"Today's pornography is tomorrow's art."
An Interview with Nick Zedd

by Bob Moricz

Q: People making pictures today are beginning to embrace the fast, cheap qualities of video. What do you think of this so called "digital revolution?" Is it really a godsend for people who don't have the money to make films?

A: The "digital revolution" is a myth that ignores the denigration of image quality along with the exorbitant costs of editing on-line.

An added expense not acknowledged by the bourgeois neophytes who compose this "revolution" is the absurdly inflated price of transferring video to film ($75 a minute) which negates the money saved by shooting digitally.

The prohibitively expensive cost of acquiring an Avid editing system or any kind of computerized editing reveals the essentially counter-revolutionary nature of this "revolution."

Q: Have you ever considered working in video?

A: Having shot a three minute film digitally in Denmark last year, (Tom Thumb) I can attest to the ease with which the initial filmmaking process was accomplished. It was only through a fluke connection with the Danish Film Institute that I was able to secure access to expensive editing equipment and personnel to complete an on-line edit resulting in a tape I can't afford to get made into a film.

The effects I achieved with an Inferno would have been enormously more expensive on film. In America I would never be given access to this kind of technology. As usual, the class-based nature of all human endeavor is manifested in the enormous costs and obstacles one encounters when trying to make a film, whether digital or analog. This is no "godsend," unless you live in a socialist country.

Q: What do you think of computers and the Internet? Where do you see it heading?

A: Computers are a satanic tool to dispense information and undermine the hegemony of multinational corporate states and powerful business interests. The Internet is a free-zone to reach people globally. Unfortunately computers are also too expensive and thus inaccessible to destitute artists.

I see the on-line world heading towards voluntary surveillance, and vanity productions targeted to voyeurs. A kind of need to fixate on unattainable objects of obsession is being generated through this medium, but if it can make me money I'm all in favor of it.

The present system of film exhibition/distribution is elitist and obsolete. The greed of landlords, theater owners and big film companies has impoverished everyone's lives. We must find new ways to subvert their evil.

Q: Can a narrative film be transgressive?

A: This question is naïve. Transgression is not about narrative vs. non-narrative.

Q: Tell me about your new movie Why Do You Exist?

A: I've made two movies since then, Tom Thumb and Ecstasy in Entropy.

Q: I understand Mike Diana's in it. I saw him in one of Mike Kuchar's movies. He has a beautiful body. How ludicrous is all this garbage lumped on that guy by the state of Florida?

A: Florida is a fascist petri dish.

Q: You have a new bookˇthis one's a novel. Can you say something about it?

A: No one will publish From Entropy To Ecstasy. It is the most evil book ever written. Maybe if I wrote it on toilet paper and buried it in a prison cell, someone might publish it in a hundred years.

Q: Do you plan on writing more novels?

A: I've since written a second set of memoirs, 1,000 pages long, which I now have to type.

Q: I read an interview where you talk about writing porn for extra cash. Did you write fairly boring straight stuff or something juicier?

A: I spewed scintillating perversity in a jugular vein.

Q: Are we getting closer to being rid of taboos or is America just exploiting them for financial gain?

A: There are more taboos outside of America. Real taboos cannot be exploited for financial gain. The police will arrest you first.

Q: If there were no taboos would you still make films?

A: There will always be hypocrisy and illegitimate authority, thus there will always be new taboos.

The greatest taboo, murder, is regularly committed by governments all over the world. It is being expanded and refined on a global scale, along with rape, pedophilia, starvation and other carnage to enhance the profit margins of multinational corporations and their puppet states, through the criminal enterprise of corporate globalism.

Q: Do you think the day will come when audiences will be seeing full-on penetration sex scenes in mainstream films? I remember when male nudity was a big no-no and now it's becoming more of a common practice in Hollywood movies.

A: I don't see this happening any time soon. Sex has been criminalized thanks to AIDS.

It is through sexual repression that authoritarian systems maintain control. If a cure was made available on a mass scale, a second sexual revolution might occur, but the government would probably invent another disease to revive puritan hysteria and the pendulum would swing back. Today's pornography is tomorrow's art.

Q: How do you distribute your work?

A: I put up a website with my address and sell tapes by mail. http://come.to/nickzedd.

Q: In Totem of the Depraved you write about the hardships that come with screening your movies, but you don't say much about the actual making. Which film has been the most difficult for you to make so far? Any real disasters?

A: The most difficult so far is my latest movie, Ecstasy in Entropy, shot on outdated film stock. Plagued by lack of money, I attempted to shoot an action film with non-stunt people like Annie Sprinkle.

A real disaster was losing the work-print to a double-screen feature, War is Menstrual Envy in January of 1993, when a cab driver drove away with it in his trunk. This was the worst tragedy of my life, akin to having a child killed.

Q: I particularly liked the Jack Smith chapter in your book. You give a vivid picture of him, unflattering, yet respectful. Both of you have met with similar reactions to the screening of your films, but Smith's Flaming Creatures seems tame today. Will the movies you're making today seem tame in the future?

A: They will seem more beautiful. With the passage of time, the petty outrages of a backward society give way to institutional acceptance and the complacency of the educated class finds its rewards in historical treasures. Hermetically sealed, these occult objects become venerated artifacts, guarded by a priestly caste of curators and historians. Removed from the context of its subversion by time and institutional acceptance, the profane becomes sacred.

What is tame is the society that lets its greatest works of art be buried and hidden and judges everything on the basis of reaction.

Q: I like the scene in War Is Menstrual Envy where any Annie Sprinkle and Ray make out. No one ever addresses the sexuality of burn victims-in movies and TV only "beautiful" people get laid. What's beautiful to you?

A: Anything extreme and repellent to normal people.

Q: How did you get involved with Annie Sprinkle?

A: I met her on the sidewalk with Ray and invited her to do the movie. She'd already seen Whoregasm and was thrilled.

Q: What's Ray's story? How did you meet him?

A: Ray got burned in a camping accident. He was going out with Annie when we met.

Q: In Totem there's a still of you with Charles Wood, "Presidential Candidate and WWII Burn Victim." He seems vaguely familiar to me and I looked around for some information about him, but I couldn't find any. Can you tell me a little bit about him?

A: He ran for president in '92, as a pro-business conservative, and held a press conference in New York at a big hotel, attended by no one but me and Clayton Patterson. A room full of empty folding chairs greeted his appearance in New York. He was far more interesting than any of the other candidates. It revealed the stupidity of the media to have ignored him. It also demonstrated that America is a democracy in name only.

Patterson has a video of me interviewing Wood. It has never been seen.

Q: What are you reading.

A: Revolution of the Mind: The Life of Andre Breton

I served the King of England by Bohumil Hrabal

Anger: The Unauthorized Biography of Kenneth Anger

Everything Is Under Control: Conspiracies, Cults and Cover-ups by Robert Anton Wilson

Surfin' Asphalt by Doby Daenger.

Q: What are you doing for a living now? Do you hate your job?

A: I am unemployed. I need a job.

Q: How do you get the money together to make a movie?

A: I don't know.

Q: Does having a job you hate help or hinder your creativity?

A: Hinder.

Q: What are some things you're working on right now?

A: The Cult of Other People's Mirrors, a movie by Art Vamp, in which I will star, to be cybercast/simulcast this fall.