Vancouver industrial BORG QUEEN! @Borg_Queen

The Morning After

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Vancouver Industrial artist Jenny Kirby reached out to share her music with The Morning After Show.

She smashes out a classic industrial sounding music as Borg Queen.

Jenny is a one woman content producing machine! “She plays and records all the instruments and does the engineering and production. Each song has a corresponding painting done in large format acrylic on canvas. Borg Queen has evolved into an assimilation of all the different artistic mediums Jenny has trained and worked with professionally including, painting, animation, acting, set design, dance, musical theatre, production design and of course music. ”

Go with yourself.

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Serial Killer

Inspiration can take many forms. One of the most common questions I get asked is what inspired me to write/paint insert creative work here. A common theme within music, one that get’s recycled over and over again is the break up song, but for a good reason. It’s extremely relate-able.
Most of us will go through our lives and experience the demise of a relationship we were once stoked about. It sucks. It can be painful and we go through a mourning period. Writing my EP Blood Sweat Tears was a way for me to channel all the rage and frustration I was feeling during the anger phase of my mourning period. I was feeling powerless and frustrated as I was losing my partner and best friend to addiction. It was the addiction that lead to the demise of our relationship.

“Becoming the worst version of you that you can be, while I murder the humanity that’s left of me”

Lyrics to the chorus of  “Serial Killer”
 
Over the past year one of my closest relationships underwent an extremely painful transformation. It’s the transformation of the relationship into something undesirable that is more painful than the break up itself. It’s is the transformation of one of both partners that is usually the catalyst to the break up. It is that transformation into the “shadow” versions of ourselves that I explore in the song Serial Killer.
So why the title Serial Killer? Well, around the time the repercussions of being in a partnership with a then unrepentant addict were coming to a head I started having a recurring dream in which I was a serial killer. Dreams have always played a huge role in my ability to solve problems and seeing as this was a recurring dream with a story arc and continuity I concluded that it was alligorical to what was going on in my inner thought and emotional life. I use symbolic imagery in my paintings all the time, and on a side note if you’re ever curious into delving deeper into what I write about I share all the really personal stuff to my email audience which you can sign up for here. Plus you get a free song and discounts on merch too, but I digress…

“Suffocated victims torn to pieces. I bury their shattered remains in shallow graves upon my chest.”

Slipping into a world where I had to explore my shadow self as a serial killer who was compelled to kill her victims was nothing short of disturbing. In the dream I would never actually see the murders or the victims but it would always start with me disposing of the bodies which were always dismembered and wrapped up. As I dug the grave I would feel this enormous sense of well being as if this was something that had to be done. Then I’d wake up and it would take me a moment to realize that it was just a dream and that I was not in fact a cold blooded killer. My waking self would always be sickened that there was a part of me that could exist in that sociopathic mind space and genuinely feel justified and relieved by committing such atrocious acts of violence.

“Dirt walls of secrets collapse into one mass grave.”

I knew my unconscious self was trying to tell me something because the dream was recurring and in the most recent dream I was on the run from the law because they had started discovering the bodies. I had become sloppy in my body disposal. The graves I had dug for my victims had become increasingly shallow to the point where the remains were only partially buried. Clearly the graves, the burial act and running from the law were symbolic of some form of denial in my waking life.
So I had to ask myself, what was I running from? What did I not want to face? It was my emotions. I was killing them and a part of me at the same time. So, I decided to face them and start writing an EP called Blood, Sweat, Tears to release the rage, sadness, pain and guilt. It was an amazingly therapeutic experience and helped me work through everything to the point where I was able to come to a place of forgiveness and acceptance of the situation. As soon as I committed words to paper and started screaming them into a mic, the nightmares stopped.
Serial Killer – Another Version Of You
Becoming the worst version of you that you can be
As I murder the humanity that’s left of me
Something sinister grows out of necessity
Ensuring survival through sociopathy
We wear our masks out of courtesy
Disguising our true nature
Obscuring the realization
That we’ve both transformed each other
Another version of you
Another version of me
Thriving still in the past dead presently
Another version of you
Another version of me
Is how we exist in this reality
You’re a two faced monster Jekyll & Hyde
Isolated without a soul to confide
I’m a serial killer of emotions inside
With a kill count rising attempting to hide
Suffocated victims torn to pieces
I bury their shattered remains
In shallow graves upon my chest
In the futile hope that I can rest
Losing my ability to compartmentalize
Dirt walls of secrets collapse
Into one mass grave
Betrayed by the stench of decay
Another version of you
Another version of me
Thriving still in the past dead presently
Another version of you
Another version of me
Is how we exist in this reality
Another version of you
Another version of me
We created a world that never should be
Another version of you
Another version of me
Which one is true? Which is a fallicy?
My body’s a bone yard
Always thirsting for flesh
So bury what you got deep inside
Perpetuate this mess
And it’s catching up with me
But do I run and hide
From the truth that love however brief
Is still worth the pain
And if I could go back in time
I’d do it all again   
Another version of you
Another version of me
Thriving still in the past dead presently
Another version of you
Another version of me
Is how we exist in this reality
Another version of you
Another version of me
We created a world that never should be
Another version of you
Another version of me
Which one is true? Which is a fallicy?

