‘The reader may be disgusted by my behaviour and its rubric, and feel that I am defiling the mountain like a piece of grit in your eye. But I belong now in this place, I’m attached to it. The mountain dictates my behaviour as the soil does a worm’s. Can you understand that? What I’m doing here is valid and harmonious.’ — New Juche
‘Dennis Cooper has described New Juche as “one of the most inspiring, original and groundbreaking artists working today,” and Mountainhead is arguably the elusive writer/photographer’s most accomplished work to date. Within the structure of a sexually charged exotic travelogue, we discover prose that is at once repulsive, lyrical, and deeply sensual; that is anchored by a raconteur’s instinct for gritty storytelling, yet punctuated by liminal flights of feverish imagination. Mountainhead deftly interlaces personal confession with an unsettling disquisition on pornography, photography, prostitution, the body, identity, and place. In its cascading momentum, readers are confronted by a vertiginous exposition of interpersonally fraught revelation and deception that remains implacably wedded to the thematic emblem of nature as moral alibi.’ — N-BB
‘Like Athena from the skull of Zeus, this is a fully-formed work, a confident work. Mountainhead will be an unexpected shot from a cannon and I feel it is destined to fall into the hands of readers looking to read a jungle extension of Bataille and Kosinski. Yet it is truly a singular work, sui generis, a giant black obelisk in the middle of nowhere. The entire time I was reading it, I was thinking: this is a fucked up secret and I wish I could share it with someone else!’ — James Nulick
WASTELAND charts a prolonged friendship and love affair with an abandoned apartment complex in Southeast Asia called The Flowers, and the swampland surrounding it. For three years the author used this space on a daily basis to confront death and solitude, and engage with the physical and mental effects of chronic illness. Over this long period he wrote manuscripts for two books inside the location and developed a feverish sensorial attachment to The Flowers which eventually degenerated into the sort of sexual neurosis for which the complex had originally provided an antidote.
The book is composed of seven short sections of prose and documentary photographs previously posted on this site, culminating in two perverted essays with much more expressive and conclusive photography. WASTELAND is a free PDF release … To download a compressed version of only 26 MB, in which the image quality is compromised, click here.
The text behind the photographs is a slug in its shell. Ushering in the Thinking Prostitution series, New Juche interrogates the stinking mouth of an anthropologist to find images of humanity amongst the pus.
What do you feel and do and why, when you experience the expression of distress by the poor, especially when you’re paying them for sex?
THE MOLLUSC can be downloaded for free by clicking here.
Continuing the Thinking Prostitution series, New Juche tries hard to assume even more responsibility. What did we do here, that we could not do elsewhere? GYMNASIUM is a visual idiolect that engages hyper-developed definitions of prostitution and ruin architecture, and draws from its wellhead in the myths of the Vietnam War and the reality of Indochinese mothers and children.
GYMNASIUM is appended with HANOI TRIPTYCH, an early piece of reportage. This free PDF can be downloaded here.
Gallery: Select imagery by New Juche
Sound: New Juche / Whores of Leith Bangkok Fanny-Rat (2007)
‘Now what to make of this one? As is the Bluesbunny custom, we dutifully read the sleeve prior to listening to the album. The title had caught our attention – “Bangkok Fanny-Rat” – but even that clue did not prepare us.
‘The sounds are ambient and eerie. The voices are distorted (intentionally, it would appear) and are interviews with veterans of the Bangkok sex scene. It all forms part of an aural nightmare as the rich western world meets the poor in Bangkok. “Mission to Ranong” had a worrying, cartoon like voice explaining his experiences on his trips to his that city with remarkable candour, almost revelling in the depravity. “I Fell in Love with a She/Male Stroker” featured an interview with a lady boy. The frankness will no doubt offend but it is an eye opener. Whilst we remember, read the sleeve notes carefully. Maybe the point was to shock but this was jaw dropping stuff. To its credit, there was nothing judgemental about any of this. To that end, the point of it all is a bit of a mystery. Is it exploitation like the old “mondo” movies? There seems to be no conclusion drawn and there is something almost ambivalent about it all. Maybe pointing the finger at the guilty is not such a good idea anyway as we might end up pointing that finger at ourselves if only for letting it happen?
