Tuesday, 28 July 2009
‘Let nothing be called natural
In an age of bloody confusion
Ordered, disordered, planned caprice,
And dehumanized humanity,
lest all things
Be held unalterable’
An emaciated angel gazes out at a rapidly imploding universe. As a she-fawn breaks free from the gravitational pull of a planet soaked in menstrual blood
The tenth floor of a deserted tower block reveals an unforgettable invitation from a spectral girl in black. While a young woman cradles a handgun and dreams of sex, death and deliverance
It is both appropriate and necessary that in 2009, Paraphilia magazine (http://www.paraphiliamagazine.com/) has finally swam free from the entanglements and pixilated shadows of the worldwide web’s ever-increasing tsunami of cyber flotsam. Emerging hammering and howling from a pitch black womb into a www dot free-for-all. Paraphilia, it’s editors, creators and contributors have over the course of the online journal’s first three issues come to some stark but inevitable conclusions. Today, more than ever, the struggle to unleash the imagination, to create words and images which defy the conventional and short circuit the patterns and prejudices of our expectations has become increasingly vital. The compelling and often bizarre nature of Paraphilia’s textual and graphical dreams can in turn seduce, repulse, obsess; questioning and confronting the order of banality.
'Longevity and libido grace of a serpents fire…She slithered into the corner and found a dark shadow that offered comfort. It was littered with the shed skins of other snakes. "Oh well" she thought, "at least I’m not alone"….Lycanthropic Suite by Claudia Bellocq (Paraphilia II)
Undeniably, each page in turn reveals a world, an enclave in which every text and visual tangent may additionally be a metaphor or a mystery, a key, a symbol or simply a playful and perverse diversion, a cosmos whose elemental syntax embraces Surrealist obsession, barbed humour, premonitory pornography, the sexual avant garde and more. Welcoming all who find common agreement that the enemy of creative expression is not censorship but the limits of barely explored consciousness. Paraphilia's international collective of writers, artists, theorists and creative anarchists unite behind the magazine's ongoing mission statement to, 'carve new channels for the mind and emotions, and shamelessly plunder the past...Disrespecting all barriers, boundaries and genre-manoeuvres of the cultural and marketing industries'…
Los Angeles-based Editor Díre McCain expands further upon this philosophy, 'Besides feeling painfully dissatisfied with the current overabundance of bland, artificial rubbish – including some that claims to be genuine and stimulating, when in fact, it’s merely the same dreck in disguise – I needed a creative outlet that went beyond my own personal endeavors. The idea had been swimming around in my head(s) for quite some time, but it wasn’t until Dave and I simultaneously broached the subject amid a conversation one day that it began to materialize'.
Co-Editor Dave Mitchell remains at heart a storyteller and conceptualist. A creative catalyst who defiantly sees things differently. Defined by a fundamental altered state indispensable to the blurring of definitions, for extending the boundaries of plausibility. 'Of course you draw from your own experiences when you write or paint, but to be honest, your life is so complex and overlaps with so many other factors that it’s silly to try to reduce it to a simple set of factors. For instance, if I were to try to write my own autobiography, making a list of ‘events’ and defining certain ones as ‘key’ would be to ignore the importance of the inner life, thoughts, feelings, memories, dreams – plus the fact that all the things I’ve read or watched or listened to are just as important to me as (for example) where I worked between 1978 and 1998.' Dave is equally pragmatic about the nature of the creative process mentioning that, 'a piece of music I love feels just as much a part of me as my eye colouring or height. You assimilate all these things.
Paraphilia is a very organic, sprawling, messy exuberance with a life of its own, and that life spills over into the lives of everyone involved. I think what we are possibly creating, is what used to be called a ‘scene’. One that is located internationally in terms of geography, and is also everywhere through the power of the internet. Where people can see their material presented in terms other than as a commodity'.
One of the most striking elements of the magazine is the sheer diversity and correlation of both the written and visual content. Former Factory Superstar Holly Woodlawn discusses the highs and low-end of fame while in the same issue Angélique Bosio's photographs depict the eerie desolation of out of season funfairs. Writhing through the contents like a smooth serpentine snake, being pulled in unfamiliar directions, both enclosing and repelling all around. It is the schizophrenic nature of the work of the assembled contributors visions that highlight the multi-faceted nature of the project. Dave again, 'There are all the people who are working with us in Paraphilia. Some of them are better known than others, of course. But in terms of relevance within the magazine we don’t see any contributor as being more or less artistically valid than any other. Reputation and fame don’t really count much to us, other than the fact it might help draw attention to the less well-known contributors'.
