The Linz Cassette Culture Node exhibition will get a follow-up this spring, 2019, in Vienna, end of May, then running for 4 weeks, daily from 9 to 4. Location: Druckerei Resch, Rosinagasse 19, 1150 Vienna, Austria ...

February 2019: TGC —the « Très Grande Collage (h/f) »— on Radio On

During the month of February 2019 Radio On Berlin transmits the TGC, the « Très Grande Collage (h/f) », a dazzling fourteen (14) hour chain of sound bits salvaged from 710 (seven hundred and ten) distinct magnetic audio tapes, some of them still more or less intact, but most of them reduced to clods, knots and wads, that I picked up from the shoulders of highways, from pavements and lawns, that I fished out of gutters, covered in dust, mud and dog’s shit, that I untied from fences, from poles, from branches in bushes and trees, where once they got caught, trapped, shredded and torn, where they were worn, warped and wasted by rain, wind, sand and pollution.

I collected the trash tapes that provided the material for the TGC between 2002 and 2011, as part of my everyday movements in Paris, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Brussels, Berlin, New York and wherever else I happened to pass. I painstakingly untied and unknotted all of it, spooled it back into an empty cassette case, put that into a cassette player, pressed play and listened… All of these finds then were digitalised and documented in the online ‘travelogue’: the Found Tapes Exhibition.

The TGC gives a unique and utterly fascinating glimpse of the massive audio memory that was built up worldwide in the span of the three decades (1980 – 2010) that the compact audio cassette was a common household item, routinely put to use for the recording and playing back of every thinkable kind of music, for the keeping of messages by the answering machines that were attached to practically every telephone line, as a tool for dictation, as an aid for the learning of languages, as a medium for audio plays, for preaching, praying and meditation, for advertising and political propaganda, for the recording of private thoughts and reflections to be send as audio letters to friends, family or lovers, for storing the software that ran on the earliest types of our personal computers…

Check Radio On's schedule for your local times!

10 min read 🤓

CCNL :: Cassette Culture in Linz, Austria
[ii] The aesthetics of erasure

february 08, 2019

« Time, you can hear it,
you can
hear time... »

Wolfgang Dorninger's invitation to come over to Linz and participate in the activities accompanying the Cassette Culture Node.Linz exhibition provided not only a wonderfully welcome time window that made it possible to do a bit of the long due updating on the Found Tapes Exhibition. It also had me extensively review and evaluate all of the work and efforts that over the years I put into this 'project'.

The title that I gave my CCNL presentation on the sunny evening of July 9th in the Ursulinenhof Foyer, describing history and intent of my vast collection of restored tape trash, was "The aesthetics of erasure", a translation of the French Esthétique de l'effacement, the label given by Rébus to a duo dictaphone performance that we did in Paris in Les Grands Voisins, a bit earlier that same summer of 2018, on June 28th. ( * )


'Erasure' has been a means for artistic speculation and expression at least since Robert Rauschenberg in 1953 carefully erased a drawing by Willem De Kooning, not as an act of destructive vandalism, but as a poetic investigation of and engagement with the materiality of De Kooning's work.

And indeed erasure does play a prominent role in the Found Tapes Exhibition, on at least two distinct levels.

/1st/— is the erasure of the stored audio signal on the remains of the trashed and discarded tapes that I picked up in the streets, not only as for all magnetic media due to the passing of time, but also because of the physical wear, due of its crumpling and crushing, because of the heat and the cold, because of the wind, water, sand and dust that damaged and gradually scraped off the emulsion;

/2nd/— is the erasure of memory. Each of the bits of tape represents a part of an individual's audio memory. The full global volume of magnetic audio tape represents a vast memory of music and other sounds, a memory spanning decades, that with the advent of global digitalisation was abolished and discarded. Collecting and salving this tape trash is a bit like preserving and inspecting some sort of an analog memory dump.

« T pe Po m »   ( ** )

// binary choice of digitalised memory - keep or discard // there is no in between, no more fading away -- the 'categories beyond preservation and destruction' -- 'additive substraction' (Jasper Johns on Rauschenberg's erasure) ... The magnetic surface is unlike paper or wax, so far as the inscription performed “is a temporal as well as planographic intervention whereby even data that has been overwritten continues to resonate as a result of ongoing oscillation teresis.”

// in the span of decades visually the world changes, but it also changes aurally. The world sounds different now from the ways in which it sounded forty, fifty years ago. Most peculiarly, maybe, the sound of peoples voices, the sound of speaking often seems as to be not the same now as it was back then. Is that really so? Or is it merely due to cultural changes / due to recording technology ? (hardly, I'd say ...)



