Interview with Michael Dudeck
[M]DUDECK is a witchdoctor, teknopriest and cultural engineer who invents their own religion as art. Their work centers around the construction and dissemination of a messianic queer space opera called RELIGION VIRUS, which chronicles a host of competing religious narratives occuring over epochs in an alternate universe. Chapters of RELIGION VIRUS have been presented in over 25 countries worldwide, in various iterations including (and not limited to) : live ritual performance, liturgical tekno-sermons, museological installations of invented artifacts and dioramas, fictional archaeological excavations, documentaries, the composition and live performance of vocally inflected sacred electronika, the writing of fictional scriptures, the invention of several languages, the inscription and live illumination of a constructed bible, and most recently the development of a digital temple, called TEMPLE OF ARTIFICE going live on Autumn Equinox, 2019.
What does lunar blood suggest to you?
For the past year I have been surveying the Badlands of UFOlogy as a site of radical revisionary/ information age Cosmology (aliens(as)angels, intelligent design, the chanelling of extraterestrial prophecies, apocalypse/new Earth/New Jersualem) and one of the prevailing theories in this canon is that the Moon is actually an artificial space-ship, or operating base for possibly multiple advanced extraterrestrial civilizations, for purpouses of monitoring the “zoo” that is sentient life on this planet. It is compelling, because I have been a practising witch(doctor) for over a decade, and moon-worship, or rather moon-as-regulator has been central to my own artistic and magikal programme from the onset, but if it in fact is some sort of device, utilized by Archons, this challenges the question of whether it should be the object of worship. The reason we have near-perfect Solar Eclipses – is that the moon is precisely 1/400th the size of the sun, and precisely 1/400th the distance from the Earth, and the UFOlogists, as well as a number of physicists believe this is too perfect to be accidental. NASA has smashed heavy objects onto the surface of the Moon and recorded a sustained after-ring – not unlike like a bell – which leads many to speculate that it is hollow. So I think about this in relation to the Stone Circles and the Pyramids and the remains of these pagan cults who Moon-worshipped and it makes a kind of surrealistic sense, that the Moon is the original computer system, set up for self-regulation and the codification of time (they say that were it not for the Moon life could not have developed on Earth.) It guides the tides, and the crops, and our dreams and one’s psychic materiality and of course, perhaps most importantly women’s menstrual cycles. And then I begin to think about this concept of “War as Menstruation envy” – the fact that men don't have this regulatory system of cleansing, and this leads my theological imagination to speculate that the entirety of patriarchal religion may have been invented as a compensation for the natural bloodletting that guides women to process emotion and toxins and to shed regularly. So a part of me recognizes the Moon as a pagan archetype, fertility cult offering -- as a regulator worthy or worship, – and then another aspect of me imagines that perhaps it is a device that keeps us tethered to this materialistic web of violence and tragedy, for purpouses beyond our full comprehension. I used to look at the Moon with wonder, now I look with a hint of suspicion. But perhaps that is the healthiest way to Worship.
What do you think of the authorial 'I'?
Well, this is an interesting and timely question. As I am currently composing a Practise-based PhD exploring fictional religions and Millenial belief practises in the Information Age, I have been explicitly advised that it is pertinent to use “I statements” and speak in first person to contextualize the knowledge I am presenting. This is also crucial in Anthropology and contemporary theology, and both mediums are interconnected to my hybrid artistic research. But the question of “I” is problematic for me from the way I do my work – in my experience “I” is just as dangerous as “he” or “she”– they are untruths. They are all constructs and they do little, furthermore they are in many ways quite harmful. I am a matrix of individuals. I am a plurality of forms. I admire how cultural theorist Genesis Breyer P. Orridge religiously responds with the third person to every question being asked. They speak in “We.” The notion that royalty once performed – of being a “we” instead of a me, or an I – is far truer in my experience. But (I) use it for ease, just like I use whatever gender pronouns are quick and available in whatever language format I am in, just like I use the word “artist” to describe this pluralistic multi-dimensional collage of things I make and do in the world. I’ve always liked when scholars, particularly historians, say something like “The only record we have of the remains of [this] or [that] we can not decipher…” I like it because I think it is inclusive: the We includes the reader, the researcher, the World, and out of the limited archaic forms available to describe individuals/constellations it is the best. I did a fictional interview for an academic journal looking at the inter-relation between performance and religion – and so I fabricated a curator (Troja Norz) who asked questions and then Michael Dudeck answered. On the margins the editor of the magazine asked to have a meta-interview, and there (he) interviewed [M]DUDECK, who in effect was the third authorial entity claiming to represent “me” in the text. We referred to ourselves as “We” throughout because the work clearly demonstrated that plurality. Now that I am thinking about it perhaps my PhD will be all written in We.
If a Surrealist, what poetry might you compose?
I think that I may already be a sub-species of a Surrealist poet. I use automatic writing as a generator (often during Full Moon, when my rationalistic modes are the most muted and I howl) – I also intersperse my poetic texts with invented words that appear to have meaning but very often it is just the sound the make on the tongue in the transcription of fantastical images. The cut-up and word-collage is a program I use in my tool-box to get things generated. Many of my “textual monuments” emerge from surrealist-inspired generation methods. I guess if I was entirely unfettered to any project whatsoever I should write things that are intentionally unreadable.
Can you speak a little on the rich plethora of influences and understandings you have of esoteric literature?
Well, it really is a cauldron, populated with fantasy, sci-fi, comic books, electronica, ancient religions, and animist invocations. I think that Allen Ginsberg’s Howl was really my first Portal. But was it ? Before that it was X-Men + Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Narnia (talk about portals – in the Medieval village I live in there is an ornate lamp post just outside our door, and I feel every time that it crosses my path that I am crossing through the Wardrobe to another world of myth and magyk). When I first became a Witch it was The Mists of Avalon – I can largely ascribe the formation of my concept of the Goddess to Marion Zimmer Bradleys invented Druid priestess cult of the Holy Isle of Avalon (which made it particularly strange to hear of her daughter’s posthumous sexual assault allegations against this seminal feminist sci-fi visionary.) I recognize the Goddess in several forms now – as Gnostic Sophia, as the Phrygian Magna Mater Cybele, as the creative principle in the Universe (which in my own mythology, called RELIGIONVIRUS is called Rya). Beyond that I would say that Chaos Magyk has been crucial and formative – and with that the comic book writings and cultural commentary by Grant Morrison, Genesis Breyer P. Orridge, Austin Osmand Spare, Kenneth Anger… These are different provinces. As I said above I am currently quite enraptured with UFOlogy, particularly Zecharias Sitchin and his Sumerian Cosmogony. One of the central tenets of my own invented mythos is the concept that “Religion is the Domestication of Magyk.” Like Alan Moore said upon choosing to become a Magician, “Magyk in its earliest form is often referred to as ‘the art.’ I believe that this is completely literal. I believe that magic is Art.” I concur with the Arch-Mage here. So in that sense I don’t really distinguish between esoterics and say, sci fi, or electronica, or ritual performance, or anime. One of the most formative and inspirational artistic projects for my own praxis was Frank Herbert’s Dune Cycle, particularly because he successfully re-mixed several religious affordances from the Abrahamic Religions and juxtaposed them in an alternate Universe, posing questions on the structure of the messianic, and the problematics of prophecy (if you can see the future but do nothing to prevent it). My Religion is called Artifism and it centers around the axiom that everything – including us – is artificial, illusory, in effect : Art. And so practising creativity (magyk), and constructing out of that which has been constructed, is what I regard to be Holy.