from Non-Cohlea Exhibition sound artists and essays ... one by Brian Kane, Eight Theses on Sound and Transcendence

 non-coclea exhibition  oct 2010- click here for artists and other articles

It is inadequate to write or to say, “I have overcome the problematics of art.”
It is necessary to have done so. I have done so.
Painting today is no longer a function of the eye; it is the function of the one thing we may not possess within ourselves: our LIFE.
(Yves Klein, “Overcoming the Problematics of Art”)

I. Listening can only be localized in the ear by force of reduction.

“Imagine a room (call it the ‘music room’), in which sounds are heard; any normal person entering the room is presented with sounds which are audible only there, but which can be traced to no specific source…A specific sound—middle C at such and such a volume, and with such and such a timbre—can be heard in the room. Yet there are, let us suppose, no physical vibrations in the room: no instrument is sounding, and nothing else happens there, besides this persistent tone.”[1]
The ‘music room’ is a hypothetical. To function, it requires the force of reduction. This is most apparent in the claim that, “let us suppose,” these sounds are correlated to no physical vibration. That moment authorizes the philosopher to distinguish the sonic from the musical: one vibrational, with everything that comes in tow, such as the acoustic, the resonant, the spatial, and the causal; the other, a pure event bathed in divine ontological indifference.

II. To split the senses one needs techné.
“[The acousmatic situation] symbolically precludes any relation with what is visible, touchable, measurable. Moreover, between the experience of Pythagoras and our experiences of radio and recordings, the differences separating direct listening (through a curtain) and indirect listening (through a speaker) in the end become negligible.”[2]
Don’t be fooled by this dubious negligibility. Even if one were to doggedly maintain the historical difference that distinguishes the Pythagorean curtain from the loudspeaker, the conceptual difference would be subsumed, for the modern-day akousmatikoi, by the end to which the technology is applied. Even the ‘music room’ would require some hidden technology to remove the vibration from sound; otherwise it would be a supernatural experience. For everything else, techné is required to isolate a single sense modality.
A philosopher’s rule of thumb: veiling the visual unveils the auditory—and veiling is a technique.

III. Techné is to be understood as both technique and technology, no matter how rudimentary.
Cognitive scientists and German romantics agree: the closed eyelid and averted glance are the most rudimentary acousmatic techniques!
“Closing one’s eyes while listening to sound…evokes shifts in style of processing by modifying focus of attention, while keeping targeted stimuli the same. The main outcome of such a shift could enhance the perceived intensity of emotional stimulus, making positive attributes more positive and negative ones more negative…Closing the eyes indeed characterizes a specific brain state that can be affected by the individual’s mental set. Accordingly…eyes closed position represents a well defined mental set by which perceived emotionality can be modulated, thus probing its neural respect.”[3]
“Whenever Joseph [Berglinger] was at a big concert, he seated himself in a corner, without looking at the brilliant gathering of auditors, and listened with the very same reverence as if he were in church, —— just as quietly and motionlessly and with his eyes fixed upon the ground before him…”[4]
The eyelid can be projected outward, onto screens, veils and coverings:
“To explain the plan of the festival-theater now in course of erection at Bayreuth I believe I cannot do better than to begin with the need I felt the first, that of rendering invisible the mechanical source of its music, to wit the orchestra…”[5]
“The prevailing doctrine of nineteenth-century music aesthetics—the idea of ‘absolute’ music, divorced from purposes and causes, subjects and clear-cut emotions—gave rise…to the demand for an ‘invisible orchestra’ concealing the mundane origins of transcendental music. What Wagner was able to institute in Bayreuth was also, around 1900, attempted in the concert hall. Admittedly, when the screen hiding the musicians is covered with paintings…[as in] the Copenhagen Concert Palais, the goal of a purely abstract conception of music is thwarted by the means.”[6]
Or permanently sealed in its sublimation by sound recording:
“At the time when music critic Paul Bekker was trying his hand as opera house director, he may have been the first to have spoken of opera as a museum…The form of the LP makes it possible for more than a few musically engaged people to build up such a museum for themselves. Nor need they fear that the recorded works will be neutralized in the process, as they are in the opera houses…these recordings awaken to a second life in the wondrous dialog with the lonely and perceptive listeners, hibernating for unknown purposes.”[7]

IV. Sound has often been understood as the revelation of transcendence.

ρμονία. Q. E. D.

V. The divided sensorium is applied to support the production of transcendence.
In 18th century aesthetics, the experience of music often prefigured the angelic choir.
“Every Saturday evening at the hour of Compine one sings the Salve Regina…thus, at the appointed hour therein one finds music, the organist and the sacerdotes…the music begins and the organ responds, and then the organ and the music [sound] together, with such sweetness and such beautiful harmonies, which, because they seem an angelic choir, generate in the hearts of the listeners a whole-hearted composure and a holy devotion to the Mother of God.”[8]
In Milan, Federigo Borromeo, employed the trope of the angelic voice in his discourses on music. In his Assumption Day sermon, Borromeo began with the topos of the angelic song, “surely no accident considering that the prelate’s audience was probably composed of musical nuns” and returned to the trope as a musical model to be imitated by the nuns’ own performances.[9] This model went hand in hand with a prohibition on vanity during the nun’s performances, which had begun to veer, for Church officials, uncomfortably close to the kinds of spectacular musical performances taking place outside the cloister.
In the period following the Council of Trent, when the practice of clausura was instituted, it was declared that nuns “should, without exception, be confined within convent walls.”[10] Many of the convents were walled in, with only grilles to allow for the passage of sound.
“[The Tridentine Reforms are] so esteemed not only in Rome but through all Italy that thou shalt never see Nonne out of her Cloister, and being in the Churche thou shalt only here their voices singing their service most melodiously, and the Father him self, that is, their Ghostly father heareth their confession through a grate in a wall, where only voice and no sight goeth between: and I have seen the blessed Cardinal of Milan Borromaeo say Masse in their Chapel at Millan before them, when I could not possibly see any of them…and in Bononie [Bologna] and Rome having been many times at their service in the Chappels and hearing the goodly singing, never did I yet see one of them.”[11]
Sound, which penetrates and pierces enclosures, became an important mechanism by which the nuns could still be present to the world beyond the convent wall. Although, the voice of the nun can resemble the voice of the angel even without any kind of visual reduction, clausura can be understood as a technology that, despite its obviously repressive aspects, splits the senses in order to make the transcendent audition of the angelic voice all the more sensuous. The Convent of Santi Domenico e Sisto in Rome, in addition to containing a extraordinarily high altar with grated windows above it, to the left and the right, the interior was punctured by a series of grated openings, placed high up near the vaults that circled the church. The voices emanating from these high grates were juxtaposed against the frescoed ceilings, depicting images of the heavenly host. The architectural space reinforced the fantasy: the listeners were encouraged to identify the vocalic body, imagined in the nuns’ voices, with the celestial figures floating above their heads.[12]
But the trope was never completely secured. The vocalic body heard in the nun’s voice could just as easily be associated with an angelic source as with the actual mundane, and potentially erotic, body from where it emerged. For Rousseau, the dialectics of the angelic voice fascinated and maddened him on his trip to Venice in 1743.
“Every Sunday, in the church…motets are sung during vespers, for full choir and orchestra, composed and conducted by the greatest masters in Italy and sung in the grilled galleries by these girls, the oldest of whom is under twenty. I cannot conceive of anything so pleasurable or so moving as that music…Never did Carrio or I miss those vespers in the Mendicanti, and we were not the only ones. The church was full of music-lovers; even singers from the opera came here to have a real lesson in tasteful singing from these excellent models. What distressed me were the accursed grilles, which only let the sound through but concealed those angels of beauty—for the singing was worthy of angels—from my sight.”
Rousseau’s erotic drive to peer behind the grilles and behold the (real) heavenly body fantasized in the nun’s voice, leads to a cruel and misogynist joke. After begging, Rousseau is taken to meet the girls.
“As we entered the room where sat these beauties I had so desired, I felt such an amorous trembling as I had never known. M. Le Blond introduced me to one of these famous singers after another, whose names and voices were all I knew of them. ‘Come Sophie’…She was hideous. ‘Come, Cattina’…She had only one eye. ‘Come, Bettina’…She was disfigured by small pox…Two or three, however, seemed passable to me; they only sang in the chorus.”[13]
In the musical art-religion of 19th century Germany, the grilles of the convents were reinstalled, now as injunctions to obscure and erase the traces of musical performance.
“The sonorous element in music…[is] the ultimate consideration. The visual element of the performance does not belong to the work’s essence…It is for this reason that orchestral musicians rightly appear in the simplest clothes; it would be best if they were not visible at all.”[14]
According to Lydia Goehr, the ideal of invisibility in musical performance entails two demands: first, that visual aspects of performance are inessential given music’s purely sonorous essence; second, that what is heard in the performance is subordinated to the transcendent meaning of the work. Given that transcendence can never be materialized without loss of fidelity, the performer must produce a performance that “undermines their own presence as necessarily flawed mediators.”[15] The sounds must never be listened to as such, because they must be the bearer of a content whose transcendence is heard in the sounds, and whose very status as transcendent undermines their material clothing. The signifier cannot sully the signified.

