Interview: Genesis P-Orridge

The Psychic TV/PTV3 leader discusses cultural engineering and "pandrogyny," ahead of Wednesday 29th's Rock Café show

"People would say 'what do you do – as a job?'," Genesis P- Orridige giggles. "It started as a joke. One day I said to somebody, 'I'm a cultural engineer' but, actually, the more I think about it, it's probably accurate."

Genesis P-Orridge has been a surreptitious fixture in popular society, most citizens completely unaware of his presence and effect upon contemporary music and art. That, in and of itself, is appalling, but not surprising considering our reliance on the media to inform us without delving deeper into the background of current philosophies.

His story begins in the early 70s with Coum Transmissions - core members Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti. The performance art/music group is best known for October 1976's notorious Prostitution exhibition at London's Institute of Contemporary Art - an event that set the UK on its ear.

The group was deemed "the wreckers of civilization" by Tory MP Nicholas Fairbairn, and, with dismay, Genesis P-Orridge's name was frequently brought up in Parliament. This was a harbinger of things to come for Genesis. He was - and probably still is - frequently misunderstood.

In February 1992, while P-Orridge was in Nepal, a British TV documentary passed off a ten-year-old Psychic TV performance-art video as an act of Satanic child abuse. The authorities rushed to judgment, and British police seized P-Orridge's possessions and threatened to imprison him if he or his wife, Paula, ever returned to the country. Instead, P-Orridge exiled himself to the San Francisco area.

A wide array of artistic deviance transpired between those times. The conceptualization of Throbbing Gristle, inarguably the first Industrial Music group; the founding of Industrial Records, releasing albums by Throbbing Gristle as well as William S. Burroughs and Monte Cazzazza; the creation of T.O.P.Y. (Temple Ov Psychick Youth) which now exists to promote a "system ov functional, demystified magick, utilizing both pagan and modern techniques"; his "mail art" collaboration with Monte Cazzazza in which they were both fined by the Postal Service for sending each other things like maggot-ridden rotting meat... This is a list that could continue for quite a while.

His most recent creative incarnation, involving his "other half," Lady Jaye, involves the creation of a new form of being - Pandrogyny. They're in the process of amalgamating with each other through various methods, including matching gold tooth implants, plastic surgery (for Valentine's Day they got matching breast implants), behavioral modifications, and eventual body chemical adjustment.

From now on Genesis P-Orridge shall be referred to (when using a pronoun) as s/he, as will Lady Jaye.

The show at Rock Cafe on the 29th will feature video documentation to accompany PTV3's own special brand of music. PTV3's shows tend to be mind-altering and morally confrontational. Therapeutic appointments planned for the day after are strongly advised.

When asked about audience reactions at the recent PTV3 shows Genesis offered, "People have been crying, some saying that they were inspired. They're touched and surprised to find their emotions again, in a good way. It's been a very positive thing. And we've had people come up to us claiming that they too understand that it's time to do away with the old 'biological suitcase' as Lady Jaye calls it, to be thrown away and redesigned, and a brand new 'pandrogynous' form of human being to be created and proselytized. In order for us to have the future that we deserve as conscious beings."

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The full version of this interview is online at Provokator.org

Video on YouTube

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