The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

performance text, Sarah Lawrence, 12/08/05

i is cold here are you is cold. arrgh. should there be rhyme? this is
close to the apocalypse. it's daytime in iraq. the 9/11 commission: "we
fail." this is live. "this is memorex." it's i'm not sure what time in
pakistan. winter's coming in. winter's coming into thailand isn't it?
perhaps thailand is in south america. i don't know. something happened
there and a lot of people died.
these images... sometime after abu gharayb i began dreaming of torn
bodies. no that's not true, it happened a lot earlier, but abu gharayb
confirmed things, that the united states was as capable of as much
slaughter as any fascist country, thank you condaleeza. however you spel
your nam. when you take a program and run it to its limits, you get these
figures. the program tries to makesense of the files just as i try to make
sense of the world but the world is going much too fast. every time i wake
iin the middle of the night my entire life flies before my eyes. or rather
i hear it before or within my ears. it's fast and furious. it's mapped
everywhere. when i showed this work recently someone said it was just
likie bush torturing people. i walked ou on him and almost came to blows
but i avoided blows later someone else said i was closer to the apocalypse
than anyone he knew.
how close can you get to the apocalypse? answer: 1.3 yards.
we are learning new ways to march which is all to the better. imitation is
the best policy in guiding our young people in their future choise of
what is surprising is that one wants to write anything these days. given
the world-wide slaughter going on, it's hard to concentrate on a proper
metaphor, what would work in a reading/writing, what wouldn't. even
sending these images to the sky, absolutely a failure in the guise of
someone on the ground just shot or blown up in iraq or on the streets of
new york city.
i just can't get enough of drumming.
maybe if it wasn't so cold i'd be better able to think. welll i was away a
few days ago and sat at harriet beecher stowe's desk where she wrote uncle
tom's cabin so i sat at the desk and wrote to my uncle hymie.
this is the wolf at the door. after the bombing of the world trade center.
shot obviouslly in the 'bathtub area' of the ruins. well i'd write some
lyric poetry but my uncle adorno said i wasn't allowed to after auschwitz.
well, i don't know whether i can agree with him or not but at least at
this point i've forgotten how to rhyme. this is gerald edelman at a recent
conference explaining how the brain works. well, i was jealous and all i
could do was destroy his speech. heres an island for you. its reallly oil
derricks off of long beach in california. people live out there. you could
swim out to the derricks and the water is clean. or at least i think it
gary came to the door at 3am and said the water main broke and we went out
and filmed it as the water went throgh the subway system and flooded
through the cracks in the street. now... you might not noticve it, but
this war, these wars, now they're continuous, there's no break, in
war/terrorism/disease, whatever your pleasure, but these wars, they're
really about the body, they're econsconsed in the body, i think that's not
the way it's spelled, all this torture, lydnie englang posing with
capitves.... all these signals, secret signs, the beheadings, if nothing
else, you might want to watch one... on the internet, they're there, show
you what's going on, someone else was killed, how? , today, bodies are
turned into substance, that's the way apocaypse works - these were
produced in west virginia, near ground zero of abu gharayb - i've tried
god kknows i've tried to make sense of the world! i'm doing it at the
moment it's impossible, too many things, what you're hearing now, this
isn't the nuclear family, these are sounds... emissions.. from auroras,
lightning, cosmic rays, magnetic storms, sunspots, the fury of the
universe picked up by these antennas, now you hear the family now you
don't. in any case, as you know, ahem, sexuality has increased on
television something like two hundred percent since 1750!!! what a waste.
iin fact, there were very few instances of intercourse or other naughty
bits during the whole nineteenth century... it wasn't for lack of trying,
certainly high definition came in around 1830 buit the studios were
slow... on trying to decide what exactly to show...
it's ot silent, it's music for your ears.... i always love this one, it's
west virginia at it's best, this kid can do this and it cn be heard for
mielles, or at least into the other room -
now here's a poe.m someone called me a poet recently and i almost killed
him. what's a poet? if we're not working at the edge of things are we
doing anything at all? this is all my visual work for the past twelve
years, i wanted to present something to you showing hmmm... my entire
oeuvre, i hope you're not disappointed, it's really the only way... to
guage the life of an artist, his/her works, what he/she is capable of, for
