Neo-China arrives from the future

By Alex Mazey

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Within the now infamously memetic ‘CCRU: Writings 1997-2003’, it states, ‘Neo-China arrives from the future.’ The latest Xenomars’ track is titled ‘Renminbi’ in reference to the official name for Chinese currency. The track is described as ‘A sensorial trip into Chinese culture and the visual impact it will have in our future.’ We also briefly discussed a ‘Jing Daily’ article, ‘Why Is Post-COVID China Embracing A Cyberpunk Aesthetic?’ What is it about China’s aesthetic trajectory, particularly the iconography of ‘Renminbi’, that inspired this track?

Xenomars: We started to work on Renminbi’s video three years ago, and we didn’t really know how to describe Chinese aesthetics. So as we often do we went for archetypes like beauty, technology, power and of course colours, one colour, red. The message is simple, something is coming. And it’s not good or bad, it’s just different and young. When we read the article we were not surprised, just annoyed we didn’t do a cyberpunk video.

‘…there is no single, authorised version of reality’ the Cruu writings suggest, ‘– instead, there is a superfluity, an excess, of realities.’ Xenomars has been described as a secret collective of artists, nicknamed the Banksy of Breakcore. A satire of our present and future sociological narrative, juxtaposing and manipulating the perception of our reality.’ One thing that’s fascinating about China is the degree to which fractured realities have come to co-exist; there are quite stark divisions, for example, between the political, economic and the cultural, and yet the system seems to function – at least in hegemonic terms. Excess and reality profusion are certainly regulated by the sociological narrative, but a fracturing of the whole mythology seems to allow for paradox and contradiction to co-exist. (I’m thinking about the cohabitation of the Marxist and the Capitalist dimensions we see in China, for example.) What is it about the ‘juxtaposing and manipulation’ of our realities that inform ‘a secret collective’ like Xenomars?  

Xenomars:  Renminbi is less about China itself and more about how its culture will affect us. At the pinnacle of nowadays global changes, there is the unequivocal retreat of the USA as the only superpower and the beginning of a new multipower order. Europe will probably be more affected by these global changes, especially if it doesn’t establish itself as one of these superpowers.

‘The banality of a summer scene is broken by primitive fears and religious archetypes. It is the return of superstition and manipulation, dividing us, as the apocalypse approaches.’ These words accompany Xenomars’ ‘the-sun-will-disappear’ track. I’m reminded of watching the YouTuber, eCodex read about ‘Occulture’s’ from Nick Land’s ‘Fanged Noumena’ and I was struck by your latest use of the term – ‘Xenomars’ new occulted video.’ Something can be said about the world’s growing interest in the occult. What is the significance of occultism here, and how does that tie into your aesthetic approach? 

Xenomars: The term occulted in reference to the Renminbi video is just a trigger, we mean it in its literal sense, hidden. The-sun-will-disappear is different. It does contain occultism, but with critical eyes. We believe occultism is the oldest form of manipulation, like power and religion. And what could be more representative of all these manipulations than Rasputin himself, the most potent charlatan of all times? The disappearing of the sun and the dreaming of dead people were the two primary triggers of fear and superstition in the primitive world. So once again we went for archetypes. What makes the video unsettling though, is not Rasputin or the symbols of death, but the normality of people on the beach, a homage to Norman Rosenthal’s ‘Apocalypse, Beauty and Horror in Contemporary Art’.

So many of these visuals, particularly those that accompany tracks like ‘fast-moving-consumer-goods’ and ‘this is very unprofessional and frankly quite offensive’ come across as an absolute MKUltra mind-fuck. Saying that my knowledge of rave music is primarily informed by the blood rave scene in ‘Blade’ (1998). With that being said, what is Breakcore, and why has that specific formulation become significant to the Xenomars’ project?

Xenomars: ‘This is very unprofessional and frankly quite offensive’ is an invitation to abandon all that is professional and pleasing in the art space. The work itself is divided into four parts, each title works in contrast with its visuals. The common theme is an impossible representation of ultraviolet radiations, all that we can’t see in reality. There is no suggestion of what that is, and maybe that is what makes it unsettling. You see some MKUltra mind-fuck, someone else might see something different. There is indeed an MK in part one, but it’s meaning casual. In ‘Do you like MK-Mouse’, MK stands only for Mickey. We all come from corporate advertising, and we know you don’t mess with trademarks. Sorry for letting you down.

Breakcore. Ah, the poor state of our beloved electronic music that shaped a decade, now reduced to old definitions. Breakcore is made of high-speed complex breakbeats, and although it doesn’t really define us as a genre. Yet it is dear to us because it’s the only deconstructing movement left in electronic music. Xenomars sits in a unique spot though, we work on 150 bpm which is too fast for Techno and too slow for Breakcore. Our rhythms are also significantly influenced by Millennial music. You can hear some similarity in our structure and sounds, but then, of course, these must be destroyed.

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