Birgit Richard

The Industrial Culture scene

"Our tune is the crying of the machines. Our music is the roaring of engines. Our sounds are the final rearing. We are dancing the downfall, to be able to live."

("Unsere Melodie ist das Schreien der Maschinen. Unsere Musik ist das Brüllen der Motoren. Unsere Klänge das letzte Aufbäumen. Wir tanzen den Untergang, um zu leben." (Einstürzende Neubauten) [1]

"Industrial Culture" (below shortened to Industrial) designates a special trend in music, which has its roots in Punk. Monte Cazazza, with his sentence "Industrial music for industrial people", christens the whole musical trend plus an Independent label. The music develops in England. It attempts to musically express the gloomy situation in English industrial towns. [2] The designation Industrial Culture also contains a conspicuous ironical touch, since, at the stage of its development, Britain goes through a recession. The crumbling industrial age is not invoked for nostalgic reasons, but rather a former industrial society is reflected, which undergoes a fundamental change. Industrial also considers itself to be a reaction to the beginning mediatization, to the influence of the media and its dependencies on and entanglement with power.

Punk's concentration on the theory of the situationists inspires the new trend Industrial to focus on dealing with the depressions of a society ruled by economic interests. The Industrial Culture radicalizes the ideas of Punk in full knowledge of mechanisms of provocation in the arts.

The Industrial scene is no adolescent subculture in the original sense, since most of its members are of a post-adolescent age. It is a subculture developing from the extreme fringes of the arts; it is not a clearly identifiable, expressively public style. Industrial commutes between a subculture and the arts. The interdisciplinary approach of Industrial combines the music with technology, science, literature and the arts. The emphasis of this subcultural style lies on the music, around which the various aesthetic and literary media, which underline and expand the intention of the music in the sense of a comprehensive work of art, then assemble. In their music, many Industrial bands attempt to realize Brion Gysin‘s cut-up theory, which characterizes William Bur­rough's literary style in particular. Burroughs cuts up audio-tapes of various recordings into smallest fragments, just to reassemble them arbitrarily. He describes weapons and technologies of war games. [3] The cut-up collage uses time-axis-manipulation, which means that, for example, tones are shifted downward by a semitone when recorded, just to be shifted upward when played. The cut becomes independent; it is no longer embellishment or correction, but becomes a stylistic means of music and art.. [4]

Industrial music, some of the most important protagonists are Throbbing Gristle, Chris and Cosey, Coil, Psychic TV, plus Cabaret Voltaire, Test Department, Monte Cazazza, SPK and Einstürzende Neubauten, is predominantly characterized by the unusual instrumentation. Steel hammer mechanisms, tools and machines like drill, flex, pneumatic hammer, materials like stone, metal, plastics or synthetically produced noises and noise are used as instruments. In addition, these groups use formerly anti-musical elements, e.g. various tapes with industrial sounds and sounds from every-day life, which are used in a manner reminiscent of a collage. Sound collages are created which represent a section of the background noise of an industrial society. [5] This kind of music closes a gap Punk had left open. The prevailing themes are death, illness, war and crime. The functional principles of and the growths of cancer in a disease-stricken society are laid bare. Industrial Culture bands try to comprehend and trace the patterns of how the decaying industrial landscape affects people's souls. Thus, in their lyrics and on their record covers they predominately deal with a perverted human behaviour, whose development they put down to the conditions in a highly mechanized society in an accusing fashion. They develop a great interest in the cases of  mass- or ritual murderers like, for example, Charles Manson, the child-murderess Mary Bell, the couple Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and this interest often is interpreted as an approval of murder and violence. However, this is about the presentation of the worst, omitted aspects of society -areas even omitted by the media or reported on in a very particular way. These special cases of violent crime are, so to speak, the great tales of the scene.

They deal with hardcore-sex, military experiments on humans and animals, veneral diseases and misshapings of the human body, with pathology (the band SPK in particular) and with insanity, thus, with theaspects of society pushed into an area invisible to the public.

To impress the structures of society and its failings on the audience, almost all involved in the Industrial Culture scene use media like slides, super-8 films, videos, photographs or special light effects. Music and images merge into an intermedial performance. At the time, the multimedia-notion was so new in music, that the electronic equipment necessary for the generation of noises had to be built by the members of the scene themselves. Therefore, the scene's own production of the records of Industrial bands became necessary as well. Traditional stu­dios were both unwilling and unable to produce the unusual sounds in an adequate fashion.

From the beginning, it is of major importance to quite a number of members of the Industrial Culture scene to develop their own structures for the dissemination of their ideas. They found their own record labels (e.g. Industrial Records by Throbbing Gristle or the Factory Label) and video labels (Double Vision by Cabaret Voltaire). The bands follow-up on the efforts of Punk to produce music and videos on their own, so that at no time do they lose control over their products.

Another objective is the attempt to expose the manipulative structures of the media in an information society by carrying certain strategies of manipulation to extremes, thereby bringing them to the public's attention. This objective is also pursued by publications of the scene, like e.g. "Industrial News" by Throbbing Gristle.

The cut- up techniques of Industrial bands, at the end of the 70s an innovation that reaches only a very small audience, in the 90s are processed for a mass-audience: sampling has become the new basis of music. [6]

To illustrate the unusualness of music and performances, some Industrial bands shall be portrayed here. Boyd Rice (Non) creates  music reminiscent of  collages (spiced up with e.g. scraps of noise from recordings of the suicides of the sect of Jim Jones in Jonestown, Guayana). His musical performance with a self-constructed ventilator-guitar, making possible an extreme volume, are supplemented by other aggressive acts like glaring light, mercilessly shining into the audience's faces. He creates noise affecting the body. Another self-constructed instrument of Boyd Rice is an organ, whose pipes consist of cow-lung, -windpipe and -larynx, connected to an air-compressor. [7]

