Monday, March 26, 2007

lunedì 26 marzo ore 23:30

For Alice... in Yonderland

Grinderman - Electric Alice - No Pussy Blues
White Winged Moth - Kayo - Ribbon Arcade
Tetuzi Akiyama & Jason Kahn - #1 - Till We Meet Again
Burning Star Core - Deaf-Mute Spinning Resonator - Blood Lightning
Polwechsel - Site and Setting - Archives of the North
Sabu Orimo - #9 - Susabu
Ben Frost - Theory of Machines - Theory of Machines
Family Underground - #2 - Future Bread
Fursaxa - Sheds Her Skin - Alone in the Dark Wood
Axolotl - Oranur - Memory Theatre
Religious Knives - Wax and Flesh - Remains
Bo Wiget & Luigi Archetti - Stück 14 - Low Tide Digitals Vol. II
Frode Haltli (w/ Maja Ratkje) - Psalm - Passing Images
Skullflower - Celestial Highway IV - Exquisite Fucking Boredom


Sunday, March 25, 2007

sardegna, 22 marzo 2007

visita a casa gramsci

non la casa-museo di ghilarza, dove trascorse infanzia e adolescenza, e neanche quella di torino, dove operò la redazione di «Ordine Nuovo», che l'anno prossimo sarà sventrata per realizzare un hotel a cinque stelle con 120 suite extralusso

ma la casa di ales, dove pare sia nato: zona di vuoto, antimonumento non celebrativo, buco nero della storia eppure, possibilmente, in divenire

“là dove erano messi ubertose vi è soltanto più erba bruciata dal sole...” (antonio gramsci, 1929)

"I should prefer most of all to have been such a little dweller in the ruins, burnt by the sun which would have shone for me there on the tepid ivy between the remains on every side; even though I might have been weak at first under the pressure of my good qualities, which would have grown tall in me with the might of weeds." (franz kafka, 1910)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

19 March/marzo 2007

terminal beach IN THE LOOP...terminal beach IN THE LOOP...terminal beach IN THE LOOP...terminal beach IN THE LOOP...terminal beach IN THE LOOP

(from 23:30 till dawn)

mixed strata:

Angelo Badalamenti - Haunting & Heartbreaking - Lost Highway OST
Stephan Mathieu & Ekkehard Ehlers - Supertramp - Heroin
Hwyl Nofio - Hymnal - Hymnal
Klaus Filip + Toshimaru Nakamura - Pace - Aluk
Gavin Bryars - Tramp with Orchestra II (Low Strings) - Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet
Es - We Make Holes In The Heart to Break The Universe Apart - A Love Cycle
Aki Onda - Last - Cassette Memories Vol. 1: Ancient & Modern
Jason Lescalleet - Ineinandergreifen - 08 Dezember 1912 - Mattresslessness
Robert Ashley - She Was A Visitor - Extended Voices
William Basinski - Disintegration Loop III - The Disintegration Loops II
Philip Jeck - Box of Lamb - Surf
Marina Rosenfeld - theseatheforestthegarden - theforestthegardenthesea
Robert Henke - Layer 009 - Layering Buddha


Monday, March 12, 2007

lunedì 12 marzo h. 23:30 BLACKOUT

::: ON AIR :::
where were you last night?

This project (broadcast twice by Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum on a 12 hour-loop) was conceived as a reflection on the mutation and decline of the role of radio in daily life from cultural appointment (the original sense of Radio Times) to a comforting and controlling, though partly ignored, background continuum. The staring point is our existing transmission, Terminal Beach (Radio Blackout) whose highly composed nature asks the former kind of attention from the listener (the sense of a precise appointment or encounter) yet one open to a radical disorientation of expectations and scrambling of codes.

“Perhaps we are transmitting to listeners who inhabit a past that is yet to arrive. From our perspective in the radio studio, also because of technical problems relating to reception and bandwidth - problems common to any free, independent radio - this often results in feelings of solitude and paranoia. Is anybody listening? Who? What about those who aren't listening? Or who try to listen but occasionally miss an “appointment”? And what are the conditions of listening? Focused? Distracted? Multitasking?
The radical “otherness” of the imagined realm of the receiver is a phantom that haunts us to the point of provoking an almost Proustian jealousy. Yes, we would like listeners who are faithful but failing that we want to map their infidelity: "Where were you last night?" Such a dilemma may seem monstrously egotistical, but on a more abstract level it does raise the question of how an alternative collective is formed and what are the ties that bind its members together. Our feeling of isolation is redoubled by our relative marginalization within a radio station that often broadcasts for an already closed and defined community.”

