ARTHUR’S FIRST ISSUE IN FOUR YEARS OUT NOW

ArthurCvr33Pre

Arthur No. 33 (Jan 2013)
Sixteen 15″ x 22.75″ pages (8 color, 8 b/w)
$5
Published Dec. 22, 2012

“The new oversized print-only issue of Arthur Magazine is even more gorgeous and satisfying than expected. Like a Sunday supplement for heads.” — Jesse Jarnow, author of Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock

“Beautiful” — Chris Richards, The Washington Post

“A coffee-table newspaper, printed on 16 immense pages of newsprint with minimal ads, and almost every inch covered with words or pictures… The cover, a gigantic piece by surreal comics artist Rick Veitch, is gorgeous, and the crispness and clarity of the print is perhaps the best I’ve seen in a newspaper. Everything in the new [issue] is worth absorbing… Opening the mammoth pages of the new Arthur feels much like unfolding a road map, one that points to strange, unfamiliar worlds.” — Ned Lannamann, The Portland Mercury

“The Haydukes of music/art/culture journalism return…welcome back!” — Team Love Records

After a four-year sabbatical, occasionally beloved revolutionary sweetheart Arthur returns to print, renewed, refreshed, reinvigorated and in a bold new format: pages as tall and wide as a daily newspaper on compostable newsprint, with ads only on the back cover(s). Amazing!

In partnership with Portland, Oregon’s Floating World Comics, Arthur’s gang of idiots, know-it-alls and village explainers are back, edited by ol’ fool Jay Babcock and art directed by Yasmin Khan.

This issue’s contents include…

Dream a Deeper Dream: A how-to conversation with cartoonist ROARIN’ RICK VEITCH by Jay Babcock. Plus “Cartographer of the American Dreamtime,” an appreciation of Rick Veitch and his work by Mr. Alan Moore. Mr. Veitch’s “Self-Portrait in Six Dimensions” graces our cover.

JACK ROSE: the definitive, career-spanning interview with this late great America guitarist, conducted by Brian Rademaekers just months before his death three years ago. Plus: Jack Rose discography compiled by Byron Coley, and an illustration of a classic Jack pose by Plastic Crimewave.

An illuminating/endarkening conversation with sparkling Luciferian artist FRANK HAINES by Eliza Swann

Stewart Voegtlin on WAYLON JENNINGS’ dark dream, with an illustration by Beaver

Columnist DAVE REEVES on Burroughs, bath salts and border guards, with an illustration by Arik Roper

Columnist NANCE KLEHM on new modes of exchange—and homemade smokes, with an illustration by Kira Mardikes

Cartoonist GABBY SCHULZ explores our interstate nightmare

The Center for Tactical Magic on “The Magic(k) of Money” — and how YOU can win $1000 for planning a BANK ROBBERY!

“Bull Tongue” columnists BYRON COLEY & THURSTON MOORE survey happenings in underground culture, paying special attention to new and archival releases from Claude Pelieu; Spectre Folk; United Waters; Devin, Gary & Ross; Jess Franco; Mick Farren; Chris D.; Donna Lethal; Crystal Siphon; Mad River; Horace; Erewhon Calling by Bruce Russell; Toy Love; The Clean; David Kilgour; The Heavy Eights; Chris Corsano; Joe McPhee; Rangda; Ben Chasny; Sir Richard Bishop; David Oliphant; Brothers Unconnected; 200 Years; Six Organs of Admittance; Gary Panter; Marcia Bassett & Samara Lubelski; Cheater Slicks; Ron House; Above Ground; Vacuum; Max Block; Dead C; Axemen; Hamish Kilgour; Circle Pit; Kitchen’s Floor; Bits of Shit; and Boomgates. Plus a special report on The Ex 33 festival at Cafe Oto in East London, featuring The Ex, John Butcher, Zea + Charles, Jackadaw With Crowbar, Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark, Trash Kit, Steve Beresford, Wolter Weirbos, Valentina Campora, Gabriella Maiorino, Andy Moor, Yannis Kyriakides, Anne-James Chaton, Ad Baars, Jorge Vega, Ian Saboya, Enrique Vega, Tony Buck and Roy Paci.

