Shall we begin? Ready. Take a deep breath. I’m a musician, photographer, general confrontational artist of every medium, who has been going for now since 1977. I view myself more as a documentarian, because it all began with the word, the passion, the intent, the need to get out the emotional distress I felt as a young teenager, and I’m always documenting either my own hysteria, or histories – hysterical moments. I use music or I use visuals or I use the written word and the spoken word, as tools to further, really, what the word is, and the need to get out this urgency, whether it’s anger, passion, frustration.
It was called ‘Two’ from the graves or near graves of a white American male authors who were much older than I am – Henry Miller, Hubert Selby, and then also Gene, for instance, with the Marquis de Sade. Duchamp was very influential to me, and so was Goya, and so was Dali, so these artists, I think – Duchamp because of the absurdism of everything. I mean, I think here was two reasons – here was a person at a specific time in history where absurdity had to be brought to the front because things were just incredibly ridiculous, as times are now. But also, his last piece, which to me is the most incredible living piece of modern art, which is illuminating gas and waterfall Étants Donnés, which is in the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, which you walk up to this back room and you just see this giant farm wall with peepholes, and you are drawn, of course, to these peepholes, you are drawn to the wood, your face is against the smell of this wood, and you want to dive into these peepholes, but you can only go so far, and the back of it is like a water painting, a glistening waterfall. The foreground is hay with a lantern tipped on its side, and then of course, the pièce de résistance, the naked woman, head turned to the side, legs splayed, naked hairless vulva – what is the face of this? This piece obsessed me. A friend of mine knew how obsessed I was with this piece, and he said, ‘I saw the face – I’m not going to tell you. I saw the face of my friend Aldo, that’s why the head is turned to the side.’ So Duchamp, for these very reasons – and I think it’s the mystery, though, too, because it allows your own imagination to play a key part in what’s going on. And this is what is important to me, and this is what sucks me into… It’s the same with Goya’s black and white painting, the Ravages of War. The Caprices by Goya. So much darkness in the space. And this, to me, is magic. Yeah, this is where I want to disappear.
I don’t see myself as an outrageous artist. I mean, I’m dealing with a specific kind of extreme form of reality, but I’m not doing, to me, shocking art. I’m telling the truth according to how I’ve lived it. I did an installation called Not safe in your own home, kind of as a reaction against Tracy Emin, and it was a broken bedroom after an alcoholic seizure by a maniac, using the poems I wrote during this experience, his clothing, his boots, his broken bottles, hum porno of the two of us with his head excised out, because I don’t need to show… every man can be this arsehole. And I did this at Birmingham at the Fierce Festival, kind of as a reaction to embroidered quilts. It’s like, I want you to smell the fucking blood on the sheets, I don’t want to see their names embroidered – but that’s me.
I don’t know what the problem is. I mean, the thing is, to me you’re still very marginalised as a fierce woman, because there’s just not enough of us out there. And again, it goes back to the same handful, whether we’re talking about music, art, literature, film. I mean, there’s just a handful. And again, it’s the segregation – you know, don’t stop anyone telling us, be nice, smile pretty – you know, have a perfect figure – well, fuck off!
‘I mean, women just don’t fucking kill prostitutes, right? I mean, women don’t kill for no fucking reason, right? I mean, when a woman murders, it’s usually a crime of passion. It’s a lover, an ex-boyfriend, a husband, a father, it’s not a pack of fucking prostitutes. That’s a man’s work. Killing over and over again. The replicas of their first, their last, their latest, their lousy, their ever-present fucking rejection.’
You know, I want to be forced in life, in art, in relationships, in music, to swallow hard and deeply. I want it to hurt going down, but I want it to be the best fucking thing I every ate. And that sums up everyone we’re talking about. The intensity, I don’t think, no matter how I house it, is going to leave. It’s who I am, it’s what defines me, and if I’m too intense, there’s a billion other artists who aren’t as intense. Go there, don’t come to me. You know, get over your fucking preciousness about art. And I guess that’s why I don’t want to be called a performance artist, because I don’t find what I do precious. I find it almost – you know – any truck driver could relate. That’ll be a sign of true art coming from me. They can relate to the films, they can relate to the photography, you know, because eventually, a big new [inaudible 00:05:49] truck driver is going to come out and do a drag king show, and with that, can we close?