Friday, May 24, 2024

Vision: Word of Mouth

[Various Artists]
Vision: Word of Mouth
Oakland, USA: Crown Point Press, 1980
Boxed set of 3 12” vinyl records
Edition of 1000

VISION was a journal of contemporary art published by Kathan Brown of Crown Point Press irregularly between 1975 through 1982, which was edited and curated by Tom Marioni under the auspices of his “Museum of Conceptual Art (MoCA)”. The format typically took the shape of a magazine, with Issue #5 being a box of photographs and #4 being a boxed set of vinyl records. 

For this project twelve artists from California, New York and Europe were each invited to prepare a twelve minute talk on any subject. The artists included: Marioni, Robert Kushner, Marina Abramovic & Ulay, John Cage, Daniel Buren, Joan Jonas, Bryan Hunt, Chris Burden, William T. Wiley, Brice Marden, Pat Steir and Laurie Anderson.

From the liner note: "This meeting took place on Ponape, one of the Caroline Islands in the Pacific ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and Japan, a few degrees above the equator north of Australia. Thirty-seven people met together over a period of a week in January 1980. Prepared talks by the twelve participating artists were given in the evenings before and after dinner. The days were spent exploring."

The box set includes a 4 page booklet, illustrated with black and white photographic portraits of the artists.

"In 1980, as part of a project called Word of Mouth, I was invited, along with eleven other artists, to go to Ponape, a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific. The idea was that we'd sit around talking for a few days and that the conversations would be made into a talking record.

The first night we were all really jet-lagged. But as soon as we sat down the organizers set up all these mics and switched on thousand-watt light bulbs, and we tried our best to seem as intelligent as possible.

Television had just come to Ponape a week before we arrived, and there was a strong excitement around the island, as people crowded around the few sets.

Then the day after we arrived, in a bizarre replay of the first TV show ever broadcast to Ponape, prisoners escaped from a jail, broke into the radio station and murdered the DJ. Then they went off on a rampage through the jungle armed with lawnmower blades. In all, four people were murdered in cold blood.

Detectives, flown in from Guam to investigate, swarmed everywhere. At night we stayed around in our cottages listening out into the jungle.

Finally the local chief decided to hold a ceremony for the murder victims. The artist Marina Abramović and I went, as representatives of our group, to film it.

The ceremony was held in a large thatched lean-to, and most of the ceremony involved cooking beans in pits and brewing a dark drink from roots. The smell was overwhelming. Dogs careened around barking, and everybody seemed to be having a fairly good time, as funerals go.

After a few hours, Marina and I were presented to the chief, who was sitting on a raised platform above the pits. We'd been told we couldn't turn our backs on the chief at any time, or ever be higher than he was. So we scrambled up onto the platform with our film equipment and sort of duck-waddled up backwards to the chief.

As a present I brought one of those Fred Flintstone cameras, the kind where the film canister is also the body of the camera, and I presented it to the chief. He seemed delighted and began to click off pictures. He wasn't advancing the film between shots, but since we were told we shouldn't speak unless spoken to, I wasn't able to inform him that he wasn't going to get twelve pictures, but only one, very, very complicated one.

After a couple more hours, the chief lifted his hand and there was absolute silence.

All the dogs had suddenly stopped barking. We looked around and saw the dogs. All their throats had been simultaneously cut, and their bodies, still breathing, pierced with rods, were turning on the spits. The chief insisted we join in the meal, but Marina had turned green, and I asked if we could just have ours to go. They carefully wrapped the dogs in leaves and we carried their bodies away.”
- Laurie Anderson

James Hoff | Shadows Lifted from Invisible Hands

James Hoff is a Brooklyn based artist and musician, and the co-founder and director of Primary Information. Today he announced a new project on Instagram: 

"Out today! My new record “Shadows Lifted from Invisible Hands,” published by @shelter_press is now available on LP and on all streaming platforms. Many who know me, know I’ve been working on this record for the last several years (and that I began the foundations of it many many years ago at @issueprojectroom).