The Art Of Sexual Assault

A Victim Impact Statement Through Art, Music & Video

To say the past month has been rough would be a gross understatement. In a follow up to my recent post Crippling Horrible Depression where I discuss the emotional impact of my recent sexual assault, today I want to touch upon the artistic impact my sexual assaults have had. Yes, you read that correctly…assaults…as in, more than one time. In fact, I’ve been sexually violated in the criminal sense 6 times in the past 20 years and it does have somewhat of a cumulative effect especially considering that not once, despite filing police reports has it ever led to my assailants being brought up on charges. The disgusting reality is that each and every time, my integrity has come into question and I’ve been subject to victim blaming and dismissive attitudes by law enforcement and legal professionals.
In many ways being the victim of sex crimes and a failing justice system has shaped me into the type of artist that I am today. I don’t paint pretty pictures or write songs about sunny days. Not that there’s anything wrong with that kind of art, but if I am going to have these shitty things happen to me I at least want it to count for something. I want to draw attention through my art to social injustices. I want to empower victims to take a stand and speak up. I want young women to know that it is not their fault and it IS a big deal that someone has violated their sexual autonomy. I want comfort my fellow victims and let them know that they are not alone in their pain. I want to call out the powers that be in their failure to protect the public because they’re too concerned with protecting their own interests.
In the music video We’re All Whore I call out the corrupt justice system that has failed me as a victim of sexual assault time and time again.

A judge is transformed into a twisted version of Lady Justice to show that even the noblest of institution can be corrupted by money and power.
I want to educate the public about sexual assault and it’s impacts on society as a whole. What most people picture when you say “sexual assault” is a woman walking alone in a dark place and all of a sudden a man with a weapon jumps out, forces her to the ground, threatens her and rapes her causing massive bodily trauma in the process. While this is a type of sexual assault specifically called aggravated rape it is hardly the most common form of sexual assault. Most sexual assaults involve someone who is already known to the victim. Most sexual assaults involve coercion and manipulation of the victim.
Not all sexual assaults are rape, but ALL sexual assaults involve a lack of consent. Of the six incidents of sexual assault happened to me 3 involved non consentual vaginal penetration but only 2 would be considered rape. Of the two times I was raped both times it was by someone I was well acquainted with. In fact one of my assailants was a domestic partner. Only 2 out of the six times I was assaulted, it was by a stranger. 3 out of the 6 times it happened was in a workplace situation. One time it was within the medical profession while I was seeking treatment for my fibromyalgia.
Each time it’s happened it takes a bit to process what just happened to me. My initial reaction is that of shock, then I feel like throwing up, then I feel fear, then anger, then confusion, then disbelief until I run through the incident in my head again and realize that yes, that really did happen to me again. Then I have to decide what I’m going to do about it. Do I let it go,or do I confront my assailant, or do I report it? 4 out of the six times I reported what happened to me and 4 out of 4 times nothing happened as far as legal consequences of any kind for my assailants. Disappointed doesn’t even begin to explain the tornado of emotion that has raged in me each an every time I have experienced this injustice. 
In the Hedonist music video I use surgery as a visual metaphor for sexual assault

A victim lays helpless on the operating table while the assailant cuts into her violating her physical autonomy.

