Friday, November 28, 2008

when books are photographed with primitive tools...

fox talbot

paris bookshelf

above: what is probably the first photograph ever taken of books on a shelf, by fox talbot from the pencil of nature, circa 1844. below: photograph of books on a shelf taken in september - one hundred and sixty four years later - in secret, with my iphone. talbot had to take his books outside so that the sun would light the books and shelves enough to be visible in the photograph. i, while alone in a room for a few moments one evening, took a quick photo in a space that was relatively dark. i've never read much about talbot's photo, specifically related to his books and i wonder, if as in traditional still lifes, if the books held some sort of significance or told some story that, perhaps, only talbot himself could decode. in my own case, as with everything i notate, it was of course not only the books themselves, but the moment of the snapping of the photo that i wanted to somehow hold on to. the books act more as a kind of trigger or anchor, directing my memory back towards everything the photograph could never have captured in that moment, on that evening...

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

when each speak each other's language...

apache light and darkness 78rpm

well, after listening to a very convoluted mess of a discussion on the radio yesterday about school children celebrating thanksgiving in insensitive and/or socially incorrect ways, it's clear that america's relationship to their native forefathers (and foremothers) involves a heavy dose of guilt, denial, or some relatively epic confusion - especially when it comes to thanksgiving. in light of the confusion, and perhaps to push it further, i've decided to post two discs that veer into sketchy territory... as both tracks are not only incredibly beautiful, but also incredibly "wrong".

the first is from a small group of eight inch 78's i recently got in the mail. they were published by the american bible society, and each side has a person reading a bible story in a native american language. the side i'm posting is in the apache language, and the story is called 'light and darkness.' it is read by mrs. celena perry, whom i'm guessing was a missionary, who learned various native american dialects in order to teach them the ways of the bible. the thing is her voice and story telling are incredibly gentle and beautiful, feeling as if she's speaking a fairytale or a bedtime story in a made up language. it's strangely seductive and other worldly, but there is also this underlying current of someone trying to take the magic out of a culture, only to replace it with the magic of her own. certainly it's easy to exoticize a langauge you don't understand, but here it is her fragile human self that comes through, the pitch and waver of her voice leaving the words behind.

click here to listen to darkness and light.

the second disc is a flexi from an old poetry magazine featuring a 1971 recording of jerome rothenberg singing/chanting a navajo piece called 'the 10th horse song of frank mitchell'. rothenberg did an LP of this piece using multi-tracked voices and sort of taking the role of the shaman to the text/sound poet extreme, which you can find here on ubuweb. this piece, to the best of my knowledge was not part of the LP, and is much more straight ahead, with him simply chanting a solo. it's a beautifully hypnotic and relatively minimal performance. again, there's a lot to scoff at here, particularly a non-navajo, attempting to re-create a ritual from another's culture; but like mrs. celena perry, rothenberg's voice is so darn convincing, that you get a sense he's looking at poetry and ritual through the same eyes, and in many ways evening the playing field. rothenberg's performance suggests, at least to me, that poetry can work the magic of ritual, and ritual can become the song-like poetry.

click here to listen to the 10th horse song of frank mitchell.

i believe in the spirit of thanksgiving, that one should be able to look in the mirror and understand that at this point in time none of us are really as pure culturally as we think we are. we are living in a moment where cultures are constantly becoming infested with other cultures; and old rituals have become not only new rituals, but fodder for poetry, and just about everything else. the question is where does one draw the line between exploitation, affectation, and/or deeply felt respect.

i believe in my heart of hearts, as much as both of these recordings can be viewed through negative eyes (and ears), they can also be heard for what they are - beautiful amalgamations of various cultures, attempting on some level to share love, in a way that attempts to cross from one culture into another with an open heart. of course, in the midst of all this there is a potential for the jive-ass uber diluted schlock now called "world music"; but in these two cases beauty, as well as a kind of humble sincerity, transcends any missteps that might have been taken.

on this day of giving thanks, i for one would like to mention that i am grateful for all the convoluted, mixed-up, bad ideas that have led people, in their own human way, to make beautiful things - intentionally, as well as in spite of themselves. and more than anything, i am thankful that a good number of these things have ended up in the archive here, fairly regularly.

i leave you on this thanksgiving day with a chippewa verse, also filtered through rothenberg, a gift...

know what i'll promise you?
skies be bright & clear for you
that's what i'll promise you.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

et il n'y a pan ... (and there was pan...)


