Outsiders Art

‘Alone. Yes that’s the word. The most dreaded word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t even hold a candle to it and hell is just a poor synonym’
-Stephen King
When one of the worlds best horror novelists tells you that being lonely is one of the scariest things in the world, you know it’s true. Being accepted and more importantly liked by everyone is one of the fundamental goals of man. And very often people who aren’t very well accepted by social communities are looked down upon as being worthless. But is this treatment justified? Are loners actually losers or are they actually more superior than those on top of the social ladder?
Excerpt from Psychologytoday:
Acceptance is the fundamental motive but at the same time, the need for uniqueness is also a fundamental human motive. When people are treated too similar to others, they (sometimes unconsciously) attempt to do anything to make them stand out. For instance, people who had their uniqueness threatened were quicker to endorse uniqueness-related words and were more likely to express less popular attitudes.

How can this be? How can humans have both the need to belong and the need for uniqueness? Well, humans are complicated! We have lots of motives, many of which frequently conflict with each other. This is why most people try to strike a balance between their various motives, and are satisfied with moderate levels of each motive.
However it has been seen that many times worldwide acclaimed artists are rather eccentric individuals who don’t really believe in ‘going with the flow’. One of the worlds best and widely influential filmmakers Stanley Kubrick was a well known social recluse. Known for his painfully perfect detailing and surrealistic cinematography, Kubrick is hailed as a master of the art of cinema but it is a very well known fact that Kubrick detested humans and preferred to work work alone. Along similar lines is the highly controversial Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier who has been labelled a Provocateur by many, Lars too prefers solitude, hates travelling and has a wide range of phobias in fact he has stated that he has extreme fear of almost everything but filmmaking.
Many musicians have been known to be rather odd in their behaviour as well (Read: Rockstars and Metallers). Speak of Niravana’s Kurt Cobain who had rather strange outlooks on life, appeared to interviews with his shoes untied,wore the most casual dress for his wedding because apparently he did not have the time to wear a formal suit and wrote a death note addressed to his childhood imaginary friend when he committed suicide. Speak of reclusive musicians and one picture that is bound to pop up in your mind is that of black metal musicians who roam around in the woods in the most uncomfortable looking attire and silly looking corpse paint. Many of these nihilistic, misanthropic individuals actually leave in completely isolated and unwelcoming environments far away from any established settlements. I remember watching an interview of Xasthur’s Malefic whose otherworldly shrieks dominate his haunting and fiercely melancholic songs but during the interview he had great difficulty opening up to the interviewer, he looked extremely uncomfortable throughout the interview and became quiet the moment he was asked about his past. He went on to talk about how much he hates people who according to him are very rude.
So is there in fact any connection between the level of deviation and creativity?
Another excerpt from Psychologyabout.com (http://psychologyabout.com/)
By definition, creative solutions are unusual, involving the recombination of ideas. Unusual, divergent ideas and access to distant, remote associations are hallmarks of creative thinking. Perhaps those who like to distance themselves from others are more likely to also recruit associations from unusual places and think beyond conventional ideas.
Research supports this idea. The need to be seen as separate from others within a group enhances both nonconformity and creativity. In contrast, an interdependent mindset has been shown to extinguish the spirit of independence that is optimal for producing creative solutions. What’s more, those who report a high need for uniqueness make more unconventional word associations, show a greater preference for complex visual figures, and produce more creative drawings and creative stories.
I do not know how accurate these claims are but I must say, taking into account the examples I enlisted and many more deviant artists out there there is surely some connection between being a recluse and an individual with artistic insight.

Footnote #1- Intentionally did not mention many people because many a time the social deviancy might just be an act, a performance which increases the audiences intrigue

Footnote #2- I believe an entire blog can be written discussing painters who were well-known social deviants. Once I’m done compiling a a gust of information on the topic I will publish an article. If anyone is interested I might publish the article on your blog as a guest blogger xD.


