17 Sep 2008

radio acoustic

under the Borderline Ballroom banner, I organised a special live radiophonic simulcast from iconic Lyttelton venue The Wunderbar, via local independent radio station Volcano Radio 88:5FM.

both I and the artists were interviewed about the initiative by Sage Forest for The Music Mix, a programme on Radio New Zealand, some mention of which can possibly still be found here

A'sides for Betaville's Peter Kirk designed the event's wonderful oscillatory wave-themed poster.


the BORDERLINE BALLROOM casts out live into the electromagnetic spectrum this month with a focus on experimental radio, broadcast as art, and artists engaging with the technology of radio.

Fusing radio broadcast and live performance, the Borderline Ballroom #17 incorporates three live solo artists and the radio programmes Borderline Radio and A'Sides for Betaville, in a live to air collaboration with Lyttelton community broadcast station Volcano Radio 88:5FM, which has been operating in the port town just outside Christchurch since February 2008, and whose transmission area is locally bounded by the crater rim.

The Borderline Ballroom #17 will be on-site at the Wunderbar in Lyttelton and simulcast live on the station's airwaves from 8pm.

Sunday 21 September 2008
the Wunderbar, Lyttelton
8:00pm - $5, doorsales only



Adam Willetts is a musician and artist whose practice shifts casually between hi-tech and handcrafted as he explores relationships and interfaces between people, technology and popular culture. His use of DIY electronics, radio, computers and game controllers creates dynamic and surprising live performances that carefully balance elements of fragile beauty with violent eruptions of static, electromagnetic interference and feedback.

Adam has been performing and exhibiting throughout New Zealand and internationally since the late 1990s featuring at numerous festivals and exhibitions including Lines of Flight 2006 (Dunedin), TASIE 2006 (Beijing), S3D 2007 (Auckland), and Cloudland at ISEA 2008 (Singapore).

For September's Borderline Ballroom Adam will be performing new work for synthesizers and electrosmog.

MELA (Lytn)

Mela is Helen Greenfield (Barnard's Star, the LEDs, Miss Mercury)'s experimental audio/visual project which focuses on (revels in) the medium specific properties of a variety of obsolete media, and within which "layers of repeating melodies, gradually effected drones, and suitably unrecognisable beats create an imperfect but mellifluous musical microclimate."

For this Borderline Ballroom performance Mela will be eschewing the easy translation of digital imagery to debut her OHP-projected, hand-coloured, hand-made slides, layering them in vibrant colour fields which recall the exuberant, colour saturated direct-film paintings of Len Lye, and also investigating the aesthetics of the constrained gesture and broken things, saying "maybe Mela more closely resembles her equipment at the moment... but who copies who?"

I-RORY (Chch)

I-Rory is an eclectic multi-instrumentalist, "a... dilettante, percussionist and improvising musician who plays the stereo." Last seen in a solo capacity supporting Philip Jeck at the Borderline Ballroom #13, for September's performance he is promising to celebrate the politer pursuits of the season, to take listeners on "a sunday walk" and will be contemplating a "pitch invasion" with semi-automatic percussion, obstructed field recordings and attack, sustain, decay, feedback.

"Was a delight to absorb self in the digi-soup of I-rory. Using crude objects of both home-made and exotic qualities, I-rory evoked the sound plethorae of Zoviet France." -Matt Middleton, April 2008


a radio show hosted by Peter Kirk every Sunday on Volcano Radio 88.5FM from 10pm - 12am, A'sides is radio in the classic tradition of late night experimental collage soundscape, a maverick creative broadcast practice begun on US college radio in the late 1970s, with precursors in earlier music/audio/collage works and sound experiments, whose prior local manifestations include Rotate Your State (RDU, 1991-2003), as well as various programs on the original Radio Lyttelton.

