Book Review: BA. KU. by Anthony Tafuro
In a genre where both identity and purpose are not so much fleeting as just wilfully obscured, Vancouver skateboarding collective Barrier Kult offer something else to scratch our collective heads over. To quote from the press release for their new photography book, Ba. Ku.:
Though alchemy and other ritual practices interest the Barrier Kult, their true roots lie in music and nature. The team is promoted by and has worked with countless bands in the black metal/noise community and feels that the genre has been able to loan the group its face and image.
Got that? Me either. The less complicated explanation is that Barrier Kult is a clique of affiliated British Columbian skaters with an affinity for the aesthetic of black metal, though they trade corpse paint for even more anonymous ski masks and bullet belts for sinister looking sharpened knives.
From BA. KU. by Anthony Tafuro, published by powerHouse Books.
Aside from a one page mission statement that makes the above quote look as penetrable as a self-help manual, Ba. Ku. is entirely made up of a voluminous collection of black-and-white photographs, much of them sinister shots of dimly lit, concrete half pipe tunnels, but others contrast this industrial imagery by featuring the band communing with Cascadian nature. And then there's the 10 page spread of one of the members laying concrete that I have no fucking idea what to make of.
Ba. Ku. is admittedly a niche product aimed more at photography buffs who also have overlapping interests in heavy metal and skateboarding, but there's an arcane quality to the imagery here that is strangely compelling if inexplicable.