375. Systems & Processes 4: workshop & guerrilla action

- CMU CFA, Pittsburgh, us@

- Monday, November 9, 2009

- This was the last of my "Systems & Processes" classes & the one where I felt things came together best. Assisting me once again was my good friend & fellow HiTEC member Hyla Willis (percussion, camcorder). Additionally, my other good friend & fellow HiTEC member Unfinished Symphonies (recorders, camcorder). Most or all 15 of the students attended this class - as opposed to only 6 of the 15 at the last class. The class more or less started off with one of the students proposing a System that I thought was one of the strongest ones:

"Numbers"

Systems Managers each pick a number from 1 to 9 & stick w/ that # for the duration of the realization of the piece. Managers call out their number at will. Each Manager then adds or subtracts in their head the 2 most recent numbers called out. If the resultant number is their prechosen number then they can move that number of steps in a straight line. Managers can choose to have addition be different from subtraction in terms of wch direction the resultant straight line can go. EG: Manager Z calls out "7",

Manager Y then calls out "4", all Managers then calculate that 7 + 4 = 11 & that 7 - 4 = 3. Since 11 is above the upper limit # of 9 it can't be any Manager's number &, therefore, noone can move as a result of addition. However, since 3 is w/in the "1 to 9" limit, it can be a Manager number. Let's say that four Managers have chosen "3" & that 1 of them has chosen to move right if their number is a result of subtraction. That Manager then moves right 3 steps. Let's further say that the remaining three Managers w/ the number "3" have decided to move either backwards or left if their number is reached thru subtraction. Then let's say that two of these three then take 3 steps backwards & the other takes 3 steps left. As w/ most Systems, if a Manager's predetermined personal System (ie: the number chosen & the particular response to the conditions of its production - ie: addition or subtraction) chooses to be unworkable (eg: immediately leads them to facing an obstacle that they can't get around) then that's what the Systems Manager is stuck w/! IE: There's no changing one's personal criteria 'mid-stream'.

While this wasn't, strictly speaking, a Thought Experiment, it did require a substantial amount of thinking prefiguring action. Of course, I also liked it because it involved basic math. We realized this one, discussed & clarified it, & tried it again.

We reviewed "Robotic", "Blinking", & "Object Exchange" & then realized the latter.

In keeping with my emphasis on multiple collaborative camera use there were at vleast 3 cameras quasi-documenting this. "Robotic", "Blinking", & "Expansive Gesture" followed (see the descriptions of the previous "Systems & Processess" classes).

We then moved to the CMU Student Center for another guerrilla realization of these Systems as we had in the last class. This time starting with "Numbers" in a more open area where there weren't couches.

In my quasi-documentary of this, I inserted the following crawl title during this section:

"For me, Managing this type of System stimulates interesting statistical &/or probability musings. Note that no-one has picked 1 or 9. Does this imply that their personal systems involve addition equalling forward motion & subtraction equalling backward motion? If so, then 1 cd only be reached by subtraction &, therefore, only yield backward motion - & 9 cd only be reached by addition &, therefore, only yield forward motion. Hence both numbers are less flexible than the rest. HOWEVER, since no-one picked them, 2 & 8 end up in the same situation. If everyone played it maximally safe & chose 5 then no-one wd be able to move b/c 5 cdn't be reached by either subtraction OR addition since all Systems Managers wd only be saying 5!"

"Blinking", "Object Exchange", "Robotic", & "Expansive Gesture" followed. We then decided to go thru the same process again at the tennis courts. On an adjacent court a tennis game was in progress. This was probably the point at which the students opened up the most - glad to be outside. There was more laughter & relaxed silliness within the otherwise somewhat rigorous framework. A trumpeter could be heard practicing in the distance.

We returned to the classroom for a summing-up discussion. One of the students who hadn't attended all of the classes asked: "What did we just do?" to which I laughed & replied something along the lines of "Basically it refers back to structured improvisation [..] as a Complex Adaptive System - &, for me, the purpose of things like this is to increase my ability to make real-time decisions & to increase my memory & to increase my spontaneity & increase my alertness, etc, etc - increase any kind of quality that has to do with my environment around me."

Unfinished Symphonies pointed out the value of breaking from one's routines as stimulation to step outside one's own limited habits as a creative activity. I asked the class if they'd at least had some fun to which there was a little bit of disappointingly half-hearted nodding. One of the students who had actually fallen asleep in class at one point (not necessarily from boredom - anemia & other problems occurred to me as explanations) revealed that she'd had what was for me the ideal reaction: namely inspiration & alertness as a result of the procedures. Another student, who I'd found to be particularly resistent at times, revealed that to him it was like experiencing child's games with adult experience.

I'd promised the students that I'd make a documentary about these 4 classes & get it to them ASAP. As such, I spent the next 3 (unpaid) weeks making a packaged DVD & a packaged CD & I hand-delivered these to the professor at the end of November a few hours before he was to reconvene with the class. I later learned that he didn't give these to some of the students until a few months later after the semester was over. I still don't know whether all the students got theirs. I found this to be an unfortunate ending to my very hard work.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

374. Systems & Processes 3: workshop & guerrilla action

- CMU CFA, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, November 4, 2009

- I explained various percussion instruments to the class & demonstrated them - such as the thunder sheet, slap-stick, a-go-go, vibra-slap, triangle, Zydeco tie, tuning fork, rattles, tambourine, Chinese gong, ratchet, dog's squeeze toy in shape of human foot, dinner bells, bulb horns, cow bell, cymbals, bracelet bells, corrugated tubes, slide whistle, alarm whistle, siren whistle, kazoo, crow call, train whistle, boom whackers, small glockenspiel, colander, duck call, & flex-a-tone.

Assisting me were joy toujours playing violin, percussion, cordless drill, & cameras + Josh Beyer playing cello, percussion, & camcorder + Hyla Willis playing erhu, percussion, & cameras. A highlight of this event was probably when Hyla demonstrated the erhu & allowed some students to play it.

I explained the desirability of the use of multiple cameras & encouraged footage sharing so that we cd all work w/ a collective pool of footage. As it turned out, I did get footage from multiple cameras but no-one else seemed interested in working w/ these multiple sources.

Attendance to the class was poor & only a few of the students seem to've thought of new Systems since the last class. One of the students proposed a System based on the rules of "Fight Club". I explained that the idea for the Systems was meant to be based around how one THINKS about what one's doing rather than specific physical instructions. One of these few students proposed an "Imitation" System, another proposed a "Not Really" System, another "Pretend to be Someone". Another student who hadn't attended the last class admitted that she had "no idea what we're doing". [Uh.. I reckon that's why attending class might be a good idea, eh?!]

I attempted to clarify the difference between a Thought Experiment & specific physical instructions to the class by explaining Avicenna's "Floating Man" & explaining HiTEC's adaption of that as "Avicenna's Floating Systems Manager". Hyla, Josh, & joy then went on to try to explain their own takes on the matter.

From there we tried "Not Really" (not really called that) in which the Systems Managers were to perform a vocal sound as response to someone's miming cue. "Imitation" followed, "Pretending to be Someone" was rejected by the student who proposed it, then "Survival of the Fittest" was proposed: A person plays a rhythm & becomes the fittest when either they're the only person left playing their rhythm or when only their rhythm, played by others too, is being played. This was criticized on the basis of various criteria such as: the simplest medium-tempo pulse will probably win. Josh played pizzacato cello during this one.

We then tried "Robotic" which was the student System that I thought most successfully was a Thought Experiment.

"Robotic"

Systems Managers start from the perimeter of the space. Managers conceive of a robotic routine to perform & then follow it mindlessly. This usually involves moving away from the perimeter but doesn't necessarily have to.

I found this to be particularly successful exercise! One student sat cross-legged on the floor & banged an inverted stool seat on the floor, another walked around holding onto objects such as seats, table & tripod legs, etc.. One walked & stopped & rattled a tambourine periodically, another rearranged object placement thru rotation, the professor made weather announcements. I made a multiple camera quasi-document which I then posted online:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkZjJ1ePIos

Partially since the author of "Object Exchange" wasn't there, the professor proposed that we modify it. I found this amusing & 'poetic justice'.

"Object Exchange"

Systems Managers carry an object wch they handle in a way conventionally appropriate to that object. Managers then exchange objects w/ one another. Managers then use the new object in the same way that they used the original object. Each new object gets handled in the way that wd've been appropriate for the preceding object. EG: If a Manager starts w/ a squeeze toy & then trades that for woodblocks then the the Manager continues squeezing the woodblocks. THEN, if the Manager exchanges the woodblocks for a whistle, the Manager hits the whistle - as wd've been appropriate for the woodblocks, etc.. Sometimes the handling technique used will be coincidentally appropriate to the new object. EG: If in the above example a cymbal wd've been rc'vd instead of a whistle then hitting the cymbal wd've been coincidentally appropriate b/c woodblocks & cymbals are played using similar techniques. It's recommended that objects used for this be objects that can take some 'abuse' - IE: DO NOT USE YR EXPENSIVE INSTRUMENTS FOR THIS. If, by accident, an expensive &/or delicate object is used, PLEASE BE SENSITIVE & CONSIDERATE & HANDLE THE OBJECT CAREFULLY.

In the documentary that I made just about this class, there's an explanatory title that says: "tENT exchanges the camcorder w/ Josh for Josh's rattle. Josh then manipulates the camera by shaking it as if it were a rattle." This amply illustrates the type of process that resulted from this System.

Using a preplanning order of Systems ("Robotic", "Blinking", "Expansive Gesture", "Object Exchange"), we went to the CMU Student Center for a guerrilla application of the Systems Management that the class had developed so far. This center is an open area with multiple couches where students typically sit & converse & use their laptops or whatever. As Hyla pointed out, this was an opportunity for the students in the class to take transgressive baby steps.

joy started by rubbing plants with his hand. Hyla walked carryting her erhu case & other baggage & touched her forehead to objects by bending to meet them. The same student who'd banged the stool on the floor in class now sat on the floor with her shoes on her hands & alternated hitting the floor with them. Another slunk around the columns & walls with his back to them. The students were discouraged from maming sounds until the end so their eccentric behaviors wouldn't be immediately obvious. However, sounds, mostly using my percussion instruments, were dominating by "Expansive Gesture". During this latter, I tried to set off s chain of yawns by yawning at fellow Systems Managers.

What either the participants or the unsuspecting student (v)audience made of this is largely a mystery to me. Somewhat to the "Systems & Processes" class participants' surprise, a group of girls not in the class started practicing what appeared to be a cheerleading routine. This was a marvelous coincidence. Given that I think that guerrilla actions are far more important experiential learnings than classroom confinements, I was happier with this. One student reported that someone came up to her during "Expansive Gesture" (probably) & made a 'Hey' sign to her so she took that as a cue to, in turn, do that to others. 2 students also shared their footage with me.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

372. Systems & Processes 1: lecture

- CMU CFA, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, October 28, 2009

- After the 'success' of the "Public Contexts" lecture that I'd given in Jon Rubin's class the year before I was invited to become a professor at CMU. This came to naught. Jon did invite me back to teach FOUR classes in a row next - an honor he'd never meted out before. For the 1st introductory lecture I had a highly prepared scripted A/V presentation that was interspersed with interaction with the class. Here's the script:

[Since this lecture is in danger of being too dry for the possible attn span of the students, I'm going to try a strategy of sounding a hidden 'noisemaker' or otherwise doing something unexpected & surprising to re-engage people whenever I think the talk's getting too boring - that means that bulb-horns & the like shd be taken - if anyone asks about why I'm doing this, the object used & referred to shd be put in plain sight & students shd be encouraged to use it or anything else in a similar manner if & when they get bored]

[Each A/V component (ie: stills & vaudeo & audio) has :05 of slug preceding & following it & each of the stills is :10 long. Additionally, each component is a separate chapter. As such, to reach each component I shd just advance to the chapter. Each still shd be paused on. The :05 of slug is to catch my attn if I fail to pause on a still & is used to prevent an abrupt accidental moving on to another image section prematurely.]

My interest in systems is synonymous w/ my interest in any imagining of structuring something along broadly inclusive lines. Looking for a definition of "system" online I find many, many uses of the word in many disciplines. Perhaps the most useful for my purposes here are:

"A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole.", "An organized set of interrelated ideas or principles.", "A social, economic, or political organizational form.", & " An organized and coordinated method; a procedure." This latter ties into process - the other focus of this class.

An online list of types of systems (slightly modified here) includes: "Anatomical · Artistic · Biological · Complex · Complex adaptive · Conceptual · Database management · Dynamical · Ecological · Economical · Formal · Information · Legal · Living · Measurement · Multi-agent · Nervous · Nonlinear · Operating · Physical · Political · Sensory · Social · & Solar" - I'm not necessarily familiar w/ deeper meanings of some of these &'ve perhaps been mainly concerned w/ something approximately akin to so-called "Systems Art" & Political & Social Systems.

Starting w/ Political & Social Systems I have 2 relevant anecdotes: 1. After screening a short video I'd made w/ post-9/11 commentary, an older man asked me what political system I thought wd 'work'. My answer: "NO political system."; 2. I was talking w/ a Russian ex-patriate in Iowa City & she sd something to me like: "Don't you want more power?" - to wch I replied: "NO, I want other people to have LESS power over me." These ideas are crucial to understanding my own systems imaginings.

[show The New Machiavelli cover here]

Here's a relevant quote from H. G. Wells' novel "The New Machiavelli" from 1911:

"'The present system, I admit, stands condemned. Every present system always has stood condemned in the minds of intelligent men. But where it seems to me you get thin, is just where everybody has been thin, and that's where you come to the remedy.'"

& here's a relevant excerpt from a song entitled "In Your Eyes" on a CD by Alan Barysh & Infiniteye featuring a speech by the Revolutionary Communist Party's Chairman Bob Avakian:

[show Art Between Deliveries cover here & play "Bob Avakian" track here: 1:09]

In other words, any political/social/whatever system will ALWAYS be good for some & bad for others. Here's a short movie that I made editing together various takes on this from a Hollywood spectacle, capitalist anti-communist propaganda, an underground movie, a scientific study, & other sources:

[screen "Capitalism is an Ism" here: 6:40]

The reason for the title "Capitalism is an Ism" is that in the "Ism" cartoon that warns its audience against Isms (mainly targeting communism) there's a transparent avoidance of using the word "capitalism" - wch becomes instead the "capitalistic system". I correct this pathetic propaganda manipulation here.

Perhaps the term that I found most immediately of interest in the previous systems type list was "Complex adaptive systems" wch I found described on Wikipedia (condensed here) as:

"Complex adaptive systems are special cases of complex systems. They are complex in that they are diverse and made up of multiple interconnected elements (and so a part of network science) and adaptive in that they have the capacity to change and learn from experience. The term complex adaptive systems (CAS) was coined at the interdisciplinary Santa Fe Institute (SFI), by John H. Holland, Murray Gell-Mann and others."

"The term complex adaptive systems, or complexity science, is often used to describe the loosely organized academic field that has grown up around the study of such systems. Complexity science is not a single theory- it encompasses more than one theoretical framework and is highly interdisciplinary, seeking the answers to some fundamental questions about living, adaptable, changeable systems.

"Examples of complex adaptive systems include the stock market, social insect and ant colonies, the biosphere and the ecosystem, the brain and the immune system, the cell and the developing embryo, manufacturing businesses and any human social group-based endeavour in a cultural and social system such as political parties or communities. There are close relationships between the field of CAS and artificial life. In both areas the principles emergence and self-organization are very important."

SO, it seems that CASes might be a good term to use here. I like to create & catalyze systems for creative interaction that're adaptive learning tools for stimulation rather than inflexible & hierarchical. Just how egalitarian they are depends partially on the social 'contract' of their users.

But, before I go any further into the specifics of that, I want to digress. It seems to me that the behavior of humans is akin to that of social insects: bees, ants, termites, whatever.: ie: "any of numerous species of insects that live in colonies and manifest three characteristics: group integration, division of labour, and overlap of generations." Of course, another way of saying this is that the human perception of these insects superimposes anthropomorphic behavior onto these insects' patterns.

There are Queens, Workers, & Soldiers. But, what I want to know is: are their also Anarchists, Players, & Pacifists? Not to mention Perverts? Etc? Looking online I find that Jacobus Christiaan Biesmeijer and Han de Vries of the Ethology and Socio-Ecology Group, Utrecht University in The Netherlands have written something entitled "Exploration and exploitation of food sources by social insect colonies: a revision of the scout-recruit concept" in the "Journal of Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology" wch is explained in the beginning of the Abstract as follows:

"Social insect colonies need to explore and exploit multiple food sources simultaneously and efficiently. At the individual level, this colony-level behaviour has been thought to be taken care of by two types of individual: scouts that independently search for food, and recruits that are directed by nest mates to a food source. However, recent analyses show that this strict division of labour between scouts and recruits is untenable. Therefore, a modified concept is presented here that comprises the possible behavioural states of an individual forager (novice forager, scout, recruit, employed forager, unemployed experienced forager, inspector and reactivated forager) and the transitions between them."

Such meticulous dividing of types hints in the direction that I ultimately propose: viz: that the closer one looks, the more likely it is that one is to categorize individuals in a society into subcultures of one - or, ultimately, even smaller: into subcultures of mood swings & multiple personalities & the like.

Note particularly that there's an "unemployed experienced forager". What I want to know is: Is this forager living off of state-provided welfare as in a communist society? Or off of pensions, bonuses, stocks, inherited wealth, employee exploitation, corporate welfare & the like as in a capitalist society? Or off mutual aid as in an anarchist society? Perhaps Ed Lefko has the answer.

"Ed Lefko" is a character in a Science Fiction novella by T. L. Sherred entitled "E for Effort" published in 1947. It was also the pseudonym of someone who wrote me a letter in January of 1984 claiming to be able to communicate w/ ants. Sherred's "E for Effort" story was enclosed w/ the letter - probably to tip me off that Lefko is a CONCEPT rather than a specific human being. Most likely, the letter was from the great writer "Blaster" Al Ackerman who I was in substantial correspondence w/ at the time & who's an avid pulp SF reader & scholar.

Here's a copy of a magazine that I edited, printed, & published in 1985 named DDC#040.002 - issue 3.

[show DDC#040.002 #3 cover here & give everyone in the class a copy]

On the hot pink page toward the back is reproduced the Ed Lefko letter. Here's a paragraph from that:

"Do you know much about ants? Most folks don't and I didn't either until I learned their language and started to communicate w/ them. They are really intelligent beings and very creative. Take Gona, for instance. He not only can make designs in the sand that are far better than most homid artists, but is a poet as well. And, Gona, is not an exception."

I asked my entomologist/performer friend Irene Moon about social types "outside the big 3" of "queens, workers, & soldiers" & she replied:

"well there are many other roles besides the big three...but they always fit well w/in the system of the species for the most part. a pervert for example would go against the 'system'. but there are LOTS of roles in various social insect colonies all for specific purposes. these of course can all fall under the term 'worker'. for example [there are] slaves, some exist only as containters to hold honey spending their entire lives upside down w/ mouths that act as spouts, some are farmers tending to herds of aphids as cows, some are cops that hold others in jail. thing is though as much as we would like to anthropormorphize the roles of insect societies on our own....there really is absolutly no association biologically. It takes a self awareness to be anarchists, pacifists, artists, & perverts and they have none.

"there are a few odd exceptions. mostly from the sick or dying, although still not conscious. sometimes an ant w/ a really bad fungal infection will behave oddly and climb to the top of a branch away from the rest of the colony. or if a queen in a hive is dying and loosing pheromonal control others will rise up, even once non-viable offspring will become egg laying. but again im not sure these actually qualify."

Let's take this a step further. While the above instances of fungi & loss of pheromonal control effecting social insect behavior outside the usual system may not "qualify" as instances of "perversion" in the sense of WILLFULLY DEVIANT BEHAVIOR, they still bring up interesting exceptions to standard patterns. Think of fungi & pheromones as drugs & then consider the following: J. Dunn, on a Trinity Education website, has a page [http://www.trinity.edu/jdunn/spiderdrugs.htm] entitled "Spiders On Drugs" on wch he cites the following NASA data:

* Spiders on marijuana made a reasonable stab at spinning webs but appeared to lose concentration about half-way through.

* Those on Benzedrine - "speed" - spin their webs "w/ great gusto, but apparently w/out much planning leaving large holes", according to New Scientist magazine.

* Caffeine, one of the most common drugs consumed by Britons in soft drinks, tea and coffee, makes spiders incapable of spinning anything better than a few threads strung together at random.

* On chloral hydrat, an ingredient of sleeping pills, spiders "drop off before they even get started".

Here are some relevant images:

[project spider web images (wch are back-to-back w/o intermediary slugs) & read each descriptive title]

Drug Free Spider Web

Web created while exposed to Mescaline\Peyote

Web created while exposed to LSD

Web created while exposed to Marijuana

Web created exposed to Caffeine

Web created exposed to Benzedrine/Speed

Web created exposed to Chloral Hydrat (sleeping pills)

Now, one possible question here is: Is a system equivalent to a drug? In other words, can a social system influence the type of, let's say, architecture that we build? The type of works in general that we create? Of course! W/ this in mind, I ask YOU:

What system have I been using to construct this lecture?

[wait for answers & speculations from students & engage in discussion - the rough answer, to be modified based on the details of the moment, is what follows:]

Basically, my system, since I started on this insect tangent, has been to follow my inspiration in a flexible meandering way thru web searches & sources w/ a mind to eventually leading back to an obvious connection to the Systems subject at hand. This could be considered a Complex Adaptive System insofar as I responded to real-time stimulus (my inspiration) to determine my direction (my navigation of the web) & applied what I learned (from the "revision of the scout-recruit concept") to help me develop the tangent & to narrow down the focus from social insects (ants) into a non-social insect example (spiders) to enable the use of easily-related-to imagery (the pictures of webs made under the influence of drugs) to eventually evolve the idea of a System as potentially equivalent to a drug & to, therefore, bring the evolved & adapted idea of the system back not so much "full-circle" but full-spiral into an expanded & more complexly associated notion.

[show Four Organs cover here]

Onto music: Steve Reich is a well-known "Minimalist" composer. In the liner notes to the Angel recording of his 1970 piece "Four Organs" he wrote:

"Four Organs [..] begins w/ a short pulsing chord wch gradually gets longer and longer in duration. As the chord stretches out, slowly resolving and unresolving, a sort of slow-motion music is created."

"Four Organs is an example of music that is a "gradual process.""

"Performing and listening to a gradual musical process resembles: pulling back a swing, releasing it, and observing it gradually come to rest... turning over an hour glass and watching the sand slowly run through to the bottom..."

[play an excerpt from "Four Organs" here: 1:53]

[show Great Western Salt Works cover here]

Jack Burnham, in his 1968 essay entitled "Systems Esthetics", wrote:

"The kind of product design that once produced "better living" precipitates vast crises in human ecology in the 1960s. A striking parallel exists between the "new" car of the automobile stylist and the syndrome of formalist invention in art, where "discoveries" are made through visual manipulation. Increasingly "products" - either in art or life - become irrelevant and a different set of needs arise: these revolve around such concerns as maintaining the biological livability of the Earth, producing more accurate models of social interaction, understanding the growing symbiosis in man-machine relationships, establishing priorities for the usage and conservation of natural resources, and defining alternate patterns of education, productivity, and leisure. In the past our technologically-conceived artifacts structured living patterns. We are now in transition from an object-oriented to a systems-oriented culture. Here change emanates not from things, but from the way things are done.

"The priorities of the present age revolve around the problems of organization. A systems viewpoint is focused on the creation of stable, on-going relationships between organic and non-organic systems, be these neighborhoods, industrial complexes, farms, transportation systems, information centers, recreation centers, or any of the other matrixes of human activity. All living situations must be treated in the context of a systems hierarchy of values."

Both Reich's early works & Burnham's essays were of substantial interest to me when I was in my twenties. My own emphasis has often been on not producing 'precious' objects by producing multiples instead & on producing states-of-mind thru experiences - often w/ a political subtext meant to resystematize behavior in a more egalitarian way than more 'precious' culture had previously allowed for.

Even though I don't think that there's anything intrinsically egalitarian in systems thinking, I do agree w/ Burnham that thinking in terms of systems is more likely to involve the "larger picture" than most object-producing mindsets do. At any rate, it's interesting to me that Burnham connects Systems Art to ecological concerns.

[show Come Out cover here]

A not completely oblique reconnection to Reich's work is thru his 1966 tape piece "Come Out". As Reich explains in his liner notes for the Odyssey record version:

""Come Out was composed as part of a benefit, presented at Town Hall in April, 1966, for the re-trial, w/ lawyers of their own choosing, of the six boys arrested for murder during the Harlem riots of 1964. The voice is that of Danniel Hamm, then nineteen, describing a beating he took in the Harlem 28th precinct. The police were about to take the boys out to be 'cleaned up' and were only taking those who were visibly bleeding. Since Hamm had no actual open bleeding, he proceeded to squeeze open a bruise on his leg so that he would be taken to the hospital - 'I had to, like, open the bruise up and let some of the bruise blood come out to show them.'

""The phrase 'come out to show them' was recorded on both channels, first in unison and then w/ channel 2 slowly beginning to move ahead. As the phase begins to shift, a gradually increasing reverberation is heard wch slowly passes into a sort of canon or round. Eventually the two voices divide into four and then eight."""

One of the things that interests me about "Come Out" is that it's both process-oriented & political - even though I don't really consider it an example of the implied social-consciousness in Burnham's systems thinking, I still like the parallel. Here's the beginning of the composition:

[play "Come Out" excerpt here: 1:40]

Another quasi-relevant tangent is that of audio recycling. To me, what's most important about recycling is the reuse of physical materials in an attempt to not deplete natural resources. However, there's also the recycling of music, for example, as both homage & a building upon the initial musical form - or, as a subversion of it.

