2000: Warren Burt
I've known Warren since at least August of 1991 when I received a post-card from him inquiring about the cost of a copy of my book "How to Write a Resumé - Volume II: Making a Good First Impression". That probably started our friendship. We're still friends 25 years later.
Warren & I share a deep love for the outer fringes of experimental music & a highly politicized notion of how such music can defy the Culture of Death-Dealing that more mainstream society often is in its more hidden face.
Warren has an extremely open mind & is constantly researching & creating. There was a time when I would send him many of my new publications because I knew that he was one of the VERY RARE people with classical training who could accept & enjoy the highly subversive nature of the material.
When etta cetera & I had the honor & privilege to be able to stay with Warren for slightly more than the 2 weeks he graciously offered to open his apartment to us in Melbourne, Australia, in 2000, I mentioned the possibility of sending him some more new material when I got back to the US. Warren pointed to a pile of media about 4 feet high in his living room awaiting his perspicacious review. I've been much more mercifully restrained in my mailings since then!
That Australia trip was highly fruitful for collaborations between us. Warren came to visit etta & me in Pittsburgh later that same year & the collaborations continued. Warren will always be a person of deep importance in my life & it was partially as an homage to that that I put all the footage I shot of him in Australia online in a movie called "The Warren Burt Show & Tell" on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel on March 1, 2016: https://youtu.be/TiCYlcBm5nM .
Action collaborations as described on my Mere Outline website here: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/MereOutline2000.html :
289. Hard Listening
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE on the left, Warren Burt on the right
- Musician's Club, Melbourne, Australia
- Sunday, April 9, 2000
- The "Hard Listening" series is a series of "new music concerts" (or some such) organized by Aemon Sprod every Sunday night at the Musician's Club. I had asked for a video projector but Aemon was unable to provide one so I had to change my plan at the last minute. 1st I screened 2 16mm films of mine: "Diszey Spots" & "How Orgone Cinema Treats Its Visiting Filmmakers". This was followed by my walking thru the audience whistling (without any announcement that this was part of the presentation) for a few minutes. I reached my electronics & started playing a whistling sequence & then started playing other sounds & my film "Subtitles (16mm version)" was screened. I was playing a DH-100 Digital Horn, a Mirage Sampler/Sequencer, a Kawai K1m wave-table synthesizer, a Multi-Verb f/x unit, a MIDI-Patcher, 2 CD Players, & 3 Mixers. The CDs being played were made especially for uncertizing purposes & consisted of miscellaneous s/f/x & such-like meant to be played in shuffle mode + all of my sequences in various versions, etc.. After "Subtitles" ended, I was joined by Warren Burt on laptop while my 16mm film "Funny Farm Summit Meeting" screened. Warren started this section by playing a sample saying: "Jack, that organ over there looks like it requires a jet pilot's license to operate it. Who's the musician in the family?". I chose to begin with this sample that Warren had recorded because it seemed to've come from a kitsch culture source similar to ones that the Funny Farm contained in the thousands & because Warren & I were playing with a large amount of technical resources at our control. Warren & I had rehearsed once for this gig but this was our 1st public presentation together. Our portion of the night ended with our wandering into the audience whistling while one of my whistling sequences played again.
All of the footage shot in Australis during this tour with Warren Burt in it is on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/TiCYlcBm5nM , this entire Uncert starts here: https://youtu.be/TiCYlcBm5nM?t=51m5s , the rehearsal for it starts here: https://youtu.be/TiCYlcBm5nM
- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
290. Slime Detector
- Liberal Party Convention, Melbourne, Australia
- Friday, April 14, 2000
- etta (see most of the entries from 212 on - mentioning etta cetera & Rita Rodentia) & I had made contact with various political mischief makers (Emile, Andrew, Alex, & Adam) in Melbourne by this point & we agreed to meet at the Liberal Party Convention to protest the usual shit. We'd agreed that etta & I would make a Slime Detector to point in the direction of the Liberals to show just how highly they rate in that area. Just as with the United States, the word "liberal" has lost any meaning of "open-minded" that it may've once had in Australia. Instead, it's been totally usurped by the usual bunch of political greedy power-mongers who're trying to open up Aus to drastically increased uranium mining & who routinely give the shitty end of the stick to Aboriginals whilst rolling out the ole bribery & kickbacks red carpet for multi-national corporations.
In preparation for this anti-liberal protest, we went to the home & studio of Warren Burt's friend & assemblage artist Malcolm Ellis where Malcolm helped us put together a Slime Detector that could be worn over the torso. On its back there was a stick meter that had 2 extremes: something like "truth" at one end (with a light-bulb) & "slime" at the other end (with a crud-covered rag). On the front it was labelled "Slime Detector". From the side came a hose with the 'detector' on the end that was meant to be pointed at the suspected slime in question. We'd intended to make the meter moveable on the back so that when we pointed it at the slimy liberals people could see the meter move to the maximum slime position but we had to settle for just leaving the meter in the slime position.
