Jason Kahn 
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Works for Radio
Realization of George Brecht's
"Water Yam: AIR CONDITIONING (move through the place)"

Compost and Height
April, 2011


printable version

( move through the place)

Round rocks knock together under the stream. A resonant sound, a music. It would be worth something to sit day and night, in and out, listening to these sounds of water unfold... 1

Traditional practice had been to insert something into a space rather than to comment on that insertion. A space with an object in it is dominated by that object, rather than by itself. 2

Der Klang der Höfischen Gamelanmusik ist ein Symbol der Javanischen Welt Ihre repetitive Struktur repräsentiert Ordung und Ewigkeit. 3

when it all comes down to the wire the essence scratches through at the surface and beneath only air, the sugar coating licked away in pre-dawn lust sweat dissolving the pores steam and emotion evaporates to the ceiling, vanished only the words hanging motionless a neck snapped, the trust broken a germ seed of failure misplaced only love that which never exposed itself before tonight when the heart tears but no blood drips from the wound only air and hot air rises like the sweat like the hopes drifting high the trade winds gravity's orbit beyond the heavens and black holes a soul drifts from star to star and vanishes clear, mist, dark holes engulf and devour catapult down to the infinite ground stamped torn to bits spit out and chewed left to rot dry and blow away dust wind forgotten emptiness in I realized that it was impossible to focus on one singular element such as the movement of the air. All of the various elements, once the space had been literally opened to them, had to become inherent determinants in the production and reception of the work. 4

Schaeffer wollte den Schwerpunkt auf eine Vorgehensweise legen - die darin bestand, von einem inkarnierten und nicht von einem notierten Ton auszugehen, um ihn zur musikalischen Abstraktion zuführen - und nicht auf die Mittel. 5


evolution down past the prime numbers reverting indirectly proportional to the new cellular complexity to simplicity and singularity bare consciousness in a living machine eating spewing waste and reproducing its function complete vanishing down the drains the earth's ores resurfacing but never restructured the mold long since perfected and everyone satisfied oblivious to crass insensitivity to genetic store piles of innate cruelty exponentially severe in cell production each split adding multiplying and assuring the eventual final collapse blood stops flowing under volition but drips freely.
Within the individual, and at the heart of his consciousness and his ill-appropriate life, two processes are apparent: the rational and the irrational, the (relatively) conscious and the (relatively) unconscious. On the other hand, if he cannot accumulate money, he accumulates experiences, and if he cannot accumulate capital, he accumulates knowledge. 6.

Die so genannte Musique concréte postuliert den fixierten Klang daher ebenso gebieterisch wie de Film-Kunst die aufgezeichnete Bewegung oder die Malerei die Fixierung des Pinselstreiche und der Farben. 7

What is known about art grows in an accumulative way. The number of objects piled up in the universal museum and in the total library of books, records and films must increase exponentially. The viewer and the listener had increasingly easier and more frequent access to all works from all ages. It is assumed that when the various sources of knowledge are all bundled together in this way it will stimulate our power of creativity, or even that technologies (and the last to be developed is always the best) will be a substitute for spontaneity. The two poles of activity - technological, literary and creative power - would emerge. Not so.
The welter of works, of knowledge and of technology, comes in tandem with a gargantuan consumption which must be surely looting and devouring all the riches of the ages which precisely did not accumulate, and which have left us their treasures in trust. The result is an astonishing sociological function: aestheticism (which is not caused and explained by it accumulative character alone) and its corollary, the permanent crisis of so-called modern art. 8

Perhaps alienation begins when the artists view their production as materially separate from themselves, or as a product existing independently from their own consciousness; while the viewers consider it necessary to isolate the aesthetic production from the author in order to generate their own vision of the artist's production, which is partly fictionalized through production. This separation is concurrent with the transformation of the work of art into a commodity which negates the role of the producer. 9

burning a certain dichotomy of the mind where love equals hate heat cold life death forever only now once yesterday dim memories washed away islands in the stream the current wearing them down contours rounding detail blurring size diminishing finally only the grains again sifting slowly down the time neck piling high the point never quite collapsing only gently crumbling grain by grain rolling down inclines piling at the bottom rubble to count but mostly ignored the debris piling high until the point blurs revealing the shadows and time expired fire extinguished ice melted lovers separate when once one cell to cell fused gentle hearts beating and exposed tumble to join the rubble in the shadows wake out of the darkness descending down eroding in a stream not of water but of gravity one in the same just as the moon pulls so to do hearts tumble minds collapse life grow empty draining filled only with the objects of desire the carnal possessions of immediate gratification and bogus pleasure vicious

