||[Feb. 26th, 2005|10:10 am]
My contribution to a discussion on the 313 list about what it means to be 'Underground.'|
For better or worse, we live in a capitalist society. The way things are going, the whole world will soon be completely capitalist -- the few holdouts, like North Korea, and Cuba, aren't going to last in their current
form for another generation. The deed is already done in former 'workers paradises' like China and the former Soviet Union. Which is not in any way meant as a defense of Communism -- just as Jesus was the last real Christian, Marx was the last real Communist.
Being underground isn't an elitist thing, it's an essential expression of art that refuses to become commodity. I don't have the link any more, but last year Throbbing Gristle did an interview where they made the point that the extremity of their art wasn't born out of a desire to shock, but rather, a desire to find an expression that resisted being co-opted into the machinery of profit.
Being underground doesn't mean not making money from the music -- though there's not that much money being made, believe me. Being underground is forming interconnected communities of people where the music and the musicians have unmediated access to their audience. The music is what it is and means what it means, to listener and producer, without being turned into an image and commodity that sells product and reinforces the status quo.
There was an interesting moment at the 2002(?) DEMF -- the one Ford sponsored -- when Juan Atkins put on "No UFOs" -- which was being used in ads for the Ford Focus, and the turntable -- supposedly -- started to fail. I always suspected that Juan f*cked it up on purpose, because he was SUPPOSED to play it for the sponsors, to tie into the advertisements. If I
am right -- and it makes a good story whether it's true or not -- he would rather spoil it than give it up completely to FoMoCo.
Nothing is pure -- techno has to coexist with commercialization. But if the music means anything at all, it means that there's a way to find yourself and celebrate life that isn't just being a willing consumer of whatever is
dictated by television and advertising and commercial radio. You have to live in the real world, render unto Caesar, and all that, but you should focus on what matters, what gives you joy, and what's real -- and that will
NEVER be something you buy at Walmart.