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Istvan Kantor - The Doctor Tells All

by Dr. Al Ackerman
Mike speaks in his letter of Cantsin (Kantor)'s "turning a little xerox obsession into a force to be reckoned with." I am still trying to tie up this notion in some way with Cantsin (Kantor) I know. but I can't quite make it fit. I have never known Cantsin (Kantor) to have a little obsession about anything. His obsessions are all king-size. I don't even know if xerox is one of them.

While we're on the subject, however, I would have to say that as I have observed it over the years, Cantsin (Kantor)'s favorite method of printing is with a quill pen dipped in his blood. Significant?

Be that as it may, if, by a strange quirk of Fate you should interview any of the leading Neoist minions and ask them, "What is Cantsin (Kantor)'s most all-consuming obsession?", most of them will tell you that it has to do with Cantsin (Kantor)'s love of puncturing his own lung by dint, during his performance sprees, of hanging himself from the wall of a night club, using just a single small leather strap that keeps his body dangling aloft for ten to twenty minutes before it crushes in several of his ribs and creates a pneumothorax or sucking chest wound. Quite an amazing thing to see.

Of course, the thing about Cantsin (Kantor) , and this is true whatever the medium happens to be, is his ability to get people fantastically involved in his activities. This is true whether it's xeroxing, or dangling from the wall, or what-have-you.

For example, the time that Cantsin (Kantor) visited David Zack's Immortality Center down in Mexico is a good instance of this ability to involve casual spectators, which I would characterize as vatic or charismatic.

During his stay at the Immortality Center it was Cantsin (Kantor)'s practice to go up on the roof of Zack's finca every afternoon starting at one. There, in the company of his shapely Neoist traveling-companion Annie-Mary, a Rita Hayworth look-alike, Cantsin (Kantor) would indulge in several hours of feverish yogi exercises followed by a long session of nudist sun worship.

This practice which, as I say, lasted from approximately one to four every afternoon, called forth a fantastically high level of involvement among Zack's neighbors. These neighbors, sometimes numbering as many as twenty-five or thirty, would arrive at Zack's fence every day right at the stroke of one, and would spend the next few hours rubber-necking at Cantsin (Kantor) and Annie-Mary through the bushes. In fact, I understand that this fence-side involvement became so intense toward the end of Cantsin (Kantor)'s and Annie-Mary's visit that a half dozen or so of the neighbors, having climbed atop a slender reddlike tree in too large a group (a half dozen bodies clinging to a single puny branch is just too large a group), wound up being dashed to the ground when the branch suddenly gave way, and had to all be hospitalized-- for broken bones and eye strain.

Well, such is the message of Neoism. Participation is the key-note. As Simenon once so aptly remarked:

"A person would probably have to go and have himself actually committed to find this sort of action anywhere else."
Simenon was talking about multipe and unbridled sexual encounters involving B-girls at cheap night clubs. I remember that the three of us--Simenon, Cantsin (Kantor) , and myself--were sitting in a very cheap, low-ball night club (I think it was on the island of Corfu) when Simenon made his remark, which location is probably what prompted it. Later, Cantsin (Kantor) turned to me and said: "Yes, and it is the same with Neoism!"

Then Cantsin (Kantor) got out his little strap and began to busy himself with dangling his body from the wall of the club, and punctured his lung. Upshot, he had to be hospitalized and spent over a week on a ventilator in intensive care. Another great charismatic Neoist moment--and what I mean when I say that, xerox or no xerox, Cantsin (Kantor) would have been a force to be reckoned with. Things like this can happen only as a result of charisma and probably only with a special little strap.

The wonder is that Cantsin (Kantor) has found time to do as much xeroxing as he has.

First published in Retrofuturism no. 13, july 1990, p. 1559-60