"Logorreah," March 29th, 2019, Studio 10 Gallery, Brooklyn, running time: 01:05:45.
Matt Freedman: Well, this seems kind of redundant because I think everybody in the room knows that Tim is not here. It's the first time here that we've done the show with me the only one physically present, but Tim is omnipresent. I was going to go into some explanation. You may or may not know we had we timed this out very carefully so that he would have his hip surgery on Monday, April Fool's Day, so this would have been the last day that we could do the show before that. But then they pulled an early April Fool's joke on Tim and said, “We're going to do it on Friday.” And so we had to decide in the spirit of the show that the show must go on. So we decided to go on. You all will take his place as the musical accompanists. I'll explain that in a sec. Let me see. Tim is out of surgery. He's got two new hips. He seems to be in great shape. He just wants to make sure that everybody remembers the pretzels. You can eat them, but only as part of the performance.
He's written a score. I thought we could send him a note.
Hip, one, hip two. Hurray…
You're way ahead of me. I see this is going to be a hard night. Tim can see this, parenthetically. We are all going to say, “Hip, Hip Hooray Tim!”
It turns out “Hip, Hip Hooray” is an interesting expression. It's an old drinking phrase. It's a prelude to a toast, apparently. You would say “hip” or “hip, hip” to get attention, like “ahem”, so people would listen to you. But it also may have had its origins in the Hep-Hep Riots of 1819 in Bavaria, because “hep” is an acronym for the old Latin phrase, which I can't pronounce; “Hierosolyma est Perdita;” “Jerusalem is lost,” which is what the Crusaders used to shout. And it was thought that somebody said that was what the Bavarians were shouting during this pogrom in 1819. But other people say, “No, that's just what the shepherds used to shout at their sheep.” So it's a little unclear. It's also unclear whether Hooray is actually a Mongol exclamation. So it's a very loaded.
Okay. Let's hold the signs up and can we get a shot? Did you already do it? All right. Everybody cheer for Tim. Woo! Alright. Send that message right away… to Tim and Caroline. Go.
So, to get back to the business, Tim has given you a score. There are instruments in there. You follow your scores. Larry has the bell and very five minutes he'll ring the bell and you move on to the next instrument in your kit. We anticipate basically chaos with this. We do have a lot of professional musicians amongst us so you could defer to more talented people if you prefer. You can also make the choice to not make any noise at all so you can hear the words, but that's optional as well. I think this is a kind of perfect utopian moment where we have to work out our rules without a leader in place. I will just try to maintain some kind of rhythm without Tim here.
So, um, maybe, what if we begin with blowing or clapping? That's a cheap way to get applause before doing anything. Can you hear me over your own clapping? Okay. Except for mom.
So thanks Larry and thanks Adam for letting us do the show in this wonderful space. There's a really a wonderful essay about the work by Cathy Quinlan out tonight that you can look at if you’d like. You may have noticed that these paintings are all based on logos that are explored and dissected in various ways.
I can see this is to be tough. I'm just going to keep going. Can you hear me okay? My eyes are closed. I'll just speak. No, no, don't be shy. I shouldn't whine.
So, logos. Adam’s work takes us back in some form to the most iconic kind of graphic images that we have in our culture; the Lascaux Caves and the cylinders that were used to imprint signatures in preliterate Mesopotamia that became identified with certain businesses. Much later on, in, I think, 1398, King Richard II of England decreed that every pub had to have a sign outside that indicated that ale was being served within. Pictures, since few people could read. This was actually so that the official royal tasters of ale would know where ale was being served. This was a very important health program, water being such an unreliable source of non-poisonous libation that you had to drink alcohol. So, gradually, a green dragon might be associated with a particular pub or green dragons in general might be associated with drinking and so on and so on. The Green Dragon Inn.
Although logo images were often associated with clarity, they also were sometimes used to hide or to create a kind of secret society within a larger unknowing population. If two early Christians met each other on the road and neither could be sure of the other’s religious orientation and didn't want to be chopped up, one might make an arc in the sand and if the other drew a similar intersecting arc to make the image of the fish or Ichthys, they knew they were with fellow believers in Christ and they liked each other. Similarly, this early Christian symbol was often marked on buildings as an indication of a sanctuary within. There’s another acronym contained within this Ichthys. It stands for, I think, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior”.
