"Do you have a feeling that you've done this before?"
"Neither do I. Maybe that's a good sign."

Poster hinting at the return of the KLF under their JAMMS guise

A bit older but more contemporary than rave archaeology:

and that with soundtrack

2017 could use some punk magic.


Photo of an inverted pyramid made out of metal and fabric, installed in the desert

A thing I did with friends. Metal by Daniel, fabric by Calli. Special thanks to Mary.

Amazing fractals. No, really.

I don't retreat, I reload

Worse is better
Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit - all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.
- Brian Eno, A Year With Swollen Appendicies (via)

Building time in Berlin

I guess I have a thing for weird clocks.

ART THOUGHTZ: Post-Structuralism

I think I’ve figured it out: what is enjoyable about trolling done well is exactly what is enjoyable about the trickster archetype. The trickster is amoral, chaotic, beyond good and evil; his actions are not, for the most part, guided by a moral compass, and as such he seems incoherent when analyzed in moral terms.

The trickster archetype appears all over mythology, religion and literature, but the instance I’m most familiar with is Loki, the trickster of Norse mythology. And the frustrating thing about Loki as a literary character, as a person, is that he appears not to have a character: at one point he’s helping the good guys, the next he is their bitter enemy, and at no point does he seem to undergo a transformation of character that could account for the change. Both sides are integral to his character, but a traditional literary character cannot exist in a superposition of good and evil for any extended period of time, so the trickster appears like an anomaly. This is the same tendency we see with Anonymous: one moment, “Anonymous” appears like an internet army of white knights; the next, they’re fucking with people’s reputations, livelihoods and families for fun. These actions are not opposed, but simply expressions of the trickster archetype. The internet troll has made Loki into an ethos; but, as per the Trickster’s nature, the troll doesn’t take an ethos or code of conduct particularly seriously, so deviations from the established norm are, in a sense, normal. The Trickster’s character is charismatic, chaotic, amoral, highly sexually charged, and guided by a hedonism built around amusement of a hybrid sort: it’s an intellectual amusement, in that cleverness is a highly prized characteristic, and yet it’s also a juvenile amusement, in that it is often petty and frequently takes immature topics as its subjects.

If trolls got laid more, they would perfectly embody this archetype.

Enthusiasms: lol. This is actually more interesting in helping me understand Loki than helping me understand 4chan.

Talks about killradio, "a Los Angeles collective of activists and DJs devoted to non-commercial radio and independent media", and cool stuff to do in LA, including a Joshua Tree sculpture environment.

Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society
Currently featuring: visionary architecture (including houses made of living trees), timelines of timelines, cat pianos, the lawn chair balloonist.

New hotshit arts mag. Shockingly good stuff in here. Subscribe.

(we need more) slow technology
Phototropic robot via We Make Money Not Art, which I need to read more often.

Manifesto of Surrealism, by André Breton
"We are still living under the reign of logic: this, of course, is what I have been driving at. But in this day and age logical methods are applicable only to solving problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism that is still in vogue allows us to consider only facts relating directly to our experience. Logical ends, on the contrary, escape us. It is pointless to add that experience itself has found itself increasingly circumscribed. It paces back and forth in a cage from which it is more and more difficult to make it emerge."

Sign and Sight
English digest of German media.

Flaming Lotus Girls
"The Flaming Lotus Girls are a San Francisco-based group of of female and male artists collaborating all year round to create exceptional fire art and provide a resource for learning metalworking and other essential shop skills. Our installations incorporate flame effects and enticing design on a gargantuan scale."

heavy freaks
Positive Ape Index

"You've seen them. There's one that's been sitting on a shelf gathering dust in your uncle Billy's garage for 30 years now. It's image flickers through your head when you're daydreaming about hotrods and monster movies and eating corndogs at the carnival."

Los Angeles: Critic's Picks
go see these shows, sez Artforum

LA gallery.

Dean and Zulu
"ace Brighton taggers". Nothing here yet.
"We shall know their range."

Crooked Timber
Am I a Bright? Or just a pretentious fuck?

