Tag Archives: Zac Odin

This is the world where Raven stole the Sun for us all: A Critique of the Fantasist, by Zac Odin

As we, as a culture or as a counter culture, attempt to reclaim our past, our worlds, our realities, we are turning quite rightly to myth.

This is an obvious and admirable decision; the searchers look and the searchers define but it seems as if they are often looking in the wrong places and defining the wrong things.

There has been recent discussion of science fiction and fantastic literature as the repository of our living mythology.  This is a mistake; world-building fantasists are not engaging in real myth, but an empty rather truncated form. Myth is the Reality in which the culture lives.  It is Reality.  Period.

Do you think that the Kwakwaka’wakw of Canada’s Pacific Coast (http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/aborig/nwca/nwcam25e.shtml and http://www.umista.org/) thought they were involved in some so banal as world building?  No.  Obviously they were (and are once more) participating in the mythical world, a world more real, a foundational world, a world that built their world.

The dance is a supernatural dance, mythical beings representing abstractions of realities (supernatural birds, ‘The Listener’ from the Dance of the Forest Spirits – making physical abstract concepts) and solidities (bear, other forest animals – abstracting and mythologizing the physical), and all the people were seeing it as it was.  Real.

This is not cosplay; there is no suspension of disbelief here, no LARP emptiness, but pure Reality.  Because this is the world in which they lived.  The Listener was in the Forest Dance because the Listener really is in the Forest.

This is the world where Raven stole the Sun for us all.  The people saw Raven every day as a constant reminder of the mythological foundation of their world, the First Time was a different time, celebrated in myth.  It was a time when animals and humans were indistinguishable from each other.  It is this world:

“I will talk about the middle between our world and the upper side of what is seen by us, the blue sky where the sun and moon and stars stay, that is what I mean, the names of the various birds of the Rivers Inlet tribe, the Crooked-Beak of Heaven and the Huxwhukw of Heaven and the Screecher of Heaven and the Ugwa’xta’yi, and many others whose names I do not know, the various birds above the clouds”. (http://www.umista.org/)

And it is this world at exactly the same time.  There really is no difference.

So where are our myths?  I don’t think we can find them in the world building of science fiction.  Our myths are so much a part of our reality that we are unable to disentangle them enough to study them.  But sometimes, if you look hard enough, you can see.

In this case the impulse that leads us to play at world creators is mythic, not the world that has been created.  Just because Tolkien references the Jungian Shadow with Sauron does not make The Lord of the Rings mythic on a level like the Kwakwaka’wakw dances.  Not even close.

That which leads us to create worlds, that drives us to be Apes of God, is the Myth. It is playing at Demiurge, every writer an Ialdabaoth.  That is the Myth not the content.

On Behalf of a Flickering Shadow by Zac Odin

Fools in the deepest sense – Mediating the ‘Other’

Inspired by a recent article on Chris Knowles’ Secret History of Rock N Roll blog that attempts to expose the Plutonian energies drifting through contemporary pop music, Zac Odin took the responsibility of drawing the debate closer to practical reality.

It’s interesting to look at the various influences that affect popular culture, and it’s often surprising to find that some of these influences have different origins than we might expect. Unfortunately Knowles presumptions about secret histories seems to relate more to starting an investigation from an inaccurate world view than revealing any hidden knowledge.

Are Die Antewoord emissaries of some darkling force adrift in the universe? Are they the inevitable mediators of repressed racial disparities, mass mediated occulture overload, emergent culture and the realities of poverty in the 3rd world?

I think Zac makes a pretty strong case racial disparities, clownish mediators and the realities of 3rd world povery, the Plutonian thing….I dunno about Plutonian energies, unless that’s the term you’re going to use to describe the fact that quite often, Humanity is a nasty beast of a creature.

For more on the liminal aspects of clowns check out:

Gilber V. Wilke’s analysis: There’s a Reason Clowns are Creepy

and Zac Odin’s follow up: Some More Thoughts on the Nature of Clowns

– D. Metcalfe

Enter the Mediators:

The only real things in life is the unexpected things. Everything else is just an illusion.” – Ninja

Die Antwoord are Clowns. Fools in the deepest sense. That is why they have spread like fire across the internet. Clowns are liminal figures, trapped on the borderline between yin and yang, darkness and light, bringing dark into light and light into dark. Clowns represent the confusing Other in terms we can accept but they do not change the nature of the Other and they do not allow us to forget the Other.

Die Antwoord, regardless of their actual histories, dwell in our western perception on the borderline between the third world and what we like to imagine is the first world. South Africa, white apartheid subsumed by the heart of Africa where the realities of the West are remixed into strange new forms. Yes, we are still bound by colonial fears, no matter how you mask it, how ironic or arch your hipsterness is. Die Antwoord (and, to a lesser and less aware degree, jugallos) dance on the edge of these fears. They are white, Yo-Landi Vi$$er whiter that white – winter crystals forming on her eyelashes – harbingers of a rapidly mutating global culture. As such, they are acceptable to all of us
in our offices, ipad-carrying, bike riding, sustainability craving middle class westerners.

