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3.33 pm at Gerard Z's* flat in Grub Street (now 23 Milton Street).
Four Autonomous Astronauts are sitting comfortably on the sofa finishing a huge meal of chips and beans. The owner of the house, Gerard Z, is in bed recovering from indigestion. Riccardo Balli from AAA Bologna prepares to shoot the questions to representatives from Inner City AAA, Raido AAA, and East London AAA.
Balli kicks off.....
Balli: What are the AAA cultural influences?
Raido AAA: It's pretty hard to tell. I'd say that every AAA group has its own influences, even better every single Autonomous Astronaut has their own cultural influences. For what concerns my group, I'd say that it's very interested in occultism and the relationships between occultism and space-exploration, if there is any....
East London AAA: East London AAA influences come from people like Sun-Ra and Giordano Bruno.
Balli: What about you?
Inner City AAA: Well, I sort of can't think of anything "cultural" in our influences.
Balli: OK, let's go on, let's talk about...Fuck!! The recorder is fucked, wait a sec, what has happened? No, it can't be the batteries, I've just bought them, oh yeah, it's the PAUSE button, I probably have pushed the PAUSE button without realising it.
Inner City AAA: I just hope that the AAA Bologna spaceships are going to work in a better way....
Balli: No doubt about it! OK, let's go back to our chat. I got the impression that forming communities in space is one of the main AAA issues, isn't it?
Raido AAA: Yeah, it is. Forming communities in outer space is certainly one of the main AAA projects. Communities that won't have the same biological and cultural restrictions ruling on planet earth and that will represent new stages of evolution for humanity. We stand for a zero-gravity 'Gemainshaft!' Are you happy with this?
Balli: Of course, I am!
Inner City AAA: Also it's better to say that the adjective "autonomous" hasn't got anything to do with any political movement. Our idea of autonomy is completely new and it's not linked to any bullshit ideology of any sort!!!
Balli: OK, let's start to think the unthinkable a bit. What will the idea of art, music and literature be like in zero gravity?
Inner City AAA: What do you mean by that? You want to know if art, music and literature will change in space?
East London AAA: Art, music and literature are nothing more than historic practices that are doomed to change completely in space and their changing will change also the idea we had of them in the past, if you know what I mean?
Raido AAA: Probably the artistic practices will change in space, but their content will remain exactly the same. I don't think that the idea of art will change at all. Anyway, maybe the best way to answer your question is to give a practical example. Let's think about painting...Without any doubt painting in space will not be possible as we know it today, because it's a gravity-bounded practice. The fact of being in a zero-gravity environment will give new incentives and will allow absolutely innovative solutions that we can't even think of now.
East London AAA: Maybe using magnetic fields we will have paintings that will float in space on which it will be possible to walk, who knows?
Balli: What is the AAA attitude towards the media?
Inner City AAA: "Media invasion" that's the key concept. The AAA moves in several directions at once and one of these directions is to invade different kinds of media in order to put our ideas out. For a year I've been doing the AAA press officer work and from this experience I found out how media literally come looking for us. I didn't use any particular strategy to get their attention, I just waited for them to come to us and when they did come to us I just used very simple strategies to deal with them. Such as, having a clear idea of what I want to say in order to keep control of the situation, so if they ask me something, I don't necessarily answer their question, but I use that question to talk about what I want to talk about.
Raido AAA: Yeah, I totally agree. In addition to this, I will add that during my experience as an AAA press officer, I realised how the big majority of journalists are pretty dumb and how the issue of so-called 'media power' is nothing more than an old cliché. What I mean by that, is that today everyone speaks about the power of media, about how important it is to get your voice out in the media and so on. The AAA moves in a totally different direction, waiting for the media to come to us and when they do come to us then we are ready for them, because we are aware of our power.
Balli: The power that comes from the awareness of what media wants and how they act to manipulate you?
Inner City AAA: Exactly! It's the opposite of the old cliché of the big media-power. The ones who have the power aren't the media anymore, but those who are aware of how media work and what they want to do.
East London AAA: There's also another anti-media trick: to have a sort of homeopathic attitude to media. What I mean by this, is to give information to the media, but to give them it in small quantities in order to make them curious and to prevent their next move... Balli: You mean controlling the discussion...
East London AAA: Yeah, after all we have to consider that the main source of news is other news and the media body needs information in order to feed itself.