What Adam has done that I think is really interesting beyond the formal aspects of this work is that he's deconstructed logos that are associated with corporations and onto which we project, through the systems of signifiers and signs, certain emotions. An important development in the history of logos started in about the 1950s. You see for example, how the Nike swoosh and the associated imperative of “Just Do It” athleticism leads to the purchasing of shoes to achieve the kind of ambition that is now irrevocably connected to the buying of shoes. Adam breaks up the logo, so we recognize the signifier, but his interruption of the continuum of associations means that we don't immediately connect the purchasing of Nike gear with the imperatives the corporation seeks to impose onus, and we are allowed to question.
Here is our first transition. It's very hard to do this backwards, so you'll have to forgive me Adam if I mess this up. This is the logo for the Golden Arches… And apparently this is the one that people have the hardest time seeing so I’ll just write “Amazon.” I didn’t realize that Amazon’s logo has one of the secret messages that they like to embed into corporate designs now that are supposed to work subliminally. Okay: Amazon delivers everything from A to Z, with a smile. No? So, resist that feeling whenever you see it. And the logo of McDonald's arches is supposed to immediately put into your mind sizzling salts and fats and proteins and sugars. You salivate and you buy hamburgers and engage in the western diet that is responsible for our present state of deteriorating health.
I'm not arguing that this is responsible for the breakdown in Tim's body, but it's not hard to see the operation that he went through, which we were going to joke about if he had hadn't gone through it yet. If he were present we could relax and feel entitled to adopt a lighthearted tone towards his serious operation, but since he' can’t be here, I feel I should be a bit more circumspect. I can say that what they did today was to saw off the top of his femur and hammer in stainless steel spikes with balls on the end of each side; you know, on both hips. Then they sanded out the receptacle and put in I think a plastic collar. They did this all from the anterior, I mean the posterior side. From the rear end, which is easier to do.
And then patients get up and dance around. My sister-in law Esme just had her knee replaced last week and she's already going to a baseball game tonight --watching not playing. Our old dog Fleurry actually has a knee brace inserted inside her left leg, and she is still limping around on it ten years later, though more and more slowly.
I want to see if they got it. No, it’s not them.
I was intrigued to find that in the 1960s there was a doctor in Burma named San Baw who trained at the University of Pennsylvania and then went back to Burma, now Miramar, as an orthopedic surgeon. He realized that ivory was cheaper there than steel and he began experimenting with ivory hip replacements. When he tested ivory he realized that it had a great deal of tensile strength, and also a kind of biomedical benefit. The bone actually grafts onto ivory very easily. They harvested all the ivory from elephants who had naturally passed on and they had a scrimshaw expert who would carve the hip replacement parts. Though they had some trouble making sure the early replacement joints didn't shear off, eventually they performed I think over 300 operations with these ivory hipbones. And there are still people walking around with ivory hips to this day. I tried to convince Tim to look into ivory hips, but no dice.
Just a small rundown of the celebrities who have had hip replacements; Arnold Schwarzenegger, uh, Katherine Hepburn, I think. Eddie van Halen. I guess that's basically the same drawing. A lot of rock and rollers. I think Billy Joel had one. Elizabeth Taylor had three, no less than three double hip replacements. She lived hard, I guess, or maybe they just didn't know how to do hip replacements back in the day. Um, so I mentioned Esme’s knee and Flurrie’s leg. Our friend Bonnie had a hip replaced and she doesn't even remember it. Our friend Anne has both her shoulders and her hips and her knees replaced. Tim is actually on that track. Tim has to get both his knees replaced now. First he had both his shoulders replaced, now his hips, and the knees, which will be the hard ones, are coming up. Kate just had her knee scoped, but does that count? You don't have an actual replacement part, but, okay. When did you have it done? All right. And you're around; good.
Not to bring everything back to my own story, but I've never had an artificial part in me, a part permanently inside my body. But I have had a temporary part. I had an accident when my thumb was cut in two, and when it was put back together, I had these steel rods implanted on either side of the split to hold everything in place as the bones reset. And then after several months my cast came off and I had this odd semi-bionic thumb with antennas coming out of it. I didn't know what they were going to do and I'm looking at it from one side while the doctor is just looking at it from the other side. And then he reaches over and he grabs the rods and just pulls them out of me, which is a very disorienting experience.
