Excerpt from Accompaniment for A-O-I-E-U

Posted on December 26, 2012 Comment

Excerpt from Accompaniment for A-O-I-E-U

Rie Nakajima meets Miki Yui

Found objects, toy-instruments playing with small sounds; real sounds playing with acoustic memories

Performed at Phill Niblock’s Experimental Intermedia December 17, 2012


Accompaniment for A-O-I-E-U

Posted on December 18, 2012 Comment

Damen Corrado, Miki Yui, Phil Weaver, Phill Niblock and Rie Nakajima 12-17-12

With Miki Yui, and Rie Nakajima after their performance Accompaniment for A-O-I-E-U, which utilized “found objects and toy instruments” at Phill Niblock’s Experimental Intermedia. We interviewed Miki earlier that day about her book on the musician and artist Klaus Dinger (Neu! and La Düsseldorf).


Andrew WK at the Bell House

Posted on December 8, 2012 2 Comments

Phil Weaver, Andrew WK and Damen Corrado at the Bell House 12-7-12

We had a sensational time hanging with Cardero’s apprentice – Cultural Ambassador of Partying, Andrew WK, at the Bell House in Brooklyn last night! Thanks, Andrew!

 


Mark Kostabi plays “Silence of Spoleto” at the Cutting Room

Posted on November 19, 2012 Comment

Impromptu footage of Mark Kostabi playing “Silence of Spoleto” at the Cutting Room after his opening at Martin Lawrence Galleries on November 15, 2012.

Shot by Phil Weaver

Copyright © 2012 Imperium Pictures. All rights reserved.

 


Mark Kostabi at the Cutting Room

Posted on November 16, 2012 Comment

Mark Kostabi at the Cutting Room 11-15-12

We had a fantastic time with the great Mark Kostabi last night at the Cutting Room, after his opening at Martin Lawrence Galleries! Be sure to check out his show!

Photo by Phil Weaver

Copyright © 2012 Imperium Pictures. All rights reserved.


Ken Russell (3 July 1927 – 27 November 2011)

Posted on November 30, 2011 Comment

Ken Russell was a Promethean artist, possessed of both a pioneering, visionary mind and bold warrior spirit, who created a dazzling constellation of masterpieces forever etched into the collective consciousness. His work, life-affirming will and devilish sense of humor will continue to inspire generations to come. We are extremely honored to have passed through his orbit.


Dangerous Minds | Morning of the Tarantulas

Posted on October 29, 2011 Comment

The fantastic blog Dangerous Minds has posted our most recent short, Morning of the Tarantulas, which stars author Bruce Benderson and a cast of Chilean tarantulas.


The Peter Pan Project

Posted on September 17, 2011 Comment
[disinfo ed.'s note: the following is a short piece of satirical fiction by Philip Weaver regarding the economy and job loss.]

philip-weaver

Most people believe that COINTELPRO, the FBI program to infiltrate and neutralize domestic dissident groups, is a thing of the past; however, newly leaked documents by the hacker collective Anonymous have revealed a nearly ten year program in which the FBI colluded with school superintendents throughout the US to obtain recruits for its Peter Pan Project.

The Peter Pan Project was a series of mind manipulation experiments performed on unwitting children of the 1980s in the hopes of engineering sleeper agents who could be activated to quell future civil disorder in America. Documents reveal that the Peter Pan Project was the brainchild of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who had outlined plans for the covert program shortly before his death in May 1972. The project was instituted in 1981 under then director, William H. Webster, and had been kept secret for decades until “hacktivists” infiltrated the network and web sites of the FBI and passed the information to news agencies.