VI. The fantasy of transcendence produced without technical mediation is divine listening.

Wackenroder articulates the fantasy of unsullied musical transcendence through the guise of Joseph Berglinger:
“I venture to express from the depths of my being the true meaning of the musical art and say: Whenever all the inner vibrations of our heartstrings…burst apart with one outcry the language of words, as the grave of the inner frenzy of the heart—then they go forth under a strange sky, amidst the vibrations of blessed harpstrings, in transfigured beauty as if in another life beyond this one, and celebrate as angelic figures their resurrection.”[16]
The signifier is the grave in which the musical soul lies; yet the outcry, which shatters the tomb of language and resurrects the musical soul, departs from the subject in its transfiguration. Wackenroder’s image depends on the transformation of the heartstring (Herzenfibern) into a harpstring (Harfensaiten)—a metamorphosis that musicalizes the language in which it is written, to cause a rupture in the order of the signifier. Musical sublimity overtakes the subject, carrying the listener away to “another life beyond this one.”[17]
The iconic listener who gladly leaves this world for another life, different in kind, is St. Cecilia. In Raphael’s depiction, which circulated widely amongst the early German Romantics, Cecilia stands above a pile of discarded and broken instruments, eyes turned upward, listening to the sounds of the angelic choir who sing above. The angels are positioned in the intermundia: visible to the viewer, invisible to the depicted figures, audible only to Cecilia. Raphael’s junk heap guarantees that the viewer will not mistake the sounds in Cecilia’s ears with any sort of musica mundana. By drawing an ontological line between the earthly and the divine, Raphael also grants the viewer an image of listening without seeing, which lacks technical mediation. Neither Pythagorean veil nor grilled interior separates the figures.
But Raphael’s image is itself a form of techné that indicates the conceptual content of divine listening, but never fills our ears with its sound. For Nietzsche, Raphael’s necessary failings deserve mention.
“Populate the air with the imagination of a Raphael and contemplate, as he did, how St. Cecilia is listening, enraptured, to the harmonies of angelic choirs: no sound issues from this world though it seems to be lost in music.”
An image or word stands to music as a schema to a general concept; the schema can only act as an illustration for the general concept but can never be adequately substituted for it. It sacrifices generality for phenomenality. If the power of the general were to manifest itself directly, all schematism and individuation would be burst asunder just as quickly as Wackenroder’s grave.
“But if we imagined that this harmony did actually acquire sound by virtue of a miracle, where would St. Cecilia, Paul and Magdalen and the singing angels suddenly disappear? We would immediately cease to be Raphael, and even as the instruments of this world lie broken on the ground in this painting, our painter’s vision, conquered by something higher, would pale and vanish like shadows.”[18]

VII. Divine listening can only be taken on faith. It is solipsistic in nature and cannot be shared. It leaves no artifact. It can only be simulated through artificial means.
If divine listening ruptures the order of the signifier and lies beyond all acts of individuation, then there can be no artifact of divine listening. It can only be taken on faith.
In Kleist’s story, “Holy Cecilia or the Power of Music,” there is no sonic account of the transformation, effected by the Corpus Christi Festival music, which sublimes the four iconoclastic brothers. Just after the moment when the music begins, the narrator leaps ahead six years, only to retrospectively relate the events from the perspective of an eyewitness. The lacuna is necessary; even a description of the music would not be able to bridge the gap, because the question of divine listening is not an objective question concerning the music played—for Kleist offers precisely such a description in the guise of the witness—but a solipsistic question concerning what is being heard in the music by the brothers.
Although moved by music to the point of self-annihilation, Wackenroder’s Joseph does not experience divine listening, as do Kleist’s brothers. Wackenroder positions Joseph between the immediacy of divine listening and an anxiety directed at musical techné. In the first half of the tale, Cecilia remains an icon to whom Joseph begs assistance,
So that I, through music’s power,
Master of their souls might be;
That my soul the world infinite
Sympathetically penetrate,
Intoxicate in Fantasy![19]
In the second half of the tale, after Joseph has become a conductor and composer, he grows disillusioned and despondent with his new life.
“It is a wretched life that I am leading…I thought that I wanted to dream on ceaselessly and pour out my full heart it works of art—but how strange and austere the very first years of apprenticeship seemed to me. How I felt when I stepped behind the curtain! That all the melodies…were based upon a single compelling mathematical law! That, instead of flying freely, I first had to learn to climb about it the awkward scaffolding and cage of the grammar of art! How I had to torment myself in order to first produce a correct work with the ordinary, scientific, mechanical understanding…It was a tedious mechanical effort.”[20]
Joseph’s despondency registers his intermediate status: poised between the ideal of the transcendent listener and the charlatan who has “stepped behind the curtain” to learn the mechanical tricks that produce such transcendence, Joseph becomes an icon unlike that of St. Cecilia. By acquiring techné, he can no longer experience the transcendence for which it is employed.
Despite the modern distaste for Wackenroder’s style of “outpourings,” one could do worse than to recall Joseph’s state of disillusionment. For “sound” is easily carried by ahistorical and ideological fantasies that misrecognize their reflection in the past. Only rarely are such fantasies held in check.
“The immersiveness of sound, its three-dimensionality, set a precedent then for the evacuation of the technological apparatus in the production of audio, supporting the belief that three-dimensionality overrides the fact of mediation, and thereby creates a space that is beyond technology and culture. Like the speaking tube of deific transmission, it has been necessary to construct and then deny a mechanism that channels, delimits, transduces and sanitizes the materiality it transports. These interfaces are both technical and conceptual–consisting of wires, circuits, relays, etc. and transcendent spaces, such as the ether, the cosmos, or the irreducible vibration, to which the technical infrastructures are conceptually attached, and through which the presence of technology is masked.”[21]

