In this series of epistolary exchanges, artist Lito Kattou and writer Penny Rafferty share with each other – and consequently, the reader – thoughts on sacrifice; bringing form to life; and a classic of 1980s Japanese cinema.
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It’s taken me forever to answer, I’m sorry, things have been chaotic. I have barely had a minute in a room and everytime I took a flight or a train, my body just gave up into cramped slumber.
I have just re-read your remarks; it’s funny you bring up The Fly, it’s the one Cronenberg film I never managed to watch, it was always presented to me on VHS in my teen years, doped up and misfitting I never remember getting past the initial events, instead looking for skins, coins or drifting in and out of consciousness to its backdrop. Now I think about it, seems funny we had these films playing out in darked hot boxed rooms filled with teen angst and hopeless euphoria. The Fly was first screened in 1986. I would have been one years old – but it was still playing 15 years later in my blindspot. I always wonder how much these cultural oeuvres you almost miss feed/bleed into your cultural consciousness. I always loved Requiem for a Dream but found Kids too close to home to be a fiction and hence rather innocuous.
Anyway… to tell you the truth I always saw Cronenberg as having a certain femme phobia, especially after I read Consumed, but speaking of teen years: I always held Simone de Beauvoir in high esteem. Hence his sleazy pursuit in making polyamory a sordid B-movie…and his negation of female video game designers in Videodrome is potentially a retro-gamer gate cum soothsayer prophecy – always made me hate on him.
Have you ever watched Tetsuo (1989), a Japanese cyber-crush horror?
In regards to that I wonder how becoming the Soft Incalculable Souls would look like? Especially surrounding this concept of Eros as Daemon.
I always liked to think one must perform a sacrifice of oneself to become intimate with another, sacrifice is one of the only acts you find in every single section of humanity, every tribe or idea has some story of sacrifice built into it.
Do you think you can tame Ido, Kaha or Emlet ….or do they tame you?
Are they talking yet?
Tell me all… it feels like forever since we spoke of them
Nicosia, Last days of Spring 2018
I was in the middle of an intense period too. Sorry you didn’t hear back from me earlier.
I really like what you note of sacrifice and intimacy. It feels that yes, it is absolutely present in the way humanity understands itself. And it functions as a genetic virtue for non-human entities considering behavioural patterns of other beings too.
Yes, Tetsuo: the Iron Man from 1989. It is true that this grotesque, anxious vision of a cyber-punk technological world of the 1980’s and its shocking presentation of highly transgressed sexual acts is often seen as coming from one of Tsukamoto’s main inspirations, Cronenberg. At the same time it keeps an intense fusion of several different avant-garde tendencies. Cronenberg, punk, Japanese experimentation and silent cinema.
Pain comes with pleasure merging man and metal in one hyle. Probably the most vivid and memorable expression of this comes during a scene when the protagonist, known simply as the “salaryman”, becomes fully possessed by the spirit of Yatsu, someone whom the salaryman had struck and killed with his car. Through this possession, Yatsu puts the salaryman through an extreme metallic mutation, which inevitably causes him to grow metallic drill-like appendixes. He then attacks his girlfriend and eventually kills her.
I am reading an article by Rosi Braidotti, Cyberfeminism with a difference, where she situates the question of cyber-bodies in the framework of Postmodernity, stressing situations of embodiment. I am attaching it below, you might find it interesting.
Thinking of the cyber-punk and science-fiction genres as a way “to find non-nostalgic solutions” for the complexities of our times as she points out, I am copying these few last lines of her:
“Nowadays, women have to undertake the dance through cyberspace, if only to make sure that the joy-sticks of the cyberspace cowboys will not reproduce univocal phallicity under the mask of multiplicity, and also to make sure that the riot girls, in their anger and their visionary passion, will not recreate law and order under the cover of a triumphant feminine.”
And then the Soft Incalculable Souls… It is for sure an unprecedented number of abstract entities, incalculable, but still capable to dislocate between worlds, states, linguistic categories. They are open and flexible, soft, warm, sharp and edgy. They are always “they” as they have a lot in common that brings them together. But simultaneously they are single beings able to perform their stand-alone warrior nature at any time.
As for Ido, Kaha and Emlet, I would say that is hard to understand who is taming each other. Firstly their images, which shimmer in [my] mind as fragmented undeveloped forms, intrigue me and tame my desire to reproduce them in a specific way. At the same time when production of forms starts, hence that be single drawings to later material manifestations I see those half way structured subjectivities being tamed by their feasibility to be captured in the tangible world.
I am sending you a couple of photos beneath. Don’t you feel that that they could have a conversation of any language, visual, oral, symbolical at any moment?
Waiting to see you in Berlin.