august 02, 2014.
"One never knows until one tries."
( * )
Our eight unPublic turned out a duo-thing, upon which Laura Wetherington and I decided pretty much on-the-fly, right after last month's 20 du mois at La Générale, where we had watched Somewhere to Disappear, a documentary film by Laure Flammarion and Arnaud Uyttenhove featuring photographer Alec Sloth.
I had known Laura already for at least five years, because it was in 2009 that with the ookoi we contributed a short track to Textsound, an online journal of experimental poetry and sound that she co-founded and co-edits. That was in the journal's 4th issue, where we had a piece called Time_Place, which we recorded using our reactive -RJDJ- 'Project Icarus' soundtrack. But that Sunday at La Générale was the first time we met in person. Not so strange, really, given the fact that she is living and working in Nevada.
True to the title of Laura's wonderful debut poetry collection, A Map Predetermined and Chance, it was a mix of predetermination and chance, that placed the second of our live meetings ánd the 8th unPublic inside the American Library in Paris, at a mere stone throw's distance from the Eiffel Tower, on Tuesday morning, July 22nd, thanks also to Grant Rosenberg, the library's programs manager, who allowed us to come and sing and dance an hour or two early that day, befóre opening time, amidst the institute's +/- 120,000 books.
Laura was flying on to Ireland the next day, and I would be on a train to Zürich. A future opportunity to play could not yet be foreseen. So if, then we had to act quickly; we had to do it then and there...
We started in the large study and reading room on the library's ground floor, where we could use the piano.
We then descended into the basement, where I set up my little mixing desk and sonic paraphernalia on a small movable book tray, amidst long rows of science fiction and philosophy books, for no other reason than that this appeared to be the only spot where we had access to a power socket.
For the recordings, I took one of the little staircases to put my Zoom on...
... so that when we got going, there was me pushing sounds from one side of the stair case and Laura doing the vocals from the other.
This more or less describes it all. Except, maybe, for one little detail. I had the feeling that the top of the little stair case was not high enough as it was; the Zoom's microphones should be placed just a little bit higher. Therefore I took the biggest book that I saw on the bookshelf next to it, to put that under the Zoom. It was of course no accident that this particular book turned out to be Appearance and Reality, a 'metaphysical essay' by the British idealist philosopher Francis Herbert Bradley, first published in 1893.
Like the piano, and like much of the collection, also this book had been a gift, donated to the library by a Mr. J.H. Morse in 1956.
It was thus that, also in a very literal sense, Appearance and Reality were the cornerstones of this eight unPublic.
Here are the recordings...
(details on playing, lyrics etc., can be found on the Bandcamp page)
tags: unPublic, poetry, Laura Wetherington
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