While many think of my music as overly conceptual, this record was very personal and autobiographical. It was created from snippets of a few pop songs (by Blondie, Madonna, Lou Reed, David Bowie) that got disturbingly stuck in my head in the last few years as well as the tinnitus frequencies I’ve experienced for many decades—both of which have been exacerbated by long-term mental health issues, which were particularly acute in the last few years. While the tracks underscore and illuminate the relationship between the larger social, political, and economic conditions we live in and the sounds we experience between our ears, this album is largely a self portrait that aims to work inside the sonic conditions of our times to create something new that is personal, emotional, and yes, critical. I hope you all enjoy!

Pick it up via bandcamp (link in bio). If in Brooklyn grab it at @recordgrouch and if in Manhattan grab it at @ergotrecords If in Europe, order a copy from @shelter_press or via @boomkatonline Shops should be carrying it everywhere in a 1-2 weeks.

Special thanks to Bartolomé and Felicia at Shelter, @joshbonati for the expert mastering, @marisollimonmartinez for her piano work on “Half-After Life”, and the Jack Whitten Estate (@hauserwirth) for allowing me to use one of my favorite paintings for the cover.

Special thanks to the friends who gave me ears and critical support through the process: @glennligon, @ryandais , @matthew_w_walker__ , @dennysellson , @mashinkahakopian, and Børre Sæthre.

Lastly, thanks to the venues and curators that have given me the space and stage to play this music live over the last few years: @kamran_sadeghi_official, @pioneerworks, @29speedway, @____page_not_found____ , and @publicsfi

More shows coming in the fall. European bookers, get in touch!”

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Jubal Brown | DIE SCUM

Jubal Brown
Toronto, Canada: Impulse [b], 2021
276 pp., softcover
Edition size unknown

Not too many Canadian artists receive feature articles in the New York Times when they are 22 years old, and still in school. Toronto artist and OCADU student Jubal Brown received international coverage for a performative event in which he ingested blue icing, blue gelatin and blueberry yoghurt, and vomited it up onto a Mondrian painting at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The headline read "Student Says Vomiting on Painting Was an Artistic Act."

Twenty-five years later (almost to the day1) Brown released his debut novel, with Eldon Garnet’s Impulse imprint. Subtitled Sex & Drugs & Contemporary Art, DIE SCUM is described as a "punk pulp love story by a post-post-modern dandy, boy-about-town, lost in the perverse underworld of sex & drugs & culture wars.”

Now working as a Social Service Worker and Addictions Counsellor, Brown’s current work deals with addiction, dysfunctional relationships, depression and mental health issues. The book follows the protagonist, a drug dealer for the arts community obsessed with ants and old movies, during a paranoid and misanthropic depression. 

Die Scum is available for €20, here

1. The article by Anthony Depalma was published in the NY Times on December 4th, 1996, and DIE SCUM was launched at the Embassy Bar on December 2nd, 2021. Depalma penned a follow-up, "No Stomach for Art” a week later. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Jean Tinguely

Jean Tinguely was born on this day in 1925. 

Pierre Bismuth | End

Pierre Bismuth
London, UK: MC Publications, 1999. 
22 pp., 18 x 18 cm., 
Edition of 500 signed and numbered copies

Martin Creed Work No.74

Martin Creed
Work No.74 
London, UK: Self-published, 1992
10.1 x 10.1 x 10.1 cm.
Edition of 100 [+5 AP] signed and numbered copies

Originally an unlimited edition, this works consists of ''As many 1 inch squares as are necessary cut from a length of 1 inch masking tape and piled up, adhesive sides down to form a 1 inch stack."

Packaged in Styrofoam, the work was typically accompanied by a typed letter outlining the artists intentions: 

"If anything, this work began as an attempt to make something, if not nothing. If that, the problem was to attempt to establish, amongst other things, what material something could be, what shape something could be, what size something could be, how something could be constructed, how something could be positioned [...] and how many of something there could be, or should be, if any, if at all."

