I think it’d be best if I explained the rationale behind our name (which is not a euphemism for a vibrator). Electric Tickle Machine is meant to be a reference to the evolving relationship between humanity and technology, specifically the vessels through which we process and regurgitate our culture, art and entertainment. Since Andy Warhol put his magnifying glass to pop culture in the 60’s and acknowledged the new product paradigm, we’ve been in a headspin of self-referential, archetypal incest that has left us salivating for scandals, fickle opinions, and dumbed-down rhetoric. Think Octomom, Sarah Palin, Speidi, Tweenstar assembly lines, karaoke as music, and world’s fattest cat as a viable front-page story in a time of war. The President of the United States actually gave an interview to Access Hollywood.
What are we talking about?
We vicarious voyeurs have seen the magnifying glass put up to the magnifying glass, and in the process, the substance has become an ugly, addictive abstraction of the heart of the matter. Context and intention are oft overlooked. “Give us us junk food!” Andre Codreseu writes in The Posthuman Dada Guide, “If the 20th century has taught us anything it is that we will forget everything except for the wrapper it came in.” So how does an artist, privy to his own cultural landscape and implicitly dialed into its carriers, address the modern paradox of feeling and creation? How do we wrap our present tense and justify our participation? Will our best intentions and conscience prevail over our easy-tos and can we still conjure some wilderness?
You can’t tickle yourself. It’s laughter born from torture. It is the sound of forced glee with an undercurrent of pain and vulnerability. We’re all tied to tickle machines, and it’s high time to acknowledge and redefine our relationship with the fingers.
With Love from the trenches of Liminality,