NO GUTS, NO GALAXY is a weekly series of artist-curated slideshows that expand upon the diverse subjects addressed in RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder, such as, the Downtown scene, early hip-hop and performance, Afrofuturism and cosmology, the mythology of Gothic Futurism, and the coercive power of language.
The format takes inspiration from an existing recording of a slideshow-cum-performance called RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: UNDERGROUND INNER THINKING (1987), given by the artist at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, where, in between impromptu freestyles and bouts of audience heckling, Rammellzee espoused his philosophical tenets of Gothic Futurism and Ikonoklast Panzerism. Presenters for NO GUTS, NO GALAXY include artists, photographers, writers, curators, and musicians, many of whom share a common history and personal connection with Rammellzee, or have found inspiration in the artist’s diverse, interdisciplinary output. Expect to see presentations—experimental or performative in nature—that feature personal archival materials and rare documentation.
[The 1987 audio recording is Courtesy of the Dutch Graffiti Library]
RSVP is strongly recommended, as seating is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please indicate the event title in your email to firstname.lastname@example.org or RSVP directly below.
DOWNTOWN ‘81 (In Memory of Glenn O’Brien), with Kenneth Goldsmith.
Thursday, June 14
MoMA poet Laureate Kenneth Goldsmith, founder of UbuWeb, reads excerpts from his book, “New York: Capital of the 20th Century” (Verso, 2015), a rewriting of Walter Benjamin’s “Arcades Project,” for NYC. The slideshow and reading will focus on the downtown section, which paints a picture of that scene of which Rammellzee was an integral part, with excerpts from dozens of authors including: Keith Haring, Anthony Haden-Guest, Cookie Mueller, Glenn O’Brien, Andy Warhol, Jay McInerney, Tama Janowitz, Bret Easton Ellis, Guy Trebay, David Wojnarowicz, and many more.
MAD MISSIVES, LAST WORDS, AND THE FINE ART OF MARGINALIA: LEARNING TO READ OUTSIDE THE LINES, with Carlo McCormick.
Thursday, June 21
Carlo McCormick, co-curator of RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder, presents a motley historical collection of voices on the fringe; a kind of “last words” ultimatum from artists, activists and outsider figures. Cries of rage or calls for help, desperate times calls for desperate measures. Projects, gestures, hasty inscriptions and sophisticated marketing campaigns all collide in a hypertext of dread and desire. Including images from: John Fekner, Vito Acconci, Rammellzee, Trevor Paglen, Icy & Sot, Ernest Zacharevic, Shepard Fairey, George Booruji, Freedom, Revs, the Situationist International, the Unabomber, Medieval monks and a special tribute to the student revolts of 1968 on their 50th anniversary.
IKONOKLAST BATTLE STATION VS. THE CLOCKTOWER: IT’S YOUR DEATH, with Charlie Ahearn.
Thursday, June 28
Charlie Ahearn, director of Wild Style (1983), presents a live slideshow video mix on Rammellzee, set against his iconic radio program Yes Yes Y’all. Featuring special rants, MC excerpts, and Ramm’s theories on the Alpha’s Bet, Ahearn drives us through rare Battlestation photographs, early Hip-hop graffiti slides, video documentation on the origins of Battle Culture, and Wild Stylism through the wind tunnels to Ramm’s Gothic Futurism finale.
TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE: A CLOSER LOOK INTO THE ART OF RAMMELLZEE, with Kool Koor.
Thursday, July 12
Singular amongst his pioneering contemporaries in the New York Graffiti scene in the late 1970s and early 80s, which included writers like Dondi, Lee, Lady Pink, Futura, Blade, and Zephyr, was the equation known as The RAMM:ELL:ZEE. A practitioner of his own school of Wildstyle, Rammellzee envisaged a complex ideology that sought to destroy the systemic oppression of language.
Take a deep dive into the world of Gothic Futurism with one of Rammellzee’s disciples, Bronx-born and Brussels-based artist Kool Koor (B-1), member of Ramm’s Tag Master Killers crew (TMK), as he examines a selection of artworks in the current exhibition—including The Garbage Gods, Letter Racers, Luxternomeres, Thug Notes, and The Bands of Steel. Join Kool Koor as he shares insight into the formal tactics and technique of Ikonoklast Panzerism, and provides a closer look at the philosophy embedded within Rammellzee’s cosmology.
