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April 2002

Tape-beatles Present ‘Good Times’ at FAMU

2002-04-17 / Film students learn. We believe in education. It lightens the spirit, quickens the mind, and makes life more fulfilling. It creates opportunities. Opportunities to dominate world consciousness by catching malleable young minds early, making indoctrination painless, quick, and sure.

Furthering their project of dominion over the world was the farthest thing from their minds yesterday afternoon when your beloved Tape-beatles presented their latest ‘expanded cinema’ piece before students in a FAMU film theory class. (FAMU is the celebrated local filmmaking school, associated with the Charles University here in Prague.)

Although the video version of Good Times is ‘still in post’ as they say, the Tape-beatles brought to room 109, no. 19 Revoluční, a rough cut on VideoCD of the ‘expanded cinema’ work. Of course, watching Good Times on a small screen is nothing like seeing the actual live show. So the Tape-beatles prefaced the screening with a detailed discussion of their techniques and issues, and responded to a little heady Q & A.

Aside from the usual minor technical glitches, the showing went well, and a lively discussion ensued, both at a halfway-point break we took 30 minutes into the show, and at the end.

Class over, the discussion continued over beers at a local pub. We took the opportunity to discuss with our drinking companions our strategies for bringing Good Times to a performance space somewhere in Prague, in the not-too distant future. The dominion marches on.

Thank you, Steven Dirks, Petr Vrána, Standa Miler.


Jon Ippolito, a curator at the Guggenheim, has responded to the cultural predicaments created by so-called ‘intellectual property’ with a piece called Why Art Should be Free.

• Read Part 1; Part 2; Notes

Thank you, Rumori, Nettime.

‘Numbers’ to be Part of Transnational Sound Event

2002-04-13 / Public Works on Artstream. We are pleased to announce that the Public Works composition Numbers has been selected for inclusion in a sound event with organizing bodies located in Edinburgh, Scotland and Sofia, Bulgaria. The organizers explain:

Sounds from Near and Far is the first manifestation of artstream — an experimental space on the New Media Scotland web site dedicated to artists’ use of streaming media. ... [It] is an innovative, two channel sound event which can be experienced both locally in Sofia and globally through the Internet during the DIGITAL WEEKEND. [April 12 to 14] The pieces are informed by the notion of the translocal: travel, crossing borders, migration, sounds of different cultures and environments.

Numbers is included in ‘Channel 1’, with the theme of ‘Open Source’.

The Red House, Sofia, Bulgaria

New Media Scotland: artstream, Edinburgh

Track of the Week [updated]

noise 04-14 / Track no. 6 from the Public Works EP Numbers begins one side of the vinyl disk. It is a somewhat arbitrary excision from the larger piece that forms that side of the record. As such, it has no title, just the number 1.

4-21 / Track no 7. from Numbers follows, as one would expect, track six. And it’s another somewhat arbitrary excision, but it brings us closer to our goal of having the complete work online! We give it a number, that number is 2.

Report from Paris: The Films of Guy Debord

2002-04-12 / Report from Paris. Upon the occasion of the Tout Guy Debord film series held at Magic Cinema in Paris, your intrepid Lloyd Dunn travelled to the city of lights, house guest of friend and cultural colleague Sally “The Zanzibar Films and the Dandies of May 1968” Shafto.

Three consecutive evenings brought newly-struck prints of Guy “L’internationale situationniste” Debord’s entire cinematic output to the big screen. Not that it really mattered that the prints were new. The selection of images (when there were any) and their austerity of presentation made it clear that Debord disdained conventional production values. I would argue rightly so, considering the nature of Debord’s texts, upon which these films are based.

Five of the six films screened featured Debord’s flatly-intoned voice over a series of black and white images taken from various westerns, melodramas, and war movies, together with original footage. Certain passages in the text were further underscored with aerial shots of the city of Paris and newsreel images of riots and other forms of social unrest. Five of the films screened hewed more or less closely to this formula, making for a rather parched cinematic experience.

