An artist’s book has been published to coincide with Room40‘s digital re-release of the three volumes of Aki Onda‘s Cassette Memories sound project. The limited edition 23-page ‘I Lost My Memory‘ contains Aki Onda’s photography and his story behind Cassette Memories. I supplied a supplementary essay entitled ‘Tape, Psyche, Montage and Magic: The Cassette Memories of Aki Onda’ exploring Onda’s work and the esoteric uses of tape. Some further information can be read on the main Miraculous Agitations blog.
‘I Lost My Memory‘ also reveals, for the first time, the long-lost identity of an anonymous author writing in 1932, who battled memory fugue to pool his memories for a book of the same title: ‘I Lost My Memory: The Case as the Patient Saw It‘ (published by Faber & Faber).
Aki Onda: I Lost My Memory is out now on Room40 and includes download codes for Cassette Memories I, II and III.
Extreme detail of Van de Moortel’s ‘Bomb Culture’ (2019)
Noise, forever fizzing at the edges of musical vocabulary, forms the topic of an essay I’ve written for Joris Van de Moortel‘s new artist’s book ‘A Dubious Pilgrimage‘, out now. Van de Moortel is an artist/musician who terms his performances ‘Messes’, riffing on the Catholic Mass but with messier sacraments that assail guitars, amplifiers and other unsuspecting instruments to the point of overload.
The essay is titled “Van de Moortel’s Goception in the Mess: Byways in the History of Noise’s Ongoing Transmutation into Music”, and this noise/music transmutation is viewed through the lens of the literary work of a Victorian chemist and would-be poet John Carrington Sellars titled ‘Chemistianity (Popular Knowledge of Chemistry)‘ (1873). The made-up word ‘goception’ is deployed by Sellars in that work to signify chemical reaction – a neologism precariously invented by him to achieve poetic flow.
With chemical reactions – or ‘goceptions’ – in mind, a longer blogpost over at the main Miraculous Agitations blog examines some instances where artists have used physical copies of The Wire magazine as raw ingredient in artworks. The Wire is a catalyst Joris Van de Moortel often uses in his creative work, most explicitly in his ‘A love affair with Excess’ series where distressed snippets of text from The Wire‘s ‘Excess All Areas’ special 2019 issue are squirrelled into mixed-media artworks. My ‘Bomb Culture’ history of musical explosions text was thereby transformed into an artwork infused with Van de Moortel’s own performative lore.
Strangely, a Wire magazine feature I’d written eight years previously was artfully collaged in Allen Fisher‘s concrete poetry book ‘SPUTTOR‘ (2014). But maybe this isn’t so strange given The Wire situating itself within experimental culture? The fact that I’m by no means a regular contributor to the magazine suggests this is just the tip of an iceberg, and that artistic, collage, poetic/concretic, decoupage and personalisation uses of The Wire are to be expected? An interesting topic to investigate…
Read more at the main Miraculous Agitations blog. Joris Van de Moortel’s ‘A Dubious Pilgrimage‘ is available now.
As a freelancer, many pitches and proposals become little more than yelps into an abyss. At the end of 2019 I’ve decided to relinquish a continually rejected article by posting it in full at the main Miraculous Agitations blog for people to read. Ironically, it’s about noise and the ways anti-noise campaigners promote their cause. In fact, like a nest of rejected Russian Matryoshka dolls, the blogpost also contains the essence of my BBC radio documentary pitch on anti-noise campaigning which has been rejected in various forms over the years. In all, the text implicitly questions how we process noise – in all senses of the word – and the paradoxical ways that noise might be countered (with passing reference to the instrumentality of celebrity and popular culture), all presented via deep archive archaeology. The core of the piece concerns The Darlington Quiet Town Experiment, one of the ‘noisiest’ anti-noise campaigns ever seen in Britain, and something I’ve been collecting material on for many years.
The odd synchronicities that often arise whilst engaged in long-running archival research is also in evidence – subtle links between disparate sources; ethereal silver cords amidst the noise. One unusual discovery was of the earliest published story by stage and television’s Mark Gatiss – ‘The Anti-Noise Machine’ – an extraordinarily rich science-fiction nugget penned by the writer/actor aged eleven.
Read more at miraculousagitations.blogspot.com : “Noise, anti-noise, drama, Jeremy Beadle’s private noise research, the Darlington Quiet Town Experiment, and the earliest published story by Mark Gatiss (set in the year 2023)”
Artreview has published my lengthy review of Aki Onda’s Space Studies – an epic 5-hour performance at the South London Gallery – readable here.
The latest Fortean Times (June 2016, #341) contains my unmasking of the author of the strange 1892 book Atomic-Consciousness – a pseudonymously self-published semi-autobiographical book by an eccentric working-man who continually experienced what would later be termed (by Jung) synchronicities.
Over at the Miraculous Agitations blog I’ve posted two short accompanying blogposts (one on Atomic-Consciousness‘ bearing on Modernism, the other on keeping a synchronicity diary). If you haven’t already perused the full Fortean Times article those blog tit-bits probably won’t make much sense… So I hereby advise you to go and check out the latest FT issue: a Loch Ness monster special, also containing news of the phantom organist of Torquay, Scouse synchronicities, the curious career of Gabriele d’Annunzio, Avebury’s subterranean secrets, the art of designing crop circles… and much more!
Rustlings are underway for the release of the Radionics Radio album, containing various experiments allying radionic thought-frequencies to musical frameworks, with microtonal results! More details will follow soon.
In other news, there will be a Radionics Radio diffusion on June 22nd at Café OTO, with some thrilling other acts on the bill. Likewise, more details on this to come…
A new blogpost over at the Miraculous Agitations blog hosts a bit of 1920s oscillating action to coincide with the Fortean Times article, ‘Rogue Oscillators’ on the pre-history of the Theremin sound: an archetypal spooky sound effect. It also highlights the very beginnings of electronic music as a rustic folk art… Check out FT327 for more!