středa 24. února 2016

Uncle Grasha's Flying Circus and the Czech avant-garde scene

<<Uncle Grasha's Flying Circus>> isn't a new entry on this blog, we've already talked about this interesting dada project from Prague in previous months. Personally I think that all what they are doing is quite representative for the underground scene nowadays, from the way they perform - dressed as nuns - to the various formats they use to release their music - cd, cassette, floppy disc(!). I believe that at the moment we can openly say that the actual European underground context is or directly inspired or feels practically continuation of avant-garde movment. For me bands like <<UGFC>> are the best examples that commercial music will never be the point of reference for who is searching  new solutions in music.

All the stuff of these crazy noise makers you can find on their bandcamp   
and also on youtube 
And if you are this Saturday in Prague you should surely pass at  BUBENEČSKÁ NÁDRAŽKA, where 15 experimental musicians will perform. More details you can find here
Another obligatory event for all the fans of noise is this

  1. try to describe an actual Czech avant-garde context? 
 Czech avant-garde has a long and remarkable history, it's inspirative on one side and shameful on the other. There were lot of artists, who influenced most of contemporary experimental artists, for example Karel Teige, Voskovec+Werich duo, early poetism of Vítězslav Nezval, Otta Mizera's surrealism etc. But lot of them collaborated with stalinist communist party system after World War II (Nezval, for example). During the 1960thies and 70thies a new wave of Czech and Slovak avant-garde artists started to operate. There were people like Egon Bondy, Jan Švankmajer, artists around underground bands Plastic People of the Universe and DG-307, later Mikoláš Chadima, bands like OZW, Krásné Nové Stroje etc. Some of them stayed in underground after return of capitalism (like Bondy or Chadima), but some artists, mostly around Plastic People, started to support new regime, for example Franti&sca ron;ek “Čuňas” Stárek, former underground artist, became an officer of Czech secret police! But as a performer of contemporary avant-garde I must admit there are lot of possibilities for us to operate and restrictions from the regime are relatively small. But it could get worse due to recent fascist activities (like Pegida) in all Europe...

2. which are the advantages of being an artist in Prague?
Prague has a genius loci like Paris or Magnitogorsk. And in the past there was the biggest monument of Josif Stalin in the world!
3. why dadaism influenced you?
DADA influented everything, because: 
In the beginning DADA created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth art was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of DADA was hovering over the waters...“You will certainly die,” Grasha said to the woman. “For DADA knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like DADA, knowing good and evil.” ...Now Debord said to his brother Bourdieu, “Let’s go out to the field.”…

My son, if you have put up DADA for your neighbor,
if you have shaken hands in DADA for a stranger,
you have been DADA by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your DADA. 

And finally dada howls, as Tristan Tzara said.

4. tell us something more about the aesthetic that is used in the artworks for UGFC and the name of UGFC? 
Our bricolage artwork is influenced by Guy Debord's collages and also by„cut and paste“ aesthetics usually connected with punk. From lot of motives and inspirations we can mention revolutionary soviet motives, totalitarian aesthetics, christian symbols, military technique, motives from real socialism period etc. We combine brutal/extreme situations, sometimes violence or apocalypse with almost iconographic motives. The main purpose is mirroring of all-embracing absurdity by using totalitarian motives in almost fetishistic way, the same we can say about military motives like gun barrels, tanks etc. 

Uncle Grasha is new incarnation of poet Willhelm Grässlich after being beaten to unconsciousness by 51 nuns. And that nuns became the main actors of Circus. 

5. what is Donbass Symphony?  
Donbass Symphony, or Enthusiasm (1931) is revolutionary movie directed by Dziga Vertov, one of the most famous soviet avant-garde directors, known as “montage school”. Charlie Chaplin is said to state that “it was the best symphony ever”. It describes the fall of Russian old regime and the struggle of soviet workers and peasants for victorious destinations. It's a reborn of the new collective human. Peasants don't suffer from hunger there. I think it's an ideal movie for nuns! 

6. what is the future of music?
When we say “no future”, we must also add “no music”. Some time ago some people shouted “no future” , but started with playing music!

Willhelm Grasslich poems book made with sand paper

7. you published also a book of poems, can you tell me something more about it?
Poets in the past constantly searched for the most open-minded art. “What words we should have used?”, they probably asked. Nowadays we know that the problem are words and letters itself. So I have a book of poems for you in which there is not a single letter!

8. what kind of music you listened when you were a teenager?
Hard rock and metal like iron maiden, black sabbath or rolling stones in a concrete mixer.
9. do you think that nuns are sexy?
I think nuns are sexists!

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