VIII. In the production of transcendence, technology must be hidden. It cannot appear as the real cause, but must hide its own role by becoming invisible or remaining a black box.
“We know, now, the supernatural wonders wherewith a priesthood once deluded childlike men into believing that some good god was manifesting himself to them: it was nothing but Mechanism, that ever worked these cheating wonders. Thus to-day again the super­-natural, just because it is the un-natural, can only be brought before a gaping public by the wonders of mechanics; and such a wonder is the secret of the Berliozian Orchestra.”[22]
Wagner’s critical words also betray the lesson he learned—hide the machinery.
But a tension runs through Wagner’s thinking. On the one hand, the dreamlike state “into which we thus are plunged through sympathetic hearing” produces an experience where “our eyesight is paralyzed” to the point that “we no longer intensively see.” This experience of musical blindsight is produced anytime the music “really touches us” despite the fact that, “the most hideous and distracting things are passing before our eye,” such as “the highly trivial aspect of the audience itself, the mechanical movements of the band, [and] the whole peculiar working apparatus of an orchestral production.” Wagner argues from the fact that we are ordinarily inattentive to such a spectacle, and that absorbed listening puts us into “a state essentially akin to that of hypnotic clairvoyance.”[23]
(McLuhan could have cited Wagner to support his claim: “Psychologists define hypnosis as the filling of the field of attention by one sense only.”[24])
On the other hand, the subversion of vision by hearing is compromised in the opera house, where musical blindsight is unacceptable. Here the mechanism of the orchestra must be literally concealed, so as to regulate and discipline the attention of the audience in the correct manner.
“The reader of my previous essays already knows my views about the concealment of the orchestra and…[my condemnation of] the constant visibility of the mechanism for tone-production as an aggressive nuisance…I explained how fine performances of ideal works of music may make this evil imperceptible at last, through our eyesight being neutralized, as it were, by the rapt subversion of the whole sensorium. With a dramatic representation, on the contrary, it is a matter of focusing the eye itself upon a picture and that can only be done by leading it away from the sight of any bodies lying in between such as the technical apparatus for projecting the picture.”[25]
But even this might not be enough. In September of 1878, Cosima transcribed this statement:
“I cannot stand all this costume and grease-paint business! And when I consider how these figures such as Kundry will have to be masqueraded—I immediately think of these repulsive artists’ carnivals, and, after having invented the invisible orchestra I would like to create the invisible theater.”[26]
Wagner just missed the mark. The Gramophone had been invented the year before.
Even musique concrète, predicated on the use of recorded sound, is also premised on concealing the machinery involved in its production, in order to produce an acousmatic situation where the ear can begin its act of écouter réduite. This condition persists from its very moment of discovery.
“19th April. By having one of the bells hit I got the sound after the attack. Without its percussion the bell becomes an oboe-sound. I prick up my ears. Has a breach appeared in the enemy ranks? Has the advantage changed sides?” (Schaeffer, First Journal, 15)
Experimenting in the studio, Schaeffer discovered that if the transient attack was removed from a recording of a bell its source became unrecognizable. Rather than conceptualize this feature as an affordance of recorded sound, Schaeffer interpreted his discovery as disclosing an entryway into the phenomenology of listening.
“A number of historical circumstances have led to the notion of the sound object. First, the initial discoveries of ‘musique concrète’ with its two inaugural experiments: the closed groove and the cut bell; then, the awareness of a listening situation, not new but whose originality had never been identified or given a specific name; the acousmatic situation.”[27]
Like the Gestalt figures that littered the pages of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, Schaeffer understood this little cloche coupé as emblematic of a much larger field—namely a field of listening, constituted not simply as a response to an auditory stimulus, but as a field of sound objects intentionally constituted by the listener’s acts and modes of attentiveness. What this cloche coupé revealed was the way in which the listener’s intentionality preceded the auditory signal.
“One forgets that it is the sound object, given in perception, which designates the signal to be studied, and that, therefore, it should never be a question of reconstructing it on the basis of the signal.”[28]
Wrap that up with the phenomenological reduction and you’ve got a situation where the essence of listening is now understood as being utterly indifferent to its mode of presentation, that is, whether the sound was real or imagined. Only the content matters, and the content is understood as indifferent to its ontological status. Schaeffer’s manipulations become theorized as sonic attempts at “eidetic reduction” via Husserl’s method of imaginative free variation. For example,
“Starting from this table-perception…we vary the perceptual object, table, with a completely free optionalness, yet in such a manner that we keep perception fixed as perception of something, no matter what. Perhaps we begin by fictionally changing the shape or color of the object quite arbitrarily…In other words: Abstaining from acceptance of its being, we change the fact of this perception into a pure possibility, one among other quite “optional” pure possibilities—but possibilities that are possible perceptions. We so to speak, shift the actual perception into the realm of non-actualities, the realm of the as-if.”[29]
Change the example from a table to a tape loop and you’re well on your way to an orthodox musical phenomenology.
But like the “music room,” this too only succeeds by force of reduction. For this kind of phenomenology refuses to recognize the remainder produced in its drive towards the eidetic reduction. The question is not simply whether a sound can present itself qua perception or qua imagined. Because these modes of presentation are not indifferent to the haptic aspect of vibration simultaneous with these sounds, a different set of possible modes of presentation is needed: perceived sounds with perceived vibrations, perceived sounds with imagined vibrations, perceived sounds without vibrations; imagined sounds with real vibrations, imagined sounds with imagined vibrations, imagined sounds without vibrations; and lastly, perceived vibrations without sounds, and imagined vibrations without sounds. Only by bracketing the haptic aspect of sonic modes of presentation, can the musical phenomenologist be satisfied with free variation as a technique for disclosing sonic essences.[30]
Thus, orthodox musical phenomenology deludes itself about its haptic condition, neglecting the fact that the mode of presentation for sounds is not totalized between real and imagined perception, but also requires another sense modality. But this is not to say that the haptic aspect of vibration is the primary ground for a sonic ontology, for that too would depend on the isolation of one modality from the rest—and the production of such isolation would require its own set of techniques.  To praise blindness in order to privilege listening, as Arnheim did, is to substitute the centrism of the eye for that of the ear, while ignoring perhaps the most primary relation of all, that both modalities are not independent of touch. That problem, easy to state, is difficult to conceptualize. It’s what Nancy would call a singular plural.
Even Diderot vacillated in his “Letter on the Blind,” calling idealism, “an extravagant system, which must have been invented by the blind,” while putting these words in the mouth of the blind mathematician, Samuelson: “If you want to make me believe in God you must make me touch him.”[31]

