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For What is Rocking

Translator: Ariane 2014-06-30

When Mr Lu talked about rock in the future, he said that rock music should help us to train the new struggling groups. The new battle is wider, based on pan-politics it means breaking the boundaries of the cold war and the global politics of today. It should be fiercer, making everybody more radical and bringing heresy! What I want to say is that today’s rock is the rock that has been declared dead, however it is also the rock that is
currently taking place.

Orbit of Rock is the title of this exhibition. While the work that was exhibited is the performance, the empty hall after the show is the residue of the work, a deserted space. It said that, rock, you have been used, chemicalized, objectivized, to be merciless like the artistic circle, you are objectified. Hence, what are the four live bands, the production team of dozens of people, hundreds of audience members, thousands of kilograms of stereo equipment, mixing console and lamp holders, 31 bottles of Anhui Vodka, electricity etc., used like canvas and paints and processed into something else? Then what do the artists rely on, except money and some usual tricks, to use these materials and the sweaty live human beings?

It reminds me of something else which could be seen as the end or one of the ways out of rock music whereby an artist or indeed a wealthy antique dealer invites someone to compose several heavy metal songs, then sings them himself, even making a music video. He confesses that he has never listened to music as he prefers silence. Rockers ask how dare you? Is it because you know Zuoxiao Zuzhou? Or are you aiming to resist power? If so,
then what right do you have to rob others?

Rock is almost a kind of religion for rockers. Although it’s embarrassed to declare it now, there still is the condition of providing youth and energy for it anyway. The tattoo, which everybody can have all over their bodies these days, is more or less a kind of signature. The eye, gesture, circle, something in the blood, and the lifestyle are what makes a rocker who produces rock like a byproduct. But how dare you, and you, employ the graduates from the fine art academy to paint oil paintings like a kind of addiction, and also produce rock as conveniently and technically as if it were grocery shopping, which is like converting yoga from a religious practice to gymnastics?

Before we solve this, we already have seen one of the answers and that is the magic of consumption which could attract so called rock, tattoo, sexual freedom, ideology and whatever to its smooth surface dissociating the original venations. Not only does traveling become more convenient, but also the consciousness and thoughts. At the same time art is set free and unlimited that could reprocess the symbol that has been cooled down like the declaration of dealing with all the contemporary problems and issues, which sounds like a kind of sales strategies as well as an oath to keep fighting by stepping upon the corpses of all the creatures. For rock, however, it has no choice but to stay in the freezing cold and stare at the darlings of time who include the beloveds from the rock stage who are still touring all around the world like the other disadvantaged groups.

It can’t be blamed on anything but rock itself, it’s too gorgeous, too sweet, it has to find a place in the earth as attractive as advertisement. And even to start something called rock ceremony, rock memorial hall, rock jeans and so on, as if it truly didn’t want to die. Does it plan to be a zombie or Monkey King? This angry monkey finally returns to a compromise to take on the role of Warring and Winning Buddha, attending some activities like a ribbon-cutting event which makes him look like a rock star who confessed in his 20s that his life was filled with drugs and promiscuity, but could he then immediately step into his twilight years with enlightenment and peacefulness just because of his confession?

Stop saying that rock music is indestructible including the legendary concert which took place in Red Square leading to the collapse of a regime. How naïve were they! No wonder they were tricked at last. This is the childish rock music that is fond of all kinds of shiny, colorful and sweet things, being wrongly trafficked in such a dangerous society today. When listening to the Ordnance’s songs, I was not thinking naively, isn’t the bullshit of requesting the officers to disclose assets just a bone that is thrown by the interest group who pretended to be not so willing to give it out? Isn’t it a trick to lure the tiger from the mountain to prevent us from demanding a more thorough
revolution? Oh! Liu, we are trapped, right?

Then, Liu with his guys keep performing as before, sincerely and with hope, which definitely couldn’t be called professional spirit. It must be the vitality I guess, it’s the real fighting with guns and knives in the plight of rock. Probably, they aren’t used to being choosy about the facilities and environment of their performance, they can sing anywhere that has a stereo, from a music festival to a pub, gallery, even a house party. Consumer society or the society of spectacle, rock will pick up with its body, tempo, perspiration and saliva, no matter what kind of society you throw at it. Liu has no time to notice that he is trapped because he is near exhaustion, but even Wang Feng is
singing that we should stay angry, so is there any distinctions between being naïve and not naïve?

