The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'found'
Artefact found in a record shop in London:
A snapshot of 1980s major-label rock at its most excessive, moments before grunge/alternative came along, doused it with petrol and threw the fateful lit match. This has all the maximalist, late-80s-high-tech sheen of commercial rock of the time: beds of digital synthesizers, sheets of chugging, flanged guitars, drums gate-reverbed to within an inch of their life, and expansive mixes as if bragging about the sheer number of tracks on the mixing deck at the studio that the label was hiring by the day (and remember, this was in the days before ProTools, when audio tracks were actual physical hardware that took up costly space). And yet, the music laid atop this gloss argues vociferously that, despite all the expensive digital gloss, it is Rock, in its primal, testosteronal sweatiness. The guitar figures in places aren't a million miles from Guns'n'Roses or Poison, in that post-Lynyrd-Skynyrd South-of-the-psyche that bespeaks rock'n'roll Authenticity. The subject matter is vaguely in the cars'n'girls territory of Rock. And above all are the frontman's vocals, hoarse and grunty almost to the point of ridiculousless.
This is late-80s rock as cyborg caveman, a Hegelian synthesis of the dialectics of high-tech polish and Rockist Authenticity. Not a particularly convincing synthesis, though, in hindsight, given the lit match that was tracing a parabola through the air towards it at the very moment it came out. Rockist Authenticity won out, through Grunge and retrostyled Britpop and the waves of three-chord alternative-rock bands which all sounded equally rough-hewn; this state of affairs lasted until people realised that, while there were ProTools plugins for grunging up an expensively recorded boy band, one could make smooth, polished music on a cheap laptop, and the equation between roughness and Authenticity was forever broken.
I recently visited Dave's Boutique, a veritable treasure trove of junk and ephemera in Smith St., Collingwood. As well as picking up a stack of CDs (at well below the standard second-hand shop price; A$10 for a recent release (before negotiation) is not bad), I found the following unusual artefact sitting in a glass cabinet, below rows of old Sega cartridges and PlayStation discs:
There were several such discs there, each in its own jewel case, though they varied in colour (most were black, this one is yellow). The tray card in the jewel case is, in each case, a printed photograph (a similar technique was used on Indonesian copies of cassette albums in the 1980s). The diskettes are neither 3.5" disks of the sort used on PCs, Macs and Amigas, nor the disks used on Amstrad 8-bit computers, but some other format; perhaps the same as the disks used on some old samplers and dedicated word processors?
Does anybody know what kind of system this disk was created for? I'm guessing it's either an 8-bit computer or some type of floppy-based game console that didn't make it out of Asia. Then again, given the photographic tray cards, perhaps it was designed for some illicit cartridge-copying device that piggybacked onto a better-known system. I vaguely recall seeing these disks at a flea market a decade or two earlier as well.
New World Disorder has some unintentionally brilliant found hip hop lyrics. A representative sample:
we like all you ladies Lookin Sexy with a pepci
So dont look like your pussys tight man you know me
we can do it all night tell the brake of Dawn
But dont get me rong in the morning you got
Leave cause my mother will Bitch at me
Oh, and also via NWD, the latest Trucker Fags in Denial cartoon is up.
Amusing site of the day: We Made Out in a Tree and This Old Guy Sat and Watched Us, a compedium of odd found words from many places. (via Charlie's Diary)
This afternoon, I went to the Museum of Modern Oddities (today was its last day, and I hadn't managed to find the time to go earlier). It was interesting, in a surrealistic sense; it was in an old hardware shop in Collingwood (looking very much like something from decades ago, with decades-old stock still remaining amidst the exhibits), and had a number of exhibits, which took the form of found objects and dioramas thereof, with stories attached.
Some of the exhibits they had were Jock the Racing Possum (a dessicated possum corpse and a glimpse into a little-known aspect of colonial Australian life), the Geoffrey Dunstable Mania Dioramas (arrangements of nails and screws said to depict various states of mania and depression), and various arrangements of objects in boxes, often with labels attached giving them new meanings. There was also a do-it-yourself souvenir stand where one could take souvenirs home, in the form of pre-bagged objects from prior visitors, as long as you placed an object of your own in a bag provided, leaving it for another visitor. There was also a book for sale, of which I bought a copy; it's vaguely surrealistic, and has a lot of nice photographs of objects and other good design.
I also ran into Michael from Beebo there (whom I knew from my days at Monash).
The museum is now closed, but with any luck, they'll reopen at some stage somewhere else.
Found object of the day: I had reason to be in the Ivanhoe Coles supermarket today, and found in one of the aisles a 3-videotape "value pack", consisting of the following titles:
- Clinton Under Oath - The President's Testimony
- Girl Power - The Unauthorised Biography of the Spice Girls
- Navy Seals - The Real Story
Wonder what the target market could possibly be.
(And in case you're wondering: no, I didn't buy it.)
...and while I'm stealing links from Jim, you should all check out the works of Joseph Cornell, a surrealist artist who made "boxes", constructions of found images and objects. His works inspired many latter artists, such as Dave McKean to name one.