Ars Electronica 1991
Festival-Program 1991
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Festival 1979-2007


Intellect is a Disease

'Zbigniew Karkowski Zbigniew Karkowski

Be hard …
Whatever is done for love is
beyond good and evil,
Above Ape stands the Man and
above Man, the Superman
Forget not thy whip!
Friedrich Nietzsche
All Art – writing, dance, painting, theatre and especially music – is basically magical in origin. In the past, it was originally employed only for ceremonial purposes in order to produce very definite, spiritual effects. In the domain of magic nothing really happens unless someone wants or wills it to happen and there are a lot of certain magical formulae and practices to channel and direct the mind. The same concerns art because a true artist always wants to make something happen in the mind of the listener, reader or viewer. So, an act of creation is always intentional and functional. For me, making music is a direct manifestation of my presence in the world. It is not indifferent but a very serious matter. Every decision and action taking place during the process of creation is an expression of my involvement in existence. While composing and performing my music I create, participate and comment upon the world as I see it. I believe that we live in the world of fiction. Everything that our culture has to offer us is purely imaginary, we are fed ideas, beliefs and values inserted into our minds in order to help us understand the world around us but in fact it is precisely those factors that prevent us from seeing the world as it is. The system that our society imposes on our lives makes it impossible for us to have any direct and true experience of things. We don't need to believe in something unless it doesn't exist – do we have to believe in eating or breathing? We don't need the laws which have to be enforced. If the laws were real it would be impossible to break them everybody dies, it is the law, try to break it! Our intellect is a disease, it creates values where none exists. Values don't exist in the world, they exist in our minds and are purely imaginary. To impose them on actual things turns our lives into fiction. It is the fact that people are collectively imagining the same values at the same time that makes the whole system work and you have to realize that everything is completely fictional and completely made up, that it's only real for people because everybody is in agreement. Once you understand that you also realize that you don't have to agree and this understanding opens up a lot of great possibilities. You can take away the imaginary values that people project onto things and substitute them for your own imaginary values.

Imagination is the starting place for the whole world. All the things in the world except for nature itself came out of someone's imagination. People divide everything into "fantasy" and"reality", one can often hear words like"you have too vivid an imagination, be realistic", but everything that's real once existed in imagination before it existed in the real world. It came from within us, not outside of us. Alphabets, languages, numerical systems – we didn't just find them around us, we created them. It's all in our brains and it changes because man needs change. And everybody is a potential creator, everybody has all the answers inside himself. The society today tries to impose on us a "completely opposite view". All the time we are being told that truth is not inside us, someone else knows better, someone else is more qualified to do this or that, someone else has the right or responsibility to be in charge of whatever is happening to you or to the world. That's what the whole of our society's based on, it's not your business, just stay put in your place. I don't believe in theories, methods or abstractions. I believe in intuition, chance and extremes. There is no methodology for finding out about anything. You have to be prepared to risk in order to find out anything new, you have to overcome fear, experiment with yourself, go to the edge. Otherwise you might just as well be dead. It's only the question of seeing the evidence. Everything of any importance that was ever discovered by man, was discovered either by the people who pushed themselves to the extremes or by pure chance. I work with music because it has the greatest capacity for overwhelming the senses, overriding the brain and as no other stimuli can take a total possession of the mind of the listener. As opposed to other art forms like literature, sculpture, film, etc. (which are always descriptive, only about something, passive, giving us words, stories, showing images, promoting certain ideas, values or beliefs) music is the only medium which works on the level of actual physical experience. We all know that the sound is a measurable, physical phenomenon of vibrations in the air. Whenever you listen or just hear sound, the pulses and frequencies affect you in a very subtle way and there's no way of escaping it. There are ways to measure and control these influences and many other cultures had recognized this in the past.

Sound has always been used in order to achieve shamanistic and visionary trance states. In Mayan, Tibetan, Eskimo, Aboriginal and many other traditions all musical instruments are also used as metabolic stabilizers being able to cure migraine, asthma and many other physical or mental illnesses and even causing precognition, visions, hallucinations and other forms of mental revelatory states. Even our occidental science starts to recognize the powerful potentials of sound and there is a lot of research going on in order to find out different control mechanisms and medical or military applications of pulses and frequencies. Infrasound and ultrasound frequencies can literally kill you. Playing them on certain levels sets everything in vibration, including molecules in the air so that you can actually increase or decrease the temperature of the room and if you play them loud enough the molecules in your organs start rubbing together, your cell walls eventually break down and turn to mush. French government has the patents for lethal sound canons, one can obtain them from French patent office for a couple of francs. We are all exposed to muzak, scientifically engineered sound. The raw material of muzak is music processed through certain filters (based on the ascending curve theory and Dan O'Niels stimulus charts) in order to create the sound product that will make people contented in their environment. Even though you are not conscious of it, it will still affect you. This is called complete ear appeal. Ultimate functional music and total mood control. "Boring work is made less boring by boring music" (Muzak quote). Muzak is not available on records or cassettes, it is sent all over the world only by a telephone cable and all information concerning their research is confidential. Sound is a very powerful medium and I'm aware of it's capacities. I use it as a weapon. I believe that music should deal with concrete, existential ideas, it should function as a trigger for release into a more intense form of existence.