‘Bluesbunny is not even sure that the music is important here. This album is more of a documentary of the human (and not just the male) psyche after the veneer of civilisation has been discarded and, from the evidence presented here, there can surely be no darker or more lonely place. Downright disturbing.’ — Bluesbunny
p.s. Hey. I’m very happy to be able to turn the blog into a weekend-long welcome mat of sorts for New Juche’s brand new book ‘Mountainhead’, which I unhesitatingly venture to say is easily one of this year’s best works that happen to be located within book covers, period. Please spend what time you spend here this weekend exploring, reading the excerpt, checking out NJ’s earlier works, and scoring a copies of ‘Mountainhead’ for yourselves if you’re so inclined. Thank you, and thank you muchly, Joe. ** Steevee, Hi. I would imagine there are several such BT albums out there. Oops, sorry about sleepness’s unfortunately but hopefully brief return. Goodness gracious on your imminent scoring of the Albini re-produced ‘In Color’. CT keep saying that’s going to be released officially, but … That should be hell of a nice listen. Pass along your thoughts on it and the differences with the Berman version if you don’t mind. Darn about the subway forcing you to turn back. Yeah, even in Paris where the metro is pretty reliable most of the time, I always make sure to head wherever I’m heading about 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual on Sundays or in later evenings because the service here does get edited down too. I’ll look for that Arnow film. I hadn’t heard of it. The Q&A does sound very cringey. Not to mention that, in theory, his raiding her stage sounds like utter self-indictment central. Huh. ** David Ehrenstein, My enormous pleasure, David. ** Tosh Berman, Yeah, I think people who think ABBA are cheese either haven’t really explored their work or overly know it through covers and mockeries. I think their work is easily among the most sublime, genius-driven pop of the 20th century. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! It’s a great thing to experience, yes. Yesterday we were rehearsing a scene that, in my head while we were writing it, was going to be amazing/transcendent, and when the actors nailed it yesterday, the scene was just what I had most hoped it would be and even more because they added themselves to it, creating layers that I couldn’t have imagined. Pretty great. It’s both very exciting and very spooky that we start shooting just over a week from today. Not spooky in a bad way. Another great day for you focused around your writing and work! That makes me very happy, and mine was simila,r so imagine I am giving you a high five right now because I am. Still nothing back about the music track. I’ll nudge today. We tried that scene yesterday, and it works so well that it now feels kind of imperative that we use the track. Generally, I was rehearsing all day yesterday, and it went very well. Plus some costume fitting for the three actors we were working with: Benjamin (Roman, main ‘exploding’ character), Sylvain (Guillaume, Roman’s friend) and Benedetta (playing a MetalHead who tries unsuccessfully to teach Guillaume to head bang). Then film-related emails, a good talk with a friend, eating, bla bla. We have a break in the rehearsals this weekend but tons of other stuff we need to do and will do. What did your weekend present to you, hopefully on a silver plate, as they say? ** Hamp, Hi. Welcome! And thank you for speaking so well to David. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. I got my haircut yesterday too. Not a bad day of yours, and that’s super awesome that the first driving lesson was a success! Congrats! Soon enough you’ll be weaving a jag around the streets of Monte Carlo, I reckon. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. I figure it’s not a coincidence that the words best and beset are so similar. So that’s where you went. Kind of the same situation for me really, just different need-to-do stuff. I didn’t know Mr. Styles has a single out. I feel I should have been spammed about that for weeks now. I’m curious enough now based on your description (but trying to get the Coldplay reference out of my head) to go listen to said single with a mind as open as Montana’s skies, which I assume are very open based on … I don’t know, myth? I hope it grabs and strangles the #1 spot. ** H, Hi. Well, no sooner had I crowed about my health than I started feeling a bit ugh, but I’m power-slamming vitamins and maxing out my powers of denial, and hopefully that should do it. I’m glad you’re starting to feel better. I have ‘Crazy for Vincent’, and I intend for it to be the first book I read on my train ride out to the film set next week. Excited to. I didn’t know Munoz wrote about my work. Wow, that’s a great honor, if it’s true. Well, assuming he didn’t hate my work, although I guess his hatred would be kind of an honor too. No, no writing at all. No time whatsoever. My three in-progress writing projects — TV series, novel, opera — are all backpedaled and waiting for the film project to be finished first. Have a good weekend! ** Okay. Be fully with New Juche and his new book this weekend, hopefully with all cylinders firing, if possible, and I hope you’ll say something here to him, whatever that would be. See you on Monday.