As revealed in one FBI document, the stated goal of the Peter Pan Project was in effect to create a legion of “boys who wouldn’t grow up,” dubbed “Manchildren,” in preparation for the total financial collapse of the United States, which Hoover believed would occur within 40 years of Nixon’s having taken the dollar off of the gold standard in 1971. Manchildren, who would be in their 30s and 40s when the American economy reached its nadir, would at that time be activated by a series of post-hypnotic triggers, causing them to regress to a child-like frame of mind and thus mitigating the possibility of widespread domestic unrest. Manchildren would be too preoccupied with activities they loved in their youth, such as playing with G.I. Joe figurines or watching Transformers’ movies, to have even a remote awareness of current events.

In cooperation with the FBI throughout the 1980s, elementary schools across the US administered personality tests to students ages 7-10, which were used to assess the suitability of candidates for the treatment. Records indicate that ideal recruits were male children of above average intelligence, who had the potential to be fairly successful – yet for one reason or another were lacking in motivation: in other words, the classic underachievers. The FBI enlisted the expertise of Dr. Sydney Gottlieb, a chemist and former head of the CIA’s clandestine mind control program Project MKUltra, to develop a fluoride solution that would render recipients docile and open to suggestion. Under Dr. Gottlieb’s instructions fluoride mouthrinses were administered by unsuspecting teachers who were told students must swish daily to prevent cavities. The plastic dose cups in which the solution was served were specially designed by Dr. Gottlieb to leach oestrogenic compounds that reduced testosterone levels in males, causing a long-term reduction of muscle mass and an increase in body fat. Recruits were fastened into cubicles equipped with a monitor and headphones and made to spend as many as six hours a day watching a prescribed program of contemporary cartoons, sitcoms and movies as their brainwaves and eye movements were monitored by electrosensors and special cameras. The treatment culminated in anchoring a euphoric childhood state to key phrases, called “triggers,” embedded within 1980s classics. When the Manchildren perceived the triggers at a future date they would become activated, slipping back into their childhood frame of mind and dissolving their adult problems. Crucial to the program’s success was that recruits forgot they’d ever undergone the treatment; the only remaining traces being an encyclopedic knowledge of 1980s pop culture, a low muscle mass index and the emotional maturity of an 8-year-old.

“With the Peter Pan Project, the FBI capitalized on the explosion of children’s entertainment in the ’80s to engrave their ‘Manchild’ agenda in the hearts and minds of America’s future.” said Dr. Emmitt Fitzhume, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas, Austin who currently serves as Assistant Councilman on the Congressional Commission formed to prepare a complete account of the FBI’s activities under The Peter Pan Project. A heavily redacted Peter Pan memo dated June 11, 1982 referred to the FBI’s use of ‘entertainment liaisons’ working in an ‘advisory capacity’ with filmmakers to ‘doctor’ scripts. In 1985 the bureau purchased the rights to the screenplay Big and subsequently financed the production of the film. Rumors that had long been circulating about FBI involvement in the Tom Hanks vehicle have been substantiated by the Congressional Commission’s findings. Upon the repeal of the Glass-Steigel Act in 1999, the bureau officially established its Entertainment Liaisons Office and exerted its influence to foment an “’80s nostalgia craze,” halting production on original material in favor of revisiting the greatest hits of the seminal decade. This agenda served the dual purpose of insuring investors a return on their money through the material’s “built-in” audience and activating the latent Manchildren.

In October 2008, millions of Peter Pan operatives were installed in companies throughout the nation determined to be most vulnerable to collapse as part of a backdoor TARP deal made between then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the FBI and business leaders to minimize the collateral damage of potential economic fallout. The operatives’ enthusiasm and attention-seeking antics brought levity to their host companies during times of economic duress, and their presence was an insurance policy in the event of bankruptcy or massive job cuts. “We’re talking about an elite team of the most highly trained slackers our government has ever produced,” said Gerald Strickland, a distinguished lawyer who serves as Special Counsel on the Congressional Commission. Corporate America began to take note of the Manchildren. Their child-like behavior was seen as the harbinger of a brave, new post-industrial economy of ideas, playfulness and creativity, which would soon be under way. Major companies like Google “got into the groove” by introducing atypical office decor, such as vintage arcade games, giant Rubik’s cubes and large metal slides down which employees could descend to have lunch in the cafeteria, all in an effort to foster the carefree impulses of the Manchildren. In sworn testimony before the Congressional Commission, Clay Stork, a 32-year-old man who moonwalked off his job as an office assistant in Trenton, NJ, described the Manchildren’s gradual infiltration of corporate office space thusly, “It’s basically like in Gremlins when the water spills on Gizmo and he spazzes out and there are like five more of him.”

