Catching up a little. Back from NYC now with a good Big Apple show under my belt for once; my last show there at Tonic was miserable... horrible really, I felt awful during and afterwards and nearly wrecked my hearse as a result. This time I went back to town, same hearse, same act for the most part, and while I had some problems at the beginning the result was grand. The crowd loved it, I was happy with it, I felt good about it, had a lot of people afterwards that seemed pleased with it, even made pretty decent money with it, so it was worth the trip. Yay!
I guess I didn't say much about this here in advance, but this part of the Illegal Art festival, an effort of StayFree Magazine, aka Carrie McLaren and helpers. Many kudos to them for putting this great show on! Many thanks to Carrie, Alexandria, Mark Hosler, and others involved. Here's a review I wrote up and sent to a list about the show:
I'm not the best reviewer for the show because I only saw a fraction of it. I missed the panel discussion and only saw one of the four programs of videos. The videos I saw were great though; it was great to finally see Patiris' "The Iraq Campaign" (I think that's the proper title); great footage of the US vs. Iraq war (uh, the first one, I mean) juxtaposed with bits of Star Trek (TNG) and other fun bits. Sadly I can't remember the name of the guy responsible, but the hour-long "Spin" was very much like the movie "Feed", both of which are the results of one man's obsessive scouring of satellite feeds of political candidates when they're not quite on camera... that is, when networks do a remote broadcast, they'll bounce the feed off a satellite so their headquarters can repackage it into "entertainment" but actually anyone can receive the bounce. Since its unprocessed, the camera and audio doesn't stop for commercials or anything, so you can listen to Larry King chatting with King George Bush The First about how much he enjoyed the near-narcotic halcyon and so on. "Spin" very kindly subtitles these bits and tries to pump up the audio; nicely done. All the stars saying all the wrong things; ya can't go wrong. :-)
CBGB's Gallery (313 Bowery) was the host of a display of 2D illegal artworks, including bits like the banned Negativland U2 cover, outlawed Disney parodies, and more. Notably missing was the infamous Plunderphonic cover. Still, things like the obsessive corporate logo collages of Aric O'Brosey were great to see again. I have one painting of his, it's somewhat of a prized possession... a yin-yang, where the "yin" is a grass hut and the "yang" is a Pizza Hut. :-)
It seemed strange to me that there was only one show of music for this, and since I was part of it I'll be a bit biased. The show was three acts: First the band Spin-17, a group I'd heard on WFMU before and ordered their CD from them soon after. Ed Chang and ladyfriend (sorry, didn't get her name... doh!) do a great job mixing bits of sound from records, cheap toys, bass, sampler, and whatever else. Seeing her acting/singing along with the classic "Duck & Cover" atomic bomb song is at once cute and frightening, witnessing her Asian heritage through western eyes. (Like most of my whitey friends, I'm a bad guesser between Japanese/Chinese/Korean, but I think she's non-Japanese. Still didn't help though. Ever since I saw footage of lipless Japanese radiation victims, I'll immediately feel guilty whenever any Asian brings up anything to do with atomic bombs in front of me. Sigh.)
Second: The Evolution Control Committee. Again, the damned Thimbletron acting up at Tonic. I think Tonic has a curse on The ECC. After some trouble-shooting things went better. 'nuff said.
Third: Mark Hosler vs. Christian Marclay, both armed with turntables and an effect or two. T'was kind of a funny juxtaposition; Hosler with the pro DJ setup (2 Technics 1200s) and Marclay with the circa-1970's grade-school record players. Since I was tearing down and hocking ECC wares to the more vulnerable audience members I didn't get to see as much as I'd like, but there were some effective moments. Hosler confessed to me beforehand that they really didn't get to prepare [much] at all, but when they did they felt like they approached improvisation in similar ways. You could tell that; they did have some approaches that fit with each other, but you could also tell that some practice sessions would have fine-tuned what they did a lot. Still, a good segment and some great moments. It was no accident that most of the audience (of 150-ish?) stayed 'til the end.
btw, keep an eye on archive.org -- Brewster, the [mad]man responsible, tells me that they're starting to host an archive of live concerts, and recordings of this one (both open-air and from the board) may end up there!
And... while I've got your bandwidth, a little ECC news: In a fortnight we'll embark on some European shows; 6 in Germany and 3 in Holland...! If you're within train-hopping distance do drop in for one of them and say hi. Check our web page for details. We're using that preceding fortnight to put the final touches on our next CD, Plagiarhythm Nation v2.0, which will then get pressed and eventually released on Seeland, around February or March 2003. Domestic US touring will ensue. Woop!
- tradeMark G.
e c c
As mentioned at the end, the Euro tour is coming right up and I'm trying to take a day or two of relaxation before I really dive into the preparations for that. Even if I went now with what I have I think I'd feel okay about what I'll be doing there, but it's always good to feel like I've done everything I can to get ready for it.
The show in NYC was a great reminder of artwork that is being done now in the "illegal" vein. There is more and more, and one sub-vein I keep thinking about stems from the Napster Nuggets that we at The ECC champion[ed]. The core concept is this:
In this day and age of the Internet and advanced increasing ease of communication, people are making their communications more and more visible and less and less private. On one hand, semi-secret government intelligence agencies intercept a great deal of your communications; one the other hand, they don't have to -- you make them public by accident, by mistakenly sharing them over Kazaa or some other file-sharing, peer-to-peer network, or over wireless networks or other errant methods.