... and there was Pan. the poor boy alone. making music. breath blowing through the pipes. breath in the sky. air. survey. as if what is inside of his body, at rest in the sky. air. search. but this breath, this probe, floating, not empty. and there was Pan. making music. alone. only. and he wondered if music was really music, if there was no ear to listen. and there was Pan. open your eyes, his heart beating fast, rapidly, have balanced his song on the wind. search of his ears. reception. and where the butterfly is, as individual into a beautiful shade of purple, whose wings are like ears. where is the butterfly which seeks the song with the same kind of magnetic attraction of the search for the song butterfly. and there was Pan. making music. his. hers. song. search. beginning and created a sort of snowball high quality. a beautiful and tender. with its wings as ears, bending gently in the wind, like a large ball, almost like a room, perhaps as a trap, and has churned, whirled. continuous movement of song. he rolled the world and the sky, behind Pan, silence. feet planted on the wrong side of the earth. Pan. silence. still. forever. his singing a kind of floating satellite. search. and LO and here at a time, by the time the right time, perhaps, wings of this beautiful butterfly, ears or float, with its pardon fluttering beautiful wings graciousness in the heart songs, and she returns as if the nucleus of a multitude of flowers and music. and participates. and Pan attend. it silently. in the song. and the wind starts to move at its softness for him. and he, his butterfly net fallen long ago, yet his breath singing, Pan is in the silence. open their eyes skyward in the nostalgia that ultimately it is so gently with the wind in his hand and is on his ear and whispers the words that we can not hear, but words expresses where he waited for a very long ....

image, anonymous snapshot circa 1930, of a young boy dressed as pan.
text, written in english, translated into french via google, back to english via yahoo, back to french via google, back to english via google...

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

when ojibwa sing of love and records suggest the stars...



to begin with, please listen to this:

ojibwa love song.

i really shouldn't say anything about it so that the beauty of this ojibwa love song resonates in your head without any words...

after that breath, i can tell you only that this recording, by an ojibwa indian, is probably from the 1940's or early 50's, and was probably recorded onto tape at a radio station and then dubbed onto this acetate, which has no label or writing. the disc contains recordings of 5 songs, as well as some introduction of the singer.

along with the song, i had hoped to add an ancient image of an ojibwa, or perhaps some text of an ojibwa love story, but alas my book of american indian legends, contains only two stories by the ojibwa, neither of which seemed to relate to the beautiful sounds on the recording.

i decided to scan the blank disc, and leave it at that, but once it landed upon the scanner, i realized the image with all the holes reminded me of images in the book of constellations i used in working on when stars become words. these two images then sent me back to the indian legends book to discover a tale, not by the ojibwa, but by the wasco, called "coyote places the stars":

one time there were five wolves, all brothers, who traveled together. whatever meat they got when they were hunting they would share with each coyote. one evening coyote saw the wolves looking up at the sky.

"what are you looking at up there my brothers?" asked coyote.

"oh nothing," said the oldest wolf.

next evening coyote saw they were all looking up in the sky at something. he asked the next oldest worlk what they were looking at, but he wouldn't say. it went on like this for three or four nights. no one wanted to tell coyote what they were looking at because they thought he would want to interfere. one night coyote asked the youngest wolf brother to tell him, and the youngest wolf said to the other wolves, "let's tell coyote what we see up there. he won't do anything."

so they told him. "we see two animals up there. way up there, where we cannot get to them."

