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1 channel sonic bidet – solo commissioned for GOMP festival, Guatemala

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Sonic Bidet for one speaker, bargain bin version of my Kaffetronica software so I up the artistic ante with minidisk of supersonic ant noises fed through an old Rock-Ola jukebox located behind a curtain on the other side of the hall. Rather excellent and this set up should earn me many plaudits. Strange to be working in mono again after all these years but the organizers could only get one speaker of my much traveled bidet working. The fantastic thing about installations is that performance is exactly the same as rehearsal.

Amazing space! Each noise seemed to dwell in the air forever, like imperishable tree sprites. Not surprising as the hall has a 94-ish second reverb – but , hey, who’s counting anyway? One thing that did annoy me was the floor. It was quite unnavigable as it was more or less completely covered in discarded chewing gum or ‘chicle’ as it’s known locally. Most of the audience stood a long way away from me but they must have enjoyed my bidet immensely because no sooner had they entered than they’d almost all left. The ones stayed who ventured closer and loved it when I shouted out them to ‘get their stupid feet off my kettle lead’. The last thing a top installation artist like me needs is to have one’s bidet unplugged in the middle of the show by a clod-hopping idiot.

My final thoughts? ”Something that began so slowly could keep going on for so long“.

The day after the installation closes, the GOMP organizers turn up with the exhibition flyer (see below). ‘Great timing, retards!’ They look greasy and pleased with themselves, handing me a copy as I board my tuk-tuk to the airport. The flyer is unreadable. A brain damaged moron with a large fork stuck in its head could have written something better.

On to the airport. La Aurora, as it is known, is the most disgusting, backward, ugly, filthy, desperate, degenerate, primitive, frightening, criminal excuse for an air terminal I’ve ever had the misfortune to experience. Almost as minging as Heathrow Terminal Five. And, contrary to my explicit instructions, I couldn’t see one poster advertising my fantastic new range of lingerie for women.

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‘Aurora’ is South American for ‘dawn’. That sets me wondering – when it will dawn on the obtuse festival organizers that their unique version of the English language is not in use in any other parts of the world. You might as well try and translate the flyer for yourselves.

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Sonic Bidet, Daghenam

Unfortunately, Dagenham is home to some of the worst morons on the planet. It would have been more productive if I’d set up my sonic bidet next to an Iraqi IED roadside mine or exploding space shuttle.

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A gang of unwashed hoodies wander into the gallery. The gallery owner has gone to the boat show with her hubbie. I am alone and am shocked to find myself actually quite afraid. One hoodie picks up my blue copperhead snakeskin Mulberry Roxanne tote and swings it in a violent arc over his head. Another pair surrounds me and when I ask them to leave start calling me a ‘posh stuck up sket’.

I try to explain to them that the old paradigms of class and stratification have been brought into question by the work of Gilbert and Kahl. I even quote Gilbert’s famous quote to the effect that – “there is really no way to establish that a particular model is ‘true’ and another ‘false.’ “

The tall hoodie with the cauliflower nose and a vulgar piercing through his eyelid seizes my wrist and squeezes it. I cry out. The pain is immense. In his strange hoodie language he informs me quietly if I so much as breathe another word he will snap my wrist and break both my arms. While I am trying to process this new information one of the hoodies takes it upon himself to rip the lid off my sonic bidet.

Then the really ugly one who smells like rancid cheese when he opens his mouth points at my bidet and asks me facetiously, ‘Do it play Grime, fudge? It got speakers.’ I ask for permission to speak and politely explain to them that the local constabulary have been engaged to keep an eye on the installation. An inspection is imminent. They debate whether to squirt a few Frubes over my head but decide to lock me into the broom closet. The gallery owner finally arrives to set me free after three and a half hours. Laconically, she informs me that this sort of thing happens the whole time – which is why the gallery can’t get any insurance. It is then I notice that my priceless bidet is missing, completely vanished.

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Sonic Bidet, Manchuoko

Sonic Bidet in Manchuoko. So exciting. PING! For once, the international arts community is starting to appreciate just how incredibly brilliant I am.

