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RE/Search #6/7: Industrial Culture Handbook Excerpt: Throbbing Gristle

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GENESIS P-ORRIDGE: When we shifted from Coum Transmissions to TG, we were also stating that we wanted to go into popular culture, away from the art gallery context, and show that the same techniques that had been made to operate in that system could work. We wanted to test it out in the real world, or nearer to the real world, at a more street level–with young kids who had no education in art perception, who came along and either empathized or didn’t; either liked the noise or didn’t.

A little mini-Dada movement, eh?

RE/SEARCH: Possibly, with the power to affect people lacking a sophisticated art background.

GEN: Well, that’s something we’ve always tried to do. Now we’re going to try and do that with a sort of philosophical, mystical magick, so non-dogmatic and non-authorative–people who’ve been brought up to despise anything that smacks of “religion”–maybe we can remind them that there are useful structures; that spiritual values aren’t necessarily to be despised or ridiculed; that there are certain individual attentions which, when used in a mystical way, actually are quite beneficial.

I’d like to be able to present whatever we do so that somebody with no training can get into it as easily as somebody with training. Quite often it is the people without training who get into it quicker. And often it is the people with training who are most antagonistic. And to do it without simplifying it, without taking any of its power away, so that you’re not being patronizing–you’re merely trying to take away the mystique and the vested interest in trying to sound like you’ve got to be special to understand this. It doesn’t have to be a bastardized version to be understood by a lot of people. I’d like to try and find a form that treats everybody as being intelligent, at least potentially . . . . You assume initially that people want a bit more content, some project which has a lot more depth to it, and that the fact that everyone says “Oh, everyone just wants trivia and superficiality” isn’t true. People are actually pleased to be given a bit more credit for a bit more intelligence. I think it’s far better to make something on the assumption that people will work to understand it . . .

And, there’s no fun if there isn’t risk. . . Sometimes I think we’ve given birth to a monster, uncontrollable, thrashing, spewing forth mentions of Auschwitz for no reason. It’s funny, because when I really think about it, the original half-dozen who started it all off are still the best ones, like the Cabs and Boyd–the first wave. I suppose that’s inevitable. It’s the old story, like in the 60’s–Zappa was completely different to Beefheart, who was completely different to the Doors, who were completely different to the Velvet Underground. And we were completely different to the Cabs, really. And Boyd Rice was totally different, and Z’ev is different. Monte’s different in his way. And we’ve all got quite a clear individual style linked to our individual lives. Whereas now they all sound like each other, and more than each other they sound like weedy fragments that they’ve honed in on, of one or the other people. The way they can even not noticed that everyone one of the original industrial groups and people was totally different from each other–they’ve even missed that fact. . .

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