REVIEW: “Seduction of the Armageddon Witches, directed by Diego Barrera”
If the video for Mater Suspiria Vision's “Seduction of the Armageddon Witches" isn’t a telling indictment of the ‘witch house’ scene, I don’t know what is. Taking its aesthetic cues (and proudly) from the likes of Matthew Barney, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and the Italian horror filmmakers of the 1970’s, this video is a mess of impenetrable “symbolism” and non-sequitur imagery that is essentially a Salem-fanatic’s Tumblr page brought to life.
Director Diego Barrera grasps for the kind of esoteric stew approach of Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain”, making up for lack of a true theme with odds-and-sods “mystical” happenings from behind a Vaseline-smeared lense. What does the apple allude to? Adam and Eve? Snow White? A good place to leave one’s crystals? The Christ figure in the cellophane-covered tub? The deathly pale girl with (what else?) long black hair clutching the one eyed pyramid at the video’s start? What does it all mean? Well, what has the eye atop a pyramid or lazy occult imagery ever meant? It is pleasing to the eye and “foreboding”/”trippy”, but without any sort of a point beyond looking “cool”.
Barrera has succeeded in creating a music video as disposable and haphazardly conceived as the “witch house” movement itself, memorable only for how laughably portentous and derivative it succeeds in being. Barney and Jodorowsky might very well be cases of style over substance, but at least they can lay claim to having possessed clarity of vision and at least an iota of originality. What we have with “Seduction of the Armageddon Witches” is essentially a three-and-a-half minute distillation of these folk’s actual art (whatever it’s merit) into an aimless, seemingly endless paean to the death of creativity… Most all artistic forms have devolved so far into homage, amalgamation (install DJ Screw in a goth club and bind him there with slash marks=”new” genre), and utter disposability; everyone is entitled to their 15-seconds of Tumblr re-blogs before the Adderall-starved masses turn their attention to something even less original and substantive.
Far creepier than anything contained in this video is the notion that our culture is eating it’s own tail, and that future generations will likely while away their days trying to decide between listening to music that sounds like the pivotal records of our youth tossed into a blender (but groundbreakingly so!).. Or turning on the television to watch an episode of The Simpsons that is nothing but self-referential jabs at earlier Simpsons episodes…. Heading to the multiplex to catch the latest franchise reboot or horror-remake sequel… Or, as can be experienced by forking over 3:33 of your time to one Diego Barrera, sitting transfixed before the computer at a music video so vapid and free from the constraints of “meaning” that it retroactively imbues worlds of meaning to something as “heady” and “substantive” as “Ice, Ice Baby” or “Break Stuff”…
Exterminate All Irrational Discourse
You can delete me so it comes across that you won this argument, but ultimately, you may have won the battle- by default- but you’ve lost the war, big time. Your life is going to be a soggy Scotch fart into the tighty-whities of deserved obscurity. You lack talent, taste, and ev en an iota of originality. I take solace in the fact that I won’t again have to see your face peering out at me from my Friend Requests, puppy dog eyes begging for validation. When you post other artists and musicians images or music in lieu of your own original thoughts, I hope those ‘likes’ from your Tumblr friends strokes your ego ever-so-slightly enough to put a spring in your step and make sure all those hours scouring the web for how to be ‘hip’ (not in the Sugarhill Gang, sense, Mr. Let’s-lighten-the-mood) were not in vain…
Calling ME a fucking hipster? You have got to be fucking kidding me- this coming from the guy whose every video post and band t-shirt is hip music blog approved, the person who lives and breathes pieces of other people’s cultural contributions via Facebook and Tumblr hoping and praying that someone will award him one-tenth of the praise these genuine (if often only marginally so) artists? The guy who routinely re-adds me when I delete his annoying, tries-too-hard ass? As much as I loathe Bukowski as an artist and unintentional role model to generations of directionless youth such as yourself, I must say- the guy would have chewed you up, swallowed you deep within his ulcerated bowls, and shat you next to a pile of the quirky clutter that adorns your room (somewhere between the crust band t-shirt pile and the Manson clipping, or maybe the Peni sketch and FYF Fest poster?). Your tumblr is titled “Exterminate All Rational Thought”, taking a page from Burroughs. But wheras Burroughs meant it in terms of thinking outside the box and living on instinct…on a primal, emotional level…I think you read that as “huff paint and reblog hip pictures on my Tumblr, more followers, yes, someone reblogged the song I posted, fuck yes, I AM cool after all!” For someone who made a big point of posting a Bukowski quote about finding solace and strength in being an autonomous individual, it sure seems you rely an awful lot on the ‘likes’ and ‘reblogs’ of anonymous people from behind your computer screen to get by.. you fucking rapist… (click picture below to see irrational discourse):
Peruvian Politics As Usual
Fujimorism did a lot of good at the time, all but eliminating the threat of terrorism/communist insurgence, but ultimately what it also succeeded in doing was driving the far-left further underground while throwing many innocent people in jail- something that has not gone unrecognized by many Peruvians, regardless of idealogy. Thus, having Fujimori’s daughter on the ticket pretty much ensured a lot of votes for both centrist candidates and far more for Humala, as less-informed voters will always go for a “name” candidate over a centrist. If the conservative candidate had been someone less polarizing, Humala would likely have never stood a chance. As it stands, only time will tell if Peru will go the way of Venezuela or if Humala will be as ineffectual as most presidents.