Meanwhile, Warren & etta stuffed vegan capsules with "antidotes" to neoliberalism which consisted of what we might call Jewish Disses: "Neoliberalism, Schmeoliberalism", "WTO, Schmubble-UTO", "Howard, Schmoward", etc.. They wrote about 50 of these on small pieces of paper & stuffed the capsules with them. The "Howard" of "Howard, Schmoward" was (is, as of this writing) the Prime Minister of Aus & in the liberal party & an attendee of the convention.
When we arrived at the protest we found one of our partners in slime detection, Andrew, writing similar Jewish Disses in chalk on the sidewalk. Much to our surprise, we also found that the official organizers of this protest, Earth First, had ALSO coincidentally organized around the theme of "SLIME"! They were prepared with buckets of some green substance that was meant to represent toxic waste & many were wearing white overalls with anti-nuclear symbols on them. A crowd in excess of, perhaps, 100 people gathered both across the street from the Convention Center & directly on its sidewalk where the usual array of speeches (blessedly short) & chants were sounded & banners & signs were displayed. etta handed out our 'antidotes'.
Someone wearing a Howard mask pulled up in a car & was 'given his toxic waste back' when he stepped out of it by having the buckets of green slime dumped over him. Our Slime Detector was going wild. A banner was dropped off the side of a nearby bridge & we blocked traffic for a while.
some preparation for this can be witnessed here: https://youtu.be/TiCYlcBm5nM?t=1h37m51s
on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/sppHtXbLKvQ
- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
- Planet Cafe upstairs, Melbourne, Australia
- Thursday, May 18, 2000, 8:30-11:30PM
- This was a collaboration organized by Steven Ball. It was advertised as a "non-stop experimental film video sound cabaret". The participants were myself, etta cetera (see most of the entries from 212 on - mentioning etta cetera & Rita Rodentia), Steven, Warren Burt (see entries 287-290, & 292), Dirk de Bruyn, Virginia Fraser, Paul Rodgers, & Lee Smith. Most of these people have been making films &/or videos for a long time. Many have extensive experience with direct-on-film films & with multi-projector installations & "performances". This collection of skills added up to one the most satisfyingly complex sound-&-visuals projection events I've ever been part of.
The evening was complicated somewhat further for me by my being exposed to Chlorine Gas Poisoning. This lead to a visit to the hospital prior to the evening's presentation. It was a highly unpleasant experience that made me have a new sympathy for those in trench warfare during 'World War I'. Just imagine: the gas rolls over into the trench, the skin boils off, the throat blisters & the person suffocates. Fortunately for me, I came nowhere close to that but it DID effect my mood for the night.
The main stage is off to the audience's left & has its front cutting diagonally across the rectangular corner of the room - making it a triangle. A smaller stage/storage area is to the left of that & over the front stairwell. Paul Rodgers set up a very large white screen that could be both rear & front projected onto. This stretched across the entire front of the stage & mirrored its diagonal on the other half of the room. I set up a white spandex screen across the front of the smaller stage over the steps - this could also be used for both rear & front projecting. There were 2 video projectors rear projecting - one for each of the 2 halves of Paul's "V"ed screen. These were set so that they projected mirror images of each other - in other words, one was set to compensate for the rear projection by reversing the left-right orientation & the other wasn't. There were one or 2, probably super-8, projectors aimed from the end of the little stage across the stairwell to the wall at the top of the steps. There were at least 3 super-8 projectors behind Paul's screen & at least 3 16mm projectors at audience right set up to project from the front.
Attendees climbed steps to reach the space. At the top, they saw films projected - possibly super-8 loops by Lee. They received a hand-out with a chart that gave the order of the evening:
Elwood Evening Improvisations
Dirk de Bruyn / Warren Burt
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
Vegetable States/Leaves / Hairfarmer
Virginia Fraser / etta cetera
An Abstract Phase
The Truth About the Dimensionally Challenged
Since this was intended to be "non-stop", each section flowed into the next - usually with some sort of overlapping projection. Warren played his laptop during both his video, "Elwood..", & during his collaboration with Dirk, "Janet's Antarctica", that followed. Dirk started his multi-projection towards the end of "Elwood..". Virginia's "Vegetable.." showed on the left screen & etta's "Hairfarmer" was screened simultaneously on the right. Paul's "Transmit" continued into etta's "The Truth.." & most of us did something during the final "TANTRUM", etc..
An early version (single-layer) of my 16mm film "Bob Cobbing" had been transferred to vaudeo by projecting it onto a spandex screen which was heavily manipulated to mutate the projection - making it look like it was breathing, eg. This was shot with a video camera with a wide-angle lens from a dramatic angle from below to create a "fish-eye" effect. The resultant transfer looks somewhat like a tv set that's gone biomorphic. This transfer was projected via both video projectors & the sound from it was sent to the PA. The final 16mm version of "Bob Cobbing" (double-layer) was initially projected overtop the audience-left video-projection.
