F.A.Q.’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Is this the only truly “official” RE/Search Publications website?
A: YES! You have reached the official RE/Search Publications website, written by V. Vale. We still have most of the legendary RE/Search books in stock–plus our brand-new titles, of course! Yes, we’re still publishing; it’s just harder to find our books… RE/Search is an archive and oral history project that sprang from the legendary Search & Destroy magazine. Founded by V.Vale at the world-famous City Lights Books of San Francisco. Each RE/Search publication is printed in tiny runs, they are uncompromising in their content and some are not for the squeamish! () Each book is by definition a limited edition and they are rarely available even in independent bookstores. () If you are interested in any of these books, please order NOW! as our books are starting to sell out, and likely will never be reprinted in this age of e-Books. All orders will be fulfilled on a strictly “first come first served” basis. As a BONUS for Ordering Directly, you can have V. Vale autograph your book(s) — JUST ASK!!
Q: What are RE/Search “subjects” and why are they chosen?
A: RE/Search is a counter-culture enterprise against the status quo/hierarchy which dictates prevailing aesthetics, technology, and everything else which controls our lives — often invisibly.
The big goal is to accurately document cultural revolt/innovation wherever it may be found, not only in space but in time. We started in Punk Rock and we continue searching for that provocative “spirit/spark” wherever it manifests itself.
We intend to chart out a different history so that a different future may be produced. As our very lives are instant history, and “if it wasn’t recorded, it didn’t happen” — we intend to record the most important subversive ideas and archetypes for future implementation and development by others. RE/Search is a project benefiting the society of the future which will be characterized by more freedom, more consciousness and more creativity.
As everything has a dark side, RE/Search will unstintingly record and chart out “the things that are, AS they are” – without censorship or moralizing. We encourage Do-It-Yourself creativity in a group context toward a world where everyone will be not only an artist-scientist but also a cultural forensic pathologist, working to realize the full potential of the DNA we were born with.
We also celebrate the most trance-state, edge-of-madness ecstatic fun wherever it may be found — from Burning Man to SRL Shows to multi-media culture-hacking to artistic/vision quests of all kinds — revolt is exciting! As an unknown Situationist put it, “The society which has abolished Adventure makes its own abolishment the ultimate Adventure…” And we envision and are helping to create a parallel society of shifting TAZs (temporary autonomous zones) – temporary, for now… Yes, there still are “undergrounds” – but now they are more niche.
Q: What draws RE/Search to the total spectrum of “fringe/outsider” culture-making, and why is this important?
A: The most exciting creativity happens at cultural borderlines where taboos are challenged – taboo-challenging/breaking releases a lot of energy! Historically, in the worlds of art and science, it’s the artists-scientists who break new ground who end up with the longest-lasting influence (at the time, they are often ignored, or persecuted). RE/Search simply wants to do original work of ground-breaking longevity (and also have fun, of course)…
Q: Is RE/Search’s work important, in-depth, and truly significant in the long-term?
A: For over thirty years we have produced publications ahead of the curve – books which have themselves launched much larger cultural trends. “Modern Primitives” and “Modern Pagans” educated thousands to ancient body decoration practices and rituals; “Incredibly Strange Films” sparked the RErelease on DVD of thousands of independent films; “Incredibly Strange Music” directly resulted in the CD reissue of hundreds of long-out-of-print music LPs; “Industrial Culture Handbook” created a whole new genre of “industrial music”; and “Pranks” launched a whole genre of television/audio “reality” entertainment. Each volume not only REeducates but contains a substantial body of references and directives for further REsearch. Virtually every RE/Search book has inspired dozens of imitations and follow-ups by others… Want a list?
In a culture of surface and infinite horizontality, RE/Search is trying to be deeply “vertical” in an archaeological sense. Bruce Conner once said that “all undergrounds are the same” and RE/Search is trying to not only chart, worldwide, the most original visionaries, everywhere, who are doing something “culturally subversive” right now, but to also establish a global continuum to everyone who has ever produced permanently inspirational thoughts of liberty and revolt – from Heraclitus to the Skeptics to Lieh-Tzu to the Dadaists and Surrealists, especially Andre Breton; William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard and the culture-hackers of tomorrow. So RE/Search is also trying to find everyone in history who has worked to exalt the imagination and the concept of freedom, and link them to an overarching history of true, against-the-grain, creativity…
Q: RE/Search seems to be trying to tie together Punk, Surrealism, Situationism, William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and many other subjects. What does link everything together?
A: Punk was essentially a movement in search of “total” liberation and creativity, and it borrowed from Dada, Surrealism, the Situationists, William Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and many others. RE/Search is simply fleshing out that concept and archetype of digging deeper into history, and finding contemporary voices to articulate the most pressing doubts and concerns of today. If our world seems headed toward catastrophe in every way, let us at least investigate the theories of catastrophism to see if some antidotes can be discovered or invented. All the intelligence and creativity of every rebel on the planet can be deployed toward the goal of deciphering not only the future, but deciphering what is going on today, hidden behind the massive screen of corporate deception purveyed by all the major controlling media of our electronic planet…