So in Vienna, in about 1880, there was a very handsome and talented---you have to help me with the pronunciation---young, a physician named Fleischl who was considered brilliant and charming and he was the assistant to a pathologist and somehow he got his thumb in the middle of a pathology exam. It was horribly mangled to the point where it had to be amputated, but that wasn't the end of the pain that he suffered. He was in such agony that he turned to a common solution at the time, which was morphine and he became a morphine addict, or what was known then as a morphinist. This was a horrible to watch. He had sort of all these delusions. His friends would watch he would scratch at his arms to pull out the ants that he imagined were crawling under the skin. Luckily, or maybe not so luckily for him, he was a member of a circle of incredibly brilliant, ambitious young doctors all around Vienna at the time. And one of his friends was young Sigmund Freud, who decided to do some research into some alternative pain killer for Fleischl besides the morphine which was ruining his life and he settled on cocaine. Cocaine was a drug which had been known in the west since the Spanish invasion of South America. The Peruvians had been chewing cocoa leaves and finding tremendous energy and relief from pain and hunger and it was often used as a kind of analgesic. Oh, that's appropriate. It sort of had fallen out of favor for a variety of reasons which we will go into, but Freud was convinced that this would be something that could be a substitute for morphine because it felt so good when you ingested it and it didn't seem to have all the obvious side effects of morphine.
It didn't really work out for Fleischl; he never kicked any of his addictions. But Freud with pretty sure that there was some great use for this drug and he wasn't above sort of urging his friends to look for similar solutions. He had a girlfriend in a town at some distance from Vienna and when he went away for about two weeks to see her he told a couple of his friends that they should continue with the research into cocaine. One of the friends was a young doctor named Karl Koller, a very dynamic and somewhat apparently short tempered character who wanted to become an ophthalmologist. I don't want to say optometrist, an ophthalmologist, a surgeon. There was a very prestigious job as an assistant that he wanted and he was convinced that there must be something that he could do that would earn him this important and much needfed post. He was kind of broke at the time.
He knew, as did many others, that cocaine had the ability to numb the surface of the skin. You put it on your tongue and you couldn't feel anything. People were experimenting with this, but they hadn't put it into practice. Because of his interest in the eye, Koller knew that eye surgery at the time was a particularly horrendous and painful procedure to go through. You had to be awake so you could respond to the doctor’s commands and there were no effective pain remedies. So they would actually stick a literally white hot poker into your eye to do minor surgery. Koller sort of had this intuition or insight that the numbing effects of cocaine might work on eyes as well. What happened next seemed to take place in a very short time. He goes to a lab in the hospital and he asks for a frog and a very lively frog is produced. They put a 2% solution of cocaine and water in its eye and then they poke it and nothing happens. And they're sort of excited so they get a rabbit and they put some cocaine in its eye and they poke it and nothing happens. And then they get a small dog and they put cocaine in its eye, and they poke it and nothing happens. And then, I believe to their ever-lasting credit, they put cocaine in their own eyes and then they poke each other's eyes and nothing happens.
The success of this local anesthetic is proven and Kollar writes a paper. He's too poor to actually deliver it at the next big conference, but somebody else does. By the time Freud comes back from his vacation, Kollar is sort of world famous for this innovation and Freud has to go on and do something else with his life. Freud calls him Coca Koller in one of his letters, which is incredibly prescient-this is in 1887-which means that he came up with this idea all by himself, as we will go into in a second. He also in his letters teases Kollar for being extremely serious. I think he writes “with you, everything has to be so deep.” If you get a letter from Sigmund Freud saying that you go too deeply into things I think is a wonderful compliment.
Kollar goes on to fight and win a dual against an antisemitic fellow med student. He doesn't get the job that his great research should have given him so he comes to United States and spends the rest of his long life in New York City. The reason I know all this in such detail is that his daughter wrote his story up in a brilliant essay, and his daughter’s daughter Kate, is here with us. And two of his many great grandchildren, Ellen and Bill are here as well. And they haven't interrupted yet so I assume I'm relatively accurate, though they're very polite as well. I better take their silence with a grain of salt. Kollar was handsome as very well. I know he had a mustache early on. I think he lost, but apparently he didn't like children very much. Is that true?
