GENESIS P-ORRIDGE Biographical Data 2003

To Be Ex Dream
GENESIS P-ORRIDGE
Biographical Data 2003

Mech-Biographical notes:- One of many variations upon a dream.

lady_sarah_4.jpgAn Ex-Dream “Ego-Entity”
Genesis P-Orridge conceived and founded the visionary Performance Art and Behavioural Aberration group COUM TRANSMISSIONS whilst visiting his parents during July and August 1969. COUM was destined to be at the forefront of radical body-art actions and exhibitions throughout Europe during the early 1970’s.

Whilst writing regularly for the influential art magazines “ART & ARTISTS”, “STUDIO INTERNATIONAL” and “FLASH ART” he meticulously Co-Edited (with COLIN NAYLOR – Editor of “Art & Artists”) “CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS” for St. James Press published through MACMILLANS. This was a vast 1000 page encyclopaedic reference work of new 20th Century artists that was later distinguished as “Best Reference Book Of The Year” by the American Libraries Association.

During 1969-1977 COUM Transmissions art actions and installations were featured at many Arts Festivals and Art Galleries around the world including the Paris Biennale at the Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris; the Musee Des Beaux Arts, Brussels; the Hayward Gallery, London and as part of the Performamce Art section of Arte Inglesi Oggi, in Milan along with Gilbert and George.

All this ever more socially provocative and sexually transgressive exploration culminated in the now “infamous” and incredibly influential retrospective exhibition “PROSTITUTION” at the I.C.A. Gallery in London in October 1976.

For the very first time ever the British public, via the daily British newspapers, witnessed visions of Punks for the first time; Industrial music for the first time; and even transvestite security at a venue owned by none other than Her Majesty, Queen Elisabeth 2nd of England! The uproar was enormous reaching absurd heights with questions being asked in Parliament and diplomatic suggestions to confiscate Genesis’ passport.

At this precise moment Genesis chose to reject the complacency and covert protection of the Art world arena and what promised to be a notorious but secure “career” as an artist. Instead he chose to quite consciously conceive and found instead the equally modern and seminal “Industrial Music” group THROBBING GRISTLE, Industrial music as a genre, and its accompanying aesthetic in 1975. Along for the ride came coconspiritors Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Peter Christopherson. American seminal punk/transgressive artist Monte Cazazza was however, integral to the conception and application of Industrial Music, even recording for their Industrial Records label himself. Whilst believing themselves that what they named INDUSTRIAL MUSIC was an inevitable evolution in the astory of modern music, both popular and alternative, none of TG expected it to become a genre as valid and accepted by the entire world forever. It remains surprising that nobody, as yet, has done a TV documentary about the fact that 5 people could consciously invent and name a new genre from scratch and insert it into the international scene. To grasp the surprise of that, imagine inventing JAZZ and knowing that it did not exist before the day you named it. Which was, by the way, for Industrial Music September 3rd 1975 in Hackney, London as Monte Cazazza and Genesis were walking across London Fields Park discussing names. More surprising than the invention by TG of a new form of music, is the feeling that most young people feel it must have always existed, or was only recently developed by American bands like Ministry, NIN and others. Time for a VH1 Behind The Music perhaps? To help with the continuing education of popular culture we shall be uploading astorical texts, images and documentation of the origins of Industrial Music in the 70’s.

“T.G.” produced several albums of unique experimental electronic music on their own independent INDUSTRIAL RECORDS label until the termination of the mission in May 1981 in San Francisco. Since Genesis coined the term “Industrial Music” in 1975 his concept has since become a new established genre in the same way as jazz, or rythm and blues did worldwide.

Significantly, none of the early Throbbing Gristle studio recordings have ever been deleted since their original release over 20 years ago and remain a key influence on countless bands to this day including Marilyn Manson and countless techno and electroclash DJs.