Please keep in mind… Arthur is no longer distributed for free anywhere. Those days are (sadly) long gone, ladies! Now you gotta buy Arthur or you won’t see it. Our price: Five bucks pretty cheap!

ORDER NOW: CLICK HERE

BANK HEIST CONTEST!

From The Center for Tactical Magic:

    BANK HEIST CONTEST

Daddy was a bankrobber,
But he never hurt nobody.
He just loved to live that way
And he loved to take their money.

Some is rich and some is poor,
And that’s the way the world is.
And I don’t believe in lying back
And saying how bad your luck is.

—from “My Daddy was a Bank Robber” by The Clash

Everyone knows that robbing a bank is illegal. But, there’s no law against fantasizing about it. Popular culture has long relied on this fantasy to promote a wide array of bank robber tales, often romanticizing the lawbreaker as a clever hero outsmarting the agents of economic oppression. The old American West was populated with such infamous desperadoes as Butch Cassidy, Frank and Jesse James, Black Bart, Joaquin Murrieta, and Pearl Hart. And, the Great Depression gave rise to the likes of Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, “Slick” Willie Sutton, and John Dillinger to name but a few of the most notorious.

Although the current economic conditions are frequently compared to the desperation of the Depression era, many law-abiding citizens would finger banks as the biggest criminals in our society today. Upon further scrutiny, it becomes clear that this heightened antagonism towards the big banking establishment deserves a creative outlet. As many people battle rising unemployment, increasing food costs, exorbitant health care fees, and bank foreclosures, the “get rich quick” narrative comes head-to-head with the “make ends meet” social conditions that have cultivated the legendary heists of the past.

Can planning a bank robbery really pay off? Yes, it can. The Bank Heist Contest is offering $1000 to the best bank robbery proposal. Period. No need to assemble a team or snag a getaway car. Applicants just need plan it out, draw it up, and describe it as best as possible. If it wins, they’ll be $1000 richer. And the best part: no risk of jail time.

The Bank Heist Contest is a participatory cultural endeavor designed to re-visit the romantic representation of bank robbers in relation to the current economic and social crises, including: income disparity, unemployment, housing foreclosures, federal bailouts, the LIBOR scandal, and a wealth of other egregious economic indicators. It is organized by the The Center for Tactical Magic with support from Southern Exposure, a non-profit arts organization in San Francisco. For inquiries, please email: heistcontest@tacticalmagic.org

Download: PDF (1mb) of BANK HEIST CONTEST POSTER AND RULES

ADULT WITCHCRAFT

Ancient diplomacy: Moses’ brother performs magic(k) before the pharoah and his court of magicians in this depiction of Exodus 7:12. What was the pharoah doing with all of those magicians anyway?


Applied Magic(k): Adult Witchcraft
by The Center for Tactical Magic

Originally published in Arthur No. 21 (Feb 2006), available from The Arthur Store

Like “art,” the word “magic” can be very confusing for people. It simultaneously conjures notions of trickery, witchcraft, illusion, mysticism, fantasy, and a vast array of products, services, and popular culture references. Many of these notions evoke a dismissive response from people when they encounter the term, partly because they tend to immediately latch onto a single notion of magic that they reproach—cheesy Las Vegas sideshow; dreadlocked Wiccan hippy; Dungeons & Dragons wannabe; Satanic drug fiend; pet psychic; reality escapist; and so forth. Of course, by conjuring such characters as Gandalf, Harry Potter, Sabrina and John Edwards, popular media does its best to fantasize, infantalize, and capitalize on our collective desires for more than another sequel to “Life as We’re Told It Is.” The Center for Tactical Magic does not exclusively align itself with any one interpretation of “magic,” in part, because the vastness of the interpretations of “magic” is what gives magic its power in the world of meaning. Therefore this column is likely to exploit many of your preconceptions of magic(k) in an effort to dislodge your comfortable sensibilities.

