SOUNDWORKS AVAILABLE FOR RENTAL:
Click on image to hear 1-minute sample of soundwork
Seriation #1: Lecture
a soundwork that consists in 30 minutes of me dialing the local
time and recording the operator's recorded voice announcing what
time it is at that moment, in 10-second intervals. Of course the
time the operator says it is at that moment is not the time it is
at the moment the listener is hearing it.
Seriation #2: Now
(1968; 00:18:00): a
soundwork that consists in 20 minutes of me uttering the word
"now," in a measured tone, at shorter and shorter
intervals, from one minute to every second. Some listeners have
commented that this piece has sexual overtones. This has nothing to
do with my intentions in doing the work.
Streetwork Streettracks I-II (1969; 01:43:28): the soundtrack from a meditative street performance from 1969, part of an event organized by John Perreault. I first walked slowly around the outer periphery of a block in lower Manhattan for two hours, recording whatever occurred, one week before the performance. Then during the performance a week later, I walked quickly around the inner periphery of the block for one hour, playing back what I'd recorded at twice the speed, "thus compressing time and space," as I explained to one of many individuals I encountered in the course of doing the piece. The recording contains conversations with artists Richard Van Buren and Ed Ruda, among others, and a more extended conversation with Vito Acconci. This last conversation contains interpersonal overtones I was completely unaware of at the time. There are extended segments of street noise: cars, people shouting, vendors hawking their wares, passing conversations, etc.
Bach Whistled (1970; 00:44:07): a
durational performance soundtrack in which I whistle along to
recordings of Bach's Concertos in D Minor, A Minor, and C Major,
respectively. At the beginning the whistling is relatively strong,
clear and on key. As the performance progresses it becomes weaker,
flatter and more like plaintive cheeping.
Phillip Zohn Catalysis (1972; 01:26:25): a tape-recording of my half of a long telephone conversation I had with my best friend, Phillip Zohn, ten years before he died of AIDS. The topics discussed include science fiction, street people and the homeless, passion and will, commitment and truth, and what it means when a dog tries to fuck your knee. The transcribed text formed the script for my early morning street performances of it on East Broadway, Essex, Orchard, and Division Streets on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The original eavesdropped public-space cell phone conversation.
The Mythic Being Cycle I: 2/66 (1974; 00:14:00): the soundtrack of a meditative, durational rehearsal for a street performance I did over a four-year period, from 1972 to 1976, in drag as a young male of color. I wore Afro, shades, moustache, and smoked a Tiparillo. I visited certain culture-related locales around the city: art gallery openings, concerts, films, plays, etc., as well as took the subways and buses and walked the streets at night in different neighborhoods. In order to focus my attention and maintain my composure during the performance, I focussed on a mantra: a passage from the personal journal I have been keeping since pre-adolescence, which I simultaneously published in the Village Voice on a monthly basis. The dates of the passages were chosen according to a complex permutational system. In content, I selected passages expressive of some personal issue I was grappling with at the time. Repeating the passage was a way of defusing and transcending the issue. In this recording I rehearse my repetition of the mantra of the month, with occasional Freudian slips.
Stand-In #1: Rob (1974; 00:23:00): an interactive soundwork I did in collaboration with my boyfriend Rob Rubinowitz that was first aired on WBAI in New York City. On one track we bicker about our difficulties in discussing philosophy (we were both philosophy majors at CCNY at the time). We also discuss materialism, Rob's papers on Spinoza and Kant, our differing views of P.F. Strawson, and the metaphysical views of some of our friends. After the performance is over, I can be heard commenting on Rob's health and nagging him to take vitamins. Simultaneously on the second track, I practice a piece I wrote for guitar and dedicated to Rob entitled Rob's Song.
Some Reflective Surfaces
00:16:00): the soundtrack for my first audience-oriented
performance, at the Whitney Museum in 1976. The sound track
combines three voices. The first is a narrative in my voice of my
experience of working as a discotheque dancer in New York
nightclubs in the mid-1960s. In addition, there are two mixed
tracks, one of Aretha Franklin's "Respect," and a second
one of a male voice barking out orders on how to dance more
It's Just Art (1980; 00:18:00): the soundtrack of my second audience-oriented performance, focussing on the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. The soundtrack mixes Rufus and Chaka Khan's "Do You Love What You Feel?" with my reading, in an urgent reportorial tone, of text selected into verse form from William Shawcross' New York Review of Books article, "The End of Cambodia."
