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Art fleas (puces de l'art)

january 13, 2010.

[ podcast :: sbpc 34 ... s ]


December 19th was a special day.

It was that saturday afternoon that I restored my 675th and 676th piece of wasted audio tape picked up from the street. I did so during the Puces de l'Art, an 'art exposition annex event annex flea market' that came with a large number of mere jewelry, bags, gadgets and souvenir vendors, and thus at first sight was not so different from most of the other parisian 'Marchés de Noël'. You probably will not guess as much just by looking at the photographs illustrating this entry, but there were but few lice, few real fleas in the fur...
Disappointing in that respect, this 'art flea market'. And curious in view of it being set up in the - freezing - La Générale on the avenue Parmentier, which by itself has little or nothing that would attract tourists or other money spenders.

But it was special, nevertheless. If only because by restoring there tape finds #675 and #676 the FTE, for the first time since the very beginning of my collection in 2002, was fully up to date: no more bits of tapes waiting to be disentangled and re-spooled into cassette. Thus, much later than planned, but still before the end of the year, I realized a major objective of the 2009 'Found Tapes Maps' project, the wrap-up of which (with book and - obviously - the maps) is now at hand. ( * )

Here are two pictures of the table on which this landmark was set (the first was taken on the event's opening, on friday december 18th, the second early afternoon the next day, saturday december 19th):

table puces table puces

Even though he himself flew off to Italy, it was Rébus who arranged for Ana-R to have that table, which was like a tropical island right in the middle of the icy Générale, to play with. But who says 'table' of course says 'A Table!', and over the weekend, with the help of Jean-Jacques Duerinckx who came over from Brussels, we continued to transform the table and used it as the 'basis' for some 'Table de Noël' performances, in which we were joined by Anthony Carcone on guitar.

We in turn joined Blenno und die Wurst-Brücke, who you see in the photograph that opens this entry. Blenno, who's real name is Jerome, installed an army's worth of sound toys in the toilet next to the Générale's entrance, and - dressed like a guerilla-ballerina - in there ran his very own Little Big Festival of Musica Povera. Of course over the weekend also we regularly stepped into his loo, and played and sang along. Now you will surely know of a good explanation for this, but it is a matter of fact that when somebody asks me to sing - and Blenno asked me ... -, unless I start thinking about it, first thing to come out will be a lusty rendering of the Dutch national anthem: Het Wilhelmus.

The "Wilhelmus Van Nassouwe" as performed by A Table! and Die Wurst-Brücke at the Little Big Festival of Musica Povera, on sunday december 20th, 2009 in La Générale, Paris, is this edition's podcast. Listen, then download and collect it! Just click this link .

Dorénavant (detail), by photographer Virginie Balabaud.
muraille secrets
Passe Muraille - Yoann Paounoff Secrets de famille - Félix Aberasturi

To celebrate the Found Tapes' landmark that I knew I would erect that weekend, I wanted to set a new world record: that of toppling cassettes, as if they were domino stones. Unlike the domino record (currently at a grand total of 4.491.863 - which, just to give you an idea, about 31 times the number of cassettes in Penelope's archive) setting a cassette domino record will be easy, because - as far as I know - no one yet had a go at that.

No one. Except, that is, ... me.

Assisted by my daughter, I set what I claim to be the first ever official toppling audio cassettes world record at a modest 51, on sunday december 13th 2009, on the floor of our living room. Here are the pictures to wit:

world record world record

I had wanted to sharpen the record to at least about twice or thrice that number during the Puces de l'Art, but once there, it turned out to be neither the right place, nor the right time. Which, on the other hand, will make it the easier for you to step in, and become the next cassette toppling world record holder ... So here's your chance and challenge for the new decade ... grin ... Send me your reports, and make sure to document your efforts and attempts!