In nearly all of the permutations of magic(k), the conventions of presenting information are completely fucked with. A stage magic trick is a good example on many levels. For starters, a magician often uses “patter” or a story to provide a context for the audience’s experience of the illusion: “Ladies and Gents, as a special treat for you tonight, I’m going to make the president disappear. Now before anyone gets too excited, it’s an already dead president—Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill—our racist, Indian-killer president.” In the patter, the magician may or may not lie, but the intention is always to manipulate the audience’s perceptions. This is done easily enough because the information presented in the form of patter appears to coincide with the visual information presented through the magician’s movements and use of props. (Andrew Jackson does appear on the twenty dollar bill; however, historians debate whether or not he killed more Native Americans then some of our other racist presidents. And the $20 in the magician’s hands will disappear… from view, but not likely from material existence since s/he needs it for rent). And of course, the magician’s movements are deceptively “natural” in appearance: a well-placed cough or a hand on the hip doesn’t generally attract attention. Similarly, the props are shown to be beyond suspicion: an audience member inspects the bill; the magician’s clothing looks normal enough; the hands are shown to be empty; etc. If performed successfully, a good magic trick will have a convincing effect largely because the magician has presented several forms of discordant information in a harmonious manner. The verbal info, the body language, the sequence of events, and the overall physical appearance conform to the audience’s expectations of normalcy (i.e. the magician used a hidden gimmick to ditch the bill half way through the performance, yet kept a closed hand in plain view while continuing to discuss the merits of vanishing racist presidents). When the magician finally opens the fist to reveal not a twenty but a handful of pretzels the audience will attempt to bridge the gap between what they believe they have witnessed and what they formerly believed was possible.

In the Western traditions of ritual magic(k) and occult practices there is often a “lust for results” that demands linearity in the form of cause-and-effect. In such cases, practitioners become ill at ease when they summon a demon to defeat racist presidents and no one shows up to take the job. That said, nearly every other expression of magic across the globe regards the magical act as a liminal space that appears during the performance. This is a zone of transformation; a place where the rules of everyday life are suspended and alternative realities can trickle in. In some cases, a shaman will perform a conjuring trick as a way of illustrating the zone of transformation. Thus, it is not the “trick” which is magic, but the performance/perception. The tricks are part of a performance that leads the audience to a mental state where the real magic can take place: the shift occurs in the perception of the audience rather than in the hands of the shaman. The best stage magicians also recognize this dynamic among their own audiences and perform accordingly by designing and performing illusions and/or rituals that are relevant to people’s lives: Houdini emphasized self-liberation from the constraints of everyday life, such as prisons, handcuffs, safes, ropes and packing crates. Likewise, Cagliostro defied the strict 18th-century norms of society by allowing both men and women, aristocracy and commoners, to join a vast European network of Egyptian Masonry and partake in rites not likely described as modest even by today’s standards.

One goal of the following exercises is to create this meaningful shift in consciousness; to locate and inhabit this secret pocket. The shift may be immediate or in the form of a mental time-bomb. You can treat these magic exercises as experiments, interventions and alternative forms of entertainment. Have fun & good luck, and please let us know how it was for you by emailing to goodluck@tacticalmagic.org

EXERCISES IN MAGICAL THINKING, ANALYZING POWER, AND ACTIVATING HIDDEN FORCE…S

1) Plant three seeds of a vegetable plant of your choosing. Label each container respectively: positive, negative & control. Provide each plant with equal amounts of water, soil, and sun. Dedicate at least six minutes of each day (three minutes per plant—positive & negative only) on focusing positive & negative thoughts. Record your results and enjoy the fruits (vegetables) of your labor.
*This is an exercise in developing your telepathic abilities, exploring modes of unregulated communication, collaborating with non-humans, and bringing your thoughts and desires to fruition.