The « Très Grand Collage (h/f) »

While preparing for the talk, with the help of WeiWei, I also restored access to the sound files, that had become inaccessible because they were stored on the park.nl server that, now some years ago already, got detached from the rest of the cloud and which —due to lack of funds, mainly— never got launched again, sadly obsoleting quite a bit of material, like all of the 24/7 Raudio streams, including the 9 Beet Stretch, the Sound Injury archive, the Found Tapes Exhibition ... :-( )

Happy therefore that all of it, the full 14 hour « Très Grand Collage (h/f) », is part of the weekly programs this month on the fabulous Berlin based Radio On!

The art of the K7

It has become exceptional for me to solo-perform with my malfunctioning and often badly wounded dictaphones, with tapes pretty much randomly picked from my collections of cassettes, worn, torn and withered, collections the entropy of which relentlessly increases, very much so whenever in the course of longer or lesser long ago performances I took them from their cases, and then not put them back in again. Also those holding the most cherished of my sonic memories often lack or lost a sign or symbol indicating the sounds that are on it, without which they just look conform copies of all the others that are of the same brand and in the old days came from the same factory. All the Sony CHF cassettes look the same when there's nothing written on their labels, so do the ones that came from TDK which did not even had a label if you did not glue one on it, and so on. All these others are the sames, and for all it is as if they're really only ONE, haha ... THE one Sony cassette, THE one TDK C60 ...

Some of these, in their then unhoused bareness, were stepped upon and kicked aside. After months, maybe years, sometimes they were re-found, but then in the wake of some next public or unpublic event misplaced again, ending —uncaged and unsigned somewhere on a table's corner, or somewhere in the midst of packs of unsigned others. They may now be lost from sight for near to ever, mixed up amongst the anonymous thousands that, with no order or design, continue to be part of my decor. To once again find them, pick them out, I would need to hear them. To break all of their unanimous anonimity, I've got to play them.


I would need to find and take the time to go through all of these boxes and racks, to pick and to play and then to remember, musing behind my a desk much like a Krapp, the Beckett character that has continued to 'haunt' me ever since my very first live solo tape plays

Also this last summer's Wednesday evening July 11th, performing down under in the gorgeous UNTEN on the Linzer OK Plats, as part of the Cassette Culture Node.Linz's third week's Konzertabend bill, that further included solo's by Fadi Dorninger and Monica Vlad, in the fine red light decor (see the pics below, which are stills from a handy video shot by WeiWei) sitting behind the performer's table I felt myself slipping into Krapp. It's why very, very last minute I decided to include a reading of the 'Le son de l'art à sa naissance' text, central to the 'Art's Birthday' audio play that in 2010 I was commissioned to do for the Swiss radio, and that happened to be written in big blue letters in the old big grey notebook that for some reason I had brought along. I remember that I wrote it in there, because, after the Swiss radio event in Lausanne, early 2010, I once, a bit later, also read that text as part of a performance in the Espace en cours in Paris, but when and why exactly, I'm afraid for now I forgot.

The text, in French, recounts a fait divers, something that happened even longer ago, when in the summer of 2003 after a Placard event in some office space in Belleville I accompanied Erik Minkkinen and Andy Bolus to some nightly party, I fell into a hole in the floor of a garage that we passed through ... with the Sony dictaphone in my pocket up and running, as those were the days that I was recording pretty much around the clock ...

« Le son de l'art à sa naissance »


La nuit du 19 au 20 juillet 2003
je suis tombé dans un trou
dans le plancher
d'un garage sombre,
quelque part dans la belle ville de Paris

Il me semble que je m'en sortais,
peu de temps après,
avec rien d'autre qu'une malediction,
une petit peur et un genou douloureux


Ensuite je suis
allé à une fête,
jusqu'à tôt
le matin

Et je suis rentré
chez moi sur
ma trottinette


En route
je voyais une bande vidéo,
sur une place pas loin de la Gare du Nord

La bande entourait
4 arbres qui formaient les
4 coins d'un carré

Je me suis arrêté

J'ai mis la trottinette
contre un lampadaire
et commençais à dérouler
la bande


Pendant ce temps là
un passant volait ma trottinette
Quand je m'en rendis compte,
il était déjà loin

Je lui ai encore couru derrière,
mais c'était trop tard
J'ai dû prendre un taxi pour rentrer


Je crois que je m'en souviens

Mais si je pense vraiment,
j'ai mes doutes


Cette nuit là;
après ma chute,
suis je vraiment sorti du trou ?

