26 Jun 2009

"white and aimless signals" : icecast to free103point9's Noise! festival at the Ontological Hysteric Theater, Manhattan

The 26th of June was a rainy Friday in New Zealand's capital city, and the aether was filled with reports of Michael Jackson's death (at 11am that day, NZ time), as I prepared a 2pm radio cegeste transmission to the other side of the globe from a lecture theatre at Victoria University of Wellington's school of architecture and design.

My half hour set opened the second night of New York state transmission arts organisation free103point9's Noise! 2009 festival, held at the Ontological Hysteric Theater in Manhattan. This festival had a local/global distributed element, as each of its four nights began with an artist casting in their performance from another location somewhere around the globe.

The dislocated present-ness of being live at such a distance, when combined with the bounded locality of Mini FM, fragmented the live immediacy of the radio cegeste project in fascinating ways, and the two sided anonymity of the performance, in so many ways like a traditional radio broadcast, framed the sonic content.

This was a palimpsest of noise and archival material, including laptop-mixed location recordings of New Zealand natural and cultural spaces, theremin, music box, the activation of aleatory airwaves, and live and recorded/transmitted violin, as well as some guest appearances by some of my favourite etheric ghosts: '80s one hit wonder The Buggles ("in my mind and in my car / we can't rewind we've gone too far" as Cocteau might have been thinking when writing code-transmission for Death's black Rolls Royce) and fleeting Cegestions of the electromagnetic poetry channel of Jack Spicer

the first half of this performance can be heard here

21 Jun 2009

radio cegeste with Motoko Kikkawa at NONE

the first public unveiling of the violin / radio duo with Mo Kikkawa on the 20th of June came at the end of my two month stay in Dunedin, as the closing act of a gig which umbrellaed a variety of new combinations of artists from NONE's dynamic, vibrant improvised music community.

i've posted the second part, or more correctly the 'encore', here

a video of the first part of the performance by Edie Eves is on vimeo and also to be found blogged at the free103point9 newsroom here

Radio Cegeste from Edie Eves on Vimeo.

thankyou to Markus Gradwohl and also to Edie for the wonderful documentation, and to Matt Middleton for such a fittingly aphoristic recall of the event's ghost-on-the stairs driftscapes (whose bogan aether-spectres appeared less as the ubiquitous air-guitar solo than in the form of the opening organ refrain from Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Phantom of the Opera', incessantly wafting in from some obscure, unpluggable radiophonic wormhole) on the ever-readable Crude blog :

"Radio Cegeste - Stairwell install - Ghost channels - Bogan Ghosts scream for Stairway to Heaven - Fine-tune my Runes - Droppers und Spoons - Motoko/Vapour/Viol - Ether transmit - Aurorae, Weather, Morse - European Venous Forum - Estonian Volleyball Foundation - Quantum Rind - "

Dunedin winter DIY

DIY preamp building on the coldest night of the year... many thanks to electronics wunderkind Nigel Bunn for his inventive circuit bendings...

"rarely has reality needed so much to be imagined...." : residual vistas : alexandra bridge, lake te anau, queenstown

residual vistas, imaginary landscapes: three undated hand coloured framed photographs found in opshop on St Andrews St, Dunedin, June 2009

"My working hypothesis was that any reasonably long memory - like every collection - is more structured than it seems at first. I think that a collection of photographs, taken apparently at random, or postcards, chosen on the spur of the moment, reaching a certain size, will start to draw a route, a map of the imaginary country inside us. By systematically looking through all these images, I am sure to discover behind the apparent disorder a secret map, like one of those treasure maps in stories about pirates."

- Chris Marker

14 Jun 2009

'in morning, reverberant'*

in morning, reverberant

"The memory of a precise colour in the street bounces back on another country, another distance - endlessly." - Chris Marker, Sans Soleil

as a day unfolds silently and very fast.

as a dawn colour flooding in the lesser lamps and overtaken.

as a boundary of lit shards breaking in radial lines opening to graph the bay and further it.

as a creeping tungsten flared line of warmth and thaw through those eyes already open to it.

as the picture of a street which flutters down a street.

as description and commentary mainly recorded off-site.

as a repeated series of opening blinds cut into dark into light into dark/lit cutting.

as a sequence of bricked pillars arcing the potential for that part of the narrative.

as location footage gathered around this time of day over an indefinite period.

as happening again and again reinforcing the arbitrary site as centre of seeing.

as fiction and nonfiction trees that enable me to go on counting them.

as a never ending loop which drives by like an expected bus on time.

as a sequence of easily memorisable patterns.

as the tendency toward valuing certain small objects.

as a story most likely to be happening now that it is.

as lemon slice and coffee in the cafe breaking into speech, as one city into the memory of another.

as overlaid archival material of birds' upflight from the square as device of remembrance.

as worlds experienced while roaring inside the wild whiteness of feathers.

as angling in with desire's mathematics of storm.

as motioned with you as utterance, shoulder to shoulder.

as the attempt to know, eyes closed, and precisely.

as this detail, a material formerly unembodied, unheard or unpublished.

as nothing existing outside of this recording.

as an instant of what went before and failed to capture it.

as knowing even within the experience that it is already.

as an instance of what we were and merely.

as a series of copies or distortions.

as a repetition turning into and within the excess of language's unravel.

as replay of sequence in rolling sight.

as the same actors every time, the same speech, the same.