Visitors to this site please note that Industrial Records has been reformed by the 4 founding members of Thobbing Gristle in 2002 and definitive boxed sets of all the live recordings, as well as studio recordings and DVDs of rare footage of some concerts are being made available of the highest possible quality given the primitive nature of some documentation. To fin out more on recordings available go to
http://www.mute.com/tg

Ever one to seed a cultural phenomenon and then move on Genesis proceeded to found PSYCHIC TV, a looser, collaborative project combining music and video work. Similtaneously he initiated “THEE TEMPLE OV PSYCHICK YOUTH” as an autonomous, non-heirachical, humanist anti-cult. In its ten years existence “T.O.P.Y.” conducted co-ordinated research through its international network including integrated, cumulative directed orgasm rituals and a deconstructed “occultural” mystification leading it to become a worldwide, individualist, pro-sexual, libertarian creative artists movement of over 10,000 people at its peak in 1990.

In 1985 Psychic TV released the first 12 inch record in the world to include the phrase “ACID HOUSE” in its title. “TURN ON, TUNE IN, TO THE ACID HOUSE” featured samples of Dr. Timothy Leary and was a call to techno-psychedlic arms. During the mid to late eighties Psychic TV were instrumental in fomenting and championing the Techno and Rave movements both in Britain and in urban America. Unfortunately the owners of the Superman copyrights took issue with the label image (that was actually an image of Superman from a tab of acid, with a Psychick Cross added in his hand! Ooops!). The record had to be withdrawn before it was really released and copies are now extremely rare and sought after by DJs.

Similtaneously to all this site-specific “CULTURAL ENGINEERING” during the 1970’s and 1980’s Genesis became a close friend of, and collaborated on events and other projects with Beatnik luminaries William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin; and with seminal gay English film-maker Derek Jarman who were all very critical influences upon all aspects of his life, which of course is also his mode of expression and creativity.

Genesis met William S. Burroughs in London in 1970 at Duke Street, ST. James, London. During their lifelong friendship Burroughs released the prophetically titled “NOTHING HERE NOW BUT THE RECORDINGS” on Industrial Records ion 1981. The first ever album to include his famous experiments with cut-up tape recordings that began at the Beat Hotel, Paris in the 1950’s. As it turned out it was the last record released by IR. Burroughs also came to England to be feted at a series of events conceived by Genesis P-Orridge as “THE FINAL ACADEMY” and curated and realised by David Dawson, Roger Ely and Genesis P-Orridge with the support of James Grauerholz in 1982. Brion Gysin entered Genesis’ world in person in the mid-70’s in Paris and they became firm friends until Brion’s death in 1986. To this day Genesis has felt unable to return to Paris because he misses his friend so much and associates the city with him. Gysin performed at The Final Academy as well. Assisted Monte Cazazza to record “Kick That Habit Man” for IR. In return Genesis’ connected Brion Gysin and Terry Wilson with VALE at RE/SEARCH books and enabled “PLANET 101-HERE TO GO” to be published for the first time. T.O.P.Y. made plans for Brion’s innovative “DREAMACHINE” available worldwide, to honor a promise made to Brion to always proseletise his ideas and works in his memory. Recommended books about Burroughs and Gysin will be reviewed on this site under our WRITINGS zone.

As the 1990’s came around Genesis found himself exiled from Britain after one too many ironic and inflamatory conflicts with the Established order there. A bogus raid was conducted upon his house based upon slanderous and false allegations rooted in bigotry at his lifestyle and more importantly aimed at scapegoating and intimidating him to suppress his humanitarian and liberal ideals. He ended up stranded with two children, Caresse and Genesse in Kathmandu. They had been there months using up all the income he had made from his (then) successful musical recordings to finance daily soup kitchens at Boudenath Stupa for lepers, Tibettan refugees and Nepali beggar children to get them through the harsh Winter. Some days, with his kids helping, he fed 300-500 refugees assisted by Tibettan Buddhist monks linked to Samye Ling Temple in Scotland where he was a devotee at the time whenever possible. He had asked the retreat master Lama Yeshe what to do with his good fortune, Lama Yeshe had said, go to Nepal and help. Now, suddenly losing his two homes and all he owned, and his record label he decided to ask again what would be best. After all, if he’d been selfish and stayed in the UK with his loot he’d have been truly, legally victimised to who knows what degree? So, after audiences with the spiritual leaders he trusted, on the advice of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche a Tibettan Lama and the Agori Baba whilst in limbo in Kathmandhu, Nepal, he packed his two bags of belongiongs left to him in the whole world it seemed and relocated to Northern California,U.S.A. on 23rd March 1992.