Part II (Portrait of a Non Artist)
I understand people like her. They-ve grown up with this notion of the artist as enigma, the artist as being summoned to action by a divine calling, the artist as celebrity. When they initially become part of an artistic scene, they look at the artists, writers and musicians the scene is composed of and don’t see people expressing themselves using their talents. They simply see the accolades, the attention, the (in her sad mind) position of "power" these people are capable of garnering, and for this, want to forsake the duties of stamping hands at a venue for feeling a similar degree of…what? Truly belonging to a scene beyond the capacity of helping out? To be recognized? There is much to be said for those who help out in a scene in the less creative aspects- venue owners, curators, and volunteers are all instrumental in facilitating a scene, and should be recognized for their contributions. But simply contributing does not an artist or musician make. She can come up with a snappy banner under which to promote the shows you book or the zines you publish, but shouldn’t feel entitled to the same kind of attention as a musician or an artist.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (perhaps not the best example as he did produce some quality poetry of his own) is widely regarded for what his City Lights Books did in furthering the Beat Generation and the writings of authors like Henry Miller, but is very rarely mentioned in the same breath as these people in terms of the scope or influence of his work. A great man, deserving of esteem, but not deserving of the entitled attitude of the stereotypical artist. To clarify- an artist or musician need not be temperamental or expect that others bow before them, but this attitude DOES exist, and can sometimes be forgiven (and more often than not is just expected) IF they make art or music powerful enough for a shitty attitude to be overlooked. But to not produce any art or music of your own and to cop that kind of attitude? That is beneath contempt, and completely without precedent. Only in a day and age where “re-blogging” a Tumblr entry is considered creative and more and more kids are more likely to know how to play “Stairway to Heaven” on Guitar Hero than on an actual guitar can we expect to see morons of this ilk.. We live in an age of shortcuts. Certain people want to be able to act like stuck up cunts and cruise from couch to couch without ever actually finding a job simply on account of being a “creative type” versus someone who actually creates. Affecting the pose of a “starving artist” while only promoting OTHERS’ art, and not even out of a genuine love for it, but to further herself! Having a residency at some godforsaken hole in the wall restaurant where she will have shows a few hours before a nearby venue that has actual draw, hoping to lure in the few folk who arrive too early with a poorly selected roster of bands you’ll book sound unheard just to fill up space? And then walking around as if her shit doesn’t stink, expecting the world from others because of it? Sounds like Lots of CRAP if you ask me.
In an ideal world, everyone, talented artist and no-talent hanger on alike, would be humble. Or at the very least, the talented artist might FEEL superior, but keep it to him or herself. But for some inconsiderate, shit-talking, territorial BITCH to feel superior to ANYONE (and accordingly, be rude and STEAL from supposed "friends") for simply slapping her name atop something either someone else has written in a poorly laid out zine or scrawling it atop a show obnoxiously promoted via Facebook and text message attended by two ex-band members and a mom with a camcorder is a FUCKING JOKE and a symptom of so much of what is disillusioning in a certain current DIY music/art scene that is currently tapering off into a retarded cult of personality with ever diminishing returns…
Part I (Lots of Crappy, Static Action)
How is it that someone with absolutely zero artistic talent can become a known (if not integral) part of a DIY scene? Someone who, for example, compiles a zine with zero content of their own, or directs a music video that is simply a camera placed before a random hipster after a toke of weed? Whose sole claim to fame is working the door at a venue, and then parlaying that into promoting shows of others’ music or others’ artwork? Furthermore, why does this tenuous position of control manage to inflate some people’s heads into thinking they can have the entitled attitude of someone who makes an ACTUAL contribution to the scene? (Which isn’t to say that even those who DO contribute artistically should put on any sort of airs).
Worse still is when this entitlement gives way to acting like a spoiled fifteen year old making up for years of high school unpopularity, self-appointing themselves the role of sneering, judgmental “cool kid” simply by dint of a volunteer position ANYONE is privy to, but perhaps doesn’t have all the time in the world for? Perhaps those of us who contribute our music or artwork actually need time to, you know, create music and artwork? And we, probably more than you, are the reason for a DIY venue in the first place. This isn’t to say that contributing one’s time isn’t a noble calling, but it seems that some people aren’t content to simply do their part and help out and be recognized for doing that, they want to be recognized as…what? Movers and shakers? Scenesters? “Artists”? Give me a fucking break. This is entirely symptomatic of a day and age where Tumblrs full of others artwork are praised as if spending all day on the computer in mom’s basement is a noteworthy endeavor and “artists” receive scholarships based on their half-assed tape cover collages. Just like going to art school doesn’t make one an artist, stamping hands at a prominent DIY venue doesn’t make one anything other than a stamper of hands, and certainly doesn’t entitle one to act like a total bitch.