Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Anyone who encountered the New Zealand band Skeptics would get this deliberately confontational image which is an implosion of Munch, a meatworks (where animals are slaughtered) and the scouring effect of a needle cutting into . . . vinyl/the brain?
Skeptics were not what anyone might call an easy proposition and regrettably their astonishing and loudly direct career was cut short by the death from leukemia of their furiously energetic singer David D'Ath in 1990.
As I noted in my review of a doco Sheen of Gold about the band, "In all the wrong ways [D'Ath] became our Ian Curtis for some".
They were, briefly, an extraordinary band and in an article I wrote in 2013 about them -- which this collage illustrated -- I said, "if people knew them for anything at all it was perhaps the video for Affco by Stuart Page which, if I remember rightly, was banned from broadcast . . . although I distinctly remember seeing it on Radio with Pictures around '87-88".
"An unblinking look inside an abbatoir as sheep were being killed and prepared for the supermarket, the clip was brutal, confrontational but utterly honest."
There must have been vegan converts after that video, which is rarely, if ever, screened.
And you have to give a lot of your details to YouTube if you want to see it, even now.
Such delicate sensibilities in the 21st century after the horrors humanity inflict , and which continue unabated to this day?
And it's not a pleasant thought.
So my idea for the collage was simple: existential doubt and horror realised in an instant . . . against a backdrop of scenic New Zealand which is a nation priding (and deluding) itself on its beauty and benign nature.
So the colour of Aotearoa in the background had to be insipid.
And . . . a needle straight into the head.
Honestly, it's not one of my considered and layered pieces, but in a way that was what I felt while listening to Skeptic as I did it . . . and I stand by the fact it is what it is: raw, clumsy, violent and unsettling.
Skeptics deserved at least that much, I think.
The piece this illustrated is at Elsewhere here.
For other Art by Elsewhere go here.