In a recent interview I asked Byron King, founder of Globatron, how he felt about all the hateful emails he had received as a result of this Chicken Wire project. He responded, “Vikings didn’t sit around and cry because someone didn’t like them.” And I was not surprised when he explained later in our interview that he and Akbar Lightning were moving forward with their project. I found out that they had experienced some emotional pain due to some of the more outrageous and threatening comments they were seeing, which were quickly deleted, but haunted them. But in regrouping the pair decided that, although their first attempts at direct outreach was clumsy and a bit reactionary, there was something important in the questions they were asking and so they set to work on a new approach.
The overall consensus among the critics was that direct confrontation with schools where a relationship had been established was not within the boundaries of artistic etiquette, that it was more polite to contact schools that were completely unknown to Globatron. Although Akbar Lightning and Byron saw this as baffling and seemingly contradictory they decided to listen to the critics. They drafted a new letter and made every attempt to make it welcoming and non-threatening while maintaining the integrity of the questions they felt were themselves unsettling. I asked these two men, both of whom are quite confused about the end goals of their project, why they felt themselves authorities on truth. “We don’t!” said Akbar, “We know that we know nothing, but some know even less.” With this the two of them smiled and I was convinced they were mad.
They showed me their new letter and I believed it was a good new start for this project. Like Ahab in search for the great white whale, these two men may be on a futile search for something that is going extinct in our world, but this journalist can’t jump ship just yet. Out there somewhere is something, perhaps, that could inspire all of us, once again to believe in an art that is singular, unifying, the kind that can make us all hold hands and sing Hallelujah!
Reporting from the virtual front,
Father Mapple Moab Adzu III