I love this kind of found art. To me this is the modern analog of finding someone's photo in the trash, a postcard on the street, or an audio letter on a cassette from the thrift store. And what with the rash of "reality" TV shows in the last decade, I suspect I'm not the only one. At some point I might well try to make an art movement out of this, not only because I think this is the right time and place, but also because I have the right name for it: VOYART.
Hey, it could hardly be worse than "Electroclash".
The trend is already off to a good start, and just today I received URLs pointing to some good examples. Prime among them is the Stolen Art Slideshow, which collects 363 images into an exhibition of found e-art. Holiday snaps, drunken nights out, stills of your girl blowing you, it's all there. If you prefer to be your own curator, you might instead try diddly.com's Random Personal Picture Finder, which is basically just a script to get Google to find some random pictures for you.
While the scenario is becoming ripe to find people's personal photos, the strange thing to me is that it's now easier to find home photos than it was to find home recordings during Napster's heyday, about two years ago. I expect things to scale the progression of file size, which is (from smaller to larger) documents, photos, audio recordings, and lastly videos. To a slight extent documents/email were first, but largely audio recordings were the big entry, and now they can't be found even though photos and documents can with ease. Home videos are just starting to make their appearance with Kazaa and other sharing services. I dream of the day where I'll make a music video for one of my songs purely from found home video.
I haven't seen much up about finding errantly shared documents, but here's a tip courtesy of Helen Razer, professional Aussie oddball: crank up your fave peer-to-peer file sharer and search for any document (or any file at all) with "dear" and ".doc" in it. It's a blast until you find your first suicide note.
One last thing before I go off and probably hiberanate until getting back from Europe about a week before Xmas: I just received this by email and thought I'd try it; it really only takes two minutes. But try it yourself, then read on for my brief debunkery of it.
2% or 98%
This is strange...can you figure it out?
Are you the 2% or 98% of the population?
Follow the instructions! NO PEEKING AHEAD!
* Do the following exercise, guaranteed to raise an eyebrow.
* There's no trick or surprise.
* Just follow these instructions, and answer the questions one at a time and as quickly as you can!
* Again, as quickly as you can but don't advance until you've done each of them .. really.
* Now, scroll down (but not too fast, you might miss something).
Think of a number from 1 to 10
Multiply that number by 9
If the number is a 2-digit number, add the digits together
Now subtract 5
Determine which letter in the alphabet corresponds to the number you ended up with
(example: 1=a, 2=b, 3=c,etc.)
Think of a country that starts with that letter
Remember the last letter of the name of that country
Think of the name of an animal that starts with that letter
Remember the last letter in the name of that animal
Think of the name of a fruit that starts with that letter
Are you thinking of a Kangaroo in Denmark eating an Orange?
I told you this was FREAKY!! If not, you're among the 2% of
the population whose minds are different enough to think of something else.
98% of people will answer with kangaroos
in Denmark when given this exercise.
Okay, you've read the message, now here's a little bit about why it's shit:
First of all, the math. I'm the son of two mathematicians, so natually they encouraged my math curiosity while I was growing up. I learned a few good tricks. One of them is that any single-digit number multiplied by 9 gives a two-digit result, where the sum of the two digits is always 9.
9 x 2 = 18, 1+8 = 9.
9 x 3 = 27, 2+7 = 9.
9 x 4 = 36, 3+6 = 9.
After picking your number from 1 to 10, times 9, add the digits, minus 5, then choosing the letter, you ALWAYS have the letter D. No matter what.
Think of a country starting with D.
Maybe Dominican Republic, but chances are pretty great that it'll be Denmark. Even after checking a list of countries in English, the only other one I found was "Djibouti". Huh? Back to Denmark. Taking the K at the end, chances are good that you'll choose the Kangaroo for your animal (besides Koala, what is there?) and for your fruit starting with O, I'd love to hear anything except Orange, which is the only thing I can think of.
As for me, I saw the math was retarded from the start, so I chose "Deutschland" (what Germans call "Germany") in retaliation. I can't remember my result now, I think it was a Duck with a Kumquat or something. I'm not sure what my point to all this is, but I guess it would be twofold:
1) QUESTION FAITH. In this case I mean "faith" in science, or rather, the perception of science. This email starts with a few math problems for you to do, but even though they allow you to choose your starting number, the end number is always the same. In most cases, answers via the sciences are defensible, but don't presume that all science mumbo-jumbo is legit just because it written in science-speak. Don't get me wrong -- I'm very pro-science and I believe that scientists are mostly in the right, but when I read things that pretend to be scientific but don't have references to back up their science, I get suspicious. Real frikkin' quick.
2) AVOID RUTS. The second part of the email works mostly because most people will choose "Denmark" for their country starting with D. That's natural for most Americans, but sadly it's only because most can only name a slight majority of European countries by name a pathetic minority of others. Get an American who can name 3 African countries by name (out of 54, yes, FIFTY FOUR) and that's... that's...
...um, and that's enough for now, 'cuz I just went off for a few hours and found that I didn't complete my entry and now it's time for bed. Duh.