*[first published in the Australian literary magazine Going Down Swinging, issue 28 (2009), p. 7]

10 Jun 2009

owls do cry : field recordings in the grounds of seacliff asylum, dunedin

a field trip to the grounds of the old seacliff hospital on the outskirts of dunedin produced some recordings of local birdlife, and associated reflections on Janet Frame's history on site during the most troubling period of the writer's life. Her first short story collection The Lagoon and Other Stories was published while she was a patient – advance copies arrived on 4 March 1952. Nine months later, in December of the same year she was scheduled for a leucotomy at Seacliff. As Michael King puts it in An Inward Sun – the World of Janet Frame :

“Nine Months later, when Janet was once again committed in Seacliff, the book may have saved her life – or, at the very least, her intellectual and artistic life. There medical staff informed her that she had been selected for a dreaded leucotomy operation (the same operation known in the United States as a lobotomy). This intervention severed the fibres connecting the front part of the brain to the rest of the cerebral cortex. Most patients who had the operation experienced a reduction in anxiety; some were rendered vegetative. In Janet’s case, momentum towards this outcome seemed unstoppable. John Money advised against it. But Lotte Frame was persuaded to give written consent. Within days of the scheduled surgery, on 26 December 1952, newspapers around the country carried a story headed ‘Writer Wins Prize for Prose’ – Janet had won the Hubert Church Award, New Zealand’s only literary prize for fiction or non-fiction prose, for The Lagoon. And the superintendant of Seacliff, Dr Geoffrey Blake-Palmer, took her off the operation list. ‘I’ve decided that you should stay as you are. I don’t want you changed.’”

built in the 19th Century, the Seacliff hospital buildings were structurally unsound from the beginning, and after the relocation of the hospital staff and patients to Cherry Farm psychiatric facility in the 1950s, various uses for them were mooted but never realised, and they were left to slowly decay.

birds however have found their home here in abundance. in a improptu lo-fi tribute to Messiaen, and perhaps Sebastian, and certainly the people who once wandered the grounds here, some spontanious human-bellbird imitations were also recorded...

6 Jun 2009


the fertile creative laboratories of Dunedin's NONE community continue to provide ample avenues for collaboration, and opportunities to test out the creative instrumental potential of transmission art as one blip on the experimental music spectrum. An improvisatory exercise with violinist Motoko Kikkawa and percussionist Lee Noyes on June 6 lasted for over two hours.

This was the first time i'd used the kitset Theremin as part of the radio cegeste setup.

with many thanks to Lee for the photos.

4 Jun 2009

string chamber static...

collaborative improvisational activities with Japanese born, Dunedin based violinist Motoko Kikkawa, involving transmitter, hand held radios, violin, and voice are proving fertile ground, and bouncing fruitfully off my solo 'bowed airwaves' violin/radio experiments.

As with the latter, I am finding with this as yet unnamed duo that the tonal similarities between violin and radio static, and/or violin-broadcast-through-radio-static can be breathtaking. Woven in with Mo's vocal range and her violin (as opposed to what should probably be called my "anti-violin" in this context) things become more interesting still.

Mo was involved in the Tokyo Grand Guignol group (which included Yasunao Tone, Otomo Yoshihide, et al) as a teenager, and is now a dynamic part of many NONE associated bands including the duo Tsunami No Orikata (with Toki Wilson), The Readytronics (with Toki Wilson, ISO12, and Rachel Blackburn) and the wonderful Piano Queen Rainbow Star Telephone (with pretty much everyone).

For the purposes of this particular project, she plays Suzuki-trained strings and vocalises (both in Japanese and in some unearthly ur-language), and I call up the ghostly debris of signal from the aether, transmit various instrumental field recordings, and sympathetically scratch away on the 'deconstructed' violin at points.

There's an interesting interplay, almost a call and response, between her all-acoustic input and my end of things, which is mainly lo-fi electronics. Sometimes a creakily noise-infused signal of a radiophonic voice or a theremin sound will act as catalyst for a live vocal equivalent, and transmission of violin sounds will mingle with live violin. We have hit some great synchronicities and disjunctures in this manner.

Our second event/experiment/broadcast with this instrumental setup was conducted in the stairwell of NONE on the afternoon of June 4. more than the usual amount of thanks to Toki Wilson, who was drawn out of his fever-dreaming sickbed to take the following roving video footage...