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ReVerse Butcher is a multi-disciplinary artist with focuses in making unique artist’s books, collages, visual art, writing & performance. She will use any medium necessary to engage and subvert reality until it is less dull and oppressive. When she grows up she wants to be a well-read recluse. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.
When did poetry first find you and what was your reaction?
Poetry found me in my teens. It found me via music, theatre, and public libraries.
I had an early love for it.
When did you first begin expressing yourself with poetry
and how did it affect your life?
I started writing in my teens, which lead to attending local poetry readings. The way it most affected my life was finding a network of new things to read, listen to, go seek out.
It also put me in a strange position where the majority of my social group were, at minimum, 10 years older than me. I had clocked poetry as an excellent medium for disruption, because it was, at that time, largely unmediated. It seemed like the closest thing I could find to one of Hakim Bey’s “Temporary Autonomous Zones”. Nobody was watching, which meant anything could happen. So it also affected my early life in that it gave me a great playground to start experimenting & creating weird art.
I read in a previous interview that you used to sneak into open mic poetry nights at bars before you were of legal age. Can you tell us about some of your experiences around that time?
I started going to poetry readings when I was 17, so just before my 18th birthday. Some of them were in bars in afternoon sessions, a few in cafes later at night. I lived in a slightly isolated place at that time – so getting to and from some of these events was harder than gaining access! I wasn’t interested at all in drinking, so – as long as I didn’t approach the bar, or drink anything, I didn’t run into any trouble, and didn’t cause anyone any trouble.
I just wanted to listen, and perform.
Then you embarked upon your first international tour when you were 25 –
what was that like?
I wrote extensive journals during that period of my life. I have since burned the journals.
It was a thrilling & very isolating period of time. I learned a lot about misogyny first hand. But, as to specifics… what happens on the road, stays on the road.
You work in a variety of mediums and enjoy collaboration:
what is it that drives you toward experimentation in this way?
Language is magical, it builds every aspect of our identities, world(s), control systems, relationships, power(s), as well as all the ways that we qualify and quantify how we know anything. Writing is slippery, it’s not native or static to any one form(at). My goal in my creative life is to break language. I want to see what happens to power, and consciousness, and the status quo when we shatter language. What would different methodologies for building literally everything look like? What could we achieve, or feel, or learn, or share if we had access to something like that? This is why I will use any medium necessary to subvert reality until it is less dull and oppressive.
If you could collaborate with any person, living or dead, who would it be, why, and what would you do?
Your heroes will disappoint you every time. It’s a rule in life. Don’t have heroes, follow the lines of inquiry. But I’m collaborating with some pretty dreamboat people right about now! My partner in art and life Kylie Supski is my #1 favourite collaborator (so aren’t I lucky?). I’ve also got a pretty great line-up of regular collaborators at the moment, including Josh Pollock, Chris Wenn, COLLAGE (a multimedia group in Melbourne feat. Roger Alsop, Yoram Symons, Sophie Rose & others). I’m working on a collaborative accordion style artist’s book with James Knight at the moment called Discordion. Basically, if we are both on a similar line of inquiry (or ones that intersect in an interesting way), you are quite possibly that person. Get in touch.
How would you describe your art?
A multi-modal, highly-focused, very-meticulous, total mess.
How would you describe your process?
An attempt to silence a barrel full of bees,
drunk, with a hammer, under water
How would you describe yourself?
What,today? Or yesterday? Future-ReV? Alternate reality ReV? ReV as she is to me?
To Her? Or to you? Different every time.
Would you say you are more structured or free-form in your creative process?
I create complex structure(s) to provide adequate containers for free-formed work.
Do you like your creative space cluttered or tidy? Do you work with quiet or music?
I like it organised. I don’t know if my definition matches either ‘cluttered’ or ‘tidy’.
It depends on the project, or what I need to make it. My computer files are meticulous, but I superglued my fingers to a desk last week, and I currently can’t get paint out of my purple wig. Make sense? Music always.
How would you describe your relationship with words, with language?
How would you describe your relationship with sound, with music?
Nebulous. What even qualifies as music? Is it a language too? Can I disrupt it? Can I paint it? Does it want me to? Yes.
How would you describe your relationship with image, with art?
Bold. Exciting. A brave & irreverent new voice raging against a culture of vapid mass-production. Multi-layered.
Is there a spiritual or mystical yearning in your work?
To what extent does a sense of place affect your creativity?
I’ve learned that my best art is done in a place where I feel safe. That being said, I don’t really leave my house unless there is a very compelling reason.
Is there any specific connection or thread that runs between your works?
Disruption. Experimentation. A sense of playfulness. A sense of rebellion.
An invitation to join in or start your own.
I hope, a sense of joy. If not a sense of joy,
at least a touch of tough love.
How would you describe the art scene and culture in Melbourne to someone who has never been there?
Please don’t make me.
I have to live here right now.
I understand you’re working on a multimedia project called
“The Illuminated Manuscripts?”
Yes. It’s a giant spatial poem. Think an illuminated manuscript gone feral in Virtual Reality backed by a badass rock band. Think burning books that never ash. Think living bookworlds that are 40 feet above you, and 40 feet below you and you’re floating in space. Think a writhing glitterpoem the size of a football field. Live and recorded poets doing original works, breaking language, re-contextualising meaning, unwriting books, and remixing & collaging texts.
I’m starting to livestream the creative process of making all this on Twitch from
March 2019 (https://www.twitch.tv/reversebutcher).
Tune in if you’re into it.
What else are you working on in the moment?
1. An experimental multimedia production of John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing“.
2. COLLAGE happens LAST SUNDAY of the month at The Burrow in
Melbourne, until at least March.
3. An ongoing performance poetry/experimental music project with Chris Wenn.
4. ‘Pinhole Theory’, a collaborative collage chapbook with Kylie Supski.
5. ‘Mad Boy’ is my next solo long-form collage book, which scissors up
Gustav Flaubert’s ‘Madame Bovary’
& Louise Colet’s ‘Lui: View of Him’.
Poets have been talking shit about each other since time began, but these two stand in for a very formidable oppressive patriarchal dynamic I’d like to attend to.
6. I’m working on live-streaming more of both the making and the performance of my analogue and digital art adventures so that I can engage with a diverse & international range of creative communities.
You’ll be able to see & support developments on ALL of these projects online.
Come check me out here: (https://www.twitch.tv/reversebutcher)
or come find me on twitter www.twitter.com/x_rVb_x