Guillaume Léglise interviews Chris Korda for Batofar
Your music seems to be a tribute to popular music. Do you think that this
kind of music give us a little bit of freedom, or innocence?
Or perhaps people are rigged by pop music too. I mean, what's your reason to
use this music in order to express your thoughts and your art?
The real question is, what is possible? The state doesn't give a damn what type of music you listen to, or how you wear your hair, or how many tattoos you have. In fact, these shallow diversities only strengthen the necessary illusions of dissent and rebellion. Industrial societies have learned from the failures of Stalinism: torture is inefficient, compared to voluntary compliance, and "brainwashing under freedom". This is a dangerous game: while it works, huge profits flow to the top of the pyramid, but if the people ever wake up, there aren't enough police to maintain order. If the majority of people grew their own food, and refused to work or buy anything, the industrial system would collapse. Industrial societies spend fortunes on advertising, not only to create false needs, but to inspire belief that the system is righteous, and inevitable: the best and only possible way of life. The cultured "elite" (your readers?) imagine that their education makes them immune to propaganda, but this is rubbish. As Jacques Ellul pointed out long ago, the elite are the most indoctrinated segment of society, and education is in fact the *prerequisite* to propaganda. The elite must do more than just work and consume: they are expected to collaborate, internalize the goals of the society, and become priests of technology. It doesn't matter what third-world peasants think, because they are outside the system; they aren't consumers, and aren't expected to do anything, except suffer and die, while we steal whatever resources they have.
Art and culture are the lifeblood of industrial society, the ultimate proof of its humanity and noble intentions. The Dadaists knew this, and tried to destroy art, but they were absorbed, in the same way that every word I say to you now, can also be absorbed, mediated, reduced to triviality and faux rebellion. The solution is to utterly smash the instruments of technology, but what is the probability that this will happen? The pathetic history of Easter Island suggests that we will rape the earth until it's no longer capable of supporting mammals. The elite will concentrate their wealth and power in fewer hands, and continue to rape, because they enjoy it. The rest of us will settle for less and less, always convincing ourselves that it's not so bad, that our deal could be worse, and that anyway we have a better deal than so-and-so. And of course, we'll have plenty of magazines to read.
What does Reverend Chris Korda want to express on stage? I mean how do you conceive this sort of action? political?, aesthetic? both of them?
To be meat in the machine, and be aware of it, is torture. We armor ourselves against confinement, against the boredom and pain of it, until we feel nothing, or we sympathize with the aggressor, like hostages. The Christian priests denied us our bodies, and the priests of technology do the same; they also dream of escape, to the secular heaven of robots in outer space. As an office worker, I've spent many years of my life in cubicles, which are also known as "veal pens" (hence the enigmatic CoE slogan "WE ARE THE VEAL"). On stage with my laptops, I'm in a virtual cubicle; in the moments of silence between tracks, the careful listener might hear the "insect sound of drones, clickering keyboards in a fluorescent hive of fabric-padded cubicles." The modern experience of work is enforced passivity; freedom of movement is increasingly restricted, until only the eyeballs and fingers are permitted to move. While performing, I experience this familiar feeling of bondage, but it's strangely transformed; I'm still glued to the screen, but my legs and ass can move to the music, and I feel the heat, in and around my body. The most important change is that I'm no longer alone; I'm sharing my experience with the audience members, many of whom also work in offices. It's a small liberation.
My last question. Tell me something about the next Bush’s war in Iraq.
America's former success resulted from the economic advantage of being the only major power to emerge unscathed from WWII. With that advantage long gone, America tries to buy security, by spending ever greater sums on war. The huge expenditures cripple the economy, the failure of which is perceived as further loss of security, requiring even more extravagant displays of violence, in a vicious circle. The demonstrations are intended to prove that America is still invincible, but instead they prove the opposite: that America is fragile and desperate, an empire in decline. The beneficiary of war is not America, but war itself, as a way of life. Industrial society grows stronger through spasms of war.
Industrial society values unlimited power and profit in the present, at the expense of the future; the earth is a cigar, made to be burned and smoked. The goal is efficiency--maximum output in the minimum time--and nothing is more efficient than war. War is consumerism in its purest form. In the climate of fear created by war, we try to consume more, to accelerate, but the faster we go, the sooner we'll arrive. Arriving means a high entropy state, an exhausted planet of shifting sand. Under the assault of total war, earth's biological diversity evaporates, replaced by opportunistic, weedy species that can survive in hostile environments: rats, roaches, pigeons, and of course the ultimate weed, humans.
"Don't forget the real business of the War is buying and selling. The murdering and the violence are self-policing, and can be entrusted to non-professionals. The mass nature of wartime death is useful in many ways. It serves as Spectacle, as diversion from the real movements of the War. It provides raw material to be recorded in History, so that children may be taught History as sequences of violence, battle after battle, and be more prepared for the adult world."
--Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"