Note on the Aesthetics of Self-Harm

“I’m tortured by the feeling of drowning. Under you, under society, politics, the decay of nature, my lack of interest, and I feel desperate,”

Puce Mary (AKA Copenhagen-based artist Frederikke Hoffmeier) is one of the ‘noise’ artists I’ve been listening too increasingly over the last few years (These also include the SF based avant-garde veterans Oxbow and Himukalt  or Ester Kärkkäinen). Hoffmeier’s work on her latest album, ‘The Drought’, which I’m previewing as I write this, brings a kind of undead lyricism to the genre of power electronics. For this reason the presence of her voice within the plethora of sound sources seems essential. Like the voice of Poe’s Valdemar it hovers at the threshold of life, detailing various incidents of its decline or dissipation. One thinks also of the narrator of Gary Shipley’s latest novel The Unyielding, which memorializes the mutation of human life into some  pornographically arresting variant of death – a transition prompting endless testimony, however obscure and unmeasurable it is by the finale.

Here, I only want to note the insistence of our need to regress from a position that is perhaps not too shy of this. Hoffmeier’s work seems to capture its abject poiēsis perfectly. It is music as a form of self-harm and, like all rituals of self-scarification, hovers between avoidance, punishment and a pleasure that remonstrates with its definition.

There’s a fine interview with Hoffmeier on the bandcamp site here

Puce Mary Lyrics

The Spiral

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