Public Works Productions

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August 2001

News and Views from our E-mail Inbox

2001-08-26 / A smart person speaks. McKenzie Wark, widely recognized as an all-around Smart Person, has posted A Hacker Manifesto. Before you jump to the conclusion that it is only about hackers per se, please take note of the fact that many of the salient issues in that community, such as IP (intellectual property) to take only one example, are also salient issues in The Tape-beatles’ ideosphere.

And then there is The Anti-Digital Millennium Copyright Act Index, August 2001, which many of us should find of interest. A devastating list of facts, selected with a dry wit, and listed in the usual one-follows-another format. (Information provided by

On an even lighter note, perhaps you’d be amused to hear the truly cringeworthy results of various Corporations commissioning ‘Anthems’ to stir the troops.

And finally, also worth reading and considering, Daniel James expounds on what is wrong with Mp3s, and offers the Ogg Vorbis format as an Alternative. We at PWP would like to hear your opinions on the subject, as we are now considering the switch.

power plant


A Hacker Manifesto, version 2.0

The Anti-DMCA Index

Corporate Anthems

What’s Wrong with MP3?

Equipment Breakdowns Suffered as
New Appearances Announced

2001-08-19 / Autumn shows in Minneapolis, Chicago. We are pleased to announce a series of public appearances by the Tape-beatles that will take place this fall. Two of them will be under the auspices of the Sound Unseen festival in Minneapolis, which runs from 28 September through 4 October.

During its weeklong run, the Sound Unseen festival will focus on ‘plunderphonic’ and intellectual property issues. On the docket reportedly are also appearances by Wet Gate, Steev Hise, Wobbly, and there is a rumor that the shadowy John Oswald might make an appearance.

As part of Sound Unseen, on 30 September, The Tape-beatles will premiere their new ‘expanded cinema’piece entitled Good Times, based on the CD of the same name. The appearance, in which Minneapolis-based Escape Mechanism will also share the bill, will take place at the Oak Street Cinema (consult their web site for details as to address and time).

The other Tape-beatle appearance at Sound Unseen will be at the Walker Art Center, where we will participate in a panel discussion on intellectual property. Others on the panel will include Peter Conheim (Wet Gate), Steev Hise ( and Kembrew McLeod (author and academic).

But wait, there’s more. We are also planning one or more appearances in Chicago, and we are trying to get one in Cedar Rapids, too. Some or all of these appearances may take place with other Sound Unseen participants in a multiple bill. We don’t have details now, but keep an eye on the space in the column at right labelled ‘Upcoming Shows’ for all the relevant information as the details become firm.

the halogen bulb that saved us


Two days, two breakdowns, two repairs. Last week we endured two potentially serious equipment failures. First, another (!) bulb fizzled out in our ‘Kal-Art ’ projecto-editor. Then, smoke was seen coming out of our main work projector. We managed to fix both in due course, opting for a home-brew solution in the former instance (a jerry-rigged halogen-bulb retrofit) and in the latter case, a cleaning and a new fuse did the trick.


Sound Unseen

Oak Street Cinema

Walker Arts Center

Public Works in One Man’s Personal Top Ten

2001-08-05 / Public Works makes the short list. Jon Nelson [Escape Mechanism] writes: “…just writing to let you know about a new webzine, Indieville. It’s devoted to underground music of the recycled kind, and I authored one of the various ‘top ten’ lists they have available from their front page. A top ten list is a list, wherein one has given details about ten of their favorite things, people, bands or organizations, following some kind of theme or other restriction. I think you’ll like to see who I chose to mention. It looks like it could shape up to be a great resource for news about media collage artists — if we all step up to the plate and offer our two cents. Let’s keep it interesting.”

Here’s what he says about Public Works:

They’ve also gotten some attention, being the Tape-beatle’s side project, but this work is slightly lesser known — and they have a new record coming out, so look for it soon. Not as crunchy as the Tape-beatles, Public Works is a slightly more classical approach to appropriation-based music, while utilizing most of the same techniques. Look for their latest release on Elevator Bath — Its a 9-inch record, an oddity in and of itself, titled Numbers.

Jon Nelson’s ‘Top Ten’ list


Elevator Bath


Today’s Reading. ‘Intellectual Property and the Good Society: A Structural, Outcome-oriented Approach’
by Jon “Hannibal” Stokes.

Article at Ars Technica

A Free-form News Update (in Three Parts)

A few lengths of film hanging on a numbered rack of nails in The Tape-beatles’ workspace

2001-08-02 / Part One (editing). Confronted as we are with the monumental task of sifting through miles of bought, found, donated and ‘otherwise acquired’ footage, the two remaining Tape-beatles find themselves locking horns over every minuscule decision. Nonetheless, progress is being made on their soon-to-be débuted ‘expanded cinema’ work based on the CD Good Times.

Just have a gander at this rare view of a Tape-beatle work space (left): their improvised film editing bench. From the sharpie-marked frame counting board, to the nearly antique ‘Kal-Art’ editor-viewer, to the eBay-acquired (cheap!) ‘Catozzo’ tape splicer, to our newly-acquired set of ‘Meopta’ rewinds (not pictured); it all smacks of jerry-rigging. (The bottle of Gambrinus beer, or ‘pivo’ as it’s known over here, is a temporary fixture.)

Part Two (breaking down). All the pre-planning and improvisational skills that are so characteristic of this impudent duo, The Tape-beatles, cannot in the end save them from the occasional unexpected catastrophe. On Thursday last, and with an understated though emphatic “pop!”, the CBX bulb in our ‘Kal-Art’ editor-viewer shone its last. With such a key piece of equipment now as dark as a vacant dwelling, we needed to replace it, and the sooner the better. Of course, such a specialty item, coming from America after all, is not to be found in Prague (believe me, we tried), so we had to order it — from America, of course. So the part of our process made possible by that device is crippled until the replacement lamp arrives.

Part Three (plans afoot). We are currently working with people ‘on the ground’ so to speak to arrange a variety of Tape-beatle performances in the upper Midwest. Specifically, we have agreed to take part in the Sound Unseen festival, which will be held in Minneapolis around the first week in October. We will do a live show, and later on, participate in a panel discussion on intellectual property issues. In addition, Steev Hise, Wet Gate, Escape Mechanism, and Wobbly will be making appearances and doing performances. After that, we are arranging at least one and possibly more gigs in Chicago. We will post dates, times, and spatial coordinates as soon as it all becomes clear.

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