Yesterday, I walked around at half-mast, sick on dark foreshadowing. The juxtaposition of Barack Obama’s eloquent and tearful farewell to the nation, next to Donald Trump’s nauseating press conference, felt like a baptism of fire for the next four years. If there was ever a day for the announcement of a new Pharmakon album, it was today.
Fast forward to this morning.
Pharmakon, the noise project of Margaret Chardiet, will release Contact on March 31 through Brooklyn’s Sacred Bones. Her album covers—composed self portraits that inhibit the space between beauty and the grotesque—never disappoint. Contact’s cover is a tangle of wet hands clutching her calm and accepting face, a sort of off-putting, yet sort of graceful allusion to the album’s theme of transcendence. Something we could all use right now.
She gave the following artist statement:
“Man is a rabid dog, straining at its leash of mortality with bared teeth. Snarling and clawing over each other, we aim to reach a higher ground to claim as our own. There are those who will attempt to exert power over others to attain it. They will sniff you out; lay claim over your body, your actions, your thoughts, your time. (How starkly human, so desperate for the sense of vantage over all versions of its own reflection!) Their aims are empty, because their power is a construct they created and gave back to themselves. They too are small and inconsequential. All people are only human and humans are only animals. The nature of existence and our sentience is chance, owing nothing to anything. Humankind is of no special significance to the universe. (Despite all our scrambling rejections, we cannot transcend all of our instincts — just animals, lost in a confused dream, where mankind is real and at the center of everything). We are each nothing but a single, short-lived cell in a vast organism which itself will one day die. If we accept that the only true claim sentience gives us is our tiny sliver of time, it opens us to revel in it, to make CONTACT. When we pick up on transmissions between the private rooms inside our heads and the flesh of our vessels, when thought escapes its isolation and is seen, heard and understood. When our mind uses the body in order to transcend and escape it!
The moments of connection/communion/CONTACT, when the veil is for a brief but glorious moment lifted, and we are free. Empathy! EMPATHY, NOW!” – Margaret Chardiet