Like all of Creed’s work, it is numbered rather than titled. Works numbered 67, 75, 76, 77 and 78 are near-identical. 

I worked at Art Metropole shortly after they hosted Creed’s first Canadian (North American?) solo exhibition. One of these was left stuck to the windowsill in the office, to basically rot in the sunlight. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Oblique Strategies & Think Like An Artist

Brian Eno began a lifelong habit of recording his thoughts in small black notebooks at the age of fourteen. These carefully dated and archived books contain “shopping lists, doodles, installation plans, ideas, recipes, diary notes, reminders of books or films or music I should check out, diagrams, quotes, strategies, poems, lyrics, drawings, addresses, and more doodles.”

In art school, he began writing simple aphoristic instructions to aid in the creative process, or help overcome obstacles. Reportedly the first was “Honour thy error as a hidden intention”. It remains one of the best known and functions as a kind of modus operandi for Eno, cultivating chance and appreciating accidents in the creative process.1

“I had about five or six little principles that I carried in my head at that time,” he told Interview Magazine in 2016. 

Shortly after graduating, Eno joined the rock band Roxy Music, on synthesizer, and as “technical advisor”. During this brief stint his notebooks were filled with meticulous accounts of the recording process, and carefully mapped out stage plans (“Drum Into: Spotlight on Bryan. Lights on band changing colour on beat. Piano and Oboe- spotlight on Andy….”).

He also began placing handwritten cards around the recording studio with the aphorisms from his earlier notebooks, as prompts for his band mates.  

“I compiled a set of about twenty-five little cards, which I’d just stick around the studio and keep reminding myself of all the time […] The kind of panic situation you get into in the studio is unreal. It doesn’t always profit the music. You’ve got until eight o’clock and you’ve got to get something finished. You tend to proceed in a very linear fashion. Now if that line isn’t going in the right direction, no matter how hard you work you’re not going to get anywhere. The function of the cards was to constantly question whether that direction was correct. To say, “How about going that way?” Since then each time I’ve gone into a recording studio I’ve found myself adding to them. I would later find other little principles that became.”

When he shared these dictums with his friend Peter Schmidt2, he learned that the painter had been compiling something very similar of his own - and that many of their instructions were near-identical.

They decided to collaboratively produce a deck of cards that could be released as a small, boxed edition. Housed in a handsome black cardboard box with gold-embossed lettering, the Oblique Strategies cards were released in 1975, in an edition of 500 copies. The deck is subtitled Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas, with the first card providing some context: 

“These cards evolved from our separate observations of the principles underlying what we were doing. Sometimes they were recognized in retrospect (intellect catching up with intuition), sometimes they were identified as they were happening, sometimes they were formulated.

They can be used as a pack (a set of possibilities being continuously reviewed in the mind) or by drawing a single card from the shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this case the card is trusted even if its appropriateness is quite unclear. They are not final, as new ideas will present themselves, and others will become self-evident.”

The evocative and often cryptic cards included questions (“Do we need holes?”, “Would anybody want it?”, “Is it finished?”, “What wouldn’t you do?”, “Is there something missing?”), clarifications and contradictions. “Repetition is a form of change” feels both intuitively true and factually inaccurate, giving it a kind of Zen Koan quality, or acinteyya3. 

Some of the cards simply instruct a distraction (“Take a Break”, “Go outside, shut the door”, “Do the washing up”4) as the key to overcoming the creative stalemate, or the default position.

“Gardening, not architecture” proposes that you’re not designing the structure, you’re tending to the surroundings.

 “Withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy” feels timely now, almost fifty years later, as millennials face accusations of insouciance while trying to define their place in the world.5 

“Ask people to work against their better judgement” reminds me of reading about string players who refused to play on a Beatles track (Yesterday? Eleanor Rigby?) because McCartney didn’t want vibrato and they feared it would make them seem novice.  As a self-proclaimed ‘non-musician’ Eno was often battling professionalism, and many of the cards refer to expertise as an impediment: “Don’t be afraid of things because they’re easy to do”; “Abandon normal instruments”; “Use ‘unqualified’ people”; “Emphasize the flaws”.

