The key to getting FASTWÜRMS to talk about their art, according to RM Vaughan, is to avoid the topic completely. I ignore his advice and ask Kim Kozzi and Dai Skuse to explain the meaning behind a piece that consists of a stitched banner of a cat on a hand-drawn pentacle. They respond with talk about skateboards, absent-minded supermodels, hockey scores and the challenges presented by the local zoning laws in their home base of Creemore, Ontario.
The art duo has been producing open-house, party-style exhibitions since 1979 and continue to promote gay tourism, illusion, trickery and sexy, fat, queer-identified bodies that force boring elitists to collapse into total submission. Their freewheeling use of alchemy, felines, spiders, frogs, axes, the war on drugs, video art, text, textiles, the chalice, sword and an altar has arrived in Toronto in the form of Cannibal Nympho Witch
. The entire exhibition is based on an ongoing, unpublished science fiction novel written by Kozzi and Skuse.
I love cats. FASTWURMS share my adoration of the feline. “All our cats are pampered and spoiled. Considering that they are all barn and rescue cats, they have complete freedom and anything they desire. We are consummate enablers. RM Vaughan accused us of being ‘cat hoarders’ — that one really hurt.” I ask what else they’ve been accused of. “‘Committing travesties to normative Canadian art history’ by one prominent art critic, and a local newspaper critic once described us in print as ‘infamous.’”
Cannibal Nympho Witch
is a delicious mind-fuck in the vein of David Lynch’s incomprehensible 1984 sci-fi flick Dune
, starring Sean Young and Sting. Are FASTWURMS concerned about mind-fucking and the influence of Dune on their recent work? “We are familiar with Dune
. Sting really is a loud strumpet in that one. Sean Young is remarkably sculptural and her wardrobe is so fetish-Victorian. We own a director’s cut of Dune
by author Frank Herbert. This film is good if you are a Dune
nerd and don’t mind four and a half hours of close-to-the-book narrative and the Academy Award–winner William Hurt. And yes, we support mind-fucking as long as it is consensual and safe and meets all the guidelines and requirements of Health Canada. Bare mind-fucking is always wrong; you should wear a hat.”
Avoidance, similar to an old-fashioned gold lamé skirt around the issue, is central to FASTWURMS. The deceptions are fun, and it is not difficult to have a self-revelation once you zone into their working-class, inclusive, witchy, zoological stock in trade. However, one question keeps popping up: are they being serious? Viewers are often skeptical of FASTWURMS’ sincerity, which leads me
to wonder whether they ask doubters to engage with their own imaginations? “Our work tends to be persuasive on some level. Some people can sense the subversive seduction of our culture, and they are wary of the personal and political implications. Our future fiction is witch and trans — genetic-gender-galactic. Love, cats, trans-dimensional sexandtext...whatis there to fear?"
Two final questions for FASTWURMS
Keith: In Cannibal Nympho Witch
, can we expect altered states? Witness a flying litter box? touchable shape shifters?
FAStWÜRMS: You can expect an art installation that supports altered states of being. You can touch the Bast box and the bronze cat turds and the tourmaline litter, but you will have to be discreet and respectful. This is an actual religious shrine of the Bast cult. There will be a security camera!
Keith: Halloween has become a “condition.” People once considered themselves divinities of love and it was real. Now, if you identify as a divinity of love, people would say you have a condition and this condition is fixable. has Halloween become something of a condition that needs to be fixed? Also, in my dream the other night I was sent some medicine tied to a flying rock — is this considered “hard science” in the world of Cannibal Nympho Witch
FAStWÜRMS: We think that most pagan communities would understand your proclamation of divine love. Then again, it might be a pathological delusion. We know that you are a registered street nurse, but even professionals need a second opinion. Could you send us a PDF of all your medical records? In the world of Cannibal Nympho Witch
your “medicine” would probably be confiscated and you would be sent to the principal’s office for a good spanking. The spanking would go on for a long time and you would enjoy it so much that you would probably forget everything in the world, except the “hard science” in your panties.
Cannibal Nympho Witch runs till Sat, Nov 10 at Paul Petro Contemporary Art, 980 Queen St W. paulpetro.com