There was another man, also in great pain, in Atlanta, Georgia at about the same time named John Stith Pemberton who had fought for South Carolina and the Civil War and received a painful saber wound from which he suffered great agonies for the rest of his life. Don't worry, you're not- and he became, oh dear. David, If I get too loud you guys and just have to play louder.
All right. I don't know. It's right on my mouth. How is this sound? Oh wait, I see the problem. I've totally just dislodged the mechanism. You call yourself an artist.
So Pemberton was addicted to morphine, but he was a scientist and a businessman and he too turned to cocaine as a possible solution to his addiction. It didn't work. He ended up at the end of his life broken and addicted to morphine. His son was addicted to opium, so we could go into the nature versus nurture issues. But he produced something called Pemberton's French Wine Coca. It was a lethal combination of alcohol and cocaine, which made you feel great and it was actually advertised as a kind of elixir for the upper classes of Atlanta, Georgia, doctors and lawyers and such who were feeling the pressure of modern life in the 1880 ‘s or so.
Pemberton's French Wine Coca’s name was designed to evoke a much more famous and successful wine called Vin Mariani, which was basically the toast of Paris at the time.
It too was a concoction of red wine and cocaine. This stuff was seen as a great panacea for everything and Mariani was extremely aggressive in his advertising and quite progressive for his time. he relied on endorsements of celebrities with great prestige. Jules Verne and Alberto Santos Dumont among others endorsed it, but not just hipsters like that. Pope Leo the 13th apparently kept it in a hip flask for times when prayer, he said, “was not efficacious.” And he actually endorsed it in an advertisement and gave Mariani a gold medal.
Alberto Santos Dumont, who we've talked about before, was the world's most famous aerialist at the time, the only person in history to have a private aircraft that he could fly from his home in a city to anywhere he wanted. He kept a small dirigible tethered to a lamppost outside his house on the Champs Elysees and he would fly it to Maxim's where he would drink Vin Mariani. He would take Vin Mariani up in his famous aeronautical exploits. In his endorsement for the product he said that two liquids were essential for navigating the air; one was petroleum to give energy to the machine, the engine, and the other was Vin Mariani, to give energy to the pilot. Never married. But that's an interesting point. Bertoldi the sculptor said that if he had been drinking Vin Mariani when he had designed the Statue of Liberty, he would have made it 200 meters higher. It was actually advertised as a benefit for sexual prowess or at least sexual interest.
The promise of these products soon became tainted by the observation that if you drink too much Vin Mariani you became basically both an alcoholic and a cocainist. Vin Mariani rapidly lost its cache and when Mariani took out the cocaine and it just became cheap red wine. Pemberton had a somewhat similar but more complicated problem. In Georgia the local legislature outlawed his wine when the first prohibition of alcohol was enacted in the county of Atlanta. So he took the red wine out, left the cocaine in, and added sugar water. He began to advertise it as a temperance drink and a kind of health drink.
Pemberton had a man working for him named Robinson who was an advertising genius and he's the one who came up with the name Coca-Cola, which was an alliteration, which was very popular. “Coca” came from the cocaine and “Cola” was a misspelling of kola. It actually had kola nuts from Africa in it, which supplied caffeine. So they upped the sugar content and upped the caffeine content. This stuff packed a wallop and it became a popular drink, unlike the cocaine-less Vin Mariani, which fell into disuse. Interestingly Robinson is also the person who came up with the now famous logo for Coca Cola, which is actually just written in Spencerian script, the cursive style that was taught to any scrivener, any copyist in 18th, 19th century United States. And you see it in other forms. The Ford logo is also in that script.
