THE PRIMITIVE MANIFESTO
(A Secret, Collage Operation Disguised as a Bundle of Warm Towels)
10 Mar. 2015 – 3 Apr. 2015
In the beginning was the sun, frowning down on all the shit I did—and I knew it wasn’t good, but I kept drawing it anyway!
2—Words to Consider
“In the United States, to be an intellectual, to be a writer, is to wear a sign on your back saying, ‘I am an enemy of the state.'” —Philip K. Dick (at a French Science Fiction Convention, 1977)
“There cannot be real democracy without a ‘mess’. If we want to be free – all of us free. I mean, not only some of us – we must not only tolerate but welcome lack of discipline, ‘laziness’, spontaneity, fantasy and improvisation.” —Robert Filliou (from Teaching and Learning as Performance Art, 1970, p. 19)
The Primitive Entertainment Workshop is a little over two years old, now. It was started in December of 2012 by me, Richard F. Yates, as a new place to publish stories and experimental poems and to put up artwork and talk about the theoretical elements of art and literature and society. (There have been other places where I did these things as well, but I wanted a new one—for some reason.)
I hoped I’d be able to talk some of my friends and family into contributing bits to the conversation, and that has gone swimmingly, so far. (We’ve even released a book of stories by my uncle, Randy Long, which you really should check out!) In addition, I’m a huge fan of the collaborative artwork, the add-and-pass, and the collage, and we’ve had numerous collab and “response” works on the P.E.W. I addendumed three or four responses to artwork just this morning!
There are biographical elements to the P.E.W., many stories spring from real-life events, but in addition to these biographical elements, experimentation also abounds—from connected narratives (with hyper-text links) to digital art created on various devices (computers, and tablets, and cell phones, and scanners, etc.,) to attempts at dragging in real-world artwork (paintings, zines, collages, mail-art, and physical books created by print on demand services;) it’s been an adventure and a real hoot running the P.E.W., and I hope we continue to get comments and contributions and reposts and reprintings in online newspapers, and all of this fancy stuff would have been impossible (or at least MUCH MUCH tougher) with a print magazine or newspaper. Although I still don’t like the word “blog” (which sounds like someone throwing up to me—and yes, I know it comes from “web log,” but that doesn’t make it sound any better), despite that, I have to admit that the format is very satisfying: easy to publish, easy to share images and stories, simple to promote on other sites, international audiences, “like” buttons, statistics, integration of images and text…
“I don’t make no money here,” Yates said directly to the reader, “but maybe this is better than money. I mean it won’t get my family any free ice-cream, but it makes people laugh and it keeps me from going to jail for murdering all the humans in the world who frustrate me. Instead, I make up a bunch of monsters and pretend THEY’RE killing everybody. Win-Win!”
4—Harry Said So
If you put the lime IN the coconut and drank them both up, you may be compelled to phone a physician in the middle of the night to ask for medical advice. So sayeth Harry…singing while wearing a gorilla costume. That’s what made Harry cooler than most of us.
We never wear gorilla costumes.
Sorry, I have to stop writing for a minute so I can put the dishes away, take out the garbage, and switch the laundry around. Reality is so REAL!
6—Primitive Art Critique (What is Art Good For?)
Here is an image to consider:
It has some meaning, some re-kur-ing symbology, but the true purpose of this image is (and this is true of most of the artwork posted here) that it serves as a representation of the fun that I had making it! The work of art is a by-product of an enjoyable experience.
Did you ever notice that the Yellow Brick Road is a spiral? Weird, huh?
I’m also curious: if a gigantic eye appeared in the sky, would you be comforted or terrified? (Or would you pretend not to notice?)
