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Zurkas Tepla Occasion Smell Panopticon Interview

Zurkas Tepla: Nonlinear Narratives

Zurkas Tepla is a Moscow-based idiosyncratic persona and founder of independent label CANT. His artistic multimedia practices combine music, found footage collages, text, and experimental films. His liquid world which is full of uncertainty and paranoia is fascinating and bizarre. His appearances are as unexpected as his “methods” of work. He can appear in an underground club lineup and play harsh noise, then he performs live electronics for Maya Deren’s retrospective screening “Meshes of the Afternoon” and finally collaborates with academic composers back to back. His albums were published by such labels as Full of Nothing, Dense Truth (curated by Forest Swords from Ninja Tune) and Klammklang.

How would you describe your artistic approach?

I haven’t thought about that. I have been doing this for a long time. It started from another era when the internet was still a dial-up modem type connection. I am not a Gen Z who belongs to the digital age. In Russia, the internet at its dawn granted freedom. I don’t reflect on what I do. It is hard to have an external analysis of myself in the context of what is already happening in the world.

Zurkas Tepla Interview

Do you think you can live off of doing experimental underground art?

If you do such music, be ready to do it without any expectations for a long time. And that is OK. If you want to earn money, you better produce another type of music. Why would you want to do “so-called” experimental music if you want to earn money? In order for that to happen, many factors must match. And most of them are also consequential.

Your artistic practices are deconstruction of the scene?

Not at all. I don’t intentionally deconstruct anything. I just make music

Do you think that additional context leaks in when you work with found footage?

Of course. I select first and then edit a specific out of it. Sometimes it is linear narration, sometimes it is a specific cinema language. And as it is found footage and I didn’t primarily create the concept, some interesting outcomes may occur. It is very captivating. It is like being a co-author with someone. I usually search for videos on the internet with a stream of consciousness method. Then I line them up, write down texts and start editing them.

 

Like in “Cops”. It starts with a scene about someone’s marvelous bedroom. I didn’t know that will look for a bedroom. I stumbled upon a blogger who showcases police equipment in his nice bedroom. So I edited his review with the scene when the swat team breaks into someone’s bedroom. Then we have it, “a charming bedroom”. It is very intriguing to surf, find, edit like this. That’s why it is so appealing. By the way, one of the comments under that review video was, “It is kinda funny that the American flag on the background is made in China”.

Is that an irony towards militarism?

It is hard to say. I don’t do decode, as I think that sometimes decoding removes the original message. Why analyze texts if they work? I played with the phrase “fake it will, you make it”. And the phrase “made in China” also refers to a copy in the post-soviet territory. And it is interesting as many fake things at first are not fake at all and vice versa. “Permanent Research” was about instability, representation of bureaucrats in media and in general.

Zurkas Tepla Furniture Patron

Everything is like in quantum superposition and that’s destabilized definitely. Is it good or bad, it is hard to say, but it kicks me. And no matter how many philosophical critiques you may hear, the fact is that many people somewhere far away die, and you see it on the screen. You must have your opinion about that, and many people are confused and don’t know what to say. My opinion about this is that all this is bad. This is my subjective view, my feelings about what happens around me.

 

“my daughter is 2 and 9 or 3, one
pin from my card
i want a plane
fuсk it in the wing
during the landing
to discourage myself
to fly ever again”

What motivates you to make music?

Nothing. I have been doing this for so long now, and I just can not stop doing that. When I start doing something, I have no plan to do something specific. I just do it. Really.

translator says
what a mistake
what a mistake
i didn’t mean it
feel not good now
one of my tongues was bad
they were just screaming
get me your guns
get me your guns
get it to me
but as always
just double
some shit
get me your thumbs
get me your thumbs
your rotten stinky mirror
fried chicken free market with fleas
and some wifi too
between irrelevant holes
one of them asks –
recognize the breath:
balloon with frozen air.
detect some detox juice,
floss, relatives which are betrayed.
symbols crashed in plastic
cases carrying SoC,
ear doubles sos
breasts feeding mouths
press attaches
nose dressed mustaches
dirt digging
fish licking,
black wet, west white stomach
recognize the breath
gas gas gas
cold magenta flowers
yes yes yes
some boy attached some sir to phrase
just stay in your room
look at this chair
smell where you sit
Hm. Lead. newspaper
duck —
mischievous bird
spreading noisome.
what should i feel
what need to do?
what is this smell?
rehearsal of repeat
variety
pets conversation stops
in endless hula hala hoop
was just a kazus.

Website | Bandcamp | YouTube | Soundcloud

 

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