A'sides rides the drift of the late night dial toward a poetics of the medium, becoming a framework through which to listen in to listening, playing with radio as-playback, making audible the sound of broadcast and its sonic storage media. In its collaged craftings, found-cultural detritus jams with precious artifacts of high culture, the mp3 speaks to the tape loop and the gramophone, hand-manipulated op shop records of Russian folk songs and sea shanties (the record as readymade... the medium as the massage) bump tactilities and temporalities with recordings of historic avant gardists speaking on the creative process, and live streaming of internet radio art projects.

for the Borderline Ballroom, A'sides promises as much de-mystification of its process as it promises further inscrutability, staging live radio art as event, while retaining its intimacy of late night listening for those who understand that "the ears don't have eyelids"


the BORDERLINE BALLROOM is a Christchurch-based initiative aiming to provide a regular live presence for performative audio experimentation which supports local practitioners working on the peripheries of music and sound, while offering a resource for national and international performers touring the South Island.


as part of Tao Wells' exhibition Art Aristocracy at Christchurch artist-run space the High Street Project (renamed 'The National Gallery' for the show's duration), the artist staged a one night performance with the above title, what he called "the debut of a new visual score for the playing of volume", in which radio cegeste was one of two artists invited to contribute a sound piece.

I put together a DJ set with a distinctly "90s ambient" flavour, due to the 1990s being a theme of Tao's exhibition overall, as well as preliminary discussions around his memories of listening to my show Rotate your State while a student at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury.


"A performance about volume and listening accompanying a visual score created for the event. The wonderful sounds and skills of Radio C├Ęgeste and Ability Trauma feature. "

thanks to Tao for the photographs. basic information about the event can be found here

9 Sep 2008

Kim Pieters' 'Wings Caught in the Tears of The Pool', at Bowen Galleries

Dunedin painter Kim Pieters' show of new works Wings Caught in the Tears of The Pool was exhibited at Bowen Galleries, Wellington, from 8 - 27 September 2008. all of the paintings' titles were taken by Kim from poems written by me, and exhibited with an appropriately non-explicatory catalogue text I wrote for the show.

Documentation of the works is viewable on the Bowen's site here


there are times when I have lost the characters in this day's fiction as living entities, she says. They pale and fall, and a space opens in which I am absence. I situate myself in my city with the eye of a foreigner. But all looking is foreign. The process of seeing is a series of symbols copied out of books, like markings on this white ground. A parody of some tabula rasa we have never known but in the expectation of it we have created a culture. The ruins have been reconstructed. Buildings are re-facaded. But I am, increasingly, a wanderer of junkstores, disconnected, picking over the cultural debris of a place, a time unknown to experience. The day's slow unreeling as though seen through rippled water

and all languages are foreign you said to me. I, equally free, am not I like a tree trunk, but the weeping tree that inhabits your work, its limbs trailing (like words?) off the page. and how to claim as "mine". the soft branching that leans in its partiality toward silence. not a striving for monumentality, oratory, presence. a distrust of the (meat eating) sun. which would claim the final. the partiality of languaging bodies "such as flesh holds it's sense of incompletion". the untongued inbetween. that you speak. that I

light stumbles into an eye's nodes and chambers. among these inscriptions and silences what body can we? body politic, body sexual, body of sparrow, flock, ant colony. where am I bisecting the swarming softness with words. how not to incise, dissect, stick the pin in, butterfly. but the book follows us home as though we know.

but the drama that exists in the white space. show don't tell, she says. make fluid the fragmented parts. lavish me with absences. exilic anxieties. finding and searching. sleep still travels through like a current, a electrical stream when the foot is stationed at point. like the foot of a snail the eye roots itself in the shelter of image. But you are blinding mentionings inside this sentence as though language were a brick series. As though there were a state of being (in a black jacket). A state of being cocooned (in parentheses). A state of looking from (a centre?) I will hatch, she says

into pure flashes and symmetries. But not metamorphosise, butterfly. Just prevail in the continuing of version after version of human, getting weaker and stronger in patches, like sunlight between buildings, like a sunrise sight out of window and lengthening. grainy, as though on a train, as though raining. these are our hands, our media. the ragged uprise and decline of light on horizons folds my eye into days a long gradient. symbols hang without referent, their white space a mental sea. to fill in the gaps or the gaps themselves are. unknown, new zealand. a hill sequence embedded. gold stutter. language accelerant, the whole rustling and flying. into light. collapsing words as though burning out. the frame.

it is something like writing without thinking, she says. treading these pale squares. a light catalyses a way of walling the silence. margins walked, alive with revisions. this language of visible things and of things that go. what thoughts are public and what. brushed under the appearance, a wall weeps papery foldings. four makes a room. an air shelter, like a body marked by eyes, by the broken parts of days.

The city writes to my eye, and I trace its scrapes of saying. All ground is water, she says. All streets are composed of paper. I have been drowned here, and walked up onto land where I was unknown, and walked into these crowds, and disappeared.