One of the most extreme protagonists and initiators of the Industrial trend, besides Throbbing Gristle, is Monte Cazazza. He deals with the worst human desires and kinds of behaviour, using a large variety of media, photographs, col­lage, film, music, performance, to present his extreme topics. Which topics these might be can be deduced from his re­quest-list: "Self defense, Magic, Psychic Phenomena, Dream Imagery, Pornogra­phy, Survivalism, Weapons, Hypnosis, Murder and Death Rites, Religious and other Cults, Terrorism, Electronic Devices, Animal and Human Experimenta­tion, Ecological and Corporate Disasters and Accidents, Sublimial and Psycholo­gical Methods of Control (e.g. subliminal advertising), Chem Germ Warfare, Me­dical Mutations. [8] This list is amended by a preference for fistfucking- films, an interest in people like Gary Gilmore, Aleister Crowley, an interest in mass- ­psychology, polygraphs, the Jonestown Peoples Temple or the Baader Mein­hof Group. Monte Cazazza also predominantly deals with the stages of technological development in various areas: e.g. with military experiments on the destruction of objects by vibrations on particular frequencies. He observes military experiments like measuring the movements of the pupils, which give information on whether someone is telling the truth and how they react on the influences of certain images. It is of major importance for him to find out, where and how these technologies are used for the manipu­lation of humans in civilian life. People like Monte Cazazza, who owing to the topics they pick are regarded as sick perverts, attempt to get specific information on areas society does not want to know anything about.

A German group, which might be called an Industrial band with their own style, are the Einstürzenden Neubauten. Their name is supposed to mean: old objects, meanings, buildings and musical trends get replaced by new ones. The end of progress is reached, when things do not grow older any longer, but are destroyed at the moment of creation. The band uses Walter Benjamin‘s "destructive character" as their basis:

"The destructive character knows only one motto: clear away;...The destructive character is young and cheerful, since destruction rejuvenates, because it clears away the traces of our own age; it cheers up, because clearing away for the destroyer means a complete reduction, even an erasing of his own condition."

("Der destruktive Charakter kennt nur eine Parole: Platz schaffen; ... Der destruktive Charakter ist jung und heiter. Denn Zerstören verjüngt, weil es die Spuren unseres eigenen Alters aus dem Weg räumt;  es heitert auf, weil jedes Wegschaffen dem Zerstörenden eine vollkommene Reduktion, ja Radizierung seines eigenen Zustandes bedeutet. ") [9]

Their instruments are self-constructed steel hammer mechanisms made of pipes, T-beams, steel springs, chains, steel slabs, cans, building site equipment, pneumatic hammers, welding equipment, in short, everything you can get from scrap yards, building sites and garbage dumps. Their meanwhile legendary rehearsal room could be found in the base of a motorway bridge, where they created noises to go with the permanently vibrating concrete. Einstürzende Neubauten set to music the emptiness and hopelessness of metropolitan life in Berlin. They are the reflection of the ugly sides of  towns, with which, however, they identify themselves, which is rather typical of all other Industrial protagonists as well.

Since they started, the Neubauten have always caused an uproar, e.g. when they visited the Dachau concentration camp, which was quite macabre because of their short-cropped hair and their pyjama-tops, which made them resemble the victims of concentration camps. In the ICA in London they drill through the stage-floor with drills and pneumatic hammers, in posh discotheques in New York they scare off the trendy audience with burning rubber tyres. The Neubau­ten present industrial labour as a sound-experience and a performance.

" music, rather: noise. The modern tune is noisy. Only metal will survive."

("... keine Musik, besser: Krach. Die moderne Melodie ist Krach. Nur Metall überlebt.") [10]

Musical examples are "primitive" music and music by dilettantes. The Einstürzenden Neubauten do not regret downfall and destruction, the bloody holocaust, everyone else is terror-stricken by.

"There's war in the cities, and that's all right by us...There's not much time left until the final collapse, our odyssees destroy cities and  nocturnal wanderings raze them to the ground...For me, these are the last days, it's the apocalypse, definitely. We'll have another three or four years, then it's over. No discussion. Downfall means downfall."

("Es herrscht Krieg in den Städten und das ist gut so ... Bis zum Kollaps ist nicht mehr viel Zeit, unsere Irrfahrten zerstören Städte, und nächtliches Wandern macht sie dem Erdboden gleich. ... Für mich ist jetzt Untergangs­zeit, die Endzeit, endgültig. Das läuft noch drei oder vier Jahre, dann ist`s vorbei. Da gibts bei mir nix. Untergang ist Untergang.") [11]

They welcome destruction, physical decay, violent death with cynical malicious joy.

"(I) like* Berlin (War in the Cities)"

Get up/Lie down

Scorched earth

I like viruses

I like chemistry

Get up



Blow up

War beneath cars

I like fire

I like smoke

like noise

like stones

I won't get you out there

I like decay

I like disease






I like*

(*"(Ich) steh auf" is a pun, meaning either "to like", "to get up" or "to rebel")

"Steh auf Berlin (Krieg in den Städten)"

Aufstehen / Hinlegen

Verbrannte Erde

Ich steh auf Viren

Ich steh auf Chemie




In die Luft sprengen

Krieg unter Autos

Ich steh auf Feuer

Ich steh auf Rauch

steh auf Krach

steh auf Steine

Ich hol Dich nicht raus

Ich steh auf Zerfall

Ich steh auf Krankheit






Ich steh auf [12]

The tendency to use strange names can also be found in the song-titles of the Neubauten: Abfackeln (burn down), Kollaps (collapse), Mit Schmerzen hören (to hear it under pain), Hirnsäge (brainsaw), Abstieg (decline), Zerfall decay), Tanz Debil (feeble-minded dance).

Meanwhile, the Einstürzenden Neubauten have become the main advertising feature for German Avantgarde-music. They performed, for example, on the documenta 7 and write musical scores for the theatre (Andi, Zadek; Hamlet Maschine, Heiner Müller) and for a ballet.

The Einstürzenden Neubauten also show an interest in the physical effects of music. [13]

Thus, all Industrial bands have extreme, unusual perfor­mances, images and music in common, physically and psychologically almost unbearable for the audience. The experience of strategies of manipulation in the military and in the media and the examination of processes of perception are realized in the music and in performances on stage. All groups have subliminals [14] on the visual and auditory level in common, images, words, light effects, which are only perceived unconsciously, but get a foothold in the brain like a virus and affect behaviour. Kittler's assertion, rock­concerts and discos are the rehearsal of circumventing barriers of perception, can only be partially applied to Industrial bands, since they would like to see their concerts understood as the attempt to increase the awareness of opportunities for manipulation by the entertainment industry. [15]

The concerts are supposed to offer extraordinary, synaesthetical experiences, not only a distraction from ordinary life. There are great physical demands on the members of the audience, in some cases they are agressively attacked. The experience they undergo affect the body or are supposed to uncover the unconscious, which also shows parallels to action art.