2) Write your own survey to elicit responses from other members of the general public. You may decide to pose questions, ask opinions, or provoke thought. Then, conduct the survey for at least three hours in a public space of your choosing, or until the “authorities” inform you that you are trespassing on public property.
*This is an exercise in activating public space, determining the limits of public space, and generating a non-commercial exchange of ideas among strangers. Most people are happy to express their opinions when asked, especially when they are informed that their participation does not involve a sales pitch, future mailings, religious conversion or product development.

3) Get a rope (at least 30 feet) and a friend (or a friendly stranger). Take turns tying each other up and escaping.
*This is an exercise that explores restriction, control, and self-liberation. You’ll be amazed to find how easily one can liberate oneself!

4) Get a group of friends together at night and find a public space to beautify as you see fit. Consider the site beforehand and plan your action thoroughly (but don’t bring along any evidence of your conspiring). Your materials should not be cumbersome, or they should be well-disguised. While some friends are in the act of beautifying, others should be posted on the lookout for “authorities” since they might not have the same sense of aesthetic appreciation as you and your friends. (If they don’t like it, they can make their own art!) If you decide to document your actions, it’s best to do it at a later time, and be sure that none of your friends’ faces are visible.
*This is an exercise in collaborative acts of meditation, willful engagement, and material transformation. You can do this in the daytime too, but nocturnal operations tend to be more mirthful and help induce perceptual shifts (both spatially and experientially).

5) Create a disguise for yourself that allows you to navigate everyday life without drawing much attention. This should be different from your normal attire. Spend the day in disguise performing leisurely or mildly adventuresome activities. Possibilities include:
a) Choose someone at random and follow them from a distance for at least 15 minutes. Then follow someone else. When you grow tired of following people, find someone who looks lost and try leading them to their destination.
b) Visit a factory or place of industry and ask for a tour. Ask lots of provocative questions, and then ask for a job. Tell them you can’t do much, but you’re interested in something at the executive level.
c) Go to at least three different places of worship. Check out the interior design. Explore a little. If someone is in attendance, strike up a conversation about the “afterlife” or “special religious foods.”
d) Go to a bank with your video camera and begin recording the bank interior. When the security guard or branch manager stops you and asks what you think you’re doing, explain that you’re trying to determine how many security cameras they have installed. If they ask “why?” tell them you’re “just doing research” or “conducting a survey of banks” or “interested in security.” Then say, “If you really want to be helpful, you can just tell me how many cameras you have and save me and the boys’ the trouble of watching this recording later and trying to count ‘em all.”
*This is an exercise in shape shifting, personal transformation, and casting illusions, as well as observing how “authorities” respond to subtle challenges beyond the status quo. The disguise will help empower you to act “out of character;” besides, if you can’t change yourself how do you expect to change the reality around you?

The Center for Tactical Magic is a moderate international think tank dedicated to the research, development and deployment of all types of magic in the service of positive social transformation. To find out more, check out tacticalmagic.org

EXORCISE DAILY!

Vanishing Act
by the Center for Tactical Magic

from the “Applied Magic(k)” column in Arthur No. 32 (Dec 2008)

One of the oldest themes in magic(k) is that of death and resurrection. Recurring in the origin stories of numerous religions, death and resurrection also played an important role in the initiation ceremonies of early shamans across the globe. By first descending into the depths of sickness, disease, and even death itself a Siberian shaman would make allegiances with spirit allies who could be called upon to help the living. But in order to do so, the shaman would have to survive the ordeal and return to life before s/he could act as an intermediary.

Anthropologists have observed similar tendencies in shamanic initiation throughout geographically divergent cultures. Although the story of Jesus Christ is perhaps our society’s most familiar example, scholars of world religion are quick to point out that many aspects of the Christ story are reflected in earlier religious beliefs surrounding such deities as Osiris, Dionysus, and Mithras to name but a few of the more notable, regional examples. However, the list of dying-and-rising gods numbers well into the dozens and extends across the world map to include the likes of Quetzalcoatl (Aztec), Odin (Norse), Ishtar (Mesopotamia), Julunggul (Aboriginal Australian), and Travolta (Hollywood).

