The Gnome Incident…

July 22, 2009

A while ago, my identity was stolen. Luckily, I had already made a copy of it so I could afford to lose it. It’s good to make copies of stuff, because when someone steals a copy, the original owner doesn’t actually lose anything.

It happened like this: A while ago in my apartment builduing, they moved the mailboxes downstairas. Which is a very good thing, because it’s a lot easier on the mailmen. Problem is that the kind of boxes they got in our house are very easy to get into without a key. If you are a person with very small hands, say a gnome or similar, you have no problem breaking into the boxes to steal people’s mail. And that’s obviously what happened to me.

There are several lessons to be learned here:

-It’s good to move mailboxes downstairs, but they should be safe.
-It’s good to copy things, because copies aren’t lost when stolen.
-Gnomes are not to be trusted.

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The first showing of a collection of assorted prints from Wormgod, WALL 001 will be shown at a noise event at Skånes Konstförening in Malmö, starring Shift, Grunt, KOEFF, IRM and Pestdemon from Unrest Productions.

September 4.

logowalls001

So I’ve written a bit about feminism and collectivity in the world of Piracy is Liberation now. Thought I’d talk a bit about media too.

I’d like to start by paraphrasing Frank Herbert:

Television is the mind-killer.

This may be my own personal opinion, but have you noticed how there’s never anything good on? And still you can get stuck in front of the TV screen for hours, then finally get up and turn it off and feel kind of dirty inside. Like your mind has been infected by something. TV is a media form that tends toward a kind of entertainment that is more concerned with profit than content.

Which is, of course, nothing new. Which in turn makes it even harder for me to understand how it can still hold such influence over our society. Now, before I continue, I should say that I can’t deny there are some TV things that I do enjoy watching. But those things can always be found in other places than the actual TV set, where you can watch them whenever you want instead of at one specific time. But that’s another story.

From Piracy is Liberation 003: Wires

From Piracy is Liberation 003: Wires

Television in my cyberpunk postapocalypse is a bit exaggerated. In the City, people don’t just watch TV, they jack into it through their TV ports, with cables going directly from the TV into their brains. Indoctrination taken to a whole new level. So the TV transmissions in the comic symbolises more than the role of the actual television in our world. When they cut the transmissions in the comic, it means that they cut the entire means of distribution for the entire machinery of cultural mainstreamification (is that a word? It should be).

Which is what makes it so dangerous. As dangerous as it seems to be to squat a building in sweden, for some reason. And the authorities treat it in much the same way too, with extreme prejudice (re: Piracy is Liberation 006: Violence).

So, another paraphrase:

Death to Television! Long live the new flesh!

 

We live in a society that is very much based on the individual, but a lot of what happens, especially when it comes to events with the potential to change things, are happening on a collective level. It’s all about mass movements (which is probably why the current culture is so centered on the individual, because it makes the status quo easier to maintain).

So another thing I’m trying to do with Piracy is Liberation is to tell the story from a slightly different perspective. Of course, it’s very much about individuals. As a reader, you need characters to relate to in order for the story to work. But my characters are also parts of a greater collective. A collective that may not be visible as such at alla times, but one that is always present. When major changes take place, individual characters may be acting as catalysts, but there is always a collective that makes the real difference.

From Piracy is Liberation 004: Copies and Originals

From Piracy is Liberation 004: Copies and Originals

This is something that may not be obvious, but I want it to run in the background, surfacing now and then in the climaxes as seen through the eyes of the individuals taking part in the movements of the story. I’m also trying to convey the feeling of working as a collective. The feeling that anything can be achieved, in a way that I would say you’ll never feel on your own.

From Piracy is Liberation 002: Infotrip

From Piracy is Liberation 002: Infotrip

Ok, like this:

There were a lot of issues that I had to consider when I began turning Piracy is Liberation into what it is today. Things I thought I’d like to speak about in the series, but I think that some things can be spoken about by not speaking about them. War is one of those things (how does a world where the concept of war doesn’t exist differ from ours?) that I might go into later. Gender issues is another, and that is what I’d like to talk about now.

I was thinking, should I use Piracy to talk about gender issues that we all live with here today by having the Piracy world be similar to ours, or should I take another approach. I’ve never tried to market Piracy as a feminist comic, but I’ve heard from people who think it is, and I can understand why they think so. Of course, it was my intention, but I wasn’t sure people would notice it and I’m glad they did.

piracy003-25

From Piracy is Liberation 003: Wires

The thing is that there are a lot of stories, fictional and otherwise, that describe our gendered society and talk about inequalities and all that, but there are very few that show what things could be like without that shit. There are also some that turn the tables and present a world where men behave like women and women behave like men, but I’m not really interested in that either. I also have problems with drag sometimes, when it confirms stereotypes rather than question them. It doesn’t really change anything. Quite the opposite, almost.

So I present a world where men and women work under very similar conditions. They are able to do the same things, think the same thoughts, act on the same level. Because physical sex shouldn’t matter and gender (its mental/social counterpart) shouldn’t exist, and I wanted to see what would happen with my story if that was actually the case.

I still wanted the society in the City where the comic takes place to be hierarchical and conservative, but in other ways. It can be conservative when it comes to how we manage our relationships even if it’s gender equal. After all, relationships tend to be hierarchical in one way or another, no matter if they are heterosexual or homosexual, so I don’t think that heterosexuality or gender differences is a prerequisite for that.

After reading this, some may wonder why the opening phrase of the entire series is:

That’s it, stay still, bitch!

with a woman lying under the heel of a man’s boot, but the point in that scene is that the man is a policeman who could just as easily have been a woman. So it has more to do with power and violence and not so much to do with gender.

One final point I’d like to make is that the way I treat the subject in Piracy is Liberation, even though it’s pretty far from most other ficitonal stories produced in this society, is probably more similar to actual reality. Because the image we have of women as passive and men as the acting subjects throughout history can’t possibly be true. I thinks that’s simply another fictional story…

The description of my part of HackNight at Utkanten on Saturday:

I’ll be talking about the world of Piracy is Liberation, my cyberpunk postapocalypse series of graphic novels, where I got the idea for the original concept and how it progressed from there. By looking at the story and describing the City where it takes place, I hope to paint a picture of how the comic mirrors the reality of sweden in particular and capitalist society in general. I’d also like to talk a bit about how I’ve handled different story elements, like gender, media and collectivity/individuality when I’ve constructed this fictional world.

I may write something about any of these topics here on the blog during the week, if I’m not busy working on the new book.

In the meantime, here’s a color version of the first image made for Piracy is Liberation 007: Spiders pt. 1:

wormgod008spider

It is also a Wormgod image and will be available as a print at the upcoming Wall 001 exhibition (when and where that will be remains unknown, so check the site in the near future for more info as it comes).

Added some stuff to the world tour schedule:

July 11: Hacknight, Utkanten Malmö, Sweden
and
September 19: Wormgod: Zombies @ Malmö Queer Art & Film Festival, Panora, Malmö, Sweden

The first one is a hacker festival at Utkanten in Malmö, where I will talk a bit about Piracy is Liberation.

The second one will be some kind of talk about the Wormgod: ZOMBIES project, which is still very much in the future at this point, held by me and Suss. This will be in cinjunction with the showing of Bruce LaBruce’s film Otto or Up With Dead People, so we’ll probably talk a bit about that one too. More info about all this will come later at Panora‘s website.

And, of course, no one interested in Piracy is Liberation, Wormgod or extreme music should miss the party this Saturday at Utkanten!

See you there!