By the summer of 2011, the outlook for the American economy was grim. Though his ethics and reasoning were often questionable at best, it appeared as though Hoover’s dark prophecy for the nation’s future might be coming to pass. The United States of America had gone from the world’s lone super power with a balanced budget to a debtor nation that had lost its sterling Triple AAA credit rating. Bank accounts were negative, entire communities of family homes had been foreclosed, record numbers of people were on food stamps and public assistance, millions more were unemployed. Signs of a double dip recession in the third quarter meant that social unrest was likely to ensue. Fearing that the revolutionary wave sweeping through the Arab world might soon reach America, the FBI decided to activate The Peter Pan Project and with that a roster of revamped ’80s classics were slated for summer release.

“The plan was to rally the Manchildren just as the economy began to hemorrhage, so rather than Bank of America announcing it had to cut 185,000 jobs, the ‘activated’ Manchildren would skip home like kids after a school cancellation or be too engrossed in trading comic books to show up for work at all,” said Everette H. Hunt, an FBI defector and Peter Pan whistleblower. Each Manchild believed he was acting upon his own free will, when in fact his behavior was the planned result of one of the largest, most carefully coordinated efforts ever undertaken by a federal agency.

On July 29, 2011, under a directive of current FBI chief Robert Mueller, a mass activation was launched in the form of the national release of The Smurfs 3D family film, which mobilized over 500,000 Peter Pan operatives throughout the country. “No shows” were reported at companies across the nation as the debt ceiling disputes raged in the legislature. “The phrase ‘Oh my Smurf’ catalyzed an apparent psychogenic fugue within the Manchildren, causing them to permanently regress to a dreamy state of indifference to civic responsibility, paying bills or professional commitments,” said Dr. Fitzhume. In Greeley, CO, 523 employees of State Farm Insurance gleefully surrendered their jobs without making any demands of management, after which a large portion of the newly unemployed immediately proceeded to go roller skating at a local rink. 93 construction laborers in Odessa, TX submitted their resignations hand-written with Crayola crayons, citing as reasons for leaving everything from a need to practice their BMX freestyle to an sudden burning desire for Jello Pudding Pops. The common factors in all cases were that each of the suspected operatives had seen the newly released Smurfs movie at a local 3D IMAX, and they’d all wandered off the job to pursue highly impractical whims.

Rumors involving the smurfs in crypto-communist/fascist subversion are nothing new; the internet abounds with allegations that such themes have been intentionally encoded within the beloved cartoon. That the tiny blue creatures would be used to trigger an FBI plot intended to passively ease us into corporate feudal serfdom comes as no surprise to some. “Look at the Smurfs; they all wear the same outfit, eat communal meals, persecute their Jewish neighbor and kneel before a red-capped patriarch. Tell me that’s not propaganda,” said Theodore Logan, a motel desk clerk in Ozark, MO.

FBI whistleblowers warn that many more Peter Pan operatives are nestled in among us. They are potentially our neighbors, coworkers and family members, quite possibly the teller at the bank or the very teachers in our children’s schools. They may even be posing as mature adults with varying degrees of success, awaiting further triggers that have yet to be released.

Phil Weaver is a NYC-based filmmaker with Imperium Pictures, currently completing The Gent (a feature starring Genesis P-Orridge, Douglas Rushkoff et al), and a short in which British director Ken Russell portrays Aleister Crowley.