Dave elaborates further, 'Our unruly clan continues to grow as we pick up steam, but there are some members who have been with us from the get-go, long before the first issue saw the light of day, including Jim Lopez, Tom Garretson, Kate MacDonald, Craig Woods, Steven Severin, Christopher Nosnibor, and Pablo Vision, to name a few'. Díre: ‘The first three issues are actually a trilogy – with some serialized pieces – that’s best consumed together, and in order, but each has a somewhat different theme that will appeal to different people, I suppose. What counts for us is the work itself'.
The freedoms and challenges thrown up by self-producing and compiling such an expansive project (each issue covers an average of around 200 pages) is a more than welcome opportunity to Díre: 'Above all, there is no fixed or established criteria in terms of content, and the word "genre" is not in our vocabulary. The vast majority of our readers and contributors already know this, but there are still lingering misconceptions about PARAPHILIA that seem to be based solely upon its "unconventional" appearance. The fact of the matter is, we absolutely despise rules, regulations, guidelines, etc – particularly when it comes to creativity – and strongly feel that in order to produce anything worthwhile, all shackles must be removed. This is the primary reason we don’t edit the material we receive either, aside from the necessary formatting, and correction of obvious typos, that is'.
Indeed the flux-like nature of the internet has in Dave's perception provided 'a boon for culture, promotion, and dissemination. You could think of the internet as a vast central nervous system. Maybe our function on the planet was to bring this vast cybernetic brain into being. It’s one of the most valuable tools an artist has nowadays, and we intend to exploit it to the fullest extent'.
'My demons are always ever present in me……..cajoling me into the 'dare'…….seeking the purest animal drive with a hint of mild intelligence! I am in dangerous territory, and I have not an ounce of fear or trepidation in me. I feel invincible. I feel impermeable. I feel impenetrable. I feel youth renewed'....Transgressive by Sue Fox (Paraphilia I)
So perhaps Paraphilia could also be viewed by some as both a symptom and cure for much of the reflected and refracted by the online cyber-universe's darkest scanner? During his lifetime William Burroughs expressed a similar conviction that a societal mutation is the only way out of the present mess. Right now, what positive signs, factors, or forces remain visible while working toward such a mutation? Díre: Well, at the moment, civilization seems to be in the midst of a major, global mutation, but not on a creative level. That said, the response to PARAPHILIA so far – from both the readers and contributors – has proven that there are indeed loads of people out there who aren’t afraid of being stimulated, challenged, and compelled to feel, even if those feelings are deemed undesirable by "normal" society. This not only soothes our souls no end, but has also motivated us to persevere at all costs‘.
Dave: ‘Burroughs wasn’t very precise about how he used that term – ‘mutation’. He really didn’t use it in a very scientific way. Humans are limited by their human natures. So far, all attempts by people to ‘become more than human’ by going against their natures, has resulted in nothing more than damaged humans. If a mutation occurs, in scientific terms it wouldn’t be an ‘evolved human’, it would be something new, a new species, and not necessarily benign to humanity. There is also the possibility that mutation is just as likely to occur among other species as it is among humans. The next ‘dominant species’ could evolve from rodents, reptiles, bugs, even bacteria. In terms of gladial taxonomy we could very well be a dead end rather than the pinnacle of creation. It’s happened before with other species‘.
The editors at Paraphilia continue to welcome contributions and correspondence from 'anyone who dares to be true to his/herself, regardless of any criticism s/he may receive – which describes every one of our contributors to date'. With the project just at it's genesis, future plans include, 'Books, definitely. We want to increase the functionality of our site so we can add videos, interactive features and a merchandising page. That last one is just to try to claw back a little money to help pay for the site and other administrative expenses. And we’ve also just been talking about doing something with music. I’m sure there are other ideas developing that we don’t even know about yet'.
Paraphilia boldly reoccupies the territory previously mapped by oft-quoted and established esoteric periodicals. Having long abandoned a once radical editorial vision in a retreat to self indulgence and conventional obsessions. The emergence of Paraphilia throws down a challenge to both reader and the rest of the pack. Have you the imagination to accept?