Another lifelong M.O. for Eno is “Go to an extreme, move back to a more comfortable place”. He has described the edge of a literal cliff, and the impracticality of spending all of one’s time there, but having gratitude that someone has been there and looked down.  This is likely a response to the fact that his influences are bold artists and composers, creating difficult and challenging work, and that he moves primarily within the realm of pop music (particularly working with blockbuster stadium bands such as U2 and Coldplay). For all of its conceptual rigour and experimentation, the work he releases is rarely ugly or atonal. He is not unlike pop stars like Madonna or Bjork, who borrow ideas from the margins and introduce them to the mainstream by softening some of their edges.His work is never extreme, and is often practical. Music for Airports - his best known and most acclaimed solo album - declared its use value in the title. 

“Give way to your worst impulse” and “Use an unacceptable colour” are attempts to circumvent the limitations of one’s taste. John Cage famously employed “chance operations” to free his compositions from his own likes and dislikes, thus opening up his music to something larger than himself. 

Eno told Charles Amirkhanian in 1980: 

“The most clear antecedent to the Oblique Strategies cards was John Cage’s adoption of the ancient Chinese divination system, the I Ching, to make musical decisions. Some other related concepts to the Oblique Strategies were the Fluxus movement’s fanciful and inventive “Fluxkits” and Fluxus boxes—one particularly inspired example of these boxes, by George Brecht, was called the Water Yam box. The boxes often contained cards with witty sayings or specific instructions.”

A year prior, he told legendary rock critic Lester Bangs:

“George Brecht produced this thing called 'Watermelon' or 'Yam Box' or something like that. It was a big box of cards of all different sizes and shapes, and each card had instructions for a piece on it. It was in the time of events and Fluxus and Happenings and all that. All of the cards had cryptic things on them, like one said, 'Egg event--at least one egg.' Another said, 'Two chairs. One umbrella. One chair.' There were all like that, but the Drip Event one said, 'Erect containers such that water from other containers drips into them.' That was the score, you see. I did two versions of that. [It was] one of the best things I did in my art school days.”

Composer Gavin Bryars remarked that “The whole Oblique Strategies thing was basically taken from George Brecht’s Water Yam ideas – and compared with that it’s really not that interesting stuff, though at the time people were calling it the next best thing after the Tarot.”

Brilliant in his own right, Bryars has beefs with Eno go back almost fifty years, regarding royalties on the Eno-produced Bryars debut album. Truthfully, the deck shares little in common with Brecht’s master work, other than being a boxed collection of somewhat cryptic cards. 

Peter Schmidt had himself created a boxed version of his own, in 1970. Titled The Thoughts Behind the Thoughts, the wooden box contained a hundred cards, each of which bore a printed image and a philosophical aphorism.

Another possible precursor to the Oblique Strategies was Marshall McLuhan’s Distant Early Warning7 deck, from 1969. Printed as a functional deck of poker cards, the cards feature quotes from McLuhan himself, alongside W.C. Fields, Jacques Ellul, Sam Butler, John Cage and others. The texts include “The chicken was the egg’s idea for getting more eggs”, “Silence is all the sounds of the Environment at once” and, of course, “The Medium is the Message”.8

Eno may have also been aware of Erik Satie’s enigmatic notes to performers. Composers would often include literal indications in their scores, such as dynamic markings (‘fortissimo’ indicates a passage should be played loudly, for example, and “pianissimo” very quietly). Around 1912, Satie began including increasingly strange instructions for the musicians, such as “As if you were congested” and “Avoid any sacrilegious excitement”, “Even duller if you can” and “Slow and Painful ("lent et douloureux”). 

Some would be difficult to ascertain exactly what the composer had in mind: “Behave yourself, please: a monkey is watching you”; “Fall till you are weak”; “Like a nightingale with toothache”. 

