The Butcher of Common Sense

•October 15, 2012  –

‘Imagine a ramp that takes you through a building-book. As you enter the lobby you get a glimpse of the structure of the work. You see the layers of the different floors/chapters and can peek at the development of the edifice, sighting what is possibly housed there.’ Giuliana Bruno, Atlas of Emotion.

Three years ago, the 9 musicians and artists behind  The Butcher of Common Sense project travelled to Berlin and spent 10 days in an old Berlin broadcasting studio, the Funkhaus Nalepestrasse. In the space of one hour, most of the ideas, feelings and creative material they would draw for the project had emerged.

Black-and-white cut-ups, twisted words of hope and shadows, sensual graphics and ominous beasts drip from the walls of the Horse Hospital, the old stable for sick horses chosen to showcase the final work – a book that contains the Funkaus’ space, its layered structure, its mosaic of shared feelings assembled in a surround wall collage – a building-book. This, and the sharp tongue of The Neutrinos’ hypnotic singer Karen Reilly, and the band’s rousing blend of guitar, bass and drums, and the audience and I, all fuse in a Gesamtkunstwerk vibrancy. Whatever happened there, in the recording halls, long corridors and dark corners of this old GDR building echoes in the cavernous, humid space of the HH. The sound hits the pillars, the intimate room’s recesses, ricochets on the drums and cymbals, the bellies of bodies that throb and buzz and long to get free. The performers don’t just play on stage, they break the circle, moving between us to play an acoustic number before returning to their pulsating, sexy, punk-rock energy.

The pulse is everywhere, in the work, on paper, through the lenses of projectors and stereo viewers hanging from the ceiling, in the hot rum punch that circulates around. A photocopier has been used and abused to generate, to repeat and transform, to deform and produce montruosities; a scrumptious velvety blackness covers the walls; a woman in the book morphs into doubles of herself, exaggerated, enhanced. Eavesdropping through the other side (of the room, of the page, of herself), she has grown into a spread of sensings, absorbing the walls, the ink, cutting herself into print. Glimpses of ideological leanings here and there. There’s a manifesto on the back wall. What one gets is a glorious sense of priority, of feeling before passing judgement, of doubt and failure, of setting the new by twisting the rules, models and norms. As I move through the book, I caress a soft, transparent, gelatinous page, empty of words, empty of sense. Raw sensations, and the entanglement of desire with space, touch and sound, all act as wake-up calls.

being conscious is key

I think it’s fine to think I’m no one I think it’s fine to think I’m no one I think it’s fine to think I’m no one I think it’s fine to think I’m no one; but I’m not saying it’s the only way

Hurt help blame bore end yourself

What we encountered was layers, layers, layers, layers.

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