In 1973’s La Société du spectacle (The Society of the Spectacle), based on the book of the same name, the frequent use of nudie pictures of young women prompted Shafto, my screening companion, to make a whispered observation about ‘arrested development’ on the part of the filmmaker. Occasionally, a dry classical music score interrupted Debord’s reading, his only detectable concession to breaking up the monotony.

The first film screened, Hurlements en faveur de Sade (Howlings in Favor of de Sade) (1952), broke somewhat from this style. Instead of using pictures, the entire film consists of black and white film leader in alternation for some 75 minutes. Debord’s voice is heard during the white sequences, while the black sections, often lasting minutes, are silent. We are given some fair warning, however, when Debord announces sanguinely near the start that the final section of leader will be the longest, and will last 24 minutes.

Mercifully, an altercation broke out in the 11th row when a pair of young men were caught videotaping the program. They were escorted from the hall by the management. From the lobby, though, their loud protestations could be heard clearly for ten additional minutes. The sense of ‘happening’ was palpable, and, as if in response to this, one of the audience members began walking back and forth from the front of the screening room to the back along the side aisle, again and again, for about 20 minutes during the last half of the film. Occasionally, someone else in the audience would give a blast on a tin whistle, at perhaps six different instances during the screening.

That Debord commands a following is beyond doubt; all of the screenings were apparently sold out, with additional patrons left sitting in the aisles. This filmgoer’s advice, however, is to read the books instead. I am hard pressed to point out a single instance in which these films improve upon the considerable achievement of Debord’s texts.

"Hurlements en faveur de Sade"

The screening of ‘Hurlements en faveur de Sade’ at the Magic Cinema, Bobigny (Paris), April 9, 2002. The other films screened included ‘Sur le passage de quelques personnes à travers un assez courte unité de temps (On the Passage of Some Persons Through a Rather Brief Period of Time)’ (1959), ‘Critique de la séparation (Critique of Separation)’ (1961), ‘Réfutation do tous les jugements (Refutation of all the Judgments)’ (1975), and ‘In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (We Walk in Circles at Night and are Consumed by the Flames)’ (1978).

Spring Activities and Promises, Promises   [updated]

2002-04-01 / Lest you think not much has been going on around here lately, we will now tell you that an awful god-damn lot has been going on here lately! You may now be thinking, “Gosh, he just used a curse word. And italics. He must be serious!” You’d be absolutely right!

New recording. Even as we speak, a new recording is being prepared for CD release, a recording that may possibly interest you if you are reading these words. Just to keep you panting with anticipation, we won’t give you all the details. (It’s an old ploy, but still very effective.) The recording will consist entirely of new work. It was made at last fall’s Sound Unseen festival in Minneapolis at a side event which all participants have retrospectively come to call ‘The Summit.’ It will be on the 80mm ‘miniCD’ form factor. Of course, we’ll give you all the details the moment they become relevant.

Post-production. Now that the film for Good Times has been ably digitized by Czech Television, we are eagerly submitting it to the knives of our creativity. The thrust of the activity is at least twofold. Having a shippable document of the piece is, of course, essential to sending if off for consideration for awards, further funding, and getting more gigs so we can present it to the public. In addition, we are aiming to have a release-worthy video adaptation of our ‘expanded cinema’ feat for you to rush out and buy, advancing our further efforts with a new influx of funds.

Lesser appearances. But no less important. We are in the process of arranging at least two classroom/workshop appearances in the near future, both in Central Europe. And of course, we continue to send our work around as needed so that it can be seen informally in modest venues, sadly without our direct involvement. The Tape-beatle minions are on the march.

minneapolis summit participants

Summit participants (L to R): Tape-beatles, Steev Hise, Wobbly, Escape Mechanism

Tracks of the Week

noise 04-08 / Track no. 5 from the Public Works EP Numbers finishes up one side of the vinyl disk and, predictably, is the current Track of the Week. We referred to it as jazzy while we were working on it, and we never gave it another title.

04-01 / Last week, track no. 4 was Track of the Week. Unofficially called forevermore, you can download it starting now at the link just below.

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