"lets go up there and see them," said coyote.

"well how can we do that?"

"oh i can do that easy," said coyote. "i can show you how to get up there without any trouble at all."

coyote gathered a number of arrows and began shooting them into the sky. the first arrow stuck in the sky and the second arrow stuck in the first. each arrow stuck in the one before it like that until there was a ladder reaching down to the earth.

"we can climb up now," said coyote. the oldest wolf took his dog with him, and then the other four wolf brothers came, and then coyote. they climbed all day and into the night. all the next day they climbed. for many days and nights they climbed, until they finally reached the sky. they stood in teh sky and looked over at the two animals the wolves had seen from down below. they were two grizzly bears.

"don't go near them," said coyote. "they will tear you apart." but the two youngest wolves already headed over. and the next two youngest wolves followed them. only the oldest wolf held back. when the wolves got near the grizzlies nothing happened. the wolves sat down and looked at the bears, and the bears sat there looking at the wolves. the oldest wolf, when he saw it was safe, came over with his dog and sat down with them.

coyote wouldn't come over. he didn't trust the bears. "that makes a nice picture though," thought coyote. "they'll look pretty good sitting there like that. i think i'll leave it that way for everyone to see. then when people look at them in the sky, they will say, 'there's a story about that picture,' and they will tell a story about me."

so coyote left it that way. he took out the arrows as eh descended so there was no way for anyone to get back. from down on earth coyote admired the arrangement he had left up there. today they still look the same. they call those stars the bid dipper now. if you look up you'll see that three wolves make up the handle and the oldest wolf, the one in teh middle, still has his dog with him. the two youngest wolves make up the part of the bowl under the handle, and the two grizzlies make up teh other side, the one that points toward teh north star.

when coyote say how they looked, he wanted to put up lots of stars. he arranged stars all over the sky in pictures and then made the big road across teh sky with teh stars he had left over.

when coyote was finished he called meadowlark. "my brother, when i am gone, tell everyone that when they look up into the sky and see stars arranged this way, i was the one who did that. that is my work."

now meadowlark tells the story about coyote.

text from american indian legends and myths, selected by richard erdoes and alfonso ortiz, pantheon 1984.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

when hands dance to make skies and airs...

wind: hold hands, backs up, near body about height of shoulders, both hands at same height, nearly the same horizontal plane, fingers extended and slightly separated, hands a few inches apart. move hands outwards with a wavy motion in the direction the wind blows. the movement is sometimes accompanied with a blowing of the breath.

aurora borealis: hold both hands, backs down, well out in front of body, hands partially closed, ball of thumb pressed against nails of fingers. raise the hands, at the same time extend and separate fingers and thumb with a partial snap, to indicate flashes of light in the northern sky. it is better to also face towards the north.

rain: hold closed hands, backs up, in front of body, about height of head, the hands near each other, same height. lower the hands slightly, mostly by wrist action. at the same time open, nearly extended, and separate fingers and thumbs. in this position fingers point about and downwards. repeat motion two or three times.

star: bring extended hands, backs up, well out in front of body, fingers pointing to front, right hand very little higher than left, hands about the height of breast and several inches apart. move right hand to left, left to right, turning hands slightly by wrist action, so that fingers of right hand point to left and front, left hand to right and front, terminating movement when wrists are crossed. next form an incomplete circle with index and thumb, space of about half an inch between tip of index and thumb. raise hand upwards towards the heavens. to represent many stars, sometimes both hands are used for the second part, and pushed up in different directions. to denote any star of particular brilliancy, such as the morning star, the hand is help towards the direction where the star is supposed to be, then the tip of the index finger pressed against the ball of the thumb and snapped two or three times to denote the twinkling.

from 'the indian sign language', w.p. clark, 1884.

since it's thanksgiving week, i think i'll post some things related to american indians. here some more wonderful hand signs from clark's incredibly detailed descriptions of indian signs, all for things that happen in the sky. the idea that a snapping sound denotes twinkling is unbelievably beautiful. i've tried all of these and they can become a kind thai chi for the hands, and are quite wonderful hand activities for those stuck inside on a rainy day, or simply waiting...