I began playing electronics in addition to the pre-recorded soundtrack from the small stage - behind the spandex screen. I played a CD Player, a Kawai K1m wave-table synthesizer, the DH-100 Digital Horn, etc.. I was wearing the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. killer whale outfit & my severed head hat. etta made my shadow dance on the spandex with a flashlight. I came out from behind the screens & read the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. text (see 253) while etta went to the left video projector & played with blocking its light. In the meantime, at the 16mm projector on the right, Virginia did the same to its projection. The result was that both the superimposed projections had different parts dominate depending upon the positions of etta's & Virginia's hands.
After I finished reading the speech, I went behind the screen & etta got into the killer whale suit & her mask of Ganesa (the elephant-headed Hindu god that etta stars as in our movie "Don't Walk Backwards" that we were then making) & plastic flowers garland & began to dance to an "Official" sequence of the "Worm Charming Usic" CAMU (see various "Official" entries). I made her shadow appear with the flashlight. She crawled under the screen & I followed her out front with the flashlight. Ganesa went into the audience & caressed people with her copious trunk & then returned under the screen.
I started panning the 16mm projection across the full span of the screens - eventually leaving it in the middle of the "V" so that it was distorted by a widthwise stretching. I then returned to the small stage where I returned to playing electronics while etta spontaneously shadow-signed in AMSLAM after the video-projections stopped. Since the vaudeo was shorter than the 16mm (thanks to equipment speed inaccuracies, etc..), the vaudeo stopped considerably before the 16mm so an excerpt from my "Color Bars" was projected followed by the beginning of a pre-finished-soundtrack version of my "Diszey Spots" until the 16mm ended & all were cut off.
In the final "TANTRUM", Virginia discretely projected a super-8 film of hers onto a small area of the lower left screen while my/Monty Cantsin's "Transparent SMILE - Monty Cantsin Performing with White Colours" was projected onto the uppper right of the left screen along with projections from Dirk & Paul. Paul projected a super-8 on the right screen & someone screened video too. Paul used a wonderful projection machine of his creation in the middle. Paul played an analog synthesizer, Warren played laptop, & I played my electronics. I threw a tantrum in the middle of the front screaming "I WANT TO THROW A TANTRUM!, I WANT TO THROW A TANTRUM!" while jumping up & down with my hands in fists - eventually falling to the floor & kicking & finally disappearing under the screen. The evening ended with a dedication to Steven who was leaving Australia soon thereafter for his country of origin (England), possibly for good, after having been active in the experimental film & video scene in Melbourne for many years.
- on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/TiCYlcBm5nM?t=3h16m50s
- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
298. Conjuring (a.k.a. "Mad Scientist Duet & Sonic Tag Team Wrestling Match")
- Planet Cafe, Make It Up Club, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia
- Tuesday, May 30, 2000
- I began by giving a pompous & highly exaggerated speech about the importance of Warren Burt (see 287, 289, & 294) & myself (amplified thru a mike on a mike stand) - giving a history of all the people that we'd supposedly studied with - probably including: Wagner, Harry Partch, Conlon Nancarrow, John Cage, & many others.. The purpose of the speech was to irritain the audience into wishing I'd shut up. This was finally interupted by Warren calling me from a mobile phone to a mobile phone I was carrying. The use of mobile phones was partially inspired by my annoyance at their omnipresence in Australia. I excused myself & answered the phone & then pretended that it was for someone in the audience.
I had a radio-mike attached to the front of my clothes. This mike sent a signal to a pitch-to-MIDI-converter which, in turn, sent a MIDI signal into Warren's laptop computer so that they could activate 4 banks/patches of samples that Warren had patched together. Which bank was activated when was controlled by Warren. All of the banks were organized into 4 pitch ranges meant to be activated by my vocals: a low drone range for the lowest pitch I was capable of (meant to be sounded as a sustained note), my normal speaking voice range, my falsetto range, & my whistling range. The agreed-upon 1st bank had been structured by Warren & myself so that the drone would trigger scat singing either by Eddie Jefferson or an unknown woman; my normal speaking pitches would activate 19 possible words organized so that their pitches ascended in correspondence to the words' alphabetical order. A 2 second delay preceded each of these words so that they could appear as if in conversational response to my own speaking. This 1st patch was drawn from various people's voices & the vocabulary was (perhaps roughly):
Dawesses ["Dresses" lisped]
How will you eat?
Insanity runs in my family.