I am met at immigration by a chunky liveried chauffeur and deposited in the back of a mammoth black limo. The first thing that catches my eye on the drive from the airport are the gigantic posters advertising my fabulous website – KaffeMatthews.Com. This is no more than ‘how things should be’.

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Despite my misgivings I must say the Japanese who rule here have really got their act together. The gallery where my Sonic Bidet is to be housed is awe inspiring, a cockpit the size of an airship hanger. There is hospitality to match – what meek staff! Ever a servant hanging around ready to hand you a coat hanger. Let’s face it. I’ve never been a girl who likes to travel light. Given my sizeable designer wardrobe this can only be a good thing.

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However, one can’t help but notice the political situation here. The ethnic Chinese seem to be little more than coolies and prostitutes while their Japanese masters lord and lady it over them with an iron fist. Two streets from the gallery I witness an old Chinese busker beaten to jelly by six burly police officers. Another constable jumps up and down on the old fellow’s saxophone until it is flat as a DVD.

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With typical inquisitiveness, I approach a strikingly well built young Captain and ask what the old man’s offence was. He takes my arm politely and leads me off to one side. In a deep husky whisper he takes great pains to explain how the foolish old busker started improvising on an Imperial Japanese Court theme – an act of dangerous rebellion and punishable by 67 years in gaol.

I do understand and sympathise but still think the summary beating is a touch on the wild side. The handsome young officer and I seem to immediately click. We arrange to meet later for drinkies so we can discuss the matter fully. ‘Dear Lady’, he says to me in his excellent English,’ It would be a privilege to be allowed to show you some of the hidden parts of our country’. Hidden parts? Wow. That’s cool by me. PING!

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I must be careful not to be too critical while I am here. It would be churlish of me to voice my liberal Western quibblings to my kind hosts. To salve my conscience I will make sure I leave generous Arts Council funded tips for the servants wherever I go.

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The grand gallery opening is delayed by a small and quite unpleasant snag. As usual, my useless engineers are to blame. They forget to change the high voltage regulator on my bidet to the ‘Foreign’ setting and, as a result, a Chinese guinea pig person is electrocuted to death as soon as he is deposited on the bidet seat. The fact that he is a condemned criminal does not attenuate the shock. My Sonic Bidets are designed to spread love, peace, obedience through the world – not annihilation at 100,000 volts of raw screaming death!

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Fairylight dinner in an exclusive Korean eatery with Ryouko, my yummy police captain. Ryouko selects the hoe dipped in gochujang. I opt for the sannkji. Excellent choice! With the conversation overflowing over our bowls of warming Bokbunja ju (a delicious fruit wine!!) I make a bold request. I gently explain to Ryouko that I am a woman who must be obeyed and order him to order his men not to beat on any more defenceless smelly old tramps – no matter how much they deserve it.

He takes my hand, gazes directly into my amazing eyes and whispers, ’Delightful white-skinned Laptop lady, I give you my word. In future we will first bathe the troublemakers in rose water, then arm them with a small stick before beating them to the consistency of iwahju’.

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I do not know what ‘Iwahju’ is but I presume it is a legal term guaranteeing the rights of the accused. I am delighted! Once again, without moving from her chair, Kaffe has struck a blow for the oppressed minions of the world. As for Ryouko, he’s simply the dishiest dish in the house. PING!

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Sonic bidet, Fullerton

‘Sweet Home Alabama’. I used to listen to that constantly as a young girl growing up on the verge of Essex. I only listened to it because it was my then boyfriend’s favourite song. He’d play it loud as we made love in my tiny bedroom. I could never relax, scared to death that mum would come bustling through the door with a tray choc-full of crumpets and chopped nuts as I screamed blue orgasm. I thought Alabama was something out of Arabian Nights and was cruelly disappointed to discover it was the interbreeding capital of the world, a dumb yokel town in America. Now, (oh the irony), I’m here to deliver Sonic bidet to the art-minded locals.

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