Aus heutiger Sicht lässt sich der in Kyoto integrierte Klanglplan von seiner Idee und räumlichen Dimension her mit der Klanginstallation, die anvatgardistische Form gegenwärtige Klangkunst vergleichen. Die mondernen Klangkünstler übermittelt das Rauschen der Meereswellen ans Land, um mit phantastischen, synthetischen Tönen dann Geräuschkulissen in Parks zu schalten, oder, sie transmittieren Klänge in der Echtzeit an einen anderen Ort. Sie eröffnen uns die Möglichkeit, Töne auf ganz ungewohnte Weise zu erleben, uns mittels der Akustik direkt mit der Umgebung zu konfrontieren und unseren Lebensraum völlig neu zu entdecken. In unseren heutigen, von mannigfaltigen Hindernissen verstellten Umwelt, zu der wir intuitiv keinen Zugang mehr finden, drücken solche Klaninstallationen, mittels derer Mensch und Umwelt sich gegenseitig durchdringend sollen, den Wunsch aus, die verlorengegangene sinnliche Wahrnehmung des Kosmos wiederzufinden. 10

If repetition, return or renewal of the same (or more or less the same) phenomenon should be understood according to each specific case and type, the same can be said of the relation between what is respected and the newness which springs from repetition (for example, repetition of sounds and rhythms in music offers a perpetual movement which is perpetually reinvented). 11

turn before roving jackal packs their function assured practical necessary absolute for what they leave returns to the ground and surfaces again giving life a new meaning love a new taste a sound like the fluttering carrion wings the grains gently tumbling to abysses of shadowy rubble the water rushing molecular wear infinite to nothing just like measuring the soul with your dad's Kenmore and "I'm a Ford man, always have been and don't trust Commies or fags one in the same as we all know" they wrapped up in the gravity the moon's pull the orbits and the erosion wings beating drops of blood carried by mercury's flight to the ground nourishing future eons of grief and broken trust constant war

As with light, the use of sound had the capacity to confront the viewer's understanding of space as static, tactile, and formally structured with the notion of its temporality and dynamics. 12

Das Wort "Konkret" bezeichnet keine Quelle. Es wollte sagen, dass Man den Klang in der Gesamtheit siner Merkmale nahm. So ist ein konkrete Klang zu Beispiel ein Geigenklang, aber betrachtet in all seinen sinnlich spürbaren Eigenschaften, und nicht nur in seinen abstrakten Eigenschafter, die in der Partitur notiert werden. Ich sehe dass der Ausdruck "Konkret" sehr schnell mit der Orstellung von "Kochtopfklängen" verbunden werden, doch meiner Meinung nach wollte dieser Ausdruck vor allem sagen, dass man alle Klänge in Betracht zog, und zwar nicht, indem man sich auf die Noten der Partitur bezog, sondern in dem man sich mit all ihren Eigenschaften beschäftigte, die sich aufweisen. 13

air stopped inhaling but diffusing gravitational to silver-lined clouds once glorious but now copper tarnished green flaking away and snowing unnoticed unperceived unwelcome on the light places shadows escaping the density so low that the chips pass through unnoticed the wings batting above silent fluttering are they bats or just the silent whoosh of fired arrows poisonous and deadly certain aimed punctured fresh marrow seeping out violating tissue and organ all concerned thrown into disarray from needless confusion even tho' apparent stability existed for so long but who would question time when it crumbles so slowly like

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The various constituent elements and functions of the space were made accessible to the viewer's experience. This was in contradistinction to an installation that would insert a predetermined object between the viewers and their perception of the space, while, at the same time, attempt to control the viewer's perception, eventually creating a hierarchy between the object and the viewers where the viewers became subservient to the object. 14

the defense system determination and emotional lean too strong in the spring rickety in the winter soon as the twisters hit and stir the debris collapsing walls disturbed carrion birds circular soaring to escape the havoc sought by the gods to reconfirm what they though all along about us being a worthless race two surfaces deep then nothing even less than the rubble 'cause nothing doesn't change it doesn't tumble but entropies in shadow like gravity gone and all the darkness locked in forced down like everything else stamped down beneath the shadows of vulture wings and course rubble more infinite than swallow all black holes further down than conception for here the answer lies and it can only be found in the very darkest deepest recesses the mind like the trap steel teeth and pain like a motherfucker nerves exposed blue air blown over chipped tooth quivering my ganglia finished I collapse to sleep dreams some times the only things more frightening than life but not very often.