On the floor
My falsetto voice triggered the broadest range of samples & my whistling activated all sine waves (of varying forms: ie: multiple sine waves simultaneously, glissandi, etc..). All of the work done creating these samples was by Warren. Each of these ranges was conceptually mutually exclusive. As such, there were only words in the normal speaking voice range & nowhere else & only sine waves in the whistling range & nowhere else, etc..
Independent of me, Warren had created the other 3 patches without my knowing what the samples in the drone, falsetto, & whistling ranges were as of the time of this presentation. Shortly prior to beginning, he presented me with a list of the vocabularies. Whether these new words had alphabetic pitch correspondences (as with the 1st patch) is unkown to me. These last 3 lists are presented here as they were presented to me & are, therefore, not in alphabetic order:
Patch 2: Cinema People
Clothes [male voice]
Clothes [female voice]
Have to kill
I feel bad
Patch 3: Humphrey Bogart
Drinking your lunch
'tuff ["Stuff" without the "S"]
Patch 4: Vineta's words
The delay time preceding each of these words varied from patch to patch.
When my mobile phone rang & I answered it, I passed it to a member of the audience saying that I thought it was for them. When I made sounds into the radio mike & triggered samples from Warren's laptop patches these were played out from the laptop's speakers into Warren's mobile phone mouthpiece &, from there, to the earpiece of the receiving phone. At this beginning stage, the samples were only faintly audible to the audience coming from the deliberately muffled laptop speaker & from the mobile phone earpiece. After passing the phone to the 1st audience member chosen, I took it back & asked if had been for them - acting confused about what was going on. I then talked into the phone again as if talking to someone & pretended that I'd gotten further info about who 'the call' might be for & then continued to pass the phone thru the audience.
After a few minutes of this, I returned to the mike stand & blithered a bit more. This was subtly interupted by Warren then phoning our friend in the audience Steve Charman's mobile phone. They proceeded to have a fairly ordinary conversation. Steve knew that something was going to happen with his mobile because he'd been asked to bring it but he hadn't been prepped otherwise. His conversation was as if he was trying not to be too loud for fear of interupting the 'performance' he was attending.
Finally, the laptop was plugged into the PA & the triggered samples were loudly audible. I started this part off with saying, in falsetto, something like "I've been having all sorts of technical problems here so I think I need to do some free association." This was meant to prep the audience for my saying words from the vocabularies & then having words from the same vocabularies, but said by different people, be sounded shortly thereafter. The majority of the words I spoke from this point on were drawn from the patch vocabularies. I both stayed near the standing mike so that my vocal sounds could be occasionally amplified along with the samples & wandered thru the room so that they would be most audible to be people in my vicinity. It was probably clear to the audience that my vocals were activating the sounds but exactly how it was being done would've been difficult to determine. Two studio recordings of this last section were later recorded.
At one point I wandered down the front steps of the Planet Cafe & into the restaurant area below just as 2 people looking for the 'performance' entered the front door. I was cupping my hands around the radio mike & making a variety of sounds & saying vocabulary words as I walked thru the restaurant & then up the back stairs to the performance space again. I was later told by the 2 people who entered at this point something like "we knew we'd found what we wanted when we saw you doing that & then went upstairs & realized that your vocals were somehow connected to the samples." The person who told me this was quite enthusiastic. To people in the restaurant unaware that a 'performance' was happening, I might've seemed like a mysterious 'deranged' person muttering to myself.
At other points, I wandered thru the audience putting the radio mike in front of audience members' mouths to try to get them to attempt to trigger samples themselves. At least one person was loath to do so, presumably shy about her abilities as a performer, so I took back the mike & said "Just say NO to microphones!"
Given the technical vagaries of this process, the pitch-to-MIDI conversion (etc) was hardly 'perfect'. The converter (with, perhaps the 'assistance' of the radio mike's somewhat inaccurate transmission, etc) didn't necessarily 'interpret' my attempted pitches as what I intended them to be & there was a tendency for systemic feedback & other difficult to control extraneous pitch-to-MIDI info resulted in a somewhat less clear sequence & mix of samples than what Warren & I were aiming for. Nonetheless, the whole process was a stimulating CONJURAL process in the sense that my 'chanting' into 'thin air' brought forth 'spirits'.
- on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/TiCYlcBm5nM?t=3h20m32s
- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
Warren also created a movie for my proposed "Emagik" collaborative movie from which the image below is a still:
Warren's working on the movie & the resultant product can be witnessed here: https://youtu.be/TiCYlcBm5nM?t=1h23m51s
While Warren was visiting Pittsburgh we also improved upon the realizations of "Conjuring" & did a recording session at Michael Pestel's apartment. An edit of "Conjuring" has since appeared on my CD entitled "1975-2015" (MM bad 002 - available directly from me) & an excerpt from the trio that Warren & I did with Michael appears on the cassette entitled "w/ Michael Pestel" (WIdémoUTH Tape #022 - also available directly from me).
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