Notes: [1] Scruton, Aesthetics of Music, 3.
[2] Schaeffer, Traité des objets musicaux, 93.
[3] “Eyes Wide Shut: Amygdala Mediates Eyes-Closed Effect on Emotional Experience with Music,” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2705682/.
[4] Wackenroder, “The strange musical life of the Musical Artist Joseph Berglinger”, in Confessions and Fantasies, ed. Mary Hurst Schubert, 149. Italics mine.
[5] Wagner, “The festival-playhouse at Bayreuth,” in Actors and Singers, tr. Ellis, 333.
[6] Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-Century Music, 394.
[7] Adorno, “Opera and the Long Playing Record,” in Adorno on Music, ed. Leppert, 285.
[8] Morigia, Paolo, La nobilita’ di Milano, 306.
[9] Kendrick, Robert, Celestial Sirens, 158-9.
[10] Monson, Craig, “Putting Bolognese Nun Musicians in their Place”, in Women’s Voices Across Musical Worlds, ed. Jane Bernstein, 119.
[11] Martin, Gregory, Roma Sancta (1580-1), 141-2.
[12] Monson, 122.
[13] Rousseau, Confessions, Book 7.
[14] Robert Zimmerman, Allgeimein Aesthetik als Formwissenschaft, excerpted in Bujić (ed), Music in European Thought, 46-49.
[15] Goehr, Lydia, The Quest for Voice, p. 142-3.
[16] Wackenroder, Confessions and Fantasies, 190-1.
[17] I am indebted to John Hamilton’s reading of Wackenroder in his Music, Madness and the Unworking of Language, 121ff.
[18] Nietzsche, “Fragment on Words and Music,” reprinted in Dahlhaus, Between Romanticism and Modernism, 109-10.
[19] Wackenroder, 153.
[20] Wackenroder, 155.
[21] Frances Dyson, Sounding New Media, 47.
[22] Wagner, Opera and Drama, trans. Ellis, part I, sec. V.
[23] Wagner, Beethoven” in Actors and Singers, tr. Ellis, 74-5.
[24] Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy, p. 17.
[25] Wagner, “The festival-playhouse at Bayreuth,” in Actors and Singers, 333.
[26] Cosima Wagner’s Diaries: Volume 2, 1878-1883, entry of September 23, 1878.
[27] Schaeffer, from the Traité, quoted in Chion, Guide des Objets Sonores, 18.
[28] Schaeffer, Traité des objets musicaux, 269
[29] Husserl, Ideas, trans. W. R. Boyce Gibson, 70.
[30] Notice that, to Husserl’s credit, his visual example works better than the sonic example; in the specular situation, the tactility of the object seen is available to the viewer if they reach out to touch it; thus, there is no necessary simultaneity between visual and tactile perception, and this is in distinction to sound, where auditory and tactile perception can never be dissociated, even if the tactile is attenuated to the point of imperceptibility.
[31] Diderot, “Letter on the Blind,” in Diderot’s early philosophical works, ed. and trans. Margaret Jourdain, 104 and 109.

How To Write A Text About How To Write A Text Score (And Why) Seth Kim-Cohen

Kim Cohen wrote Within the Blink of an Ear which has a great intro asking the difficult questions  of sound theory, about how we hear and 'place' sound now... He compares the strategies available to us NOW to those used in visual arts since Duchamp etc... its helped me frame an argument for my thesis (thank God!)

Great stuff here too a project of scoring text... text scores

Here's another little  treat from him...
From his web site... http://www.kim-cohen.com/critical.html

1. Write the words, “I don’t speak ‘music’”. (In which the interior quotation marks cradle the delicate word ‘music’, so as to prevent it from breaking.)
2. Ask the question, “Why can’t I read or write musical notation?”
3. Answer (defensively, yet with a certain pride), “I have been playing music for thirty years. At times, I have made a living solely writing, recording and playing music. I have written something like three hundred songs, a few dozen experimental musical compositions, and released eight albums. I have taken and taught classes about music, written books about music, hosted radio shows about music. But I can’t read or write musical notation.”
4. Ask (hoping it will be taken rhetorically), “What kind of ignoramus am I?” A brief interlude on cognitive style (to the tune of the ocarina part in the
second movement of Ligeti’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra):
My mind doesn’t function mathematically, hierarchically, systematically. I process information as magnetic particles, some attract, some repel. I process information as liquid, a little in this container, a little in that, a little spilled on the floor, a little evaporated. I process information as signs. It’s not important to me that I’m hearing a 1-4-5 chord progression, it’s important that what I’m hearing is relating itself to the blues: what, then, is the nature of that relation? Respectful? Antagonistic? Ironic? I group. I slurp. I engage. Derrida is never far from my thoughts: “Il n’y a pas de hors-texte” (“There is no outside-the-text.”) Conversely, and equally true: everything is (in the) text.
5. Justify this musico-logos-ical incompetence by arguing, “Music isn’t a set of numerical values, it’s a set of ethical/ontological/epistemological values. That is to say, it’s part of life and life’s part of it. So, why should I feel compelled to adopt this invented, artificial, specialist language to produce, receive, and talk about music? The language I use everyday, for everything else, ought to suffice. And, what do you know? For me, it does.”
6. Continue, beginning to feel like a dead horse is being beaten, yet wanting to persuade: “I use text notation the same way I use everyday language: descriptively, deceptively, instructively, ironically, generously, mischievously. The point is, we all relate to everyday language. We don’t all relate to musical notation. If we’re interested in the social aspects of art and music, then it seems wise to use the most inclusive language on offer.”
7. Being careful not to seem self-important, give an example from the work: “I can whisper a text notation in the ear of an audience member and ask them to ‘pass it on’ to another audience member, until it reaches the performer on the stage. This doesn’t work as well with a little black dot on the end of a stick attached to the third of five horizontal lines, referring back to a cluster of little signs and some numbers.”
7a. Go on, another example couldn’t hurt: “I can describe sound as ‘stubborn’ or ‘like a fruit bat’, or designate its duration as equivalent to ‘completely opening and then closing a door’. The subsequent sounds are now adorned with life-qualities that are unavailable to notation. As are the performer and the audience. Pretty neat, huh?”
8. Conclude by comparing attitudes toward life and music, implying that the former should guide the latter, “I put no faith in higher powers, final answers, destiny. I do not obey a set of behavioral instructions determining my every movement, my tempo, my termination. Why then, would I ask music to submit to these unrealistic constraints? What right do I have to impose them on the listener? We’re all in this together. Better yet if cake is served.”
9. Always say thank you, “Thank you.”
-- 14 March 2009 New York City


