IN YOUR EYES EZINE and TRUE LOVE ATELIER
Photographic Exhibition by KRK DOMINGUEZ
curated by IN YOUR EYES EZINE
6pm: Exhibition and DJ Set HellPacso (DSA COMMANDO)
Part 1 Expanded Intro (for a possible perspective)
Assuming the impossibility, even if it were suggested in very brief references, to retrace in this rapid introduction the centrality of photography in the development of youth cultures and, in particular in the more general relationship with the evolution of rock music, we will limit ourselves to recalling that, with the explosion brought about by punk frees itself of any possible artistic residue, completely emancipating itself from the more traditional visual-figurative art forms. Thus, precisely at the very origin of the explosion, we witness already established professional figures – Bob Gruen, above all – capable of getting back into the game and merging with researchers and experimenters such as Dennis Morris, Kevin Cummins, Roberta Bailey, David Godlis… who , in turn, recombine and influence very young integral drop-outs, and/or young artists in training, coming from art schools and evening courses in experimental photography.
Improvisation, informal technical approach, avant-garde artistic-political theories, borrowed from the entire history of the 20th century, together with the most total artistic-expressive freedom guaranteed by the plethora of new sound languages emerging from the most fetid urban cellars – punk, in short – interpenetrate , creating the perfect platform for a wide range of new talents who will outline much of the contemporary musical and “pop” imagination.
The California scene, more than any other, gives birth to some of the most engaging and exciting figures in terms of creativity, longevity and ability to capture the essence of the nascent movement and influence future generations: F-Stop Fitzgerald, Spot, Ruby Ray, G. E. Friedman , Jenny Lens – a name above all Gary Panther, for an image above all: the shocking, angry minimalism, enhanced by the apparent simplicity of the American plane, on which he places, making it immortal, the Screamers logo. And one would think that such a perfect consonance, in grasping the mysteriously unknown connection between sound, aesthetics and attitude, is unattainable, but…
In fact, at the dawn of hardcore, although already formed in the milieu of the Masque, the Mecca of Los Angeles punk, the figure of Edward “Ed” Colver stood out. If, in purely musical terms, hardcore places itself in direct line with the autonomy and radicality expressed by the original punk, continuing together with other post-punk sound languages to break every barrier and to define possible futures – other than the interpretation literal of the “no future”, or, of the “blank generation” as some stupid bureaucrats of the music press would still like to convince you – in the same way one could say of Colver’s art.
From Jello Biafra who, like a sort of post-modern Christ, sacrifices the body of his own Father to the crowds, to the convulsions of Stevo from the Vandals, to Johanna Went imprinted in her “actionist” ferocity, passing through the police barrage to the premiere of the film “Decline of Western Civilization”, to the most iconic of all the countless photos of the originally out of control and authentically wild stage diving that have ever been taken (“Wasted Youth flip shot”). And it certainly doesn’t end here… “Damaged” 12″ lp and “Damaged I/Luoie Louie” 7″ by Black Flag, “Fear of life” 12″ lp by Channel Three, and “Group Sex” by… by .. I no longer remember – created in team with Diane Zincavage and Shawn Kerri. Raw street photography + pop-art heritage + comics, in the attachment: sublimation!
It’s enough? Would it still be possible to talk about photography in the musical field after… what type, what possible angle, where we can try to reconstruct, to search for meaning and originality? The answer, perhaps the only correct one, is ambivalent.
On the one hand, it would be obvious that no: what sense? What? Why? From another perspective, obviously yes, but under one and intuitively unique condition: pushing both the angular-visual defragmentation to the maximum possible degree, exactly as the noise-sonic one (noise, crossover, grind, trash… grunge, certainly, ambient-dub-electronic, Scorn, Godflesh, you won’t think of contemporary antics in Yankee style, no, please, no!) as much as the intimate-intrinsic relationship with the performers, the bands, their instruments , the space, the clubs, the bars, the cellars… the suburban sprawl and certain landscapes glimpsed, pursued, in agony, denied, integrally, incorporated.
Between Alex Cox’s “Repoman” and William Friedkin’s “To live and die in LA”, just to throw a microscopic cinematic itinerary onto the table. And, again, between a backyard and sinking into a basement whether it is used for an improvised-clandestine gig, or used for a continuous-imaginary rehearsal room, (“Never talking to you again”, good god the Huskers, or “History lesson pt. II”, good god i… with their moving tribute to J. Strummer for guitar and voice and little, or nothing, more: essentiality, the key to, again, returns: punk).
Following this path, Murray Bowels could represent the ideal bridge figure. See, in this regard, “If life is a bowl of cherries, why am I in the pit?” fotozine (MRR edizioni, 1986), together with the memory offered by Matt Saincome, founder of the satirical punk site “Hard time”: My friends and I, we threw a show at a barn in Clayton when I was 16,” Saincome said . “There were 12 people there, out in the middle of nowhere, up this mountain, it didn’t even have an address. Absolutely no one came. No popular bands. And all of a sudden, Murray popped up. It’s me and 12 of my friends, and then him… His dedication to punk went so far that he wasn’t just going to a couple venues here and there. He said, ‘I’m gonna drive up this mountain in Clayton, to a barn with cows and chickens.’
Part 2 – Synthesis: mind, eye and… heart.
Perhaps no one, no one more than the storytellers through images, the punk photographers, who grew up and trained with it, were able to grasp the power and explosive force of its progressiveness and of the tangle of connections that it continued to weave starting from the second half of the 80s, becoming interpreters and witnesses of seasons no less unrepeatable than the “classic” ones of the 70’s, or the early 80s. Here in Krk Dominguez’s eye, often published to embellish the writings of Flipside – the most extraordinarily long-lasting and intelligent of the fanzines that emerged directly from the international ’77 – intense moments of “beers, sweat and anarchy” capable of restoring the depth with which punk constitutes a network of relationships – the backbone of North American suburban nonconformity.
Butthole Surfers, Mentors, RHCP, Exploited, Captured in 1989, at “Al’s Bar”, in the historic center of LA, at a concert shared with the glorious clubs Claw Hammer, in front of an audience, barely, numbering twenty spectators: a wall of post-hardcore sound that vibrated with pure intensity, beyond any cliché, and well before, much before, that the famous bureaucrats, always them and who else – other minds – labeled them as standard bearers of grunge. Of course, the group, par excellence, which “conquered everything”, and which, in the most adherent of punk attitudes, “threw everything away”. Kirk’s gaze was there and, as if to seal the stimulus addressed to him by Al “Flipside”: “be more than a witness”, he immortalized dozens of other bands on tour who, inspired by LA punk – let’s name 5, impossible , 5 only, to try: Weirdos-Germs-X-Black Flag-Screamers – they returned to the big city, almost as if attracted by a magnet, as if to pay a tribute due to that same scene-reality that had contributed to generating them for, literally , GERM(S)/mining.