He ended up under the nurturing eyes and roof of Michael Horowitz and through him met Terence McKenna; the pioneers of Cyber-prophecy of MONDO 2000 and Dr Timothy Leary. For a while he aided and abetted Leary with his live multi-media events “How To Operate Your Brain” supplying “HYPERDELIC” video mixes, live-mixed audio improvisations and even speaking himself and chairing question and answer sessions.

He also met and collaborated/performed with many of the early Rave organisers in Los Angeles peaking with “SHIVA’S EROTIC BANQUET” and San Francisco culminating with a 24 hour rave of his own called “DON’T DRINK THEE WATER”, as well as meeting countless other musicians, writers and artists everywhere.

Genesis has regularly lectured at numerous Universities; Colleges; Seminars and Arts Centres in Europe, America and Japan from 1969 to the present and continues to enjoy teaching and sharing whatever he has learned or felt with others if it seems of any use to them. His essays, texts, theories and interviews have appeared in literally thousands of newspapers and magazines; he has also featured in over fifty books since 1965 and continues to do so. Collections of his writings have been published under the titles “ESOTERRORIST”; “THEE PSYCHICK BIBLE” and “TO BE EX-DREAM”. He is a regular contributor to both TV programming by Richard Metzger and the Disinformation Company, and to their book publishing ventures. The forthcoming “BOOK OF LIES” will include 3 essays by Genesis, including an important new piece analysing Burroughs and Gysin as master magicians.

It was time to end TOPY in 1991 before he left for the Far East. To that end a card was sent out to everyone saying it was time to be NOMADS, and that there were “CHANGED PRIORITIES AHEAD”. Unlike most nettwoks, T.O.P.Y. was not intended to raise money for a charismatic leader, nor to HAVE one! It had become obvious that there were elements being attracted to the fringes of T.O.P.Y. by 1990 that wanted to believe they got cudos and power merely by association and by sporting the accessories as if that proved they were truly dedicated to radical change within their personality. Others were applying subtle, and less than subtle, pressure upon Genesis himself to become heirarchical and others felt a need to create a pyramid structure in the vainglorious hope they could become the “top dog”. A good friend, and Kabbalist, Z’EV, said the most powerful and unique aspect of T.O.P.Y. was the fact that Genesis refused to be seduced into leader and walked away from so much potential power over so many other people.

It is important to point out, however, that the writings that were utilised by T.O.P.Y. from its inception in 1978 by P-Orridge and Cazazza until its termination in 1991 remain fully, and without exception the intellectual and sole copyright of Genesis P-Orridge. Likewise the Psychick Cross logo/trademark is the Internationally registered Trademark of genesis P-Orridge AND his intellectual and sole copyright. He continues to use the trademark to identify many aspects of his work. Should any person wish to use the Psychick Cross in any medium whatsoever, full, legal written permission must be obtained from genesis P-Orridge and/or his legal representative in advance or any and all legal recourse will be taken to protect the integrity and painfully won meaning of the Psychick cross. In effect it remains the alternative signature of Genesis P-Orridge. He used it for Psychic TV, for a while for T.O.P.Y. and has continued to use it for art, music and writing projects ever since it was designed by him in the 1970’s.

