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March 1988

Pictured: Lloyd Dunn caught attending a vérnissage at the Museum of Art.

Lloyd Dunn caught attending a vérnissage at the Museum of Art This issue of PhotoStatic finds the Tape-beatles in a transient, though active, state. The tragic, sudden death of Ralph Johnson in a head-on collision last week has left a large, gaping hole in the group. As a composer, artist, Retrofuturist and friend, Mr. Johnson will be missed. There are no current plans to audition a replacement.

Work continues on the Tape-beatles first release, tentatively entitled A subtle buoyancy of pulse. The Lp-length tape will contain The Big Broadcast, Plagiofest, and newer, unreleased work. The tape will be released 31 March. The Tape-beatles are also moving into a new glassed-in laboratory, ‘to create a better working environment,’ notes Tape-beatle Paul Neff, ‘and get some of the junk out of Lloyd’s room.’

The Tape-beatles plan a performance at the upcoming Cornstock V festival, scheduled for 28 May. Persons or groups interested in performing at Cornstock should contact John Heck c/o the Tape-beatles (address below). While no other performances or radio broadcasts are currently planned, they are almost certain to occur.

Due to production flaws, Tape-beatle T-shirts are not yet available, but should be in a matter of days. Posters, post-cards, and other mass-market paraphernalia remain available by the usual method: write to us. Please enclose SASE.

Paul Neff

Meet the Tape-beatles

The Tape-beatles who are Lloyd Dunn, John Heck, and Paul Neff have been working together in Iowa City for more than one year as collaborative multimedia artists. The Tape-beatles use popular media as raw material, ingredients for investigations which often function as critique or as a challenge to audience expectations. The contents of our work is realized through audio constructions which combine media transmissions, concrete sounds and a variety of prerecorded materials. These compositions are edited and arranged on tape for use in radio broadcasts and cassette productions for national and international distribution.

Briefly, the highlights of our past work include The Big Broadcast, our radio debut event offering the best of one year’s output, and Ceci n’est pas une radiodiffusion (This is not a radio broadcast) which confounded expectations of radio listening, and brought up issues of appropriation and auteurship, the problems of ownership and notions of cultural property. We have performed live once at Gabe’s Oasis in Iowa City and recently contributed a cassette compilation and manifesto for use in the San Francisco Festival of Plagiarism, organized by Box of Water’s Steve Perkins. Finally, our ongoing project has been the exploration of hypermedia as a form of mass communication, targeting specifically corporate imagery, slogans, and the psychology behind the production and subsequent reception of these images.

Our goals include the publication of our first cassette containing The Big Broadcast and our most recent work, which is always in progress. Our publication Retrofuturism will continue release, primarily via mailing to other audio and mail artists on a bi-monthly basis. We received favorable responses to our test-market sample issued 1 January 1988. Intended as a source book and call for open discussion with other audio artists, it will include interviews, articles dedicated to electronic media and related issues, and reviews of submitted audio sound works. We are considering plans for an installation based on the theme of PLAGIARISM. We are also planning a live performance for Cornstock V on 28 May 1988.

The Tape-beatles are driven by an ambition so intense that we can’t keep shoes on our feet and new trousers have been lasting a week at best. The hunger for new ideas and increased output is limited only by our lack of food and shelter. However, with support from the network the Tape-beatles’ vision could be seen and heard by all.

The extension of our work in electronic media to the University of Iowa community and the network, both nationally and internationally could be a substantial tool for furthered accomplishments by the Tape-beatles.

Everything considered, its time for the Tape-beatles.

John Heck

End Note

Tape-beatle video viewer reaction: Upon seeing a Tape-beatle video in which silent footage of the Tape-beatles in production was over dubbed (in very rough sync) with dialog from a Soho Television interview of John Cage by Richard Kostelanetz, Harry, an Amsterdam video artist said, ‘You should do your own original work rather than using the Cage/ Kostelanetz interview soundtrack [to create something new]. The sound from [the Cage/Kostelanetz] video is so strong that all I keep thinking of is [it].’ Another free voice speaks out against PLAGIARISM.

These items first appeared in PhotoStatic Magazine no. 29.

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