[show Reich Remixed cover here]

Reich's "Come Out" specifically, & the rhythms & so-called 'new tonality' in general of minimalist music have been an inspiration to more recent electronica & DJ culture. In the Reich Remixed double-record set from 1998 both Megamix & Ken Ishii used "Come Out" as basic material. Here's the beginning of Ishii's piece:

[play "Come Out remix" excerpt here: 1:02]

This type of recycling plays into the "transition from an object-oriented to a systems-oriented culture" that Burnham postulated insofar as the object is less important than the multitude of uses that the concept generates. The process is this: Danniel Hamm is recorded talking about being beaten by the police, Reich finds this experience worth educating the public about & takes a fragment of the recording to create a formally compelling piece to call attention to Hamm's dilemma, future musicians find Reich's piece compelling enuf to recreate it to both advance Reich's technique & to remind people that police brutality is still a problem. The system of communication & its message is what's important - not necessarily the object - especially given that the object is mass-produced & that its content can be played, such as in situations like this or via the radio or podcasts or whatnot.

[approximately 40 minutes at this point]

Perhaps my own personal favorite type of Complex Adaptive System might be what's sometimes called "Structured Improvisation". This is a way of improvising in wch some elements are predetermined as guidelines. My use of such structuring is to try to catalyze improvising outside the habitual patterns of the participant by imposing unusual procedures.

[show Official Wafer Face cover here]

Pictured here is the front cover of "The Official Wafer Face Record", released in 1993 by Wafer Face Records. This was a project founded by myself & instrument inventor/builder Neil Feather. We changed its name every time we played - usually in accordance w/ a formula that began w/ "The Official" & had the date in there somewhere. For simplicity's sake the generic name was "The Official Project" or "The Official Big Band" when the group was larger. This LP came w/ a booklet entitled "MORE INFORMATION than most people are likely to want to read".

[show MORE INFORMATION booklet cover here]

In this booklet many aspects of the Official Project are described in substantial detail - hence the title.

[show Some Social Philosophy section here]

In the "Some Social Philosophy" section, I try to establish a politicized take on systems of audience/performer relationships:

[show 2nd & 3rd paragraphs of the above here]

"Sometimes a structure of some playing is oriented around merging the audience & the players by having everyone present be both. So-called "improvisation" is often perceived as pointing in this direction insofar as whatever skills any player brings to the moment are often stressed as being at least as important if not more so than the skills originating from a directing person or group. In contrast, some bands just want to move the audience to support their egos & their bank accounts - often by using sado-masochistic psychology to "keep the audience in their place" - meaning to keep the audience thinking that any desire to break out of their fixed role is foolish b/c they "just don't have what it takes" to be "talented", entertaining, stimulating, "what-have-you". To the anarchistically minded, such greedy sado-masochistic manipulation of the audience into being victims rather than friends is a microcosm of the state's suppression of the individual.

"The more widespread the infrastructure/belief system that the masses are an untalented glop (of course, "the masses" may definitionally be "an untalented glop") turning to an elite (the band, the state) for guidance (entertainment/propaganda, laws), the fewer individuals there'll be willing to try to appreciate & respond to something that falls outside of the dominant structure. Of course, this is a "What came 1st, the chicken or the egg?) (all over your face) dilemma insofar as it can obviously be argued that "the masses" created the state in their/its own image & not vice-versa. Whatever. We don't solve these problems but we do (sortof) address them."

Given such philosophizing, it's no surprise that we supported the Friendly Fascist candidate Vermin Supreme in his bid for whatever:

[screen "The Official,

October 18th, 1991E.V.

Vermin Supreme for Mayor

Sound Assault Committee" excerpt here: 3:57]

I'll return to Vermin Supreme later. In the meantime, "The Structure of Our Playing":

[show The Structure of Our Playing section here]

Here's where words like "structure" & "system" become ambiguously interchangeable (as if that hasn't happened already?). Could the heading of this section be just as accurately entitled "The System of Our Playing"? Whatever. Here's the 1st paragraph:

[show the 1st paragraph of the above here]

"We primarily play what we call CAMUs. CAMU is an acronymn for Cue Activated Modular Unit. CAMUs are categories. CAMUs are generally unusual restrictions on playing wch are meant to discipline the player, focus the player's attention, unify the group's playing in some self-conscious way, & stimulate ways of playing that the player might not be ordinarily inclined to. These CAMUs are Modular Units b/c they can be used at (almost) any point in the playing - they're Cue Activated b/c the playing of them is initiated by certain signals. CAMUs can be triggered by (almost) any player at their discretion. CAMUs are conceptual building blocks, elements of a common language "open" enough to give the player satisfactory (hopefully) leeway & "closed" enough to provide a framework for intentional coherence."

[show "Mouthing off Intro" score outline here]

The image showing is the score outline for the beginning of a presentation by "the Official, April 29th, 1992E.V., Band that does Accept Money from Institutions". The brief movie that follows presents the realization of the 1st 3 parts of this score.

[screen "the Official, April 29th, 1992E.V.,

Band that does Accept Money from Institutions" excerpt here: 6:08]

3 CAMUs were presented in this example. The 1st, "Neuro-Linguistic Programming Intro" had the band name embedded in an extemporized rambling monolog. The 2nd, "Simon", is a classic child's game that exemplifies, for me, the use of structured improvisation as a stimulus to creative thinking. The 3rd, "Direct Mail (Ordinary 78 variation)", slots the instruction text into another CAMU to frame the presentation of the words. All 3 use systematic processes to generate unusual language use.

[show HiTEC logo ["BRAINLAYOUT2.jpg"] here]

Jump cut / Flash forward ahead 16 years: In mid-2008, I founded HiTEC - an acronym for Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative. The most "HiTEC" thing I can think of is the mind & that's one of the things that the name refers to - I'm not trying to sell the latest gadget. Since I'd previously worked w/ a substantial group of people in the Official Project, as many as 17 in one session, I wanted to try working w/ an even bigger group in HiTEC. The largest size the group's attained is 23 but only 21 have ever played together at once. I also didn't want to repeat the particular type of structured improvising that characterized the Official Project. As such, I wanted to mostly stay away from specific physical instructions & explore the parallel territory of what I prefer to call "thought experiments".

[show Systems Manager logo ["SysManLayout.jpg"] here]

Now we're getting somewhere! HiTEC performs a piece entitled "Systems Management". As such, the HiTEC members are called "Systems Managers" & I prefer to say that when we're performing we're "Managing the Systems". Such specificity of language is intended to foster a particular mindset. Each of the Systems in Systems Management is meant to be a thought experiment. Rather than perform specific physical actions in sync, the HiTEC Systems Managers attempt to THINK about the same conundrums [1 : a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun

2 a : a question or problem having only a conjectural answer b : an intricate and difficult problem] at the same time & to simultaneously try to somehow make physical something related to their thoughts. The language is all deliberately dry & businesslike - partially just in an attempt to avoid clichés of what many people think of as being so-called 'poetic'.

Each of the Systems in Systems Management has a number or not. A Wheel-of-Fortune is spun, that lands on a number, & that instigates a process determining what the Systems Managers then think about & attempt to actualize. The Systems w/out numbers are introduced thru spontaneous Systems Manager choice. It's my intention to try out something like this in this class. But, 1st, I'll play a few examples for you from 2 HiTEC rehearsals, our public premier at the New Hazlett Theater on January 9th, 2009, & our 2nd public event as part of the "The End of Television" at the Nerve Gallery on June 12th, 2009.

The 1st movie begins midway thru a realization of a thought experiment System called "Tele-Communications". You'll see the Wheel-of-Fortune to the right of the opening shot. August 28th, 2008 - this was the 15th rehearsal of HiTEC overall but this particular small group of Systems Managers were mostly just rehearsing for the 2nd or 3rd time. The crawling text at the bottom gives the System instruction. The basic idea of "Tele-Communications" is to try to get the other Managers to do something specific in some spontaneous way w/out using words. After "Tele-Communications" ends, the Managers "Debrief" & explain to each other what they were thinking & attempting to do. While witnessing the footage, pay particular attention to hand-signals & interactions. While everyone is playing an instrument, instruments aren't necessary. Systems Managers can use other means of making their thoughts physical.

[screen "HiTEC015-Tele-Communications" here: 5:40]

A little over 3 months later & we're at the 44th overall rehearsal on December 1st, 2008. I've done a superficial search on the internet for "thought experiments" & created 2 Systems based on 2 famous examples. One of these is called "Brain-In-A-Vat". The 1st 2 Wikipedia paragraphs on this subject read as follows:

"In philosophy, the brain in a vat is an element used in a variety of thought experiments intended to draw out certain features of our ideas of knowledge, reality, truth, mind, and meaning. It is drawn from the idea, common to many science fiction stories, that a mad scientist might remove a person's brain from the body, suspend it in a vat of life-sustaining liquid, and connect its neurons by wires to a supercomputer wch would provide it w/ electrical impulses identical to those the brain normally receives. According to such stories, the computer would then be simulating a simulated reality (including appropriate responses to the brain's own output) and the person w/ the "disembodied" brain would continue to have perfectly normal conscious experiences w/out these being related to objects or events in the real world.

"The simplest use of brain-in-a-vat scenarios is as an argument for philosophical skepticism and Solipsism. A simple version of this runs as follows: Since the brain in a vat gives and receives the exact same impulses as it would if it were in a skull, and since these are its only way of interacting w/ its environment, then it is not possible to tell, from the perspective of that brain, whether it is in a skull or a vat. Yet in the first case most of the person's beliefs may be true (if he believes, say, that he is walking down the street, or eating ice-cream); in the latter case they are false. Since, the argument says, you cannot know whether you are a brain in a vat, then you cannot know whether most of your beliefs might be completely false. Since, in principle, it is impossible to rule out your being a brain in a vat, you cannot have good grounds for believing any of the things you believe; you certainly cannot know them."

Turning this into a System means that the Systems Managers are asked to "Decide that you're a brain-in-a-vat instead of a brain-in-a-skull & that yr perceptions of what's happening in the current Systems Management session are programmed perceptions rather than 'real' ones. Adapt yr Management to what you then think is the most likely 'reality'." This is, of course, quite a challenge when taken seriously. How does a person do this? Here's some footage from the 44th rehearsal where the Managers try it & then debrief, as usual, afterwards.

[screen "HiTEC044-Brain-In-A-Vat" here: 6:50]

Of course, being silly also has alotof potential. Being thoughtful & active & imaginative & sensitive to each other & true to one's own personality is ultimately what these thought experiments in Systems Management are trying to stimulate. You may be sick of this somewhat haphazardly shot rehearsal footage by now so I'll give you another example of "Brain-In-A-Vat" combined w/ 2 other Systems as presented at the New Hazlett Theater. This is an example of what we were ultimately working toward & is much more sophisticated in its documentation.

[screen "HiTEC051-Concerto+Brain+Debriefing" here: 3:45]

Perhaps the most significant relevant part of the latter example in relation to the "Brain-In-A-Vat" thought experiment is the part where I imagine myself to actually be a brain-in-a-vat & then try to effect my imagined physical environment by producing waves to make the vat fluid slosh around - thereby using one of the isolated brain's only obvious aggressively physical characteristics, the ability to generate waves, to influence its surrounding environment. This, in turn, effects the editing choice - wch uses a wave effect to create visuals that would be otherwise unnatural in 'consensus reality' as I commonly 'understand' it.

[show HiTEC book cover here]

By the way, the local publisher, Encyclopedia Destructica, publishes a HiTEC book that also comes w/ a CD & the DVD from wch that last excerpt was taken - in case any of you want to research this further.

Given that this class is not a music class, I want you to understand that the Systems presented here don't have to have so-called 'musical' realizations. Any person being creative can use any medium to try to manifest their thoughts. Some of the Systems encourage a broader variety of behaviors than others. There's one called "Getting It Our Of Your" wch has the instruction:

"Become VERY DRAMATIC. EG: Tear yr clothes, play w/ extreme dynamic level differences, make huge sweeping gestures, weep & laugh copiously, act out secret fantasies, etc. In general, up the histrionics level as uninhibitedly as you can. Feel free to be a total embarrassment."

The next clip, from the "The End of Television"/HiTEC059 event can give you an idea of how that can be realized.

[screen "HiTEC059-Getting It Out of Your" here: 2:23]

Finally, here's an example of "Tele-Communications" in action again, again from our 59th manifestation, where the Systems Managers explore a fairly broad variety of actions. Added to this is a simultaneous realization of Ben Opie's MUTE OBSERVER System in wch a Manager sets off a chain reaction of silent observations that gradually lessens the amount of people making sounds. See if you can see this happening & if you can follow the Tele-Communications signaling.

[screen "HiTEC059-Tele+MUTE" here: 4:50]

For now, that's enough about HiTEC & Systems Management. At our next class together, we'll be trying out some of these thought experiment Systems & you'll be asked to create some of your own. One aspect of HiTEC & Systems Management that's probably not very immediately apparent is that it's an experiment in creating & enacting a consensus social system in wch individualism is encouraged. This is, inevitably, political in the sense that participation in the Systems Management is somewhat deterministic of how one governs one's self.

& that brings me back to the earlier thread of political systems in general & my assertion that no political system can ever be beneficial for everyone - they can only work toward that direction. As much as I dislike the use of dichotomies as descriptive devices, especially of complex systems such as socio-political ones, recent events have gotten me to thinking along such lines.

As you might surmise, the recent event in question is the G20. I see the G20 as being of no benefit whatsoever to the majority of the people both in the world & in Pittsburgh. I see it mainly as an opportunity for arms dealers to spread extreme paranoia thru the mass media, especially thru so-called tv 'news', so that they can make massive sales to both the police & to the paranoid citizen. I see it as an excuse to conduct military-style war games against the general population & as an opportunity for greedy & power-hungry politicians to advance their career path by showing that they'll go along w/ ANY oppressive program as long as it makes them more rich & powerful.

But regarding polarities, I see the G20's surrounding events as being most striking, if only b/c of the bluntness of the reduction I'm about to use, as an exemplification of DRACONIAN LAW vs CREATIVITY. By this I mean that the G20's invading & occupying army represented the System based on the belief that the LAW IS ALWAYS RIGHT - regardless of how clearly demonstrable it is to be unfair, unethical, & vicious. Furthermore, I mean that the forces that the occupying army tried to terrorize & suppress are what the 'law' is most afraid of: namely, the forces of creativity. My assertion is that creativity represents the archetype of a CAS, a complex adaptive system, b/c creativity is at its peak when it's the most flexible & the most adaptive. The so-called 'law', on the other hand, is at its peak when it suppresses any change that isn't top-down dictated.

As such, it's no coincidence that on the Sunday before the G20, September 19th, 2009, the invading & occupying army produced a massive show of terroristic force by raiding only the homes & studios of creative people in the name of ferreting out potential 'terrorist' threats.

Namely, there were 2 raids that night on the studio of "Artful Trash Management" sculptor & eco-philosopher Bob Johnson's studio. Bob was housing the Seeds of Peace free food providers. Bob is most well known for fishing trash out of rivers & having the trash compacted into cubes that he then exhibits as Rivercube sculptures. His studio was raided by 2 separate armies of highly armed & armored paranoid so-called 'law' enforcement people. They discovered nothing illegal.

The "The Nerve" Gallery's building was broken into by the police that night. The Nerve itself, where HiTEC's "End of Television" performance happened, was apparently not broken into but parts of the rest of the building, used as practice space for one or more bands around town, was. When the cops left, they left the building unlocked. When the owner discovered this the next morning, he was apparently confused about why the burglar alarm wasn't working. The cops discovered nothing illegal. Probably the main illegality was the police's own breaking & entering & the leaving of the space vulnerable.

The "Cyberpunk Apocalypse" house in Lawrenceville was raided by another small army of highly armed & armored cops. This is a writer's collective. As I understand it, the cops didn't even enter the house. This was, again, apparently mainly a terroristic show of force.

Around this same time, cops harassed other creative people potentially associated w/ political activism by driving past their houses & shining lights in their windows. This happened to friends of mine in punk bands & to a friend of mine who's an extremely dedicated prison activist & performer. Even a guy who rides a recumbent bike had his house raided. In all cases, the excuses for the raids were extremely flimsy & no evidence of criminal activities were found.

Perhaps 2 days later, the studio of the Zany Umbrella Circus was forced into by the cops & searched. Zany Umbrella has performed widely, including at the 3 Rivers Arts Festival. As usual, no criminal or so-called 'terroristic' evidence was found.

Creative people are obviously different from uncreative people. Creative social scenes are going to have creative behavior. They're going to have creative dressing, creative sex, creative lifestyles in general. & this makes creative people often easy to distinguish from the more common non-creative people &, as such, easy to scapegoat for nefarious purposes. On the flip-side, of course, creative people provide entertainment & stimulation services for the non-creative & are often highly valued for this.

But for the purposes of the big business of arms dealing, spreading fear of creative people is good business. "Is there someone different from you in your neighborhood?", the police liason might say at a community meeting, "FEAR & REPORT THEM". Buy AK47s to so-called 'protect' yourself against them. Buy THREE LRADs (Long Range Acoustic Devices) to so-called 'protect' yourself against them. What on Earth is the City of Pittsburgh going to do w/ THREE of these damned things?! In Pittsburgh, no less - one of the most peaceful & pleasant places I've ever been. &, in the meantime, the city's closing down libraries. What a disgrace. Lest you think I exaggerate too much the spreading of fear & paranoia through the spreading of propaganda preliminary to the G20, here's a parody movie that CMU professor Rich Pell & I made together about this issue. Everything in it, except for the conclusion, is based on an actual event.

[screen "TV 'News' Commits Suicide" here: 6:09]

Are there any questions about this? Such as about what specific events are being parodied here?

[allow time for discussion & relevant anecdotes]

Now, back to my friend Vermin Supreme: He, too, was here for the G20 demonstrations. Vermin tries to be both an advanced example of a creative lifestyle AND a person who addresses the war between the creative lifestyle & the policing lifestyle. The following is some footage of him addressing the cops in downtown Pittsburgh during the permitted march on Friday, September 25th, 2009.

[screen "Vermin Addressing the Cops at the G20" here: :44]

Finally, you may've noticed that there were many cameras used for documenting the 2 HiTEC public events - 8 at the New Hazlett & 7 at The Nerve, to be specific. & another aspect of what I'm leading up to here is the proposal that we thoroughly document what we do together. How many people here have either cellphones w/ video camera capability or video cameras in general? I propose that ALL of them be used somehow in what we do together & that we all share the resultant files. THEN, if nothing else, I'll edit together all the footage & make a DVD of the result for everyone. Everyone else, of course, is welcome to do the same. That's it for me for now - unless people have questions.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

370. HiTEC 62 @ The Visionary Arts Festival

- Schenley Plaza, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, August 8, 2009

- Alberto Almarza spent a year or so organizing this festival. There were perhaps 50 or more participants who each had a tent in which to display their wares or wherewithals.

HiTEC (Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative) had 2 tents (1 just for storage) & a nightly presentation in the BIG TENT.

The display tent had a door propped outside that I'd painted with chalkboard paint & multiple monitors (6?) on the inside on which were screening simultaneously all of the +/- 60 or so documentaries that I'd made about the project so far. The door/chalkboard listed which documentaries were screening. The Wheel-of-Fortune was there too + a booklet explaining the project in detail & a huge book of press clippings of mine. I sat there most of the day greeting people & explaining. When I wasn't there, the ever-ready & cooperative & sociable HiTEC keyboard player, Unfinished Symphonies, would sit outside busking - playing his indefatigueable selection of songs. A few other HiTEC Systems Managers amde cameo appearances - like the very affable drummer, Red Bob Jungkunz. The wonderful Pittsburgh-based artist's books press, Encyclopedia Destructica, had just put out a combination CD/book/DVD with 15 feet of folding-out paper dolls of the HiTEC Systems Managers as part of it & they had their own spacious display tent nearby. The HiTEC tent also displayed the paper dolls.

Roger Dannenberg spiced up each night with a presentation by "McBlare" - a robotic, computer-controlled set of bagpipes that he'd codeveloped that played music composed by him, Kenny Haney, & one other composer.

The personnel for this night's Systems Management are listed below. As usual, the numbers preceding the names indicate how many HiTEC sessions this particular Manager had participated in.

Audience left to right:

011[masked] Kerrith Livengood: electric guitar, etc..

017Ben Harris: violin

021Jonathan Brodsky: monome with mabalhabla software

018William Wedler: Experiment 1

022Unfinished Symphonies: electronic keyboard, tambourine

017joy toujours: violin

009Red Bob Jungkunz: drums

009Mike Kasunic: electric guitar

059tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: electronics, percussion

020Hyla Willis: amplified erhu, Jamaican seed pod

016Tony Balko: SM camcorder

019Ben Opie: alto sax, tube w/ reed, small percussion

022Kenny Haney: clarinets

018Spat Cannon: acoustic bass [had to leave slightly before the end]

018Dani Simmonds: tenor guitar, electronics

011Josh Beyer: acoustic guitar

018Roger Dannenberg: McBlare, trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet, SysMan

This night might've been the most fun sonically DESPITE the fact that there appeared to've been a conspiracy of guitarists. The often unpredictable HiTEC Systems Manager Kerrith Livengood (is she or isn't she a member?) showed up somewhat last-minute wearing a mask & setting up with a guitar rather than her usual flute(s). I wasn't even sure who she was at 1st! Mike Kasunic played guiatr instead of synthesizer, Dani Simmonds played tenor guitar instead of banjo-uke, & Josh Beyer played acoustic guitar instead of cello or Baribanjolo. It was an explicit rule of HiTEC that the playing of GUITAR, the world's most overused & banal instrument, was to be severely discouraged. OBVIOUSLY, the Systems Managers were in revolt!

The 2nd day of HiTEC @ the Visionary Arts Festival:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR3PRrwnCCs

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

368. HiTEC @ The End of Television

- The Nerve Gallery, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, June 12, 2009

- At midnight on this date, tv in the us@ changed from analog to digital. Ian Page proposed an event at which he would broadcast on an about-to-be unused & then-unused analog channel vaudeos sent to him from a widely solicited group. See Ian's blog about this @:

http://theendoftelevision.blogspot.com/

In order to inaugurate this auspicious occasion, Ian & I brainstormed an event to be broadcast both over the air & to a wall of something like 23 tvs that Ian erected around his gear at the Nerve Gallery.

I even went to the trouble of designing & screenprinting a poster for this.

Ben Opie's great jazz group, Sound/Unsound Trio, opened, followed by Fred Lonberg-Holm's also great group from Chicago, Valentine Trio.

Finishing off the bill was the 2nd public appearance of HiTEC (our 59th session). This featured the largest number of HiTEC players to ever be assembled at the same time: 21. The numbers preceding the names listed below indicate how many sessions each Systems Manager had participated in as of this gig. Some new members had been recruited since the New Hazlett premier.

Clockwise from Wheel-of-Fortune:

014Tony Balko: SM camcorder

056tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: electronics, voice

016Ben Opie: saxes, Thingamagoop

019Kenny Haney: Bb clarinet

014James Gyre: darbouka, drum set, flute

016Spat Cannon: acoustic bass

016Dani Simmonds: ukelele, small banjo, harmonica, darbouka, electronics

016Roger Dannenberg: trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet

008Josh Beyer: cello

016Julian Krishnamurti: electric bass

021Johan Nystrom: extended percussion

018Hyla Willis: amplified erhu

014Ben Harris: violin

019Jonathan Brodsky: monome with mabalhabla software

009Mike Tamburo: hammered dulcimer, Crowned Eternal, melodica

012David Bernabo: electric guitar

016William Wedler: Experiment 1

014joy toujours: trombone

019Unfinished Symphonies: electronic keyboard

007Red Bob Jungkunz: drums

007Mike Kasunic: synthesizer, flute, percussion

While the New Hazlett premier was probably our technically finest presentation (thanks to the good conditions & fine staff at the theater), this might've been our most 'high-spirited'. By this time, Johan had moved to Philadelphia & had to come all the way back to Pittsburgh to take part. Everyone seemed enthusiastic about the nature of the event. Added to this, this was the night when the local ice-hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, was playing the final game to win the Stanley Cup. I exploited this by referring to it on the online edit of the gig:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsncOO-sql0

HiTEC began with its usual "Stamping & Clapping" & segued into "Escape Tunnel". From there it Managed "Patterns" simultaneously with an unknown System. "Bypass" led to "Subtlety Olympics" to "Birds". "Yourself" + "MUTE OBSERVER" (a new System developed by Ben Opie & pursued in a particularly inspired way here). "Private Phasing" + "IFF". "Getting It Out of Your" System. "Bypass"->"Debriefing". "Equilibrium" + "Yourself" + "Patterns". "Debriefing". "Persisting Resisting" + "Subtlety Olympics". "Octave Butler". "Bypass"->"Avian Flu". "Avicenna's Floating Systems Manager" + "Octave Butler". "Tele-Communications" + "Cheaper Imitation" + "MUTE OBSERVER". "DICTATOR". "Affinity Groups". "Saboteur (undone)". "Read Players" + "Patterns". "Equilibrium" + "Avicenna's.." + "Red Room" + "MUTE OBSERVER". "Comfort Zone 1" + "Population Control". "Saboteur". "Saboteur" + "Equilibrium" + "Infinite Monkey Theorem". "Saboteur" + "Avicenna's.." + "Getting It Out of Your". Pens Won! ?. "Infinite Monkey Theorem" + "Subtlety Olympics" + "Population Control". "Affinity Groups". Bathroom break. - ie: we ended it by all crowding, one-by-one, into the very small bathroom - much to the confusion of many (including straggling HiTEC Systems Managers).

