INT. HAZE, HEALTH RESOURCE REALIGNMENT
Two lines of beds are slanted against opposite walls. A large gold minus sign is painted above one set of beds and a gold plus sign on the other side of the room.
Lying in the minus beds are the morbidly obese. Needles are embedded in their flesh and their fat is siphoned off. It travels along transparent tubes that run along the length of the ceiling and down the walls to the beds under the golden plus sign on the opposite side of the room. Thick globs of human fat drip down from the tubes into the mouths of the anorexic patients who are strapped into the plus beds.
A sign hangs down from the centre of the room.
“Y - Y = NOTHING”
CITIZEN Y is published today
Citizen Y and Independent Media Production From The Trenches
There’s always a side of the creative process that remains in shadow. We used to call it “behind the scenes,” but the angle shot from behind the scenes has become the new normal. The actor playing the character is, if anything, more at the forefront of the viewers consciousness.
As an example of this, here is me playing the actor JC, who played the character JC in Clark:
(More on that project in a second.)
Maybe we can see “behind the scenes” if the project has not yet been produced. I want to share a bit of a project with all of you that, so far, has not seen the light of day.
If it hasn’t seen the light of day, why should you care about it, you might ask?
Because it is a story more common than you might think. Because it is the norm rather than the exception. The number of things you haven’t seen far outweighs what you have. For every Picasso there are millions of other painters, some excellent and some awful, that you never happened upon. And of the artists you have heard of, except for when they are put under the microscopic scrutiny of historians, there are probably works in progress that never made it.
Some of these projects are abortions, some are miscarriages, and some, fighting all biological possibility, simply remain in a kind of limbo space, maybe to manifest at some point in the future, and maybe not.
The project I’m talking about is Citizen Y, and it is an example of the latter case, neither an abortion nor a miscarriage, but instead, as the blueprints of the experience we developed are soon to be released, it is something that exists as many ideas and myths exist, an unmanifest possibility. Time will tell, as it always does.
This is how conception went. In 2007, I went to the first Esozone in Portland. At the time I was senior editor of Alterati. I had the chance to meet a number of people I had been talking with online, even working with, but who I had never met in “meat space.” You can write a book, produce an album, or talk for hours with people halfway across the globe. But there is something unique about being in person with them. Something very different about the experience.
After seeing FoolishPeople perform, Joseph, John and I talked and we decided we wanted to work on a project together. Probably a live event slash film. We didn’t know what yet. We just knew we wanted to do it.
A year of writing and bouncing ideas around later, John and I had a workable script. The script itself was futuristic in content but written with a tone that is almost reminiscent of Greek tragedy, if it was parsed through the brain of someone like Philip K Dick. It is not a tone that I usually use. To an extent I was taking John’s lead with that, and to an extent it was just what came out of the chemistry of that moment and that interaction.
We had a few concept artists onboard, and we were in the process of planning the event. First we had our sights on LA. At the last minute - though thankfully before we announced, if memory serves - that angle fell through. We then spent some more time refining our creative materials, regrouping, and we conceived of doing it in London, after FoolishPeople pulled off yet another successful event there in the Abattoir.
We had new hoops to jump through when pitching this time. A few months of work got us all lined up, and with things seemingly in place, we made an announcement. We started taking pre-orders, were negotiating with venues. Actors were jockeying to get cast. It seemed like we were locked in. But then things took a turn south again: there wasn’t enough confidence from the involved production companies that we’d turn a profit, rightly or wrongly, and it was determined that losses should be cut.
This is a familiar story for anyone who is familiar with the film production process. For every movie you see, there are countless movies that got shelved or died thanks to a merger, or any number of other things that can happen through no necessary fault on the part of any of the involved parties.
"It’s just business," we say, and so far as business is concerned, that is true, but as creative work like this is also something that is not just business, it hurts. It hurts when things get canned, when you’ve put years of work into them, sometimes, and no one is going to even be able to hear or see it. Because these things get made, or not, based on business evaluations. But the work itself is not "just business."