In contrast to the down-to-earth street style Punk, Industrial Culture is heavily charged with theoretical approaches. It is dealing with literature, philosophy, medicine, law studies and the natural sciencies. The Industrial Culture scene's approach to problems in society can be considered as a subcultural form of "studies." The example of the group Throbbing Gristle, who, in a non-scientific/theoretical manner, rather early on revealed the meaning of what later will be called information society, shall demonstrate the multiple activities of an Industrial band that developed from a cultural context.

From COUM to Throbbing Gristle:

Some of the Industrial groups directly derive from action art. The group Throbbing Gristle with Genesis P. Orridge (his real name is Neil Andrew Megson) and Cosey Fanni Tutti developed from the perfor­mance group "COUM-Transmission" (founded in 1969). [16]   The efforts to shock can also be put down to the cultural context and notions of the late 60s. COUM wants to break down the barriers between art and ordinary life and recreate the magical power art execises in primitive tribal communities. The best-known performance by COUM was the "Prostitute"-exhibition in the ICA in London in October 1976, where, alongside exhibits like, e.g. used tampons, jars with maggots, whips, chains, blood-stained clothes and nude pictures of the stripper Cosey as part of popular culture, paintings and sculptures of the group were also shown.  This exhibition creates a scandal, which is even debated in parliament. COUM per­formances are no longer allowed to take place, the exhibits are censored. COUM presents another form of the orgies- mysteries-theatre of the Vienna action artist Hermann Nitsch. Many activities can be perceived as direct parallels to the Viennese action artists. COUM also carry their action to the extreme of masochist self-mutilation. No provocation is left out: they throw up, give themselves enema and perform sexual acts on stage. Genesis P. Orridge gets tied to a cross, torches in his hands that burn his palms. These are orgies in blood, vomit, urine and semen. Typically, COUM's symbol of transmission is the image of a limp penis after orgasm, which went along with the motto "We guarantee disappointment". [17]

The intention to revert to ordinary culture from the context of the arts and to address the man on the street induces COUM to turn to music. They want to break up the restrictions of a galleries-orientated business in the arts.

COUM becomes the group Throbbing Gristle (below shortended to TG) (1976 - 1981), which is rather inclined to music. It deals with topics like torture, cults, concentration camps and the behaviour of the wardens, watchdog-training, stories of uniforms and insignia, images of sex and death, Aleister Crowley, unsusual crimes, especially those committed by children or psychopaths, veneral diseases and forensic pathology. TG is fascinated by relics of the industrial era, by its architecture, at at time when nobody ever thought about having these buildings preserved as historical monuments. Throbbing Gristle often take their audience to the limits of what is psychologically and physically bearable by the unusual noises arising from a recreation and direct assimilation of the noises of an industrial and military environment. This is, for example, demonstrated by the title "Weapontraining,"  which reproduces noises of various weapon systems.

Another unsettling factor for the audience is the extreme film material. Thus, the audience often reacts very aggressively: at a performance in the SO 36 in Berlin 1982, the audience silences the PA by pouring in beer, because the combination of film -TG show their incredibly cruel castration video - and the unusual frequencies of the Industrial music becomes psychologically and physically unbearable. [18]

Throbbing Gristle are the consistent display of a particular life-style, which consists of questioning and rejecting social values. Their philospophy is simply to be open-minded, to recognize all individual opportunities you have and not to suppress anything. TG apply the shock-tactics of the art business to their whole life-style. The objective is to find out something about social conditions and environments of gruesome murders, suicides or mass-psychoses. Thus, they always spend their holidays at places where extraordinary crimes were committed: e.g. in Los Angeles, 10050 Cielo Drive, where Sharon Tate was murdered, or on the Spahn Ranch, where the Manson family lived. In an interview, Genesis P. Orridge tries to explain what these visits are all about:

"You could see how people could really get into a trip that became more and more kind of a fantasy life." 

"A lot of people hate us. The NMA hate us, they were outraged that I went to Poland and saw the death camps".(Genesis)

On an LP- Cover (subtitle: Music from the Death Fac­tory), the band creates an Industrial Records- signet, which for two years nobody pays any attention to, until Genesis reveals that this is by no means an image of a normal factory, but one of one of the ovens in Auschwitz. TG expose the neutrality of a picture and simultaneously show the worthlessness of an image without accompanying information in the mass-media. In addition, TG demonstrate, how easily a mis-information can manipulate people. The group wants to illustrate that information is the basic value in our post-industrial society: power lies with those who have the monopoly on information and those who are able to deal with it. Genesis:

"When I told them about Auschwitz, the picture was suddenly outrageous, so it actually changed physically before their eyes by them being fed that one extra line of information. I find that disturbing." [19]

TG want to expose the concentration of power of those who are well-placed at the sources of information.

"We're interested in information, we're not interested in music as such. And we believe that the whole battlefield, if there is one in the human situation, it is about information. [20]

Everything is fascinating what society does not want to see, what is reserved for specialists like doctors, but still publicly accessible, like disease, decay or death. Genesis P. Orridge, for example, starts corresponding with Monte Cazazza and sends him all dead animals he is able to collect by mail or assembles "mutants" from animal carcasses. He is looking for beauty in these processes of decay and thinks, that the putatively ugly and marginalized can aethetically be alluring as well. [21]

TG is often reproached for a one-sided preoccupation with crime. Their interest in the dark sides of human behaviour can be put down to the supression by society of anti-social and "evil" human impulses and behaviour, which then in some human beings erupt even more violently. They also introduce primitive rites into the music, which are also supposed to replace the role of ceremonies of shamans and witch-doctors in a progressive and mechanized society. TG achieve a strange combination of rituals and an artistic production, which uses industrial-technological means.. [22]

Marc Pauline and Survival Research Laboratories. Artists of the Industrial Culture

"... taking equipment and remanufacturing it, turning it against its engineer's better wishes. Making things out of it, it was never intended to do..." [23]

Marc Pauline and the Survival Research Laboratories (below shortened to SRL) are a team of mechanics, who build machines for plain destruction from technical components and scrap of various areas like the military and agriculture -another reference to all technological material having arisen from the military-, which fight each other in multi- media performances and destroy themselves and their environment. [24]

Fixed parts of each performance are, beside the main actors, the machines of steel, various materials like window-frames with glass or telephone booths and torn, festering heads, cast of plastic, with human features. The monumental image-material, which can be found on various vehicles, like framed photographs, showing images from horror-films or of assassinations, plays a special role here. Huge screens in various forms [25] drive through the scenery and fall victim to the merciless iconoclasm of the machines.

