As 'Whipper Peters', B Covington Sam-Sumana is forming a church.
Known as The Holy House of CHRIST and GOD, Inc. for Noirwave, the fringe church is publicly promoting the collapse of Whipper Peters' queer identity as they are run threadbare by the United States. On recent TikTok and Instagram posts, this new character from B Covington Sam-Sumana (who also makes work as N-Prolenta) announces that they have undergone a spiritual practice known as 'Velveting',"objectophilic, correctively therapeutic psychosexual encounters with industrial poltergeist entities". Some time before this, B Covington Sam-Sumana published the video essay 'Ally Theatre: Excerpt from SYZYGY I' commissioned by VIRTUALLYREALITY as part of our fortnightly theme Antagonisation. The essay posits media mogul Haim Saban as responsible for calibrating future (Democratic) knowledge systems in the US, the seeds of which can be found in Saban's seminal serial 'Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers'.
In light of these developments, B Covington Sam-Sumana orchestrates a conversation between themself and Michael Brailey - artistic director of VIRTUALLYREALITY - on Japan-Israel-US geopolitics, virtuality and the broader 'American Project'. Lurking beneath the transcript is a cross-platform prelude to their now defunct horror film starring Whipper Peters, entitled Thunderbolt Hum.
Portrait of B Covington Sam-Sumana taken and co-produced by Redeem Pettaway. Location is Florida. Image post-processing by B Covington Sam-Sumana. Wearing a virtual fashion piece by Ukranian fashion designer @kaikai_design.
"Did you realize that the Saban Capital Group happens to, essentially, be the primary US Democratic party megadonor, responsible for roughly the prior decade-and-a-half of US democratic party presidential bids?"
- B Covington Sam-Sumana
[MB] One of the first figures we see in your new work for VIRTUALLYREALITY ‘Ally Theatre: Excerpt from SYZYGY I’ is American-Israeli media programmer Haim Saban who you go on to call one of the greatest pop artists. Could you maybe explain what you mean by this?
[BCS-S] Let's definitely talk about this... I tend generally to take a look back at the impact of both Arata Isozaki and the early Japanese Urban Metabolists having comprised the Tange Lab, most immediately, when considering or examining popular industrial constructions of the postmodern period. I'd define the postmodern period as being concurrent with the emergence of a visual cultural colloquial and a socially operable cybernetic atop that, a marked and increased destabilization of the boundaries between the orient and occident through the institution of neocolonial economic relationships, and the development of post-atomic era materials' manufacturing conditions. Those concurrent conditions generate one of their first expressions through the Metabolists' construction of modern Tokyo during midcentury and triangulate the evolution of a kind of celebrant popular 'iconic' and 'citizenry' equipped to facilitate that. It's in some contrast to what a figure like Gilles Châtelet offers up in his conception of "average man". You end up with, for the first time in the West's history of dominion, a central subject allied totally with the sum of the transphysical cybernetic materials composing them, irreducible to vocation. Their occupations blot out and you arrive at citizenry outfitted to provide this new urbanity with its glamour. Personas readymade that can be slipped in and out of people, resultantly yielding very silver-age cinema kinds of personalities... perhaps in parity of some kind with the silver inflected photochemical degradations of modern period image-making technologies, the drama of those images' ecologically corrosive potential and latent financial power completely in tow. You have these people moving as chimeras in a decidedly deterministic, unsexy manner.