Stanley Kubrick’s 2001:A Space Odyssey and Cattle Decapitation’s Monolith of Inhumanity- My Analysis

Sadistic, insanely obnoxious, repulsive, ugly, offensive and downright disgusting- just some words that most people would use to describe Cattle Decapitations 2013 LP ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ owing to the fact that the album and it’s subject matter is so brutal and bloody disgusting that even a seasoned Metalhead like me had great difficulty digesting the chainsaw-to-your-face treatment that the album dishes out. Songs with titles like ‘Forced Gender Reassignment’, lyrics that reek misanthropy, chaotic instrumentals topped off with the most ugly growling vocals you ever heard and you have the perfect recipe to create a horror show of an album, a typical metal gore feat that sick psychopaths might headbang to. But is that all or is there more? Yes there’s lots more, including one of the most beautifully and creatively constructed concepts in recent times. Monolith’s story is inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s widely famous and a cult classic, 2001:A Space Odyssey. The two pieces of art are so different from one another, the movie revels in its long silent scenes and scientific realism while the album is straight up misanthropic chaos.

The artwork for Monolith of Inhumanity depicts a bunch of apes running from a stone structure-The Monolith while a couple human looking figures crawl towards it. A half monkey half human stares at us with desperation and evil written all over his face. This and the fact that the album is called Monolith of Inhumanity are clear indicators of the fact that this album is trying to rewrite the movie’s plot albeit in a different manner. Hold on. At this point I would like to tell you a little something about Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 movie and my interpretation of it

In the movie you first see a bunch of apes that live who live a mindless, independent existence in an environment that isn’t really conductive of progress in any way until one day out of nowhere a monolith appears and upon contact with this monolith an ape realises the use of bones as a tool, obviously hinting at the fact that mankinds predecessors have made some progress in terms of manipulating ones environment for our own benefits

The ape then throws the bone into air and it eventually transforms into a space station. Soon we are told about a mission to land on the moon wherein a group of astronauts encounter a similar monolith which emanates a loud piercing sound, the strange happenings soon lead a team of astronauts towards Jupiter where one of the astronauts encounters the monolith once again and has mesmerising visions of vast moving landscapes and strange lightey-things much like a drug induced hallucination. Soon he finds himself in a strange room where he sees himself as an old man who sits gloomily eating dinner and soon transforms into a star-baby sort of thing that floats away in space. Head scratcher right?

Well, the way I see it, in the movie the monolith acts as a catalyst-for evolution. The ape upon contact with the monolith learnt the use of tools, evolved into man and eventually we reached the space age. Now man has become powerful enough to explore his own world fully and other celestial bodies as well, the monolith on the Lunar surface leads to a mission to Jupiter and a further contact with the monolith gave the man of the advanced ages a vision into his own future, the next step of evolution. The ape saw its future forms and developed a skill of its own. The second monolith lead man to explore Jupiter while the third one gave him a vision of maybe, just maybe, a creature from a higher dimension ( strange landscapes and ‘energies’ ). This monolith which helps in mankinds progress can therefore be termed a ‘Monolith of Humanity’.

Cattle Decapitation has a different story to tell. In their version of the story, mankind has already reached the summits of technological progress to the extent where he has destroyed his own environment and now lives by recycling vital nutrients from carcasses of other creatures. Existence is pitiable and degrading to humanity. There is no grass and no greenery, no flowers and no birds, all the beauty of Earth has disappeared and all you see in this bleak dying world is metal chips, scraps, and circuits which have replaced nature. Suddenly one of the ‘beings’ of this planet encounters a monolith, which unlike the one in the movie which is shown as something divine is portrayed here as a hellish device with blood flowing in its cracks- the blood of humanity that died a long time ago

Just like in the movie, the creature stumbles upon a skeleton and soon realises the use of bones as a weapon

Alas, but this time the story has a different ending. She is soon set on a murderous rampage and kills off all of her fellow beings in cold blood and murders their offspring as well and in an extremely grotesque scene unplugs her own life system and ends up killing herself, this bringing an end to mankind. This monolith gave her visions of her glorious past, when man and nature lived in harmony and there were animals and birds and beautiful landscapes on the planet. She has the sudden revelation that mankind has destroyed the planet through the facade of technological progress and in a fit of rage ends up killing her own kind. In this story, the monolith acts a device of devolution, it is in a sense a Monolith of Inhumanity.
Each song on the album has an individual thematic undertone and all the tracks are tied together by an overarching storyline inspired by one of the greatest movies ever, and presented as a contrast to the movie’s hopeful and heavenly atmosphere. The album also manages to convey a very important message about acts as a caution against rampant destruction of nature. Who knew that a Goregrind album can be so intelligent?