We can see that the Jackson guitar, also called fly-type metal guitar, is different from the lead-guitarist's Fender guitar with its softer body.

When I was knocked over by the swirl of people who were shouting in the mosh pit, I had to say that there was a distinction between the body of a young guy and an old guy.

What also differed was the body standing near-by was waving their fist without any sweat.

Whatever is left, neither another higher spiritual level nor advertisement, also do not need to discern between good and evil, male or female, as they will disappear quickly and no kind of photography can save anything but their glorious dead body. Perhaps, it is because there are too many glorious bodies that rock can neither rest in peace nor reborn. It just like a salted fish, with its price tag on, lingering in limbo.

And the rest that we called body isn’t simply a lump of flesh. It’s moving. People who kill the cattle and sheep should thank them, if not, then at least they should please become stronger. When the artist use rock, or landscape, or others’ suffering, or the workers in Jingde Town, he must sacrifice himself instead of just doing something significant like returning a house to somebody who has been relocated. When faced with death, we
are the same as the sacrificed that can do nothing but transform our behaviors, materials and energy. Without sweat and vibration of the strings, how can rock survive from the extortion from this significant world? When we use rock, whether it be in the subway, in dreams, or in the mosh pit, we are reducing ourselves to be what remains.

In this case, rock can be divided into 2 types. One is the one left behind that is constantly being used, simulating the rite of violence and sacrifice. And the other is the waxen-imaged, consumed, travelling in the chain of equal-value exchange, obtaining a half-dead body.

On April 30 2014, in ShanghART Beijing, how many people surprised themselves by not dancing or waving their hands at all? Wasn’t it planned to let go of the excess knowledge, shut the ascarid’s and Deleuze’s mouth, and review the innocent sweet rebel? However, suddenly, it’s hard to jump high, find these kids are so vulgar, like the monkey dreams that he becomes King Kong, should King Kong die to help complete the aesthetic because he falls in love with the model human?

Then how many people finally got a little bit of an implosion, tried their best to follow it, and were truly touched at last? What has returned when experiencing gooseflesh all over the body as if drunk?

Firstly, it’s the rock of yesterday: never relinquished, never released from the body, it’s the sensation deposited in the bank and cashed on occasion. Nostalgia is a shameless context in which we are all engaged, it’s an encroachment of the dream of the year 1991. Going back to 1991, didn’t we still have the irritable, pained expression on our face while rock and roll was still an open wound instead of a beautiful scar? Is there an
internal but twisting connection between the desperate local rock and the international English rock of today? Isn't the world tour festival of “Monsters of Rock” similar to the artists and public intellectuals who extorted from dead people? Unexpectedly, they reactivated the victim’s bodies, liberated them beyond the setting of history and politics, coming to “The politicians of the earth” inherited from Martin Heidegger according to Mr.Lu. Do today’s victims and shameless men liberate each other like their predecessor?

It’s possible that the most important portion of this exhibition is not the show itself but the vacancy, loss, exhaustion it leaves. An empty space that contains nothing of meaning or beauty and cannot be overshadowed by even a colossus. That’s more cruel than freezing rock and roll: It is more than dead, it dies a second time in every ceremony of renaissance. Our bodies will be destroyed another time in the mosh pit after they have returned from the tattooist and the gymnasium, they will leave the occasional mandala along with the cold echo left over by the
emptiness.

If there exists fight in rock, then the fight is with the huge emptiness: Just exhaust ourselves. The stage without people and passion, the naked concrete, the golden sponge filled with noise: They give rock an evidence of the dissipation in death but not sublimation in silence, for this time they complete the slaughter themselves, no need for a replacement in their revenge. After all, they come back to celebrate, not to revenge: Today’s rock and roll is ongoing and mortal, all the excess meaning has been destroyed, no opportunity for the colossus.
The quiet and lonely exhibit is showing the potential rite and struggle instead of the bleak times. Without the consolation of yesterday, they are just like Mr.White in “Breaking Bad”, contributing their bodies riddled with cancer. Like throwing firewood into a stove, they devote themselves to the stage in order to enjoy the extremely fervent and cumulative reincarnation.

Related Artists:
ZHANG DING 张鼎
Related Exhibitions:
Zhang Ding: Orbit of Rock

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