country on earth? How can a country like Great Britain call itself a democracy yet create variables in its governmental system that are initiated in order to CONTROL the people instead of serve them? Is democracy an illusion, a utopian idea that man aspires to but can never attain? I had hoped that the laziness of the American people to throw off the shackles of the industrial military complex that runs its capitalist republic was something I could leave behind me in America. Yet it seems, at least so far as the UK in my travels, that I will never find a true democracy. That in this world the virus of money has come to control the way in which humanity evolves, with its governments there simply to lubricate the exploitation of the many by the few.

I hope someday I find a true democracy that I can call my home.