While Tarantino’s resurrection of Travolta might not qualify him as a “god” worthy of the aforementioned pantheon, themes of death and resurrection have long played out on the stages of popular culture and entertainment. Early performers in Native America and in ancient Egypt would amaze audiences by bringing animals back to life. While in India, fakirs performing the famed “basket trick” would stuff a child into a woven container before perforating the basket (and presumably the child) with multiple swords, only to reveal a short moment later that the child was still alive and well. More recently, magicians P.T. Selbit and Horace Goldin might not have the popular name recognition today that they once shared in the 1920’s; however, one would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t recognize their famed (and misogynistic) illusion: sawing a woman in half.

A resurrection routine in theatrical magic often takes one of several forms: a transposition (in which the assistant disappears from one place and reappears somewhere else), a transformation (in which the assistant appears to change into something or someone else), or a restoration (in which the assistant is returned to normal after first being subjected to some sort of ghoulish sadism). A vanish on the other hand (in which the assistant simply disappears) is seldom used for a resurrection act because the audience is left ill-at-ease wondering what happened to the body after the magician stabbed, shot, burned, or cut it.

More commonly, vanishes are employed as a metaphorical reminder for the ephemeral and illusory nature of life. Coin vanishes are among the more familiar tricks in a conjurer’s repertoire, and audiences seem to have no trouble relating to the disappearance of money even when it happens inexplicably before their very eyes. Thurston, the great Vaudeville magician and master Mason, took the vanishing act a step further by introducing the “the vanishing Arabian steed” followed a few years later by “the vanishing automobile” along with its passengers. More than simply illustrating the technological trajectory of transportation, Thurston’s vanishes demonstrated to his audience that coins, cars, or other symbols of material wealth possess a value that is not lasting. Later magicians failed to recognize the potential for multiple levels of symbolic relevance and focused only on scale as a determining factor for their illusions by vanishing elephants and water buffalo.

However, the same cannot be said for David Copperfield’s famed vanishing of the Statue of Liberty. With 1984 looming and Ronald Reagan busy conjuring his own “voodoo economics” the disappearance of Lady Liberty probably should have spooked audiences more than it did. Clearly more prophetic than Thurston’s vanishing horse, Copperfield’s vanishing Liberty should have been regarded not as prime time entertainment but as a dire warning of politics to come. If treated as an omen, we can at least take comfort in the fact that Copperfield’s illusion is ultimately a restoration and not simply a vanish. If so, and the mystical vision holds true, we can expect the return of our civil liberties, cell phone privacy, and perhaps even the freeing of those who have been disappeared by government contracted “extraordinary rendition” aircraft and in the CIA-operated secret prisons abroad.

In stage magic, vanishes may rely on a range of methods to achieve the desired effect. The use of mirrors, trap doors, secret compartments, and doubles might be used to restore an assistant to a healthy state. While politics also utilizes no short supply of ruses, deceptions, and misdirections, it takes much more to return to a healthy state. Although we witnessed the vanishing of George Bush from the White House in January of 1993, we were left dumbstruck when a second George Bush reappeared in the Oval Office in 2001. Unlike the shamanic ascension from the underworld that affords mysterious new powers for helping treat the ailments of others, this hellish return was accompanied by two wars, an exploding national debt, a devastating economic crash, and mysterious new powers for government surveillance and the executive branch.

Thankfully the curtain call has come for that sad act. The stage has been reset and we are now eagerly awaiting the next Bush vanishing act from the halls of government. Hopefully this time it’s a permanent disappearance. And perhaps when the curtain goes up on this next act we’ll witness the resurrection of the long-dead spirit of democracy that has recently begun haunting our hopes and dreams again.