It has nothing to do with business. Sometimes, contractually, you aren’t even allowed to talk about the projects that fall through the cracks. “What have you done the past three years?” could be a very difficult question to answer in such situations. By some manner of thinking, you could have sat in a corner masturbating for three years and produced the same result.
But all artists - I have an aversion to the word “artist” sometimes because of the implications that a capitalistic mindset paints there, but I don’t have a better word - know better. We know that every project is an experiment. Life, itself, is an experiment. And there is no such thing as failure, aside from “failure to get back up again.”
That doesn’t mean we don’t do our share of crying and whining from the mat. That’s fine. Some people are ashamed of that.
Don’t be. It’s part of the process. But if you aren’t driven to get up again, despite your better judgment, go out and get a “real job,” son. Art is an addiction. Whether or not it immortalizes you, it’ll certainly kill you. Just a matter of when.
I learned a few things from this experience, and several other projects I worked on between 2005-2009. That is that limitation is often what defines an art form. If you have a guitar with one string and can’t afford six, develop a style that shows off what you can do with one string. I wasted so much time and effort trying to bring on “money people,” and though we often got very close to sealing a deal, it often fell apart right when things seemed finally on track. I think this is most fundamentally because the kind of work that we do doesn’t make any sense to “money people.”
It doesn’t render in their worldview. From my point of view, if a piece of work breaks even - and by that I mean the people working on it are paid out as well - that is a magnificent success. Most of these people want to see huge returns on their risky investment. We’re not going to see eye to eye. They won’t understand the burning necessity that the piece has for you, and more importantly, they won’t care.
This has been a turning point for me in terms of approach.
Since then, I have worked on Clark, a Gonzomentary series which we literally produced with a DV camera, light kit, and the money we could squeeze out of our pockets. It was conceived as something that could be done in that way. We have plans to edit the 100 or so minutes of good footage we shot into a Spinal Tap style movie, and finished a season. If we had tried to pitch the thing for funding, we’d still be running around, trying to jump through hoops. “We want a summary.” “We want a script.” “We want you to shoot an episode.” “We want you to show us 10,000 facebook ‘likes.’”
This is how it works, by the time you’re done jumping through all those hoops you may as well have just done something you can do on your own.
The truth is that the “money people” will only be interested once you are already making money. Then they might be interested in helping you make more so they can make some themselves. Otherwise, they could really give a flying fuck about your “vision.” The sooner you get that into your head as an artist, as a writer, as a musician, the better. Look to your work, look to your audience. If you bring in a publisher, a label, or so on, think of them as a partner in the venture of reaching your audience. But chances are, you’re not going to bring in a partner who can really expand your reach before you’ve already gone halfway to the moon yourself.
Since then, I’ve written a novel, and I’m jumping through some of those expected hoops to look for a publishing partner. I’ve co-produced an album, and am co-producing a second. We’re publishing an enormous amount of material and research on modern myth through Weaponized in The Immanence of Myth. (June 2011)
These are all things where there are collaborative elements, but none of them depend on “money guys” to come into being, or even any other creatives. They are open to, but not dependent on them.
I mention this - “open to collaborators but not dependent on them” - because during this time I also wrote the scripts for 3 comic issues that were to be compiled as a graphic novel. After going through two artists who had to cancel a little ways in - one because of paying contracts taking his attention, the other due to his day job taking his attention - I re-wrote it in prose format with the intention of having accompanying full page illustrations/images. This format of collaboration is also on hiatus due to the other commitments of my collaborator. People have jobs, families, illness, they die. Priorities shift, people go homeless or get hit by an Earthquake. I’m not speaking in the abstract here.
Again, I am not pointing blame but pointing rather towards the realities of producing material like this. Not only is it challenging, not only do you have to convince the world that it is worth both their time and their money, but you also have to contend with the demands being made on the time of all the people you are working with.