Assorted Anti-Post-Modernist Artifacts (1984; 00:10:00): a soundwork that samples and edits short segments of lyrics from a series of funk/rhythm and blues songs into a narrative segment that first appropriates and affirms outlaw sexuality as a metaphor for marginalization from the first-person perspective, and then gradually names more and more concretely the condition and consequences of actual marginalization as a counterpoint.
A Conversation with Kinshasha Conwill (1988; 00:80:00): recorded at the 1988 Aspen Conference. She and I discuss Funk Lessons, My Calling (Card) #1, Four Intruders, and other works of mine, in addition to more general issues such as miscegenation, black separatism, political activism, the status of African-American working-class popular music relative to the Western tradition, and the status of African-American artists generally. There is a lot of interaction with the audience, and the dialogue is quite pointed.
Decide Who You Are, Right-Hand (Constant) Panel Text (1992; 00:52:24): A comprehensive, textbook compendium of commonly invoked litanies of denial and intimidation, from the bland to the vaguely menacing, performed with languid self-assurance in a digitally manipulated Darth Vader voice. A must for novices and aspiring leaders in business, politics, and culture. The script for this work is the text that reappears in each of the twenty works in my Decide Who You Are photo-text collage series.
Philosophy Talk: A Kantian Analysis of Xenophobia (1996; 01:24:52): A public lecture in philosophy, intended for a general academic audience, delivered to the Institute for Research in the Humanities, SUNY/Stonybrook. I try to answer the question of how it is possible for politically opportunistic racist or xenophobic ethnic ideologies to turn family members and longstanding friends into enemies virtually overnight. After the lecture I answer questions from and engage in occasionally humorous dialogue with the audience. This talk may be of interest to institutions in the United States at which I have had to decline invitations to speak, because of my status as a Suspicious Traveler on the U. S. Transportation Security Administration’s Watch List.
Saraswati Ma (1999; 1:00:48): A private, durational and meditative performance in my apartment at the apartment complex owned by the Getty Research Institute, during my year there. Performed during a weekday afternoon when all the other Scholars and Fellows were in their offices at the Institute. An a capella chant sung repeatedly for an hour. The chant has traditional lyrics and a melody from my unreliable recollection of an arrangement by the Dave Stringer Band of Los Angeles (www.davestringer.com). I chant until I am too tired and hyperventilated to continue. Luckily it is not necessary to sing on key in order to chant effectively. Saraswati, the daughter of Shiva the God of Yoga and Destroyer of Illusion, is the Goddess of Creativity in the Arts and Humanities. My philosophy work was going exceedingly well, and I was thanking her.
Das Gebetrad Quadriert (2001; 00:32:57): a soundwork for radio, invited by Documenta 11. It begins with a four-minute monologue in my charming pidgin German that describes the permutational system underlying the multi-layered, four-melody a capella semi-harmonic choral chant that follows. In pitch and rhythm, this work is a miracle of Barry Sturgis' expert audio engineering.
Construct Madrid (2005; 4 x 00:10:15). Commissioned by Itineraries of Sound, Madrid): On March 11, 2004, ten explosions were detonated aboard four commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and wounding more than 1,800. This led to the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq, and defied American President George W. Bush’s attempts to pressure “Coalition Forces” into continuing to sacrifice their troops to advance American oil interests. I wanted to express my sympathy and solidarity with Spain in this tragedy, and offer it sounds of hope, strength and optimism about the future. The Banco de España allowed us to record a wide variety of sounds at its construction site at the new wing of their building in Alcalá 58 in Madrid. With the technical assistance of Fernando de Giles at the Residencia de Estudiantes, we edited and mixed them into a looped foundational soundtrack based in two found rhythms that phase into and out of synchronicity. Musicians Arturo Herrera (xylophone and marimbas); Samuel Juárez (congas); Alejandro Korostola (drums); and Jose Luis Martin (bass guitar) then improvised over it as an ensemble. Joaquín Rodriguez was the operating studio technician and Florence Moreno the supervising technician. Finally, Barry Sturgis of Axis Audio on Cape Cod did the final editing and mixing of the tracks into the completed version of Construct Madrid. This work was available for listening at a bus stop near where the terrorist bombings occurred.Audio components of multimedia installations owned by APRA are available for rental only in the context of the complete installation.