“Even whiter if possible” reminds me of (Eno collaborator) Michael Brook telling me about producing Mary Margaret O’Hara’s first and final LP, with her puzzling instructions to the session musicians. He recalled her telling the drummer at one point “You’re playing too green, play more orange”.

The same year that the Oblique Strategies were released Eno invoked Satie as the grandfather of ambient music, in his excellent liner notes to the Discreet Music LP: “I was trying to make a piece that could be listened to and yet could be ignored... perhaps in the spirit of Satie who wanted to make music that could "mingle with the sound of the knives and forks at dinner.””

At their best, the Oblique Strategies cards are non-specific enough to apply to a variety of creative impasses. “Turn it upside down” might be interpreted by a painter to finish the canvas after turning it on its head. Musicians might cradle their instrument upside-down, to coax different sounds from it. Or perhaps the tape is played backwards. Maybe the camera is turned on it’s side, such as on Eno’s early video experiment Mistaken Memories of Medieval Manhattan.9 

Other cards deliberately play on the difference between visual and aural art forms. How might a musician respond to “Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame”, for example?

The aphorisms were designed for the art studio but have most famously been used in recording studios. 

“They’re still useful,” Eno has said. “One would think that after a while their ability to disturb a procedure would pale, but it hasn’t happened to me. I’ve chucked a few out of the deck because they’re of no use anymore, but there are still about ninety I use.” Elsewhere he has stated that the cards have been employed on nearly every record he has made. 

In the 2024 documentary ENO, Laurie Anderson reads from the cards. A photograph of David Bowie’s ragged, well-worn deck (below) went viral shortly after his death. Bowie employed the Strategies on his celebrated Berlin Trilogy with Eno, and again later on Outside, their 1995 collaboration. Other acts Eno produced made use of the cards, including Ultravox!, Coldplay, U2 and Devo, as well as bands Eno has not worked with, such as Animal Collective and Phoenix. 

Bassist Bill MacCormick recalls “Working with Brian and Phil [Manzanera] was always exciting . . . You never knew what would happen next and, of course, if all else failed we knew what to do – consult the Oblique Strategies. We might not agree on how to interpret the message chosen but it was always fascinating and usually threw up something that would spark a good creative thought. My favourite card, though, was “Honour thine error as a hidden intention”. It was a great cover-all for any bum notes I played!”

Devo leader Gerry Casale’s memories are less fond. "Devo being the smartass intellectuals that we were, we thought the Oblique Strategies were pretty wanky. They were too Zen for us. We thought that precious, pseudo-mystical, elliptical stuff was too groovy. We were into brute, nasty realism and industrial-strength sounds and beats.”

David Byrne has said that "Brian's cards are funny and sometimes useful", but reportedly the rest of Talking Heads resented their use. The band’s bassist Tina Weymouth told Sounds magazine in 1978 “He had this Oblique Strategies suggestion which his girlfriend [Ritva Saarikko] put in the stack, which was to tape your mouth. Some days he would have had too much conch chowder the night before, and it would be so spicy that Eno would say it was like having an internal sauna. So he’d tape his mouth to get into a work mood.”

Other examples of contributions that are neither Eno’s nor Schmidt’s include “Faced with a choice, do both” which was supplied by artist Dieter Rot(h)10 and “Try Faking it”, from Stewart Brand11

It may be in this spirt that Chris Hampton12 initiated the CBC project Think Like An Artist. In February, I received the following email: 

“Hey, Dave. I'm working on this strange, potentially beautiful project for CBC Arts that I think you'd be great at. Messaging Roula, too. Here goes ...

CBC Arts is connecting with some of Canada's greatest living artists for a forthcoming web project, and we'd like you to participate. 

Have you ever heard of Oblique Strategies? It's a tool, which takes the shape of a deck of cards, designed for promoting creative solutions through lateral thinking. Each card bears a single prompt meant to help the user think about a problem (in art, in work ... maybe even in life) from a different angle. 