Undoubtedly, politicians and governments will continue to perform much as they have in the past. Yet, the mass mobilization around the Obama campaign has given the audience new clues in determining the outcome of the show. The close of the Obama/McCain election represented a political shift in more ways than one. For the first time in eight years (if not longer), people poured into the streets not to protest an act of government but to celebrate one. The jubilation went far beyond party politics because the triumph went not only to the Democrats. People could feel their own political power. Whether or not Obama lives up to his campaign promises and our highest expectations remains to be seen; yet, the real victory here is the empowerment of the grassroots to accomplish a major political mission. Hopefully, the next eight years brings the political utopian equivalent of unicorns and demons sharing the last slice of birthday cake under a shimmering rainbow. But if it doesn’t, we now have a road map for organizing that doesn’t just look like another weekend march with placards and puppets in the financial district of a major metropolis. On the contrary, the mobilization around Obama was widespread, sustained, contextual, and media-savvy. It utilized multiple outreach strategies, creative tactics, and a model of fundraising that accumulated millions of small donations into a mega-fund for manifesting a collective vision. And now that we see what we can accomplish, there’s no reason why we should stop there. The show must go on – locally, nationally, globally. Or else we may find ourselves sitting once again in a dark theater awaiting the resurrection of our political nightmares.

Print this out: HELPFUL “EXORCISE DAILY” PDF


HOW TO HEX A CORPORATION

Above: A CTM-designed sticker, easily adaptable for re-use by you.

APPLIED MAGIC(K): Hex Files
by the Center for Tactical Magic

Originally published in Arthur No. 30 (July 2008)

The Center for Tactical Magic is no stranger to controversy. Even when we’re not actively setting out to conjure a bit of mischief, the imps often make the effort to conjure us. Since our projects frequently trespass into different cultural territories, it’s not uncommon to encounter an occasional cold reception or heated debate. Typically, these center around what the Center is or isn’t. Activists? Occultists? Conjurers? Tricksters? Contemporary artists? Martial artists? Con artists? Most of the time we feel that these debates are more productive for everyone when we stay out of them and let folks figure things out on their own. However, we recently received some paradoxical antagonisms via email regarding one of our distribution projects and thought it might be helpful to clarify a few misunderstandings.

To begin, the project in question is a curse. It is a curse in the form of a sticker that is specifically designed to target corporations, institutions, agencies, and the like. And the ire that we raised from two different people couldn’t be more divergent. The first, a self-proclaimed “activist” wrote:

I like a lot of what you guys do, but some of it doesn’t seem very productive. I mean, curses? I just read your article in Arthur about the difference between “magical thinking” and “wishful thinking” and then you suggest “cursing” people in power? This seems hypocritical and/or delusional. I’m open to different people’s spiritual viewpoints, and I don’t mean any offense, but I don’t really see how a curse can be as effective as a protest or a petition.

The second critic, a self-proclaimed “Wiccan High Priestess” wrote:

I have long-admired the Center for Tactical Magic for your innovative interpretations of ancient magickal wisdom. However, I am deeply disturbed and taken aback by your “Diagrammatic Hex.” This curse clearly defies the Wiccan rede: “That ye hurt none, do what thou wilt.” Further, it beckons doom. “That which ye sendeth out, shall returneth three-fold!” This hex you have devised is of the darkest magick, and can only reap darkness in return. It is not only dangerous for you, but irresponsible towards those who would follow you down the Left-hand path to their own demise.

Before we directly address either of the aforementioned concerns, we should set the stage with a short history lesson. The origin of curses is ill-defined; yet, it’s certain that we find hexes, whammies, jinxes, the “evil eye” and all sorts of maleficia in cultures spanning time and geography. More often than not, curses have been cast over personal disputes, vindictive rages, and petty jealousies. However, there have also been instances where curses have been deployed in collective struggles.