Today most of the music doesn't deal with ideas at all, it seems as if people that make it think that music cannot "say" anything. They think of music as something formal, objective, impersonal, an artifact. I find it strange that they don't manufacture spare parts to replace those that became worn out by performances. The act of creation has become reduced to formal processes and methods which is the case of most of the serious, contemporary music. Or making money, which is the case for most of the modern, popular music. I work with very concrete ideas and I use very extreme tools. I play my music very loud because I've noticed that in concert situations most of the people don't really hear what is actually played. They tend to adjust reality to their own expectations, they hear what they want to hear. I want to bypass that and destroy this fiction. In the situation where you can't even hear your thoughts anymore, you don't think of what you've expected and you start to experience things as they really are, without any preconcieved ideas. It's a pure, primal state. I create music that goes beyond the brain, thoughts, expectations, ideas. It is not only directed towards your mind (full of your preconceptions about aesthetics, ethics and all that crap) but it forces you to feel it with your whole body. The sheer strength of sound becomes the only physical presence and only then you are allowed to feel it in the right way. I want my concerts to function as ritualistic initiations because I'm convinced that everybody needs rituals in order to stay healthy.

People climb Himalayas, drive Formula I cars, compete with each other, push themselves to the edge. There is a basic need in human beings to be tested physically and have ritual activities in their lives but unfortunately our culture doesn't recognize this fact. It's always called something else, always some more misleading fiction. I'm interested in the very basic things. I believe only in this moment and I don't take anything for granted. There is no needed to assume that the sun will arise tomorrow just because it always did before. It might just not and it's always good to be prepared for everything. We are all totally unique as individuals and even though we live in the social environments like towns, we surround ourselves with families, have children and, even if we hate to think so, we basically are and always have been very alone. We find ourselves in an absolute solitude as individuals. Whatever you do, it's always an individual problem and all the great achievements of the human race, all the great art ever created, has always been based on an absolutely individualistic and very personal statement and understanding of this one fact – in the end we always stand alone. This simple knowledge keeps me in the healthy distance from many of the stupid and fictional concepts existing in our society. Like alienation, I never understood this word, you have to be part of something in order to feel alienated from it. Or trouble, what does this word mean, parents tell you "don't do this or you get in trouble", in school they teach you "don't do this or that because it means trouble", some friends tell you "Don't go there, it's trouble" but where is this trouble, I never saw it. The trouble is that some people don't like what you do or where you go but if that's exactly what you want to do, you should do it. They are the trouble and trouble will stay with them.

We have accepted Darwinian theory of evolution but paradoxically we don't want to accept the consequences of the evolution, or it's premises. For the law of natural selection clearly states that we have arisen as a primate predator, that strongest survives and that man has survived because man is essentially the killer. So it has always been, so it is and so it will forever be. Self preservation is the highest law. Death to the weakling, wealth to the strong – that's the only true reality. One can basically divide humans in two groups, conscious people who have something to say and stupid people who have nothing to say. The first group lives in this world, the second vegetates in this world. Statistical research done by behaviorist psychologists show us that only 5 per cent of all the people have dominant qualities and the rest are submissive (which means that they want to be controlled, they are basically not capable of deciding for themselves). I see it as the single greatest tragedy in our world, the fact that the majority of people need to be ruled and controlled in order to sustain themselves in life. Our souls must have been stolen because obviously we know that it has not always been like this. My music is often accused of being aggressive, destructive, cold, deprived of any human emotions. Well, there is a lot of emotions and feelings in my music but 1 don't want to deal with any emotional clichees or sentimental stereotypes. I deal with very wide range of emotions that unfortunately seem to be beyond the scope of understanding for many (probably 95 per cent). I make music for conscious, strong, determined and healthy human beings. It is incredible to see how little most of the people are able to identify with these days, how limited their emotional life is. They are so conditioned by the propaganda of our society and mass media.

For example TV, the contemporary altar of our living rooms, it is curious that all the proper investigations about what television does to us are suppressed. But there are investigations on the fluorescent tubes, hyper instability and sick paranoia that they induce in people (flourescent tubes have one colour of the spectrum missing and they flicker) and all the TV sets in our houses contain fluorescent tubes. Nearly all the music that gets presented in the media today carries such stupid messages, it's an all sentimental cry about love, obedience, patience, getting high or drunk, having a "good" time and most often about nothing at all. The same concerns magazines and newspapers, or artificially created fashions and trends, all this things influence people all the time, inflict certain kinds of behavior on them, manipulate them into being just more and more stupid. So when they confront something that they don't understand or can't identify with, they react with fear and get offended. People just don't want to hear the truth. I believe that there is only one true condition for our lives and it means being totally honest with ourselves, without any compromises. Someone has once written: "You should always tell the truth, because when you tell the truth you make it somebody else's problem". I have always been trying to be honest about my life and my creative work. I don't see how one can create anything good if it isn't absolutely honest and true of oneself. How people will react to it is their business, or their problem, providing that they want to have problems. My inspiration to do what I'm doing stems from the fact that the existing conditions do not fulfill me. I see how this fictional reality with its rules of conduct affects and influences people and as I don't want this kind of influence to affect me I have to create my own. The degree to which I like something is directly proportionate to the extent it bypasses existing standards. That's my choice. In my reality the true art has always been and will be about conquest and triumph and the true artist is the warrior on the road to total self realization. I do things that I believe in and have to do and I'm very straight about it. And I believe that if one wants to do something one has to do it now. For we are all sentenced to death and we really don't have time to wait. There is only one now.