R/S: What was a specific idea of your Fort Mason performance?
MARK: Specifically "Mysteries of the Reactionary Mind: an exploration of the mechanics underlying reactionary thought". Everyone likes to think they have specific ideas about things like religion and politics, so naturally, if you promote something on the basis of politics, people are going to be thinking of what you do in those terms. Whether it has anything to do with that or not, people are going to try to read into it. Then, all the images in it were just devil and horror images pretty much, like a reactionary horror movie.
There was the devil on a moving platform with the bags of brown and black liquid that had bombs behind them--he was moving into position, jockeying, fighting against the radio car with the big claw that was stabbing at him, firing rockets at him. Then there was the clawing arms getting dragged across the ground, smashing after it went up a ramp and then fell. Then there was the stabbing arm which was stabbing pictures and blowing up the faces of those unfortunate people who presumably were tortured souls...tortured by reactionary thought. Then there was the BB machine firing at the glass...
R/S: Whose huge face was that?
MARK: Oh, that was Lucretia Borgia's father in Fritz Lang's film...her father was really mad at her because she poisoned some people. That was a picture of him really mad. He had his face ripped off by a spitting spike ball and then brown stuff squirted out from it.
That was what it was. I don't know what connection if had to the poster, but those were some of the ideas and images you could have seen. p.27
MARK:....Well, if things that are dead make people feel funny, then what are people going to think if they see things that are definitely dead, but are moving around and look like they're alive? When we first made the little robot for the Night of The Succubus, that's when me and Monte Cazazza started on a new trend.
R/S: That robot elicited a rather strong reaction--someone attacked it with a chair--
MARK:That robot became a big star--he was in theater, TV, in the paper one time. Monte wanted a prop for this show he and "Factrix" were doing. He had made a dart gun already; we were talking about it and I said, Why don't you make a robot with meat parts? And he goes, Yeah! So we got all these meat parts and sewed them onto this robot. We used pigs feet, pig hide, and a cows head and bolted it onto this little fellow who kinda looked like a pig--it had a motor on it and when you turned the motor on it would just vibrate and shake like he was sick, like he maybe had a fever. His little paws were hanging down in front and kind of drawn up in back and his back was twisted in a funny way. One of his paws had a little cable attached to it, and if you've ever seen an animal that's been injured (like hit by a car) that's the motion we got. Then his arm would hit his head and make his head turn to the side. We had him wrapped up in butcher paper on the stage--I cut the butcher paper off with my butcher suit on , and Monte started shooting it with exploding darts. "Factrix" and Monte made a good videotape of that. p.28
R/S: Who makes those loud soundtracks at your shows?
MARK: I made just the real simple ones; I have no pretensions about being able to do anything in particular in sound. If I do it myself I just end up borrowing it--maybe I'll listen to the TV and record the things that appeal to me, and then organize them in a tape and play the tape back real loud. That's one way.
Monte helped me work on a couple soundtracks, and "Factrix" did one soundtrack, and Matty made a couple of the soundtracks up, and I've worked with Matty on some of the soundtracks, and Matty's worked with Bond--you know, just different people. I don't ever try to do anything fancy, because it's just not my cup of tea. I think the sound is really important but I don't ever want people to think that I have any pretensions about being a band or something. So I avoid the situation by being very crude. p.31
MACHINE SEX (Sunday Feb. 25, 1979 2pm, Chevron Station, Columbus/Green). Pigeons play the part of martyrs in a gas station to a musical accompaniment based on Camus' "The Stranger".
FOOD FOR MACHINES (Sunday, May 20 1979/2pm, United Nations Plaza), Food is consumed in all the wrong ways for all the wrong reasons.
NOISE (Sunday, Sept 21, 1979/3pm, Golden Gate Park Bandshell). An assault on leisure promenades complete with exploding glass. Videotape available from S.R.L.
UNTITLED (Friday, Oct 20, 1979/11:30pm, Mabuhay Gardens). A mechanical ritual of violent abuse for certain rival candidates in 1979's local elections.
ASSURED DESTRUCTIVE CAPABILITY (Saturday, March 11, 1979/12:30pm, Union Square). An omni-directional slap in the face of Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev, to which the Consulate General of Red China was invited. Videotape (banned by govts of East Germany & Czechoslovakia) available.
USELESS MECHANICAL ACTIVITY (Saturday, Feb 9, 1980/2pm, Palace of Fine Arts rotunda). A running commentary on the psychology of acts of military aggression and their consequences . Color video available.
