Investigating in counterculture
San Francisco based Re/Search publications have been dedicated to providing sophisticated information for the countercultures of the Western world for more than two decades.
"All art has its source dreams, the unconcious, and the imagination. And in dreams as in the imagination as in art - nothing is forbidden, everything is permitted". Thus wrote V.Vale, the seminal figure behind the concept of Re/Search, in his foreword to the Re/Search classic "Industrial Culture Handbook" from 1983. Thoughtful words indeed, and very characteristic of the way Re/Search publications address the topics of counterculture. Re/Search have always been interested in the social, cultural, political, and historical background of various sub-cultural movements. They were never content with merely showing that things happened, but rather tried to show why and how things happened the way they did.
Many of Re/Search's publications have been compiled of interviews with challenging artists, in "Angry Women" (Re/Search 13) Valie Export, Lydia Lunch and Diamanda Galás discuss the meaning of feminism and female taboo topics. A current example would be a publication on paganism, called "Modern Pagans" and featuring statements of persons involved in or dealing with paganism. The term "modern" is often used in titles of Re/Search publications, indicating that many contemporary movements in the Western world are based on archaic principles. "Modern Primitives", for example, shows the development of "Body Styling", say piercing and tattooing, in several cultures over the centuries.
Some Re/Search works show a
strong sense for black humour, especially the "Incredibly Strange Films"
book (Re/Search 10, guest-edited by Jim Morton) spotlighting uncrowned
kings and queens among Trash Movie's film directors, e.g. Russ Meyer or
Larry Cohen. There is also a musical counterpart in "Incredibly Strange
Music", a tape/CD-series featuring music related to the self-explanatory
Incredibly strange music indeed