Monday, September 9, 2002

NOISE CULTURE: de hondenkoekjesfabriekhome

NOISE CULTURE: de hondenkoekjesfabriekhome

also read: Noise Culture

This small article sets out to introduce the wonderful cultural attempt
that is currently being made in the small Calvinistic Village of Nieuw
Leusen, some 25 Kilometres outside Zwolle, near the German Border. In an
old milk pasteurisation plant, rebaptized the Hondenkoekjesfabriek (the
Dogcookiesfactory) a Russian tinker is working on the realization of his
far fetched dream: the construction of a self supporting subversive
undercover cultural network of artists for whom the production of art &
the re-use of other people's trash is a naturalistic & perhaps even a
necessary tendency. As the use of the word 'factory' already suggests with
a cunning nod to Andy Warhol: the Hondenkoekjesfabriek regards cultural as
a product of 'work' or 'play' & not as the by-product of the genius or
divine inspiration of the mad artist. This ideology at the background of
the day to day practice at the Hondenkoekjesfabriek defines it's function
as the instigator of a micro-revolution. In the by grants corrupted Dutch
art world the artists of the Hondenkoekjesfabriek own their own means of

The term charismatic leadership, coined by Max Weber, comes to mind when
describing Monobrain, who with lots of help from his Dutch girlfriend, is
the key motivator behind this factory for the noise spirit.
When Monobrain first came to the noise & (mail-)art scene around 1994 the
quality of his work gained him a lot of feedback. The strength he got from
being connected to this large international supportive network is perhaps
the real driving force behind the Hondenkoekjesfabriek. Mental support he
still needs deadly because for all his inventiveness Monobrain is still
without a legal status. Everyday he runs the risk that the police might
find him & send him back to Russia as a result. This is the reason for him
to withdraw his real identity in a manner that might at times be called
paranoid. Even though his past is a mystery as well, the root of this
peculiar behaviour might be found in the circumstances of his former life
in Russia.
When drunk he once explained to me with great clarity & with such apparent
knowledge the current situation in Quark research that it triggered an old
memory. It dawned on me that Monobrain might be the same man whose story I
once read in the Wired. All this is just speculation but my guess is that
Monobrain is the man who used to be Dimitri Fjodorowitsj Maksimow, a
brilliant young particle scientist who lived in a Siberian Akademgorodok
for the better part of his live, highly trained & highly regarded in the
scientific community for his profound insight in quantum physics. In 1993
he vanished without a trace. Maksimows whereabouts have always been a
mystery after that, some thought that he was killed by the Russian secret
service for knowing to much, others thought he was now employed in some
secret research facility, maybe in Russia itself, or maybe he had
brain-drained abroad, perhaps to America, perhaps even to Iraq or North
Korea. When I casually dropped his name when I was visiting the Moscow
University last summer, it became clear that his sudden disappearance is
still a debated topic.
The description they gave me on his physical appearance doesn't exclude
the possibility that Maksimow has indeed reappeared as Monobrain in some
Dutch village. But perhaps too much has already been said.
It would take a few pages to give the full list of the publications
Monobrain has worked on over the last years. They contain different media
& different styles but are always recognisable as a Monobrain project: a
quick look in my own archive proves his productivity: some 100 different
booklets, tapes, cdr's, LP's, singles, video's, some of them packed with
extra tapes or books are crowding my shelves. But there is much more, the
countless projects he is cooperating on, all with releases of their own,
the concerts & performances he delivers with noise units like Gen Inc &
the FCKN BSTRDS. The costumes he has designed for his own performances as
well as for others. His relentless spirit even finds the time to organise
concerts & festivals, often in association with Hengelo based art
foundation Planetart, in this way he is able to promote countless others
Often amazed by the packages he sends me by mail, the real surprise of his
ability to baffle & encourage others came when I undertook a visit to the
Hondenkoekjesfabriek in October 2001. Some American noise act on tour was
to show up & to welcome them Monobrain invited a dozen friends from around
the country to drop by to play along with them. Eventually the Americans
got lost somewhere in Poznan, Poland & as a consequence never arrived. The
3 people who were to take part in the welcome committee & who showed up
never the less didn't bother, even though they had travelled quite some
time to get there. They just plugged in their equipment & started making
music. For the rest of the day they were so occupied with this that I
didn't have the chance to talk to them. Getting a little bored after some
hours my evening was saved when the local youth walked in carrying
guitars, keyboards & little PA-set.
Here we get to the point why I talked earlier of Monobrains Charismatic
Leadership: the ability to influence new behaviour in others by just going
his own way & showing a viable alternative. Monobrain has got that rare
power to convince people of doing something without the use of power in
the normal sense of the word.
The local noise bunch from nearby Dedemsvaart, one speeding around in his
wheelchair, at first sight looked like they where more interested in
smoking weed than playing music. Their music tastes if they had any might
be suspected to be the macho rock you except from guitar playing boys
without a girlfriend: M�t�rhead, Paradise Lost, System of a Down, Limp
Bizkit, etc. The performance that enfolded for my eyes showed something
else: the only thing they seemed to have in mind was to proof Monobrain
that they could play at least twice as loud as he could. The more subtle
aspects of noise, the cultural & historic ties with avant-garde art &
music where beyond their knowledge: the only thing they did understand
properly by the principle of 'immediate gratification' was the power, or
the empowerment, that you feel when you are able to control the roaring
earsplitting NOISE of 3 badly tuned grindcore band & a bad Tangerine Dream
clone playing all at the same time (because that was what it sounded like)
that is filling up the room.
So what I first perceived to be as just another group of bored teens in a
small village had devised a way of their own to come to terms with their
life, or better put, independently they had discovered an efficient
mechanism to express themselves in a way that can't be ignored and that
also has the function of catharsis.
The illuminating effect the Hondenkoekjesfabriek has on their life will
spread to others. Now the factory has overcome the troubled time of
beginning with such a scheme. A difficult time in which most of the
available energy went into rebuilding. Deep into it's second year the
Hondenkoekjesfabriek is running on an ever increasing pace: fine-tuning
the space available, attracting others to stay for a while to put their
talents to the mix, producing more & tighter products/projects that in
return gain more attention for the Hondenkoekesfabriek collective. As long
as worldly authorities keep from intervening, the cultural charismatic
authority of the Hondenkoekjesfabriek will rise & influence more & more
people otherwise lost to boredom.

Wilfried Hou Je Bek

contact the Hondenkoekjesfabriek
po box 68
7700 AB