Judy Dunaway: Drone Improvisation on Bass Balloon

Judy Dunaway Avant-Garde Music for Toys, 'Playing' in New York

 re Judy Dunaway from news.com  New York City   1 April 2009

'Avant-garde musical artists have always liked to stretch the limits of what traditional musical instruments can do. But some artists have gone even further and explored the less orthodox music of familiar objects.
Some of the most modern music in the world is being written for toys. For example, the so-called "Toy Symphony," composed most likely by Leopold Mozart in the mid-1700s, is an abiding favorite with mainstream concertgoers. But today, at recitals like )

"The beauty of playing with toys is the whole world can appreciate what you're doing," said Tan. "People don't have to have a classical background [or] … any background in music at all. In fact, they're the best audience, because their ears are totally open and they don't have a preconceived idea of what music should be."

Tan added that classical audiences may have prejudices against people playing with toys, often considering them to be frivolous.
"But playing with toys is a serious game!" beamed Tan. 
One piece at the Interval concert was composed for three toy pianos by the young composer )

Traditional classical music was all composer and Interval recital producer )
One of the more challenging pieces at the Interval show was "Piece for Tenor Balloon and Voice," written by new-music composer and balloon instrumentalist )
Since the late 1980s, Dunaway has been fascinated by the infinitely complex harmonic overtones the pressure and movement of her hands can create on the taut skin of an inflated latex balloon.    
But for Dunaway, balloon music is about history and politics, too. She says it allows her to reject the rigid, 12-tone scale of traditional Western music and to use the "cries" of the balloon to  express, she said, the horror of the repression of Brazil's indigenous rubber farmers and the destruction of the rainforest.
The composer is aware that many people find the balloon music to be harsh the first time they hear it.
"But," she said "… if anything, it's the Amazon speaking; it's the Earth speaking; it's the Earth screaming; the Earth saying, 'Stop!' So in that sense, I am just a conduit, and I try very much to follow that 'voice.'"
As an artist, Dunaway is also interested in helping people to perceive in unaccustomed ways.
"People stay in a 'comfort zone,'" she opined, "and I think artists very often reach outside their comfort zone. That's why we end up making things that are called 'creative.'" 
Audiences and critics, of course, will have their own ideas about what is creative and what is not. But the new interest in music for toys suggests a healthy urge among today's musical artists to explore, innovate and experiment with sound - no matter the source.
Music used with artists' permission

Susan Philipsz - When Day Closes

Susan Philipsz - Lowlands (Short Excerpt)

Turner Prize 10: Susan Philipsz

4th woman first sound-artists to win the Tate Prize Susan Philipsz wins the 2010 Turner Prize

Susan Philipsz | CI08 Life on Mars



click here

glitched-staticked ear licking Linex-FM Radio

Linux Radio is an online radio broadcasting the latest stable version of the Linux kernel (currently, which is read in plain voice using eSpeak, an open source text to speech synthesizer.
There are currently 111011 (base 2) tunes in our database and we are working to add more. A new source file is selected randomly each time you load this page : remember, if you can't get enough, you can always open Linux Radio in two or more different browser tabs... Use the Source, Luke!
This radio station is dedicated to the best scientist ever : Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.
click here


CAP Computer aided poetry yummo!!

just good - go and make some clicketty clack here

tribute is not theft

Driscoll, 22 January 2010                           

Dude, Where's My Video?
              ... 'From official documentation of U.S. presidential debates to cameraphone recordings of police brutality, the videos on YouTube represent a densely interrelated system of making, curating, reading, and remaking that effectively constitutes a "crossroads" of participatory culture. Unfortunately, YouTube's centralized architecture has proven unusually vulnerable to spurious claims of copyright infringement. Of the 283,091 videos tracked by MIT Free Culture's YouTomb project, nearly one quarter have already vanished (YouTomb, 2009).' read more here


Lee Wells on Nam June Paik

Big Brother Cycle Spy / Dieter Froese

Long Live the Web The Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our continued prosperity—and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs defending

Long Live the Web

The Web is critical not merely to the digital revolution but to our continued prosperity—and even our liberty. Like democracy itself, it needs defending
Why should you care? Because the Web is yours. It is a public resource on which you, your business, your community and your government depend. The Web is also vital to democracy, a communications channel that makes possible a continuous worldwide conversation. The Web is now more critical to free speech than any other medium. It brings principles established in the U.S. Constitution, the British Magna Carta and other important documents into the network age: freedom from being snooped on, filtered, censored and disconnected.
Yet people seem to think the Web is some sort of piece of nature, and if it starts to wither, well, that’s just one of those unfortunate things we can’t help. Not so. We create the Web, by designing computer protocols and software; this process is completely under our control. We choose what properties we want it to have and not have. It is by no means finished (and it’s certainly not dead). If we want to track what government is doing, see what companies are doing, understand the true state of the planet, find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, not to mention easily share our photos with our friends, we the public, the scientific community and the press must make sure the Web’s principles remain intact—not just to preserve what we have gained but to benefit from the great advances that are still to come.'

Full article click here


brilliant essay on glitch linguistics: the Machine in the Ghost Static Trapped Mouths by Curt Cloninger







GltchLnguistx: The Machine in the Ghost / Static Trapped in Mouths Curt Cloninger 2010

Republished in Nictoglobe, Vol. 18, Issue 4 (2010), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with the kind permission of Curt Cloninger
'This essay applies Mikhail Bakhtin's language theory of "the utterance" to the machinic event of "the glitch" in order to illuminate contemporary glitch art practices, and to suggest fruitful ways in which they might proceed. I understand "the glitch" to be an affective event generated by a media machine (computer, projector, game console, LCD screen, etc.) running in real-time, an event which creates an artifact that colors and modulates any "signal" or "content" being sent via that machine. In 1962, John Glenn famously defined "glitch" as "a spike or change in voltage in an electrical current."1 "Glitch" has since come to demarcate a set of audio/visual artistic practices which capture, exploit, and produce glitch artifacts.
My goal is not to end all conversation about glitch art by ontologically overdetermining what a glitch is and how exactly it works. Instead, I pose this specific, particular position in the hopes of ending some of the more dead-end and circular conversations about the glitch. I also hope this essay will open up more fruitfully problematic conversations, and will lead to less banal, more conceptually rigorous works of art.' ... for more click here