[added july 2020: , for collectors 😊 ... There's a printed version of « Le son de l'art à sa naissance » in the third edition of the Rietveld Journal, RJ#3 (edited by students of the Amsterdam Gerrit Rietveld Academy for Fine Arts and Design, published May 2020, in the midst of lockdowns and corona confinements ... ] ...

Rietveld Journal

notes __ ::
(*) 'The aesthetics of erasure' is also the title of the Spring 2015 edition of the Journal of the New Media Caucus. [ ^ ]
(**) The « T pe Po m » is a slightly edited screenshot of the application to an earlier version of this web page of the The Deletionist bookmarklet, imagined and written by Amaranth Borsuk, Jesper Juul and Nick Montfort. [ ^ ]

tags: cassette culture, Linz, CCNL

# .486.

Read all about Found Tapes, Foundtaping and Audio Cassettes (K7s) on the SoundBlog:

(2023, september 21) - Holland[s] Spoor
(2022, january 11) - 'The Art of K7', vol. 1
(2021, september 11) - The Art of K7 :: Sudokaising [ii] Time Folds
(2020, march 21) - The Art of K7 :: Sudokaising [i]
(2019, november 17) - Foundtapers & Foundtaping in Porto
(2019, februay 08) - CCNL :: Cassette Culture in Linz, Austria [ii] The aesthetics of erasure
(2019, januay 18) - CCNL :: Cassette Culture in Linz, Austria [i] Oral history
(2015, november 22) - Situasonnisme: the City Sonic Festival
(2014, june 19) - Lecture de Cassette
(2013, october 25) - The Art of K7 (prelude) [sketch/book, 1]
(2013, march 23) - "Ma première cassette était vierge..." Mourning & celebrating 50 years of compact cassette
(2012, july 26) - UnOfficial Release
(2010, november 28) - Foundtaping, Maps & Shadows at the Basel Shift Festival (i.)
(2009, november 15) - prof. dr. Cassette
(2009, november 08) - A found tapes meta-map
(2009, october 22) - Founded Tapapes
(2009, september 20) - Found Lost Sound
(2009, july 26) - "You, a bed, the sea ..." [ 1. Athens, sept. 28th 1994 ]
(2009, may 23) - It feels like summer in the city [KT2009, i]
(2009, february 19) - Time and the weather - "? Footage or Fetish" @ Käämer 12, Brussels (ii)
(2009, january 30) - A Tingel Tangle Tape Machine - "? Footage or Fetish" @ Käämer 12, Brussels (i)
(2009, january 15) - Kassettenkopf
(2008, december 08) - un-Tuned City (foundtaping in Neukölln)
(2008, september 14) - Psycho/Geo/Conflux in Brooklyn, NY __i.
(2008, august 31) - " Le chasseur " (foundtaping in brussels_ii)
(2008, june 18) - "Sing Laping, Sing !" (foundtaping in brussels_ i)
(2008, january 06) - Mo' Better Mo-Tapemosphere, 2. Restmuell
(2007, june 16) - Mo' Better Mo-Tapemosphere, 1. "chase away all my fear"
(2007, march 07) - Back to Berlin 2. Found Tapes
(2006, september 28) - jenny likes poets
(2006, september 06) - the sound of almost-no-more words
(2006, june 13) - fotex #49-51
(2006, june 04) - Sonofakunsttoer
(2006, april 17-25) - 'sudoku-solution' in 'de nor'
(2006, january 19) - ride, buggy, ride ... !
(2006, january 13) - axiologie for dummies
(2005, november 06) - found in maastricht
(2005, august 28) - tête-de-tettine / tête-de-cassette
(2005, august 23) - tape busters and coordinates
(2005, july 02) - Conquering America ...
(2005, june 03) - stationed soother
(2005, april 21) - Low-fi : the new Readymades
(2005, march 24) - d_Revolution #1 ...
(2005, february 07) - found tapes for spies
(2005, january 28) - "parfois l'amour tourne à l'obsession ..."
(2004, november 06) - à la tranquilité
(2004, july 20) - instructions in arabic
(2004, may 08) - phound stufphs
(2003, august 04) - new acquisitions #7, #8
(2003, may 04) - r2r
(2003, april 24) - splice and tape
(2003, april 15) - new acquisitions #5,#6
(2003, january 09) - finders keepers
(2002, november 24) - exhibit #4
(2002, november 08) - what fascinates me
(2002, november 07) - more on found tape montage
(2002, september 14) - detour
(2002, september 09) - 2 down, 3 to go
(2002, september 06) - magnetic migration

Read about Found Tapes in Gonzo (Circus) [Dutch]:

Gonzo #163, mei/juni 2021 - Lang Leve Lou Ottens
Gonzo #137, januari/februari 2017 - Het Kaf en het Koren

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