Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Monster Jockey Within Reason

Having begun to populate and stock my Monster Observatory; and having begun in media res, I owe the reader, or watcher, some form of explanation. What is it all for? To unravel the causes and to engage in post hoc justification is a tricky business. Intuitive foresight and thoughtful retrospectives are timely but difficult while it’s all still in process. We reach for Montaigne’s mercurial practice and retreat from systematic enterprises.

And the monsters keep popping up; at every turn more grotesque specimens appear to view. The project begins to celebrate the unfinished as a condition of humanity, of grand ambitions and heroic failure. It becomes clear that there’s insufficient time to incorporate the multiplying forms and twisted perceptions that deviate from the normal. Is it churlish and rude to begin to exclude? Like Sterne’s narrator in Tristram Shandy, life proceeds at a faster pace than written narratives can accommodate, and the voice of the author, the being of the composer, risks being stuck in embryonic form; a disembodied proto-phenomenon, more monstrous and unfinished than the products exhibited.

If the loosely constructed rationales are judged to be multiple, fluid, and contradictory, then I must claim or plead a degree of decorum with the subject matter – the slippery and unstable world of cultural teratology. Then there’s the curious matter of blogging, and the untold and unthought pre-history of the activity. The table-books and miscellanies spring to mind as collections of oddity and curiosity. More than that is the notion of precursors to social media as a more general project of subjectivized memory, entertainment, education and transmission of potential ephemera. And fleeting but remarkable phenomena.

Let me here make claim to the role of the MJ. You are familiar with the DJ? He or she is raised now to celebrity, wealth and cult status after the gentleman amateur days of disco, birthday parties, retirements and weddings. They were the Lords of Misrule in a Carnival of Ecstasy. Moving on creatively, we have learned to know the VJ, or “video jockey” who creatively manipulates and selects images, in support of, or potentially displacing the sonic mastery of the DJ. It’s a fitting addition to our digital visual era and a new variety of showpersonship.

To the DJ and VJ let’s add the Monster Jockey, a collector of the preternatural; trawler of margins and doodledom; learned in the manipulation or selection of monsters. Accordingly, we MJs assemble our collections with an ear and an eye to pleasurable sequencing, transitions, and collisions. Here is a shocking and delightful communality; a shape-shifting miscellany; day by day the MJ provides a proto-historical realtime mix of content from a "library of monsters."

Let us not forget that long before the building of cinemas it was the fairs and freak-shows that exhibited the permutations and spectacles of teratology alongside the technologies of film. Freaks are consumption, chasing and swallowing their own tails in a state of interminable process and circulation. Monster discworlds. A festival of teratology.

The freak-infested flows of the Blogdom universe provide opportunities for monstrous interactivity, illicit combinations, offering new materials, or recycling old. With delight we welcome the entry of new blogfreaks who set up performances spaces and new avenues opened in the Monster Observatory.

Any requests? Has anyone got a map?

1 comment:

  1. And a radical experiment in style too?

    “Cobralingus comes completely from my love of electronic music, attempting to give language a little of the freedom that music enjoys. How can language refer to itself? Can it be bent, mutated, made liquid? Sometimes this will bring on certain poetic effects. I wouldn’t myself label it as poetry, because I think that should refer to a more heightened sense of language. I like to fire up words, energise them, drug them, destroy them, bring them back to live in some other form. Cobralingus is the end result of this process.”

    Jeff Noon, author of Cobralingus, interviewed by Vladislava Gordic.