Q: Max Caspar, thank you for this interview.
Max Caspar: I’m glad we came out here.
Q: “Out here” means where we are right now, which is basically the ass end of nowhere, in a little unheated shack—
Q: —garage, with moldy tarps and cheap scented candles, the spider webs are as big as my head. The whole place is empty, it’s dark, it’s abandoned. But there’s a warning sign on the door, “No trespassing.” Why is that?
Max: Because this building belongs to Hechman [Properties]. The property used to belong to Teresa Capua—
Q: Technically we’re not trespassing, because this place was yours, it was Bitter Lake. So what was Bitter Lake? A live performance, an art installation?
Max: Bitter Lake was a world I made, to encapsulate the end of my world.
Q: Want to explain that?
Max: If I could explain it, I wouldn’t have had to make it.
Q: Then explain the leap, your leap, from this place to Dark Factory: Boom, culture shock! Why did you go there, what drew you?
Max: Well, I was hired. Twice. The first time by Ari [Regon]. I wanted to prove him wrong about, about some things. But he opened my eyes instead.
Q: So you knew Ari before.
Max: I knew for a long time who he was, but I had no idea what he was.
Q: Which is what? A professional chaos agent?
Q: He leaves a whole lot of chaos behind him—
Max: —no, well yeah, but it’s a nutritive medium. Ari may seem like he’s just a big party guy, he is a party guy, he’d be the first to say that. But what he actually is is a catalyst, an instinctual, multilevel catalyst. I don’t think he thinks about any of this at all, he just—does things. Then goes onto the next thing. Then the next thing.
Q: Did you ever talk to him about all that?
Max: In a way.
Q: What way?
Max: I wrote some stuff for him.
Q: What stuff?
Max: Do you know about Krishna, the Hindu deity? When he was a child, his mother accused him of eating mud, he denied it, so she said, Open your mouth, show me. And when he opened his mouth, she saw everything—the universe, planets, stars, the void, existence, everything. Everything there is.
Q: That’s kind of a lot for a kid, isn’t it?
Max: It’s a lot for anybody! But the void was there. And it was here too [at Bitter Lake], it was in all of my shows, and Ari knew that about me, he knew what to do with me. He brought me into the Factory—
Q: Used you, at the Factory—
Max: —and he brought in Felix [Perez/ DJ Mister Minos], and made the roof [event] happen. And right after that, when I could see even more, he put me with Clara [Dix], so B of P could start happening.
Q: B of P is Birds of Paradise, a Y-based game you’re creating at Fantastic Fantoms, with Clara Dix and her team. So what does that game have to do with Dark Factory?
Max: It’s more than a game, it’s a created place of, of receptivity—It’s hard to explain—
Q: Except for a writer.
Max: You’re the one who’s good at explanations, you should have been writing the process notes! You still have those Jonas notes?
Q: I do. Jonas Siegler, if you see this, you can have them back anytime . . . Jonas had a whole behavioral theory behind Dark Factory. What’s the theory behind Birds of Paradise?
Max: Ask Clara.
Q: I did. Now I’m asking you.
Max: Clara’s got a theory, and Davide [Fabron] has a theory—Davide has infinite theories—I used to have a theory, philosophy, I definitely had one at Kunstfarm. Even before Kunstfarm. I used to believe completely in conscious choice. Then I believed in pure aesthetics, then asceticism, then artistic confrontation–
Q: Why are you laughing—
Max: —but at the Factory, I saw that theory, all theory, is just the, the handmaiden of story. B of P is a story too. But we have to be careful—
Q: Careful of what?
Max: —or mindful, maybe, is a better word. Because the story is still—arriving, in B of P, if that makes sense.
Q: It doesn’t. Arriving from where? And what story, you mean the game narrative?
Max: I mean story is where everything connects with everything else, the whole world, universe, totality, it’s the story life is telling itself, story is where reality actually lives. And the story includes us too—You hear from somebody you haven’t thought of in months, just when you’re thinking about them. Or you get something you need, information, help, whatever, exactly when you need it. In those moments, you can actually see that living linkage, it’s almost—blatant—
Q: That’s coincidence, what you’re saying. That’s just—
Max: —everyone has had that happen, ask anyone! Ask everyone!
Q: You’re saying that this experience, this connective awareness, is universal—
Max: Is it so hard to envision a shared consciousness?
Q: —and that is has a purpose?
Max: I know it does.
Q: OK. OK. Let’s say that’s arguably real. This shared story, what’s it supposed to be about?
Max: I don’t know. How could I know that?
Q: Well if the game is that story too, then what’s going to happen when Birds of Paradise is finally launched?
Max: I don’t know that either—
Q: Max. What’s going to happen to you—
Max: —and I don’t think there’s anything else I can say about any of it. Except to say thank you, to you. For writing it all down.
Q: Oh I’m not done writing yet.
Max: I know you’re not.