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Friday, November 21, 2008

words, words...

today, some thoughts on words...

first, images from angela banner's ant and bee books, in this one, she tells a story with words moving from a-z (ant to zoo), and i really love these pages with a single word facing a single image...

from ant & bee by angela banner

from ant & bee by angela banner

from ant & bee by angela banner

from ant & bee by angela banner

from ant & bee by angela banner

from ant & bee by angela banner

from ant & bee by angela banner

from ant & bee by angela banner

last night i was still in the midst of reading tarjei vesaas' the boat in the evening. i'm really taking my time with this book, which has got me reading each small chapter at least two or three times before moving on to the next. chapter 9 is titled words, words. here are a few gems:

words can cause trouble like large rocks in one's path.
wrong: words can clear the largest rocks in one's path.
wrong again: words can turn into dark chasms unbridgeable for a whole lifetime.
we know very little about the power and destructiveness of our words.


he said to himself: perhaps that's what i must remember more often. but did i ever speak about what i really knew? far too difficult. far too extraordinary to be blurted out in words.


he thought: words, words.
no more words now.
here is my thirsting hand.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

when spirits are hiding between old records...

drawing found between some records

i discovered the above drawing in a box that arrived in the mail yesterday. it was stuffed between two 78's as packing material. i bought a lot of 10 discs off ebay, most of which were terrible, but the packing job was an amazing bit of folk art, homespun sculptural ingenuity. it looked as if this stack came right out of a time machine - from the 20's into a shipping box.

some of the other things found between discs: some 10" square remnants of a 1927 sunday comics section (unfortunately it was torn in a way that no strip was complete), some 10" square remnants of some kind of paper laundry bag - a nice shade of blue and definitely also 1920's, and finally a number of 10" squares cut from a box of some sort, with a few of the remnants written or drawn on - including the masterpiece pictured - the highlight of the free stuff; particularly as it was the only thing not torn apart and fragmented. i am guessing it was done after everything was torn apart, but before the records were stuffed into a closet for 80 years.

the drawing brings up all sorts of associations from dubuffet and picasso, to early american indian drawings. note also the strange hans arp sculpture (or butterfly) flying in the air... sadly, the drawing was the best part of the contents, as the records themselves were HAMMERED and stinky...

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

when backs are better than fronts...





it is not uncommon for me to buy something for all the wrong reasons. in this case, a cdv, where the photograph itself was incredibly boring (a portrait of a generic looking old woman's face), but the backside graphics for the photographer's studio are incredible! here you can see a little tiny fairyland of butterflies and spirits under the influence of asian aesthetics at the height of their influence on artists like whistler, as well as much european design in the late 1800's. it's quite remarkable that a portait studio would advertise their wares in such a mysterious and childlike way.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

when the new void existed between archigram and stoner notebook doodles...

the void 1965 zine cover

i don't post a lot of what most people would call 'stoner drawings' from the 1970's here, but this one was too good to pass up. it's the cover of a monthly calendar for the institute of contemporary arts in london from the early 70's. it's a simple 4 page listing of events, with tiny blurbs related to exhibitions including one called 'hommage to the void', consisting of photographs by charles wilp. i believe this cover image references wilp's artist statement on the inside, although the image is certainly not by him:

"it is time to empty the brains of the overfed consuming age, to make them adaptable again for new impulses to come. the visual chaos in people's brains is perfect. we have to think again that mankind can only enjoy basic conditions of life by returning mentally to a new void."