PORNOGRAPHY, VIOLENCE & WOMEN (Sunday, April 30, 1980/9pm, Studio Erasmus at Project Artaud). A mechanical cabaret filled with detonations and shock waves. Also featured were "Non", "Factrix", and "Z'ev".
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NIGHTMARE (Saturday, June 7, 1980/8pm, Cabrillo Elementary School amphitheater). Show included premiere of SXXX-80, a sex education/alienation film by Monte Cazazza and Tana Emmolo. "Raised serious questions about the school districts monitoring of private organizations renting public school property." Filmed by KQED Ch. 9, aired on John Rozak's "Art Notes" program. Videotape available.
MALE/FEMALE RELATIONS (Friday, Aug 28, 1980/9pm, Eureka Theatre). Sentimental rhapsodies of the state of male-female relations, with unexplained overtones of violence. Also on bill were DNA and MINIMAL MAN.
PEARL HARBOR DAY (Saturday, Dec. 3, 1980/8pm, Kezar Pavillion). Terrifying scenes from the battlefields of tomorrow, enacted live. Unique in its extensive use of rockets. Also performances by Monte Cazazza, Tana Emmolo, and "Factrix". Color videotape available.
MYSTERIES OF THE REACTIONARY MIND (Sunday, April 5, 1981/3:30pm, Fort Mason Center). An examination of the underlying mechanisms that characterize reactionary thought. Nervewracking special effects led to some uncomfortably close calls for the audience. Color videotape available; also a Super-8 film by Andrea Juno from RE/SEARCH, 20 Romolo #B, SF CA 94133.
LIVE ON 4 (Friday, May 5, 1981/4:40pm, Myrtle Street). A wild 120-second robot drama of predator and helpless prey. Aired live on Ch 4 with narration by anchorman Evan White. Videotape available.
A SHORT EXCURSION INTO THE BOTTOMLESS PIT OF EVERLASTING FIRE (Friday, June 26, 1981/7:40pm, Cadillac Lot, 1000 Van Ness Av). Eleven minutes of hellish fury are unleashed on Ch 4's "SFO with Steve Jamison". Estimated viewers 500,000. With special guest Monte Cazazza on exploding dart machine, soundtrack by "Factrix". Videotape available.
AN UNFORTUNATE SPECTACLE OF VIOLENT SELF-DESTRUCTION (Saturday, Sept 6, 1981/8:30pm, Parking lot at Folsom/2nd Sts.). Most complex and dangerous show staged to date, in which a wide variety of equipment (organic robots, dart guns, laser-aimed explosive rockets, land mines, and a catapult) interacted to effect a frightening illusion of ultimate misfortune. SRL's first audience injury. Videotaped by Ned Judge, Ch 4 News (6 minute condensed version aired Sept 16 on ch. 4 "Live On 4").
A FIERY PRESENTATION OF DANGEROUS AND DISTURBING STUNT PHENOMENA (Friday, Oct. 30, 1981/11:30pm, parking lot at 950 Columbus). SRL machine operators ride through flaming tubs of gasoline, detonate bombs attached to their bodies, fire handheld flamethrowers, as a robot fuck machine with an expanding and deflating rubber head mates with a huge black bag in its flaming pen and a radio-controlled buzz saw-equipped tank careens out of control, threatening and finally assaulting the audience and Target Video crew. Sound by Bond Bergland of "Factrix" and Matthew Heckert (also main stunt driver). Videotape available. Staged in connection with SF International Video Festival; aired on KQED Ch 9 Videowest.
A CRUEL AND RELENTLESS PLOT TO PERVERT THE FLESH OF BEASTS TO UNHOLY USES (Saturday, Nov 13, 1982/9pm, outdoor lot at 934 Brannan St.). A parable of reanimated flesh, highlighted with fires of varying origin. The most technically advanced show yet, featuring the huge Billy Graham robot (with Billy Graham sounds), real robotized mummies, a military type CO2 laser, a mobile Mr. Satan, the rabbit Kow-Tow, a fully automated mechanical arm, stink dogs, a squirming rocket target, a 400-lb mechanized tick, and the Mummy-Go-Round. Major destruction of show equipment at the end of event by the Integrator Mechanical hand built by Eric Werner; Soundtrack and Mummy-Go-Round by Matthew Heckert. High (broadcast) quality videotape available. Staged as part of the "National Offense" Show. p.40-41.