When the Coca Cola logo was attached to the first bottle of Coke, it had 3.5 grams of cocaine in it and it was just sold in the pharmacies in the south, which were segregated, so Coke was only sold to white people. It was marketed as an elite drink to white professionals, and so whatever medicinal or recreational or sexual benefit it was supposed to or actually was supplying was seen as a positive. As soon as the bottling companies got ahold of Coke, the individual servings could be sold anywhere and that meant anybody could drink it. We see a resurgence of Jim Crow Laws and white supremacy rhetoric at this time being driven by the perceived increase in the use of cocaine-all tied to the fact that black people could now access the drink more easily. The broadcasting of this vision of a cocaine-crazed underclass attacking virginal white women became so widespread that the Coca Cola Company began removing cocaine from their products and then tried their best to turn it into a kind of racist drink only for white people. The Pepsi Cola Company moved in with an aggressive marketing campaign aimed at African Americans. It had never had any cocaine and it became known for decades as the black drink and Coca Cola as the white drink. Coca Cola tried to reverse this perception only in the 1950s by underwriting various progressive causes in the name of increasing their financial bottom line.
What you see there in Adam's painting is the Exxon sign, excerpted. What I have here are the original notes written by Raymond Lowery, who was charged with coming up with a new design logo for this renamed cooperation, which would stretch from sea to shining sea to sell gasoline to everyone within eyeshot. You can see that he experimented with various different combinations of x’s and o’s and e’s, and then he actually came up with this image, which is sort of backwards of what we see now.
Exxon’s double x’s replaced Esso. This came up in the conversation last week. In 1911 I think we still hated corporations. They busted up Standard Oil and turned it into a series of smaller companies, including some that were suddenly linked to each other. The most popular brand, Esso, for Standard Oil, was sold in some states and Enco, short for Energy Company, in other states. And then there was the Humble brand that was the parent company. They all had a similar logo, a blue circle with red lettering inside. And they use the same marketing campaigns, the same slogans, “Put a Tiger in Your Tank.” But people didn't make the association between them the way they would for their more national competition, like Shell Oil or Texaco.
So it was decided in the mid-sixties that a new corporate name had to be devised that would pull them all under a single umbrella. Esso couldn't be used because they were prohibited from using this logo in certain states. Humble was too weird I guess and Enco as it turned out in Japanese sounds very much like “enko” which means “stalled car.”Enco is short for “enjin no kosho,“ which means “broken down engine,” That would not have been appropriate. So Exxon, a word that means absolutely nothing in any language as far as they could tell. And it had a kind of similar feel or look as Esso.
That drawing I showed you was by a man named Raymond Lowery. Lowery was born in Paris, but is often identified as the man who streamlined America. He also designed many corporate logos like the Shell Corporation, and those highly stylized sleek steam engines were his design. The Studebaker cars that looked like rockets were his design. He even designed a pencil sharpener that looks like a rocket ship. Interestingly, he didn't design the original coke bottle that we consider the iconic form, but he did slim it down and he did design the Coke dispenser machine, which is also supposed to look extremely futuristic. To my eye it looks oddly like another magic box that recently came into some disrepute, the Edison Box that the Theranos Company designed to produce cheap, impossibly simple blood typing, so there's a direct design correlation between coke machines and Edison Box.
I was going to suggest to Tim that there were actually a number of cures over the years for hip pain, from alfalfa sprays to the inside bark of a willow tree, which contains acetylsalicylic acid, that people used for take for hip pain. It's similar to the active ingredient in an aspirin tablet. Um, there's opium lettuce, wild opium lettuce, you could use as well. You don't necessarily have to go all the way to saw yourself up and replace your hip joint
One of the great scourges in dark ages was something called the Guinea Worm. It was an infestation under the skin by these worms that caused incredible pain and blistering on the arm. The way to deal with this was to cut a hole in the arm ahead of the progress of the worm. And when the worm would stick its head out the physician would place a small stick in the way of the worm and begin to slowly roll it up and draw it out of the arm. It could take days or hours or weeks even. But this image became so associated with the successful healing of the body that the rod of the Asclepius, the great god of healing is in fact, a snake wrapped around a stick. It’s also possible that a snake is on the doctor logo because they venerated as generators of new life, having the ability to shed their skins and so on.
The Rod of Asclepius is sometimes confused with a Caduceus, which has two snakes wrapped around a single staff with wings above them. This is actually the symbol of Hermes, the Greek Messenger God but it was also an imprint on several medical textbooks, the idea being that it represented the spread of knowledge in general. Apparently, a bureaucrat at the US Medical Corps saw it on these medical textbooks and assumed it was the symbol of medical healing and it became the logo for many medical institutions. But it really is just the Hermes throwing his stick between two fighting snakes and thereby solving the dispute between them and it became a symbol of international rapprochement between enemies.
