With all this talk of terrorism, it’s easy to forget that there are actually other, far more subversive, subtle and less destructive ways of fucking with people to get your point across. Ways that will blow them away, without ripping them apart. That will mess with their heads, without making a mess of their heads. In a world with so much destructive violence and confrontation, it’s important to try to think different. And that’s why it’s time to introduce the errorist.
What is an errorist?
Simple: an errorist is someone who uses error to get their message across. Think about the typical spaces where there are high concentrations of people: airports, train stations, nightclubs, shopping malls. In all these spaces, surveillance and security is used to pre-empt you. ‘No alarms and no surprises’ isn’t just the chorus to a sadsack Radiohead song, it’s also the new motto of security. When you go to a night club, they really were expecting you, you know? But it aint hospitality, lads and ladies. The whole structure of the nightclub is designed to anticipate any kind of misbehaviour –it forces you to behave a certain way by preventing you from behaving freely, at pain of bouncer, of staircase, and of footpath. That’s why most nightclubs are actually incredibly conservative, conformist places – try getting naked, try getting up on the speaker stack – you’ll be ejected. They’re not spaces of free expression, they’re spaces of permissive repression. The fact that a man was shot at the Viper Room and no-one noticed does not diminish the point. I’m talking about places where humans go. And this is where the errorist comes in.
Because any successful errorist understands that if you create direct, visible confrontation, then the goons will spot, block and toss you. Look at what happens every time the Chaser tries one of their corporate lobby appearances. The system knows how to deal with disturbances that directly confront it. But what the system can’t deal with is noise, error. That’s why you’re not allowed to joke about the contents at your luggage at the airport check-in counter. And that’s why it’s important to keep cracking that very joke. But not just that joke. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, should be to introduce errorism into every space where you can hear the melody to ‘No Surprises’ playing. Anywhere you see people being ‘alert, but not alarmed’, muck with their heads. Scramble them. But do it subtly. It doesn’t have to be ‘I’m Brian and so’s my wife’ to get the message across. Example: blokes, wear a skirt. Just a skirt. No no, I mean – with all your other regular clothes. You would be amazed how much this ruins people’s heads. Or women's perfume. Or sunglasses. You can think of better examples, be creative. The point in every case is not to create direct confrontation, just to make 'noise', create that wonderful cognitive dissonance. Do a redundance. Never ‘identify yourself’ – straddle the identifications. Get under their radar. Get up their skirt – but do it gently. Spray on the scene, like a glitchin' machine. Make them wonder whether it’s you, or just a tickling breeze, an ocean spray. In this day and age, with more and more of our shared spaces becoming infected with this whole bullshit security mentality, this gentle art is our best weapon.
in which the naked chimp is unmasked, his machines debugged, and his bugbears debunked
- ► 2008 (29)
- ▼ May (6)