- Uproot cultural norms. If something is considered “common sense,” then you should ridicule or satirize it.
- Target modesty and decency.
- Celebrate obscenity, vulgarity, and cruelty.
- Embrace chaos.
- Shun “traditional” or “standard” forms or structures. If you don’t want to challenge them too radically, at least tweak them with the aim of upsetting the reader’s, or spectator’s, equilibrium.
- Have a point. Art for art’s sake, or strange for strange’s sake, or offensive for offensive’s sake should be treated like television: it’s all right in moderation, but too much will rot your brain.
- Offend everyone. But follow number 6: If you write about a fish-headed tarantula living inside a cunt, then that imagery should serve a purpose beyond the confines of the story in which it dwells.
- It’s okay to have fun every once in a while.
- Go fuck yourself.
- Champions of sensitivity, modesty, and decency are your enemies. Target them with you pens or brushes, your cameras or vocals.
- Freedom requires tolerating opposing views, even if they offend you. But this doesn’t necessarily entail tolerating tolerance. If someone finds something you’ve done offensive, refer them to number 9.
- In a world owned by corporations, in a world dominated by military and violence, in a world in which people are brainwashed into tolerating military violence while condemning simulated violence–an age-old misdirection–artists who comment on corporate tyranny and military and police violence should emerge.
13a. But those artists shouldn’t overtly condemn anything mentioned in 13; instead, they should explore the logical consequences of those states of affairs. For example, if a population adores military action and cheers at the death of people branded as enemies, then an artist should take it upon himself or herself to create a story, a painting, etcetera, in which a citizenry is consumed by violence. Men jerk off while beheading doctors; women masturbate with the carcasses of animals; children smear shit on their faces and crucify other children.
13b. Art shouldn’t be a fire extinguisher; it should be fuel for the fire; it should make the fire so massive that everyone sees it.
- Appalling acts of violence and cruelty within the context of art must stay within the context of art. It cannot bleed into the real world.
- Wake people up, make them pay attention, by shocking them.
- If art isn’t shocking and obscene, appalling and disgusting, then it is a product of the status quo.
- Art should challenge the status quo–it should attempt to break it; not reinforce it
- Challenge someone to explain why they find your art offensive. Probe further. Keep probing until they either punch you or realize that what they think of as their opinion is nothing more than cultural indoctrination.
- Read offensive or transgressive books, view offensive or transgressive paintings or photographs or films.
- Quit reading this and create, goddamn it. Shock people out of their complacency.
And good luck finding number 11.
D. Cay is a performance artist who prefers to work in anonymity. You can find him traveling the country, performing various “psychodramas” or “reality-bending performances” on unsuspecting passersby, usually in public during broad daylight. His goal is to “force people to question their presuppositions governing their understanding of reality.”