Some examples include: "Work at a different speed," "Use an unacceptable colour" and "Honour thy error as hidden intention." They are broad aphorisms — always just a line or two — that can be interpreted and applied in unlimited ways. There are many other similar tools (like this one called Art Oracles, inspired by icons of art history), but Oblique Strategies is the most well-known. 

Here's where the real idea begins: We are making a homegrown version, featuring similar nuggets of wisdom solicited from living Canadian artists. 

THE ASK: All we’ll need from you is one or two lines maximum, answering the question: What is a simple trick or strategy you use when you encounter a problem or an obstacle in your work? What helps you approach the problem from a different angle or see it in a new light? Something that you think might help other people, too. Can you write it as an instruction or a suggestion?

Be as strange, mystical or poetic as your item of inspiration demands! 

We’re so excited about this project and we’d really like to include your voice. Please, let us know if you’re interested. We’re collecting all quotes by Sunday, February 4. 


A couple of months later, the resulting web project was launched, titled Think Like An Artist. Sixty-seven artists, architects, musicians, playwrights, novelists, poets, comic artists, comedians, actors, filmmakers and fashion designers participated, including Kim Adams, Omar El Akkad, Jay Baruchel, Ed Burtynsky, Janet Cardiff, Marcel Dzama, Megan Follows, Kapwani Kiwanga, Ken Lum, Owen Pallett, Peaches, Lido Pimienta, Sarah Polley, and Mariko Tamaki. 

Many close friends contributed, including Christian Bök, Diane Borsato, Michael Dumontier, Neil Farber, Luis Jacob, Kelly Jazvac, Micah Lexier, and Jon Sasaki. 

Former neighbour Beverly Glenn Copeland, submitted the suggestion “Fighting the block makes it worse. Stop and let yourself rest”. This joins several tips to take it easy and do something else, including reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle, taking your dog for a walk, and seeing a film. Author Pasha Malla reminds us that “Nobody cares if you don't make art.”

The original deck is relentlessly optimistic, but the suggestions here are particularly reassuring.13 Diane Borsato writes “Remember, in every process there is a swamp phase, where everything stinks and falls apart. Tell yourself, "This is just the swamp phase!" and carry on, trusting you will get to the next part.”

Many contributions inadvertently mirror the originals. Overcoming the limitations of taste is the subject of playwright Hannah Moscovitch, whose card reads: "Do what's in poor taste. Whatever you think is contrived or gross or offensive. Go into it and come out the other side.” She later clarified in an interview with CBC Arts, "Sometimes if you go through with what might be the worst idea, then you can arrive somewhere good.”

In many instances the texts strongly align with the contributor’s practice, and become almost autobiographical.  

“Make the problem harder to resolve”, says Bök, whose ambitious works of poetry include Eunoia (2001), a book that uses only one vowel in each of its five chapters and took seven years to complete, and The Xenotext, billed as the first living example of poetry, which was designed with scientists to outlive humanity. 

“Consume existing artworks voraciously and sloppily. Take your wildest misinterpretation and make that piece,”proposes Jon Sasaki. His practice frequently riffs on the artworks of others, but his dictum also understands that failed mimicry is often the shortest distance to something new.

Poet Billy-Ray Belcourt instructs “Calculate the distance between the earth and your body. Write something in order to shorten that distance.”

“Remove what’s quintessential” suggests Roula Partheniou, whose practice of meticulous replicas is often about isolating the essence of an object and shifting how its perceived when its use value, and other key qualities, are removed.

“Can I stand the ways this may be misunderstood?” ask Dumontier & Farber, recognizing that artworks often take on the meanings that the viewer brings to them, and some of those may be difficult to endure. 

Few cards here will be misunderstood. They are less cryptic than the Oblique Strategies (with the exception of Lexier’s - which is more, almost seeming to call back to Brecht’s Water Yam) if somewhat less cohesive as a collection. 

