new-york

RAMMΣLLZΣΣ, Maestro 2 Hyte Risk, 1976–79, pen and marker on cardboard, 9 7⁄8 × 23 5⁄8".

“RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder”

Red Bull Arts New York

In the beginning there was The RAMM:ELL:ZEE—not a pseudonym, but an equation that the legendary artist, rapper, philosopher, graffiti writer, and proto-Afrofuturist gave to himself. Why merely name oneself when identity is the result of a mixed-up math, the sum of complex calculations and multidimensional coordinates? God of his own creation myth, the Queens-born Rammellzee waged his first holy war on words, expounding the wild theories he called Gothic Futurism and Ikonoklast Panzerism, dedicated to liberating the alphabet from the corrupting social forces—“the tricknowledgies,” as he once dubbed them—that stunted its symbolic potential. “This time diseased culture is not going to send out another diseased culture to relay a message, but will send a letter and the letter is going to relay the message,” he told Edit deAk in a portrait-essay published in the March 1983 issue of Artforum.

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