In the Middle Ages, the peasant class had no easy avenue of representation through which they could air grievances against their feudal lords. So somewhere between total subjugation and full-scale revolt, curses became a tactic of dissent. By discretely attaching hexes to the property of the feudal lord, the ruling authorities could be made aware of the growing social distemper. While the nobility might be quick to dismiss the hexes as mere foolishness, the laborers of the manor, who belonged to the “superstitious” peasant class, could be relied upon to take the hexes a bit more seriously (and perhaps melodramatically). And unless the feudal lord took steps to remove the curse, the manor and the fief would slip into a dysfunctional mess. Of course, the way to remove the curse would involve rectifying any prevailing injustices.

It’s not too difficult to imagine that similar dramas were no doubt enacted hundreds of years later on plantations across the colonized globe. A bit of well-placed Hoodoo or Voodoo could serve to amplify the collective concerns of house slaves and field slaves alike. Even if the plantation owner took little heed of the “mumbo-jumbo” the workers would certainly make a fuss until things were set right.

Based on these precedents, as well as on our contemporary context of corporate neo-feudalism and wage-slavery, it seemed only fitting that we should revive and update this bit of mojo. As such, we suggest that the modern sticker-hex might produce several positive results:

1) The creation of a diagrammatic hex in the form of an easily applied sticker links modern street practices (like graffiti) to much older forms of magical resistance (such as the placing of curses on the property of feudal lords).

2) This user-friendly spell/tactic introduces people to a model of action: First, think through your issue to find a root cause(s). Then, find a way to physically address the offending source. This model contrasts starkly with more alienated reactions against abstracted frustrations. As opposed to feeling like the problems are poverty, or starvation, or war, we can begin to focus on financial institutions, agribusiness, or Halliburton.

3) Most people are far more superstitious than they are willing to admit. Even if the magical construction of the curse falls short, the mystical appearance of the sticker can often achieve certain desired effects. (In one instance, a cursed check sent to a credit card company went un-cashed for nearly three months!).

4) Lastly, if you have any doubts as to whether or not the curse works, just ask the folks over at Bear Stearns. (We’re not saying we’re responsible; we’re just saying…)

Hopefully that appeases our activist friend a bit. As for the Wiccan high priest, we’ll save the full conversation regarding the Black/White magic debate for a later date. In the meantime, we should be clear about our position. We are not openly advocating the cursing of individual people. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court re-interpreted the 14th Amendment (originally enacted to protect the rights of freed slaves) to grant corporations “personhood,” the inhuman conduct of some institutions, agencies, and corporations makes them worthy of any maledictions they might receive. While the Center for Tactical Magic does not ascribe to a belief system polarized into Black and White magic, it is nevertheless important to note that religious and secular circles alike largely agree that actively combating physical and spiritual injustice is a virtuous act that liberates oneself and others from the abuses of power. Even Gerald Gardner (oft regarded as the “Founding Father of Wicca”) is reputed to have organized his coven to curse Hitler and the Nazis during World War II (and we all know how that one ended).

Hopefully, the path we’re on now seems a little less scary. If not, don’t worry; we change directions all the time and often step off the path altogether. So sit tight or start a petition until we come back to our senses. For the rest of you, you too can flaunt taboos by cutting out this diagrammatic hex and following these magic words:

To cast the spell:

1) Relax. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Repeat.

2) Take a moment to reflect on the nasty policies, social ills, and community woes that need to be challenged and corrected.

3) Choose an issue that you feel particularly drawn to, and ask yourself, “What is most responsible for this dire situation? What obstacles stand in the way of a solution to this problem?” (If you’re not sure, do a little research).

4) Most likely, you will conclude that a large corporation, government agency, social institution, or other organizational entity is at least partially responsible for perpetuating the problem you seek to address. Write that name inside the red circle. (Note: this will not work against individuals, which unfortunately includes bosses, landlords, politicians, cops, etc.).

5) Close your eyes and envision the entire design, complete with the name written in the circle. Watch the name fade to nothingness. Now envision the positive results that would occur if your target’s vile actions were to disappear.