Cameras were wielded, often somewhat participatorily, by myself, Mark Knobil, Tony Balko, Amanda Bowers, Morgan Cahn, Ian Page, & Alberto Almarza (this latter using a cell-phone). Thanks are due to those associated with The Nerve Gallery: Ed-Um Bucholtz, Lauri Mancuso, & Marcus Kim.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

363. HiTEC "Systems Management"

- New Hazlett Theater, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, January 9, 2009

- Whew! One of the main reasons why I've all-but-stopped writing these descriptions is b/c these events have gotten so complicated that I just don't feel like putting the time & energy into explaining them anymore! BUT, if I don't, who will?

I founded HiTEC (initially called "Sonic Aughts Union") in mid-2008. Our 1st rehearsal was on July 14, 2008. By the time of this gig, we'd had 49 or 50 rehearsals. 16mm footage of the beginning of one of these rehearsals as shot by Tony Balko can be witnessed at: HiTEC021-16mm <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0thj_1lWlA>. It started out intended as a 4-person group to consist of: myself (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE), Rick Gribenas, Steve Boyle, & Margaret Cox. Steve & Margaret never participated; Rick dropped out immediately due to health problems. Instead, the 1st rehearsal consisted of myself, Rick, & Johan Nystrom - someone I contacted b/c I'd gotten a copy of a CD-R of his & knew him to be a Pittsburgher.

When the Sonic Aughts Union didn't come into being, I decided to try to form an even more ambitious group: an orchestra. Hence HiTEC was born. HiTEC stands for Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative. I proceeded to try to recruit something like 53 members - many of whom I didn't know. By the time of this gig there were 22 actual participants - 2 of whom cdn't actually play the gig b/c of schedule conflicts.

HiTEC 'performs' a piece, primarily of my creation, entitled "Systems Management". Other people who've contributed to this are Ben Opie, Johan Nystrom, Kerrith Livengood, Kenny Haney, & Stuart Anderson. The members of the group are called "Systems Managers" & I prefer to say that we "Manage the Systems" (instead of saying, eg, that we "play music"). The language used is deliberately dry & non-'poetic'.

Instead of necessarily 'performing' specified physical actions in unison w/ each other in accordance w/ a specified time-frame, the Systems Managers are given numbered thought experiments to conduct simultaneously - w/ the realization of these being highly open to interpretation. A Wheel-of-Fortune is spun to land on a number from 01-32. That choice is then the indicator to the Thought Experiment to be conducted.

HOWEVER, it's not that simple. In some instances, the Systems Managers can vote for 1 of 2 choices other than the one that the WoF lands on OR various ways of BYPASSING or being a DICTATOR contrary to the main body of Systems, etc..

For this presentation at the New Hazlett, the following 20 Managers were present:

Clockwise w/ the Wheel of Fortune @ 12 O'Clock:

048tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: piano, SysMan, electronics, percussion, spinner

012Tony Balko: camcorder

013Ben Opie - reeds, electronics

016Kenny Haney: clarinets

013Spat Cannon: upright acoustic bass

013Dani Simmonds: banjo-uke

013Roger Dannenberg: trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet

010Missi St Pierre: toy piano w/ effects

013Julian Krishnamurti: electric bass

020Johan Nystrom: extended percussion

010Kerrith Livengood: alto flute

011Ben Harris: violin

016Jonathan Brodsky: monome with mabalhabla software

007Mike Tamburo: hammered dulcimer

014Unfinished Symphonies: electronic keyboard

012Joy: electric guitar w/ nylon strings

013William Wedler: Experiment 1

011Erok: trombone

010Stuart Anderson: laptop

012James Gyre: drums

How many times they had participated in this Systems Management process is indicated by the number preceding their name. Unfortunately, David Bernabo (acoustic guitar, electronics, melodica, percussion, etc) had just had surgery & cdn't attend. Also missing was Hyla Willis (erhu & percussion) who was attending an activist conference in Chicago.

The Systems Managers were arranged in a horse-shoe shape & divided into 4 Affinity Groups. #1 was to the audience's left, followed by #2, followed by James of AG3, followed by the Wheel-of-Fortune in the middle, followed on the audience's right by the rest of Affinity Group 3: tENT + Tony's projection + Ben Opie + Kenny, followed by #4. There was a large screen above the back of the stage area that showed the Systems Management instructions made available by the WoF spin & the voting possibilities (when there were any). To enable this projection, Roger Dannenberg developed "SysMan" software. A screen behind James showed a c/u of the Wheel's number.

(V)Audience members rc'vd a program wch listed the Systems Managers, etc, & provided the following explanation written by me [slightly corrected here]:

"HiTEC (Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative) is an independent experimental orchestra founded in July of 2008EV by MAD SCIENTIST / BOOED USICIAN / JACK-OFF-OF-ALL-TRADES / HEADITOR & EARCHIVIST / PROPONENT OF CLASSIFICATION-RESISTANT WHAT-HAVE-YOUS / SPLEENIUS: tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as an attempt to create a Low Classical alternative to those who worship at the temple of the fictitious & propagandistic "Golden Age" that's often used to justify the "Divine Rights" of cash-flow.

Somewhat like distant cousins to the lineage of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Aus den Sieben Tagen" intuitive music compositions, FLUXUS prose scores, & the work in general of composer Franz Kamin, HiTEC currently navigates a CONCEPTUAL OBSTACLE COURSE called "Systems Management". Parts of this have been generated by cONVENIENCE, Opie, Nystrom, Livengood, & Haney - all, of course, fleshed out by the considerable talents & quick-wittedness of all the Systems Managers during our COPIOUS REHEARSALS.

Unlike most (M)USICAL projects, the playing of this group revolves around THINKING about particular things while playing in a very open-ended way RATHER THAN necessarily playing specified physical actions.

For example:

30. "Brain-In-A-Vat" (Descartes / tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE): Decide that you're a brain-in-a-vat instead of a brain-in-a-skull & that yr perceptions of what's happening in the current Systems Management session are programmed perceptions rather than 'real' ones. Adapt yr Management to what you then think is the most likely 'reality'.

A Wheel of Fortune is spun, a number is landed on, the number indicates which Thought Experiment is to be conducted by the Systems Managers. The (v)audience sees the experiment instructions projected & is confronted with trying to decipher the puzzle of how the Systems Manager's behavior(s) realize(s) the challenges of the experiment(s).

Why? Imagine that we live in a world where well 'nigh constant pressure is on to close one's mind. While such a closure can make life 'simpler' by disguising limited possibilities as infinite 'freedom of choice' (just don't look behind that Door of Perception!), the 'comfort' that's achieved has psychic virile vines lurking beneath its surface ever-ready to crack the facade wide-open w/ Cognitive Dissonance. As a COGNITIVE DISSIDENT, I embrace the rupture of over-simplification as an ally.

For me, HiTEC & "Systems Management" accomplishes what so many things I love do: it challenges the mind to make quick decisions, to be alert, to REMEMBER - & to KEEP THOSE NEURAL PATHWAYS OPEN. In the meantime, it can be an enormous amt of fun. AND it's deeply rooted in a history of (M)USICAL innovation that I have a heartfelt respect for: everything from Change Ringing to Toy Symphonies to Aleatoric Structured Improvising to Stochastics to the Scratch Orchestra to the Portsmouth Sinfonia to Ensemble Musica Negativa. Finally, it's hoped that if little more than the GREAT CONFUSION results at least there's the hope of thwarting the enemy: Stereotype Projecting.

- tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Who Unit?, Pittsburgh, us@ - December, 2008EV"

At the suggestion of New Hazlett Executive Director Sara Radelet, the program also contained a sheet w/ pictures of the Systems Managers + a partial list of their instrumentation on one side w/ 22 "Personality Type" paragraphs on the verso. Sara had proposed that this pre-exisiting material be organized as a game like something that might be on a placemat. Hence the "Match the Systems Managers to their Personality Types" game began.

These Personality Types were created, at my suggestion, by having the Managers pick 4 sentences from any of the abbreviated 16 Meyers-Briggs Personality Types that I'd provided them w/ & by having them add 2 sentences of their own. The results also factor into the Management of a System called "Personality Types (v2)".

Need I say? This brief description barely touchs upon WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. For the beginning of my documentary made from the 8 different camera shots we had of the gig go to: HiTEC 051 pt 1 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMpa9VMyWmU>. For a high-definition (but soft-focus) excerpt from about 1/3rd of the way thru go to: HiTEC 051 premier @ the New Hazlett Theater <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo2apKl_CCY>.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

355. "Backwards Masking in Rocks" premier & "Mechanically Repetitive / ReRecorded Records RECORD" release

- Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, April 30, 2008

- AARGH!! Another elaborate event that I'll try to reduce to a few paragraphs in the interest of writing something about it at all! "Backwards Masking in Rocks" is my Rock Book Opera. It's a movie that was premiered at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room with both a pre-recorded & a live sound track - as well as live 'acting' related to the movie. It was also the premier of my vinyl LP entitled "Mechanically Repetitive / ReRecorded Records RECORD" - released by Dear Skull Records <http://www.myspace.com/dearskullrecords>.

Pittsburgh music journalist Manny Theiner was kind enuf to write a 2pp article advertising this event for one of the local daily newspapers. You can (probably) read the entire article @ Music Preview: Local artist unveils an inconvenient sound <http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08115/875882-42.stm> or read my edit of it that's only about the movie @ Local artist unveils an inconvenient sound <http://www.hi-beam.net/mkr/tac/tENTINCONVENIENT.html>.

The movie begins, the great reed player & electronics performer Ben Opie is to audience left. I'm vocalizing, mixing, playing 2 copies of the new record, & playing samplers to audience right. We both have foot-pedal controlled lights on us that we can turn on for dramatic effect when so moved. The movie is about the conspiracy of rocks to sexually turn on humans so that humans will masturbate on them. Once the resultant bodily fluids soak the rocks they can grow into giants larger than humans & use us as sex-toys. Or something like that. Periodically, footage of a talking head geologist talking about his personal experiences along these lines appears. Simultaneously, the very same geologist appears on the stage & contemplates what appears to be a rock by using his head-lamp to light it & a magnifying lens. At some point, a 'bible scene' happens: a pregnant woman crossing the desert is stabbed by someone that GOD later orders KILLED. On stage, the very same woman is impaled by me & carried away. Throughout, I sing the copious subtitles & intertitles as the libretto in my best ROCK style (well.. sortof). It's all the fault of BACKWARDS MASKING IN ROCKS - if you didn't already know that.

About an hr into the movie, scenes of people playing ringing rocks are shown - mixed live w/ overhead shots of the records playing (also mixed live into the sound). Ben goes wild. He's been mainly playing theremin but now he's probably switched to soprano sax & he's damned good. The geologist starts to stroke a vulva that appears onscreen in a rock & it starts to SQUIRT BLOOD OUT FROM THE SCREEN (thanks to S/F/X Joe). The damned thing is menstruating! Thank the holy ceiling light that there's a fabulous documentary made about this.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

345. booed usic & group armageddon

- Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, November 19, 2005, 8:30PM - 12midnight

- I had made a vaudeo w/ both English & Spanish explanatory titles running thru it called "booed usic" detailing my activities under that name from 1984 to 1988. This was made especially to be used as a part of my presentation at the DINA "Influencers" festival in Barcelona, Spain, at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) on Friday, April 2, 2004 (see entry 339). That presentation having been such a source of frustration for me I was eagerly anticipating an attempt to present it more correctly. Here was my opportunity. For years, I've been plotting w/ my friend Fabio Roberti (see entries 192, 198, 203, & 322) to bring our mutual friend, percussionist Michael Evans, to Pittsburgh to perform & for Fabio to possibly come along & do something too. Sometime around the summer or fall of 2004, my old friend Daniel Higgs had been in Pittsburgh performing w/ his band Lungfish & he'd asked me whether I'd like to do something together.

So this seemed like a good time to pull all these threads together. Since Michael was going to come, it ALSO seemed like a good time for me to rebuild my long-neglected Erector Set percussion & to bring out ALL of my percussion equipment - including a glass marimba I'd gotten thanks to Michael Pestel & Neil Feather's Small Nondo. The former had been made by a Japanese student of Michael's named Yukiko (sorry, I probably never met her & don't know her last name & I doubt that Michael remembers it either) who moved back to Japan w/o taking it w/ her. The latter is one of 3 Nondos that Neil's made & is the only one of its size. I'd NEVER used all this equipment in one gig before. For a projection surface, I stretched the spandex screen that I'd made for the Volunteers Collective "A Year of Sundays" Release Party @ the Chatham College Swimming Pool (entry 252) & a standard portable tripod screen was put near the front of the stage, audience left. The stage was otherwise covered w/ all the percussion equipment. In front of the stage to audience left was all of Michael's percussion arranged so Michael could play it facing the audience. In front of the stage to audience right were my electronics: DX27S keyboard, ASR-X Pro sampler, a pitch-to-MIDI converter, a radio mic, & a sampler/mixer arranged so I'd play it facing the stage. Behind me were 3 16mm projectors to be manned by Fabio & a video projector.

The evening began w/ the "booed usic" vaudeo projected to the tripod screen. This consists of footage from booed usic at t he telectropheremoanin'quinquennial (entry 65), my "6 Fingers Crossed Country T.Ore/Tour" (entries 79, 80, & 85 in particular), pirate tv premier of "6 Fingers Crossed Country T.Ore/Tour" vaudeo (entry 105), Easter Island Bunny Booed Usic (entry 106), Generic As-Beenism (entry 107), Tent's Muir (entry 115), "More English" (entry 116), & Murraygate Busking (entry 119). Unfortunately, about 5:00 into this the DVD switched to the track w/ the irrelevant "Neoist Guide Dog" movie on it & then moved back to the "booed usic" track's beginning. Not off to a good start. As I'd planned out on a timings sheet, after roughly the 1st 5:17 I started playing my Mechanically Repetitive / Re-Recorded Records samples. I played the samples off & on according to plan - allowing parts of the "booed usic" soundtrack to be at the fore at key points where some text was to be heard. After the explanation of the "booed usic busking unit" (explained at length in previous entries, such as entry 104, & elsewhere) at what should've been 26:04, I started playing my newest set of samples made from the Gnome ribbon & knob controlled synthesizer. This latter was made from a kit by Terrence Dougherty - who had then given it to me back in early 1992. After Jean-Luc Bonspiel's intro to Generic As-Beenism's premier at the Ultimatum II Festival in 1987, I started playing the Erector Set & then moved on to the glass marimba.

Given that the purpose of this document is to describe my own part of the evening, I'll give short shrift to the others by saying that: Michael Evans played a wonderful 26:47 percussion set while Fabio used the 3 16mm projectors to show various found films (presented mostly silent) - including a documentary about dadaism. Michael stopped playing just as Fabio's 3 projectors tripped the power-strip he was plugged into. It was a nice accidental simultaneity.

Fabio then screened his new shortened edit of his Avant Garde Showcase. For the purposes of describing my whole take on the evening, this was particularly significant because of its spoofing of 1950s Avant Garde culture.

Daniel Higgs read some poetry next & then played a fantastic guitar solo that struck me as heavily Indian influenced. I was astonished at how much he had his chops down. He then introduced our impending collective improv as a "Group Armageddon" & I've chosen to stick w/ that name.

SO, for the end, Michael & Daniel played percussion & I played samples & percussion. I also activated the samples by playing a kazoo that was radio-miked that triggered the pitch-to-MIDI converter. Fabio showed more found films. This section lasted for about 34:00. Greg Pierce shot mini-DV footage of it & etta cetera recorded the sound w/ mini-disc. I made a quasi-documentary of the event called history in the making..

This latter brings me to my over-all impression of the night. A local music reporter for the Pittsburgh City Paper had promoted the event because he likes Daniel's performing. Ending his promotion he mentioned that we'd be presenting the group improv at the end & wrote that it might be a "disaster" or "history in the making" but that he'd opt for the latter. I appreciate that he gave us this promotional plug but I was thinking of things differently.

For me, the gig was important because it was bringing together friends that I'd been wanting to do things w/ but, especially in the case of Daniel, who I'd known for 25 years, I hadn't really worked w/ before. As such, it was exciting. HOWEVER, I didn't feel that we were necessarily breaking any new ground. After all, my "booed usic" presentation involved my updating & referring projects of mine from 20 years earlier. I even wore the zipper pants (made in 1984) & the zipper jacket (made in 1988) the wearing of wch had framed much of that era for me. I don't wear them very often anymore - even though I did pretty frequently up until fairly recently. Also, the evening's emphasis on percussion & found films was hardly an innovation. Daniel's guitar solo, great though I think it was, was still not spectacularly new. All in all, for me, the event was alotof fun (& alotof work) & the attendees seemed to enjoy it substantially, BUT, it was in many ways a self-conscious outgrowth of avant garde culture of the 50s & 60s rather than anything qualifying as "history in the making". Hence my earlier comment to the effect that Fabio's spoof was particularly appropriate. Nonetheless, I had a great time!

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

339. Harps & Angles (new duet version)

- Brew House, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, March 26, 2004

- See entries 329, 330 & 333. This was the 1st time I ever applied for funding & received it. A whopping $400 from which was subtracted $150 for expenses. I had edited an approximately 30 minute 'performance' version of the vaudeo documentary that my collaborator & I had made of the original installation & the related 'performances' & other uses of it. Only 2 of the piano tables were installed for this & instead of having surveillance cameras mounted over them we used 2 mini-dv camcorders. The tables were facing each other in front of an audience seated on bleachers. The mixed together image from their 2 cameras was projected behind them to the left on a screen. We began by having the prepared tape projected onto the right side of the screen with its soundtrack audible. This played for several minutes & then my collaborator, Who is Like God? (Pestel), & I entered from the audience rear & assumed our positions at the piano harps. WiLG?(P) was wearing somewhat ordinary clothes but had spiked his hair with blue gel which was also covering most of his visible skin. I was wearing the brightly colored turkey feather covered outfit that I'd made for the Harps & Angles Quartet 3 described in 333. The vaudeo sound was potted down for the remainder. We played the harps by rubbing glass bricks along the strings producing an eerie & dense high-pitched resonance & then gradually switched to other methods of sounding the strings & other objects that we were using. As usual, WiLG?(P) & I occasionally coordinated our movements so that special visuals would result in the superimposition projection. After 20 minutes or so of this, I switched to playing samples of the Harps & Angles Quartet 2. As such, I left the overhead shot. This left WiLG?(P) to dominate the performative element which he did wonderfully with such touchs as playing small whistle-like instruments with his nose while climbing about on his piano-harp table top. Near the end the Videonics video mixer that we were using to combine the overhead images was set to its demo mode so that it could quickly cyle thru its selection of wipes to make the left projection more spectacular. Then WiLG?(P) & I wound up 2 fake birds in cages that then 'sang' & we climbed onto the tables in a precomposed manner. When the vaudeo ended I turned off the mixer so that both images stopped around the same time & the whole shebang ended.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

331. Harps & Angles Quartet #2

- Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, March 21, 2003, 6:40 - 7:05PM

- "Harps & Angles" is an installation credited to "Who is like God?s" & made for the Pittsburgh Biennial. Michael Pestel told me that he was planning to make an installation using piano harps from upright pianos turned into tabletops. He proposed that I be part of a series of performances using these harps. Thinking about this, I proposed that surveillance cameras be mounted over the harp table tops & that the images from these be superimposed over each other & projected into a pool of water which would reflect the projection. I further proposed that each of the harps be miked & that their sound be amplified thru speakers in the pool so that the water would ripple as response to the sound which would then cause the projection reflection to be altered by the ripples. Thusly, the sound generated by the harps would effect their own projected image & make an integrated result. I eventually proposed that this be called "Harps & Angles" as a reference to the piano harps & the camera angles as well as a joking reference to the common image of "angels & harps".

Michael Pestel proposed that instead of calling myself "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE", as I ordinarily would, that we make a name that refers to both of our given 1st names being "Michael". Since the meaning of Michael is sometimes said to be "Who is like God?", I proposed furthering the joking religious reference of the title by calling ourselves "Who is like God?s" as a sort of plural Michael that gave me a reason for using the unusual linguistic arrangement of punctuation within a word. Of course, I also preferred this because Michael is the only name I know of that's sometimes said to be a question.

In the resultant installation, the tables are arranged in a straight line slightly over 2 feet apart with the superimposition projection visible on the wall in front of where players would typically stand as well as projected into the water table placed in the corner of the room to the right of this. The water table was made to be approximately the same size as the piano harp tables. Pittsburgh electronic music composer & sound installation maker Jeremy Boyle gave us substantial advice on how to waterproof & place the speakers. Because of brightness in surrounding rooms, the reflection from the water table surface is too washed out. Given that this water table was an experiment, we discovered that it didn't work very well except when feedback was created. Bass feedback generated patterns on the surface of the water that Michael & I refer to as something like "Islamic tiles". I find these intricate geometrical patterns on the water completely fascinating. Michael placed weighted springs on these compass-point-placed speakers, which are mounted on the bottom of the table with their waterproofed surfaces exposed to the water, & a shell in the middle. The springs help conduct the sound to the surface & the placement of the shell can change the shape of the patterns. We discovered that many factors effect the substantialness of the patterns - such as how many people are standing on the floor around the table. Too many people apparently tend to dampen the conduction of the feedback thru the floorboards & to lessen or completely obliterate the patterns.

- This was the 2nd of 5 planned performances in this installation. For this, the quartet consisted of the usual "Who is like God?s" duo (myself & Michael Pestel (see 204, 205, 208, 211, 247, 248, 250, 251, 252, 278, 317, & 329)) + Elise Springer & Hyla Willis. Given the problems of the 1st quartet from the night before, we rehearsed this a bit so that there'd be more sensitivity between players. We began by simultaneously pulling off the covering black clothes from the piano harp table tops. Then Elise placed her hands in the middle, the upper register area, & the lower register area - followed by the other 3 players doing the same (one at a time) except that we ended by scraping the lowest string. Then we all 4 tried to do the same procedure simultaneously so that our hands would overlap in the projected image. In the improvisation that followed we cued solo w/ backing vamp sections by tossing a screw onto the piano table of the selected soloist. Players dropped out to facilitate duos & trios by standing back from their tables. 6 approaches to sounding the harps were chosen in advance as ones that we would try to collectively use in occasional unison: striking with mallets, plucking, strumming, sounding while tuning, activating by dropping objects onto the harp(s), & scraping. If someone were to use these techniques & someone else were to notice then the noticing person was to consider following suit to try to instigate everyone's doing so. I started the feedback & Michael, once again, climbed on his harp while the rest of us mimed massaging, tickling, & scratching him. We ended with the wind-up penguin toys walking on the strings while we walked away.

This time the audience refrained from attacking the piano harps until after we were done. HOWEVER, they were even MORE FEROCIOUS in doing so than they had been the previous night! With as many as maybe 10 people playing the harps at once they proceeded to hit the harps as hard as they could while they screamed. One guy used a rolling pin that had been used in the uncert as a large slide to vehemently hit the wood of the piano harp until Michael asked him to stop. The total lack of dynamic variety & subtlety in the audience's attack on the harps was truly astonishing. It was like watching a pack of monsters unleashed. They seemed to enjoy themselves immensely.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

327. Breakthroughs in Sprocket Science

- Jefferson presents.. @ Backward on Forward, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, November 23, 2002, 8:10 - 11:20PM

- This was the most ambitious screening I've attempted so far. Below is a somewhat rewritten version of a promotional letter that I sent to a local newspaper:

"Lamar "Chip" Layfield

Carol

Pat Brown

tentatively, a convenience"

This film is highly significant to me not just because it's my 1st one but because right off the bat I made something absolutely perverse in terms of what people usually expect from films. It's a super-8mm GAMBLING GAME, there's audience participation - in fact, without audience participation it doesn't get shown. The 'REAL' content of the film is very peripheral to where one might expect it to be. 'Nuff said.

2nd, I'll screen 8 VERSIONS SIMULTANEOUSLY of my movie entitled "Subtitles" [It turned out to be 7]. "Subtitles" is a project I started in 1980. The most recent version has been made especially for this screening. It's somewhat akin to so-called "language-centered writing" in the sense that it discombobulates symbols & recontextualizes them in so-called "non-transparent" syntax - ie: I originally took super-8 home movie versions of (mostly) cheesy SF movies & reorganized the scenes into categories such as: "paranoia" & "dissolves" - thusly removing them from their original dramatic narrative flow. Things became MUCH MORE COMPLICATED. I like to say that this movie doesn't have a title, it has a subtitle, which is "Subtitles". The implication is that the movie itself has become a translation for another movie that exists as a larger phantom. The various versions to be presented were originally mostly shot in 8mm, super-8, unsplit 8mm, & 16mm. They'll be presented in 16mm & VHS here.

3rd, "back by popular demand" (Gordon requested it & Jim complimented it to me at a party) is my FAKE PORN SUPER-8 PEEP SHOW MOVIE made as Tim Ore in collaboration with Dick Hertz: "Balling Tim Ore is Best". Dick & I worked as "peep show mechanics" at 2 large porn places. Our job was to edit together something like 32 new peep show movies from stock footage every week. We made this one as a disorienting spoof for unwary masturbators & actually snuck it into a peep show where it ran for 2 weeks 24 hours a day. Tim Ore was tha name I used when I lived in BalTimOre since the city was kind enough to make itself a giant sex ad for myself. I'll show the peep show marquees that're left in my collection that Dick & I made too.

4th, "Bob Cobbing". This 16mm monstrosity will be correctly projected on a spandex screen that can be manipulated to make the film even more mind-boggling than it already is. If I do say so myself, this is a technical masterpiece. Step aside you canonized lazy structuralists. I took an early morning educational tv show of the type that must've bored people who then had to go to work but who watched it as a form of college class & CONCEPTUALLY VANDALIZED IT. Every second of this film is manipulated differently. I'm not exaggerating when I say that very, VERY few films have ever been made this laboriously.