Something new is going on...copiously copying ... In Praise of Copying 'by?' (no offense) Marcus Boon

Several thoughtful early responses to In Praise of Copying….
The first is an excellent blog post by Jenny Hendrix for The New Yorker concerning my Borgesian Brooklyn book launch and how to handle the universality of copying, in the bookstore and elsewhere.
The second is the audio of an hour long radio conversation I had with Erik Davis and Maja D’Aoust on their Expanding Mind show on the Progressive Radio Network.  Erik was his usual brilliant self, and we covered everything from compassion for viruses, to cumbia, to the struggle to understand what sameness means.  A great pleasure to chat with these guys.
The third is a piece in the National Post by Adam McDowell entitled, “Copying, A Right“, which looks at my book and other recent attempts to figure out how to balance an expanded right to copy with restrictions that support artists and other copyright holders.  I do want to note that the conversation at the launch described at the end of the piece actually ended with a monologue by yours truly on the broader crisis of the workplace today, for artists, factory workers and everybody else, to which my questioner responded “that’s a good answer!” But this is generally a very astute look at a problem that we’re still barely able to even articulate.
Finally, a great piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, discussing In Praise of Copying along with Lewis Hyde’s Common As Air, and the notion that books are always copies of other books.

****You can now download the entire text of In Praise of Copying from the Harvard website'.

'... Perhaps these online archives just make visible and more “at hand” something that was happening invisibly, more distantly, but continuously before. At the same time, something new is going on. The physical book today is one copy, one iteration of a text among others. What that means for publishers, writers, readers and other interested parties is something that we are working out – on this webpage and elsewhere.” —Marcus Boon'

Another article on Marcus's book  from the Chronicle here


Half of the world's 6500 to 7000 languages are expected to disappear this century.

"What do you see, Grandson? I'm waiting for lilyseed, Granny." Garrwa, an aboriginal language spoken by forty people in Northern Australia.
"I am going to tell a story." Pawnee, a Caddoan language spoken by fewer than ten people in Pawnee County, Oklahoma.
"From the bottom of the mountains, from the whiteness of the ice, our mother Jarxadan quietly carries its shining water downstream." [Listen.] Forest Yukagir, a Paleosiberian language spoken by thirty people in the Sakha Republic of Russia.
"If you do that, if you eat it, then you will be the way we are." Arapaho, a Plains Algonquian language spoken by 200 fluent elders on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, and by students of the language immersion school they founded in 2008.
"Don't you throw the boomerang, or I'll throw one at you." Kayardild, a Tangkic language spoken by eight people on islands off the northwest coast of Queensland, Australia.
"Nowadays they cannot speak any more." Baure, an Arawakan language spoken by thirteen people in the Beni Department of Bolivia.
"The jaguar walks in the dark, grabs wild pigs, bites and eats them, and walks while he shits, it is like that." Kwaza, an indigenous language spoken by 25 people in western Brazil.
"It's a white man's gun, you know." Lake Miwok, an Utian language spoken by three people in Northern California.
"This is the river Dulumtu, where there are neither animals nor fish." Udege, a Tungusic language spoken by forty people in Far Eastern Russia.
"I feel like hitting the road." Dumi, a Kiranti language spoken by eight people in the Khatang district of Nepal.


GLI.TC/H in Chicago 2010.09.29-2010.10.03

GLI.TC/H BUMP from Max Capacity on Vimeo.

GLI.TC/H is an international gathering of noise & new media practitioners in Chicago from September 29 thru October 03, 2010!
GLI.TC/H features: realtime audio & video performances with artists who misuse and abuse hardware and software; run-time video screenings of corrupt data, decayed media, and destroyed files; workshops and skill-share-sessions highlighting the wrong way to use and build tools; a gallery show examining glitches as processes, systems, and objects; all in the context of ongoing dialogues that have been fostered by experimentation, research, and play. GLI.TC/H is a physical and virtual assembly which stands testament to the energy surrounding these conversations.
Projects take the form of: artware, videos, games, films, tapes, code, interventions, prints, plugins, screen-captures, systems, websites, installations, texts, tools, lectures, essays, code, articles, & hypermedia.


web click here


Hacking attitude

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Hacking attitude
View more presentations from PSST : 2.0 OPINIONS AND TRENDS.

she said it was not the day before yesterday but the one becoming the tuessssday dayday

Cyberfeminism 101

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

functionfeminim- cyberfemism time line and links

click here

Notes on Knowledge Economy from Cyberfeminsm

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Nancy Paterson

click here

and here for her stock market skirt

From Cyborgs to Hacktivists: Postfeminist Disobedience and Virtual Communities Carolyn Guertin

 ...'Connectivity has been called the genius of feminism by theorist Robin Morgan (53), and this genius is being realized in electronic spaces and texts in more complex ways than in any other medium to date. Connectivity is the poster child of the postfeminist universe,...'

for the whole discussion  click here

... further discussion of Carolyn Guertin's "From Cyborgs to Hacktivists: Postfeminist Disobedience and Virtual Communitiesoutbound link"
click here

The Ceder Tavern Singers- a big deeelight

for more delight click here

smart mistakes nice new works ... and a prize

Smart Mistakes and the Short List for Share Prize 2010.

2nd?7th November, 2010
Regional Museum of Natural Science
Turin, Italy

Every year, the Share Festival chooses a special topic to focus on, to
help broaden our minds, sharpen our skills, and inspire creative
expression. So don?t miss this year?s festival from 2nd?7th November,
2010 in Turin!

Smart Mistakes ? Share Festival 2010

ERROR, mistake, mutation, failure, dysfunction, discrepancy, accident,
unexpected change, chance discovery, the aesthetics of error, mass
waste, project failure, abandon project, disaster, flaw, inconvenience,
misappropriation, side-effect, slip-up, flop.

This year, the VI Piemonte Share Festival will be focusing on the
artistic and cultural significance of mistake, in all its broader
senses. The creative potential of analysing and looking into what lies
behind an error is truly great, as it represents the uncovering of an
issue. Which is of particular interest in this year of global
emergencies. The issue uncovered then demands attention, which in turn
elicits controversy, while it is controversy that generates solutions
and innovation.
In the art and culture of our digital age, does mistake still play the
role of instigating change and activating value?

Share Prize 2010
Now are you ready to discover the group of artists called to Turin to
take part in a Share Festival?

Some 270 projects from 20 countries were submitted for consideration for
the Share Prize 2010. The aim of the Share Prize is to discover, promote
and support the digital arts. The competition is open to artists that
use digital technology as a language of creative expression, in all
shapes and formats.
The cultural aim of the Share Prize is to make participation in the
Share Festival open and accessible to all artists.