The idea was to capture the impact of sexual assualt on the victim’s entire being through violent imagery. I want to show the audience that “this is how it feels. You’re stuck, powerless and someone has control over your body and the trauma of the event will continue to haunt your soul”
What makes the experience of being sexually assaulted and not having acknowledged and legitimzed through the criminal justice system even more infuriating is knowing that something like this has happened to every woman I know! I know the official North American statistic is that 1 in 4 women experience sexual assault, but it’s gotta be higher. Either way, it’s a serious social problem and it has to change! Too many of us victims don’t tell anyone that it happened. Too many of us just sweep it under the rug and try to just “get on” with our lives. Too many of us feel guilt, shame and blame ourselves for what happened. Too many of us don’t report it to the proper authorities or if we do, it’s been such a long time that all the evidence has disappeared. Too many of us think that because we weren’t “raped” that we have less of a right to feel violated.
I want to encourage other victims to talk about it, report it and even if they don’t see any justice through our broken legal system to write a victim impact statement as they would do if their case actually went to court. I write my victim impact statements through my art and music. It’s how I work through it. My painting, song and music video Hedonist is my victim impact statement. Through words and images I acknowledge what happened and it’s profound effect on every aspect of my life and the people closest to me. Writing a victim impact statement doesn’t have to be a work of art, but trust me that getting it out has been therapeutic and healing. I encourage everyone to write one no matter how long ago it happened and no matter what the legal outcome was.
Sexual assault and it’s aftermath has a snowball affect on it’s victims. It leads to mental health issues, which can lead to self destructive behaviour like eating disorders, self harm and substance abuse. Addiction is a massive social problem and studies of female addicts have shown that almost 100% have suffered sexual abuse. The mental health issues experienced by sexual assault victims can impede their ability to earn a living and be productive members of society. So, it’s not just the victims(at least 25% of women) who suffer, but society as a whole.
The imagery in the music video Hedonist is designed to show the complexity of the relationship between sexual abuse, mental illness and addiction.
The bottom line is that if you are a victim of ANY form of sexual assault I encourage you to make as much noise about it as possible. Report it to the police. Write a victim impact statement even if it doesn’t go to court. If you feel you justice wasn’t served or you weren’t taken seriously, go to the media. Talk to a lawyer to see what your legal options are. Fight back! Tell someone you trust. Hell! Email me about it at borgqueenmusic@gmail.com I’ll listen to you, even if no one else does.
If someone close to you was sexually assaulted encourage them to do all of the above and hold their hand through it all so that they know they’re not alone.

Style and Substance: Hotness vs. Talent

Years ago I interviewed an actor friend of mine and asked him what factors increase a person’s chances of success in the world of professional acting. He looked me right in the eye and bluntly stated “be hot and talented.” The idealist in me didn’t want to accept that hotness plays as much of a role in an entertainer’s(particularly a female’s) success, but my inner realist knew he hit the nail on the head. Of course neither hotness nor talent or combination thereof will guarantee success, but it will increase your chances.
So armed with this knowledge of the winning formula to increase my success as an musician/performer/artist I find myself constantly balancing style with substance. The following is a list of questions I have had to answer when taking an honest inventory of my artistic integrity vs. marketability of the content I produce.

So what is the right ratio of style to substance? 

Appreciation of aesthetic is part and parcel of being a visual artist. Style is integral to what I do and does bleed into my other artistic mediums including the music I make. So how important is the packaging? For me personally, the packing must be a reflection of what is on the inside. It must make a strong impression and draw the audience into the concept being conveyed through the medium.

We all judge a book by it’s cover to a certain extent and that is something I keep in mind when designing that cover. I want the outside to be an accurate reflection of the lies underneath.
Artistic intent conveyed through style is not just art for the sake of art. Every visual element is deliberate and tells a part of the story.

So what about using sex to promote yourself as an artist?

I’m innately drawn to anything sexy as I think most humans are so that’s wht sex sells. When it comes to my artforms though, the questions I ask myself are, “Am I selling sex? Is sex in anyway integral to the concept I’m relating through my art?” If the answer is yes, then of course I’m going to use sex as a promotional tool because that is what the song or painting or performance is about. Using sex as a promotional tool in that context is truthful and doesn’t compromise artistic integrity.
However, let’s say I’ve written a song about my dad’s death. Am I going to sex myself up to promote the song? Of course not, because it’s not artistically relevant and it would be painfully obvious and sad that I was using sexy images of myself just to gain popularity.

The song We’re All Whores uses a sexual metaphor lyrically and visually to convey the concept of human commodification as a result of capitalism.

Does hotness matter?

Sadly, yes. Especially if you’re a woman, but make no mistake if you rely solely on hotness to gain popularity and the try to legitimize yourself as a serious artist afterwards, it’s harder to be taken seriously. You could be super talented, skillful, accomplished and intelligent but if you ride the hotness train to popularity town you’ll find it harder to change people’s perception of who you truly are because you bombarded them for so long with only one dimension of yourself. Some people just don’t care to see beyond the hotness. It takes longer to gain a fan base by not exploiting just your sexuality, but in the long run you’ll be appreciated for your art and not just your image. Marilyn Monroe was a legitimately talented actor, but do we talk about how talented she was, no we talk about how beautiful she was.