The King of Beers

Posted on May 9, 2011 Comment

Lonely Man Beer was posted by the culture jamming web site, Adbusters!

 

 

 


Bruce Benderson on Lonely Man Beer

Posted on April 27, 2011 2 Comments

Commercial Art

by Bruce Benderson

It’s not an exaggeration to say that my generation, from the sixties, was the first to become disenfranchised from historical context. Or, to put it more simply, we lost the support of our forbears. When knowledge of Latin stopped being an earmark of the educated American, when Greek myths no longer provided a foundation for the artistic or philosophical articulation of modern life, our generation resorted to pop culture. That’s all that was left. But was there any way to descend even further down than that?

Perhaps it was the moment when global capitalism climbed upon its throne and we realized belatedly that we were living in a postmodern age that the legacy of the next generation became clear: irony would be the sole tool of the new artist. But as irony lost its satirical power, its power to critique, it became a tool of entertainment for profit and the advancement of social status. In the art world, this change was illustrated by the career of Andy Warhol. Pop began as an acidic criticism of middle class capitalism—until the rich embraced the experience and filled the pockets of those artists who obliged them by doing it. Andy became what he’d made fun of: a wealthy living joke. Perhaps we baby boomers shocked our parents by relying on rock music and movies as inspiration. The next generation shocked us by looking at our pop culture ironically, and then using that vision as an amoral networking tool. What better symbol of this activity than the TV commercial as art?

Lonely Man Beer, a two-minute-and-fifteen-second film, starring Damen Corrado and directed by Philip Weaver of Imperium Pictures, is as velvety and fluent as a real beer commercial and manages to pack nearly everything it wants to say into the paltry flash format of such a genre: a complete tragic-comic plot, a character sketch, sexual metaphor and a eulogy to the visual aesthetics of illuminated brew. The idea is simple: what happens when an inveterate young beer drinker, the perfect symbol of Miller’s Hi-Life, discovers the Oedipal horror behind his promiscuous habits. Without ruining the principle gag of this short film, I can tell you that it assiduously follows its extended liquid metaphor from beginning to end: the twin “golden showers” of beer and urination lead to “a bigger splash.”

It is the increasing depth of this metaphoric trajectory that is the most admirable thing about this mini-movie. True to other artistic products of the post-Boomer generation, it manages to find humor in the hard sell and casual lyricism in sex; but then it presents the tragedy that can result when lyricism and sex are put in service of the hard sell.

These aspects, however, aren’t the most interesting for me. As I tried to indicate at the beginning of this short essay, what interests me is the dilemma of cultural disenfranchisement encountered by today’s certainly post-classical yet even post-pop generation. Pop artists studied the cheapening of the image by market forces and discovered a new source of abject aesthetics. Postmodernists merely recycled the Modernist palette. But the post-Pop, post-post-Modernists of today have had to deal with the obvious poverty of all imagery and the shoddiness of all aesthetic devices available to them, as well as the blunting of all irony. They have seen all of these elements presented with a cynical kind of humor that laughs all the way to the bank. It’s inevitable that they grow bored with the celebration of vacuity and the sensationalism of the grotesque for its own sake, no matter how much money they make from it. Even the cleverest tricksters of the new art world, such as Banksy, come close to being opportunistic court jesters. At best, they have made their own cynicism the subject of their art, and sometimes quite successfully.

In this new atmosphere, Corrado and Weaver have searched for a medium from which to wring meaning and found, of all things, the beer commercial. In using it, they have preserved all the naïve delight of the entertained, hoodwinked consumer coaxed into an alcoholic fantasyland of beer recast as liquid gold. But they have harmoniously added their own piss to the formula, somehow achieving from this unlikely collusion a tale of trauma and loss just slightly short of the truly mythical.

 

Lonely Man Beer

Written by Damen Corrado and Philip Weaver

Directed by Philip Weaver

Produced by Imperium Pictures

Watch Lonely Man Beer here


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