We will be publishing the Citizen Y script, along with some of the concept art that we created while planning out the production design. I see it very much as a ritual blueprint, based on the unique methods we planned on using both live and for the filming. I hope you come along for the ride, and that the lessons I’ve learned might help you in your own work.
Weaponized Announces Publication of Citizen Y
For Immediate Release: London, 14th of February 2011
Weaponized is proud to announce the publication of Citizen Y by John Harrigan and James Curcio. More than a script, Citizen Y is a blueprint of a ritual experience. It is a demonstration of how you can create an immersive, transformative experience for an audience that goes beyond passive entertainment. Parodying our fixation on spoon-fed media, it transports the reader into a post-apocalyptic reality show where the grand prize is the future itself.
Citizen Y fuses characters from James Curcio’s Fallen Nation books and John Harrigan’s GraveLand myth into a unique hybrid narrative. Both writers have decades of experience producing mythic, occult experiences that transcend the boundaries of media, audience and stage. The book also stands as an example of modern myth as discussed in The Immanence of Myth Anthology.
This release by Weaponized includes concept artwork by James Curcio, Daniele Serra, and P. Emerson Williams. Edited by Lucy Harrigan, it will be published by Weaponized and available in print through major retailers and in eBook format from April 2011.
Citizen Y is available to pre-order from today.
About Citizen Y
Civilisation has fallen. In the rubble, we at the Y Corporation have developed the ultimate solution to save society: the Y Show. We encourage all good citizens to sign up for the show. You will be housed within a wonderful Haze Treatment Facility and undergo unique psychological treatment, which will clear away the illness of individuality. This reprogramming will be broadcast to the eyes and ears of citizens in our New World, populated with previous contestants and patients. This is a reality show unlike any other! There is a secret that haunts Haze01, the original treatment facility. Two patients, locked deep within its walls, contain archetypes that reject all reprogramming. They channel portents and omens of another future, a world where myth and divinity remake reality, manifesting a planet fit for Gods. In this season of the Y show, the doctors of the facility make their final attempt to process these two patients, before they break free and unleash total anarchy. Tune in.
James Curcio, Creative Director of Mythos Media, says: “Mythos Media was founded specifically to work on projects like this, and modern myths have been my life passion. I am eager to share the world of Citizen Y, and hope it inspires others to create their own.”
John Harrigan, Artistic Director of FoolishPeople comments: “Citizen Y is a mutant narrative. A frankenstein monster that has roamed our minds for over three years. I’m happy to open the doors to the castle and set our creation free to roam the wild and infect other people’s imaginations.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About Mythos Media:
Mythos Media was founded by James Curcio, Peter Emerson Williams, Michael Szul and Tovarich Pizor in 2006 to produce modern myths. In the past, these have taken the form of comics, novels, and albums. For more information, please visit: http://www.mythosmedia.net
The Weaponized imprint extends the immersive art of FoolishPeople into the realm of publishing. Our mission is to seek out and disseminate experimental forms of fiction, prose and art which offer new ways to experience stories and myth. We are passionately committed to finding unique narrative hybrids that challenge, engage, inform and inspire our readers. For more information, please visit: http://www.weaponized.net
About John Harrigan: John Harrigan is a writer, director, performer and artist. He is also known as the founder of FoolishPeople and a contemporary magician whose work centres on the creation of immersive ritual theatre, installation art, books and film that aim to raise a numinous experience within the witness. His work has been exhibited at the ICA, The Horse Hospital, Arcola Theatre and has been presented internationally in the United States and the Netherlands. For further information, please visit http://www.johnharrigan.com
About James Curcio:
James creates dystopian propoganda for a generation of disenfranchised hedonists, intellectuals, and drug addicts. This propoganda is fed by a fascination with the overlap of narrative, psychology, philosophy, systems theory, and of course mythology, which seems to be an almost pathological fixation of his. Previous brain-washing agents have taken the form of novels, essays, scripts for comic and films, musical albums, soundtracks, podcasts, live performances, and installations. They were distributed to the eyes and ears of an unwitting public through the internet, print, and social media subversion. Now, in a move that may telegraph some kind of psychotic break, he’s acting in the world’s first Gonzomentary.