He terminated his Cultural Engineering project Psychic TV in 1995, due to severe injuries sustained in a fire at Harry Houdini’s old house in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles that put him out of action for almost 5 years. and T.O.P.Y. in 1991 respectively. He has released over two hundred CD’s of his own music and spoken word. For a while he was in the Guiness Book of Records for releasing more albums in a year than any other artist (11). He has appeared on dozens of CD’s by other musicians and composers and in more than a dozen videos and films. We shall attempt to upload as full as possible a discography onto this website in the MUSIC zone.

Genesis is currently editing a much expanded volume of “ESOTERRORIST” for publication that will include a fresh collection of essays titled “THEE NEW TESTAMEANT”. He is also writing a book on the history of sex, suprasex and divine sex and the omni-gender implications of contemporary culture called “BREAKING SEX”. In slow progress is a satirical science fiction oddesey called “THEE HOWLER” which deals with interdimensional bureacracy gone mad in a decadent Great Britain of the future.

breyerpo_tryptich_100dpi.jpg
Photo by Michael Fox
A monograph covering his collages, sculptures, fine art, graphic art, mail art and performance art from 1965 to 2003 was published in January 2003 by Soft Skull Press, New York under the title “PAINFUL BUT FABULOUS- the lives and art of Genesis P-Orridge”. It contains essays and texts by luminaries such as Douglas Rushkoff, Richard Metzger, Paul Cecil, Julie Wilson, Bengala and others as well as copious information and texts by Genesis. The last page in the book is a photograph of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge walking into a California sunset the day of their wedding, Friday 13th June 1995. Lady Jaye is dressed in black leather, motorcycle boots and had a moustache that day whilst Genesis was in a white lace wedding dress, heels and an arm in a cast. The photograph is significant because, apart from their wedding ceremony being conducted in transgender drag, it marked the beginning of their journey together as one artist represented by two bodies, BREYER P-ORRIDGE. Since that time they have embarked upon their “S/HE IS HER/E” artistic collaboration, also known as “BREAKING SEX”. This concept and process of physical, neurological, conceptual and metaphysical union through ritual, empathy and surgery is now the center of all their work and with hindsight can be seen as an inevitable commentary upon the modern predicament of existence and identity, and a devotional ultra-Romanticism expressing divinely inspired L-OV-E. The PROJECTS zone of our Next New Way On will be the location of our current philosophical position on questions of identity, and to a lesser degree gender and sexuality, and within that zone BREAKING SEX will keep interested parties updated on our progress towards becoming TWO AS ONE. From Valentine’s Day, 14th February 2003 all our art exhibitions and new artworks will focus upon revelations and new pieces expanding upon and inspired by our gradual union as we commit our minds and bodies to re-union with a divine source, before the garden was fractured. The symbol/portrait we call “THEE TRANSGENDERED SACRED HEART” will represent this ideal for us for all we hope.

“WE ARE BUT ONE BITCH”
—Old TOPI Proverb.

In the musical sphere two new musical projects are already active. One of these, “SPLINTER TEST” is primarily concerned with archival and anthropological seeding strategies combined with explorations of 21st Century Symphonic Neo-Classical possibilities of composition and assembly. Splinter Test assembles a releases the “ELECTRIC NEWSPAPER”. A series of CD’s full of cut-ups, samples, and ideas supplied uncopyrighted for deconstruction and reconstruction by other individuals. To date (July 2003) four volumes have been released. They consist of 74 minutes of samples and short pieces, with a FREE rhythm track, or a documentary programme of rare material (eg. Vol.4 had a 7 minute interview conducted with Brion Gysin by Genesis about Brian Jones visit to Jajouka in the 60’s that was previously never available). It is hoped to eventually build a Web site to increase the free distribution concept as soon as time allows. In the meantime we shall re-release user friendly versions of both the first 4, and Vol.5&6 via VOICEPRINT RECORDS (UK). Unfortunately, the labels who originally helped us release them never accounted to us so we ran out of budget to continue for a while. For more information go to Electric Newspaper in our MUSIC zone.