7—Anthropology (I have a formal minor, by the way…)
Early humans worshiped (or at least revered) things that made sense:
*Cave Bears—fierce and strong; inspired cave sculptures and burials
*Fertility—stuff needs to reproduce, whether people or crops or animals, and there is a BONUS: reproduction can be FUN (with practice); inspired “Venus” sculptures (which are cool as shit, if slightly creepy what with having no faces…) and cults and the creation of goddesses and stories and porn
*The Sun—big fucker, up there, making it light outside and scaring away most of the monsters; inspired art and mythology and sun-screen manufacturers
*Shaman—called something different in each culture, but these figures knew secrets that kept them in contact with the forces of nature (or supernature!), and they wore costumes and masks, and explained the deeper mysteries of the world to the normal folks; inspired fiction and tons of artwork and many fears, and I would argue that their role is still important, even in our somewhat shallow, relatively purposeless, 9 to 5 privileged lives. (I am not too naive to admit that my existence, though considered close to impoverished by U.S. standards, is absolutely privileged, compared to the lives of people whose daily concerns are raw survival. This rantifesto is primarily for those living in secure situations, for those who do not have a daily struggle to find food, clean water, safety, or to escape from deadly oppression.) I think we need to bring the occupation of shaman back into our culture, even if we call it something else. We could use the mystery.
So, what do you worship? Does it make sense? (If not, what would make sense?)
8—Worshiped from Afar (and Anear)
Dada, punk, the Situationists, Fluxus, Warhol‘s Factory, Absurdists, John Cagians, Surrealists, Expressionists, Church of the SubGenius, Church of Satan (especially for the way they’ve continually subverted the attempts by right wing conservatives to integrate religion, politics, and education), Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, The Beats, Existentialists, Flying Spaghetti Monster, performance artists, conceptual artists, zinesters, Romantic Poets, New Wavers, ravers, Club Kids, Beautiful Losers, and avant-gardists of every stripe.
Really, I’m envious of any GROUP of like-minded weirdos who found each other and then made shit. I have a pretty solid core of co-conspirators with whom I’ve embarked on hundreds of projects (even finished a few)—but we’ve never had a NAME. There’s no GROUP. I’m more like Kurt Schwitters, who plugged away at the periphery of the German Dada group (he was rejected as an official member) and made up his own art movement: Merz.
On numerous occasions over the last few years, I’ve tried to start my own art movements (including, but not limited to, the following: The M.A.R.S. Project, The Monster Club, The Bandersnatch Consortium, The Bunnyheadsquad, The Church of Dimensional Images, The Holy Temple of Bebop Punk, The NEW Church of Dim [which was more humor based], The Horseshittists, The W!Z!B!, and The Horseshittists International [thinking that an international art movement would be more glamorous and attractive to potential participants—apparently not]) but they’ve all fizzled, so that leaves me with this project:
The Primitive Entertainment Workshop,
and it’s not too shabby.
As of this moment (April 3, 2015, 11:39 A.M. Pacific Standard Time) the P.E.W. has had
2,219 posts (counting this one)
and 15,146 likes!
What these stats point to, in my opinion, are connections. We’ve made some,—and I’d like to continue to make more.
9—“The Science of Accumulation” by Dr. Centipede Ph.DDT
When considering the Concept of Accumulation, as outlined by Dr. Smog Monster in his treatise “On Fameology and Successometry,” the myth of immediate acceptance of a single work of genius, created by a master after years or even decades of mental struggle and inhumanly hard work must finally be abolished in favor of a more holistic and panoramic consideration of a creator’s entire body of work. In previous decades, before digitization, for any but an acolyte to examine even a small percentage of a prolific creator’s output was, physically, improbable. Major works of “genius” artists, writers, poets, or other MAKERS, particularly high profile works like novels or large scale sculptures or architectural pieces, could be popularized through criticism and media coverage, propelling the creator into the public consciousness and branding them with the title: “Genius.” However, in our current age, this is an outdated model. The age of the genius is over.
We have entered the era of THE GESTURE!
The small stroke, the joke, the “meme,” and the post are now the cash of digital culture, each individual act considered on its own merits, shared, reposted, and possibly archived, but quickly forgotten, discarded with the next small stroke. Fame, financial success, and lasting social impact are irrelevant. In their place is the mutation, the reinterpretation, the add-and-pass, the mini-success.
What is hardly considered in this quick exchange, in the movement from concept to image to slogan and back again, is the concept of Accumulation. What once required a physical space: a museum, a gallery, a library, or a storage warehouse, is now accomplished with links, lists, and digital collections. Pinturst, Weirdpress, Oobooweeb, and Toomblar have become galleries and museums of ideas, songs, images, paintings, words, and concepts, and the webmasters and managers of these pages are the new curators, defining cultures, creating universes, and building necropolises of forgotten and/or dead ideas, dreams, and concepts just waiting for resurrection.