there is no listing as to who did the drawing here, but it smacks of archigram and superstudio aesthetics as diluted or influenced or translated by someone with a rapidograph and bit of hallucinogenics. it was a kind of graphic and cultural sense favored by the avant architectures of coop himmelblau and haus rucker, whose graphic identities had more in common with 60's and 70's LP covers than the flaccidly clean graphics of most architectural firms.

in this image, architecture and the finer arts see a future informed more by the aesthetics of comic books and rock and roll culture, than motherwell and mies. here, highbrow culture actually looked to so called lowbrow cultures for aesthetic signals without irony; and this was also before there was such a thing as what lowbrow is now (i.e. one more inflated niche marketplace with little in the way of substance).

it's perhaps a bit difficult to see in this relatively tame illustration, an image that is not only a sign of its times, but a sign from a time when a visual language could still be viewed as truly alternative... plus, it's a pretty darn great drawing...

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Monday, November 17, 2008

the glass mountain...


"the glass mountain is smooth:
luminous in the evening,
a shining peak of perfection
in the wonderous night:
down, at its foot -
we stand.

we cannot stand here
where all is all,
we who are joined in unequal halves
and man of flesh and failing
- here is no understanding.
but a voice within is saying: i want,
keeps saying: i want.

legion are we,
who want to be
here, who want
in spite of all our deeds.
filling the deepest nights.
and our tiny, shining being
defuses in a dome of light
close to the earth -
close to the mountain
where there is no understanding."

text: we fill the deepest nights, tarjei vesaas.
photo: anonymous RPPC, nothing written on back.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

in this stream of lightning-birds...

snapshot radio repair shop

the radio of the future - the main tree of consciousness - will open up a knowledge of countless tasks and will unite all mankind.

around the radio's central station, this iron castle, where clouds of wires stream out like strands of hair, there will surely be posted a skull and crossbones with the familiar description: danger! for the slightest halt in the working of the radio would produce a spiritual swoon of the entire country, a temporary loss of its consciousness.

the radio becomes the spiritual sun of the country, the great sorcerer and ensorceler.

imagine radio's central station: a spider web of lines in the air, a cloud of lightning flashes, now extinguishing themselves, now reigniting, running from one end of the building to the other. a sky-blue globule of circular lightning hovering in the air like a timid bird, tackle stretched obliquely.

around the clock, from this point on the terrestrial globe, flocks of news items from teh life of the spirit scatter like the spring flight of birds.

in this stream of lighting-birds, the spirit will prevail over force, good advice over intimidation.

the words of velimir khlebnikov, from the radio of the future.
image: an old photo of a radio repair shop, also found sunday.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

mexican marimbas...


here, two tracks from a 78 set i also picked up sunday, the music, performed by "marimba pan-americana" is unfortunately not as raw as the photo on the cover would lead one to believe. it is unfortunate that those beautiful drums cannot be heard... nonetheless here are the two best sides, the upbeat "tu ya no soplas", which is a tune from the film "ora ponciano" and one with a bit of a melancholy feel called "mayita"...

click here to listen to: tu ya no soplas.

click here to listen to: mayita.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

when horses make words...

snapshot horse spelling

snapshot horse spelling detail

got this stellar photo sunday from randy, who runs the great tiki ranch blog. like myself, randy is an ol' timer at the flea and we see him all the time. when he handed me the photo he already knew that it would lead to a 'when horses make words' post on airforms...

i believe the photo is an early one from knott's berry farm, and indeed the horse here was given a short word or a name to spell and would pick up the blocks in the correct order (hopefully). i would love to see the list of words the horse had as a vocabulary, as i'm certain it would be a beautiful piece of concrete poetry.

of course, i can't help but look at these things as sculpture, in relation to the work of someone like ree morton or richard tuttle. the objects are humble and awkward and, of course, have a special quality that only a block letter object made for a horse to spell with can have.

personally, i'd like to give the horse some blocks with the notes a-g on them and let him put together a musical score...

