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June 2002

‘Psychoacoustic Workshop’ Welcomes ‘Beatles Tapes’

2002-06-15 / ... er, Make that ‘Tape-beatles’. Back now in Prague, we are again thrown into the fray of making public spectacles of ourselves, this time under the aegis of the 010101010101069 ‘open studio psychoacoustic workshop’ held on the grounds of Prague’s Centrum pro Současné umění (Center for Contemporary Art). On more than one occasion, the organizer referred to our group as the ‘Beatles Tapes’, but we didn’t let that faze us, and we thoroughly enjoyed the proceedings and everyone’s company there.

Astute readers of this site will remember that we helped celebrate the 100th anniversary of Marconi’s first transatlantic radio transmission here last December. This time, however, a different kind of transmission was on the agenda, as our first participation in the events as they unfolded involved an off-the-cuff webcast from the studios of Radio Jelení. Touted as ‘The Tape-beatles Interview Each Other’, we did exactly that, and mixed the sounds of our own words over a bed of tracks culled from our recordings, from A subtle buoyancy of pulse all the way through to Numbers.

The next day’s evening brought us back to Jelení to deliver a brief talk about our work and take questions from a roomful of those assembled to listen. One provocative, even stymying, question came from a Czech woman in the audience, inquiring whether our form of Plagiarism® wasn’t really a form of American communism. Well, we don’t think it is, but it is certainly a point worth pondering.

After dark, we presented our ‘performed cinema’ work Good Times in an outdoor courtyard serving as Club Jelení’s beer garden. Technical mishaps occur during our shows, but they are, happily, rare. Proof, if any was needed, that they have to happen sometime abounded on this night. About halfway through, the center projector’s bulb reached the limit of its working life. The show stopped briefly for its changing, but continued on. Not long after, the CD player began to emit a digital kind of rhythmic whine as it began to skip. Again we were able to recover and move on. The final mishap occurred when the flanking projectors both went dark in unison. They were drawing current from the same plugstrip, and its breaker evidently cut the current as it heated up. We were fortunate that, by the time we needed the flanking projectors again, the circuit had cooled enough so that we were able to finish without further incident.

After the show, we sat around a campfire under the stars with the other artists gathered for the workshop. While one visiting musician played mesmerizing figures on a thumb piano, we roasted onions on sticks and enjoyed the warm summer evening.

The Tape-beatles’ mutual self-interview webcast is archived at the Radio Jelení site.

Thanks to Miloš Vojtěchovský, Jan Kotik, and all at Jelení (Centrum pro Současné umění).

Tape-beatles Chalk Up Another Success

2002-06-09 / Goethe, Schiller, Gropius, The Tape-beatles. Weimar, Germany, sometime home of three of the aforenamed beacons of teutonic braininess, was the latest in a string of assaults on public sensibilities propagated by your own seekers-of-truth, the Tape-beatles. And no less than the historic Bauhaus was the scene of the events.

Act one took place June 4, when the Tape-beatles gave a lecture expounding the truth of Plagiarism® and its relation to their work. Ninety minutes of public speaking and work samples raised many interesting questions from the audience of students, mostly coming from the Bauhaus’s media arts and related programs.

The two-evening extravaganza was topped off June 5 with a screening of Good Times at an art-dive on the edge of town called Gaswerk. (The physical plant was once a factory where gas was put in canisters, hence the name.) Although it compromises our façade of humility to say it, the place was packed to the rafters and the applause at the end of the show was genuine and long-lasting, like some brands of chewing gum.

Weimar is a typically charming German town in Thuringia, part of the former East Germany. We enjoyed long walks through the local parks and streets, and ate dönner kebab, in the company of Harv, our host. A side trip to Buchenwald, a somber experience, was nonetheless tempered by the totalitarian kitsch of the monument marking the site, which dates from the early 1950s when Soviet-era sensibilities held a firm grip.

And of course, you’d be absolutely right to point out that two ‘assaults’ hardly constitutes ‘a string’, but you’ve got to start small and work your way up!

Thanks Harv Stanic, Jan Brüggemeier, and all at the Bauhaus.

Thanks, too, H.P. and all at Gaswerk.

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