Neat, isn’t it!? Now go build your own world! This is what Yates has done at The Primitive Entertainment Workshop—crafted his own world through creation and curation…
11—Apologia Redux (Not Ducks, Devil or Monster or Otherwise)
This document is not intended to replace the previous P.E.W. Manifestos, but is instead meant to augment the previous works. It is recommended that people who are interested in art theory read as many manifestos as possible, not necessarily because it is our belief that you should FOLLOW the tenants of each document, but that each document can become a launching point for your own future worlds. Among the works that are recommended are the following:
and so on!
[Personal opinion: Avoid the Communist Manifesto. It’s boring and leaves very little room for art…]
12—The Internal Question(Mark)
Is the H.S. still relevant? (Was it EVER relevant?)
Simulated monstrosity… (Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the…nothing.)
Still not. Still not. Why still not?
Monster monkey blue fur biting animal toy. Blee blah bloo… Why do it? Why? Nothing. It’s nothing. Still still still nothing.
When I was a young human and we traveled to southern CA (114 degrees f), my family and I visited Magical Mountainland. At that time, the mascot (or one of the mascots) for the park was a large, blue (or purple???) fuzzy guy… And Bobby’s Surplus (in Henpeck, WA—the fictional town where I grew up and where most of the weird stuff posted on the P.E.W. takes place) used to sell these fuzzy, laughing monsters, a few inches tall, that would hang from springs, like in a doorway, and bounce up and down and laugh in this hideous, cackling, obnoxious sort of way—and there was a t.v. show called The Bandana Spleets with people dressed up in animal costumes, but the costumes were so stylized they actually looked like monsters.
Fuzzy monsters used to be everywhere. Where are they now???
We need more monsters…
13—HENPECK! City of Tomorrow, Today!
[Henpeck Tourist Board Pamphlet]
Welcome to Henpeck. Nestled in a valley on a river in southern Washington State, Henpeck is a model community, where humans, monsters, ghosts, aliens, robots, and various other forms of intelligence co-exist in a way that most of the rest of the country could only dream of achieving.
Henpeck, as a community, supports the arts, science and technology, and freedom of religion for individuals and groups, as well as for computer or insect based hive minds. We have several thriving art centers and local collectives, science facilities on nearly every corner (both public and private) with on site mad scientists and evil masterminds, who will be happy to help you with your experiments, and of course we also have the prestigious Henpeck University (an ancient seat of learning built on a pre-Wurm Glaciation holy temple, so you know it’s fancy!) Henpeck also boasts so many New Religious Movements that we are currently 2nd only to Boise, Idaho, in cult members per capita!
Sure, we’ve had our serial killers, and murderous secret cults, and giant monster rampages, and alien invasions, and robot inspired massacres, but what city hasn’t had some troubles? The fact is, Henpeck has survived them all and is still standing (or is currently being rebuilt. The carpenter’s union in Henpeck is one of the strongest in the world!)
In addition, newly elected Mayor Gargolax, a former intergalactic warlord who is currently exiled on Earth, has pledged to support inter-species relations and local prosperity, at least until such time as he is able to rebuild his hordes and reclaim his empire! Now THAT’s a promise you can count on!
So if you want scenic beauty (we have mountains, lakes, rivers, beaches, forests, all within an hour’s drive), arts, sciences, religious freedom, and to live in close proximity to as many different species as you would find in a large metropolis, like New Jork, but to still have that DOWN HOME FEEL, why not give Henpeck a visit? We know, if you are lucky enough to survive your visit, you’ll want to stay forever!
We are the City of Tomorrow, that you can visit Today!!!
—Henpeck Board of Tourism
14—Call for Action
As the official overlord of the P.E.W., taking a page out of Mayor Gargolax’s book, I’m making it my goal to try and connect with more people in the future, maybe spreading out beyond my immediate circle of co-conspirators and working on more collaborations—send those tentacles in new directions—but I’m also dedicated to continuing the experiments we’ve already begun here at the workshop: making monsters, telling stories, sharing fun poems, pointing at the problems we see with society (and offering creative solutions), and
That’s the primary goal. I/we will continue to write and draw and paint and lie and dance and prank and joke and photograph and preach and confuse until we drop—AND SO SHOULD YOU! Have a great weekend!
(end of line)
—Richard F. Yates