For this project we got 9 listeners/non-listeners to record a sample of their environment between 23:30 and 01:30 on January 8th, 2007 during a Terminal Beach broadcast entitled “I Could Hear the Smallest Things”. These listener recordings - made on various types of recording equipment ranging from minidisc to dictaphones - we then remixed and manipulated together with the content of that particular show (which, to give space to the listeners/non-listeners’ interventions focused on 'small' music, microsound, field recordings and reductionist improv).

The resulting programme, Where Were You Last Night? is a spectral transmission where the boundaries between sender and receiver is partly abolished and where dislocations in time and space give rise to unforeseen counterpoints, echoes, harmonies, and dissonances.

Recordings include:

listening to an opera aria while washing dishes; whistling during a downpour; rehearsing lines for a bit part in a soap-opera; a walk by the river accompanied by the screech of gulls; a midnight tram ride tuning into our show on an ancient transistor; a stroll in castle grounds; stoking up a fire; driving home from the cinema after seeing Godard's Passion; listening to a jazz trio jamming in a trendy café; looking for the frequency of Terminal Beach; laughter in the dark on the way to the pub; pissing; breaths of sleeping infants...

an aural glimpse into, and reinvention of, the listening/non-listening other's hidden scene.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

La Guillotine
24 rue Robespierre, Montreuil

plug in circus

8 mars 2007


"A flexible or an elastic body still has cohering parts that form a fold, such that they are not separated into parts of parts but are rather divided to infinity in smaller and smaller folds that always retain a certain cohesion. Thus a continuous labyrinth is not a line dissolving into independent points, as flowing sand might dissolve into grains, but resembles a sheet of paper divided into infinite folds or separated into bending movements, each one determined by the consistent or conspiring surroundings. [...] A fold is always folded within a fold, like a cavern in a cavern. The unit of matter, the smallest element of the labyrinth, is the fold, not the point which is never a part, but a simple extremity of the line."

Gilles Deleuze, THE FOLD (Leibniz and the Baroque)

Montreuil, 4-9 March 2007

"Interest in fasting as an art has declined very considerably in recent decades. Whereas it used to be well worth staging major performances in this discipline on an entrepreneurial basis, nowadays that is quite impossible. Times have changed..."

We arrive at the Guillotine bearing our mots d'ordre/idées fixes: austerity, withdrawal, reduction, subtraction, abstinence, disappearance of the subject,
making oneself as inconspicuous as possible, the meat and bones of Kafka's short story "A Fasting-Artist".

The story is about a guy who makes a name for himself performing marathon fasts (jeûnes) before a paying public until, as always happens, the public get bored with the act and move on to the latest novelty freak show. At this point the starving artist abandons his manager and joins a circus who let him go on performing his increasingly long fasts but only as a sideshow attraction to which the crowds give only a passing glance on their way to the animal cages. Finally, after a particularly long fast that goes completely unnoticed the artist, by now on the point of death, is discovered lying under his heap of straw by an inspector who is curious to know the motive behind the fasting artist's art. His reply is that it's simply that he has never found the food that would satisfy him. If he had he wouldn't have taken up fasting in the first place. His secret revealed the fasting artist dies, his remains quickly disposed of to make way for a panther, a beast bursting with savage vitality and with an insatiable appetite for raw meat that proves an irresistible attraction to the awe-struck public.

Our original plan is to put up a small, anonymous igloo-style tent and equip it with loudspeakers and a video projector. The idea is that the tent will become a kind of a mouth, swallowing those who enter whose ears will be assailed by sounds of chewing and swallowing - but on nothing - sounds which are themselves 'chewed up' , processed into an relentless arrhythmic loop counterpointed by the gradual emergence of other small sounds in the background (such as a thumb piano like the one Henri Michaux once found himself fingering obsessively during a period of convalescence, fascinated by the instrument's metal tongues whose abrasive, profoundly unsatisfying sounds seemed to him the negation of all music) and by S's voice reading Kafka's text in French, again processed to the point that only small fragments of it are comprehensible, like Lacanian partial objects, or bits of undigested food.

Un artist de la faim mange ses mots, as the installation is now called opens up questions both aesthetic and political related to our inevitable consumption and digestion of the fasting- artist's art - which is the art of refusing to consume or digest (to say nothing of the barely palatable political "food" options on the menu of representative democracy). So the installation eats but does so mechanically, having no other option, consuming both itself and its consumers. To emphasise the mouth idea but also to dialectically counterpoint the chewing sounds, a medical image of an open oral cavity (that of fasting-artist friend recorded at his dentist) should be projected on a wall of the tent, a mouth that is forced open and cannot close, only intermittently visible, a flickering in the darkness.

That's the plan. However, it doesn't take us long to realise that the ingenious mobile fold-like structures that the artists from plug in circus have designed for the evening are incompatible with our proposed set-up. "Ici, il faut que tout bouge!"