5th, "Volunteers Collective". Approximately the same piece was presented at the Public Health building on Pitt's campus to a crowd of about 7 people (see entry 318). Considering how ambitious it is, I hope I get better attendance this time. The ANARKANIAN goes into the audience with the MYSTERY SUITCASE which triggers sounds by remote control as it opens & closes. The anarkanian dances & the sound dances with it. The anarkanian provides a live bit of CONCRETE MIXING to the projected VHS document of CircumSubstantial Playing - site specific improvisations in a swimming pool, at a NUDIST MASK PARTY, with FROTHING CATATONIC SIAMESE TWINS, in a boulder field, in a barnfull of HARRY BERTOIA'S SOUND SCULPTURES. There's a very rich mix going on here - both formally & conceptually.

6th, we come to that most wonderful of all mediums: the filmstrip. Filmstrips were mainly used for educational & industrial purposes without much formal innovation. Those days are behind us. Here we have my collaboration with the ever-wonderful ETTA CETERA: "Death Bed Aerobics" - a dual projection. Ever wonder how to prepare for death? "Death Bed Aerobics" makes it seem like a snap.

&, finally, my most recently completed movie (except for the specially made version of "Subtitles"): "Cuntralia". When I made it I hesitated to ever screen it in Pittsburgh. That's how personal & embarrassing it is (actually, I've made more embarrassing things but we won't discuss those now, eh?). But, no, I can't resist. This is my tale of SEXUAL OBSESSION WHICH I TRULY BELIEVED ALMOST KILLED ME. Yes, the 1st day I started editing this began a downward spiral that eventually lead to the ER. See it now, because, as with the rest of this program, you'll probably never get a 2nd chance.

For the majority of the night I wore my Tim Ore outfit - except during the "Volunteers Collective" portion. For that section I used a new set of samples culled from 61 sequenced pieces that I'd made between '94 & '97. That connected the suitcase sounds more directly to the samples. One of the most remarkable things about this evening for me is that I had to borrow about at least $30,000 worth of equipment to do it from at least 3 or 4 institutions & both managed to do so & managed to have nothing go wrong! Fortunately, my wish for a larger audience came true & the place was full w/ about 50 people.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

325. In Memory of Jerry Hunt (w/ a nod to Charles Tomlinson Griffes' "The White Peacock") #1

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, November 9, 2002, 3:02-3:34PM

- The Warhol films that I project in the theater of the Warhol museum are rarely watched for long by anyone. Most people seem to find them very boring. The film I was showing this day was the silent "Blow Job" - a shot of a guy's face while he's supposedly getting his cock sucked by a changing crew of gay artists. His expression doesn't change much, he mainly tilts his head back every once in a while as a presumed indication of excitement. After his presumed orgasm, he lights a cigarette near the end of the film. On this & the following day, an upright piano had been left in the theater near the screen - a leftover from some recent music events. When I started the film, there was no audience so I decided to play a piano "accompaniment" to it for my own amusement. I played in a somewhat 'flowery' 19th century romantic style, using flourishes, various scales, & drama, etc.. An audience member entered & I explained what I was doing & asked him if he minded. He didn't reply & only stayed for a few minutes - as is typical. After 12 minutes or so of this I got bored & stopped playing & returned to the projection booth. A couple of minutes later, 5 people entered & I decided to play for them with no explanation. As I passed by them en route to the piano, I heard the usual expression of boredom. One of the girls was saying something like "whatever!" & they seemed as if they might get up & leave. The theater was dark except for the screen & the exit signs & I sat at the piano & tried to play in as captivatingly romantic a style as I could (being not a great pianist by any means!) - & doing a passable job (I thought). I played for about 17 minutes & ended with a dramatic chordal crescendo just as the character in the movie lit his cigarette. I then left. The audience stayed throughout my playing & others may have come & gone. After I stopped playing, the audience almost immediately got up & left even though the film hadn't ended yet. This was a guerrilla uncert in that I'm sure that it wouldn't've been approved of by museum hierarchy & I, of course, had no intention of asking for 'permission'. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that my playing was what kept the 5 people there interested.

I decided to retroactively entitle this as I have in honor of the story that composer/performer Jerry Hunt would sometimes play pieces from his experimental classical repertoire, such as music by Stockhausen, when playing piano at a strip club. The story goes that he had to be protected by a chicken-wire cage to prevent projectiles from the audience from hitting him. The nod to Griffes' piece also ties into the combination of the gay sex (of "Blow Job") & what I call "Low Classical Usic" insofar as Griffes was an early 20th century gay composer who was live-in lovers with a cop & whose "The White Peacock" title was, I'm told, some sort of gay cruising reference.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

321. Multiple Projection Light Show (of Sorts) #07

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, September 14, 2002

- Yet again, (see entries 303, 304, 307, 311, 313, & 319), as a part of my job as an Andy Warhol Museum projectionist, I showed films as background to bands in the theater. This time, the bands were Beam (from Pittsburgh) & Spaceheads (from London?). Since I'd played on the same bill as Beam (entry 316) & had enjoyed them & since I hate just doing the "same old shit" & since the bands hadn't just requested particular Warhol films (yawn), I decided to do something that I'd wanted to do for awhile but had wanted the museum to pay me extra for (but had never bothered to hustle): to bring my broken WJX-12 video mixer & to use my own materials specially designed for such instances.

For Beam, I started with video footage of trees blown about by a storm - projected by 2 projectors - 1 image inside the other. This was augmented by highly masked Warhol Screen Tests reels 14 & 15 to the left & right. The masking resulted in the projections being very small & in their revealing little more than eyes & the areas surrounding them. I later projected Screen Test reel 16 centrally. I changed the video to my own "Wallpaper Video" of the News American building being demolished in BalTimOre. Since there were 2 video projectors being used, there were interesting moments of phasing. I used the broken video mixer to render the larger image negative (& otherwise effected) to be in contrast to the smaller video image (located upper central). I eventually switched to "F.R.E.D. S. L.I.S.B.E.R.G.E.R." - entirely macro footage from a warehouse where I'd lived.

For Spaceheads, I used a tape called "Feedback" which pulsated nicely in sync with their beat. This was augmented by reels 1 & 12 of Warhol's "Chelsea Girls" which feature Nico. These reels were chosen because Spacehead had requested something with Nico because they'd played with her. The Nico footage at times matched with the feedback in such a way so that it appeared as if the feedback was a thought balloon emanating from Nico's head without any thoughts being inside. I also used my own "Concrete Mixing #1 (Technosensualist version)" as projection material &, eventually, reel 1 of Warhol's "Sleep". I was highly active in use of the broken video mixer (which had as an input footage from a camcorder aimed at the stage) so that there was substantial rhythmic sync between what I was doing & both Beam & Spaceheads. This was possibly the most successful & popular band light show projection I've presented.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

318. Guitarists Anonymous #4

- Backward on Forward, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, March 16, 2002, 7:53 - 8:28PM

- See entries 314, 315, & 316 for the preceding 3 Guitarists Anonymous presentations. By now, the 60+ slide presentation which had been used in 316 had 80 slides, & the filmstrip used in 315 had been improved somewhat. I'd also made a vaudeo that combined these 2 w/ footage shot by Kent Bye (as part of making a documentary about me) of 314 + a Rehabilitation Center scene w/ ethnomusicologist & well-rounded musician Eric Myers (see 160, 162, 166, & 176), Alex Van Ness (who assisted w/ 276), & Linda Gielec + an improvisation w/ great multi-instrumentalist Michael Pestel (see 204, 205, 208, 211, 247, 248, 250, 251, 252, & 278) in his instrument-filled apartment. The filmstrip was projected by Mark Gunderson, using various playful projection techniques, to the left; the vaudeo was in the middle; & Gordon Nelson projected the slides approximately every 24 seconds on the right.

I began, as usual, by asking guitarists in the audience to identify themselves & pointed out that I'd have to "torture" the recidivists that I saw present. The projections were then started. The vaudeo & the guitar samples were fed into the sampling mixer. Usually the vaudeo soundtrack was kept down. It was brought up during selected Rehab scenes, selected instrument playing with Michael Pestel, & brief snippets of the duets with Daryl Fleming & Greg Pierce. I played the samples as the main soundtrack to this triple projection & sample looped selections with the mixer including something that included the statement "I didn't fuck that ex-Moonie for nothing" - an actual reference to my life included in the Rehab scene. At 2 points I took the Grossinator (a toy used as a 'torture' instrument in the Rehab scene that pronounces 'gross' statements like "I'm going to make a horrible gross fart!") & played a statement from it into the ears of 2 people who'd identified themselves as guitarists. At the end, the Grossinator was allowed to make the last statement to the hypothetical guitarists who hadn't quit the habit yet.

Following me on the bill were Impercept (a Pittsburgh-based laptop performer) & Scientifically Speaking with Irene Moon (a Lexington-based entymologist lounge & noise performer) who was accompanied by the electronics band SICK HOUR.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

313. CircumSubstantial Playing & Blindfolded Tourism

- Mattress Factory -> thru the streets -> Wittamy Do(ugh)Boys secret place -> thru the streets, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, August 10th, 2001, 7 to 9:00PM

- In the basement of the Mattress Factory I set up chairs so that winding walkways went between them. At the front, there were 3 projection screens with the 2 side screens angled at about 30 degrees in relation to the central one + 3 video projectors & VCRs. In front of those was a table covered with electronic instruments including a pitch-to-MIDI converter, a radio mic receiver, a sampler, a keyboard, a mixer to channel the VCRs' sounds, an end mixer/sampler, an effects unit, a MIDI-patcher, & a CD player.

As the vaudience arrived, the room was very dark except for a flashlight that I carried. I was wearing my Anarkanian silver & multi-tentacled 'spacesuit' (see entry 305) & I ushered people thru the confusing pathways. I also had a hidden radio mic & transmitter into which I made sounds that were sent into the pitch-to-MIDI converter & then used to trigger samples. The 196 seconds of samples were all taken from the computer edit of my published Volunteers Collective "Yr of Sundays" tape (see entries 242, 243, 245, 247, 250, & 251 for related descriptions).

After about 10 minutes, I started the video projections - the 3 half-hour sections of my "Volunteers Collective" movie presented simultaneously. The samples & vaudeo footage were related - often from the same sessions. The mix was set so that the sound from the imagery on the left screen was heard only in the left channel, the sound from the imagery on the right was only in the right & the middle imagery's sound was in both channels. The left speaker was front left & the right speaker was back right - to exaggerate the stereo separation. After the vaudeo started, I continued to meander thru the seating aisles with the flashlight & making triggering sounds for another 5 minutes & then eventually went to the electronics table for more complex sound generating & mixing possibilities.

For the remaining 25 minutes of the projections, I mixed the soundtracks, played the samples, looped short tracks on the "Yr of Sundays" CD that was being played, added effects, & recorded & played back looped samples on the final mixer/sampler. The mixing was done in such a way so that only selected parts of the soundtracks were audible. As such, a vaudience member trying to associate sounds with images would have to be constantly searching for the connections. At a few key points, the samples I played were related to the visuals. Hence, when the 2 scenes of the implosion of a downtown Pittsburgh building (500 Wood Street) were shown (footage provided by Sharyn Frederick - see entries 197, 202, 205, 247, 251, & 252; sound provided by Michael Johnsen - see entries 196, 197, 202, 204, 205, 206, 209, 247, & 268) I'd play a sample of the implosion & exaggerate it even further with effects processing to increase the drama.

Throughout, my face & bodyshape (to a minor extent) were disguised by the 'spacesuit' - & I hadn't spoken. When the projections ended, I turned to the vaudience & explained that that (highly dense & disorienting section) had been the "orientation". In a sense, it was, because most of the footage was relevant to CircumSubstantial Playing & presented Volunteers Collective participants playing site-specifically. As such, the vaudience had been prepped for having a CircumSubstantial encounter of their own - which led to my then expressing my hope that they would continue on to the next part which would consist of their being blindfolded & taken on a fieldtrip to an undisclosed location. Just my speaking after the intense unusualness of all those very varied sounds must have been a somewhat shocking contrast. The fieldtrip plan had been widely publicized in many of the local 'news'papers, thru the internet, & thru mailings but I didn't expect many people to be willing to undergo such an experience. Was I in for a surprise! EVERYONE THERE, except maybe for one couple with children, WANTED TO DO THIS!! Over 60 people! Go figure.

They all filed out & up to the parking lot where various vans & cars waited to transport them. There were 9 drivers: Steve, Julia, Jessica, Bill, Stephanie, Michael, Brieanne, Jennifer, & Sara. I got out of my 'spacesuit' so that I was just wearing fairly ordinary grubby summer clothes. I went with the 1st van with Steve from the Mattress Factory driving, my friend John with a camcorder, & Franka Bruns (a reporter/photographer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) as well as perhaps 9 vaudience members - all blindfolded. Most of the MF drivers had been on a rehearsal run earlier that day to prepare them for what they were expected to do now.

I'd spent more than 50 hours making a 19 minute recording (which I ended up calling "CarCophony") meant to be played during this drive. This was made from over 125 car-related sound effects organized so that their playing would be subtle at 1st & then exaggeratedly obvious overkill. A rough outline of the structure is as follows:

Sparse Sneaky Beginning: 00:00:000-02:43.050

Subtly Silly 1st Continuous Miscellaneous Scenario into Gas Station: 02:43.051-05:44.583

Big Crash Scene: 05:44.584-07:22.804

Aftermath of Crash w/ Bad Batteries: 07:22.805-09:13.888

Motorcycles: 09:13.889-11:35.019

Miscellaneous Traffic Sounds Obviously Effected & Edited: 11:35.020-13:11.939

Approaching Peace at Last..: 13:11.940-15:00.004

..blown by the Races: 15:00.005-17:00.005

Final Car Wash: 17:00.006-19:00.000

In the html version of this text a more in-depth analysis of this can be read by clicking on the CarCophony Plan link. These sound effects were taken (without permission - please forgive me! I love sound effects!) from: Excelsior Sound FX 200 Sound Effects (green box) Volumes 1 & 2, Excelsior Sound FX 200 Sound Effects (orange box) Volume 1, Audio Fidelity (AFSD 5890) Demonstration & Sound Effects Record, BBC Sound Effects: DISASTERS, Sound Effects Volume 4, Lars Eastholm's Sound Effects Volume 3: AUTOMOBILES, Robert Hall Sound Effects 48/49 & 75, "the exciting racing sounds of Grand Prix challenge of champions", & BBC Sound Effects Library 5: Transport. I also recorded & integrated a test run of the trip with the assistance of my friend Joy.

The drivers were instructed to emphasize parts of the "CarCophony" by driving in response to it. So, eg, during the "Aftermath of Crash w/ Bad Batteries", I signalled to Steve that he should stop the van & jerk the car forward as the battery sounds sputtered. I'd timed the drive at 14:28 so the recording took this into consideration by having certain sounds, such as the passing of a diesel lorry, happen when the vehicle would probably be stopped at a light or stop-sign. The timing was also intended to result in the car "Races" section (a very dense & speed-change altered part) occurring around the time that people would be arriving at the undisclosed location so that as they would exit the vehicles they'd be surrounded by loud Grand Prix car sounds.

When the blindfoldees arrived, they were helped out of the vehicles by the 16+ guides/ushers: Mike, Greg, Cory, Woody, Chris, Cerrina, Ron, Joy, Miriam, John, Neo, Tate, Sharyn, Mel, GLF Dave, & Ben, etc. Many of these ushers had clear-plastic masks covering their faces & other masks on the backs of their heads. Ron was bare-chested except for a very stripper-esque fringy bra. The audience had their hands placed on the shoulders of the guides in front of them & the guides then walked & gave them forewarnings of upcoming obstacles to be careful of: curbs & steps & the like. Ironically, many of those ushering have participated in such celebratory political activities as "Reclaim the Streets" - now classified by the Police State's very own FBI in its typical despicable Draconian fashion as "terrorist". Yeah, right. As such, many of the blindfolded were being cared for by so-called "terrorists" & not a hair was harmed. The FBI are the terrorists.

The audience was led into a building & down some steps into a mysterious large space. This area had been lovingly constructed by the Wittamy Do(ugh)Boys (Mike, Greg, Dave, & friends) out of mostly found materials over more than a year. In the interest of keeping this experience continuingly mysterious for any audience members who might find this description somewhere, I'll leave this telling somewhat vague. Three or 4 hairy dogs wandered around rubbing past & adding to the sensations. The blindfolded were led around a deep pit in which 6 masked nudists were making sounds intended to be of difficult-to-ascertain origin. I had anticipated that if people were to peek from under the eye-coverings they'd be further surprised & confused by this sight. Only a very few people peeked! Maybe only one person peeked into the pit! Apparently, they preferred to totally cooperate with what they thought they were expected to do! Once again, I was shocked! The pit crew consisted of etta (who was the coordinator of this end of the activities - see most of the entries from 212 to 305), Swifty, Fruity Dave, Nicole, Spat (see # 310), & Wynne.

Franka, the Post-Gazette reporter, took photos from the pit vantage point & one of them was printed in the paper on the following Monday. Imagine the surprise of the blindfoldees when they finally got to see this aspect of what they could only hear at the time! In the photo, Miriam (a slender maid with a "Sunday-best" hat on) is leading a young blindfolded man on an apparent ledge while 2 troll-like figures are seen in the pit below - one holding a frying pan. The scene looks like a precarious hero's journey from a fairy tale.

The people were then led back out to be driven back to the MF. As they were leaving, I played various mostly whale, animal, & bird sounds over the pirate radio & added audience-specific voice-overs that could be heard via the radios in their vehicles. As the whale sounds played, I told the blindfoldees leaving that they'd just been temporarily altered so that they could be underwater & that if they'd peeped they would've seen rare undersea creatures. For people leaving in a car, I claimed that we'd just broken into the zoo. For others, I said that they'd just been blindfolded by anarchists & taken to an undisclosed location & returned UNHARMED & mentioned that if we'd been the government they might not've been so well-treated. As an elaborate edit I'd made of bird sounds played (from the "Us Animals" CD I'd made mentioned in 310), I explained that all the driving around had just been to confuse people & that they'd really just gone to the National Aviary nearby to the MF. All of these stories were meant to further expand their imaginings of what had happened.

The drivers had been told that the audience could be encouraged to remove their blindfolds when they got far enough away from the secret place. I expected the blindfoldees to be uncomfortable & wanted them to be able to be free as quickly as they could be without ruining the experience. At least 2 people opted in favor of keeping them on all the way back to the Mattress Factory so that they could more fully experience the mystery! Bravo!

Many, MANY thanks to the MF for being so open to supporting such a 'lunatic fringe' project, to the sizeable crew for being so generous with their time & energy (& so TRUSTWORTHY), &, especially, to the BLINDFOLDED AUDIENCE for taking the risk!! Thanks also to Jarrett & Owen & etta for additional camerawork & to all those not mentioned elsewhere specifically by name such as George, Barbara, Jean, & Maggie, etc..

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

309. SNAFU = Situation Normal: All Fucked-Up

- Film Kitchen, Melwood Screening Room, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh, us@

- Tuesday, March 13, 2001

- I'd been trying to have the Film Kitchen present 1 of my feature-length movies since about October of 1999 to no avail. Bill O'Driscoll, the FK's curator, programs the FK so that there are usually short pieces by 2 or more people in an attempt to reach a broad audience. As such, he thought that a long movie, especially a long experimental movie, would be too difficult for those targetted. Eventually we compromised on my screening all 3 reels of my 16mm feature "The 'Official' John Lennon's Erection As Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich" simultaneously with me mixing the sound live & providing live commentary.

Screening this film at all is a challenge. I can't afford to get a print made so I only have the originals with sound separate. The originals have an ENORMOUS amount of splices & direct-on-film manipulation such as taped on garphics & holes punched in - all of which increase projection problems. In the crowded projection booth we set up the 3 projectors. It had originally been my intention to have the 3 projections flushly side-by-side without any overlaps but the lenses available didn't permit this. Reel 1 was projected on the upper left, reel 2 was in the lower middle, & reel 3 was in the upper right. Some of the corners overlapped slightly. The soundtracks for each reel were on separate CDs to be played thru a mixer receiving input from 3 CD players & a mic.

After the lens problem was solved as best as we could, I moved onto the sound & the 2nd problem appeared: the output jacks of CD player 1 had bad connections. That player was replaced. Projector 1 was threaded & it didn't work either & was replaced. Because of the different lengths & natures of each of the 3 reels, the plan was to have the middle reel project alone for 8 minutes, then joined by the right reel, & finally joined by the left reel a minute after that. We started the middle projector & the bulb IMMEDIATELY blew so we stopped it. This was fucked-up thing #4 & we hadn't even gotten a chance to start yet. Ah, yes! I informed the audience that this was ok because it was an appropriate SNAFU, Situation Normal: All Fucked-Up. We replaced that projector & tried again & the film tore within a few seconds & we had to stop again. Fuck-Up #5. Again the SNAFU was referred to & we began again. This time leaving the soundtrack out-of-sync for expediency's sake. Fuck-Up #6.

Reel 3 has text throughout most of its sound. The 1st text lasts for about 12 minutes & begins as follows below. It pretty much sums up the projection situation:

Fucked.

Fuck-Up.

Fuck-Ups.

Fucked-Up.

Fucking-Up.

Totally Fucked.

Fucked-Upedness

S.N.A.F.U.: Situation Normal: All Fucked-Up

F.U.B.A.R.: Fucked-Up Beyond All Recognition

F.U.B.B.: Fucked-Up Beyond Belief

F.U.M.T.U.: Fucked-Up More Than Usual

J.A.N.F.U.: Joint Army & Navy Fuck-Up

S.A.P.F.U.: Surpassing All Previous Fuck-Ups

S.U.S.F.U.: Situation Unchanged: Still Fucked-Up

T.A.R.F.U.: Things Are Really Fucked-Up

I could be called a fuck-up. I could even be said to have made being a fuck-up into my modus operandi. Then again, the opposite could be said w/ equal accuracy. Whatever. Some people study how to do things so that they can do them "right". By doing it "right" they're often doing it in the same way that someone before them has done it - or building on what's been previously done by expanding its understood logic. Other people just go ahead & do something making mistakes left, right, & center - recklessly pursuing their own vision, despite unpromising conditions, in the hopes of, at least, retaining their own personality, complete w/ quirks, & in the hopes of twisting their mistakes into unforseen advantages.

As a film & vaudeo maker, I shine the most as a fuck-up. Then again, I shine the most as someone who can get an enormous amount done w/ almost no money. As of this writing, I've made about 200 movies. My total expenses for all of them together has been around $11,000.00! Many of them are fucked-up. But, perhaps, this "feature-length" 16mm film entitled The "Official" John Lennon's Erection As Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich is my magnum-opus of fucked-upedness. If this film is recognized for nothing else, perhaps it'll become a prime catalog of mistakes.

Given the above, all fuck-ups of the projecting were immediately contextualized as fitting right in. The projectors were stopped & started - sometimes because of problems with the film running thru poorly, sometimes just in an attempt to re-sync the sound & images. Everytime this happened it came across as another fuck-up & sometimes I made commentary to that effect. Everything went splendidly! Once again, the forces of frustration were frustrated!

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

302. Puppetistas Press Conference

- Ministry of Puppetganda, Philadelphia, us@

- Friday, July 28, 2000

- The Puppetistas were/are a loose-knit group of Puppeteers & fellow travellers who had rented a huge warehouse called the Ministry of Puppetganda in West Philly to enable large-scale puppet-making in preparation for resistance to the Republican National Convention. Several HUNDRED puppets were made - probably by at least 100 people. These included 137 8 foot skeletons representing every person on death row whose death warrant George Bush, the Republican candidate for president, had signed as Governor of Texas. Each skeleton was to have a condemned person's name on it. These were to be used in demonstrations to drive home the point that Bush is BLOODTHIRSTY. Other puppets & such-like included large peanuts w/ the names of corporate campaign donors carrying bags of money (to show who pays for the Republican Elephant), mice (to scare away the Elephant), jail-bar masks (to protest the Prison-Industrial Complex), & a multitude of other such calculatedly critically pointed symbols. These were eventually destroyed by the police before they could be shown publically. But that's a different story.

A press conference was held at the Ministry for print & electronic media. The idea was to have the conference be given by puppets. I thought this was a great idea & got involved at the last minute as the facillitator. I wore a cardboard 'dollar bill' on my shoulders that Rita Rodentia (see entry 266 & a slew of others) & I had made there the day before as part of our "Money Against Capitalism" project (see entry 291). The 4 Puppetistas were General Mr Sir Pentagon (a man w/ a Pentagon for a head - &, therefore, a hole in his head - representing the Military-Industrial Complex), the Shoddy Elephant (a small sock puppet - representing grassroots organizing & NOT a political party), Dr Monsanto (another sock puppet - w/ teeth that kept falling out - representing 'science' out-of-control & intoxicated by its own arrogance), & the Uber-Sock (a large sock that covered the Puppetista's whole body - the Uber Sock, we're told, was created by Dr Monsanto as an obediant replacement to those troublesome human beings & it NEVER SMELLS - alas, the Uber-Sock was out-of-control & ran amok growling nonsense - Dr Monsanto's attempt to control nature backfired, eh?). Participants ran around dressed as the mice & as the peanuts holding bags of money. A mobile percussion station was played to punctuate the conference. The press arrayed itself. I didn't pay attention to who they were but I'm told that Fox-TV was there & so was C-Span. A print reporter was the only one who could think of any questions to ask. The other reporters are pathetic: ill-informed & uninspired. The puppets stayed in character: General Pentagon puffed his chest (metaphorically) & spouted his ideology. The Shoddy Elephant tried to convey alternative environmentally & socially friendly options, Dr Monsanto tried to control the Uber-Sock as it frustrated his uber-mindedness. The guy from Fox-TV finally asked a question. He wanted to know my name. I told him that that's irrelevant & that we preferred to address issue-oriented questions. He said "Bless you" & left, mid-conference, supposedly telling someone on his way out that this was "the worst press conference he's ever seen." I'm told by several people on the streets later that they saw C-Span's airing of the whole 20+ minutes of it.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

297. 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):

 

Conservative

Dawesses ["Dresses" lisped]

Face

Flat out

Function

How will you eat?