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

while moving from here to there...

snapshot radio towers

today i fly to chicago to give a talk on my work and meet with grad students, then to philadelphia to visit the girard college site for my installation next spring.

fortunately, blogger's ability to create posts in advance, and the fact that i had a pretty good day at the flea market sunday, have allowed me a week's worth of posts just from sunday's findings. and so i begin this first post forming a line from my leaving and returning site, here; through my destinations, there...

here: seen above, a great snapshot found in a box of photos at the flea market, from the 40's of a radio or television transmission site, probably shot through a telescope, or some such circular hole-like form, taken from the pasadena area, not far from my home...

there: a beautiful song called "snow" from a 1940's set of 78's called 'songs from the first grade book'. i am sure to encounter snow in either chicago or philadelphia if not both... i honestly don't know how the real thing could be anymore sublime or beautiful than this song... which arrived in the mail monday morning...

click here to listen.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

when butterflies grow wings...

butterflywoman 1920's

here she stands on a rooftop, her costume complete, and surely red, as she climbs the stairs, her graceful pre-ascension, for at the top step, of course, she will fly. and like the great swallowtail butterfly, she will seek honey for sustenance, as well as music and words. on this day she has become. moving from one beautiful stage to another, looking as radiant against the sky as any star, the first of night, or the last before morning. and just after this photo was taken, she will fly, and her beautiful butterfly wings will carry her, across pages, landscapes, lakes, and perhaps even oceans. today she will find whatever it is that she wishes, and tomorrow whatever it is that she seeks, and this day, today, is certainly hers. one can't be certain of the direction she flies, nor her speed, or length of her flying... but just after this photo was taken, she majestically floated upwards in the soft hands of the wind, and a small piece of paper fell from her hands to land upon the surface of this rooftop. her fingerprints were found along its edges, and upon it was written a short text by the poet vesaas, in pencil... his words, a gift, perhaps contained a bit of magnetism, like a radio signal sending a beautiful song of longing, from far away... on the top of the paper it said simply "invitation" and these are the words that followed...

will you give me your hand in the moonlight,
you are leaves...
under open sky. over the yawning precipice.

like leaves,
you and i
trembling in the wind
and quickly gone.

a 1920's photo of a butterfly.
poem: invitation, by tarjei vesaas,from land of hidden fires, 1953.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

the imperious phantom waving on the other shore...

julien gracq manuscript page

"contrary to what happens in a poem, if language guides and inflects the fictional adventure in the midst of being realized, it is never at its origin. there must be a certain state of lack, an urgent and radical dissatisfaction. an impression, or a complex of impressions, that has yet to be given shape and that nevertheless obsesses you like a real memory - something as precious and demanding as a forgotten name that you try to retrieve but that never existed, and that will be the book - is no doubt the fuel that feeds the literary motor. the winds and currents, that is, the fortunes, that make language sail, often decide the itinerary: but no one ever set out on an unknown sea without an imperious phantom waving on the other shore, impossible to dismiss. the difficulty specific to fiction is a haphazard compromise with ever-changing elements to be made on every page between a container without a plan, which is the spontaneous production of writing, and a plan without a container, which is the instant appeal of the tone that is sensed and still has no material support, for which an instrument must be found and furnished, which will be the book.

the tightrope that the novel walks over unsteadily must be held solidly at both ends. if everything is controlled by a too-specific, too-articulated plan, the entire work will stiffen and slip into fabrication; if everything is left to the potential of pure "textuality", everything disolves in speech without resonance or harmonics. the narrative is the refusal of pure chance, poetry the negation of any defined and premeditated will-to-write. you must agree to move through this deceptive chairoscuro, to go constantly from following paths to clearing paths. this cannot be done without a masterful sense of direction - in every circumstance and encounter - which is one of the novel's major gifts. across initially unimaginable landscapes, which only getting under way can bring about, the novelist must never lose sight of his own specific organizing North.

does this guiding magnetism act as imperiously from one novel to another? i do not doubt for a second that, for two novelists as different as stendhal in the charterhouse and alain-fournier in the wanderer, the materialization of an internal music, impossible to capture except in the deployment of a wider ranging narrative, was their sole concern..."

excerpt from julain gracq's book reading writing, published in 1980 in france, and now available in english translation. gracq is an incredible writer of fiction, mostly known for the castle of argol, and i believe this is his only book of essays translated into english. there are some incredibly beautiful texts regarding poetry, memory, language, cinema, and even landscape...