For further information please email
Published by Weaponized April 2011
Weaponized Announces Publication of Anthology on Modern Myth
For Immediate Release: London, 17th of January 2011
Weaponized is proud to announce the publication of ‘The Immanence of Myth’, an anthology arranged by James Curcio of Mythos Media. This anthology includes conversations, art and articles with those in the process of creating myth now, from up-and-comers and long-time underground myth-makers to celebrated artists such as Laurie Lipton and David Mack.
It will be published by Weaponized and available in print through major retailers and in Kindle and other eBook formats from July 2011.
About ‘The Immanence of Myth’:
Thinkers such as Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade, Karl Kerenyi, and many others have helped to popularize an awareness of the psychological significance of archaic myth inside, as well as outside, the ivory tower of academia. However, the vast majority of their work has been focused on understanding and legitimizing the myths of the past.
Yet myth is an immanent, ongoing dialogue, an assemblage that interconnects us all. Joseph Campbell made it a part of his life’s work to emphasize the central importance an understanding of myth plays for the artist, and it is a perspective that arguably has been lost in many corners of the modern art world. This makes this investigation essential for artists (and would-be artists), regardless of their medium.
However, myth’s central importance does not end with art. Our beliefs and ideas about the world determine how we treat the world, how we engage with it and enter into it. Far from being archaic relics of the past, myths will affect the future for all of us. Even if we are unaware of them, they will continue to affect us.
Nearly half of this five-hundred page book was written by James Curcio, a writer and art director with extensive independent media experience. Since getting involved in media production as co-founder of Evolving Media in 2000—the first in many media/arts collectives he helped organize—he has built engaging narratives, utilizing the mediums best suited to the task.
He says, “I am excited to be building a platform for the exploration of the subject of mythology in a modern light, both through the release of this book and the website modernmythology.net, and believe that Weaponized is the perfect partner to bring this to fruition. I hope that this continues to be a springboard for the much-needed discussion of the role that myth plays in all our lives, as well as the creation of new media which builds upon this knowledge.”
John Harrigan of Weaponized says “One of the key reasons FoolishPeople founded the Weaponized imprint was to ensure that important works such as ‘The Immanence of Myth’ are published and made widely available. Now more than ever the subject of Myth is of vital importance to the very nature of humanity and we’re proud to publish this book.”
We must invent our myths—or re-invent them—ourselves. If you haven’t already, take this as a wake-up call to join in and become a myth-maker of the 21st century.
Weaponized publishes experimental forms of fiction, prose and art that offer new ways to experience stories and myth. They are passionately committed to finding unique narrative hybrids that challenge, engage, inform and inspire readers.
The imprint was founded by FoolishPeople, a group that has been creating theatre, collaborative events, live art, books, music and film for over fifteen years. FoolishPeople combine mythology, shamanism, drama therapy, strategic forecasting and open source collaboration in the creation of this work.
Since its launch in August 2010 Weaponized has published FoolishPeople scripts ‘Cirxus’ and ‘Dead Language’ by John Harrigan, ‘The Sparky Show’ by Xanadu Xero and ‘Forum’ by Richard Webb.
Amongst other titles scheduled in 2011 Weaponized will publish ‘Citizen Y’ written by John Harrigan and James Curcio in April.
Starting in February and leading up to the publication of ‘The Immanence of Myth’ in July, James Curcio’s ModernMythology.net and weaponized.net will feature writing and interviews with contributors featured in ‘The Immanence of Myth’.