6) Open your eyes, and then, go attach the hex to the property of the encircled establishment. (you’ll need a glue stick)

7) Relax. Breathe freely. Smile. You have just completed your first act of street-level Tactical Magic by taking that difficult first step in mentally, spiritually, and physically addressing social injustice! Keep it up & let us know how it goes for you by emailing us at goodluck@tacticalmagic.org

Good Luck!

Thru Oct. 25, Basel: WITCHES' CRADLES by the Center for Tactical Magic

From The Center for Tactical Magic:

The CTM presents a new interrogation of power dynamics. Existing at a technological crossroads where torture, recreation, magic, and self-liberation merge together, Witches’ Cradles (2009) are an interactive public installation based on a contemporary re-envisioning of a medieval torture device.

“During the witchcraft persecutions in Europe, Inquisitors are said to have sometimes put an accused witch in a bag, which was strung up over the limb of a tree and set swinging. When witches’ learnt about this punishment they experimented with it themselves and found that the sensory deprivation or confusion of senses induced hallucinatory experiences. A similar swinging motion has long been used by shamans and dervishes and is sometimes known as ‘dervish-dangling’.”
– Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology

Devised initially for interrogation and torture, the witches’ cradle was eventually reclaimed by its potential victims for flights of fancy and inward journeys to altered states of consciousness. Since then, the past 100 years alone have shown us an array of antecedents that cast both shadows and light on the witches’ cradle, ranging from backyard tire swings to mob lynchings; from New Age sensory deprivation tanks to the haunting images from Guantanamo Bay. Even Houdini’s famed illusion, Metamorphosis (in which he freed himself from a locked and tied canvas sack), promised “self-liberation” and “change in 3 seconds.”

The Center for Tactical Magic’s re-envisioning of the witches’ cradle plays on these historical notes while suggesting a present-day desire to conjure positive transformation. Each cradle consists of a large 5-pointed star designed to simultaneously evoke its magical origins, imperial state power, and a cosmic source of light amidst darkness. After sitting in the center pentagon, the points of the star close overhead as the cradle is hoisted off the ground, allowing the participant to swing gently in the darkened center of the collapsed star. Like a black hole, a holding cell, or a metaphysical amusement ride, the Witches’ Cradles distort time and space. It is at this event horizon that the Witches’ Cradles create a place where one can begin to realize an altered state and contemplate the next course of action.

The Witches’ Cradles can be experienced at the Shift Festival of electronic arts and new media in Basel, Switzerland running from Oct 22 – 25, along with our collection of contemporary Wands. This year’s theme for Shift? “Magic. Tech-Evocations and Assumptions of Paranormal Realities”… Enough said.

For more info:
http://www.shiftfestival.ch/en/shift-2009/home-news/

"My relationship with the ninja was interesting on a couple of different levels."

The Roots of Culture

Alison Levy is a curator, writer and a blogger at the 2012 apocalypse fan-fiction forum Reality Sandwich. She’s posted a great interview with Arthur columnist Aaron Gach, of The Center for Tactical Magic. Check it out here.

In the midst of all the New Age therapy-speak in the comments — e.g. “i was the canvas i was doing the painting on, it was a shamanic abstract x-pressionist personal human sculpture” — “sonofman” jumps in to direct the RSers over here to Arthur to check out some of the Center for Tactical Magic’s contributions. Thanks, sonofman. Here’s a quick digest of the Center’s “Applied Magic(k)” columns, for your consideration:

Vanishing Act, from Arthur 32/December 2008

An Open Invocation, from Arthur 31/October 2008

The Roots of Culture, from Arthur 29/May 2008

Will Power To The People! from Arthur 27/November 2007

Calling All Ghosts, from Arthur 25/Winter 2006

BONUS: The Center for Tactical Magic at Psychobotany at Echo Park’s Machine Project, May 2007

Read an excerpt from the interview–in which Aaron explains what he learned from private eyes, ninjas and magicians–after the jump.

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