The other, most recent project, is related to Genesis’ studies and research around his “Breaking Sex” theories and is known as “THEE MAJESTY”. This is intended to be an exploratory synthetic manifestation distilling future possibilities of post-cyber “folk musics” and tribal storytelling. Thee Majesty consists of Larry Thrasher on percussion, Tabla and drones; Bryin Dall on Prepared Guitars; Lady Jaye on guitar and Genesis on Prepared Bass and Voices. Thee Majesty is very improvisational and will attempt to conceive an interface between spoken word, rythm, hyperdelic sound and theatre of the absurd via live performance and in recordings. They have already performed at Arts Festivals in Europe, the USA and Canada to great critical acclaim. To keep abreast of our itineraries, recordings and publications check out Thee Majesty in the MUSIC zone. A limited edition book of poems and lyrics for Thee Majesty called “S/HE IS HER/E” is available ONLY through our website shop (or at TMaj performances). The books were handmade in Kathmandu by refugees. Due to the nature of production there each book is fragile and individual. With bends and crinkles resulting from the types of glue used etc. We personally prefer the uniqueness that results. To maintain that quality we add, ourselves by hand, various of our own post-fluxus collection of rubber stamps, at least one illustration and of course they are signed and numbered. The cover is red handmade paper with gold printing.

Already, during 1998, documentation of Genesis P-Orridge’s COUM Transmissions phase of activation, and his Throbbing Gristle explorations are enjoying a positive re-appraisal and critical recognition worldwide and will be featured in various travelling museum group exhibitions during the next three years. Simon Ford, for example, at the National Art Library of Great Britain, based in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London has published the definitive astorical book on COUM and T.G. in 1999 through Black Dog Art Publishing Press, London. It is called “WRECKERS OF CIVILISATION-the story of COUM Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle. It is recommended to all.

Dematerialisation of identity, and invisibility through image overload expressed through the denial of DNA programming and inherited gender mapping are our most central concerns at present.

Co-founded with Larry Thrasher “THEE MAJESTY” will explore all the possibilities, truths and adventures revealed in the interaction of ecstatic and divine music with the storytelling conduit of Genesis P-Orridge’s voice and words.

Thee Majesty began during conversations between Genesis, Lady Jaye, Larry and BACHIR ATTAR of The Master Musicians of Jajouka. In fact they have played live together several times already, both as Thee Majesty and Jajouka, and also Bachir has played, along with Mustafa Attar as members of Thee Majesty. Bachir and Genesis have also both performed as part of Etant Donnes, from Grenoble, France on their CD project “RE-UP”. There is a marvellous cultural inevitability in this collaboration. Both Genesis and Bachir met Rolling Stone BRIAN JONES when they were young. Brian Jones in turn was taken to Jajouka by Beatnik visionary BRION GYSIN where he recorded this divine music for the first time. In turn Bachir and Genesis were first introduced to each other at Brion Gysin’s Paris apartment in the early 80’s and became firm friends from that day.

Bachir’s connection with Genesis is continuing. A recording Genesis made of the first ever concert by Jajouka outside Morocco at the Commonwealth Instutute in London 26 september 1980 is slated to be released officially by Jajouka’s record label in the near future. Bachir and his father, also appear on “TOWARDS THEE INFINITE BEAT” by Psychic TV of course.

There comes a time in the life of every creative artist when the only way forward is to unreservedly give one’s SELF up to the mysteries of refining the essence of an “angelic vision” as JACK KEROUAC once called it. At this momentous realisation, all other wordly considerations fade and only responsibility to veracity and humility of creative integrity are left as options.

Larry Thrasher, Bryin Dall and Genesis P-Orridge see “THEE MAJESTY” as a next “NEW WAY ON” for the spoken word and music, a neo-Beatnik, improvisational culmination whose motto is “TIME’S UP!” A respect-full and holy intersection, whose awesome symetry and effortless unfolding surrenders for its strength to the devotional realisation that all truth comes from above and all art strives to point upwards to the DIVINE…

As we feel compelled to say, yet again, as it seems no biography is finished,

TO BE CONTINUED…

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