& Artur Żmijewski
James Lee Byars
& Fabio Balducci
Center for Tactical Magic
Do something evil, 2006
DOUGLAS GORDON (b. 1960, Glasgow, Scotland) is the recipient of numerous international art prizes, including the Turner Prize (1996), the Venice Biennale’s Premio 2000 (1997), and the Hugo Boss Prize (1998). This year, Douglas’s work appears at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, Spain and the National Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland. Timeline, a retrospective exhibition of Gordon’s film-based work, is at the Museum of Modern Art in New York through September. Gordon lives and works in New York.
As part of our effort to “do something evil,” as Douglas Gordon
requested, we tried to locate as powerful a curse as we could
find, and apply it to a tube of black paint. I called all
of the Wiccan, Pagan, and spiritual places in New York that
I could find, but all of the people who were even willing
to speak with me strongly discouraged my mission. I tried to
reiterate that we were willing to take full responsibility,
karmic or otherwise, but everyone tried to talk me out of
my search. These people seemed sad that they could not change
my mind, but terrified to get involved. No one would even
guide me in a more fruitful direction; they called me a fool
and told me I wouldn’t find anyone to help.
I met my most promising lead under entirely unrelated
circumstances. He was in line for the restroom in a coffee
shop, and he looked like he was hauling bricks in his back
pack, so I invited him to sit down. The bricks turned out to
be cassette tapes of the entire Bible. Unprompted, he began
talking about Western mysticism and his experimentations
with various forms of magic and religion. The conversation
started circling around Strange Powers, and I eventually
found a way to ask the stranger in the acid washed jean
jacket if he would be interested in further experimentation.
He proved himself to be well trained, and we set up a time
to perform the curse. He never showed.
I joined an online satanic community, and I contacted
the administration of the Church of Satan asking for help.
I even posted something on Craig’s List, where I found
people who were more interested in the idea, but I still
wasn’t taken seriously. The only woman who was willing
to speak to me on the phone laughed, told me “nobody would
mess with this,” and never returned my calls. The Church of
Satan directed me to a Destruction Ritual in their Bible,
and a man in Church community told me, “do not question
yourself, just let your anger and hate run through you and
out into the world - aimed at who you want to curse. Don’t
think, just do. Logic has no place in the ritual chamber.”
In other words, we would need to do it on our own.