The caduceus was designed and built for Hermes by his lame half-brother, Hephaestus, who had one bad leg and one good leg and was the god of all crafts. He built the winged helmet and the shoes and the caduceus for his brother Hermes. Hephaestus’ symbol was the hammer, often attached to his strong arm, and this symbol became associated with purity and virtue. The Vulcan Spice Company in early 19th century United States used this as their logo to presumably advertise the purity and finely ground nature of their product, but the company did not survive and went bankrupt. The person who ran that company, Church, I believe, joined his father's business and brought the logo with him and they manufactured baking soda the hammer became the logo for the baking soda and then eventually identified so closely with the product that it became known as the Arm & Hammer Brand. We identify that---and I think this was in a painting that Adam made in an earlier show with an earlier show---- I forgot to mention something I won't bore you with.
The arm and hammer baking soda is often connected to a figure from America’s capitalist history named Armand Hammer. Armand Hammer was in fact completely unconnected to Arm & Hammer baking soda, we think, except that he was taken by the connection himself that he tried to buy the company. He didn't quite succeed in buying it, but he did become an active member of its board. He was in fact, he said, named for the protagonist in a novel by the son of Alexander Dumont who promoted Vin Mariani and wrote the novel, called Camille or the Romance of Camile. Camille was a prostitute who actually wore her own logo. Sometimes she wore a red camellia, which indicated she was unavailable during certain parts of the month for a romantic connection, but she wore a white camellia when she was, um, available. Anyway, Armand was her lover. With different names they became the protagonists in Verdi's opera La traviata.
And so that's who Armand Hammer was named after. Except that his father Julius was also the founder of the Communist Party of United States and was well aware that the arm and hammer logo was the symbol of the Socialist Workers Party--I'm getting this all from a previous catalog of Adam's work-- And so this could have been a slight inside joke in the Hammer family. But it became something of an empty joke when Julius died, leaving young Dr. Armand Hammer, just graduated from Columbia medical school, with the responsibility of finishing a number of deals that Julius had started with the newly birthed Soviet Union. This is about 1921 and the socialist communist workers’ paradise was not doing so well. They weren't producing enough tractors or seeds or fertilizer to feed their own country, their own countrymen, so they needed to buy these materials from the West. The United States was boycotting the Soviet Union at the time, but they identified Hammer being someone who would be the useful to them as a conduit.
He became fabulously wealthy selling products from the west to the east. He also amassed a huge art collection along the way that started his gallery and underwrites the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. And he spent the rest of his life doing business with all sorts of unsavory characters from Khadafi to Mao Zedong. When he did eventually acquire power in the Arm and Hammer Company he put the arm and hammer logo on the back of his yacht, which he thought was a great joke on his history as a capitalist socialist. Lenin is famous of course for saying, “We will sell the capitalist the rope that we will hang him with.” It didn't quite work out that way.
When I was teaching at the University of Iowa I took my drawing class to the anatomy lab to draw cadavers and I remember in this field of bodies of brown drying skin there was one person who had had a hip replacement. In the center of this undifferentiated tissue was a perfect silver ball. It was very small. I think artificial joints used to be smaller because they were easier to implant and were considered less disruptive. They also had a tendency to slip out of place, unfortunately. It was a very strange sight to see. It was almost like a little steel marble was hovering in the middle of this body, not moving; everything else orbiting around it.
The University of Iowa cadaver lab is interesting because there's an art collection in there too. There was a series of prints by the artist Leonard Baskin, a figurative artist who was interested in issues of body to and mortality. There was one image in particular I found quite striking, a figure with all his veins and muscles exposed. His right hip is completely flayed and open, It was called Hydrogen Man and it was from 1954. It was addressing the great obsession of that time, which was our potential for annihilating ourselves with nuclear weapons, which we hardly ever think about anymore. He was completely committed to the body as his subject. He called it, “our human frame, our gutted mansion, our enveloping sack of beef and ash is yet our glory.”