The SRL instrumentalize these media for their purposes, and the media images are not the only victims of their "War on information." These material victims of the machines are all kinds of animal carcasses, either mummified (like in Mummy go round, where several mummified animals are hung into a merry-go-round) or fresh from the butcher, like cows, sheep, chicken or pigeons. The mummified animals are mechanized by fitting in steel rods. The carcasses become organic robots, e.g. the "Rabot", a mechanized dead hare. [26] In addition, we find moving, absurd meat skewers with pieces of meat and robots with rotating animal-heads. Hare-or pig-halfs are torn apart, cows immersed into boiling yoghurt baths.

The scenery providing the background for this machine-theatre of cruelties contains allusions to the architecture of the town in which the performance takes place. Building fronts, houses in motion, small shacks, glasshouses and churches are reminiscent of human dwellings. They can not provide protection against the raging machines.

The scenery, a modern realization of an apocalyptic inferno, though limited in space and time, is shrouded in smoke clouds and glaring light, liquids are sprayed around, all possible objects set ablaze by flame-throwers, e.g. freight-cars in motion (Amsterdam). SRL create the image of a modern descent into hell, which they produce with great delight:

"One way to reach complete freedom from the restraints of civilisation, is to burn civilisation down, then you're free of it." [27]

Besides the deafening noise of non-muffled machines, the squeaking of steel hinges and the roaring of engines, a collage of sounds plays an important role: screams, whimpering, noises of animals, film scores. Soundtrack scraps of horror films are distorted and, sampled, condensed into an atmosphere of violence, threat and anguish.

SRL start with the development of standing machines. Later, all machines and flying objects are remote-controlled, the process since the end of the 80s coordinated by computers. Meanwhile, SRL have developed a standard range of particular machines. Among the main actors continually appearing again, the stars of the machine-theatre, which can always rebuilt and equipped with additional, destructive functions, we find: "The Legs Machine", a walking steel column; the "Screw Machine", difficult to steer, with an installed flame-thrower and a harrow for an engine shaft; "The Big Arm ", being able to pick holes in concrete; the "Rotary Mouth" with counter-flanging cogwheels and the "Inch Worm" with long, spiked grippers. They permanently develop new martial machines from "lost property." Thus, within fifteen years, huge moving skulls with moveable jaws, gigantic flails, a machine with quadrangular wheels (finally achieving squaring the circle), robotized maulers, eight-legged walking spider-robots, a ballistic missile-car, a small battle-robot, clumsily handling its BB-gun and knife, a kind of steamroller with two interlocking spiked rollers and a huge steel-grit robot, throwing flames. The preferred motion of the various extremities of the machines is the blind, destructive rotation.

SRL prefer to use military equipment: helicopters [28] , lasers, catapults, flame-throwers [29] , ballistic missiles and ballistic missile launch-pads are self-constructed. Dynamite, explosives and time-bombs are brought to explosion. The arsenal of weapons used comprises guns, from simple cannons, laser-guns, small ballistic missiles launched from catapults, self-constructed ten-barrelled rifles made of stainless steel to triple-A guns.

"I hope that the neighbourhood didn't catch fire. This were military flares, man. This was no joke." [30]


For every performance an individual choreography is drawn up, depending on the acting machines and robot-actors. [32] The machines dance (the "Legs Machine" in particular), their motions are seemingly ineffective and unspecific to machines. Nevertheless, their motions are "in character" and can almost be called natural. They crawl, jump and run through the scenery apparently self-actingly.

Pauline: "The machines were totally at ease in the world we create for them and I felt like that everything they did was completely natural."

Heckert: "They suddenly start to take on a life of their own and they do things that somehow relied on intelligence that goes far beyond." [33]

These dinosaurs of the industrial age appear to be alive; their specific independent existence turns them into steely descendants of a new species. The machines give a rather foolish impression, despite their uninhibited destructive rage, as if they destroyed unintentionally. In its clumsiness, there is a certain infantile innocence contained in the brute force the machine exerts on organic and unorganic matter.

The machines are always the only survivors in the scenery created for them. The organic life-forms, represented by carcasses and robots with plastic heads, do not stand a chance against the violence of the machines. Like weak-willed dolls, they are grabbed, they jiggle, get squashed, crushed, grinded or burnt. The robots with human heads appear especially pitiful, they crawl and pull along their crippled extremities. The performances illustrate the inevitability of the destruction by the machines of all that is alive. Thus, these performances differ sharply from those that take place in a framework of action art or happenings: SRL push humans away from the centre, machines dominate the action. [34] SRL demonstrate that the natural environment falls victim to a merciless machinery.

Pauline: "I hated Hippies. Hippies were for peace, and I wasn't for peace, I was for death and destruction."

Heckert: "Rain screws everything up, ... rain slows down all working process... Let's face it, rain is good for trees and I'm not a tree." [35]

They identify themselves with the destructive force of their machine-creatures. Animals and humans, with their socially decisive image-products, are destroyed by the machines.

"I thought it's like a symbol of like the new death, or like modern death." [36]

In addition, SRL very often use the skull motif as a traditional symbolism of death. The historical symbol is rendered into steel and brought to life, gets animated: moving skulls, snatching steel-sets of teeth and bunches of plastic-skulls can be found in every performance. Death, grabbing and snatching, does not remain stuck on a symbolic level, it is intervening directly.

Besides, SRL offer a droll walk through the history of weapon technology, from the antique catapult to ballistic missiles. The presentation of the evolution of destructive weaponry illustrates that the weapon systems, continuously getting replaced in a pointless arms race, eventually destroy everyone equally.