Because that’s how they exploded – blossoming out of a post on Pitchfork media. And we all know who reads Pitchfork. Accepted and spread by middle class western internet users – accepted as a joke, an artifact, the real thing, a fascinating obscurity; it doesn’t matter how. It is who. You think they’re funny? Well they are joking in a way but why do you think they’re funny? Does your hipster smirk mask something else? It’s a prank but a prank like the K Foundation. Real as fuck. Cutting to the heart of your reality, they are liminal figures from the townships at the edge of the Western world. From the edge of the western soul – from where the west is transformed by the heart of darkness.

So they are playing a game with pieces of culture. You want white trash from a
shantytown? You don’t get fuckin white trash. You get something else. What you
expected is not what is there. And yet at the same time its exactly what it purports to be; not a game but it’s the biggest game ever. Ninja’s real but he only just came into existence. Everyone’s talking about them being a joke, fakes, that Watkin Tudor Jones & Yo-Landi Vi$$er are artists with all these other personas behind them, other games like the Constructus Corporation and Max Normal. Some of you need them to be fakes but does it matter?

No it doesn’t. At all. The effect is real, the reason they are all up in the
interwebs is real. The end result is real.

Was Elvis real? Not as real as the world he mediated between ‘ours’ for. Yet he was real. Same thing. Same fears, same blatant male sexuality but revised for our times – watch Evil Boy. Its Priapus in the Bush of Ghosts. Its aggressive sexuality from both sexes – Yo-Landi’s breasts are watching you. Which means that the moral majority will be the next to take notice. Next comes the fear, outright fear of the clowns. Middle class fear unmasked.

– Zac Odin

If you dream of a dog and he bites you

Pythagorean theories on the harmony of the celestial spheres postulate correspondences stretching through the abstraction of number, sound and into light.

The difficulty for many has been crafting representations through art that encompass this process and remain comprehensible and communicative.

An Unfinished Substance: Cut-up#5 - Life Science Library ‘Matter’ 1963 - Zac Odin

Harry Everett Smith created hand painted films that were accompanied initially by jazz music. In subsequent screenings the music changed to fit the time period, Smith wanted contemporary music played with his films based on when they were screened, not when they were made. His visual explorations were meant to encompass universal themes that would remain current with each new iteration of music.

[open myth source] – “where the recombining of elements and the interactive process is more important than the product.”

A Bright Matter: Cut-ups - Life Science Library ‘Matter’ 1963 (Final Result) - Zac Odin

“Differing from other music, here soundscape is no longer the background but the foreground as the sound collage drives the experience; sound is now the story that we process and interpret individually and collectively.

A series of segways or glimpses into in the Sonic – Human Interface.” – Willi Paul : [open myth source] myth as soundscape

Pythagoras and his followers saw these correspondences through imaginal means. Mathematical relationships were concrete realities.  Philosophical epiphanies were arrived at through intense meditation, cementing the relationships in their minds.

The sounds and their direct relationship to mathematics were tied through ritual to corresponding emotional states. This, tied with image, creates a mnemonic device for encompassing a wider set of information. Allegorical stories along with music create a dynamic vehicle.

“I think that with music you can really accelerate dramatic moments because of the kind of ineffable shorthand of certain musical conventions, or musical innovations that just make sense, and bypass rational judgment in a way that writing can’t always do, or takes longer to do.” – Eric Lindley, Careful –Oh Light – A Conversation

“Over coffee and liqueurs we would sometimes listen to John Jacob Niles’ recordings. Our favorite was ‘I Wonder As I Wander,’ sung in a clear, high-pitched voice with a quaver and a modality all his own. The metallic clang of his dulcimer never failed to produce ecstasy. He had a voice which summoned memories of Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere. There was something of the Druid in him. Like a psalmist, he intoned his verses in an ethereal chant which the angels carried aloft to the Glory seat. When he sang of Jesus, Mary and Joseph they became living presences. A sweep of the hand and the dulcimer gave forth magical sounds which caused the stars to gleam more brightly, which peopled the hills and meadows with silvery figures and made the brooks to babble like infants. We would sit there long after his voice had faded out, talking of Kentucky where he was born, talking of the Blue Ridge mountains and the folk from Arkansas…” —Henry Miller, Plexus pp. 366-367.

The Royal Portion - Paracharattein to Nomisma

7687. If you dream of a dog and he bites you, you will have good luck – Harry Middleton Hyatt,  Folklore from Adams County Illinois

I decided to test the [open myth souce] idea and used two Willi Paul’s [open myth source] tracks and then layered guitar over them. I slowed down one of the WP tracks & messed with the stereo, Lft/Rt channels to build out the sound a bit.  Fiddle with it in Win Movie Maker and it’s a picture with sound that can be used to accompany the pictures and text in this post created from the elements at hand.

*this post is a collage of quotes from other sources, images from Zac Odin and  Paracharattein to Nomisma, along with text taken from discarded portions of an upcoming Alarm Magazine article on ‘audible color’. Another experiment with the open myth source concept.

Mr. Lastname has brought so many gifts…

He’ searching for that vital essence…