Wham City's blue knight

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Blue Leader is the Baltimore collective's performance artist one-up

[Blue Leader, photo by Frank Hamilton]

If you look to the scene and heard section of this website you might notice a few hundred pictures and a few thousand words already devoted to Whartscape, but I wanted to set aside just a little more space for one of those strange performers who lend Wham City that extra weight of a “collective”, because it's these artists who expand Wham City's niche from strange music and strange parties into performance art the likes of which have only been half-imagined before. Ed Schrader might play with the format of the late night talk show host, but Blue Leader assumes the posture of a stump speaker with the despotic ambitions of Wario. It's the project of Robby Rackleff, a graduate student at Maryland Institute College of Art.

What makes his speeches so engaging beyond the clever wordplay and underlying attempt (successful in my opinion) to describe power relationships in the brutal language of videogame hyper-violence, is that he does it in a blue, full body jump suit and he might be able to shoot lazers from his orange mask. He also brings a carefully cut up mash up of video games for projection and a backing track of dark, doomy electronic music.

Mp3's of Blue Leader's Whartscape performance, courtesy Beatbots.

Blue Leader, “Intro”

[Download it]

Blue Leader, “Fatalities”

[Download it]

Blue Leader, “First Person Shooter”

[Download it]

Excerpts from Blue Leader's speeches

Oh you blistering, speedy jointed thumb master, you've swept me off my standing yet again and now I am at your mercy! These matches go by so quickly now that we've mastered the combos out of that magazine. You've learned that more complicated maneuver I told you about! You are a sneaky kind of friend, but I enjoy the surprise of seeing myself killed in that new way! Can you imagine the amount strength you must wield to pull off such a feat. You've torn a large part of my body right off.

I want to kill you. I want to kill you so bad. I just want to grab some extremity of yours and just yank it right out of its socket.

This is the better of the two home versions. I can tell because the blood stays on the ground longer in this one than in the other versions. It doesn't just fly off your body and vanish. It collects in pools.

We are united by our belief in non-real worlds and an obsession with digital destiny. We are empowered by conveniently erected mythologies which justify our active participation in the brutality of violence. In the screen world, in the gamic multi-verse we willingly suspend our politics, our morality, and we actively seek death and destruction and health packs.

He also does comics:

Some rough footage of Blue Leader performing on a tour with Videohippos here.

Full transcripts here.