SRL predominantly use technological "junk," the military discards in increasingly short intervals. They use "technical corpses" and create a kind of zombie from military garbage. Thus, SRL are an example for the direct "misuse of army equipment" (Kittler). [37]

"... to create a parallel situation to society as we see it. ... with the raderick that makes no sense at all but is very force ride, the whole idea of uncovering lies with tricks and illusions... is just becoming a magic trick, just a magic show." [38]

Pauline does not call himself an artist. [39] He is an extreme performer of the machine age, processing technical information in particular. He simulates war on a small scale, an apparently raging machine runs amok. It demonstrates its meaninglessness and, in the confrontation with organic and unorganic matter, its scary destructive force. The chaos of houses in motion, low-flying missiles, mechanical arms surfacing from oil baths, sound collages, noise, screams, animal noises, fire and mechanical pieces of equipment with mummified animals squirting liquids, conveys the feeling of being involved in battle on a battle-field. SRL work with material and noises directly associated with war to demonstrate its absurdity in an exemplary way. The audience cannot escape, they are shot at and threatened by the machinery.

"When the `shockwave´ kind of hits you in the face and you know that you are hit with something and even if you really understand how it works, it's not gonna make it any less surprising or any less of an affront to your personal dare that you have between you and the world." [40]

The machines SRL use are not inhibited by any mufflers. No filter stops the poisonous exhaust gases and oil-residues of the engines. The machines represent the unmasked original condition of machines. The audience has to endure the noise and the stench. The machines are grabbing for the audience or are suddenly driving towards them. SRL play with the audience's fear and create a sense of relief to have got out of this war of machines rather unscathed, since instead of the audience animal victims and plastic-proxies are supposed to suffer.

"The cat there is just basically a vehicle for my tank, to show what a real victim is all like, going down, kicking and screaming all the way. Well, it's grabbed by the tank, wiggles and tries to get away, ... What else can we do, we flamed it, right?" [41]

The audience is supposed to feel as bad as possible, a state automatically setting in because of the noise, stench and the attacks by machines. The outward appearance of these machines has nothing to do with high-tech or micro-electronic war equipment. Although they are controlled by technology of ultimate modernity, the machines themselves are quite the opposite of non-transparent black boxes. They have to be endured by all senses. They are representatives of war and their destructive force can still be experienced directly. Physically, the audience might catch a tiny little sense of what war actually means.

"... the audience were kind of victims, they're thought of being sacrificed. " [42]

By the drastic means of the performance, the mercilessness of war becomes sensorially comprehensible. The merciless machinery of destruction consists of various incarnations of the harrow in Kafka's penal colony. The technological junk becomes imprinted into surroundings and artificial bodies. This gives rise to the impression of gladiator-fights of the machines of various powers on a rather limited territory. The stage-managed war-scenario of the SRL is more realistic than the immaterial, stage-managed images of war in the media. For a process of developing an awareness of these phenomena it is much more efficient, since no intellectual distancing is possible. [43] SRL use the means of war and its effects to confront the issue of war.

With these highly mechanized, artistically extreme actions and their radical statements, SRL move on the fringes of an arts system that are rarely paid any attention to and overlap with adolescent subculture. The origin of SRL and of the protagonists of the Industrial scene clearly derives from the avantgarde trends in the arts of the 60s.

Industrial Culture as the transference of artistic avantgarde into adolescent subculture

To prove a direct historical connection between subcultures and avantgarde is a difficult undertaking. The developments of artistic avantgarde trends and adolescent subcultures occur seperately, if we disregard a number of cross-links between 1900 and 1960. [44] Their temporary symbiosis and interlocking can be explained by a process of intellectual activities or artistic production becoming ordinary, the development of an independent adolescent phase in life and a change in its social importance. The decisive factor for the taking effect of a bohemian attitude in adolescent subcultures, formerly reserved for the artistic avantgarde, is the postulate of overcoming the seperation of art and every-day life. Artistic means of expression, like the combination of visual and acoustic sensorial stimuli, become very important for the upheaval of purposes in life and consciousness of a mass-bohemian culture at the end of the 60s. [45] Youth movements like the Dutch Provos obtain their forms from happenings, the French students movement from the Strasbourg branch of the  "Situationist In­ternational", the German extraparliamentary opposition from the group "SPUR". The Hippies are the first adolescent mass movement that derives directly from the expansion of the bohemian, avantgarde Beat-generation. This historically unique symbiosis of the artistic bohemian world and adolescent mass culture is made possible by its dissemination through the media. This convergence has the effect, that with the disappearance of the artistic avantgarde the bohemian world becomes a subculture in its own right and does away with itself in everyday-life by a spread of the bohemian attitude through the masses.. [46]

The analysis of the Industrial Culture made the close connections to artistic avantgarde movements quite noticeable. At the end of the 60s, Industrial develops from an artistic environment and becomes a culture in which cultural and subcultural forms are inseparably linked. [47]

It is necessary to draw some sketches of certain trends in action art -a designation which here shall comprise happening, event, Fluxus, Nouveau Realistes, Concept Art, actionism, Body-Art and performance [48] - which inspire the subculture.

Action art is a modern phenomenon. Their boundless experimentation with basic qualities of art follows the tradition of futurists, da­daists and surrealists. Action art is multi-dimensional, breaks down traditional borders between genres and involves new media. The authenticity of life shall be introduced into the arts. [49] In contrast to the initiators of action art, dadaists und futurists, the main tendency in action art is not so aggressive and not full of malicious criticism and provocation. This agressive trend in action art is continued by Industrial. It shall be proved that youth culture becomes the place where obsolete forms of avantgarde art are preserved in the Underground culture of music.

The first hallmark of both Industrial and action art is multi-mediality, indirectly contained in the following elements. As we have seen in the chapters above, all Industrial groups experiment with acoustic stimuli and anti-musical elements. There have been drums for phonographs with e.g. noises of steamrollers, ship-bells and from ordinary life since 1898, making music part of the acoustic ambience of every-day life. [50] In the area of the arts, Marinetti's onomatopeic poem "Zang Tumb Tumb" from 1914, thus futuristic noise-music, marks the beginning of this development. [51] Luigi Russolo uses noises from ordinary life like noises of trams in motion, misfiring of cars and raucous bawling of crowds for his compositions. Furthermore, he constructs motorized instruments for the generation of noises, the so-called "Intonarumori".