Modernist tradition has created cultural boundaries within which aesthetic production is viewed as being autonomous and particularized: usually those of institutions such as museums and galleries. There the words of art, as objects, are solely interactive with the viewer, disallowing any other routines of reality to take place within the field of the viewer's perception. 15

Wir verwenden die Bezeichnung abstrakt für die gewöhnliche Musik aufgrund der Tatsache, dass sie zunächst im Geister entworten, dann theoretisch notiert und schliesslich bei einer instrumentalen Aufführung realisiert wird.
Wir haben unsere Musik dagegen "Konkret" genannt, weil sie ausgehen von vorher existierenden Elementen geschaffen wird, die einem beliebigen Klangmaterial, ob nun Geräusch oder gewöhnliche Musik, entkommen und dann durch eine direkte Konstruktion experimentell zusammengesetzt, komponierte werden. 16

the shadows dim light star cast creeping in shadows havens for lost love the children frightened off strangers in the shadows really their own fears dark faceless like the fear like the anxiety like the end watching it all before hand real to the screen in the back of minds optimistic these dark eyes the shadowy day as for the children so too for the hope and the grains slowly drifting through one by one imperceptible yet in total devastating mounting through the years exponential infinite crushing again the shadows take mass take substance control the doubt and magnify the heat burning the soul sweltering from yellow to red to black and more shadows more holes more damage until numb ice cold burning confusion not knowing whether to pull away or observe the phenomena experience the blue ice

Bei den Werken mit fixierten Klängen, die in der Aufnahmen das eigentliche Prinzip ihre Existenz finden, hat man es niemals mit Tönen in abstrakten zu tun, sondern, immer mit einem besonderen und verkörperten Phänomen: ein Geiger oder ein Synthesizerton ist kein Geiger oder Synthesizerton in allgemeinen, er ist immer dieser einmaliger Klang, der auf eine bestimmte Weise mit seiner Klangfarbe und seinem Vibrato ausgesandt und in dieser Form Sekunde für Sekunde fixiert wird. Es ist also ein konkreter Klang - nicht in dem Sinne, der diesem Wort in den 1950er Jahren gegeben wurde und der Klang aus einer akustischen Quelle gagen wollte, sondern Konkret weil er eine stabile, sinnliche spurbare Realität ist, die Wahrnehmung - so wie eine Photographie oder eine Skulptur einen unerschöpflichen Reichtum von Aspekten präsentiert. 17

Bonnie and Clyde (1967, Arthur Penn)
Point Blank (1967, John Boorman)
The Birth of a Nation (1915, D.W. Griffith)
Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles)
The Graduate (1967, Mike Nichols)
Cosmic Ray (1962, Bruce Conner)
The Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969, Sydney Pollack)
El Topo (1970, Alejandro Jodorowsky)
Billy Jack (1971, Tom Laughlin)
Deliverance (1972, John Boorman)
The Rain People (1969, Francis Ford Coppola)
Mash (1970, Robert Altman)
THX 1138 (1971, George Lucas)
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971, Robert Altman)
Nashville (1975, Robert Altman)
The Last Picture Show (1971, Peter Bogdanovich)
Five Easy Pieces (1970, Bob Rafelson)
The Wild Bunch (1969, Sam Peckinpah)
Midnight Cowboy (1965, John Schlesinger)
Grapes of Wraith (1940, John Ford)
The American Dreamer (1971, Dennis Hopper)
Dementia 13 (1963, Francis Ford Coppola)
The Godfather (1972, Francis Ford Coppola)
Chinatown (1974, Roman Polanski)
Harold and Maude (1971, Hal Ashby)
The Last Detail (1973, Hal Ashby)
Tracks (1977, Henry Jaglom)
Gimme Shelter (1970, Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin)
The French Connection (1971, William Freidkin)
The Conformist (1970, Bernardo Bertolucci)
The King of Marvin Gardens (1972, Bob Rafelson)
Badlands (1973, Terrence Malick)
Last Tango in Paris (1972, Bernardo Bertolucci)
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974, Martin Scorsese)
Night Moves (1975, Arthur Penn)
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975, Miloš Forman)
Days of Heaven (1978, Terrence Malick)
Blue Collar (1978, Paul Schrader)
Coming Home (1978, Hal Ashby)
The Deer Hunter (1978, Michael Cimino)
Heaven's Gate (1980, Michael Cimino)
Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese)
L.A. Plays Itself (1972, Fred Halsted)

