Behind the bars of the pleasure prison
Chris Korda is an artist, musician, computer programmer - and an opponent of mankind
By Lotte Folke Kaarsholm
It's 2 am on Saturday night, and the dance floor at Stengade 30 is boiling. Onstage a cool, dark-haired woman with a laptop is playing technoish electronic tracks with titles like "Man of the Future," "Fleshdance," and "I Like To Watch." Two video screens display footage from the attack on World Trade Center interspersed with clips from porn flicks and football games, and the vibe on the floor is ecstatic.
Only after two encores is Chris Korda allowed to step down from the stage, hair and makeup still immaculate, while most of the audience is soaked through with sweat shared between the dancing bodies.
12 hours earlier Chris Korda is not a woman but a man, and apart from an impromptu bossa nova performance on the Hammond organ behind our café table, his primary concern is to explain the principles of his own personal church: The Church of Euthanasia.
The discreet white writing on his black T-shirt reads "Thank you for not breeding," and that is the first principle of the creed of the church, which also encourages suicide, abortion, cannibalism and sodomy. All of this in direct consequence to the opinion held by Korda and his congregation: Humans have become the largest, longest-lasting, and most irrevocable environmental disaster in the history of the Earth.
"The goal of the Church of Euthanasia is to restore balance between humans and the other species of the Earth - those of them that still remain. Of course there are less and less of them and more and more humans all the time so it could be argued that this is quixotic, and in the course of our ten years of existence the nature of the church has actually changed from an activist movement into a more pessimistic orientation towards at least documenting the fact that someone was objecting while this catastrophe took place."
"Basically we are anti-humanists. We believe that life has a purpose, and that this purpose is life itself - to create conditions for life. Tragically nothing seems to indicate that the purpose of life has anything whatsoever to do with humans. Everything we know indicates that diversity is the fundamental structure of life, and that man's urge to put himself at the center of the universe and subdue his surroundings is fatal for this diversity. Unlike previous environmental disasters, man is the cause of a persistent, structural damage, which shows no signs of going away. On the contrary, there is every indication that humans are capable of infinitely adapting, like weeds, to the increasingly inhospitable and harsh environment we are creating."
"Once they are done with mapping the genetic structure of human life we will be capable of adapting to anything. From that point on, the notion of resistance itself becomes meaningless. There will be no real distinction between ourselves and the society we live in. I think a future scenario is perfectly plausible in which we live underground and take drugs every day in order to operate the machines. I don't think it is that different from what we are doing now. Just look at my generation - we are a whole generation on Prozac, taking the drugs in order to fulfill our function as members of what they have even named the 'creative class,' the target group of all the cafes and clubs that are being built everywhere."
"The technology that we all admire and believe in repeats the escapism of all the renunciatory world religions. They dream of escaping from life on Earth to a better place, of escaping from their bodies to something that does not smell, does not have sex, is not chaotic. Whether it's the 16th century vision of angels on clouds or it's the modern technological vision of us downloading ourselves into our robots and conquering outer space - to me it's the same. Either way it's an escapist vision. Our church is grounded in the older pagan religions, which held the opposite view: that, in fact, life is the only game in town. This is it. We say that for all we know there is no alternative to this Earth, no other life. But we also realize that we are not the kind of religion to have converts. There is no way we are going to win this battle. So the church is about getting together with other people who share the experience of living a nightmare whose chief attribute is that most people around them act as if nothing is going on."
The punishing field
Chris Korda is from Boston, but he has spent the last four months in Berlin where he has released his 9-11 video "I Like To Watch" after having given up releasing it in the United States. "To me the video is about the decadence, almost a mutation, of which I, too, am a product. The fact that I had the experience of getting sexually aroused by the 9-11 attack, and that in that perversion I was far from alone. Those two monstrous phallic symbols of American imperial economic power being penetrated in a very female way by the plane, the flames spurting in slow motion out of this scar that looks like a vagina, it is clearly sexual. What distinguishes me is merely the fact that I am willing to point it out. That is my chief goal: for people to realize what they are doing; for them to not just turn their back and walk away. It is the duty of the intellectual to bear witness to his time."
How is all of that related to making art and playing electronic music in women's clothes?
"It is and it is not. I do not think I would have reached these insights had I not started cross-dressing and exploring the feminine aspects of myself. In the end it is all very personal. They are my own poetic vision of the ugliness of the world. Much of my music is political and carries messages but much of it does not. I am as caught up in human society as everyone else. My generation craves for authenticity and throws itself into the incredibly harsh environment of the nightclubs with their blinding lights, poisonous fog, incredibly loud music and all the drugs and alcohol consumption, all in order to experience the intensity. The thought of it fills me with horror but I, too, stand there and put on the music. I call the floor in front of the DJ booth the punishing field but I dance along myself."
Noisy and intense
Chris Korda and I step out into the sultry Saturday afternoon, and for the rest of the day I have the rare opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a rabid ecologist and sterilized sodomite. We drive through town and get caught up in the gay parade, and at Copenhagen's waterfront we go for an illegal swim by the docks of Islands Brygge where the water is exploding with jellyfish, the air is filled with calm electronic noises from the Datanom outdoor concert, and the people of Copenhagen chill out on the cobblestones along the water. Only later at Stengade, where the evening section of the concert takes place, has Chris Korda transformed into a woman. And sure enough: the punishing field in front of the booth feels blinding, noisy and intense, just the way it should.
- Chris Korda: musician, artist, and leader of the Church of Euthanasia, which is registered in Delaware.
- The church has only one commandment: Thou shall not procreate. Besides it recommends suicide, sodomy, abortion, vegetarianism, and if that is not an option, then cannibalism - all in order to counteract the dominance of humans on Earth.
- First release: "Save the Planet, Kill Yourself", Kevorkian Records 1993.
- Latest release: "I Like To Watch", Null Records, 2002. The video for "I Like To Watch," as well as sermons, human flesh recipes, birth control advice, suicide help, and much more, can be found on www.churchofeuthanasia.org
- Documentation from Saturday's concerts at Islands Brygge and Stengade 30 can be found on www.datanom.com