From 1918 on, the Russian poets Gastev and Mayakowski give concerts for factory sirens and other noises: the most famous example is performed in the port of Baku in 1922. The instrumentarium consists of factory sirens, foghorns of ships, machine-gun salvos, two batallions of artillery and the noises of thousands of members of the audience. [52]

Here we can see the roots of the Industrial Culture, which is a comparable phenomenon when it comes to the generation of noises and also directly refers to the influence of the futurists, though without sharing their positivist euphoria about progress and technology. The Industrial Culture represents the decaying inner life of an industrial machinery still shining only on the outside.

In the 60s, this noise-music is taken up by John Cage. Silence and remaining silent are introduced as new elements, as is the dadaistic principle of coincidence. [53] Further parallels on the level of music can be found in the Fluxus concerts: e.g. in Nam June Paiks "Opera Sexotronique," performed in 1966. We should also mention the De-Collage- music of Vostell, which creates a noise scenery in using instruments unspecific to music. [54]

The use of robots, flesh-machine-installations and technical equipment, predominantly found in SRL, has its theoretical origin in concepts of the futurists, who set upon breaking up the unsurmountable hostility betwen human flesh and the metal of engines. Later, in particular the destructive force of machines is picked out as a central theme. Wolf Vostell arranges collisions between a car and a train. Direct parallels to the performances of SRL can be found in the "Homage to New York" in 1960, in which a self-destructing machine, weather ballons and smoke bombs are set on stage. [55] Another example are the "Metametics" by Jean Tinguely. He processes garbage and used and discarded objects of modern technology and is thus also a precursor to Trans- High Tech Design. The "Metametics" are without function, their obsolescence is built-in. The meaningless destroys itself. Thus they are, in a technical sense, counterproductive anti-machines. [56] Tinguely's machines are supposed to inspire playing with them. They are a combination of  threatening-destructive and comical effects. This comical variant is missing from SRL; their machinery appears absurd and scary. In the 80s, Tinguely forms assemblies like: "Das Atelier des Künstlers von 1985" or "Die Hexen oder Schneewittchen und die sieben Zwerge" (1985), which, through the combination of parts of machines, animal skulls [57] and furs, show a marked resemblance to performances of SRL. The combination of corroding iron, i.e. dying and dissolving metal, and skulls creates an aesthetics of agony. Here, dead matter also seems to be reanimated, it starts to move again. The material is worthless without an engine, to Tinguely their stoppage means death. He deals with the intense preoccupation with death to make the latter look ridiculous and to partly de-terrorize it.. Industrial, on the other hand, attempts to increase the terror to draw attention to it. The absurd combination of dead biological matter with metal shows that technology can "revive" dead matter, which only leads to absurd excesses, which no longer have anything to do with the former life of the matter now dead. Another example for parallels between Industrial and the Fluxus movement is the robot, e.g. Nam June Paik's remote-controlled Robot KT 678. The most extreme example is the amputa­tion-robot by the Canadian John Faré, which he built with the cybernetician Golni Czervath. [58] As further, contemporary parallels we should call to mind the Un­natural Bo­dies by Jim Whiting and the cybernetic pets by Nicolas Baginsky.

Another connecting strand is the the use of the individual body in a sado-masochist manner, its ritual destruction or injuring. The Industrial scene is closely connected with the manifestations of the Viennese action art. COUM's extreme actions do not differ very sharply from actions by Günther Brus or Otto Mühls. The willingness for self-injuring, which can also be found with Valie Export and Gina Pane, can only be found on the fringes of action art. [59] The aggressive character can only be detected in early happenings. Otto Mühl and Hermann Nitsch introduce injuries and death as metaphors. The provocation culminates in self-destructive acts by Gün­ther Brus and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, who use their own bodies. Brus wants to turn the body into a painting by body-specific means, e.g. in "Zerreißprobe," in which his blood is used as paint by cutting into the skin. Schwarzkogler in his stage-managed photographs presents the injured body and death as action.

This is also the tradition of the self-mutilations in the early actions by Wolf­gang Flatz, who, for example, has a fist scratched onto his back or becomes the target of darts or in his dismantlings ("Demontagen") lets himself be swung between two steel sheets as a human tongue (e.g. "Stahlglocke").

The culmination of the gruesome self-destruction is reached with the action by the Canadian John Charles Faré ("Dying is an art like everything else" [60] ), who in 1968 executed the amputation of individual extremities with the help of two assistants and two robots, fixed to the operating table. The body-parts are replaced by metal or plastic imitations. Suicide in instalments takes place in a sequence of actions, lit by the spotlights of the robots. The end is constituted by self-decapitation.

In the beginning, Industrial Culture exercises physical self-injuring in reality, however, it later acquires techniques to simulate injuries.

The demands on the recipient are also common to both Industrial and action art. The provocation of an orgies-mysteries-theatre is only for a very short time able to affect a society, which goulishly relishes in murder on television, but backs away from naked bodies and excrements. The shock-tactics of the Industrial Scene are more subtle, since in addition they directly address the perception mechanisms of the audience.

It was the objective of the action artists to provoke intense, spontaneous reactions from the audience. The provokingly destructive, sometimes even brutal attitude of the action artists towards their audience turn some actions into a kind of torture. Nam June Paik throws eggs on his audience, Peter Weibel and Valie Export whip down from stage and throw balls of barbed wire into the audience. The Fluxus-artists design environments and installations which scare the viewer. Wolf Vostell's happening "Dogs and Chinese pp", an after-happening, in which a dark, totally overheated room could only be entered in bathing clothes and the exhibits had to be illuminated with torches, [61] is an example worth mentioning.

If we take Nitsch's definition of a happening as a basis -an event effecting chaos, movement, upheaval and an intense experience - , the performances of the Industrial bands can definitely be considered to be happenings.

The principles which action art and Industrial Culture have in common are therefore mul­ti-mediality, noise-art and  anti-musical elements, the use of robots and machines, use of the body culminating in self-destruction and shock-tactics directed against the audience.

