Saturday, June 30, 2018

 | Buddha Machine


Buddha Machine

Beijing, China: 2005

9.5 x 6 x 2.5 cm. 

Unlimited edition.

A small, self-contained playback device housing a series of musical loops which can be played via the integrated speaker or mini-jack. Based in Beijing, the ambient electronic duo FM3 (Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian) released the Buddha Machine (or Buddha Box) at the beginning of the era when digital music sales began to overtake physical releases. Sales of the Buddha Machine skyrocketed after reports that Brian Eno had bought eight of them.

"The Buddha Machine is a small, plastic box that comes in six different colors and inside the box are loops that [the] band made over the last six years that we edited down, compressed into six-bit audio, and burned onto a chip that’s at the heart of this box. [It’s] about the size of a cigarette pack and it also contains a speaker, much like the transistor radios that we grew up with in the seventies before digital media became the new wave. But you turn on the box with two AA batteries inside, it’s powered, and the loops start to play, so essentially it’s a portable, go-anywhere, loop-playing sound system."
- Christiaan Virant

Friday, June 29, 2018

Loud Objects | Noise Toys

Loud Objects
Noise Toys
Brooklyn, USA: Physical Editions, 2017
Dimensions unknown
Edition size unknown

Founded in 2005 by Tristan Perich, Katie Shima, and Kunal Gupta, Loud Objects aim to "make electronic music visible". The Brooklyn-based trio is known for building their own audio hardware, often onstage, while an overhead projector displays their actions to the audience.

Similar to the FM3 Buddha Boxes (see next post), these circuitboard synths feature looped drones in miniaturized versions of the music chips the band uses in their live performances. They are available in five different sounds: "Butterfly", "Sunrise, "Manatees", "Broccoli" and "Oracle".

They are available for $30 each, or a set of five for $120, at the group's band camp site, here:

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Jenny Holzer | With Sophisticated Record...

Jenny Holzer
With Sophisticated Record...
New York City, USA: Self-published, circa 1990
21 x 26.7 cm.
Edition of 3

Bronze with black patina. A copy recently sold for $15,000 US, more than twice the low estimate of $7,000.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Record Shop

Record Shop, a group exhibition including work by myself, Sonny Assu, Deanna Bowen, Bill Burns, Roula Partheniou, Geoffrey Pugen, Marla Hlady, Christof Migone, Michael Dumontier, Suzie Smith, Instant Coffee, Laura Kikauka and Eleanor King, opens this Saturday at MKG127 in Toronto.

Posters, playlists and lots of works about the vinyl record, as well as guest playlists by artists, curators and collectors, and an event hosted by Record Club's Paul Butler.

MKG127 is located in Toronto at 1445 Dundas St. West. Hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 12 to 6 PM, or by appointment. For more information call 647-435-7682 or visit the website, here, for more information.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Harrell Fletcher | The American War

Harrell Fletcher
The American War
Atlanta, USA: J & L Books, Inc., 2006
90 pp., 20 x 14 cm., hardcover
Edition of 2000

When Harrell Fletcher spoke in Toronto many years ago, the thing that most struck me about his talk was the simple observation that the Vietnam War is not called the Vietnam War in Vietnam. In Vietnam, the war is known as Kháng chiến chống Mỹ (Resistance War Against America), and less formally as 'Cuộc chiến tranh Mỹ' (The American War'). This simple shift in perspective is at the heart of his work of the same name.

In 2005, the artist spent a month in the country as part of an international artists retreat, where he visited The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Profoundly affected by what he saw there, Fletcher returned several times and re-photographed every image and text description from the main museum - hand held shots at odd angles to avoid reflections.

He then used this furtive documentation to re-stage the exhibition in its entirety, in galleries across the US, such as Artpace (San Antonio, Texas) Solvent Space (Richmond, VA), the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at M.I.T. (Cambridge, MA), and White Columns (New York City).

The project debuted at a time when the George W. Bush government was attempting to shape public perception about the war in Iraq by controlling media access. Journalists were embedded with military units, providing the illusion of transparency while actually engaging in a propaganda campaign. The media were kept away from civilian populations where the human toll of the war is most apparent, and their closeness with the soldiers invariably led to profiles of courage and heroism.

A decade prior, President George H.W. Bush implemented a ban on media photographs of returning dead soldiers, ostensibly to allow families of fallen soldiers to grieve in private. Critics charged that the ban was a way to disguise the cost of battle, a lesson learned from the Vietnam War. The policy was reversed by President Obama, 18 years later.

Fletcher's project discreetly touches on some of these subjects, as well as photography's role in the construction of history - as both a documentary and propagandist medium. In a June 2006 article in the New York Times, Michael Kimmelman wrote:

"In a nearly invisible way, it raises a general question about looking at photographs: about what it means to see something from someone else's point of view (Mr. Fletcher's camera angle being the operative metaphor), and also about how strangely, even alarmingly compelling war pictures can be."

The American War is available here for £9.00.

"Even though many of the images were familiar to me, seeing them all together and presented from the Vietnamese perspective was very striking. It made me realize that I didn't know much about the details of the war that had consumed the U.S for most of my early childhood. I started researching the war in an attempt to understand why it happened and what its effects were on the region and in regards to U.S policy. The museum and my re-presentations of it are only showing one perspective, there are many others. I encourage everyone to do their own research and find out more about The American War in Vietnam and all of the other American Wars that have been happening ever since, sometimes covertly and other times, as in the current situation in Iraq, very overtly, but hidden at the same time."
- Harrell Fletcher

Monday, June 25, 2018

Benjamin Patterson | Puzzle-Poems

Benjamin Patterson
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1962
1.5 x 8.7 x 8.4 cm)
Unique work

A metal box containing cut-and-pasted paper puzzles. In the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Patterson died two years ago, today, at the age of 82.

Raymond Pettibon | Sonic Youth Goo Badge

Raymond Pettibon
Sonic Youth Goo Badge
New York City, USA: Sonic Youth, [circa 1990]
8.2 x 8.2 cm.
Edition size unknown

Lithograph of Pettibon's cover graphic for the LP Goo, on woven fabric as a backstage pass. In the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, here.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Concrete Poetry: an International Anthology

Stephen Bann  [editor]
Concrete Poetry: an International Anthology
London, UK: London Magazine Editions, 1967
197 pp., 19 x 19 cm., hardcover
Edition size unknown

Volume 13 of London Magazine Editions, this title includes work by Eugen Gomringer, Hansjorg Mayer, Ernst Jandl, Decio Pignatari, Haraldo de Campos, Augusto de Campos, Pedro Xisto, Mathias Goeritz, Pierre Garnier, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Dom Sylvester Houedard, John Furnival, Edwin Morgan, Emmett Williams, Jonathan Williams, Robert Lax and others.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Arthur Köpcke | Continue

Arthur Köpcke
Berlin, Germany: René Block, 1972.
26 x 36 x 2 cm., loose leaves in cloth box
Edition of 150 signed and numbered copies

The 33rd edition published by René Block, this small box contains Köpcke's "creative ideas" as  collages on black cardboard. Signed in green crayon by the artist.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

David Shrigley | Really Good (Fourth Plinth)

David Shrigley
Really Good (Fourth Plinth)
London, UK: Arts Council, 2016
29 cm. high
Edition of 3000 signed and numbered copies.

“I guess this is a work about making the world a better place or it purports to actually make the world a better place. Obviously, this is a ridiculous proposition, but I think it’s a good proposition. Artworks on their own are inanimate objects so they can’t make the world a better place. It is us, so I guess we have to ask ourselves how we can do this.”

- David Shrigley

Wednesday, June 13, 2018