example you might notice even at this speed that most of the photographs
are in focus what you're hearing now is the dawn chorus, honestlyh, that's
what it's called, it comes around dawn, very low frequency radio, just
about the frequencies that you use when you talk, you can hear it
sometimes, i'm not sure wht atht that it's exactly known,,, whatsproducing
it.... but it began before humans ever hit the surface of the earth, even
hit the surface of the earth running, one might say primoridal, since,
since at least the beginning of the big bang, all the way back then, these
crackles, this almost=whispering, some people think it's ghosts, aliens,
it's just something to do with the ionosphere and the channeling of
particles within it ... i took everyhthing i every made, it's cold typing
here, i'm losing a bit of control, you can tell, the words just aren't
flowing, but they really enver do, anyway, there are two categories from
my images, natural/industrial, i went through... a little rorsach test...
figuring out what i was interested in... why, becuase i made the images in
the first place... someone had to do it... i can't stand the dawn much
longer. that's better... almost human, something to listen to... i'm
searching for something else to show you.... let's see, perhaps degas'
dancers will open... some of the files have disappeared ALAS but that's
what happens when you work on the internet....j oh god please turn
away!"sondheim's show was seriously awful," not "awfully serious" as he'd
like you to believe! anyway, you can only imagine... going into a museum
and sneaking BENEATH the metal dress of one of Degas' dancers, shooting
up, there were guards all around, i bet they never looked! actually there
wasn't much to look at, to be honest, degas was naughty but not that
the best thing about landscapes is that they're unsteady - the 'ust' was
created for an online site dealing with tsunami stuff - you can destroy
whole towns with the click of amouse, or at least corrupt a file.... maybe
not even that - in any case what you're hearing, this isn't earthquake
proof this is the sound buildings make when you raise the pitch a little,
i forget what building made this but i'll never forget her voice...
and this was done thinkingabout mining in pennsylvnia, wwe were just
talking about that, something like 50000 dying every decade from the small
counties and towns in northeast pa...  - do you ever wake up in the
morning or the middle of the night and say to yourself"
i want my work to MEAN i want to make a DIFFERENCE in the world and you
realize no one is thinking
  (shut up! i'm in the middle of a bad poem)
and you realize no one wants to hear what you're saying anyway
and there are os many things you migth say or write
but then you think
yes, everyone has heard EVERYHTING BEFORE, just like that but then (THANK
GOD FOR MULTITAKSING) but then ... it's oddly quiet here... i'm on my
own... i'm not sure what else you migth want to see, the surfrod movie
just died on me, shouldher is still runing, the willat sond is mubmbling
in the background, that's more building stuff slowed up
NOW WHAT YOU'RE hearing really isn't sound recorded by a microphopne - it
just sounds that way - these are antennas that are coupled to radios -
you're hearing radio interference - Azure's stomping, coupling with the
antenna, generating static electricity, the mandolin strings are coupling
with a second antenna. so h.... it's not like, it's not like the real
labor of music, O THE BEAUTY!
this is foofwa' d'imobilite dancing as fast as he can and i'm playing as
fast as i can and azure' ignoring us. we did this twice in performance, we
lasted about ten minutes, it doesn't look fast but honest.. it is ...
wait, i'll show you later. please note: the image on the right is
something to entertain you.
you can do neat stuff with it. it's a kind of sex-machine but it's really
nothing but a two-dimensional projection of a bunch of polygons.
btw by the way this isn't sped up, foofwa dances like that, eats fast too.
ok, as you can tell i'm trying to figure out how to end i'll play some
fast guitar and show you , well, his presentation sucked, it was all over
the place i didn't get a damn thing out of it but he sure can play fast
...and people thought that hippies were dead....
what's interesting btw about this series, these visual echoes of my work,
that one picks out, the bodies stand out, the nudity appears almost
foregrounded, it's the way the mind works, almost imprinting, well most
likely instinctual impriting, against everything else, the chaos of
everyday life, sooner or later this soundtrack will run out and i'll be
done, we started with moments of apocalypse and torture, ran through a
whole middle section of nothing much happening at all, but i think i saved
it with some really terrific guitar playing, something like yo've never
heard before, there goes a whole blues! just like that, i wish i could
type that fast, it would make for a much ore interesting evening,, thank
you, good bye

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