An international panel of judges consisting of Jurij Krpan (Ljubljana),
Andy Cameron (London), Fulvio Gianaria (Turin), and Bruce Sterling
(Austin/Turin) assessed the submissions. After a very interesting
meeting and a professional, in-depth analysis of all the works, it is
with great pleasure that we announce the six incredible artists who have
been short-listed for the Share Prize 2010.

Read the judges? statement here

The prize winners will be announced at the Share Prize award ceremony on
7th November, 2010 at the Regional Museum of Natural Science in Turin.

Kuai Auson (EC), 0h!m1gas (2008)
0h!m1gas is a biomimetic stridulation environment, based on the activity
of an ant colony under video and audio surveillance, transforming the
ants into DJs and creating a sound-reactive space which reveals the
connection between scratching, as an aesthetical expression created by
human culture, and the stridulation phenomena produced by ants as a
communication mechanism.

Perry Bard (CDN), Man with a Movie Camera (2007)
Man With a Movie Camera: The Global Remake is a participatory video shot
by people around the world who are invited to record images interpreting
the original script of Vertov?s Man with a Movie Camera, and upload them
to http://dziga.perrybard.net, where software developed specifically for
this project archives, sequences and streams the submissions as a film.

Sonia Cillari (IT), As an artist, I need to rest (2009)
The artist is lying still on the floor of the exhibition space, exhaling
through a very long cable, which departs from inside her left nostril
and ends at the centre of the main screen, suspended from the floor. A
digital creature which she calls 'feather' is entirely generated by her
exhaling into the suspended screen. During the performance, Sonia
Cillari exhales 14,000 digital elements and brings the digital feather
into more than 6 different states of beings, from 'addition' to
'resistance' patterns of life.

Ernesto Klar (IT/VE/USA), Luzes relacionais (2009-10)
Luzes relacionais" (Relational Lights) is an interactive audiovisual
installation that explores our relationship with the
expressional-organic character of space. The installation uses light,
sound, haze, and a custom-software system to create a morphing,
three-dimensional light-space in which spectators actively participate,
manipulating it with their presence and movements. "Luzes relacionais"
is pays homage to the work and aesthetic inquiry of Brazilian artist
Lygia Clark.

knowbotic research (CH), Macghillie_ just a void (2009-10)
In the public performance project MacGhillie, urban sites are visited by
a figure, clad in a camouflage suit, who shows neither the traits of an
individual, or even of a person. The so-called Ghillie Suit was
originally invented in the 19th century for hunting and was later also
used during the First World War (bis heute). Its camouflage anonymizes
and neutralises of the person who wears it in public. The figure
oscillates between the hyperpresence of a mask and visual redundancy.

Teatrino Elettrico (IT), DC12V (2009)
DC12V is a board-game version of elektrolivecircus. Sounds are generated
using analogue instruments only, recordings of movements, percussion,
friction and the electromagnetic fields of various everyday machines.
Small in converted into big, futile into necessary, objects into
personages, the board into a location. A desktop tragedy in one act for
self-propelled machines.

Share Festival 2010
2/7 NOVEMBRE 2010

Associazione "The Sharing"
Via Rossini 3
10124 Torino
tel. 011 5883693


scoring the play - Rosemarie Fiore

Long exposure photographs of videogames by (for more click) Rosemarie Fiore:
“These photographs are long exposures taken while playing video war games of the 80’s created by Atari, Centuri and Taito. The photographs were shot from video game screens while I played the games. By recording each second of an entire game on one frame of film, I captured complex patterns not normally seen by the eye.”

the dancing/stutter'n ineffable by alan sondheim

Ineffable http://www.alansondheim.org/ineffable.mov
(it takes a while to upload worth the patience)

inviolable, inviolate, legendary, marvelous, mythical, noncommunicable,
exceptional, extraordinary, fabulous, heavenly, holy, ideal, happiness";
untouchable, unutterable, unwhisperable, venerable, wonderful "unutterable
contempt"; "a thing of untellable splendor", incommunicable, expression or
description; "indefinable yearnings"; "indescribable awesome, awful, cele-
stial, divine, empyreal, empyrean, ethereal, beauty"; transcendent, tran-
scendental, undefinable, unexampled, unmentionable, indefinable, indescri-
bable, inenarrable, inexpressible, innominable, "ineffable ecstasy"; "in-
expressible anguish"; "unspeakable defying unnameable, unparalleled, un-
precedented, unspeakable, untellable, noteworthy, numinous, phenomenal,
portentous, prodigious, religious, remarkable, sacred, sacrosanct, spiri-
tual, stupefying, stupendous, {indescribable}, {unspeakable}, {untella-
ble}, {unutterable}] abstract tiny little elusive object of no consequence
but moving alan dojoji to hir inescapable unreachable destiny, only one
s/he has decided for hirself, no one else has made this journey for hir

Humlab, Sandy Baldwin, Alan Sondheim

Alan Dojoji avatar responding to 'go to' command but constantly thwarted;
s/he is also controlled by several altered mocap animations. The result is
a constant skittering motion, achieving nothing - the condition of the
fan, or anyone relegated to a problematic subaltern relation to visible
signs of in-visible power.
inviolable, inviolate, legendary, marvelous, mythical, noncommunicable,

Affective Encounters in Feminist Media- conference papers

Puustinen, “Gender for Sale. Advertising Design as Technologies of Gender.” In Koivunen & Paasonen (eds.), Affective Encounters. Rethinking Embodiment in Feminist Media Studies. http://www.utu.fi/hum/mediatutkimus/affective/proceedings.html.


100 anti-thesis to cyberfeminism

100 anti-theses

cyberfeminism is not ...

