This series was created using cut out pieces of graph paper dipped in cooking oil and placed over the negative at scanning time. It is an attempt at reminding us that the natural landscape that surrounds us has been planned and designed, and is hardly a reflection of our need as people.
William Bennet of Cut Hands/Whitehouse talks transgression, art, intent, Italo Disco and Erhard Seminars Training.
I love this bit about explaining your art:
You said that you don’t like to explain lyrics, and that’s something you didn’t used to do, as far as I can tell. You didn’t really respond to accusations of fascism or racism that would arise from Whitehouse. But earlier this year you very strongly and publicly responded to these accusations via Facebook and your blogs. Obviously it’s been more than 30 years since you started Whitehouse, but what has changed to make you want to address this commentary?
I still believe that. It’s a big sacrifice to do that. Most art is rationalized in some kind of way, whether it’s literature or music. We live in an era where everything is rationalized. When Caravaggio painted he didn’t need to do interviews or magazine reviews or features, he could pretty much do as he wanted. I’m kind of jealous of not being able to be in that position. The reason for not rationalizing is to give people the freedom to experience art however they wish. I hate movies with a message at the end telling you how you should feel about what you just watched. Oliver Stone is a particular transgressor in that regard. If it’s not at the end of the film then it’s in an interview or a blurb. I want to give people the freedom to experience it in whatever way they want, whether they like it or don’t like it. I strongly believe in that freedom, and if I start coming out with stuff regarding my personal beliefs or the reasons why I made something then I’m taking away some of that freedom.
Regarding your question, I’m in a very fortunate position where I’m doing a lot of shows and other people depend on that, it’s not just me who’s affected. Somebody was sending anonymous threats to venues and I didn’t want people to have to deal with that. Not everybody is as knowledgeable about early ’80s industrial music, for example, and you can’t expect everybody to do all sorts of research to find out. So, I can’t be so arrogant as to presume that everyone knows what kind of person I am. I felt that, especially for the sake of other people, that it was important to put that on record.
So, basically, hicks are uncomfortable with art that doesn’t explain every last detail of its existence and they threaten venues where Bennett/Whitehouse is supposed to perform. So then he’s forced to spoonfeed answers to people like this one:
A song like “A Cunt Like You” was seen by a lot of people, critics and fans alike, as being a of sort of paean to misogyny. I hate explaining lyrics, because I don’t think one should, but I gave a talk in London where I explained that the truth is that it was anything but. It was actually language used by my parents against each other and part of it was about the hypocrisy of men and their relationship towards women of their own age and, say, their teenage daughters. I saw it as the same thing, they have the same feelings towards their daughters that they do towards women of their own age, but it’s a nasty, dark secret. So, that’s what that song is really about, it’s not a paean or anthem to misogyny in any way.
How shocking—he’s not a lunatic frothing at the mouth woman-hating Nazi! Who would’ve thought? (Please read with your “dripping with sarcasm” voice)
And then there’s his work as a communication teacher (IDK if this describes it but whatever):
I don’t call it motivational speaking because I’m not really there to specifically make people feel better about themselves. It’s difficult to explain, but they’re sort of workshops about acquiring skills in unconscious communication techniques. This stuff is very useful in so many different spheres, and comes up so often in social interaction.