Insanity runs in my family.

Kick

On the floor

Organ

Precious

Puritanism

Radio

Rock

Same

Sample

Totally illogical

What's up?

You see

 

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

 

Alive

Alligators

Awful Silly

Boys

Capers

Cigarette Lighter

Clothes [male voice]

Clothes [female voice]

Dracula

Good

Guess

Handbag

Have to kill

I feel bad

They eat

Victory

Washstands

Well

Wonder Dog

 

Patch 3: Humphrey Bogart

 

Bad

Drinking your lunch

Cross Examine

Looking

Kid

Rocco

Less

Dying

The-uh

Made

Dreams

'tuff ["Stuff" without the "S"]

Decide

Maybe

Get

Buried

Here

Manners

Myself

 

Patch 4: Vineta's words

 

Abstract

Assertive

Caricature

Complex

Elbows

Eyes

Falsetto

Fast

Gibberish

Gentle

Hysterical

Limp

Nonsequitur

Relaxed

Rhythmic

Shy

Simple

Squirmy

Vehemence

 

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'.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

295. Tantrum

- 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:

 

Haarlem

Lee Smith

 

Elwood Evening Improvisations

Warren Burt

 

Janet's Antarctica

Dirk de Bruyn / Warren Burt

 

Bob Cobbing

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

From Scratch

Virginia Fraser

 

Vegetable States/Leaves / Hairfarmer

Virginia Fraser / etta cetera

 

An Abstract Phase

Steven Ball

 

Transmit

Paul Rodgers

 

The Truth About the Dimensionally Challenged

etta cetera

 

TANTRUM

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.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

294. Anarchist World This Week

- 3CR Radio Station, Melbourne, Australia

- Wednesday, May 17, 2000

- Our friend Michael (see 291) is the sidekick for this radio program hosted by Joe. Michael invited etta (see most of the entries from 212 on - mentioning etta cetera & Rita Rodentia) & me to be guests. When we met Joe before the program started, he immediately tried to arouse an 'attitude' in us by agressively calling us "clowns" & "Americans" & saying that he hated clowns & Americans, etc.. At 1st we were a bit taken aback but it didn't take long to figure out what his game was. We were scheduled to come on during the middle of the program so etta & I conspired a bit beforehand. When we entered the studio, I had a camcorder on my shoulder & started putting Joe on the defensive before he had a chance to do the same to us. Every crack he tried to make I countered with accusations about the authenticity of his anarchism. He asked what I had on my shoulder (the camcorder) & I expressed my shock at his not knowing that it was something to steal his soul with so that I could edit it & use it against him.

Neoism & Low Classical Usic were discussed. etta & I explained Money Against Capitalism (see 291 again) & put forth the idea that everyone should have their picture on the money & that everyone should collect them all. Of course, no-one should have to pay for this. To show Joe that Money Against Capitalism has already implemented this plan, we showed Joe 2 $50 notes with our pictures on them. Since the listening audience, obviously, couldn't see our proof, we described what they were missing. This latter was embellished by fake astonishment at some sort of dramatic physical transformation that Michael was going thru. A portion of track 8 from our RATical RATio - pRAT 1 CD, "Station Identification: For Radio Play Only", was played while I read the relevant section from the accompanying issue of the STREET RAT (#2). We departed with me shouting "You'll never see us alive again!" - &, as far as I 'know', Joe never has.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

292. Money Against Capitalism

- the Streets, in front of the Stock Exchange, at the 8 Hour Workday Monument, etc, Melbourne, Australia

- Monday, May 1, 2000

- May Day is a worker's holiday created in honor of the struggle by political activists in the late 19th century in the USA to get the 8 hour workday instead of the 12 to 14 hours that exploited workers were typically forced into. This was achieved at great sacrifice & effort. The rich don't give it up easy now do they? In Chicago, some of the anarchists primarily responsible for agitating for this were executed in a frame-up job connected with a bombing of police who were using the usual brutality to break up a demonstration. These anarchists became known as the Haymarket martyrs. As I recall, 4 of them were hung & one of them commited suicide with dynamite in his mouth - rather than allow the state to kill him.

In Australia, this holiday is "officially" "celebrated" on a Sunday so that workers don't get off work. Ain't that some shit, yo?! THIS May Day protest, however, was celebrated on a Monday - when the 1st of May actually fell. etta (see most of the entries from 212 on - mentioning etta cetera & Rita Rodentia) & our fellow activist Doyle & another woman whose name I forget & I had made a slew of props out of cardboard for this. There were figures of businessmen with $s for eyes, pro-environmentalist & anti-globalization signs, a "I reckon it's time for revolution" speech bubble, etc.. What etta & I were most excited by were our new Money Against Capitalism outfits. etta was dressed as a coin - with her head where the queen's would be & with text that read "Queen E-Lousy-Debt" around the rim. I was a $10 note - with my head where the male's head would ordinarily be. We shouted various things like "Money Against Capitalism!" & "We're tired of being in the hands of the few!". etta shouted that she wanted to be back in the fountains again. Both of us expressed how tired we were of being locked up in Swiss bank vaults. We wanted to be out in the streets partying!

We started at the main post office where the usual speeches that have the rabble-rousing quality of Muzak were made. Then we marched to the stock exchange where etta & I & our friends shouted the Jewish Disses (see entry 288) & various other spontaneous slogans far from the "Hey Ho" mold. One marcher broke into a lovely cannibalistic song proposing recipes made from burning the whole capitalistic lot. We arrived at the Stock Exchange, which was protected by a line of police on horses, & speeches were made in front of it. I threw in my speech-makin' 2¢ worth as a representative of Money Against Capitalism. Thus ended the socialist-planned protest.

Anarchists proposed marching further to the 8 hour workday monument. This was put up "for a vote". Why, I'll never know. The response seemed to be enthusiastic enough & away we went - receiving very little resistance from the cops. On the last leg of the journey, they didn't even bother to follow us. When we arrived at the monument, it was felt by a minority that it would be a good idea to block the road. After all, there weren't even any cops around to prevent it. I was part of this minority. Reclaim the Streets!

A group of about 15 of us blocked traffic in 2 of the 3 lanes & got into various interactions with drivers while the rest sat around on the grass - picnicing, I suppose. etta & our allie, Lochlan, danced around a limo & other vehicles. Our friend from Ska TV, Ameriko, & our future allies, Michael & Matt, sat in the street & kvetched about how lame they thought the majority were being for not participating. I shouted out "Honk if you hate capitalism!" & other such ploys intended to recontextualize any driver hostility. Surprisingly, many drivers seemed to honk in solidarity with us. A psychotic road-raged few acted as if they'd run us over if we didn't move. No-one was hurt & a group of us adjourned to a bar for some alcoholic celebrating.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

287. Unknown Neoist Bust Installation Ceremony

- at the south wall surrounding Government House, Adelaide, Australia

- Wednesday, April 5, 2000

- There had been e-mail discussions for about 15 months between people in several countries about having an Adelaide-based Neoist Apartment Festival. etta cetera (see most of the entries from 212 on - mentioning etta cetera & Rita Rodentia) & I flew to Australia originally motivated by the intention of participating in this hypothetical festival - even though we 'knew' from correspondence that it had no substantial basis. The following description, & all other entries relevant to this festival, are excerpted from:

A Report on the 1st Non-Existent International Neoist Apartment Festival

in Adelaide, South Australia

from Monday, March 20th, 000 'til Saturday, March 25th, 000

(With additional action on Tuesday & Wednesday, April 4 & 5, 000)

written by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

[etta cetera & I arrived in Adelaide on Sunday, March 19th & were met at the airport by festival conspirators Karen Eliot & Jen. I never saw Jen again in connection with any neoist activities. A vegetarian barbecue had been proposed for later that day as a festival planning session but that seemed unlikely to happen so the main event of the day was a visit to the former Adelaide Gaol where the Tap 000 Theatre was scheduled to perform (amongst others) & where I was scheduled to UNCERTIZE & to screen a video version of "Bob Cobbing".

Few, or no, VAUDIENCE members arrived, my sampler wouldn't work, the Tap 000 performance was cancelled, The Band That Couldn't Plough Straight played, & etta & I were severely jet-lagged, but I managed to stay awake long enough to screen "Bob Cobbing" anyway to a not-completely rapt small group.

Throughout this 1st day, it had become obvious that there was little or no interest in the long-awaited 1st Australian Neoist Festival that etta & I had been planning to attend for over a year & that we'd travelled over halfway around the world for (having taken the long way via Malaysia). All of Karen's attempts to organize planning sessions had been fairly ill-attended & fruitless. All of Karen's phonecalls to clubs & such-like places to try to set up UNCERTS, SO-CALLED WHATEVERS, & such-like had been unreturned. Given these circumstances, I proposed that we dub the festival the 1st NON-EXISTENT INTERNATIONAL NEOIST APARTMENT FESTIVAL IN THE YEAR 000 worth travelling over halfway 'round the world for. After all, who wants to travel that far just for your ordinary, everyday Neoist Apartment Festival when you can go to the 1st NON-EXISTENT one instead?

It was decided that the Non-Existent Festival would consist of SECRET MEETINGS partially publicized thru messages passed via SECRET HANDSHAKES.]

We returned to Adelaide on Saturday, April Fool's Day. On Tuesday, April 4th, we assembled the Unknown Neoist Bust Mold sections & began to pour the hydrostone & plaster cast. This continued on Wednesday, April 5th, & Karen, Robyn, etta, & I took the bust to its intended new home along the North Terrace road by the Government House walls & dug a hole in the ground near the busy sidewalk/bus-stop where we planted it atop its post. A laminated text panel underneath 'explained' it thusly:

THE UNKNOWN NEOIST

The Unknown Neoist is a transparency sharing a garden plot with the Unknown Solderer. Free to cum & go in the Dreaming, they A&B Roll both Normal & Original as it suits their leisure. We are gathered here today to set our rightful place at the table of the elements.

- a composite gone-bust authorized by the honorable so-&-so

I played sound effects with the player belt, we flamed steam irons & read the text aloud. People stopped & watched us & read the text & asked us questions. When we were done, we drove around the block & vaudeoed the strip of busts culminating in our own. As we passed a guy reading the panel, I shouted out: "Neoism's a town with a population of 12 with a bar in it!" (my new favorite definition of Neoism - inspired by having visited the town of William Creek between Lake Eyre & Coober Pedy in the outback). The man turned around & looked at us thoroughly perplexed & we drove off.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

285. 4th Secret Meeting of the 1st Non-Existent International Neoist Apartment Festival in the Year 000 - Anti-Neoist Rally

- Streets of Adelaide, Australia

- Friday, March 24, 2000, 1PM

- There had been e-mail discussions for about 15 months between people in several countries about having an Adelaide-based Neoist Apartment Festival. etta cetera (see most of the entries from 212 on - mentioning etta cetera & Rita Rodentia) & I flew to Australia originally motivated by the intention of participating in this hypothetical festival - even though we 'knew' from correspondence that it had no substantial basis. The following description, & all other entries relevant to this festival, are excerpted from:

A Report on the 1st Non-Existent International Neoist Apartment Festival

in Adelaide, South Australia

from Monday, March 20th, 000 'til Saturday, March 25th, 000

(With additional action on Tuesday & Wednesday, April 4 & 5, 000)

written by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

[etta cetera & I arrived in Adelaide on Sunday, March 19th & were met at the airport by festival conspirators Karen Eliot & Jen. I never saw Jen again in connection with any neoist activities. A vegetarian barbecue had been proposed for later that day as a festival planning session but that seemed unlikely to happen so the main event of the day was a visit to the former Adelaide Gaol where the Tap 000 Theatre was scheduled to perform (amongst others) & where I was scheduled to UNCERTIZE & to screen a video version of "Bob Cobbing".

Few, or no, VAUDIENCE members arrived, my sampler wouldn't work, the Tap 000 performance was cancelled, The Band That Couldn't Plough Straight played, & etta & I were severely jet-lagged, but I managed to stay awake long enough to screen "Bob Cobbing" anyway to a not-completely rapt small group.

Throughout this 1st day, it had become obvious that there was little or no interest in the long-awaited 1st Australian Neoist Festival that etta & I had been planning to attend for over a year & that we'd travelled over halfway around the world for (having taken the long way via Malaysia). All of Karen's attempts to organize planning sessions had been fairly ill-attended & fruitless. All of Karen's phonecalls to clubs & such-like places to try to set up UNCERTS, SO-CALLED WHATEVERS, & such-like had been unreturned. Given these circumstances, I proposed that we dub the festival the 1st NON-EXISTENT INTERNATIONAL NEOIST APARTMENT FESTIVAL IN THE YEAR 000 worth travelling over halfway 'round the world for. After all, who wants to travel that far just for your ordinary, everyday Neoist Apartment Festival when you can go to the 1st NON-EXISTENT one instead?

It was decided that the Non-Existent Festival would consist of SECRET MEETINGS partially publicized thru messages passed via SECRET HANDSHAKES.]

As usual Secret Handshake Messages were exchanged: "Anti-Neoist Rally - Down with the "Quit your job" leafletters!". These were rubber stamped with: "Work Will Make You Free Trade". The instruction had been to "Meet at the north side of the fountain in Victoria Square @ 1:00PM Friday March 23rd" Readers were further informed that "It's Always 1 O'Clock in Anti-Neoism." Somewhat to my surprise, there were 2 new Anti-Neoists awaiting: John & Ebony - in addition to Rick & Bird-E (who'd proposed this Anti-Neoist Rally & who'd established his personality as an anti-neoist more than anyone else in Adelaide so far) &, of course, etta & myself: as the Anti-Neoists - with Karen as that dagnabbed Neoist attempting to hand out leaflets. Bird-E had a banner that read "Contemporary Culture is Fantastic" & etta & I brought cardboard signs that read "Karen Eliot is a Front Covering Monty Cantsin's Back" (when I'd chant from this I'd usually add: "& Luther Blissett's Behind It All!"), "Neoists are Worse than Multi-National Corporations", "Stop Neoists from Pissing in Your Gene Pool", etc.. Walking on the King William St sidewalk, we passed thru dense groups of pedestrians while Karen attempted to give out the "Quit your job"s. The Anti-Neoists harangued everyone around with things like "Don't take the pamphlet! Neoism is evil!" & if people asked what Neoism was, I said things like "Neoism's against everything you stand for!" - keeping everything vaguely tautological to try to maintain a purist propagandistic emotionally charged but otherwise empty stance. The result of this reverse psychology was that many more people than usual took the pamphlets & I even saw people sitting around reading them to each other in apparent wonder. Whenever anyone wouldn't take them, I loudly lauded them for being an Anti-Neoist. The idea of "It's Always 1 O'Clock in Anti-Neoism" was developed into the idea of working straight thru without a lunchbreak & workers were encouraged to do so & to WORK HARDER. Chants contrary to the usual 'leftist' ones were created - like: "More Cars, Less Bikes", "Bring Back the Vietnam War", &, etta's personal favorite, "Everything's OK!". Ardent attempts to convert people to Anti-Neoism were made. One man approached etta with a "Quit.." pamphlet & said something like: "People shouldn't quit their jobs! They should get jobs & join society!" - to which she replied: "That's what we think too! It's that Neoist over there who's against us!". John kept rhetorically asking: "Would you like fries with that?". Finally, we reached the steps of Adelaide's Parliament where the Anti-Neoists mounted their/our signs & continued to harrass Karen. When s/he ran out of pamphlets s/he continued to hand out with the "Unknown Neoist for Lord Mayor" posters that etta & I had made & which had been sporadically posted & given away in the preceeding days. A policeman came & recognized Rick from a previous demonstration. They had a friendly chat & I approached the officer & thanked him for coming & told him that we needed more of his kind on the Anti-Neoist side & begged him to bring more police along with him the next time. He received this all in good humor & left saying that if we had any trouble with any other police that we should come to him & he'd smooth it out. The Secret Handshake Message for the day had the following:

"Down With the Down-Under Neoists!

Tired of Neoists PISSING IN YOUR GENE POOL?

Crash Their 5th Secret Meeting

of Their Stupid 1st Non-Existent

International Neoist Apartment festival in the Year Zero Zero Zero

@ Victoria Square @ 1:00PM Saturday March 25th

& Show Them What's What!".

What wasn't mentioned in the above was that this was the starting point of Adelaide's 1st "Reclaim the Streets" (although at least 1 similar event had previously occurred) which was also being coorganized by Karen Eliot.

For a brief quasi-documentary of this Anti-Neoist Rally" on YouTube: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX7963kyl2k>.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

283. 2nd Secret Meeting of the 1st Non-Existent International Neoist Apartment Festival in the Year 000

- 3D Community Radio Station, Adelaide, Australia

- Wednesday, March 22, 2000

- There had been e-mail discussions for about 15 months between people in several countries about having an Adelaide-based Neoist Apartment Festival. etta cetera (see most of the entries from 212 on - mentioning etta cetera & Rita Rodentia) & I flew to Australia originally motivated by the intention of participating in this hypothetical festival - even though we 'knew' from correspondence that it had no substantial basis. The following description, & all other entries relevant to this festival, are excerpted from:

A Report on the 1st Non-Existent International Neoist Apartment Festival

in Adelaide, South Australia

from Monday, March 20th, 000 'til Saturday, March 25th, 000

(With additional action on Tuesday & Wednesday, April 4 & 5, 000)

written by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

[etta cetera & I arrived in Adelaide on Sunday, March 19th & were met at the airport by festival conspirators Karen Eliot & Jen. I never saw Jen again in connection with any neoist activities. A vegetarian barbecue had been proposed for later that day as a festival planning session but that seemed unlikely to happen so the main event of the day was a visit to the former Adelaide Gaol where the Tap 000 Theatre was scheduled to perform (amongst others) & where I was scheduled to UNCERTIZE & to screen a video version of "Bob Cobbing".

Few, or no, VAUDIENCE members arrived, my sampler wouldn't work, the Tap 000 performance was cancelled, The Band That Couldn't Plough Straight played, & etta & I were severely jet-lagged, but I managed to stay awake long enough to screen "Bob Cobbing" anyway to a not-completely rapt small group.

Throughout this 1st day, it had become obvious that there was little or no interest in the long-awaited 1st Australian Neoist Festival that etta & I had been planning to attend for over a year & that we'd travelled over halfway around the world for (having taken the long way via Malaysia). All of Karen's attempts to organize planning sessions had been fairly ill-attended & fruitless. All of Karen's phonecalls to clubs & such-like places to try to set up UNCERTS, SO-CALLED WHATEVERS, & such-like had been unreturned. Given these circumstances, I proposed that we dub the festival the 1st NON-EXISTENT INTERNATIONAL NEOIST APARTMENT FESTIVAL IN THE YEAR 000 worth travelling over halfway 'round the world for. After all, who wants to travel that far just for your ordinary, everyday Neoist Apartment Festival when you can go to the 1st NON-EXISTENT one instead?

It was decided that the Non-Existent Festival would consist of SECRET MEETINGS partially publicized thru messages passed via SECRET HANDSHAKES.]

The plan for Wednesday's Secret Meeting had been for Karen to take people into a storm drain where etta & I were to be waiting in a candle-lit & incense infused space with a portable sound system & with etta as the naked & painted HUMAN SYNTHESIZER to be demonstrated by me & available for playing by all the attendees. However, when the day arrived, it was pouring. Karen, etta, & I rode our bikes (etta's & mine generously loaned to us by 101 BIKES - a service that fixes bikes & sells them CHEAP for a token price like $52 Australian) to the rendevous & got completely soaked. etta's laborious Human Synthesizer paint-job got totally smeared. When we reached the stormdrain, it had maybe 6 inches of water. Within 10 minutes it had about 3 feet of water. 5 Minutes later, it had rapids that were overflowing its vertical containing walls. If we had gone in earlier, we might've drowned. As a last-minute alternative to the stormdrain, we decided to have the secret meeting on the radio if the people at 3D would allow it. Karen & I went there & talked with various people - eventually asking for permission from the Station Manager. It was quite a challenge for my charm to explain that we were in the midst of having the 1st NON-EXISTENT INTERNATIONAL NEOIST APARTMENT FESTIVAL & that our plans to have our Secret Meeting in the stormdrain had been foiled by the rain & that we wanted to have our Secret Meeting over the air (&, therefore, audible to the general public) as an alternative because we thought it was FUNNY &, uh, is that ok? It's to the enormous credit of the 3D personnel & their true COMMUNITY SPIRIT that they were amenable to the idea & @ 6:00PM (when else?) we began the 2nd Secret Meeting broadcast as a part of the show hosted by Hannah called something like "Drive-Time" & aimed at people driving home from work. Hannah was completely bemused & thoroughly friendly & cooperative as I played sound effects from my PLAYER-BELT, played the HUMAN SYNTHESIZER, discussed the 1st NON-EXISTENT INTERNATIONAL NEOIST APARTMENT FESTIVAL & our plans & details for the 3rd Secret Meeting to be convened the next day (Thursday, March 22nd) @ double 6:00 (more commonly known as "noon") in front of the Church of Scientology on Waymouth Street, exchanged Secret Handshake Messages, & interviewed the attendees that Karen led to the studio window (since station rules didn't allow them to enter the building). Karen played didjeridoo, Rick (as the representative of Pope Fred) spoke in ways determined by text on prepared cards (such as categories like "dogmatic statement"), Bird-E appeared & got slotted into the role of ANTI-NEOIST, Roman said a few words, & a woman happened by who may've refused to speak. After the radio show ended, we moved to a nearby pub (minus Hannah) where further conspirings & speeches occurred.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

277. Making Odd-Ball Sports History by Uncertizing by Playing a Game of Black Rectangle over the Eye

- Ottobar, Baltimore, us@

- Sunday, February 6, 2000, 10:30-1:00PM

- I organized this evening. I had a self-inking rubber-stamp made with an image of a boy's face with a black rectangle over his eye taken from my filmstrip entitled "The Postman Always Rings the Homunculous of Woody Allen & Hollis Frampton, Twice" with "Black Rectangle over the eye" written underneath it. I rubber-stamped this around downtown Baltimore & near & in the Ottobar to subtly establish the image & the "game" name in advance.

The program began with Scott Larson playing his one-man band "Abomination". I had made an 8'X8' white Spandex screen for rear projecting onto & this was erected at the front of the stage at a slight angle. John Evans then projected a 16mm film of his by bouncing the projection off a mirror so the image could be larger than the shallow stage depth would've otherwise allowed. John Dierker improvised a tenor sax soundtrack to the film, which was otherwise silent.

"Black Rectangle over the eye" was introduced thru a screening of "The Postman.." filmstrip & a pamphlet relevant to the strip was handed out to the vaudience by etta cetera (a.k.a. etta cetera & Rita Rodentia - see most of the recent entries - starting at 212 with etta cetera mention).

Midway up the screen on either side were 2 2' slits for John Dierker & myself to stick our torsos out of from behind. Wearing rubber costume versions of towering Thai hats, I explained something like "that there's nothing like wearing ersatz Thai hats to make me feel like playing a game of Black Rectangle.." & we began. I played a digital horn controlling a wave-table synthesizer & played a loop on a CD that I'd specially contructed for such purposes. etta rear-projected the "Where We're" filmstrip (mentioned in 274) in the upper middle of the screen (without its soundtrack). John Evans projected my 16mm film "How Orgone Cinema Treats its Visiting Filmmakers" overtop my head - following the same projection technique used in the Music Gallery premier of John Henry Nyenhuis' & my "Bogus Piano Concerto" (see entry 199). John Dierker played tenor sax. This "game" was in 17 parts & John D had specific pitch sets & styles to play in during parts 2-9 after which he could play mostly free-form. At the entry to the 3rd part, Dave Scheper began shining a flashlight around & thru his "Codzilla" sculpture to shadow-project on the entire screen. This is a "junk-metal" sculpture of something resembling a codfish skeleton standing about 5' tall on its tail. The shadow was very dramatic & dynamic. Highlights of this were when etta cetera confronted Codzilla with a hand-shadow of a dog profile & when she 'fed' Codzilla a beer. At various points, John D & I would take black rectangles of tape & place them above our eyes - sometimes acting as if we were somehow 'triumphant' - such as by raising a fist & shouting "YEAH!". At the end, I announced that John D had won the game.

This was followed by a projection of etta's "The Truth About the Dimensionally Challenged" & then by my "Shuffle Mode" (in filmstrip versions). The evening ended with a trio improv played by Scott, John D, & myself.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

275. Generic Tour & "Where We're" Premier

- Neoist Festival, from the Milk Coffee Bar thru the streets & into the HQ of the Whitechapel Fishmonger Faction, Windsor, Ontario, CacaNada

- Sunday, November 28, 1999, 1:20-3:50PM

- Unannounced, I led a few people on a Generic Tour using language similar to that described in entry 271. When we reached the HQ of the Whitechapel Fishmonger Faction (the apartment of festival organizer Chris Mangin) there was supposed to be playing on tvs thruout the apartment a vaudeo transfer of my 2:03:30 filmstrip "Where We're" that has as its soundtrack an edit of the same materials used for 271 + footage from the same & many other things. Unfortunately, the equipment wasn't there yet so the vaudeo didn't start until about 10 minutes after our arrival. Having memorized the soundtrack somewhat I would occasionally say something anticipatory of what was to come in it. Unexciting as this description may seem, I put an enormous amount of work into preparing for this. Footage was shot of the Tour by Monty Cantsin which will be edited into another version of "Where We're".