I have a little bit of hip romance myself. I have a small tumor on one of my hips. The doctors say, “Not to be insulting, but there’s really nothing remarkable about that.” but I do have is a series of other tumors that have sprouted up on the spine and they have to be periodically irradiated in a kind of ongoing game of Whack-a-Mole. We're up to two or three at this point, but the hip, looks pretty good so far. The hip is a big bone and it's a very small spot.
But it just makes you wonder after a while if all of these miraculous cures with pieces of steel or subatomic particles or chemical injections are really that salubrious, And so few months ago in the spirit of it can't really hurt, plus the advice of a friend who seemed to feel this was helpful, I went see a healer who has all the self-confidence and assurance that you would want to have in somebody who actually knew what they're talking about. But you sort of have to believe or it doesn't work. So, I go to see him and he tells me…Well, first of all he puts me on a program of visualizations for the spine. Imagine you're standing in a field and you're hit by a bolt of lightning and you have that sort of cartoon radiation. Your whole body becomes a skeleton and then becomes opaque and then becomes a skeleton again and then opaque again and then the skeleton again. The bones are left shiny white except for some small dots. And then you take a golden brush and you scrub yourself and all the spots fall away. So I've been trying that.
And the last time I went to see him, he did something he had never done before, which was to say he would heal me by touch and prayer. And so I sit there wondering why I'm sitting there and he holds my hand. He says, “Look at my face, my face is going to transform as you watch and that will be the power of prayer at work.” So I'm looking at his face. Of course, I believe that all of his techniques work on the power of suggestion, so I'm trying my best not to be suggestible. But he's a nice person and of course I wanted to please them. So I'm really looking for signs that something is happening. I think I begin to squint a little bit and I think I don't see the whites of his eyes any more. Maybe his eyes have gone totally dark and I say, “I think your eyes have gone dark.” And he says, “Yes, that's the power of prayer at work.”
Now the odd thing is, I always argue with him and he tells me that long as I argue with him, none of this is going to work, which sort of makes me feel bad on a couple of different levels. But the last time I went to see the doctors for my MRI scans for the first time in seven years the tumors in the lungs not only hadn’t grown but were actually incrementally smaller, at least a few of them were. Not enough that any respectable doctor would say was a significant event, but certainly enough for John to take credit and for me to be somewhat confused.
So I thought we would try a remote visualization to aid Tim in his recovery using some of the techniques that I have learned and apparently you can put into effect now. So collectively, with your eyes open or closed, imagine yourself standing at the edge of a forest. The jungle. You look into the jungle and your shout, “Help Tim!” And from the jungle emerges a gigantic elephant, and the elephant reaches out and unscrews both of his tusks and hands them to you. And lo and behold, they are the femurs that Tim needs. You place them in the sockets, where they snap into place in Tim’s body, and he gets up and he begins to dance. And then, and this is very important, you have to thank the elephant, and then elephant will smile, and disappear back into the forest.
Oh, what's that? (We should send Tim an Audio message)
Yeah, Somebody should.
I totally forgot to do the upside-down Bull’s head. There are all sorts of symbols which are hidden in corporate logos usually provided by the Illuminati. I brought a few examples.
If you look at the Kleenex box upside down, you see the number 666 embedded in it. Also Google Chrome has the number 666 in there. My favorite though was our friend Winifred who was driving through Philadelphia and said, “Why is everybody so pro Catholic in this town? I see all these signs that say Pope Yes!” Maybe that's a whole new insight into another level of manipulation.
But this Bulls hat is a benign secret message. It's an angry bovine with blood on the tips of its horns but when you turn upside down. It's a robot reading a magazine on a park bench. I don't know what that robot, I did a drawing. Here’s the bull. Here's the robot. You don't need to be persuaded by this you just need to be seduced. You don't know what you're seeing. Your robot masters have already plotted their capture of your consciousness.
Anyway, thanks for coming and thanks for being such a great ensemble. You carried me along a few times when I thought I was losing it. And it actually worked a few times musically speaking. We will have to tell Tim that.
Matt Freedman and Tim Spelios have been producing their Endless Broken Time drawing, talking and percussion performances at Studio 10 gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn since 2015. Ancestors, machines, and philosophy are told and illustrated by Freedman and take their irregular rhythm and form from the aberrant and improvised syncopation of Spelios’ broken time drumming.
© 2020 Matt Freedman
All Rights Reserved.
Film and Performance Projects