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November 2003

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11-01 “The end state of total control may be previewed in the growth and the growing ubiquity of the computer, from adding machine and playstation into repository and disseminator of all information. As, increasingly, no one need know anything that does not come from a computer, eventually, no one will be able to know anything that does not come from a computer — a situation we see coalescing around us now, and which brings forth the new visionary.” — David Mamet, writing recently in The Guardian.

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11-03 “Are you a technologist? Want to help build Creative Commons’ vision of an alternative copyright into the infrastructure of the Net? Develop pioneering Semantic Web applications? You can help! Below you’ll find several suggestions for applications we need help building. Questions or suggestions?” The Creative Commons calls for help and participation.

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11-04 “‘Artists have always borrowed, appropriated and commented upon culture,’ said ‘Illegal Art’ curator Carrie McLaren, publisher of the Brooklyn-based Stay Free! magazine. ‘It just so happens nowadays that the popular culture is privately owned. What we wanted to do is with the show was spark some public debate about copyright.’” The Illegal Art show comes to Philadelphia.

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Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival Brings Tape-beatles to Town

Tape-beatles at Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival

Fest Showcases Craig Baldwin, Tape-beatles

Our appearances at the Jihlava IDFF, of which there were one-and-a-half, began innocently enough. With our usual alacrity we accepted the invitation to present our work before living human beings that we ourselves could also see and hear. That’s what’s great about a festival. Geared toward enthusiasts, the demand of the audience to pick an artist’s brain is diametrically matched by the filmmakers’ enthusiasm for talking about their work. Or at least is it thus with the Tape-beatles.

Jihlava is not a big town, but it seems a big festival, with an inch-thick catalogue of screenings to prove it. Now in its seventh year, the Jihlava IDFF included two works by Craig Baldwin, Sonic Outlaws and Spectres of the Spectrum, which wowed Czech audiences here. The films were shown unsubtitled, and those who didn’t understand English were issued small radio headsets, over which they could listen to a live simultaneous translation of the dialog. The films caused no small amount of stress for the intrepid soul engaged to provide this audio feed, seated in a glass booth at the back of the auditorium with transcript at hand and mike at mouth, sweating bullets at the fast-moving, jargon-laden banter of the sound track, valiantly attempting to render it into timely Czech.

On Saturday afternoon, we presented a brief overview of our operating concepts, before launching into, first Matter, then, Good Times, for the appreciative audience. A miscommunication of our technical specifications was neatly averted, when the single screen provided needed widening for our extra-large projections. The solution was cheap, simple and effective — flanking bed sheets were affixed to the screen, making it ready for our PolyVision delights. Such is how it often goes with us.

The “half” appearance I mention in the first paragraph consisted of a last-minute request made of us to lead the Q&A after the screening of Sonic Outlaws, which we were only too happy to do. The Tape-beatles have long been admirers of the documentary film genre, and so it was our distinct pleasure to take part in this exhibition.

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