Mutate and Survive is a truly international anthology aiming to show “work animated by independence and unconditional aesthetics” to act as an alternative to the dominant culture at “this beginning, of the beginning, of the third millennium”. Whether it achieves the goal I’m not sure, but just for having such a lofty aim it deserves to be applauded!
With contributors from Portugal, Italy, France, North America, Latin America and various other nooks and crannies it is an impressive smörgåsbord of content. But with about fifty percent of the content in Portugese it did at times, for an anglophone feel slightly disjointed.
All the same an additional amount of content was either silent, or obvious enough – in a Bitterkomix kind of way – to be understandable. And for the most part I think Chilli Con Carne fulfilled their desire to create an anthology that pushed the boundaries of aesthetics and contents; especially with the inclusion of the always terrifying Mike Diana (his contribution involves lose of virginity, necrophilia, talking government controlled worms and a ‘pentagram murderer’ all in the space of eight pages).
It’s an anthology though that is difficult to read in one sitting. Partly because of the content matter – much of it either outside the reals of reality, or too close within them, to make for comfortable reading – but also because of the fact that many of the stories are only two or three pages long, making it at times difficult to properly get into the pace of it.
Still, it’s certainly something that deserves to be read, and as much as possible enjoyed. Though I’d argue that Prison Stories, by Igor Hofbauer that they published earlier in the year possibly does more to ‘mutate and survive’ than some of these stories do!
In the UK you can pick up a copy from Corndog distro.