So how do we strike a the balance between being a sellout and being naively idealistic?

In the end our art is our legacy it out lives us. So being mindful of that fact, we should aim to promote ourselves and our craft with truthfulness and integrity, but sometimes that does mean being overtly sexual. Ultimately, what brings about lasting success is being true to one’s self. After all, in art everything is subjective including hotness and talent.

Crippling Horrible Depression

The clouds are so thick that all I can feel is the ultraviolet radiation permeating my skin damaging me on a cellular level. A walk through the forest draws my attention to the soil erosion around the root systems a grim reminder that the air filling my lungs is now contains 400ppm of carbon. This is the nature of depression. It is all consuming. A dark fog that won’t lift, and I used to be able to see the beauty in a foggy day. Maybe it’s just because there have been so many foggy days lately that I’ve forgotten that there is a world outside of the dark cloud that surrounds me.

I lost the love of my life to addiction and three weeks ago I was sexually assaulted. The life has just been sucked right out if me, but I tell myself that I have to keep emulating the behavior of the living. I tell myself that if I can just keep pretending to live that I’ll feel alive again. If it were just the heartbreak of losing my partner, or simply coping with having a chronic illness or even if all I had to deal with was the psychological and legal fallout of being sexually assaulted then I feel as if I could stitch together enough broken pieces of myself to resemble a functional person.

So what do I do? Life doesn’t just stop because I’ve lost the ability to function. Life goes on, right? Besides, there are so many things I have to get done. I have to finish filming music videos. I have to finish the artwork layout for my CD’s. I have to fulfill all my crowdfunding perks. I have to start on a PR campaign for my album release. I have to start organizing a live show. I have to keep start recording my new EP…the list goes on and on, just like life. How do I accomplish all of this when my body is in so much agony that I can barely move and my mind is so foggy that I’m not even aware of my own thoughts half the time. It’s taken me 4 days to write this tiny little blog post because it’s so hard to focus.

So why even write a post like this? Well, the answer is the same as to the question, “why write songs and paint pictures of dark subject matter?” The answer is that we all will suffer as human beings. Many times our suffering will be inflicted upon us for no discernable reason. This is the nature of our physical existence, but like everything else in this physical existence, suffering is not permanent either. We’re also not alone in our suffering. There is always someone out there who understands, we just need to reach out and ask for help.

Will I always feel like this? Logically speaking…no, I won’t even though right now it feels like I’ll never feel joy again. I just have to remember that I haven’t always felt like this so chances are that this too shall pass.

Transparency

2016 has been a bit of a shit year for me personally speaking and recently it’s caught up with me professionally. I’ve been dealing with a close family member’s alcohol addiction and it’s taken it’s toll emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. As someone who’s struggled with addiction themselves I’m sympathetic towards individuals who suffer, but there comes a point where the line has to be drawn and ties have to be cut. In reality I should have done this last year, but denial, hope and love are powerful forces and I’m stubborn as fuck.

In recent months I made sacrifices both professional, personal and financial to help my loved one get some help for their addiction. I put my music video production and album release on hold because I believed incorrectly that they loved me enough to get their shit together. What I learned was that it’s not that they didn’t love me enough but they didn’t love themselves enough to make changes.

The shattered trust and betrayal has left me heartbroken and horribly depressed. I’ve tried to keep going full steam ahead with my music, but it’s been very difficult as my finances and physical health have been severely depleted. I suffer from fibromyalgia and it’s symptoms have flared up to debilitating levels in the past few months.

I had to take to crowdfunding to finish my album as I wasn’t able to work very much to earn money to pay for mastering. Thankfully, even though my campaign didn’t reach it’s target I was able to raise enough funds to pay for mastering and just sent it off the other day! I am extremely grateful for everyone’s support. It was genuinely difficult to swallow my pride and ask for money. I know everyone is getting perks for their contributions but it was still hard for me to ask for help.

Another positive that has come out of the pain of losing a relationship with a loved one is that it has spawned some new songs. I’m working on 5 song EP called Blood Sweat Tears that is coming along rather quickly and will be released within a year of my upcoming first album release Sex, Drugs and Shiny Brass Poles. Blood Sweat Tears is going to be dark, melancholy and sexy both lyrically and sonically.