"Of course, fasting was bound to make a comeback one day, like everything else, but that was no consolation to the living. What was the fasting-artist to do now?
[...] As far as taking up another profession was concerned the fasting-artist was not only too old but above all too fanatically dedicated to fasting. So, discharging his manager and associate in a quite unique career, he signed on with a big circus; consideration for his own feelings prompted him to leave the terms of the contract unread.

A big circus with its vast number of people, animals, and items of equipment forever balancing and supplementing one another can find a use for anybody at any time - even a fasting-artist, if suitably modest in his requirements of course..."

The first day it seems we too are being sucked into Kafka's parable. The only space we can set up our tent where it won't be swept away by the ever-encroaching, ever-shifting croutes, it appears, is outside in the yard, next to the toilets. No more fitting place for it, in a way, intones the fasting-artist in our heads, ever modest in his needs, before we beat him senseless. But he has a point. Such a chilly, austere gesture of refusal is not going to sit easily in the kaleidoscopic cavalcade of the banquet, a whirlpool of spectacle and sensation that will include improvised music, performance, poetry, prerecorded political babble, tarantella, theatre, video and food - the exact opposite of a fast.

One possible solution is to incorporate the sound part of our installation into the croutes but it soon becomes clear that the tiny speaker cups mounted into the cardboard walls are way too puny to deal with the low-end crunch of our sonic maw. Problems, problems. A circus is one thing but whoever had the crazy idea to invite a fasting-artist to the banquet?

Working with the circus, we realise that our project is going to have to mutate in some way if it is to find a home, however temporary, here at the Guillotine. The tent is abandoned as we look for a suitable site, a hiding place among the folds that will not be disturbed by their continual upheaval. Someone suggests we mount the whole thing on a trolley, which seems to be the circus's preferred mode of exhibition, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. We insist on remaining static, refusing fluidity, flexibility, liquidity - all the buzzwords of the new capitalism. We are
nicht versohnt. What was it Deleuze said about how the nomad is the only one who doesn't move (until he gets bulldozed out of his encampment)?

We are quickly acquiring the reputation of being difficult customers, not exactly in tune with the spirit of the proceedings. A longer period of acculturation would have been better. Instead we have only 4 days to get with the programme. The members of the troupe, we learn, will be dressed in costumes inspired by La Fontaine's bestiary. We are to be zebras, apparently, an animal with strong connotations of les derniers arrivés...

The place we eventually settle upon is a pillar, paradoxically at the exact centre of the room.

Eschewing the ethereal invisibility of gallery sound installations. ours now assumes the nakedly abject form of an amplifier lashed by bicycle inner tube to a whipping post with two cumbersome hi-fi speakers as its feet and up above in the rafters the unseeing cyclopean eye of a video projector which throws the pink and mauve wound of an open mouth on the floor, identifiable only by tonsils pulsing helplessly like the inverted head of a baconian foetus.

Another question to negotiate is the improvisation/performance aspect. Renouncing complete absence ("perché non basta non essere ignorantissimi, bisogna non esserci...") we put our heads together and come up with the idea of feeding photocopied pages of the story through a croute-mounted document shredder (another mouth) and then gathering up the shredded page either as straw for the fasting-artist's cage/cave or as textual tagliatelle to serve to the banquet guests.

The idea of doing this dressed up as zebras admittedly has a certain appeal, combining as it does Benjamenta/Bartleby-esque acts of repetitive, facelessly subservient drudgery with a creepy Lynchian surrealism. Yet it now seems that we are to be promoted up the phylo-immigratory food chain to the rank of tigers (closer to the fasting-artist's usurping nemesis). So couldn't we be panthers instead, engaged in some bizarre, unprecedented act of carnivorous mourning?

No, not so much carnivorous as carnivoral. Not black panthers - no danger of suddenly taking sides with the sans papiers and other glocals who peer through the windows of the tropical bestiary as they pass by, looks we exchange in a kind of reciprocal orientalism - but panthers that are positively pink...

la logique du sans

the rejectionist


"In all its specific forms, as information or propaganda, as advertisement or direct entertainment consumption, the spectacle is the present model of socially dominant life. It is the omnipresent affirmation of the choice already made in production and its corollary in consumption. The spectacle's form and content are identically the total justification of the existing system's conditions and goals. The spectacle is also the permanent presence of this justification, since it occupies the main part of the time lived outside of modern production."
(Guy Debord)

As the evening of the banquet approaches, final preparations are made. A miscellany of past and present-day dictatorial speeches (from Hitler and Stalin to Bush, Berlusconi and Blair) is edited on computer and then recorded onto old-fashioned cassettes ready for insertion into boom boxes salvaged from a nearby flea-market that are secreted in the croutes' carefully positioned hideyholes, wired up to webs of speakers. We decide to remix the fasting-artist sound for inclusion in the entrance-way corridor, reduced to the hiss of a masticated whisper designed to hector guests on their way to and from the toilet. Identical mugshots of various heads of state are sequenced into a video flickbook, as elsewhere their repertoires of empty populist gestures are timestretched and looped into tourettic Warholian mantras.

