Why Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Rules by Bry Webb (2017)
“At the moment, my feeling is, that the only way to fight control is communities – small units of communities – people who agree with each other enough about how to live, that they support each other, they share their resources, they spread their ideas through events like this, or through writing or through whatever medium they can find, and they set-up small, autonomous units that are dedicated to a different way of living, where it’s about sharing, and generosity, and loving, and compassion, and kindness, and all of the things that are destroyed by capitalism and totalitarianism.”
“If you see a door, go through it, but leave one foot in the doorway so someone else can follow through.”
In the pursuit of understanding, the temptation towards binary, “either/or” thinking is a well-established fallacy. In my own life, particularly in attempts to understand and interact with the world outside of convention and establishment, that truth has been as challenging as any rite of passage. To frame any aspects of the world in binary terms is to limit our understanding in favour of the naive attempt to control those things. To transcend the urge or push towards this mode of thinking, is to transcend those limits, and transcend control. I can credit the generous and loving art of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge with illuminating these truths in ways simultaneously inviting and challenging enough to resonate continuously within me. So important is their work in opening up my own perception of life, love and creativity, that the first song I played for our child, within an hour of arriving in our lives, was “The Orchids” by Genesis’ project Psychic TV.
Now in their sixties, Genesis’ life and work reflect the real magic in human (or humane) existence. S/he invented industrial music. S/he founded a nomadic and leaderless occult order called Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth which had a worldwide impact on music, art and culture in the 1980s. S/he underwent years of surgery and self-transformation to merge h/er body with that of h/er partner in life and creative collaboration, Lady Jaye, to create a unified being called The Pandrogyne. The latter, as a defiance of the limitations of biological sex, may be one of the most holistic works of art and devotion that humankind has ever seen. Every facet of Genesis’ life and art illuminate the illusory nature of our collectively perceived limitations, and offer shared access to the limitless potential of our minds and bodies.
Over many years, Genesis has studied the revolutionary and evolutionary implications of magic, devotion and ancient spiritual practices, and embraced these things in h/er life and work. S/he has traveled to remote areas of Nepal, India, and Africa to learn from teachers of these traditions, and found harmony between h/er own philosophy and practice, and the non-binary views of substance and identity in many ancient belief systems. Here again, those of us who willfully exclude spiritual thinking from our anti-establishment practices are invited to challenge this as another example of the limitations of “either/or” thinking.
This year, Kazoo! Fest and Ed Video invite us to engage with the magic visual artwork of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge as part of the Present Rituals exhibition at Kazoo! HQ (127 Woolwich St. in downtown Guelph). The exhibition is curated by Scott McGovern and includes works by Alison Postma, Hazel Hill McCarthy III, Trudy Elmore, Emily Pelstring, FASTWÜRMS and Alejandro Garcia Contreras – all radical art makers in their own right. In a place where right-to-life organizations are invited to imply shame and guilt from bus billboards and church gardens, and where new luxury condominium developments suddenly diminish the Catholic church’s insistent role in the city’s physical identity, it seems like a profound opportunity that we have Genesis’ revolutionary and evolutionary spiritual objects available to us. You are invited to open yourself to magic in a time when it is desperately needed, to cast off the binary limitations of conventional thinking, and see what possibilities emerge, if you’re willing.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is a musician, poet, performance artist, and occultist – with an influence on avant-garde culture and ideas that can’t be overstated. After founding the notorious COUM Transmissions in 1969, Genesis went on to form Throbbing Gristle in 1975, and Psychic TV in 1981.
Bry Webb is the Interim Operations Coordinator at CFRU 93.3 FM, the lead singer of Kazoo! Fest 2017 act, The Constantines, and writes, performs and records solo material solo material (often performed with his band, The Providers).
Check out Genesis Breyer P-Orridge‘s collaborative artwork made with Hazel Hill McCarthy III in the Present Rituals exhibition from Monday March 27th to Saturday April 8th @ Kazoo! HQ (127 Woolwich St.). Also, be sure to check out their documentary “Bight of the Twin” about their journey to Ouidah in Benin to explore the origins of the Vodoun (Voodoo) religion on Wednesday April 5th at 9pm @ Kazoo! HQ (127 Woolwich St.).