To cut to the chase, this kind of chimerism evidences in the fractional indeterminacy of an Ai Ogawa... the machinic bombast of a Madonna, or in Haim Saban's case through the development of the affective aesthetics of a nationalistic, universalist kind of peacekeeping. But with Saban these affective aesthetics are dependent on the authority of free market popular capital. It's industrial. The era's King of Pop, Michael Jackson, accomplished something very similar-- but Michael wasn't a nation-builder in a comparable kind of way. Michael empowered people to throw hypernationalist consciousnesses aside, and to unite, which made him the most beautiful kind of dangerous because he was able to do this without leaning into the fatigue of apolitical facade in a fashion nourishing to the youngest amongst his audiences. Name any conflict within a decade or so of the millennium's turn and I can guarantee that either side was bumping Michael Jackson.. Saban, a music producer, is obviously someone who could observe and recognize this kind of power from its onset during the mid-1980s. He developed this persona enabling him to move through C-suite level drag whilst exaggerating its significations of transnational mobility and a favor for diplomatic order over grassroots resistance... in every connotation you can think of, and probably many you wouldn't immediately consider. The situational specificity of this is interesting-- for at a time where the American popular zeitgeist prepared to begin a natural period of reflection over the events constituting the second world war, Saban successfully recognized the shift in these waters and white-knuckled into existence a product that engages a postmodern technical form identifiable as "transtextual calque-mosaic”, which means plainly that he was able to transpose the semantic specificity of one content-object into a different structural context whilst retaining the product's semantic fidelity using a mosaic style pastiche of different visual and theatrical assets. To the point of literally splicing together existing licensed Super Sentai clippings with original screenwriting and theatrical affect. Like Michael, he did this in a fashion nourishing to the youngest audiences. Unlike Michael, however, he elected to speak primarily to them, and only them... on a daily basis offering up a team of child soldiers using color logic to portray the promise of Yahweh to destroy Earth by fire, to draw connection between physical transport and metaphysical transubstantiation, and to install presuppositions surrounding American racial and class consciousness. Whilst developing this program into an infinitely syndicable product, and to this day he can walk into a room and basically no one will know who he is because pop success doesn't require the repeatability of results. None of this had to be intentional, but it is what happened here. From a 50 episode set of Japanese-language and culturally-specific media materials, this guy managed to produce a generation defining piece of media art in response to the American popular zeitgeist's cutting edge and its governing metaphysic, create a top-to-bottom marketing vertical around it where one didn't previously exist, successfully turn it into an infinitely syndicable product, leverage resulting wealth from the media art into an empire of media properties. Did you realize that the Saban Capital Group happens to, essentially, be the primary US Democratic party megadonor, responsible for roughly the prior decade-and-a-half of US democratic party presidential bids... from those of Former President Obama, Former Secretary Clinton, and Current President Biden? Did you realize that the Saban Capital Group happens to be in vested holding of a venture called Everysight, which is the largest defense technology company in Israel, responsible for outfitting advanced fighter jets with augmented reality mounted display systems? Whilst also still having its hands deep in the entertainment industry?
Hans Hollein: collage, Isozaki’s Body (1976)
Hans Hollein: 'Design-a-Being set for the show', MAN transFORMS (1968)
Hans Hollein: 'sketch of Composite Fable Creatures for the show', MAN transFORMS (1968)
[MB] Your vocal delivery is strong and impassioned considering your lack of centering in this idea of a Zionist agenda. What influence do you see yourself having here?
[BCS-S] The conquests related to "Zionist agenda" are being carried out upon multiple fronts. Whether one wishes to recognize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a genocide, or not, the United States and its allies have direct responsibility over the matter. People who pay taxes in any of these national jurisdictions are immediately implicated if not also responsible.
[MB] Would it be worth expanding on the "multiple fronts" you've gestured to?
[BCS-S] I'll just say this. The American project is one held in place by a clause of allodial title, meaning that landholders answer to no presiding authority beyond the metaphysical encasements of Yahweh. Recognition of this isn't capitulation to Abrahamic authority but rather a recognition of Zionism's intertwinedness with the colonial project at large. There are people here who are routinely served ad content asking for their financial contributions toward Zionist driven fortifications of the Israeli nation-state as a way to aggrandize their Evangelical Christian religious identities, and who give commensurately. These funds support not only Palestinian ethnic cleansing but, as well, evangelical missions across West and Central Africa, right wing US congressional lobbying, and, from what I understand, several variations of eco-terrorism at every level of society.. You can do the math on whatever else may be involved.
[MB] What interests you about virtuality?
[BCS-S] Virtuality allows for the insertion of folds, warps, and wrinkles within the confines of our physical reality. Applications of the virtual are the only way to achieve liberation from material scarcity. Black box style headsets are not the way to optimally realize these characteristics of the virtual. The wonderful developments that we've now seen with tensor holography presents a great start toward this end -- but I'm most pleased to see virtual technologies leveraged in service of the multisensory. You may be able to get a sense of my interests in experiencing the social media bound prequel to a now-defunct film screenplay I've written called "Thunderbolt Hum". There's an anointing oil I've developed for this project which, for the time being, you may receive as part of the receipt for the inclusion of a postal address in the visitation agreement for Ally Theatre: Excerpt from SYZYGY I.
Still from B Covington Sam-Sumana's now defunct horror film 'Thunderstorm Hum'. Image courtesy the artist.
Still from B Covington Sam-Sumana's now defunct horror film 'Thunderstorm Hum'. Image courtesy the artist.