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

260. Attention-ExSpanDex #1

- Normal's Books & Records, Baltimore, us@

- Saturday, September 26, 1998

- This was the 1st presentation of a cross-country tour which I retrospectively dubbed the "Attention-ExSpanDex Tour" mainly because most of the vaudiences couldn't endure the lengths of the programs. Entries 259-266 are from this tour. All but 264 meet the attention-span-expanding criteria. Most of the presentations involved multiple projections of super-8mm, 16mm, slides, filmstrips, VHS (projected &/or on TVs) + talking & other 'live actions':

How Orgone Cinema Treats Its Visiting Filmmakers

- 5:40 - 16mm & VHS - January '95

Presented simultaneously with a dramatic reading of the generic S.P.C.S.M.E.F. Speech (see the prototypical speech in 253) whilst wearing the Killer Whale Outfit over the Cloud Suit + the severed head hat (see the description in 255).

Department of Failures - 2:30 - VHS - November 11, '95

Diszey Spots - 11:20 - 16mm & VHS - October-December '93

The Postman Always Rings the Homunculous of Woody Allen & Hollis Frampton Twice

- 8:24 - 35mm filmstrip & audio cassette - July '96

Grounded! - 6:00 - 16mm & VHS - May '95

Peterson's Restaurant - 14:56 - 16mm & VHS - 1st 1/2 of '95

Air Drops - 19:30 - VHS & 35mm filmstrip - September '97 - September '98

This being the rough draft of the quasi-documentation of entries of 246 & 258, a couple leftover paper airplanes from the 2nd Air Drop were flown into the audience at certain points.

Funny Farm Summit Meeting - 14:00 - 16mm & VHS - August '94 - July '95

The Department of Maybe Presents: Problem Solving Demonstration

- 55:00 - VHS - November 4, '95

This was the audience-participatory section which I found to be surprisingly well received. See entry 201 for a previous description.

Death Bed Aerobics - 4:45 - 2 35mm filmstrips & audio tape - July '98

See the description in 254. A difference being that instead of wearing the funeral home softball team t-shirt, I was wearing a plastic chest with glow-in-the-dark bones on it. This 'skeleton' & my right thigh's glow-in-the-dark dust-mite tattoo were charged up with a black-light to be shown to the vaudience as the finalé. "Death Bed Aerobics" was presented everywhere during this tour except at a screening (not listed here) at the San Francisco Art Institute sponsored by the San Francisco Cinematheque.

Thanks to John Berndt for arranging this.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

259. Air Drop #2: Code Name: Alpha Alpha Alpha

- Overtop Carnegie-Mellon University & environs, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, September 4th, 1998, 1:30 to 2:30PM

- This was (as the above title indicates) the 2nd in a series. For more info relevant to this 1 (like a rough description of the type of paper plane used) see entry 246. One of the main differences between this & its predecessor is that it was done mainly in the name of the Association of Autonomous Astronauts & not Le Groupe Absence. The day started with a phone call at 8AM from the pilot, Delta Bravo, saying that the weather in Baltimore was too misty for him to take off as early as he'd planned. We

waited an hour to find out how the weather would change. Delta called back & said that it was clearing & that he'd leave around 10:30 & that we should meet him at the Allegheny Airport near Pittsburgh between 12 & 12:30. I called the ground cameraperson, Mike Juliet, to tell him that we'd be starting 2 hours later than I'd originally told him but I only got his answering machine.

12:15 & Juliet Lima, Sierra Lima Foxtrot November, & I (tANGO, aLPHA cHARLIE) arrived at the airport. Delta had just arrived. I was wearing sky camouflage with the front covered with a hundred or so square buttons with images of sky & clouds on them. Sierra was wearing a flight suit. We had a video camera, 2 35mm still cameras, a tape recorder, & a half-frame 35mm camera (for shooting filmstrips).

We shot various footage of each other & the plane & loaded the 950 paper planes (etc) in (unobtrusively packed in a shoulder bag & a small box so that they wouldn't attract too much attention from airport personnel). Delta ran thru his various technical checks & we boarded the plane & got ready for take-off.

Then the camcorder ceased to work. I later realized that a connection in the camcorder power had ceased to work & that the tape had then jammed. I tried changing batteries to no avail. Since we were about to take off, I gave up on the camcorder & decided to concentrate on the filmstrip camera while Sierra shot slides & Juliet shot stills. As the plane lifted off the ground, the filmstrip camera jammed! This had been working perfectly 'til then & I still have no idea why the film wouldn't advance & the camera wouldn't take any more pictures. There were still about 20 pictures left on the roll (out of 48 available).

In the noisy airplane, Delta had asked us to maintain silence while he communicated with the radio tower. I tried to communicate thru gestures to Sierra that I wanted her to rewind her slide film & take it out of her camera so that I could put it in the filmstrip camera & keep on shooting with that. She misunderstood, rewound the film too far so that it no longer had a tongue sticking out for rethreading, & handed me her camera instead. THEN she understood & began frantically trying to pry open the film cannister without exposing the film inside so that the tongue could be gotten out & the film could be loaded in my camera. The film got mangled & that was more or less the end of that roll. Down to ONE still camera &, hopefully, the ground camcorder! At least we got some good audio recording off the plane's sound system.

In the meantime, the plane was circling around the targetted drop area: the campus of Carnegie-Mellon University - picked because it's near an easily identifiable landmark (the Cathedral of Learning), because it has much open space for the planes to land on, & because there would be alotof people milling around outside. Juliet & I had put a "Missed Connections" in the City Paper (a weekly paper in many cities in the US) that read as follows:

"Missed Connections" or "Mis-Connecteds" or "I Saw Yous" (etc) are usually used by people who met someone briefly or just saw them somewhere without meeting them & who want to meet them again. A typical example might be something like "I saw you at Station Square. You had a red sports car & we kept looking at each other. Your friend Jennie introduced us but then you had to go. Can we meet again?"

Juliet & I had given a reading the week before (under the names of Party Teen on Couch #2 etta cetera - see entry 257) where we'd read Mis-Connecteds that our gang (the Kneehighs) had placed in various papers around the US (mainly Baltimore & Pittsburgh). This was partially to SEED the audience's mind in the hope that they'd read the next week's Mis-Connecteds & see the "UFOS ON CMU" one.

ANYWAY, we dropped the 950 paper airplanes over the campus - not sure whether we were actually hitting the target or not. The planes were of a type that flies loop-de-loops - chosen so that they'd stay in the air a fairly long time to increase the chances of people seeing them. We could see them flying all over the place. They looked great! We could see that many of them had landed on a golf course in Schenley Park next to CMU.

We returned to the airport, Delta flew back to B-More, & the rest of us headed back to P-Burgh to drop the film off to be developed & to head to the CMU campus to find out how many of the planes, if any, had made it there. We got there & were happy to find THAT THEY WERE EVERYWHERE!! The drop had actually been ON-TARGET! This's not an easy thing to do when you're flying in excess of 100mph & have other wind factors to take into consideration. We walked around & asked groups of students near where we saw planes if they'd seen the planes come down. None of them had. When we told them that we'd just flown over & that we'd dropped a thousand paper planes onto the campus, they expressed no curiousity AT ALL! They mostly stared dully or hostilely at me & made no move to even look at the pointed-out nearby planes. We didn't find any witnesses to tape-record an interview with & Mike Juliet was nowhere around to be found.

We went to the golf course next & there were paper planes everywhere. I went up to a few golfers who were surrounded by the papers & asked them if they'd seen them come down. They hadn't seen them & hadn't even noticed them all around them!? One guy did pick one up to read it & carried it off with him. We finally found a group of old men sitting around in the shade by the golf course building & one of them had seen the planes come down. They had a couple of the planes there with them. I asked the witness if he minded that I record an interview with him & he said he didn't want to be recorded because he was wanted by the police. I didn't believe this (or that my recording him would matter) but I respected his request & didn't record him. We talked substantially about the project. I explained the AAA somewhat to him - reading the slogans off the plane & talking about some of them somewhat.

The main AAA text on the plane was somewhat like this:

 

FREE ADMISSION TO RAVE IN SPACE!*

The Asssociation of

Autonomous Astronauts has launched

an information War against

the present-day state, corporate

and military monopoly of space travel.

 

What we need today is

an independent, community-based

space exploration program,

one that is not restricted by military,

scientific or corporate interests.

 

Only those that attempt the impossible will achieve the absurd.

The AAA moves in several directions at once.

Death to goverment space agencies everywhere.

All power to the Association of Autonomous Astronauts!

Space Travel - By Any Means Necessary

Dreamtime Is Upon Us!

Here Comes Everybody!

Space is the place.

The Christian millenium is right around the corner... may their world end with it!

Space travel is necessary - evolution implies it

Sex in space is necessary - evolution demands it

The Association of Autonomous Astronauts

is making the future happen.

The AAA asks, 'What is the point of going into space

only to replicate life on planet earth?'

Everything you ever wanted on planet earth, and never

received, will be yours in outer space.

 

http://www.t0.or.at/aaa

http:/www.deepdisc.com/aaa

http://www.uncarved.demon.co.uk

*must provide own transportation

The planes also had 5 rubber-stamps + an individual frame of super-8 film from my MIKE FILM project on each of them. The MIKE FILM was accompanied by my Baltimore P. O. Box address. One of the stampings read: Home Skiing is like Yard Sailing - an obscure reference to a fake attempt to start a silly fad thru the TV Hospital (see entries 183 - 189) & another tie-in to the "Missed Connection".

The old man that we talked with said that he thought that most people wouldn't be able to understand what it was all about & that if they'd even look at the planes they'd just throw them away in confusion. He seemed to understand the slogan "Only those that attempt the impossible will achieve the absurd" the most easily. He wanted to know if we were a "cult". I told him no.

Juliet & I had to leave to go to work. We stopped back at our house 1st & found that Mike Juliet had dropped off his camcorder footage. He had left his house at 7:30AM & hadn't gotten my message that the flight was starting late. As such, he'd waited at CMU between 10:45 & 1:30 & then gone inside to try to call me. When he came out the planes were everywhere. He'd missed the drop. He shot footage of people completely ignoring the planes laying around. Amazing.

Despite the footage fuck-ups & the lack of interest in the targetted audience, I'm happy that we managed to actually hit the target & to pull it off in general. To me, most people are hopeless robopaths - too busy following orders, being normal & being stupid to ever notice or care about anything unusual in their environment. This was an attempted seeding. It largely feel on (metaphorically) rocky ground: in the midst of hopelessly (?) dull people. College students: REACTIONARY MUDDLE AMERICA. Nonetheless, with a drop this large who knows who it may've reached. 4 website addresses were included. MAYBE SOMEBODY will check out the websites as a result. MAYBE SOMEBODY will have their mind tweaked a little. I'm sure the old men at the golf course did.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

257. Urban Myth of the Force That Prevents Building on the Railway Lands

- Railway Lands Central & West, Toronto, CacaNada

- Saturday, August 22, 1998, 9:30PM to 1:30AM

- There's a fairly large area of 'prime real estate' near the Toronto Harbor between Spadina (to the East) & Bathurst (to the West) & Front St (to the North) & the Gardiner Expressway (to the South) that's currently (as of August '98) a fenced-in grassland occupied by 10 or so 'hobos', a slew of insects, some foxes, & some deer, etc.. This area is right next to the Sky Dome (Toronto's sports & concert arena) & the CN Tower (a very tall tourist attraction) & is slated for 'development' by Hong Kong based Terry Hui. Hui is quoted in a business magazine as saying "Our Motivation is just to create some wealth for everyone." This, by building condos (or what have you) to replace the grasslands. Oh Really? Somehow I don't imagine that the people already living in this area are going to get any wealthier by being forced off the land. I always wonder about this type of 'visionary' economic thinking. There is NO WAY that I can think of to "create some wealth for everyone". There is simply a limited amount of wealth to be distributed & in ANY capitalist economic scheme this wealth is taken from the poor & snapped up by the rich. On the other hand, an equalization of the wealth by having the rich GIVE BACK what they've stolen from the poor IS POSSIBLE. This, however, would not be creating "some wealth for everyone". A notice posted at the edge of the grasslands read as follows:

CITY OF TORONTO NOTICE

AN APPLICATION HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE CITY BY GRAND ADEX DEVELOPMENTS FOR AN OFFICIAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND REZONING TO PERMIT A MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT COMPRISING RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL, AND OPEN SPACE USES AT A DENSITY OF 629,655 m2 IN TOTAL GROSS FLOOR AREA AND INCLUDES PROPERTIES IN THE AREAS KNOWN AS THE RAILWAY LANDS CENTRAL AND RAILWAY LANDS WEST.

IF MORE INFORMATION IS REQUIRED CALL: THE CITY OF TORONTO URBAN DEVELOPMENT SERVICE AT 392-7333

I rewrote this sign to read:

CITY OF TORONTO NOTICE

AN APPLICATION HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE CITY BY A CAUCUS OF THE NO-NO CLASS FOR AN OFFICIAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND UNZONING TO ADVOCATE AN EXPANSION OF THESE GRASSLANDS TO INCREASE THEIR CURRENT DENSITY OF GROSS FLOOR AREA FROM ITS 629,655 m2 SO THAT IT MAY OVERGROW THE CN TOWER, THE SKY DOME AND THE RAILWAY LANDS WASTE IN ORDER TO CREATE A RULING CLASS FREE ZONE.

IF LESS INFORMATION IS REQUIRED CALL: THE CITY OF TORONTO URBAN ENVELOPMENT SERVICE AT 760-3466

& pasted (with the assistance of etta cetera & Jubal Brown) the revised sign over the original one. The new phone # was the info line for the "Po-Po: Into the Wasteland" series that this action was part of.

The "Wasteland" events are illegal actions organized by Jubal Brown & AMEN! in which mostly 'abandoned' urban spaces are used for an evening. The previous 4 had been in buildings. Thanks to the EXTREMELY GENEROUS GIFT of Cinecycle operator Martin Heath of a filmstrip camera & a multitude of lenses, etta & I then proceeded to make a filmstrip having the appearance of a history of the area entitled "A History of the Toronto Railway Lands Central & West - Part 3". For this we photographed pictures & such-like in the special collections section of the Toronto Reference Library & the Metro Urban Affairs Library (thanks to the very helpful librarians) + the grasslands & our new sign, etc.. After a shot of the Hui quote mentioned above we had a shot of an ad that read "Now Anyone Can Get A Cellphone" with grafitti under it reading "Even the Homeless?". On the night of the event, I was sitting by the new sign ushering people to under the Spadina bridge where things were to start when police pulled up - ostensibly because of a complaint of people on the railroad tracks. They said they didn't want to break up our party but that they wanted to make sure no-one crossed the tracks. They went under the bridge, where perhaps 80 to 100 people were assembled, & snooped around - eventually finding some explosives of Steven Rife (the fire performer for the evening). After forcing him into a demonstration of what he was going to do, the police (astonishingly enough) left without further interference. This may've been because they were under instructions to not have confrontations with the anarchists in town for the Active Resistance gathering (a similar event to which from 10 years previous had been somewhat violent) which this event was somewhat related to. After they left, I presented the filmstrip - introducing it as a found historical strip for which I didn't have the soundtrack. Throughout the strip, the graphics used in my Pictogrameting action (see 203) were interspersed without explanation next to & on top of the historical illustrations. When asked what they meant, I said I didn't know. As the strip progressed, I gradually made it more obvious that this was no ordinary history by reading the bogus NOTICE aloud & by pointing out the Hui quote & the grafitti. When the filmstrip ended, people thought that my presentation was over & they were led thru the grasslands to the main area where events were to happen. In the meantime, I rushed to put on my player belt (see 212 etc) & to grab the Pictogramet Sign & to put on some taped together plants to use as camouflage. Then I scurried around the perimeter of the people - sometimes showing the sign & sometimes getting close enough for people to hear the tapes. While this was happening, etta cetera mixed with the crowd spreading the rumor that there was an Urban Myth that a force existed in the field that prevented building there. The basic idea was to establish the pictograms as an historical presence thru the filmstrip & to then have the pictograms come alive in the actual space as a peripheral phenomena that never came close enough to be clearly perceived & to tie it all together with the Urban Myth.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

253. Volunteers Collective "A Year of Sundays" Release Party @ the Chatham College Swimming Pool

- Chatham College Swimming Pool in the (former) Mellon Mansion, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, March 29th, 1998, 8 to 9:30PM

- The Volunteers Collective is a project started in '89 (see entries 125, 127, 181, 242, 243, 245, 247, 250, & 251) that's gone thru various phases since then - the phase most recently preceding this event being 2 monthly series. A series on the1st Tuesday of every month @ the Red Room @ Normal's Store/Performance-Space started in January of 1997 & a series on the last Sunday of every month (in theory) @ various sites in Pennsylvania started in March of 1997. This was the release party for the Widémouth cassette (#18) entitled "A Year of Sundays" from this latter. It was intended to be a climax to the series since I've somewhat decided to not work within the Volunteers Collective context anymore. This decision was made largely to disassociate myself from the Baltimore VC which doesn't seem to have a conceptual orientation along the lines of what I'm currently most interested in. My preference is for what I'm provisionally calling "CircumSubstantial Playing" - meaning playing in which the whole circumstances under which the playing occurs is created/found & concentrated on as the primary stimulus for substance to be improvised out of. Such an approach factors in social & physical elements as being of high importance & isn't necessarily concerned with "music". "Music"-production seeming to be the main point of the Baltimore VC series. I advertised this event with the following e-mail notice:

Sunday, March 29th, 1998, at 8PM, in the Chatham College Swimming Pool located in the lower depths of what was the Mellon Mansion, people who think they might have fun doing such a thing (or something or another) will gather in the pool with street clothes on (no bathing suits PLEASE) to make sound while a smoke machine fogs up the area. I'm asking people to bring metal salad mixing bowls to float with candles in them - to also be used as percussion instruments. It's also suggested that waterproof sound makers be brought. As if that's not enough, the pool lights will be off so at various times & in various combinations the lighting will consist of the candles, a strobe light, & a (hopeful) video projection of (a so-far unedited) edit/compilation of the (presumably) complete Volunteers Collective footage - which is quite alot. This vaudeo will be projected onto the smoke, at least, & (dubiously) onto a screen planted above or in the pool as well - resulting in a perplexity of reflections. I'll probably bring masks to be worn by those not afraid to have their perceptions further confused. This is not advised for people inclined towards DROWNING under oddball sports conditions!

I did manage to complete the vaudeo edit - with sound from 23 sessions & visuals from 19. The selections used were highly fragmented & usually short & structured with substantial black space around the actual shot & separating sections so that they would project onto different parts of the screen, so that they would intrude suddenly, & so that they wouldn't play long enough to completely muddy the reverberant acoustic environment. The screen was made from white nylon Spandex & was approximately 10 feet high by 15 feet wide & was stretched perpendicular to the dividing line between the shallow & deep ends of the pool. Anything projected on it could be seen from both sides clearly. Wanting to have this be a potentially participatory experience for whoever might attend, this wasn't restricted to 'veteran' players to the exclusion of 'amateurs/students'. As such, a mix of the crude & the subtle was to be expected. Given that I started @ precisely 8PM & that most people wandered in after that, entering the room must've been disorienting. The strobe back-lit the screen & the video projection front-lit it. In the foggy dark, it was hard to see where you were walking & there were power cords & other objects around to be careful of. People danced in the strobe & the projection, played in the pool & wandered around the perimeter. There were big plastic water jugs as percussion & flotation devices + kickboards floating in the pool. I'd provided various small instruments, masks, & siamese twin outfits (which weren't used) & etta cetera & I provided 10 squeaky toys usually sold for dogs to play with. These were variously shaped, such as as a human foot, a chicken leg, etc.. Rachel Matthews & Sharyn Lee Frederick brought metal salad mixing bowls to float - one of which had a lit candle in it. Michael Pestel had arranged for the school to provide the fog machine, the Spandex, the strobe, the vaudeo projector, the pool, the VCR, & the sound system. We, unfortunately, had to pay a 'lifeguard' to be there who did next to nothing (including even be there all the time) & who was the only person present to be paid. The darkness & the chaos contributed to what I suspect was a conglomerate of quasi-autistic experiences for the attendees. I spent most of my time doing the lifeguard's job & making sure no-one drowned, tripped over wires, or otherwise hurt themselves, - as well as managing the technical end, etc.. Meanwhile, Carol danced, wearing a tutu, creating shadows - often in what I thought of as a 'dream-like' isolation from others @ the relatively uncluttered perimeter of the deep end. etta cetera slid across the floor on the leg-ends of a black velvet pants suit her mother had given her. I wore my "Hir Suit" (mechanic's coveralls with wigs attached) with a plastic "gorilla" chest bared & a large red sombrero. People wandered in & out - some mainly in there in the dark & possibly never even seeing who else was around them squeaking & screaming & throwing the water jugs at the walls. At least 23 people participated ranging in age from, perhaps, 13 to 46. These included those mentioned above + Ailecia Ruscin + Lowell + Margaret (?) & her son + Greg Pierce + Mark Tierney + Edgar Bucholtz + Terry + Ava Collins + many others whose names I don't know. My main criticisms might be that the live sound didn't always interest me & that the lighting wasn't disorienting enough. Nonetheless, given the dangers of the pool environment, I'm happy that we could push it as far as we did without anyone getting hurt.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

247. Air Drop #1: Code Name: Uniform Foxtrot Oscar

- overtop Baltimore, us@

- Saturday, September 28th, 1997, 3:30 to 4:30PM

- I (tANGO, aLPHA cHARLIE {Practicing Promotextual & Air Dresser}) plotted this action with pilot Delta Bravo. We decided to drop approximately 1,000 paper airplanes from a small plane over Baltimore - coincidentally simultaneous with the 2nd annual book fair being held in the Mount Vernon area there. Delta & I agreed to have a text printed on the planes that would vaguely give it the appearance of an advertisement & to use green paper to be suggestive of money. The basic text was:

"Free Ticket Out Of Baltimore

LIMITED OFFER!

Redeemable Anywhere Within City Limits

Le Groupe Absence"

This text was accompanied by drawings of a 'UFO' designed to go through an animated sequence with a punchline (of sorts)if & when the paper airplane's unfolded. I spent about 16 hours preparing for this by folding the airplanes. I was significantly assisted by many people - the most active of whom was Alpha Charlie who probably helped fold for about 6 hours or more. The paper plane type chosen was the one I remembered from my youth as the one most capable of flying acrobatically: a rectangle with 2 diagonal corners & 2 flaps. Delta Bravo & I sat in the front seats of the plane while Juliet Papa sat in the back vaudeoing. I opened the window next to my seat - very nervous about the 100+ m.p.h. winds grabbing at it while I did so. The planes were mainly dropped over Wyman Park (because a group of friends were waiting there as observers in an "X" shape) & over Mount Vernon because of the Book Fair. In the interest of a massive dumping, I held the window open over the fair while Juliet Papa dumped a garbage bag with about 350 to 400 of the planes out in rapid succession. The park observers said the planes could be seen reflecting the sun in a fabulous array of loop-de-loops. A ground search later yielded about 10 of the planes in the targetted areas. How many actually reached the ground (rather than tree & building tops) is hard to estimate. How many people saw them descend is as much a mystery to us as we assume the planes' purpose would be to anyone who did see or find them. It was my hope, as with many of my actions, that this would stimulate flights of the imagination & act counter to closed-minded-ness by providing a mystery for which there'd be no obvious solution. Alas, as 1 friend has pointed out to me, the typical human mental process seems to be to simply shove unsolved mysteries into the easiest available mental compartment, regardless of how ultimately unworkable it is, & to forget about them. Even a cult-of-the-mysterious-paper-airplanes would be preferable to that. "Le Groupe Absence" might be described as a 'patanational corporate mirage that I was once invited to be alien diplomat (or some such) for. This was my 1st action in its name.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

246. Volunteers Collective @ Sonambient Theater

- Anonymous Family Reunion, Sonambient® Theater, Bally, us@

- Sunday, August 31st, 1997, afternoon

- This last session of interacting with the Bertoia sound sculpture environment had concert flute & accordion added to the instrumentation listed above. The participants were Anonymous (Pittsburgh), Anonymous (Pittsburgh), Anonymous (Baltimore), Anonymous (Baltimore), Anonymous (WFMU - the East Orange New Jersey free form radio station), Anonymous (WFMU), Anonymous (Bally), Anonymous (Philadelphia), Anonymous (Chatham College), Anonymous (Chatham College), Anonymous (Allentown), & Anonymous (New Jersey).

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

242. Party-Teen auf der Couch Nr. 2 & Sir Henry präsentieren ein Unzert (unzertifiziertes Konzert)

- Nightly Irritainment im Schmaltzwald, Prater, Berlin, Germany

- Saturday, July 26th, 1997, 11:15PM to Sunday, July 26th, 1997, 3AM

- After seeing a film entitled "Scream" & noting that 1 of the otherwise unnamed characters was identified in the credits as something like "party teen on couch", I was inspired by this typical movie credit practice of identifying unnamed extras with descriptions. Hence, I took on the new name of "Party Teen on Couch #2" - which Florian Cramer was kind enough to translate into German for me. John Henry Nyenhuis, with whom I've collaborated as part of Klauhütte Bangzeit 200(0) (see entries #185 & 187) & independently from that group (see entry #194), was living in Berlin as the organist (now named "Sir Henry") for the Schmaltzwald & he & I decided to present an uncert together. The "Schmaltzwald", for those of you who don't understand German, is a pun based on "Schwarzwald" (Black Forest). "Schmaltzwald" meaning something like "Grease Forest" - with "Schmaltz" having the double meaning of overly sentimental (or some such) - especially as related to popular music/culture (just as "Grease" in the US might refer to 1950's popular culture). Florian translated "Uncert" to "Unzert" to make a pun combining "unzertifiziertes" (uncertified) with "konzert" - approximating the original English portmanteau word combining "uncertainty" (or "Uncertainty Principle") with "concert". I presented vaudeos & films & played electric piano, sampler/sequencer, 2 synthesizers, 4 mixers, midi-patcher, effects, tapes, & radio. Sir Henry played organ. We played 4 approximately half-hour sets & I presented 16mm films in between them: "How Orgone Cinema Treats Its Visiting Filmmakers", "Funny Farm Summit Meeting" (particularly appropriate since the Schmaltzwald is largely the creation of Laura Kikauka - who also created the Funny Farm), & "Subtitles (16mm version)". John Henry was very upset about a fax that he'd received from 1 of the Schmaltzwald's personnel in which he was basically accused of being a traitor. The organ that he was playing belonged to the sender of the fax. During the 4th & final set, in a display of great emotion as response to this fax (& the events that had led up to it), John played the organ with VOLCANIC INTENSITY - eventually overturning the organ & kicking its backside. The audience loved it - reminding me of how popular smashing instruments is in rock'n'roll. This led to my renaming him "Sir Henry the Organ Slayer".