Each of the contributed texts is accompanied by a unique artwork from illustrator and designer Nolan Pelletier14, placing them more in line with the Norton Family Christmas Project edition, of 1996. 

Like the iPhone app version of Oblique Strategies - the CBC site allows readers to draw a card at random, and then continue on to read the complete series. 

A limited print-run of a physical edition is apparently in the works. 

View the Think Like An Artist deck here, at the CBC website. 

1. Part of the reason for Eno and Peter Schmidt’s collaboration was the surprisingly level of synchronicity, a “complete correspondence between the messages” as Eno told KPFA-FM Berkeley in 1980. Eno’s first card was “Honour thy error as a hidden intention” and Schmidt’s first was "Was it really a mistake?”

2. Peter Schmidt (1931–1980) was a Berlin-born British artist and teacher at Watford College of Art. He worked with Hansjörg Mayer, Dieter Roth, Russell Mills, David Toop and Tom Phillips.

3. A Buddhist term, “acinteyya” roughly translates to "imponderable" or “incomprehensible," and "beyond the sphere of reason.”

4. “Do the washing up” (or “do the dishes” in North American parlance) as a creative solution apparently still holds true for Eno. He told Stewart Brand in 2021: “The way I look for [music to score films] is just by putting my archive on random shuffle and then doing the cleaning or washing up or tidying up books or things like that.”

5. The R.E.M. song What’s the Frequency Kenneth? (Michael Stipe’s most interesting lyric, if not quite his best) contains the line “Richard says Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy”, which is both a misquote and misattribution. He is most likely referring to Richard Linklater, whose 1990 film Slacker featured a character handing out Oblique Strategies cards. 

6. “I also did La Monte Young's X For Henry Flynt," Eno said, “which was a good performance too. It's a place that I can't remember the exact score, but it stipulates that you play a complex chord cluster and that you try to play it identically and with an even space between it. There were two ways of doing it, since the score is ambiguous: you either play each one identical to the first, where you're trying to always play exactly the same thing, or you try to play each one identical to the one before.”

7. The title derives from McLuhan’s quote "I think of art, at its most significant, as a DEW line, a Distant Early Warning system.”

8. Some of the texts have aged better than others, which reflect some backwards attitudes prevalent at the time. 

9. VHS copies of Eno’s Mistaken Memories of Medieval Manhattan (1981) and Thursday Afternoon (1985) came with instructions that the viewer should place their television set on it’s side (and fiddle with the colour dials).

10. Dieter Rot[h]’s card is the one I’m mostly likely to quote, particularly to students. While still broad enough to function as the rest of the cards, it is pretty unambiguous. It’s inclusion appears to come from a relationship the Swiss artist had with Peter Schmidt. 

11: Stewart Brand is a project developer and writer with a long close association with Eno. An original member of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, he became well known for a campaign convince NASA to release a photograph of the Earth from space, distributing buttons that read "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?”. With help from Buckminster Fuller, the campaign was a success and led to Brand starting the Whole Earth Catalogue. He is the author of How Buildings Learn and host of the BBC TV adaptation. Currently he is the co-chair and president of the Long Now Foundation. Eno is co-founder of the organization and created music for the Clock of the Long Now, a timepiece that will operate with minimum human intervention for ten millennia.

12: Chris Hampton is a Hamilton-based freelance arts and culture writer. His work has appeared elsewhere in The New York Times, the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, and Canadian Art. Follow him on Instagram  @chris.hampton.

13. I’m a little surprised at the lack of bite or satire in the proposals. I’m thinking of things like Jon Rubin’s excellent banners at SFAI, which mocked art school assignments: “Tell A Personal Tragic Story In A Room Full of Laughing Gas”; “Photograph Yourself Naked At Your Parents’ House”, etc. 

14. Toronto-based illustrator Nolan Pelletier has contributed work to the New York Times, New Yorker, Smithsonian, Village Voice , Boston Globe, Netflix, The Walrus, the Globe and Mail and many other publications.