[ Added October 26th, 2013 The first other cassette domino that I am aware of was set up and triggerend by Enia Tomei during a performance with Paolo Di Cioccio and Adriano Lanzi at the Conservatorio S. Cecilia in Rome, Italy, on Monday October 21st 2013, as part of the Emufest Festival. Here is a picture to wit:


Though I do not know how many cassettes Enia actually did topple, we may confidently state that he indeed broke my unofficial 2010 world record...! (Thanks to Rinus van Alebeek, who was there. Click here for a short vimeo of the performance at the Conservatorio.) ]

The cassettes that I had brought for the world record attempt - a whole suitcase full - I arranged in a neat little block, which became the center of our sunday's Christmas table:

block block

So, you see ... we kept sort of busy, and thought up all kinds of fascinating things to keep our spirits high. Like dancing to the sounds of Jean-Marc Mantarou, who joined us both days. And both days, like the inhabitants of the small, provincial French town in Ionesco's play, Jean-Marc became the Rhinoceros, performing statue-like from behind his small digi-console ...


And there was more literature to feed on! Julien Arno directed a reading by Celine Perot of (a French translation of) a fragment from Melville's Pierre: or, The Ambiguities. During Celine's reading (high up on the balustrade), with Jean-Jacques we attempted, through the making of soft and small, luring sounds, while slowly walking from the front to the back side of the Générale, to have the audience below follow us up the metal spiral staircase to get closer to the scene of the reading. Admittedly though, we were not very gifted as pied pipers ...


The Puces ended on sunday evening. It did so acrobatically, with a duo (that if I understood right) are from a band called Warzim Boule De Feu) consisting in a saxophone player and a - literally - flying drummer ( ** ): both the kit and the man were suspended from the Générale's ceiling. He had a great beat. Probably I would have enjoyed his playing just as much if he would have had his feet down on the ground, but up there in the air he was really, really swinging. I have to admit that I was so taken by the visuals of that kit and drummer up there, swaying like the pendulum of an enormous clockwork, that I hardly noticed the saxophone player. I indeed have not the least reminiscence of what he has been blowing, even though blow he did, as you can see in the pictures:


Fine drummer and a great gimmick. Even though at the Puces, it was but that: a gimmick. Once the novelty had waned, there was too little music to hold one's attention.

notes __ ::
(*) Meanwhile all finds up to and including the two I worked on at the Puces de l'Art are online. Among these latest acquisitions you find the three tapes I picked up in Leipzig this october, and a couple of finds that are true gems indeed, and I do count among the most curious of the collection. I let you find out more for yourself... Also goes to show why it indeed is worth the effort to continue collecting: because - as expected - cast away tapes in western europe do get rarer and rarer, but even more so because every next one continues to be a next surprise. (Meanwhile I did pick up the first 2010 one, in Amsterdam, on saturday january 2nd ...) [ ^ ]
(**) Completely unrelated, but the moment I wrote is, it reminded me of a 'vliegende keeper'. When we played soccer as kids, after school, there were not enough players to be able to put together two full teams, and therefore the goalkeeper participated fully in the field play: it was a 'vliegende keeper', a 'flying goalie'. [ ^ ]

tags: A Table!, Paris, musica povera

# .343.

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(2022, july 2) - X-unPub
(2021, june 13) - Die Stillgestandenen (The Stillstands / Standstills / Stillstanders)
(2021, february 21) - Lento (slowly)
(2018, september 01) - t'Obsolete or not t'Obsolete ... [part iv]
(2018, august 13) - Rage, rafts & refugees
(2018, august 10) - t'Obsolete or not t'Obsolete ... [part iii]
(2018, july 21) - t'Obsolete or not t'Obsolete... [part ii]
(2018, april 10) - La Générale Nord-Est (PAMP18-1)
(2017, august 19) - t'Obsolete or not t'Obsolete ... [part i]
(2016, august 04) - Nicolas Collins - 2 April 2016, La Générale
(2015, july 15) - Bridges, troubles, water - unPublic #19
(2014, april 08) - La physicalité du son. Tome 1.
(2013, december 13) - Candles, Cassettes & Champagne - unPublic #4
(2010, december 29) - Obsolescence
(2010, august 14) - "And what about Yi Sang?" (이상 à Paris [iv])
(2010, june 29) - Ceremonies (Yi Sang 이상 à Paris [iii])
(2010, june 25) - Read me a poem, Yi Sang! (Yi Sang 이상 à Paris [ii])
(2010, june 13) - Yi Sang 이상 à Paris [i]
(2010, january 13) - Art fleas (puces de l'art)
(2009, july 20) - General Acoustics
(2006, august 14) - placard : la générale (Belleville)

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