AND NOW, RAP! (Adesso Rap!), with a slideshow of photographs by Seth Tillett, narrated by The RammEllZee.
Thursday, July 19
In the middle of a November night in 1981, I stumbled onto New York’s only rap radio program at the time, deejay’d by the legendary John Rivas, aka Mr. Magic. I called in with a few questions, and rather than get into it on air, Magic invited me up to the station. The following day he agreed to escort me into the heart of the Hip Hop scene. So began a photographic odyssey in which I was hired by Italian Vogue to document the birth of a culture. I was given a new camera and no editorial limits. For two weeks, I photographed everything I encountered from Grandmaster Flash at the turntables in the Disco Fever and Sylvia Robinson recording The Furious Five at her Jersey studios, to the Sugar Hill Gang, who received a club trophy for their first hit. I shot J-M Basquiat in his studio beneath Annina Nosei’s gallery, and students at the Bronx’s Kennedy High School pioneering Hip Hop’s winter styles. This dream assignment culminated in a private throw-down where The RAMM:ELL:ZEE and the Soul of Sounds rapped with Fab Five Freddy, while Crazy Legs and The Rock Steady Crew broke in front of an invited crowd that included Keith Haring, Kenny Scarf, Rene Ricard and many others. A few days later, I screened these pictures for The RAMM:ELL:ZEE alone, and recorded his reactions.
Beyond a handful of shots published by LEI Magazine under the title ‘Adesso Rap!’ in March of 1982, few of these pictures and none of these recordings have been seen or heard in public.
GHOST AMONG THE CREW, with members from the art damaged hip-hop pioneering group, Death Comet Crew.
Thursday, July 26
An evening of musical memories, stories, mad scratching and ’80’s cross genre ambience, with rare photographs from Noyuri Tokiwa and members of DCC (Founder Stuart Argabright and DJ Nick Taylor aka DJ High Priest), spanning their iconic early 80s shows at Danceteria to the late aughts in Japan and Europe.
Photos by Noyuri Tokiwa, Timothy Saccenti, Michael Diekmann, and Stuart Argabright.
Music multiverse provided special by Nick Taylor & Stuart Argabright.
THE TEMPORAL DISRUPTORS, with Black Quantum Futurism: Rasheedah Phillips and Moor Mother.
Thursday, August 2
Invoking Rammellzee’s Time Stoppers temporal displacement device, this is a ritual causality performance when memories will be re-encoded with new temporal information, and where Black Quantum Futurism will explore the equations of time that emerge from timeless degrees of freedom by entangling moving images with live sound experimentation and spoken text spellcasting.
ALPHA’S BET with Steffani Jemison
Thursday, August 16
In 2010, artists Steffani Jemison and Jamal Cyrus organized “Book Club,” a literary workshop inspired by W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races to Ebony” at Project Row Houses in Houston. The focus of the think-tank explored African-American aesthetics and literary theory. A year later, the duo continued their investigation into the power of language and knowledge distribution, and organized “Alpha’s Bet Is Not Over Yet,” a traveling, collaborative exhibition program constructed as a reading room and discussion space. It featured a newsstand of reproduced independent Black periodicals issued between 1902-1940.
The project was inspired by the title of Rammellzee’s film script from 2000, entitled “Alpha’s Bet”, in which Jemison and Cyrus employ Rammellzee’s literary theories of Gothic Futurism and Ikonoklast Panzerism, arguing that “language is not a passive vessel or known quantity, but rather possesses the potential to reimagine structures of power.” In Jemison’s slideshow, she will speak about language, literacy, and drawing, implicating the Confessions of Nat Turner, the Supreme Alphabet, presidential doodles, and street fiction within a long narrative of privacy, opacity, and resistance.
THE RAMM RIFF: CONSTRUCTING FUTURE FORMS, with D. Denenge Duyst-Akpem
Thursday, August 23
The Ramm Riff is a layered experimental composition, part manifesto, part oriki praise song/citation poetry, a call-and-response with The Rammellzee’s Garbage Gods. Led by Black Light Primal Nun “A” through hallowed virtual halls of Gothic Futurism and Afrofuturity, this audience-interactive lecture-performance weaves through space and time to illuminate histories of African-centered masquerade and mythologies; rituals of the body in clay, hair, soil; assemblage and costuming the cosmic android in the detritus of consumer culture; hauntology and becoming Spirit (in the) Machine; language and code systems as weaponized methodologies of decolonization; and the train as vessel of liberation.