Actors and poets rehearse their mobile soapbox pitches while musicians put the finishing touches to their 'vehicles'. Last minute tweakings are made to a contact-mic prepared piano whose improvised dialogue with a saxophone is to be the musical focus of the first stage of the banquet. A late suggestion that the troupe sing Cardew's "The Great Learning" is incorporated into the menu. Though the first rehearsal is a bit shaky with most people ignoring the instructions to 'sing each line in place' and chasing each other around the room in search of their next note, the experience binds us into a cacophonically harmonious groupmind. In the kitchen we take turns chopping and peeling huge mounds of vegetables.

Finally le banquet des politiques exquises is ready to begin. A video projector beams images of flowers and wide-eyed infants onto the surrounding buildings as the first guests arrive, assailed by on-the-fly political manifestos culled from magazine articles and ads. Ca interesse quelqu'un? - resounds the ritornello. Inside, meanwhile, the circus's legendary muqueuse images rolls into action, a jumble of jerrybuilt hi-lo-tech know-how and can-do that slings a dizzying pornocopia of
sampled, layered and manipulated TV and satellite images across any surface that moves which for the moment includes the banquet tables themselves, asymmetrical cardboard structures that two dancers manipulate, first as a carapace borne on their backs then as habitat for their writhing primordial bodies to explore.

The croutes remain mutely stacked against the walls as a hocketing exchange takes place between amplified pedal creaks, hammer squeaks and low-end speaker crackle from the piano and
the sax's asthmatic single note stabs and wheezing multiphonics. After a truly magical and bewildering opening half-hour, the guests take their places at the banquet tables and the croutes rush in to enfold them in a sonic barrage of political bile and guile that is leavened for a while by the extended tones and occasionally delightful harmonic juxtapositions of the Great Learning. Taking up our positions in the fasting artist's dark cave of our installation we turn up the sound and begin feeding the document shredder, distributing the results of its labours across the floor.

But not everything goes according to plan. The overfed machine quickly jams and refuses to eat any more and no amount of poking about in its teeth with a knife will make it start again. Despite their apparent mobility, some of the croutes still have to be plugged into the arborescent labyrinth of wires and junction boxes overhead before their walls can be made to speak. At a certain point during the first course the tarantella trio let loose and their festive sound, one of whose effects is to completely dissolve the already tattered remains of our responsibility to the event, dominates for much of the evening. A delicate avian chorus of electro acoustic blurts and bloops, the result of heavily filtering and processing sounds picked up from outside the building, gets lost in a drunken slosh and swirl of old partisan songs.

As things begin to lull, an impromptu improv session starts up between sax and guitar and G plugs in his laptop to add to the chaos with salvos of manipulated whalesong before the battery dies on him. At some point S conks out and curls up on the floor in her panther costume....

...and the day after

" - All right, deal with this mess! - the foreman said, and they buried the fasting-artist together with the straw. Into the cage they now put a young panther. It was a palpable relief even to the most stolid to see this savage animal thrashing about in the cage that had been bleakly lifeless for so long..."

::: THANKS TO ::: thibault, sylvestre, émile, élodie, romauld, cécile, marco, the tarantella crew, maxime, vincent, antoine,
the guillotine MCs and all the other artists involved in the banquet
and especially to igor for his infinite generosity and patience.

Friday, March 02, 2007

This week :::Terminal Beach::: will be at La Guillotine, Montreuil (Paris) presenting a sound/video installation inspired by Kafka's short story EIN HUNGERKUNSTLER as part of "Le banquet des politiques exquises"

A Fasting-Artist Eats His Words

Conceived and performed in the runup to the 2007 French presidential elections, Un artist de la faim mange ses mots aims to open up a space of reflection concerning the modern subject’s situation of having to select from, consume and digest a political menu (the menu of representative democracy) whose most obvious characteristic is the lack of real substance and choice it offers. When asked why he chose to express himself through ‘fasting’, the artist of Kafka’s story explains that it was simply because he had never found any food he liked.

While acoustically anticipating and mirroring the overhasty consumption and digestion of itself as an artwork, the installation nonetheless resists this process both by rendering its founding text only partly comprehensible and by the mechanical nature of its own eating, a withdrawal of subjective investment that lays bare the emptiness of participation in the forced choice of the election ritual.

(8 March/marzo 2007)