Inner City AAA: I think that it's important to talk about these things, because you can awake other people's awareness of how possible is to manipulate the media from below using subversive mythologies.
Balli: What is the AAA attitude to technology?
East London AAA: What can I say? TECHNOLOGY IS NOT RELEVANT, TECHNOLOGY IS NOT RELEVANT, ah, ah, ah, TECHNOLOGY IS NOT RELEVANT..
Raido AAA: Ah, ah, ah..
Balli: O.k., let's leave it like this! Let's imagine that...
Inner City AAA: TECHNOLOGY IS RELEVANT, TECHNOLOGY IS RELEVANT, TECHNOLOGY IS RELEVANT...
East London AAA: Ah, ah, ah.
Radio AAA: Ah, ah, ah.
Balli: Ah, ah, ah. Let's imagine that you have to leave the planet now. On your spaceship there isn't much space. You can just take three books, three records and three videos. Which ones will you take?
East London AAA: I'll take with me all the 'Desert Island Discs' episodes, but none of them complete, just half of each.
Raido AAA: For sure, I'll take with me books about how to build a bigger spaceship.
Inner City AAA: I don't know, I don't think I'll take with me any record, book or video...
East London: Maybe it'll be useful to take an enormous record on which you can go jogging on...
Raido AAA: Or maybe bring your own technical equipment to do your own video, make your own music and write your own books.
Inner City AAA: To tell you the truth, I don't like this question, because it sort of evokes in me scenarios of space-tourism and shit like that. The AAA hasn't got anything to do with organising an hypothetical alternative to space-tourism. I think that there's no point in going to space to consume cultural commodities...
Raido AAA: I agree with you. Our idea of space has got to do with experimenting with new models of social interaction and communication rather than entertainment.
Balli: What's going to happen after the Five Year Plan?
Raido AAA: The end of the AAA Five Year Plan and the beginning of many other things.
Inner City AAA: I don't know what is going to happen then.
Balli: I can anticipate that the Italian AAA groups will propose an extension to the Five Year Plan of 333 days called the "333" period that will end in a final secret AAA event. Recently I have seen an article in a zine called "Electric Skizoo" in which the AAA was defined as the most important revolutionary movement active in the world today. Isn't that frankly too much?
East London AAA: That article clearly misses the point. The AAA isn't the most important revolutionary group existing in the world, but in the universe.
Balli: Instead in another article that was published in Italy the AAA was defined as a sort of postmodern avant-garde influenced by dada, situationism and mail-art. What do you say about this?
Inner City AAA: Bullshit!
East London AAA: Bullshit!
Raido AAA: Bullshit!
Balli: AAA Bologna organised for the second anniversary of the AAA's Five Year Plan an ufological deriving excursion. Are you interested in UFOs?
Raido AAA: If we define UFOs as unidentified flying objects then I'm interested in finding out what they are. Maybe some of them are physical or abstract entities coming from other planets, who knows. Anyway I am sort of agnostic concerning this specific topic.
East London AAA: I don't think that all this talking about unidentified flying objects and identified flying objects is very productive because too much emphasis is put on the identification issue that doesn't seem very important to me.
Balli: What do you have to say about the recent Mars space explorations? I refer specifically to the 'Pathfinder' mission of August 1997.
Raido AAA: Nothing new under the sun. It's always the same scientific research spectacularization typical of NASA, after the Moon landing it's time to do something on Mars, if you know what I mean. State and military space exploration programmes are nothing else than instruments of propaganda that follow economical and political dictates. They don't have anything to do with space exploration.
East London AAA: I think that most of the mission took place in Egypt!
Inner City AAA: In Egypt?
East London AAA: Yeah, there's a city in Egypt called Mars and in Egyptian language "Cairo" means Mars. Probably the Pathfinder is hanging around in some desolated desert in Egypt every once in a while crashing against some rocks...
Balli: Maybe you are right!
Inner City AAA: Apart from that this NASA idea of terraforming Mars is quite disgusting: create an artificial atmosphere by using nuclear bombs and then plunder all red planet resources. Then instead of asking " is there life on mars?" it would be better to say "why should there be life on Mars?"
Balli: OK, no more questions, I must go and see if Gerard Z has recovered from his enormous meal, so see you in space...
Everyone: See you in space!
*Gerard Z is currently working with Riccardo Balli on a science-fiction novel called "333" that will be the first attempt at historifying the future of the AAA.
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