Social Fiction index
carthographic sadism. gabber avant-gardism. disco socialism. peripatetic hedonism. autonomous spacetravel. RIGHT!

"...noisy, brainsick young people who haunt the brasseries [beer shops] of the Boulevard Saint-Michel and exhaust their ingenuities in theorizing over the works they cannot write."
  • Arthur Symons, "The Decadent Movement in Literature"

drawing on the right side of the brain

hmm: "There's a very influential book that was first published in 1941 (and is still in print) entitled "The Natural Way to Draw", by Kimon Nicolaides. Nicolaides was a very influential artist who taught at New York's Art Students League, and Edwards' book is essentially Nicolaides with a lot of nonsense about "R-mode" and "L-mode" that serves no practical didactic purpose."

hmmm: "Anyone preparing to undertake this book [The Natural Way to Draw] should be aware it is tremendously demanding of your time and energies. There is a minimum expectation that you will draw for three hours a day for a one year period."


Aspen treats a lot of the same themes that (useless, useless) web pundits do, but what pundits: John Cage ("FORM OF ANSWER: GLOBAL UTILITIES NETWORK. Do not fear that as the globe gets utility organized your daily life will not remain (or become as the case may be) disorganized"), Lou Reed, David Hockney.

The Opposite of Sex and the City
The first Paul Ford essay I have not only disagreed with, but violently hated. He goes on and on about the shallowness of the show -- dude, you just wrote an essay about a TV show you've never watched. Isn't it even possible that the show has a more complex worldview than the one you ascribe to it based on the subway ads you've seen?

Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 17:42:44 -0400
From: Andrei
To: idm@hyperreal.org
Subject: RE: [idm] Dada / Intonarumori

For those who care about this Dada music thread:
I have a friend who specializes in Dada and Surrealist literature and here are some things he had to say about Dada music.


  • -------

What I can recall are things not so much in the name of music as in the name of provocation, but as far as Picabia goes, his first wife (who had a strong influence on his ideas), Gabrielle Buffet, was a trained pianist, as was her sister, Mauguerite, who actually performed at a couple Dada performances in Paris. One piece she performed was Picabia's piece, an example of "Sodomist" music (I think that's what he called it, even though "sadist" would have made more sense), called something like "The Nanny" (or something with nanny in the title), which was essentially minimalism before its time: three notes played over and over and over. It was also her that played Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes' piece "No Curly Chicory!" at another performance, and I actually have a description of that, culled from the Dada Almanac: the piece "had been composed by choosing notes entirely at random and was played with stony-faced expertise by Marguerite Buffet, a professional concert performer. the composer was seated beside her turning the pages of his masterpiece and later recalled being swamped in an indescribable uproar in which music, the shouts, cries and whistles of the audience united into a discordant harmony like the smashing of glass: 'curiously effective,' he thought." That was March 1920. I can't find a reference to the Picabia piece right now.

Satie's "furniture music" could be conceivably fall under the Dada rubric, although it preceded his actual involvement with Picabia, and that would already be after Picabia had broken with the movement. But it is somewhat in the spirit, although its intentions were opposite. Also Varese, but you know more about him than I do: he lived with Picabia in NY for a summer, when Dada was just getting going, and Picabia referenced a piece he never actually wrote more than once: a piece written for the water faucet. There is also that Duchamp cd you probably know about, but in that case, I think it is a whole piece constructed around an idea to be found among his notes, so to describe him as contributing to a Dadaist music would be stretching things.

If you include Schwitters' sound poetry as music, then there is lots of that sort of thing, but I'm not sure I would label it all as music: Tzara experimented a lot with African songs, nonsense words, etc. And Scwitters' sound poetry was inspired by the output of Raoul Hausmann, who actually precedes him. There is another Ribemont-Dessaignes thing that had everybody on stage go "krii krii krii krii" (or something like that) over and (again) over and over again, which annoyed Breton so much that he had to leave the theater for a while. (He hated music, which is why there is no surrealist music).