For further information please email
We now have photography from the FoolishPeople hosted evening in celebration of the Official Launch of The Weaponized Imprint & Publication of The Sparky Show at the Horse Hospital on the 14th of November.
A rather splendid, strange and wondrous affair.
Thank you to the Horse Hospital, the Weaponized authors - Xanadu Xero, Richard Webb, P. Emerson Williams and Brian Shaughnessy. Our special guests - Paul Bassett Davies, Gabriella Apicella. The FoolishPeople performers David Mondard and Claire Tregellas and of course to everyone who attended and made the evening such a success for Weaponized.
Photography by Lucy Harrigan
The Providence Experiments
STILL STRUGGLING TO “MAKE IT” AS AN ACTOR, ARTIST, ASTRONAUT, WRITER OR EL PRESIDENTE?
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
THE PROVIDENCE EXPERIMENTS HAVE ARRIVED.
“Providence is always on the side of the last reserve”
WHAT ARE THE PROVIDENCE EXPERIMENTS?
The Providence Experiments are a unique series of workshops and events that fuse experimentation, visualisation, ritual, psychological intervention and immersive game. Test subjects will be thrust into bizarre events that offer the willing participant the opportunity to undergo a challenging yet positive artistic transformation.
Over one lunar calendar month, you will receive spontaneous transmissions, puzzles, choices and oddities that may pervade any and every part of your life. Prepare your mind for anything.
This experience will be designed specifically for YOU. Perception of self and reality will constantly be challenged. We will initiate you into in a unique journey where you are the hero or villain in your own story.
The aim of the Providence Experiments is to unleash your subconscious creative potential while offering an amazing, unprecedented experience unlike anything you’ve likely participated in before.
The Providence Experiments will consist of one set session per week in Central London over five weeks, starting Friday 5th November. Specialised directions to each venue will be transmitted 5 days before each session.
Warning: The Providence Experiments will not be confined to the five stated sessions. Active engagement and full participation is vital and absolutely necessary.
WHO CREATES THE PROVIDENCE EXPERIMENTS?
YOU and your subconscious will be the true playing ground for the game. However, this experience will be facilitated by FoolishPeople, a group that create immersive occult events using their developed practice Theatre of Manifestation. They will be aided with media and profiling consultation provided by Mythos Media, a team assembled to create modern myths.
HOW DO I SIGN UP?
Prospective applicants must e-mail providence(at)weaponized.net immediately. Do it now: the number of places are extremely limited. If you receive an application form, you are lucky enough to have passed Phase I and are on your way to taking your place within Test Bed One.
Friday November 5th
Sunday November 14th
Sunday November 21st
Friday November 26th
Sunday December 5th
Early booking discount: £150 (£30 per week) Available until 17th October Standard booking: £200 (£40 per week) Available from 18th October
Cirxus by John Harrigan (book trailer) Directed by P. Emerson Williams
1957- Seascale, the North of England. Cirxus; an old English circus lost in the shadows of the smoke stacks of Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station. Step into the world of Cirxus, explore its sideshows and meet extraordinary characters from the past and future.
Athalia the ballerina waits in the ring for Loudon the clown to return with directions to the Black Pool, the mythic site of the Home Sweet Home, the final show of the season.
Join her as she begins a bizarre and wondrous search for Loudon through the irradiated secrets of Cirxus, where she must face the macabre atomic menagerie, haunted by circus animals and navigate her way through the maze of strange, hallucinogenic sideshows to the other side of time.
Immerse yourself in the world of Cirxus, where theatric arcana and atomic fallout irradiate the sawdust arenas of our inner worlds.
Cirxus is the first script of an immersive theatrical event to be published in the world and the first work to be published from FoolishPeople’s back catalogue.
Each copy includes concept art by P. Emerson Williams, alongside a photographic record from the first run of Cirxus at the Arcola theatre in 2009.
Cirxus defies genre and form and offers a literary experience like no other. A combination of hallucinogenic novel and blueprint to a physical experience.