  1. cyberfeminism is not a fragrance
  2. cyberfeminism is not a fashion statement
  3. sajbrfeminizm nije usamljen
  4. cyberfeminism is not ideology
  5. cyberfeminism nije aseksualan
  6. cyberfeminism is not boring
  7. cyberfeminism ist kein gruenes haekeldeckchen
  8. cyberfeminism ist kein leerer kuehlschrank
  9. cyberfeminism ist keine theorie
  10. cyberfeminism ist keine praxis
  11. cyberfeminism ist keine traditio
  12. cyberfeminism is not an institution
  13. cyberfeminism is notusing words without any knowledge of numbers
  14. cyberfeminism is not complete
  15. cyberfeminism is not error 101
  16. cyberfeminism ist kein fehler
  17. cyberfeminism ist keine kunst
  18. cyberfeminism is not an ism
  19. cyberfeminism is not anti-male
  20. sajbrfeminizm nige nesto sto znam da je
  21. cyberfeminism is not a structure
  22. cyberfeminismo no es uns frontera
  23. cyberfeminism nije poslusan
  24. cyberfeminism nije apolitican
  25. cyberfeminisme is niet concreet
  26. cyberfeminism is not separatism
  27. cyberfeminism is not a tradition
  28. cyberfeminism is not maternalistic
  29. cyberfeminisme id niet iets buitenlands
  30. cyberfeminism is not without connectivity
  31. cyberfeminismus ist nicht mehr wegzudenken
  32. cyberfeminismus ist kein oxymoron
  33. cyberfeminism is not on sale
  34. cyberfeminism is nor for sale
  35. cyberfeminismus ist nicht gut
  36. cyberfeminismus ist nicht schlecht
  37. cyberfeminismus ist nicht modern
  38. cyberfeminismus ist nicht post-modern
  39. cyberfeminism is not natural
  40. cyberfeminism is not essentialist
  41. cyberfeminism is not abject
  42. cyberfeminism is not an avatar
  43. cyberfeminism is not an alter ego
  44. cyberfeminismus ist nicht truegerisch
  45. cyberfeminismus ist nicht billig
  46. cyberfeminismus ist nicht willig
  47. cyberfeminisme n'est pas jaloux
  48. cyberfeminism is not exclusive
  49. cyberfeminism is not solid
  50. cyberfeminism is not genetic
  51. cyberfeminismus ist keine entschuldigung
  52. cyberfeminism is not prosthetic
  53. cyberfeminismo no tiene cojones
  54. cyberfeminisme n'est pas triste
  55. cyberfeminisme n'est pas une pipe
  56. cyberfeminism is not a motherboard
  57. cyberfeminism is not a fake
  58. cyberfeminism nije ogranicen
  59. cyberfeminism nije nekonfliktan
  60. cyberfeminism nije make up
  61. cyberfeminism nije zatvoren prozor
  62. cyberfeminism is not a lack
  63. cyberfeminism is not a wound
  64. cyberfeminism is not a trauma
  65. cyberfeminismo no es una banana
  66. cyberfeminism is not a sure shot
  67. cyberfeminism is not an easy mark
  68. cyberfeminism is not a single woman
  69. cyberfeminism is not romantic
  70. cyberfeminism is not post-modern
  71. cyberfeminism is not a media-hoax
  72. cyberfeminism is not neutral
  73. cyberfeminism is not lacanian
  74. cyberfeminism is not nettime
  75. cyberfeminism is not a picnic
  76. cyberfeminism is not a coldfish
  77. cyberfeminism is not a cyberepilation
  78. cyberfeminism is not a horror movie
  79. cyberfeminism is not science fiction
  80. cyberfeminism is not artificial intelligence
  81. cyberfeminism is not an empty space
  82. cyberfeminism is not immobile
  83. cyberfeminism is not about boring toys for boring boys
  84. cyberfeminismus ist keine verlegenheitsloesung
  85. cyberfeminism is not a one-way street
  86. cyberfeminism is not supporting quantum mechanics
  87. cyberfeminism is not caffeine-free
  88. cyberfeminism is not a non-smoking area
  89. cyberfeminism is not daltonistic
  90. cyberfeminism is not nice
  91. cyberfeminismo no es callado
  92. cyberfeminism is not lady.like
  93. cyberfeminismus ist nicht arrogant
  94. cyberfeminismus ist keine nudelsauce
  95. cyberfeminism is not mythical
  96. cyberfeminism is not from outer space
  97. cyberfeminismo no es rock 'n roll
  98. cyberfeminism is not dogmatic
  99. cyberfeminism is not stable
  100. cyberfeminism has not only one language

re.act.feminism exhib

Two visitors to the exhibition 're.act.feminism - Performance art of the 1960s and 1970s today' eye a photograph by Belgrade artist Tanja Ostojic dated 1972 at the Academy of Arts in Berlin, Germany, 12 December 2008

quote from their web site
re.act.feminism – performance art of the 1960’s and 70’s today was an international performance and exhibition project exploring the “return” of feminist performance art of the 1960’s and 70’s in form of re-dos, reenactments, appropriations, new articulations, or archival and documentary projects. The exhibition, performance program and videoarchive featured more than 70 artists from two generations, providing an exemplary overview of gender-critical performance art of the 1960s and 70s in Europe and the USA, and investigating its resonances in current artistic productions.
The curators’ intention was to extend the perspective beyond the canon of the known and familiar in order to demonstrate the diversity and complexity of (feminist) performative strategies. This included performance movements in Eastern and South Eastern Europe as well as the former GDR (since the beginning of the 1980s) which often developed parallel to and independent of ‘western art’.
Performance art emerging in the 1960s and 70s was infused with ideas of social emancipation and fundamentally influenced by women artists interested in feminism. Performance art explored the intersection of art and life, of private and public. By focusing on the sentient, creating, knowing, speaking body it is the ideal medium to deconstruct the status of women as art objects and appropriate the subject position, to dramatize the social and physical vulnerability of women’s bodies in a patriarchal society and to deconstruct and subvert notions of stereotypical identity. Moreover, as a new art form, occurring outside the confines of the traditional art space, performance was a medium for collective and social intervention in the public sphere.

The artistic avant-garde of the 1960s and 70s, including feminist performance art, are currently regaining attention among a younger generation of artists and also among institutions. There are several reasons for this interest. On the one hand it reflects the (institutional) desire for the historicisation of performance as an ephemeral art form. On the other hand there seems to be a need of a younger generation to actively appropriate history and –so our thesis– a search for radical artistic expressions reflecting and stimulating social change.

The “return of performance art” seems to be a paradoxical notion. Performance art developed in a time of global awakening in the 1960s and 70s as an ephemeral, process-based art form, in which the body and the actions of artists, and sometimes also those of audiences, became the artistic medium. Performance art opposed notions of object-based art and related strategies of commodification and often left the traditional art institutions, galleries and museums. Performance was therefore understood as embedded in the now, the present moment, and therefore haunted by disappearance, as Peggy Phelan’s has famously stated:

"Performance’s only life is in the present. Performance cannot be saved, recorded, documented or otherwise participate in the circulation of representations of representations: once it does so, it becomes something other than performance. … Performance’s being ... becomes itself through disappearance." (Peggy Phelan, Unmarked, 1993)

However, as many authors have claimed successively performance does not only exist in the live act, but is often intrinsically linked to its recording and reaches a broader audience only through its traces and documentation. Authors such as Paul Clarke and Rebecca Schneider have elaborated further that there might even be a liveness to these traces, documents and recordings, as well as to the process of transmission:

Documents – so their thesis- are mostly produced intentionally for posterity, for a future reading and handling and their liveness lies in this future encounter, in the live circulation and reception, which is anticipated in its live production. The documents and traces, the mythologies and stories may trigger phantasies and inspire to re-enact, re-perform or re-act.

The exhibition re.act.feminism focussed on this contradictory relationship between the live act and its traces and documents, the fragmentary archives and the live reception, and reflected on how (performance)history can be reconstructed and a possible future 'invented'.

Bettina Knaup, Beatrice E. Stammer