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

241. Language Experiment

- from Florian & Berit's Friedenau apartment through the streets onto the S-Bahn, [walking again, to a 2nd S-Bahn,?] through the streets again, through the Jan Amos Comenius Garten & ending at a Rosicrucian display window

- Berlin, Germany

- Friday, July 25th, 1997, afternoon

- A collaboration between myself (Party Teen on Couch #2), Florian Cramer, Berit Schuck, & etta cetera

2: As had never happened before, the dog was well-bred. T-shirt 8b. Leaving Akademgorod.

[apparent arrival at the locked gate of the Comenius Garten - which we proceed to climb over]

ec: Hold the phone.

2: The submarine docks there.

ec: & the raft-boat enters. [laughter]

2: The submarine docks there!

ec: [laughter]

2: Us!

ec: [laughter] You..

FC: No, let psyche, psyche undermine the self-contained lawn of the construction that strives to our habit. Like the blood peeing [?] [unintelligible] below the supposed supposition of Bohemian physics.

2: T-shirt 8b: suppository.

BS: [singing:] She had never known that humans are so beautiful.

2: [laughter] She thought about all the different things she'd eaten that day.

FC: To debunk notions of what we are going to, to eyeball in certain streams that run below the ordinary, the ordinary misrepresentation &..

2: SMOOTHER!!

FC: ..& like in a female way of endings grasped & answered [unintelligible] well we can actually draw a line to the gates of light because we encounter certain complexes that drag their caves who the groundwork & [unintelligible] this might be considered a strange coincidence with what's,

ec: Higher.

FC: .. what's related to the overall setting.

ec: Food did not digest.

2: She went on a diet.

ec: [laughter]

FC: Below the [unintelligible] we have the oil condition & this here is a UNIX operating system which extends over the entire gap & I..

ec: Are there separate computers?

FC: &, no, there - this is here a ministry of federal research plant..

2: She saw him write a collision.

FC: ..&, below that BME [?] we got [unintelligible] perspiration of a classical Balinasian setting & now Novgorod-style lex-

ec: The [unintelligible] that was sucking my head was similar to a labyrinth instead of this UNIX system.

2: He deposited, somehow or another.

ec: The food went down smoothly. [laughter]

BS: [singing:] She statement this longing for communion.

2: [laughter]

ec: This is the beginning of..

2: Butt-soup.

ec: [laughter] The diet is continued.

FC: [unintelligible] higher? Could be what was established as the raw, raw matter to sodomize what tissues comprehend.

ec: "The Umbrellas of Chambourgh". [A reference to a film with a similar name]

2: T-shirt 10. Yellow.

ec: [laughter] Um..

2: Brown. Red?

ec: Navy blue? Chartreuse. Maize.

2: Mauve.

FC: [unintelligible] architecture..

2: Green.

FC: ..which marks the end of the oscillating node & we've the Balinasian, Balinasian word balance as opposed to the nodes of finished teachings.

2: Clear. Monty Cantsin!

[loud splashing water]

ec: A little oregano, a little parsley.

2: A little oregano, a little parsley. Blue. Monty Cantsin, Monty Cantsin.

ec: Karen Eliot.

2: Neoism.

ec: Nein.

2: Neoism.

FC: [unintelligible] leave a wrap, a rap arising, a wrap-arising condition of a ragged setting.

2: Wa Salaam.

FC: The vaporizing condition is art emote paying a nocturnal, nocturnal eye to, or against, the ableizing Balinasian Arizona state.

BS: [unintelligible]

ec: Is the strongest plant the beginning of the UNIX complex?

FC: Thanks, it's the dan or the dean going from the, from the cousin's expanse to the law & order..

2: SMOOTHER!

FC: ..ground & we now just face what we have seen & the love condition of overall angst ours.

ec: It's boiling to be a poet's wet dream. Blue, red?

2: Pale yellow.

ec: John! [laughter]

2: There's a john..

ec: There's a john that needs to be slit in order to prepare the..

2: Shall we dance?

ec: Let's swim. [laughter]

2: T-shirt 8b, 4. Monty Cantsin.

[at the Comenius statue]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

226. Egy Gyümölcsérlo Társulat Torténete / Story of a Fructiferous Society

- XXXPanzio A Neoizmus?! Anti-Esemény / XXXPanzio In the Name of Neoism?! Anti-Event - Madách Imre Müvelódési Központ / Culture Center, Vác, Hungary

- Saturday, July 5th, 1997, 6 to 6:21PM

- In the name of the Ballooning One I evoke the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft. The Ballooning One wrote: "Once upon a time there was a Fructiferous Society. At one point it consisted of The Forked One and The Ballooning One and others and they met in Hungary and it was GOOD." & it was translated into Hungarian by András L. Frenyo & it was GOOD:

Egyszer volt, hol nem volt,

1 10 5 1 3 2 7 4 9 6 7 4 8 1 10 2 7 4 9

E gy SZ e r v O l t , h O l n e m v O l t

.1, .2, .3, .4, .6, .8, .9, 1, 1.2, 1.7,1.8,1.9, 2.1,2.2, 2.3 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8

volt egyszer

2 7 4 9 1 10 5 1 3

v O l t e gy SZ e r

3.2,3.3,3.4,3.6 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 4, 4.1

egy Gyümölcsérlö Társulat.

1 10 10 1 10 9 4 7 10 3 4 2 9 8 3 5 8 4 6 9

e gy Gy ü m ö l CS é r l ö T á r S u l a t .

4.4, 4.5, 4.7, 4.8, 4.9, 5, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4,5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 6, 6.1,6.2, 6.3,6.4,6.5,6.6,6.7

Volt a Villás-Jellemü,

2 7 4 9 6 2 6 4 8 5 3 1 4 1 10 3

v O l t a v i ll á S - j e ll e m ü ,

7.6,7.7,7.8,7.9, 8.1, 8.3,8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 8.7, 8.9, 9, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4

a Ballon-Jellemü,

6 9 6 4 7 8 3 1 4 1 10 3

a B a ll O n - j e ll e m ü ,

10, 10.3,10.4, 10.5, 10.6,10.7, 11, 11.1,11.2,11.4,11.5,11.6

és voltak mások

10 5 2 7 4 9 6 1 10 8 5 7 1

é S v O l t a k m á S O k

12.3,12.4, 12.6, 12.7,12.8,12.9,13, 13.1 13.3,13.4,13.5,13.6,13.7

ök találkoztak Magyarországon

2 1 9 6 4 8 4 1 7 5 9 6 1 10 6 10 6 3 7 3 5 8 2 7 8

ö k t a l á l k O Z t a k M a gy a r O r SZ á g O n

14, 14.1, 14.3,14.4,14.5,14.6,14.7,14.8,14.9,15,15.1,15.2,15.3, 15.5,15.6, 15.7,15.8,15.9, 16, 16.1, 16.2, 16.3,16.4,16.5,16.6

és az jó volt.

10 5 6 5 3 4 2 7 4 9

é S a Z j ó v O l t .

17.2,17.3, 17.5, 17.7, 17.9, 18, 18.2,18.3,18.4,18.5

The #s over the phonemes indicate the track #s or 'performer' #s. The #s under the phonemes indicate their approximate position in seconds & tenths of seconds in the 10 track computer edit version. Spacial placement leaves alot to be desired in this html version. (Actually, there are 12 tracks - as explained below)

Track 01: e, e, e, e, e, e, ü, e, e, e, e, k, k, k, k, k

Track 02: v, v, v, ö, v, v, v, ö, g, v

Track 03: r, r, r, r, j, ü, j, ü, r, r, j

Track 04: l, l, l, l, l, l, l, l, ll, ll, ll, ll, l, l, l, ó, l

Track 05: SZ, SZ, S, S, S, S, Z, SZ, S, Z

Track 06: h, a, a, i, a, a, a, a, a, a, a, a

Track 07: O, O, O, O, CS, O, O, O, O, O, O, O, O

Track 08: n, á, u, á, n, á, á, á, n

Track 09: t, t, t, ö, t, t, t, b, t, t, t, t

Track 10: gy, m, gy, gy, gy, m, é, m, m, é, m, m, gy, é

1st the simple story was written in English. Then this was translated into Hungarian by András L. Frenyo. Then a slow reading of it by András was recorded & timed at app. 20 seconds. Then the text was broken into the phonemes & read into the SoundEdit program very slowly to enable easier editing. These tracks were duplicated 10 times. Different phonemes were isolated on different tracks as shown above. After laborious editing the slow phonetic reading was condensed to app. 20 seconds in such a way that the vertical coordination between the tracks still followed the horizontal continuity of the original text.

The tracks are then played in a progressively accumulative manner:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

1+2, 2+3, 3+4, 4+5, 5+6, 6+7, 7+8, 8+9, 9+10

1-3, 2-4, 3-5, 4-6, 5-7, 6-8, 7-9, 8-10

1-4, 2-5, 3-6, 4-7, 5-8, 6-9, 7-10

1-5, 2-6, 3-7, 4-8, 5-9, 6-10

1-6, 2-7, 3-8, 4-9, 5-10

1-7, 2-8, 3-9, 4-10

1-8, 2-9, 3-10

1-9, 2-10

1-10

11.

12.

Track 11 is the recording of all the phonemes added together. Due to inadequacies of the editing program's playback abilities (frequent pauses interupt the playback as the # of tracks played back simultaneously increases) this track is played to make its predecessors slightly more comprehensible. Track 12 is the original regular reading of the text (ie: not 1 built from individual phonemes - but simply spoken) to bring it into a final clarity.

A live performance of this would be possible with 10 reciters each pronouncing the phonemes of 1 of the tracks in the same order as described above. A conductor &/or extremely accurate visual timer would be helpful. Slowing the tempo would make it more plausible. Ideally, the performers would only speak using their track phonemes for at least 1 day leading up to the more 'staged' presentation.

- the Ballooning One - April '97

The resultant recording was used as the soundtrack for a video which begins with the title: "Egy Gyümölcsérlo Társulat Torténete" after which the gradual phonemic puzzle assembly begins. Each time a phoneme is pronounced its visual text symbol appears in a microsecond flash. The 1st 10 tracks are heard & seen & then the image becomes white even though the sound continues. Text finally reappears when track 12 is heard & then a credit appears & the video/vaudeo's over. This tape was projected onto a white wall. The Forked One led in The Ballooning One & The Forked One Proxy who were within the same pair of specially prepared white coveralls. Both were nude inside the suit. The Forked One Proxy hung upside down from the shoulders of The Ballooning One with her body facing forward away from The Ballooning One's front. Her legs were through the sleeves & her arms were in the legs. The Ballooning One's arms held onto a t-shirt tied around her waist so that he could help hold her up. The coveralls had a velcro seam all the way around the vertical middle so that the suit could split in half. Each side also had a velcro seam. The head area was covered by a velcro-attached pillow-case as was the crotch area. As such, neither of their bodies showed except where The Forked One Proxy's feet protruded from the arm-holes & where The Ballooning One's feet protruded from the feet-holes. This was probably very confusing for the viewers. The Forked One braced his hands against the projection wall, with his back to the audience, & gave a lecture about Adamitic language & The Fructiferous Society & related subjects. The video was projected & the sound was heard. The Ballooning One & The Forked One Proxy struggled to stay upright while The Forked One Proxy attempted lightbulb waves with her feet. Eventually, The Forked One Proxy screamed to let The Ballooning One know that she couldn't take it anymore & they collapsed to the floor. During all this, the suit gradually ripped apart - revealing the confusedly intertwined bodies. On the floor, they wrestled & tried to make their joint appearance as convoluted as possible. Different parts of the velcro adhered to each other so that new suit configurations were created. Eventually, they dragged themselves off down a hallway - still knotted together. The vaudeo ended, the lecture ended.

" Towards an attempt to promote a Turko-Calvinist Alliance which should free Budapest from the Pope and Hapsburg oppression!"

(- the Forked One - June '97)

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

218. Sound Thinking: Phase III: Mimesis

- XXXPanzio A Neoizmus?! Anti-Esemény / XXXPanzio In the Name of Neoism?! Anti-Event - Migazzi tér / Migazzi Square, Vác, Hungary

- Friday, July 4th, 1997, 4:15PM

- I made a recording of me playing a large variety of fairly portable instruments: whistles, bells, trumpet, trombone, thunder-sheet, wood-blocks, temple-blocks, chain, large balloon, small xylophone, crow call, etc.. Each of the instruments was played somewhat minimally. Another recording was made of instructions about how to mime playing these instruments in sync with the playback of the 1st tape. Using my Player-Belt (see #207), I played the tape of the instrument sounds on 1 tape-player & amplified it through the 2 speakers. On the other tape-player, I played the instructions & followed them while listening to them via headphones. The result was that I mimed the playing of instruments whose sounds were audible. Given that the sound-produced apparatus was strapped around my waist & given that my actions were attention-grabbing, it wasn't always obvious where the sound originated from. Unfortunately, the 2 tape-players were never quite in sync for any of the presentations of this so my miming was sometimes ahead of the sounds & sometimes behind. Simultaneous with this, Gordon W. was pasting a "Monty Cantsin" sign onto a nearby equestrian statue. Gordon & Jen Lahn & I later wandered around Vác pasting up the signs wherever we felt like identifying Monty Cantsin.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

217. Neoista Közoltár Felavatása / Neoist!? Public Alter Ceremony

- XXXPanzio A Neoizmus?! Anti-Esemény / XXXPanzio In the Name of Neoism?! Anti-Event - Posta Park, Vác, Hungary

- Friday, July 4th, 1997, 2 to 4PM

- At the former site of a 4 or 5 meter high statue of Lenin there was a rough cement spot where the statue had supposedly been & a nearby pedestal that seemed like a statue mount with nothing on it. The pose had been of Lenin in a giant overcoat leaning forward slightly with his right arm extended & with his hand as if opening a door by twisting a door-knob. Supposedly before the monument had been demolished or removed people had written graffiti on its back to the effect that the Turks had only been able to rule Hungary for so long & the Russians wouldn't last forever either. People were said to've climbed up the sculpture & to've put bread & other objects in Lenin's hand. This was the inspiration for our site specificity. On what might've been the hottest day of the Hungarian summer, I stood where the statue had been in the same pose wearing a large overcoat. I was wearing my Player-Belt (see the description in #212) which was playing a tape of some of my synthesizer & sampler material. I held this pose for a fairly long time while a few people came & spontaneously altered me. One of the XXXPanzio organizers put a communist newspaper in my right hand & a friend of ours (Yannos?) who had performed a similar action there before put a roll in my left hand. I was eventually carried in this rigid pose to the top of the pedestal by BruSeX, Brian Damage & others - all of whom were wearing winter overcoats & clothes-hangers on their heads. A table of free food catered by a local restaurant (possibly called "Hala'szkert Étterem" - which I crudely translate as "Fisherman's Park Restaurant") was alongside the pedestal & the base of the pedestal itself was festooned with various Neoist icons (or implied icons) such as clocks stopped at 6 o'clock & steam irons + maybe some books signed in shiny gold ink by Monty Cantsin, etc.. Amen!, Jen Lahn, Gordon W., BruSeX, Brian, & Tadeusz Varon Less & others all walked around rigidly holding their right arms outstretched in memory/mockery of the Lenin. Brian gave a compelling "Leader of the Lower East Side" type of speech. I stayed still, sweating bullets & struggling to keep my right arm sticking out. Various "Lenins" mounted next to me & proclamations were made in Hungarian & English. Angela Idealism came & she & Amen! screamed at each other. Sickened by her egoism, Gordon W. said something like "Angela, this is communism, we don't have time for your bullshit, we're all Lenins now!". Angela started throwing vegetables at Amen! & a large radish, or some such, stuck in the front of his head-hanger. I was eventually carried off my mount & I relaxed from my pose & the event diffused. A good time was had by some.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

210. ["Prima Vista" (by Mauricio Kagel)

- Industrial Arts Co-Op Benefit - IAC Garage at the Brew House, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, May 3rd, 1997, 8:40 to 9PM

- See entry 206 for an introductory description of this. Unlike the previous presentation, this involved both manipulated playback of previous rehearsal tapes + some live playing of instruments (mostly those used in those rehearsals). Dave (Ho Chan) Shim made fresh tapes from the previously used ones of Ed-Um Bucholtz & Michael Johnsen by processing them electronically & then manipulated these live. Michael Johnsen alternated between playing Dave's & my rehearsal tapes. Ed-Um played french horn & I vocalized & played whistles, bulb horn(s), harmonica, slide whistle, bells, etc.. As with the preceding presentation, in the recordings used, I played trombone, voice, harmonica, whistles, tuning fork, duck call, & bells; Dave played sine-wave generator; Ed-Um played french horn; & Michael played baritone & tenor saws.]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

204. Picktogrameting

- The sidewalks of downtown Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, November 30th, 1996, 1:30 to 3:30PM

- I made a 32 X 40 inch picket sign with graphics on both sides & no words. On 1 side I painted in red highly bit-mapped images of, "reading" from left to right & top to bottom, a pair of scissors ($) [not shown here due to a lack of the proper font] "chasing" an airplane (() overtop a mathematical symbol of 3 horizontal lines with a diagonal slash thru them (=) [not shown here due to a lack of the proper font] next to a check mark in a rectangular box () [not shown here due to a lack of the proper font]. The pixilation of these symbols rendered them almost incomprehensible as any of the above. This was partially "remedied" by drawing over them with black marker. On the other side was a drawing using black marker again of the international pictograms for telegrams & bathtubs. The image for telegrams shows a lightning bolt across a card. This was placed so that the bolt is headed into the tub. These symbols were largely chosen as "nonsense" although the lightning/tub-with-water juxtaposition was calculated to be provocative/evocative. Since this picket was made with the intention of using it in "guerrilla" actions, I researched the Pennsylvania laws regarding picketing, etc, to try to learn about what I could be arrested for. The only remotely relevant law I found was:

from: Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated

Statute 5507. Obstructing highways and other public passages

(a) Obstructing. - A person, who, having no legal privilege to do so, intentionally or recklessly obstructs any highway, railroad track or public utility right-of-way, sidewalk, navigable waters, other public passage, whether alone or with others, commits a summary offense, or, in case he persists after warning by a law officer, a misdemeanor of the third degree. No person shall be deemed guilty of an offense under this subsection solely because of a gathering of persons to hear him speak or otherwise communicate, or solely because of being a member of such a gathering.

(b) Refusal to move on. -

(1) A person in a gathering commits a summary offense if he refuses to obey a reasonable official request or order to move:

(i) to prevent obstruction of a highway or other public passage; or

(ii) to maintain public safety by dispersing those gathered in dangerous proximity to a fire or other hazard.

(2) An order to move, addressed to a person whose speech or other lawful behavior attracts an obstructing audience, shall not be deemed reasonable if the obstruction can be readily remedied by police control of the size or location of the gathering.

(c) Definition. - As used in this section the word "obstructs" means renders impassable without unreasonable inconvenience or hazard.

Underlining [not visible here] mine. - anonymous

1 of the things that I found interesting about this was the use of the word "reasonable". It's funny to me, e.g., that if "obstructs" is defined as "without unreasonable hazard" it's considered "reasonable" to arrest someone for it. As usual, I wonder about how valid I would find any arbiter of "reasonable" to be in a courtroom situation. This law text was then printed out in "Zapf Dingbats 1" font.

50 copies of this were printed in black on red card-stock. The street action consisted of my "picketing" with the sign & giving people the hand-out as an "explanation" when they were extroverted &/or friendly enough to approach me. The basic intent was to use the "loaded" context of the picket sign to try to catalyze people into reading a "heavy" meaning into what might otherwise ordinarily be hardly even noticed as "just a picture" or as "nonsense". I got into at least 30 fairly interesting interactions with people during this. 1 guy interpreted the telegrams/bathtubs sign as meaning "de-oppression" (or some such). He claimed to've once been on death row & said that it made him think of that & electrocution. 1 young girl thought it meant that "people should stop drownding their children". An adult with her explained that there had been alot about that on the news lately. 1 person speculated that the scissors "chasing" the airplane might be trying to "clip its wings." When people asked me what it meant I gave various responses. Sometimes I said "The beginning is near!" as a variation on the old "The end is near!" cliché. Sometimes I told people it meant "nothing" & that "I just like to walk around with this & see how people react." Sometimes I asked people to interpret it for me. Sometimes when I gave out the hand-out as a "souvenir" I explained that if they typed it into their computers in "Zapf Dingbats" font & then converted it into a text font they'd "get a punchline". 1 person even seemed remotely likely to try it. 4 friends of mine (Fabio & Donna & Alisa & Greg) followed me at a discrete distance & photographed me. 1 drunk guy noticed that he was being photoed & aggressively confronted them wanting to know why he was being photographed & whether "he'd passed the test."

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

200. a sO-cALLED wHATEVER

- Music Gallery, Toronto, CacaNada

- Friday, September 8th, 1995, 8:00PM

- This was divided into 4 parts:

1st, the "Total Mobile Home Suitcase" (named after the micro-cinema run by Rebecca Barten & David Sherman in San Francisco that the suitcase was semi-inspired by) was placed on the lap of each audience member & opened. With each opening a different short audio piece was heard & the suitcase was then closed. When the suitcase reached a friend that I hadn't seen for 8 years (Alan Lord), it greeted him with "Hey, Baby". Another audience member pulled out a pouch of tobacco & pointed to it when the suitcase played a coughing sound for him. The 2nd part consisted of Colin Hinz & myself playing the double groove sides of "Usic - -1". Colin played on a turntable that he'd made that has a wider variety of speeds than normal. Colin dropped fishplates on the record while playing it - just as he had during 1 part of the same record (on which he's represented remaking the "Official Wafer Face Record"). The 3rd part began with a straight presentation of my film "Diszey Spots" & was followed by my film "Funny Farm Summit Meeting". This latter is a film of a nudist mask party at the Funny Farm - a 19 room farm house in Ontario covered from floor to ceiling with kitsch & novelty items (etc..) collected, created, & organized thematically by the humorous "mastermind" of Laura Kikauka. This was where I'd been residing for the previous year. The film's sound-track was accompanied by John Henry Nyenhuis's playing grand piano whilst naked wearing the same mask that he was shown wearing in the film (whilst also playing piano) & by myself playing synthesizers & sampler while also naked & wearing the same mask as in the film. The 4th part was the fabulous world premier of my "A Year & a Day at the Funny Farm Bogus Piano Concerto - in 2 Rapid Bowel Movements". This involved John Henry playing keyboard while I played synthesizer modules, sampler, sequencer, midi-patcher, multi-verb, etc.. The relationship between our 2 parts was a sort of intricate mutual subversion in which John played with an almost super-human virtuosity & I mutated & immersed his pianistic linearity. The structure was such that John Henry began by playing furiously (in the "Left Wing Movement") & gradually slowed down. He began the 2nd, & last movement (the "Chicken Wing Movement"), playing minimally but triggering more notes than he touched. As this last movement progressed he gradually returned to furious playing but his pitch output was drastically reduced by my controlling. As such, the audience was presented with a variety of relationships between what his fingers were actually doing & what they actually heard as a result. Simultaneously with this was the projection of an extreme slow-motion film of mine (collaboratively made with the loveable Orgone Cinema folks) entitled "How Orgone Cinema Treats Its Visiting Filmmakers". This film, at 24fps, is only 5:40 long - but in this projection it was extended to 45:00 by having the projectionist play bits of it in both forward & reverse. The film features, amongst other things, fertilized duck eggs being thrown at the back of my head.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

193. Klauhütte Bangzeit 200's "Exotische Ausgrabung - The Impacted Nectarine Vexations of Mouldy Vinyl Reincarnations (A Tableau of Ersatz Exoticism)"

- Marstall, München, Germany

- May 27, 1994, 6PM to May 28, 1994, 8AM

- KBZ 2000 became KBZ 200 for this. All of the intended elements of Ersatz Exoticism were present. Robin Lybecher (from Denmark by way of Berlin) & Bastiaan Maris (from the Netherlands by way of Berlin) made a large metal tiki head with flaming eyes & a "volcano" for the large wok to sit on that Gordon W. would cook his fabulous Thai noodles on as part of the event. Both of these were outside at the entrance. The music there was provided by Plastikville Studios' 8-track cartridge release of the 3 Ersatz Exotica standards. This 8-track was ceremonially hot-glued into the player by Laura Kikauka on stage during the evening as a traditional favorite. Laura effervesced in frequent costume changes. Further outside sound was provided by a primitive "fire organ" made for the event & primarily played by Bastiaan. Inside, there was a bar in the foyer & one in the square theatre space where the majority of the action was. They served Mai-Tais & other drinks. DJ Sir Spinner Fine Vinyl (from Toronto) had painted an island scene backdrop behind his DJ stand & another large tiki head placed at the back of the main stage. This stage was copiously lavished with props from the theatre's props department. Fortunately for us, the head of this department hadn't been there the day we raided it or we would never have been able to accomplish such OVERKILL without his resistance. Egnekn (from NYC) made lamination rituals available in order to make documents from the event more OFFICIAL. He has since published a 7 inch record with one side from this event. This record presents the sound of Larry Seven fixing Egnekn's laminator while John Henry Nyenhuis plays piano in the background. Fabio & Larry Seven (from NYC) presented 2 stereo slide shows on a special screen especially for this purpose & showed other film projections. The stereo slides were provided both by Fabio & Larry & by Herr Stiletto Studios (from Berlin). MEDIAMORPH (Hans Otto Richter from Berlin) set up a "blue box" so that people could be keyed into Exotica videos that he provided. The resultant mix was projected. Edi Tschiesche (from Berlin) undertook the Herculean task of trying to vaudeo it all. There was even an "EXCAVATED JEWELS OF ERSATZ EXOTICISM OFFICIAL CONTROL FREAK SCHEDULE" that was meant to help prevent some of the messes that happened in Brighton. The following is an [almost] complete quote:

"20:00 FLAMING TIKI GOD CEREMONY outside Marstall. Repeated performances of Tabu, Caravan, and Quiet Village in Vexations format begins in Marstall and environs, to continue until at least 8 am the next morning. An anthology of Opaque Music Record Jackets slide show begins in the Les Baxter Corner. Mediamorph blue box projections with DJ Sir Spinner Fine Vinyl.

