Dispatches | November 03, 2010

I was surfing the web for unique art this Sunday – random Google searches really free up the mind. And pass the time between NFL games. I believe I was specifically thinking of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain when I got the idea. I like Duchamp’s Fountain because of the way it re-appropriates everyday meaning. The people in the art biz are probably shaking their collective heads at me, now.  “We have  a word for that,” they say. “Readymades.” In fact, Duchamp started “readymade” with Fountain. Readymades take an object lacking any significance in the art world and, poof, art. Maybe it’s not so much a “poof.”

What I found was proof of more than a poof. The picture above is the creation of Andre Fernandes Avel s, found on this blog. The blog itself has long been abandoned – over two years, actually. Thankfully, this picture of 500 pairs of disposable headphones, wired together to constantly produce sound, set up in Stavanger, Norway was cool enough to stick around on Google image searches. Cleverly, Avel s set 40 of the buds as microphones, which picked up the sounds produced by the other 960. The blogger described the Headphones art project as “a controlled cacophony of mind-altering sound.”

Thanks to the most recent issue of Poets and Writers, I came close to experiencing what this blogger felt. Naturally, I was drawn to the “Indie Innovators” section. Blame it on my generation, video games, text messaging, instant messaging, whatever. I’m a bit impulsive and impatient so of course I went to feature story, really a combination of mini-reviews. The piece on textsound led me to the audio-zine’s site. I like the idea of user generated audio content – kind of reminded me of TMR’s Audio Contest (check the site for contest details soon).

textsound has compiled 10 issues of submitted audio content. The issue reflects the opening line of Anna Vitale’s editor’s note, “I have always loved listening to almost everything.” Issue 10 is packed with almost everything. I couldn’t help but click on the track titled “Seasonique” by WOLVERINE ACCESS – it was the all caps and, like I said, I’m impulsive. “Hey, Logical” – “Hey, Emotional” repeated, back and forth, elevating into screams of nonsense. The speakers on my computer buzzed with the noise. I quickly retreated from the impulse and started at the beginning. The issue starts off smoothly, opening with “I Am Not Now,” a soothing musical track, by Mikolowski and Carlberg. Then, it leads into poetry by Lucy Carnaghi. “Quiet Allergy” by MC Trashpedal interrupts Carnaghi’s poetry with inconsistent and constant noise, however.

Issue 10, and textsound‘s other issues, are experimental, following its mission. Many of the pieces remind me of readymades (e.g. Jason Voss’s “wtf,” which seems to be a looping lines with changing tempo). Unfortunately, I missed the POOF! with many of the tracks. I found myself immersed in “mind-altering sound,” instead.

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