Zentrale für Experimentelles

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Michael Arnzen is the avant-horror author responsible for the flash fiction collection, 100 Jolts: Shockingly Short Stories and the genre-busting Gorelets Omnibus, both from Raw Dog Screaming Press. There are currently four Bram Stoker Awards on his bookshelf, including one for his novel, Grave Markings. Always experimenting with form, Arnzen has released an extended digital edition of his musically-enhanced recitations, Audiovile.


DA

What are some of your most important aesthetic influences?

MA

Art, whether spray-painted or left hanging in its original frame, on the walls of abandoned buildings. MAD magazine. Scary medical manikins arranged in offbeat poses. Stephen King. Recycled or soiled Halloween costumes worn in the workplace. Gene Wilder. Hairpieces encountered in unexpected places. Sam Raimi. Repurposed advertising toys. Edgar Allan Poe. Latex gloves found on the floor of public restrooms. Rodney Dangerfield. Trash dumpster-filtered rain water. Alfred Hitchcock. Lipstick stains on porcelain objects (but not coffee cups). Robert Bloch. Rust.

DA

What’s your view on fracking, if done by elbow?

MA

I hate anything that destroys the environment, but it sure can make tap water interesting and suspenseful. And that’s not easy to do! This is the sort of thing that fascinates me as a horror writer. I love to see unexpected magic produced from the objects of the everyday — perhaps most of all through acts of violence, resulting in things utterly unpredictable — like hellfire suddenly spraying out of your kitchen faucet!

DA

Would you like this interviewtf more if it had another title, like “No, Sir-iously,” or “’Have you explained your pupils to the cloud?’ I asked my ex-mom. But she was without vigor, she just stayed very calm and revised myhermy strangeness over and over again”?

MA

noYesno.

DA

You don’t have to be gay to find penises fascinating. The comedy „Superbad,“ for instance, features some funky dickophilia moments. What do you think about enhancing (or encocking) classic films the way you enhance (or encock) newsies? Oskar Schindler smoking a dickarette, for fuck’s sake?

MA

Its tip would glow red, no doubt, emitting the only red light in an otherwise black-and-white film. Sometimes a cigarette is just a cigarette, however. And it’s a moot point; any Freudian will already tell you that the dickophilia is omnipresent, and that all classic films already have cock a’plenty. The fact that films show just about everything except an erect penis makes them as fetishized as the faces of those Amish people and other religious sects who refuse to be photographed. But that’s okay. I don’t find myself ever wishing I could get a peek at either one.

DA

What is the most (experimental) piece of art you’ve ever enjoyed?

MA

This. Not this meaning “this interview.” This meaning that — that period — and only that period — appended after the end of the word “this” two sentences ago. I don’t know if it’s visible, but I enlarged it to the size of a 72 point font. I Don’t mean to be selfish; the most experimental art I’ve enjoyed is always the one I’m experiencing in the present tense, and writing — creating, or recreating — is always an experiment I enjoy.

But I should admit, right up front, that I am being derivative of Laurie Anderson, who always opens my mind to new ways of thinking about art and text and music, and is an artist whose experiments I have admired all my life. In a track on her Homeland CD, “Another Day in America,” she came up with a great lyric related to this idea: “Here’s my theory of punctuation: Instead of a period at the end of each sentence,  there should be a tiny clock that shows you how long it took you to write that sentence.” YES. We could achieve this in writing and publishing, too, by not just settling for the given font size of any given period, but by resizing the period so that it’s largeness or smallness reflected the amount of time put into writing it (or coaching the reader how much time SHOULD be put into it). Like this. Or this (you can’t see it, but that last period was infinitesimally small).  Anyway ... oof, there was a curious ellipsis. Better move on ….

DA

If 100 divided by 2 were 42, what would 3 times 1°1 be?

MA

My tongue tells me it’s the square root of a square-shaped rutabaga pie.

DA

Who/what is the biggest dick in the universe? Whose asshole would it fit perfectly?

MA

James Bond. Q.

DA

One TED talk a day keeps the _____________ away?

MA

MARY TYLER MOORE.

DA

Which role will (or should) male genitalia play in the far future -– dick-hacking, ass-splicing, bio-junk, interstellar engineering?

MA

Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it can be turned into some new kind of injection device, like something out of a David Cronenberg film.

DA

„?“

MA

Was it? A brilliant question, then. The invention of the cell phone has led to a revolution in the publishing of bathroom graffiti. I think the genre has finally, in your question, come of age.

DA

At which point does Bizarro become an unacceptable transgreßion?

MA

When it enters law. But at that precise point, it defines what is and isn’t transgreßive, rendering the whole thing a pointleß, unlawful absurdity. Touché! Kafka predicted this ßchit long ago. The true transgreßion of Bizarro is that it is satiric to the extreme and often splits its own face apart when it sticks its tongue into its cheek, bursting its own texts apart like some giant stinking corpse flower... and I love that.

DA

Is it possible that music is totally overrated? Could one say the same about athlete’s dick?

MA

Not all overrated things are equally overrated. Music is not “totally” overrated in my opinion. Just American Idol (which, you see, is an instantiation of a deadly culture of rating turned on itself). Music is a crafted vibration that hits your eardrum. Words are crafted visual symbols that hit your eyes. Pugilism is hand-crafted vibration that punches your face. A warning to the unwary: everything’s a trigger. That’s all it is. We need a new manifesto in the 21st Century: Our Bodies, Our Media.

DA

What would you rather have invented – the Ö or the 1?

MA

Every umläut’s sacred.

DA

Why doesn’t the Canadian tech-metal band Martyr get the attention they deserve so much?

MA

I’d blame the followers of the Woodchuck Messiah.

DA

How many spiders are needed to creep out one level-4 arachnophobe?

MA

As many as it takes, please. But I am assuming that these proverbial spiders all have only 8 legs. If it takes two spiders to creep out one arachnophobe, then one could do it with just a single 16-legged spider. Don’t forget that!

DA

What is your favourite ____________?

MA

The twelve-spaced underline technique.

DA

Bonus question: What’s your take on the following 8 Nonsemes?

The wild coot’s dance
makes me cheerful through and through.
Oh, just look at its dancing:
“Uj,” “Aj,” etc.

Hyper-brochure tackling issues like:
“Fosemul and its verflixtene vià childor.”
As metaesthetically pleasing as it might get,
it’s still designed by root-brain complexes.

Man tends to cover up his chicken
with a blanket of lies.
A canola business shuts down its mainframe,
unmet asp notwithstanding.

Lukas got his motherlovin’.
Lukaŝ wants a Jeep.
Lukaß’ mom = postmodernism,
originated in quantum dumbbell (hauntel).

Hurly space@acid.
rForm quak€d: too expensive.
Do bring me from your travels (as diverse as cybernetix)
something you are free to so-call “FX Major.”

MA

First, the line “from here to eternasty” is brilliant. Second it doesn’t exit. Third … it’s too long. Eternastal, even.

DA

„!“

MA

No, it wasn’t.


Image source: (c) Michael Arnzen

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