And there was also an actual Dada-foxtrot, which was written by a Dadaist, and was actually something of a foxtrot, but they were amused by it and welcomed the publicity.

Music and dancing played a part in the early Zurich stuff/Cabaret Voltaire, but it was mostly standard music-hall stuff (although the costumes got wild): that was the background of Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings (her singing drew a lot of the audience). Varese and Satie seem to come closest to a serious idea of Dada music, and Varese seems to have his foot equally in Futurism, and Satie was never really a Dadaist. There might also be something to look at with the Laban dancing troupe,who joined in with the Cabaret Voltaire sometimes. I don't know what they were doing in terms of accompanying music, or if they were even using any, but the fact that they probably made it subordinate to their movement would be relevant, but I haven't read up on them. The Zurich Dadaists were always trying to get the Laban dancers to go out with them. But on the whole, the Zurich stuff isn't even what people generally associate with Dada (in terms of negativity, confrontation, scandal, etc.).

There could have been more of a development at one point, but things went a different way: Marinetti came to Paris to give a lecture on new sounds and futurist music, etc., which by all accounts should have interested the Dadaists, except that he preceded his arrival with the statement that Dada was a development of Futurism, so all they had on their mind was sabotaging his lecture rather than paying any attention to what he was actually saying.

  • -------

Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002 01:01:14 -0400
From: Marc Lowenthal
To: Lukas Bergstrom
Subject: your email to Andrei

Andrei forwarded the email you sent to him, and it is of course fine by me if you felt like doing something with the info I sent him. My only qualm is that I had been typing off the top of my head, so, English and typos aside, I also didn't bother to back everything up with actual references, but that is probably obvious from the email itself. Scanning through it quickly, though, I see I had accidentally said that the Dadatrot was written by a Dadaist, when what I had meant to write was that it wasn't. My memory of the story behind that trot, though, is fuzzy. I believe it was a minor hit. There is a series of photographs existing of Gerhard Preiss, who went by the name of "Supermusicdada", doing the "Dadatrot" ^× he was a minor character in the movement, and is all but forgotten except for those pretty amusing photos, but he was a dancer and mime by trade, and did collaborate, and was a co-signatory for something.

I also looked up that Picabia piece: it was entitled "The American Nanny", and was indeed "sodomist" music; I don't have the original French title at hand, though, but memory tells me the word used for nanny was "nounou", which I mention only because one of the various "meanings" (or translations) of "Dada" is nanny (along with hobbyhorse, etc.).

And Marguerite would also accompany some of the readings of the manifestoes on the piano. But I guess that was kind of a standard thing back then (although it doesn't always get mentioned).

All best,


I'm listening to this now. Mr. Smith has apparently swallowed the idea that modern techno is a Serious Art Form hook, line, and sinker. It's painful to listen to Basic Channel fans talk about "the space between the notes"...yeah, man...

First broadcast January 27, 1999
CBC Radio One, 9:05 pm

Novelist Russell Smith (How Insensitive; Noise) devises a sound essay examining Futurism, minimalism, poetic collage, abstract painting, and the most listener-unfriendly music ever recorded, the style called Rotterdam, beloved of art students and disenchanted punk-rockers.
(direct to audio)

I agree with his point about how modern techno is related to earlier movements in art, but it's a pretty obvious one, and he doesn't say much else. (Update: ok, he does say some interesting things, but none of them are about techno, nor anything after about 1950. [Tunnel vision? What's that?])

Great resource on Italian Futurism.
Futurism was an international art movement founded in Italy in 1909. It was (and is) a refreshing contrast to the weepy sentimentalism of Romanticism. The Futurists loved speed, noise, machines, pollution, and cities; they embraced the exciting new world that was then upon them rather than hypocritically enjoying the modern world’s comforts while loudly denouncing the forces that made them possible. Fearing and attacking technology has become almost second nature to many people today; the Futurist manifestos show us an alternative philosophy.

Too bad they were all Fascists.
Links to a bunch of breathless manifestos, including Russolo's Art of Noises.

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