[1] Bernd Hahn/ Holger Schindler: Punk, die zarteste Versuchung seit es Schokolade gibt. Hamburg 1983, p. 100
[2] V. Vale/ Andrea Juno (ed.): Industrial Culture Handbook. Research Issue # 6/7, San Fran­cisco 1986 (3. reprint) (below shortened to InCuHa), p. 10f. Cazazza refers to a sentence by Andy Warhol from 1977, the first idea for the name of the label was Factory.
A description of the environment of Industrial bands: "The terrace opposite stops short in the grey air, thick with moisture, revealing vistas of factorys, tower blicks, endless tightly patterned semi's ... hills in the distance. Sometimes the factorys work at night - the noise can be heard in the house, filtering through dreams: dull, percussive, hynotic." (Intro to an interview with Cabaret Voltaire, Search & Destroy, June 78); John Savage: Introduction. In: InCuHa, op.cit., p. 4
[3] This technique breaks up power by the means of a positive feedback, an endless loop. Friedrich A. Kittler: Film, Grammophon, Typewriter. Berlin 1986, p. 169
[4] ibid., p. 171
[5] Genesis P. Orridge: "When we finished that first record, we went outside and we suddenly heard trains going past, and little workshops under the railway arches, and the lathes going, and electric saws, and we suddenly thought, "We haven't actually created anything at all, we've just taken it subconsciously and re-created it." InCuHa: op.cit., p. 11
[6] Thus, meanwhile the musical approach of a band like Cabaret Voltaire is obsolete. Their experimental, electronic music is supported by self-produced videos and slides. Both the music and its visualization are determinded by the mysterious combination of contradicting fragments of reality. Cabaret Voltaire call themselves "modern primitives", because they focus on rhythm.
[7] InCuHa: op.cit., pp. 53, 55
[8] ibid., p. 79
[9] Walter Benjamin: Der destruktive Charakter. In: Gesammelte Werke, Frankfurt am Main 1991, p. 396ff.
[10] N.U. Endruh quoted in Hahn/ Schindler: op.cit., p. 100
[11] Klaus Maeck: Hör mit Schmerzen. Einstürzende Neubauten. Bonn 1989, p. 32. Maeck quotes from an interview published in Spex 9/81.
[12] ibid., p. 33
[13] F.M. Einheit: "It addresses emotions. But you can plan that, address certain emotions, like Muzak, department-store music, inspiring shopping and keeping you from shoplifting."
("Sie spricht Gefühle an. Aber auch das kannst du ja planen, auf bestimmte Gefühle abzielen, wie Muzak, Kaufhausmusik, die die Leute zum Kaufen anregt und vom Klauen abhält ...")
BB: "Sure, you can physically study what effects melodies have...but thereby they won't have dealt with all that is possible. I once heard that bushman drummers are able to execute people, men are tied to stake, the drummers start drumming along with the beat of the heart, get ever faster and after three days the men are dead."
("Klar, du kannst physikalisch erforschen, was bestimmte Tonfolgen bewirken ... da haben die aber noch nicht einmal einen Bruchteil erfaßt von dem, was möglich its. Ich hab mal ge­hört, daß Buschtrommler Männer hinrichten können, die werden an einen Pfahl gebunden, dann fangen sie an, im Herzrhythmus zu trommeln und werden immer schneller, und nach drei Tagen sind sie tot.") Maeck: op.cit., p. 21
[14] In the US, subliminals have been used for therapy since the 70s. Before, however, they were rather used for manipulative purposes, cf. the study by James Vicary and his famous experiment with Coca Cola advertisements. Supermarkets and films use subliminal messages like hidden texts in the music.
[15] See also Kittler‘s remarks on the importance of rock music: Kittler asserts that rock music, misusing army equipment, will lead to the third world war. Mass-media of interception like rock music are mobilization and do not serve distraction, Hendrix had a guitar instead of a machine-gun. Kittler: op.cit., p. 112, 170, 172
[16] Besides, the members could be assigned to the Mail Art scene zuzuordnen. Genesis P. Orridge is convicted for his1979 obscene Mail Art- postcards, which show, for example Buckingham Palace with a backside. Genesis is also convicted for a postcard showing Réné Magrittes Time Transfixed from 1939 zeigt,. John A. Walker: Cross- overs. Art into pop, pop into art. London 1987, p. 131
[17] V. Vale/ Andrea Juno (ed.): William S. Burroughs, Throbbing Gristle, Brion Gysin. Re­search # 4/5. San Francisco 1982, p. 71
[18] TG experiment with techniques for the expansion of our senses and with phenomena like the white hiss.
[19] Research # 4/5: op.cit., p. 63
[20] InCuHa: op.cit., p. 9
[21] In San Francisco, Monte Cazazza belonged to the New Bay Area Dadaisten, a Neo- Dada movement, which he had to leave rather soon because of his radicalism.
The fascination with death even shows when TG describes the meaning of flowers: Genesis: "Flowers are always supposed to be nice, but they're usually asso­ciated with bad news like deaths and illnesses and people having arguments and trying to make people like them again." Sleazy: "The best thing to do to flowers is hang them upside down. If you hang them upside down then they dry in the condition that they were when you hung them, so they remain preserved, even though they're dead." Research # 4/5: op.cit., p. 79
[22] This also applies to the successor-group Psychic TV, founded in 1981. Walker: op.cit., p. 132
[23] InCuHa: op.cit., p. 34 f.
[24] Stockcart - or "Monstercar"- races, which take place in the USA, are certainly sources of inpiration, too.
[25] Partly, they are mechanized, like the image of the assassination of the Japanese prime minister by a rightwing student: a hand with a mechanical knife surfaces from the picture, stabs into the picture, blood circulates. Image screens, which show distorted pictures from a film by Fritz Lang, are torn apart by a liquids-spitting, spiked missile. (Fort Mason Performance)
[26] The carcasses are cut to the right size with a chain-saw. They are then fitted with mechanical steel-joints and brought to life by a robot-construction. This is predominantly done in collaboration with Monte Cazazza.
[27] Marc Pauline in the video "The will to provoke."
[28] This helicopter was able to release explosives in various target-directions with a bomb release gear. It had a gripper with which he could grab objects and crush them, its landing gear were spikes. Marc Pauline gets the components for the helicopter from discarded military stocks. InCuHa: op.cit., p. 31
[29] The components for the machines are mostly stolen. With the flame-thrower you can break glass, the hand-held flame-thrower has a range of twenty-five feet. InCuHa: op.cit., pp. 35, 38
