All Too Human: Industrial Bodies and Anti- bodies in the Time of AIDS

Whittaker, Jason (2022) All Too Human: Industrial Bodies and Anti- bodies in the Time of AIDS. In: Bodies, Noise and Power in Industrial Music. Routledge. ISBN 978-3030924614

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All Too Human: Industrial Bodies and Anti- bodies in the Time of AIDS
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One of the modalities of industrial music during the 1980s was an obsession with the broken machines of collapsing industrial societies in Europe and the USA which corresponded to reconfiguring the body as part of subcultural practices that had their origins in body modding practices in the gay community of the late 1970s. Body modding fetishism, especially around routines such as extreme body piercing and scarification, offered a different approach to the posthuman Cartesian trick of escaping the body in the work of performance artists such as Stelarc: rather, this was a focus on reclaiming the body, often as part of a theatre of cruelty. With a focus on the period from the 1980s to the 1990s, it is possible to explore how the integration of such body modding with industrial music and culture leads to assemblages of alienated bodies, for example via the anti-humanist critiques of Laibach and the body-experimentation and transhumanism of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV. A particular example of this is that of Coil, who moved from profoundly disconcerting analog effects on their debut album, Scatology, as a reflection on sodomy and queer identity in the time of AIDS through electronic meditations on the transformed and alienated body in Horse Rotorvator and Gold is the Colour, combining the aesthetics of Pasolini and Burroughs with the magical practices of Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare to present an alternative, alchemical vision of the body experiencing itself fully through pain. The broken machine of the body, castigated and reviled by mainstream discourses that condemned the BDSM practices of those caught up in Operation Spanner, is precisely the site for Coil where the body comprehends its own self.

Keywords:Body modding, Coil, Throbbing Gristle, industrial music, AIDS
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W300 Music
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:48408
Deposited On:23 Mar 2022 16:39

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