Poetic Terrorism

Poetic Terrorism

By Sarah Armstrong

As a performance artist I wish to practice the notion of transformation. I allow my identity to become multiple, fluid and malleable (note #1). I allow myself to transcend in the moment of Now. Though still bound by the culturally imposed narratives of my body and the archetypes residing in the contours of society. I am a dancer. A voyager. My journey a marriage between reality and fiction (note #2). A live transmission between art and life. A terror­organisation fluctuating within the sensuous being (note #3). A body of weapons. A rehearsal for change.

“Our dream is to become INTEGRATED on every level of consciousness and character.” (P. Orridge, 1994)

Poetic Terrorism is a form of activism. It is to have no direct chronology. But give meaning to the sensuous and immediate world. To become integrated in the state of our dreams. It is to break free of the linearity of our being. Through visual stimuli and stroboscopic intensity one acts as a Dream Machine. A performative posing as a threat to the linearities of mundane life. It is to aim towards resisting the easy consumable modes of our existence. It is to become Other. Becoming Other is to diminish the fixation of borders and cut nations open. To be Other is to demolish the dictatorship of Us/Them dichotomies. Being Other is a body of creativity and awareness. Where the creation and integration with the Other is a liberating embrace.

The Other is a form of poetic terrorism.


The Third Mind & Body

In order to free the written form from its linearity, William Burroughs and Brion Gysin, both close friends of Genesis Breyer P.Orridge (Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth), would cut up texts and thereafter randomly piece the words together in order to create new texts. In doing this they believed that it would reveal what was there all along. Texts would assemble in their truest form and would expose The Third Mind a new consciousness.

The Third Being, eliminates the effects of previous oppression and represents the divine state of another consciousness, immune to the restrictions of the flesh and its history. “In many ways they saw ‘the third mind’ as an entity in and of itself-­something ‘other’, closer to a purity of essence and the origin and source of a magical or divine creativity that could only result from the unconditional integration of two sources.” (p.3, D. Johnson, Kult ov Kaos)

All things that are created with the mind have the ability to manifest outside of the mind in some form or shape. The mind is a microcosm of the universe. That which affects the mind, has the ability to affect the universe. This means that if we have the ability to think or to dream then we also have the ability to live it. In Chaos Magick this is the foundation of the understanding of magical rituals and the first step towards acknowledging the power of awareness.

The liminal state of performance is magical.


The body is moulded by the great many distinct regimes. It is broken down by the rhythm of work, rest and holidays. It is poisoned by food or values, through eating habits or moral laws. The body is a subject of violence. And in any healthy society this constructs resistance (note #4). Inspired by the words of body modification artist Lukas Zpira -­ to explore what the body is capable of is an implementation of power. Though it is not an established power nor a coercive one, it is a power on the self or rather to become oneself, following an itinerary combining the personal choices, the unconscious and the unpredictable.

Though power always exists and one must strive to operate from the inventive, mobile and productive forms. We are to acknowledge that not all power is oppressive and not all violence is counterproductive. This acknowledgement is the acknowledgement of divine violence. Divine violence is the subject of love.

“love without cruelty is powerless and cruelty without love is blind, as a short-­lived passion which loses its persistent edge.”

Poetic Terrorism is a mode of performance and is a tool that functions as an important opposition to the power structures implemented in society. It is the means of a process with no visible goal. “It is the commitment to the idea and not the ideal, which is our path.” (Pandrogeny Manifesto). The goal lies within the malleable existence of our explorations and desires, which is a strength, that poses as a barricade against the attacks on our being. Poetic Terrorism is a threat towards the way we conjure limitations and it presents the possibility of positive transformation within ourselves and our society.

To dream is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one dreams is the most difficult of all. Dreamers of the day are dangerous people, for they dream dreams with open eyes


#1: Slavoj Zizek states that it is not about removing oneself from culture but creating a new fluid culture with no borders, a culture with beliefs and practises instead of norms and rules. Which is the subject of the Cartesian thought, that; “ ..the subject is conceived as capable of stepping outside her particular cultural/ social roots and asserting her full autonomy and universality.” (2008)

#2: “ ..the possibility exists to make fiction work in truth, to induce effects of truth with a discourse of fiction.” (Foucault, 1989)

# 3: “…terrorism that figures a convergence of sustained assaults upon perceived ideals about the body, its pleasures, pains and desires.” (P. Orridge, 2010)

#4: “ We are never trapped by power, we can always modify its grip in determinate conditions and according to a precise strategy.” (Foucault )

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