Destructivistas world. Occasional paper 6, Joel Cahen (2012, revised 2016)

The following text presents questions, possible answers, and tangential thoughts that have surfaced over the last five years (since April 2007) of staging the public Destructivist activity that is Scrap Club. Scrap Club began as an idea shared with Wajid Yaseen in response to the reenactment of an Einstürzende Neubauten performance at the ICA in which we both participated in Feb 2007.

On stage we were using heavy tools such as a banyorammer, drills, angle grinders, and hammers to play a scored sonic action. The destructive element of the action was appealing in itself, in fact it was exhilarating. We resolved that everyone should experience it. A sober view of the extensive surplus of defunct objects on the streets proved that there was no lack of stuff to smash.

Over the next five years we set up fifteen public Scrap Club events, in warehouses, open spaces, clubs, galleries, festivals and on the street, in London, Amsterdam and Newcastle.

The response has been impressive in the way it has touched participants across age, gender, and character. There was more to it than mindless aggressive expression. Participants found a core value in their expression of focused and intentional destruction. This intentional destruction, hereafter referred to as Destructivist, is such a powerful dynamic in society, yet there is some debate regarding its true motive. It is associated with offensive violence, vandalism, and chaos, but also with constructive and creative processes. It is how the destructive forces in nature express themselves through human action. By framing the direct experience of destruction in such an explicit manner and without any pretense other than its physical expression, can the human destructive dynamic be interrogated before it accumulates any prescribed meaning? Will this process give us more insight into the motivations for destructive actions across culture and society?

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