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

a poetry of beeps and words...

radioscouts 1930

recently, i managed to score two volumes of 78's called basic radio code kit: pre-induction training records. unfortunately the manual and disc 1 are missing, so no idea what one is supposed to do with these, but i put on disc 2 side 1, and discovered, much to my happiness, a series of random shouted words and beeps... not as lively as schwitters ursonata, but pretty odd spoken poetry nonetheless...

you can click here to listen. below i've notated what i think he's saying, but the words that are repeated sound like different words every time... it sounds a bit like a litany...


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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

when optimism speaks...


joyous: bring the compressed right hand, fingers tightly curved, so that teh tip of thumb is near the tips of fingers, against the left breast, index finger and thumb resting over heart and pointing downwards. then hold extended hands, backs down, in front of body, hands same height, equally advanced and a few inches apart, fingers pointing to front. raise hands briskly, mostly by wrist action.

victory: bring right hand, back facing nearly up, in front of body, about height of shoulder, hand nearly closed, ball of thumb pressing against second joint of index, second joints of fingers nearly on line with back of hand, back of hand making a slight angle with wrist; i.e. knuckles higher than wrist; strike to the front, downwards and a little to the left, stopping hand suddenly, and giving it a slight rebound. right hand is raised in front of the body waving in a circular motion.

a cdv of a juggler/acrobat circa 1900, text from w.p. clark, the indian sign language, 1885

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

before the house deceased (with help from the sunrise)

bali 7" disques alvares

this morning i was looking through some records for a piece of music to post, and found a track on a 7" of field recordings from bali of a funeral march - the title translated from french via google being "before the house deceased". the track follows part of a five kilometer procession ending with a cremation.

when i recorded the track into my computer, i used, as always, a protools session that i have set up only for transferring vinyl into my mac. a strange thing started to happen as i was listening to my re-recording... in the quieter spots of the cremation procession i could hear some electronic sounding drones, and once in a while notes that sounded as if they were played on a lap steel guitar. i listened to the track several times, thinking i might have brought some ghosts into my room, before i then realized i had left some bits of my sunrise recording in the session on a track i never use, and thus didn't see on the screen.

i decided, rather than retrace my vinyl to digital steps, i would post it as is, apparent vinyl apparitions intact. it's not often one gets to duet from their bedroom in pasadena with a procession of musicians from bali...

if you listen softly, you hear only the procession, if you listen with headphones or loudly, well you'll hear a bit of the ghosts of a sunrise tagging along, perhaps helping the dead feel a bit lighter and a little happier in their journey...

click here to listen

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Monday, November 03, 2008

listen to the silent language of sculpture...

from sculpture/inuit 2

from sculpture/inuit 3

from sculpture/inuit 4

from sculpture/inuit 5

from sculpture/inuit 7

from sculpture/inuit 8

from sculpture/inuit 9

from sculpture/inuit 10

from sculpture/inuit 11

"so with our eyes we listen to the silent language of sculpture. listen carefully. to do otherwise - to be indifferent - is the greatest betrayal of one person by another, of one culture by another."

images and text from sculpture/inuit, 1971, canadian eskimo arts council. a super thick beautiful book of inuit sculpture from the early 1900s - 1960s. readily available on ABE for less than ten bucks. highly recommended. my copy, a soiled and worn reference, found in my grandmother's sculpture studio.

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