[30] Marc Pauline in the video "A scenic harvest from the kingdom of pain"
[31] Video "Virtues of negative fascination"
[32] Performances: "Unfortunate Spectacle of Violent Self-Destruction", "Food for machines" (1979), "A cruel and relentless plot to pervert the flesh of beasts to unholy uses" (1982); "Machine Sex" (1979), "Assured Destructive Capability" (1979), "Useless Mechanical Activity" (1980), "Pearl Habour Day" (1980) Scenes of tomorrow's battlefields, "A fiery presentation of dangerous and disturbing stunt phenomena" (1981), Amsterdam 17. July 1988: A PLAN for social improvement BASED ON ARCHIEVING COMPLETE FREEDOM FROM THE RESTRAINTS OF CIVILISATION. Afterwards, Kraakers set houses ablaze with self-constructed flame-throwers.
In Europe SRL-Performances could be seen in Kopenhagen and in1992 in Graz.
[33] Video "The will to provoke" Marc Pauline und Matthew Heckert
[34] With SRL machines have apparently taken over, like in the film "Terminator".
[35] Mark Pauline: InCuHa: op.cit., p. 37. Heckert in the video "The will to provoke"
[36] Marc Pauline in the video "Virtues of negative fascination"
[37] Cf. Stockhausen‘s "Kontakte" with discarded equipment from the US Army; misuse now creates the sound. Kittler: op.cit., p. 149
[38] Marc Pauline in the video "Virtues of negative fascination"
[39] For inspiration, he reads in particular Burroughs and Pynchon.
[40] Marc Pauline in the video "The will to provoke"
[41] Matthew Heckert, video "Virtues of nega­tive fascination"
[42] Marc Pauline in the video "The will to provoke"
[43] The impossibility to be detached from the performance by considering it as an artistic event is the reason for the negative reception in Europe. In Amsterdam, a civic group is formed immediately. While people in the USA find the performances entertaining, SRL in Europe are abused as as weapon-fetishists and war-mongers. The performance for the Steirische Herbst in Graz 1992 in a priggish reception of the critics ( "how can you approve of such a performance in the face of Yugoslavia") was regarded as unsuitable, as politically incorrect.
[44] Schwendter, Rolf: Jugendliche Subkulturen und künstlerische Avantgarde. In: Willi Bucher/ Klaus Pohl (ed.): Schock und Schöpfung. Jugendästhetik im 20. Jahrhundert. Darmstadt/ Neuwied 1986, p. 46 f.
[45] Riewoldt, too, considers the 60s as the time when the bohemian type was able to become a mass-phenomen via the media. Special importance lies with film and music: desintegrative types of stars like Jim Mor­rison with their aggressive self-assertion turn the bohemian world into a stage-event. Otto Riewoldt: Jugendkultur und Boheme. In: Willi Bucher/ Klaus Pohl (ed.): Schock und Schöpfung. Jugendästhetik im 20. Jahrhundert. Darmstadt/ Neuwied 1986, p. 38
[46] Schwendter: op.cit., p. 45
[47] The direct reworking of artistic influences can predominantly be found among the protagonists of the English (original) subcultures, who very often attended art schools and impart their knowledge of various artistic means of expression e.g. on Punk or Wave.
[48] Gerhard Johann Lischka: Performance und Performance Art. In: Kunstforum International, Band 96, 1988, pp. 65- 193: Performance Art starts with the futurists and is spread with the development of the media. Lischka designates the Situationist Inter­national as her first theoretics. We should bear in mind that the roots of Punk are also found in this movement. Performance crystallizes from Happening, Event, Fluxus and Actionism.
[49] Edith Almhofer: Performance Art. Die Kunst zu leben. Graz/ Wien 1986, p. 7
[50] Kittler: op.cit., p. 61
[51] Telephoning, hammering and the orders of a Turkish general, artillery- and machine-gun fire are supposed to represent the siege of Adrianopel. Almhofer: op.cit., p. 21
[52] Adrian Henri: Total Art. Environments, Happenings and Performance. London 1974, p. 15
[53] Jürgen Schilling: Aktionskunst. Identität von Kunst und Leben? Luzern/ Frankfurt 1978, p. 48 f.
[54] Vostell uses the noises of construction-engines, pneumatic hammers, cars or noises of the destruction of objects: an excavator crushes radiograms and radios with an iron bowl or in his environments ordinary noises (fragments of glass on the floor) are distorted by electronic amplification. Schilling: op.cit., p. 121
[55] See also Tinguely‘s "Study for an End of the World No. 2", taking place in the Nevada desert in 1962, dominated by machines and explosions. Henri: op.cit., p. 172
[56] Schilling: op.cit., p. 106 ff.
[57] Animal skulls, human skulls appear only once. The death performed is not supposed to refer entirely to the fate of humans.
[58] Schilling: op.cit., pp. 94, 160
[59] Scheiß- Aktion von Günther Brus 1967, "Irrwisch": Otto Mühl:"The Death of Sharon Tate" 1969. Gina Pane‘s self-injuries shall illustrate the hopeless position of women. Schilling: op.cit., pp. 169, 162. Other Body Artists, like Vito Acconi, bite themselves in to the upper arm and trace the impressions with ink (action in 1970). The Canadian Chris Burden crawls through fragments of glass and gets shot at. A Japanese artist in his action "life" jumped out of the window. The most contemporary examples of extensive self-mutilation of women are the cosmetic operations performances by Orlan.
[60] The actions always took place on Fridays at 8.30 pm. The first operation, a lobotomy, was carried out in Kopenhagen in June 1964. On the 17. September 1968 Faré turns up in the Isaacs Gallery in Toronto to get his right hand amputated. Beforehand, Farés body is fitted with small microphones, which transmit his pulse and breathing frequency in a distorted fashion. The hand gets amputated and preserved in a jar. From former actions, he already lacks a thumb, two fingers, eight toes, one eye, both testicles and several shreds of skin. Tim Craig: John Fare you well. In: Studio International, vol. 949, Band 184, November 1972, p. 160
[61] You. Happening in a swimming pool filled with yellow, blue, red sacks of colour and bones of oxens. People were lying on top of each other in the blood of an "oxen-lungs-trampoline", squirting colour onto each other. There is a yellow tennis-court, a bicycle with an exploding colour-television set and parachutes. Signal bombs create orange-coloured smoke, the participants wear gas-masks. Cf. also "In Ulm, um Ulm und um Ulm herum" von 1964. Alan Kaprow concludes a happening by driving the participants from a wooden box with a mower.