The predominance of abstraction in art goes together with the extension of the world of commodities and of the commodity as world, as well as the unlimited power of money and capital, which are simultaneously highly abstract and extremely concrete. The art work thus renounces its previous status: proximity to, and even the imitation of, nature. It is detached and released from naturalism. This likewise goes together with the short-lived triumph of the most abstract signs - for example, banking and monetary dummy entries - over what remains of concrete reference systems. 18

so deceptive false sense of satiation like drinking hot water or eating ice cubes the dichotomy surfaces from the shadows and the objects conquer souls adopts them in the appliances the car the cunts the asses tits vile fuck 'em nod off and its sunny clouds every morning for one the other weeping bitter grains forever alone in the shadows facing the insurmountable wall grief never crumbling this too much to hope for only building higher and higher to the heavens in strange irony hell's pain shooting tendrils to Olympus the great hills roots so deep to Hades griefs branches its delicate twigs yearn for sustenance turning love and and light to hate and fear the spontaneous medium for flies and humankind spanning eons as corpses litter rocky fields carrion birds arcing overhead waiting their

Knowledge must proceed caution, restraint, respect. It must respect lived experience, rather than belaboring it as the domain of ignorance and error, rather than absorbing it into positive knowledge as vanquished ignorance. 19

1. Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (New York, New York: The Viking Press, 1973), p. 583.

2. Michael Asher, Writings 1973-1983 on works 1969-1979 (Halifax, Nova Scotia : Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, 1983), p. 13.

3. Shin Nakagawa, Kyoto - Klänge des Kosmos, tr. Sabine Mangold, Nanae Suzuki (Berlin: Merve Verlag, 2000), pp. 33-34.

4. Michael Asher, Writings 1973-1983 on works 1969-1979 (Halifax, Nova Scotia : Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, 1983), p. 38.

5. Michel Chion, Die Kunst fixierter Klänge – oder die Musique concrètement (Berlin: Merve Verlag, 2000), p. 37.

6. Henri Lefebvre, The Critique of Everyday Life, Volume 1, tr. John Moore (London: Verso, 1947), p. 337.

7. Michel Chion, Die Kunst fixierter Klänge – oder die Musique concrètement (Berlin: Merve Verlag, 2000), p. 41.

8. Henri Lefebvre, The Critique of Everyday Life, Volume 1, tr. John Moore (London: Verso, 1947), p. 338.

9. Michael Asher, Writings 1973-1983 on works 1969-1979 (Halifax, Nova Scotia : Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, 1983), p. 105.

10. Shin Nakagawa, Kyoto - Klänge des Kosmos, tr. Sabine Mangold, Nanae Suzuki (Berlin: Merve Verlag, 2000), pp. 33-34.

11. Henri Lefebvre, The Critique of Everyday Life, Volume 1, tr. John Moore (London: Verso, 1947), p. 340.

12. Michael Asher, Writings 1973-1983 on works 1969-1979 (Halifax, Nova Scotia : Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, 1983), p. 20.

13. Michel Chion, Die Kunst fixierter Klänge – oder die Musique concrètement (Berlin: Merve Verlag, 2000), p. 29.

14. Michael Asher, Writings 1973-1983 on works 1969-1979 (Halifax, Nova Scotia : Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, 1983), p. 30.

15. ibid., p. 65.

16. Michel Chion, Die Kunst fixierter Klänge – oder die Musique concrètement (Berlin: Merve Verlag, 2000), p. 26 (quoting Pierre Schaefer in the magazine Polyphonie, Paris, 1948).

17. ibid., pp. 53-54.

18. Henri Lefebvre, The Critique of Everyday Life, Volume 3, tr. John Moore (London: Verso, 1947), p. 50.

19. ibid., pp. 17.