 

21:00 Opaque lounge organ versions with Gordon Monahan. Screening of holiday movies and travelogue films begins.

21:30 Excavations continue.. Official lamination rituals by egenekn.. Food preparations begin by VEB Om Taka Taka at Volcano Wok.

22:15 tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: Official orchestrations.

22:30 John Henry Nyenhuis "13 finger" pyrotechnic piano solos.

23:00 Stereoscopy of pointless imagery..

23:15 Eric Mango & the Nectarines: shameless desecrations before the temple of Exotic Trilogy.

24:00 The Nectarine Impactions of Forbidden Spice Islands at Volcano Wok featuring Coconut Bra injections of Taboo Sauce. Gordon W. and Laura Kikauka perform final food preparation rituals.

0:45 Anton Webern encounters Webley Edwards beneath the tattoo-tented scapular.

1:00 Pädagogische Ausgrabungen der Exotischen Theoretischen Zusammenpressung: Lecture illustrated with opaque projections and mouldy vinyl references.

1:20 Geezer whistling, Nose flute, and ocarina vacillations.

1:25 Eric Mango travels the deep blue space as the Nectarines continue their taboo caravan across the desert of artcrust.

2:00 Re-enter the 3rd dimension with Plastikville Stereonauts Larry 7 & Jim Sharpe.

2:15 The rudderless caravan collapses into the Village of Vextacy. With special guests Hacke, Wolf, & Zastrow.

..

3:45 Grand orchestral impactions by the entire retinue of KBZ acolytes.

4:33 4'33" (Very Quiet Village)

etc.."

The personnel for the stage presence were usually broken up into various smaller groups with specific performance approaches. These people were: Rob Johnston (Toronto): MC, Stage Director, Keyboards, & Vocals; Laura Kikauka (CacaNada/NYC/Berlin): Geezer Whistling; Bastiaan Maris: Keyboards, Ocarina, & Schalmei (?); Eric Dolphy Mingus (aka: Eric Mango) (New York by way of London): Main Vocals, Percussion; Gordon Monahan (CacaNada/NYC/Berlin): Main Organ, Synthesizer/Sampler, MC, Lecturer, Theorist; John Henry Nyenhuis (Toronto): Main Pianist, Other Keyboards; Bee Plotye (NYC): Main Percussionist; Larry 7: Hawaiian Guitar; tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (Baltimore by way of Berlin): Sound Thinker, Synthesizers/Sampler/Sequencer, Vocal, Percussion; Gordon W (Toronto): Tablas, Lecturer; Roland Wolf (Berlin): Hawaiian Guitar, Piano, Organ, Percussion; Maria Zastrow (Berlin): Bass.

Klauhütte Bangzeit 200's performance of "Boota" @ the Marstall Theater in München in 1994 w/ my lyrics & singing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19_pe-nT9u0

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

189. Sideways Couch

- Blau-Milch Kanal/Kaffee Sendeschluß, TV Hospital - X94: junge kunst + kultur, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany

- April 9?, 1994

- In the spirit of undermining usual perceptual presumptions, I presented the tv viewers one seemingly "boring" static scene that would eventually radically disrupt their perception of it if they happened to be watching during those very few minutes when "what's wrong with this picture" would be revealed. I placed the studio couch (where much of the "Blau-Milch Kanal" action took place) on its side & placed the camera that was aimed at it also on its side. The shot was cropped so that nothing too obvious would reveal this unusual perspective. Regular viewers were expected to take for granted that the couch was in its usual position. I sat at one end of the couch - seemingly sitting on it in the ordinary way that the perspective implied. I was actually laying on my side with my legs bent as if they were positioned in the "normal" way in relation to the couch. The floor was cropped out so that this couldn't be perceived. I was shown sitting there reading Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow - a book that I was thoroughly enjoying. Some of the action in the book was taking place in the English Tiergarten which was right next to the Akademie where the "TV Hospital" was centered. For 45 minutes or so at a time, "nothing" would be shown happening other than my shifting my legs & turning the pages, etc.. This was actually a bit uncomfortable for me so I had to "act" as if I was comfortable to not disrupt the illusion. Since the couch cushions weren't in their usual more stable positions, every once in a while the cushions would appear to fly up into the air & "attack" me. They were "actually" just falling down. If someone had been watching me sitting there for 45 minutes prior to this sudden abnormal behaviour of the cushions they would have, presumably, been astonished! A few times I would seem to toss the book down on the couch next to me as if I were tired of reading & the book would "spring back into my hands" & I would resume reading as if I "couldn't put it down". At times I would stand up & walk behind or away from the couch at right angles to it - taking my clothes off at some point. This may've been what Herr Studios would've called "interpassive" TV.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

188. Talkathon

- Blau-Milch Kanal/Kaffee Sendeschluß, TV Hospital - X94: junge kunst + kultur, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany

- April 3, 1994, 12:30 - 8:30AM

- Two days later the night of the actual "Talkathon" arrived &, much to my disappointment, none of the callers who'd expressed interest appeared. Fortunately, a guy named "Peer" apeered. I had wanted to be a spectator to this event rather than a participant but I found myself in the position of being the only other contestant so I was stuck. It was explained to Peer that the idea was for each of us to talk continuously. If either of us paused for more than 10 seconds that was cause for disqualification. Kerstin Kitsch sat facing us (with her back to the camera) & acted as judge to time our pauses. Peer wasn't happy with my emphasis on the "psycho-babble" end of things. He'd come to participate in a more conventional talk-a-thon in which the people present in the studio (the TV PERSONALITIES) would be available to talk to callers. He was a bit angry, & I got the impression that he didn't like me very much, but he was cooperative enough to go along with it anyway. I compromised somewhat by occasionally entering into dialogue with him - never, however, pausing for more than the regulation 10 seconds (he never paused longer than that either). At 1st, he'd ask me a question & I'd respond with an extremely long-winded & detailed answer which he'd have to talk along with. He eventually said something very irritable like "Why is it that I don't care about what you have to say to me anymore!" I guess he was irritained. Since he wanted dialogue & since he spoke german, I proposed that he answer all the phone calls. To his dismay, the same people kept calling over & over again. These people were apparently more into the "psycho-babble" aspect than he was. Every time the phone would ring, Peer would pick it up - hoping for a caller to have a somewhat coherent conversation with. Instead, the same group (apparently affiliated with something called the "Ladengalerie"?) kept calling again & again & playing "noise" tapes that they were apparently making "live" off the tv. Peer got more & more frustrated & would hang up on them but they'd just call back & few other people were calling in. Peer persevered for about 5 hours & then quit. Not content to just "win" at a measley 5 hours, I persevered for another 3 - sitting in the control booth at the end & acting as my own camera-person etc since the crew had long since left in exhaustion. Shortly before I quit, a British guy called & told me that he wanted to suck my cock. I declined his proposal & he got defensive & said that my cock was probably too small to be worth it anyway. I may've retorted with something to the effect that my cock is so small you'd have to find it with a microscope. He later said something like "Don't you think it's weird that we're talking about something like this on television?" to which I replied by explaining that I'm against censorship. This pleased him & we parted on friendly terms.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

185. Table 2 Antics

- Blau-Milch Kanal/Kaffee Sendeschluß, TV Hospital - X94: junge kunst + kultur, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Germany

- March & April, 1994

- Two of the surveillance cameras were placed to give matching views of tables 2 & 4. This enabled us to show a soft-wipe mix of the 2 tables on each of their tvs. That way we could make it seem that a person seated at table 4 was sitting with 3 people at table 2, etc.. We could also shoot footage from the vantage point of any of the cameras & then soft-wipe mix that footage into a later view from the same camera in such a way that watchers of the tvs couldn't tell without looking around that there was a mix happening. This was very perplexing to those visiting who had no idea of the techniques being used. When we wanted people at the tables to notice something on their tvs we would make the tvs flash by remote control. Then they might notice that an overhead view was showing them but that there was an additional person (or 2 or 3..) sitting at their table who "wasn't really there". At this point they'd get confused - often looking around to see whether someone was standing behind them or some such. Through skilled manipulation at the Blau-Milch Kontroll, this confusion could be heightened in a large variety of ways. The soft-wipe could be made to suddenly shift position while they were loooking around so that when they'd look at the tv again the original "phantom" person would no longer be there & one of their own party would be replaced by an empty seat. Sometimes they would extend their hands into the space where the "phantom" person had been or where their friend was still sitting & no longer shown & discover that the image of their hands would disappear. Sometimes we would simply mix together the same view twice but have one of the views processed so that anything occurring in its field would "strobe". The speed of this strobe being fairly variable, we could make it so that if, e.g., a person reached to the middle of the table to stub out their cigarette, their hand would not appear to enter the center of the image until suddenly it would appear & "freeze" there - staying there briefly while they'd otherwise withdraw their hand "in reality". One of the pranks that I played using table 2 involved my shooting footage of me sitting at the table with some potato salad. At 1st, I ate the potato salad "normally" but, gradually, I started playing with the food by throwing it on the table & writing "Hello" (or some such) with it. Eventually, I stood on the seat so that my shaved head would be very close to the camera & started smearing the salad on my brain tattoo. This tape was then mixed in when people would sit at the table. On one occasion, after watching the confused & dismayed looks of 2 people trying to figure out where this "demented" person was who seemed to be sitting at their table, I wiped out the recording & walked over to the table in person while they were still excitedly discussing this event. In german, I asked them if they'd like some potato salad - making sure that they'd recognize me & then walked away without any further explanation.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

183. "Theatre Piece" & "Radio Music" (by John Cage)

- 14 Karat Cabaret, Baltimore, us@

- February 11 or 12, 1994

- Theatre Piece (to quote from the previous performance's program notes):

"(1960), generated by Cage using the same set of transparent overlays that gave rise to the electronic work Fontana Mix (1958), is for eight performers. Each performer is asked to make a deck of cards containing nouns or verbs, one to a card. One then undergoes a card-dealing process, specified by Cage, which creates a unique part from one's own set of 18 pages containing time lines and numbers (the numbers indicate choices of actions during the dealing process and modifications of those actions).

The performer, meant to appear as her-or-himself, prepares a thirty-minute part withour consulting the other performers. Rehearsals, as Cage says in the instructions, are for avoding dangerous collisions. A committed performer in Theatre Piece acts almost as composer, and will spend as much time creating and learning to execute a part as a performer in a more traditional piece of music. (The word more is used in the sense that Theatre Piece , now 33 years old, was a seminal work in a whole generation of performance art which has itself gained the status of tradition in the experimental atmosphere of the late 20th century.)"

The result, in this case, was fairly intricate. An interweaving of actions conceived of independently by each performer. To describe it all would take a long time & severely tax my memory of it at the moment. Alas, no vaudeo quasi-documentation of this performance exists (thanks to the videographer erasing over it). There is, however, a vaudeo from the performance of it with almost the same cast presented as part of the tribute to John Cage mentioned in #173. The performers were the same except that Neal Woodson performed instead of me. The other difference was that, due to snow, Sara Epple was unable to perform in this presentation. The cast were: myself, Kirk-Evan Billet, Sarmad Brody, Dawn Culbertson, L.J.Schollenberger, John Eaton, & Leroy Keltner. Sarmad & I (at Sarmad's suggestion) resorted to each listening through headphones to our own prepared tapes to tell us precisely when to do what.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

181. "She Turns Alone" & "Unknowing Games at the Hut (Behavioral Drift 10)" (by Franz Kamin)

- Church of Saint Michael & All Angels, Baltimore, us@

- Sunday, November 21, 1993, 7:30PM

- She Turns Alone was another "performance poem" (perhaps). The "Choir" consisted of myself, John Berndt, John Eaton, Leroy Keltner, & Sarmad Brody. We lined the walls spread out on 2 sides of the audience. Franz read while we extrapolated off his text with scored vocal sounds. Jeanine Farrall stood on the stage & performed scored motions as the "Gesturalist". The term "Behavioral Drift" is derived from a side-effect warning on a mood control pill packaging (see also #156). Unknowing Games at the Hut was a sortof perverse subversion of Freudian Psychology & cyclical epics performed in the style of a mental institution talent show or high school play with "20th Century" "performance poetry" as the text-style basis. Every performer played most of the roles at one or more times during the approximately 22 minutes of its duration. There were the old woman/women, the sexy girl(s), the wood chopper(s), the tree(s), the card players, & the angel(s). Sarmad Brody provided a repeating narration throughout. The gist of it was that an old woman lived alone in a hut & fucked a tree, giving birth to a child who grew up to be a wood-chopper & chopped the tree down without knowing it was his father, then leaving for the city to meet a sexy girl who he takes back to the hut only to get himself killed by a vengeful tree, the sexy girl then becomes an old woman at the hut only to repeat the cycle all over again. In the meantime, the 3 card-players each personify 3 archetypes of attitude: the winner, the loser, & the person whose problems are always "somebody else's fault". Each performer changes costume to change roles. The sexy girl costume consisted of a grotesquely stuffed bra, a black wig, & a decorative waist chain; the old woman's was a wig & a shawl, the angels wore sheets & yellow wigs. The wigs were made from mops. The tree was represented by a person standing in "crucified" position in front of some branches on a ladder. The card players wore hats & held big cards. The wood chopper wore a hunting vest & a sortof mining light. Each character had a way of acting. The old woman walked with a shaky stoop & talked with a wavery voice. These ways of acting were cartoon archetypes. Each performer drifted into other characters than the ones whose costumes they wore at times. As such, this was a "true" "Behavioral Drift". There were variations in the cycle which such as having more than one sexy girl & old woman etc.. at the same time. Everyone ends as an angel. The sets & costumes were created by Leroy Keltner, Sarmad Brody & members of the New York crew who had performed this piece's last presentation (Pixie Alexander, Steve Clay, Mitch Highfill, & Peggy Young). The performers were myself, Martha Colburn, Dawn Culbertson, Sara Epple, Jeanine Farrall, John Berndt, John Eaton, & Leroy Keltner. "Back-stage" assistance (performance expiditing) was provided by Peggy Young. Franz directed it.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

176. the Official, October 17th, 1992ev, Blank Blank Space Blank Space Blank

- W.P.A., Washington DC, us@

- October 17, 1992

- Perhaps the finest of all of the "official" so-called whatevers. The players were arranged in an oval in such a way that the audience could be inside the oval or witnessing it from either end. Our playing with fire had extended to my setting my thumb on fire & lighting John Eaton's cigarette & John setting his chest & hands & arms on fire - not always the safest thing to do. The combination of all the new CAMUs from the tour/ture & the reinvigoration from having the group be a "Medium Band" again made this extremely convoluted & pleasurable. For an idea of some elements of this presentation, read most of the preceeding 40 entries. Personnel: Sarmad Brody, John Berndt, Neil Feather, John Eaton, Dawn Culbertson, Peter Williams, Courtney McCullough, myself, & Rebecca Barten.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

163. the Official, July 25th, 1992ev, Band That Stretches The Amount of Typeface that Their Name Occupies Wildly Beyond the Parameters of Easily Remembered &/or Repeated Band Names in the Interest of Excessive (Self) Promotion Which Can Never Be Stressed Enough Given the Incredible Greatness & Simulated Originality of the Reality Bending Qualities of Their Quantum Psychological Playfare & Aleatoric Fortean So-Called Whatevers (not to Mention CAMUs) etc.., etc..

- 14 Karat Cabaret, Baltimore, us@

- July 25, 1992

- This was the last "Medium Band" show before a smaller version of the group left to go on tour. It was also the only time we performed our "Ersatz Buddhist Intro" - followed by a great puppet routine from John Berndt in which a punching puppet played a monofilament string held taught by a circular saw blade & miked with a piezo transducer. The players lined the side walls & the front of the space to partially surround the audience so that they could get a clearer perception & sensation of the speed & complexity of the player interaction. Many of our CAMUs build &/or move from player to player in a circular direction. The more the audience is surrounded, the more they can be aware of this. E.g.: in the "Off Beat Off", the cueing player plays a pulse, the player to their left plays triplets off the pulse, the player to the 2nd player's left plays in sync with the note durations of the triplets but shifts the accent to the 1st of every 4 beats rather than the 1st of every 3. The next player plays a pulse again but in sync with the accented beat of the preceeding player rather than that of the initial pulse provider - this results in 2 pulses - the 2nd being slower than the 1st. The process continues. To the inattentive, it seems that people aren't "playing together" when in actuality this playing in different tempos requires strict discipline. This performance involved our 1st use of foot-pedal controlled lights in a systematic rhythm. In a CAMU called the "2 Note - Atomizing Split", the cuer starts alternating in a steady rhythm between 2 notes, the rest of the band joins in rhythmic sync, half of the band "splits" from the other half by playing another 2 note in a different rhythm, then the half from which they'd split splits into 2 smaller halves - the splinter group again playing a different 2 note, this process continues bouncing back & forth between the 2 sides until every player is playing only 2 notes but in different rhythms. Then the process is reversed until all the players are in sync again. With the lighting, each player flashed their light on the 1st of their 2 notes. Thus, it starts with all lights flashing on & off in sync & gradually becomes much more complex - creating elaborate flashes & shadows - & eventually reunifies. Very disorienting if 1 isn't following the rhythmic progression. This was also the 1st time that we partially used a new element of the projection/playing relationship. The final 10 minute reel of my film "John Lennon's Erection As Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich" was shown. New footage in the film was of various people "cueing" CAMUs. At the end of the reel shown, the "Wreck" was cued in the film & the players responded in kind. Personnel: John Dierker, Scott Larson, John Berndt, Dawn Culbertson, Eric Myers, Neil Feather, Courtney McCullough, John Eaton, & myself.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

161. the Official, April 29th, 1992ev, Band That Does Accept Money From Institutions

- "Progressions" Series, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Campus, us@

- April 29, 1992

- I had been invited to present films as a part of this "interdisciplinary" required course for the supposedly more sophisticated arts students. Wanting to present the "official" "Big Band" that had been practicing for almost a year with no place to play outside our practice space, I plugged a "show" with both my movies & the band. The result was probably 1 of the biggest extravaganzas of "reality" undermining the students are ever likely to be subjected to. They hated me. They hated US. They wrote papers about it which the teacher was kind enough to give to me. I published them, unedited (i.e.: replete with spelling errors) in a book called "Reactionary Muddle America". Don't expect to get much of an idea about the presentation from their papers though. More inaccurate accounts could hardly be generated. 1 woman wrote that after she left the show she could hardly find her way out of the building. I'm surprised any of them ever found their way in in the 1st place. A large poster with computer graphics greeted them at the entrance. A tad-pole on the poster became a "sperm" in 1 of the students papers. 14 page carefully computer typeset booklets were available at the door as hand-outs. These contained a list of the movies to be shown, a political-philosophical text, my complete movieography (with 114 listings), graphics, a list of band members & their instruments, a table of the CAMUs that we planned to use in the presentation, a brief explanation of our playing, a brief description of a complex sample CAMU, an article advertising the "show", & the 3 posters made for the show. All of this was made especially for this night. In other words, we gave them something more carefully made than any of them were ever likely to make in order to get their diplomas! I presented 8 vaudeo projected movies - a total of 67 minutes + the time of my prefaces. 1 woman walked out after 15 minutes & cried for the next 45. Then it was time for the band. A 55 minute version of "John Lennon's Erection As Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich" was projected with a black rectangle blocking its middle so that there would be a blank space that the vaudeo could be projected into. I was on stage & the rest of the band were spaced about in the audience. In a carefully pre-planned sequence, I improvised a meandering "Neuro Linguistic Introduction" in which, by using hand signals, the band was cued to anticipatorily call out words in unison that fit my "narrative". These words collectively formed a stretched out sentence introducing our band name. Then we segued into a "Simon" in which each band member said the word or words that the previous band member had said & added a word to the sequence until every band member had added something twice. Then we segued into a simultaneous reading of a text in which our simultaneous accenting of 35 out of 78 beats was an example of what the text was about. Then John Berndt came on stage from the audience wearing a turban-like head piece & led the group in an "Imitative Unison" after which the whole band came on stage playing screamers. To kick off our stage set, we played an instrumental version of "78" in perfect coordination. This was what 1 brilliant young scholar called "everybody doing their own thing all at once". Gee, I'm sure glad we got recognition for our 10 months of practice. I had 4 videos playing simultaneously with the ability to have 1 of the 4 projected into the middle of the 16mm projection & 1 to appear on the 2 monitors on either side of the stage. The 4 tapes were: "Teaser" - a continually repeated shot of a penis trying to penetrate a vagina & popping out before getting a chance to fully enter; "Wallpaper Video" - the previously described wrecking ball wrecking of a building that had once housed 1 of Baltimore's biggest newspapers (now defunct) "The News American", "Concrete Mixing Usical Material Vaudeo #1" - an hour long sequence of carefully excerpted portions of some of my more sensationalist or strikingly imagistic vaudeos, "Concrete Mixing Usical Material Vaudeo #2" - an extremely fast moving summary of most of my movies from 1979 to 1989 - the slowest shot being a quarter second long. Most of the band members had foot-pedal controlled lights which they flashed periodically. For the penultimate section, the "Worm Charming" part (meant to charm the worms in the audience with its simple-minded steady beat) we set various things on fire. We had our favorite flaming sink, flaming Brad-A-Lon, flaming cymbals, etc.. John Eaton came out playing an alto sax that he'd liberally dosed the inside of the bell with the flame-paste that we used to make things flammable. Flames were shooting 2 or 3 feet out of the bell & shooting out the lower finger holes. When John finally put the sax down in the sink, all the welds came apart & the sax fell into its components! 1 student complained in his paper that we hadn't properly miked the flaming sax. Too bad we didn't just hand it to him so that he could've played it himself. Personnel: John Eaton (alto sax, voice), Scott Larson (medium accordion, voice, sink, abomination), John Berndt (DX7 synthesizer, voice, VSS-30 sampler, soprano sax, stephanie palmer apologetica), Peter Williams (bass, voice, pots & pans, pipe xylophone), Sarmad Brody (voice, Ensoniq VFX synthesizer), Courtney McCullough (voice, tenor sax, bass clarinet), Eric Myers (voice, cello), John Dierker (voice, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax), Dawn Culbertson (voice, bass, brad-a-lon), Neil Feather (former guitar, voice, R.E.SK1 sampler, bell tree, apex roto zither), myself (voice, "erector set" percussion, [thwarted] "terrence dougherty" electronics, trumpet, vibraphone), & Chris Astier (voice, fretless bass, tom).

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

137. Hairballs, Wigs, & Weaves for Skinheads

- Anti-Racist-Skinheads Rally, Baltimore, us@

- spring, 1990

- At the suggestion of Professor "Footlong" Franks (David Franks), we collaborated on founding this bogus support group. Given that to most people I was a "skinhead" at the time because I had a shaved head that's tattooed & "looked tough" & wore a flight jacket & steel-toe boots, I was pretty sick of "skinhead" stereotyping. It seems that outside agitators came to town & tried to stir up "skinheads" as white-supremacists. Then the "skinheads" tried to get a parade permit to walk thru a notoriously racist white neighborhood. Anti-racist & pacifist forces in the neighborhood fought the granting of the permit & the city officials agreed to let the parade happen in front of city hall (where there are Jewish history plaques). The media jumped on this with relish. Hot Dog! Their stupid oversimplifications & sensationalizing reduced "skinheads" to being only white & only racist - completely not noticing that Baltimore had black skinheads, that black & white skinheads hung out with each other, & that an anti-racist skinhead group existed. Thus every white male with a shaved head became a target for volatile blacks too stupid to see thru the media hype. All this increased racial tension rather than decreased it thusly playing right into the same old "divide & conquer" scenario that's kept the poor fighting each other for who knows how long.. At any rate, "Footlong" & I co-made a pamphlet (my portion was done under the name of "Moms" Brutus) parodying the whole thing meant to be handed out at the white supremacist rally. Anti-racists planned a counter-rally but the racists cancelled saying that they only wanted to rally in the all-white neighborhood. The counter-rally happened anyway & "Footlong" & I & some other cohorts attended to hand out our pamphlets. Jake T. Unclean handed out a flier from "Girls Shave in Solidarity". "Footlong" sported a rainbow-afro wig & I wore my "Hair Suit" (covered with wigs) & a wig on my head. When I pulled off my wig, people gasped "a skinhead!" Most of the "leftists" were as knee-jerkingly predictable & dumb as ever - afraid to "let us" speak because they were afraid of the language we'd use & not too sure we'd be politically correct. In the end they nervously gave us the platform. "Footlong" & I read from our pamphlet while Jake shaved her legs. The media so misrepresented this anti-racist rally as being some big defeat of the "skinheads" rather than the rag-tag affair it really was that, even as a participant in it, I couldn't stomach it all.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

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