To Bite The Hand That Feeds You

This afternoon while I was finishing up that deity of Matsu that I’ve been working on, I ended up listening to yet another podcast from the Tate Modern. It was a debate on Art, Lifestyle, and Globalisation. The second speaker was John Jordan, who presented some very interesting thoughts. For those of you who aren’t aware, John Jordan is an artist/activist who is behind things like the Rebel Clown Army and Reclaim the Streets. Also, for reference, here is a transcript of a different talk he gave at the Tate, titled “Deserting the Art Bunker.”

John presented some very interesting ideas that I definitely support. His ideas are very radical and ‘now.’ In the speech he presented in the ‘Art, Lifestyle, and Globalisation’ debate, he was urging artists to throw out their practices and utilize their skills and abilities to help make the change that society needs sublime; people should want to participate and be a part of it. However, his radical thoughts got me thinking about our existing cultures. While I was driving past a hot-rod rally sometime last week, I started wondering if there could be a way to utilize the strength of pre-existing cultures to help cultivate societal change. Could an existing culture be slightly modified to accommodate this change? Could anyone ever convince a hot-rod culture to get behind all the problems our earth is facing?

While there is perhaps no definite answer, I think there might be a huge potential to tap in to pre-existing cultures which which could be a much more efficient way to foster change. The infrastructure is already in place. However, radical action will be called for as well.

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Last week I finished making an AK-47 out of birdseed and beef suet. Today, after listening to John Jordan’s talk, I asked myself; “What about a gun that shoots birdseed?” As soon as my Dad was off work I asked him about his old shotgun shell reloading machine. After a few google searches for instruction manuals, I headed off to the local sporting good store to purchase primers, wads, and shotgun powder. When I returned from the store, my Dad and I took out his pump action shotgun, as well as a double-barrel. In no time we fired off 17 rounds so that we could re-use the hulls from the shells.

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I quickly got to work. I found a recipe on the powder manufacturer’s website, and started assembling the new shells. The reloading machine uses a five step process. The first step removes the old primer, and reshapes the hull. The second step packs in the new primer. During the third step the powder is loaded, the wad is packed into the shell, and the shot is loaded as well. The fourth and fifth steps pack the top of the shell.

My process varied slightly because I couldn’t find all of the pieces of the reloading machine. There was one piece that helps pack the new primer which I couldn’t find, but after some quick innovation and testing with some spent primers, I found a trick that worked. Also, the reloading machine requires a set of dies that help regulate how much powder is packed into each shell. These dies were nowhere to be found, so I used a scale to measure 17.5 grains of powder for each of the 17 shells. Lastly, I spooned in the bird seed and finished off the top of each cartridge.

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And perhaps with these seventeen shotgun shells, a new recipe for societal change.

One Comment

  1. Arius
    Posted July 31, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Though I’d never support violence against animals, I feel these shells need to be shot at bird predators. But don’t actually do it.

    I am very curious how shooting these things will work. At aluminum cans? 2x4s? What happens with shot birdseed?

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