I don’t want to divulge too much more, but there will also be paintings that I’m doing for each song. I will be mixing my own blood, sweat and tears into the acrylic medium. Art is powerful therapy and will get me through this dark time.

Jesus Would Not Approve

The fact that my art disturbs old people is actually a huge compliment. I’m kinda enjoying my Marilyn Manson moment, or I would be if the attack wasn’t so personal. This isn’t just some group of conservative nut jobs that’s never met me and regularly crusades against several other artists who’s content the deem to be objectionable. This is my family saying, “not only am I not supporting you, but I wish failure upon you so I’m going out of my way to get the rest of the family to turn their backs on you too.” This type of attack is intentional, targeted and personal.
I’ve written a rebuttal to the relative(s) who feels that it is their moral duty to dissuade me from trying to make a career out of doing something I love. I’m writing it in Christianese as I’m hoping that maybe if I speak their language we might be able to find some common ground.

Dear family member(s),
I understand that you are person of conviction and live your life according to a moral code. I can appreciate and respect that as I too have strong convictions and a code of ethics that I try to live by. I also understand that the Bible and the teachings of Jesus are the basis of your moral code. So let’s talk about that. I’m pretty well versed in the Bible and believe it or not I hold the teachings of Jesus in the highest regard. In fact, there are a lot of parallels between what’s said in the Bible and what I’m saying in my album Sex, Drugs & Shiny Brass Poles. I know that the title might be a little scary because of the word “sex” but let’s not forget that the Bible has a bunch of stories about all kinds of sexual scenarios including rape, incest and adultery. There’s lessons to be learned from these stories, just as there are lessons to be learned from the story I am telling through my music and art. A lot of the lessons are even biblical. My song We’re All Whores is a shining example of this.
It’s about how everyone is a “whore” because we all have done something for money that we haven’t wanted to do, but we’ve done it just for the money.
…we all have a price that someone will pay…you and me are a commodity and we’re all whores in our own unique way”  ~ We’re All Whores
The message of the song is not to judge because we are all guilty of selling out on some level and making money our priority
.
“…so don’t judge me you know you have no right because we’re all precious little whores in God’s sight. Look inside yourself what do you see? You’re a whore too, you know you’re just like me…” ~ We’re All Whores
Maybe you’re not convinced yet that the message is biblical? Well, here’s some Scripture to back it up.

On all of us being guilty:
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
On your right to judge me:
John 8:7 “…’Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone’…”
On making moral judgements against others:
Luke 6:37 “…’Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned’…”

I’m just reiterating what Jesus said. Speaking of which, there’s this pretty famous quote of his that most people who live by a code of ethics aspire to live their lives by. You may have heard of it. 
It’s called The Golden Rule:
Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
So based on this very core Christian principle, I ask why would you intentionally sabotage me? If you were starting a business would you appreciate it if I went to other family members and asked them not to support your efforts? Your argument may be that you simply do not support the work that I do based on moral objections and you are simply standing by your convictions. Well that’s fine, but let me give you a parallel example. Let’s say that I’m a vegan and you are opening up a steakhouse. I morally object to the consumption of meat and will not under any circumstance support a business that profits because of the slaughter of animals. These are deeply held moral beliefs of mine because I feel that the way animals are raised and slaughtered is inhumane. However, there are other family members who do eat meat and would likely support my business. If I go around to them and tell them not to support specifically your restaurant, it is now a personal attack because I am not telling them not to eat meat, but specifically telling them not to eat meat from your restaurant. My intent is no longer that of altruism, but of maliciousness.
The real irony is that in your moral “Christian” crusade against my overtly sexual artistic content, you have broken God’s law. I’m guessing that Jesus would not approve of your condemnation anymore than he did 2000 years ago when the Pharisees tried stoning a woman to death for her sexual transgressions.
You’re attacks on me are clearly rooted in a place of ignorance and fear. You don’t know anything about my art nor have you ever taken the time to talk to me about it. You seem to just want to discourage me from creating it and spreading it to people who can be positively impacted by it. By the way, I forgive you just as Jesus forgave the people who executed him because, “you know not what you do.” 
Sincerely,
Jenny

I just want to make it clear that I am not in anyway trashing on people who hold strong moral beliefs religious or otherwise, nor am I encouraging anyone to do so. Your beliefs don’t make you a good person, your actions do. Unfortunately because none of us are perfect we will never be a good person 100% of the time, and sometimes we will use our beliefs to justify our shitty behavior. 

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