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Birds, Dogs, and Ghosts

(Search one thing and find another.)

A frequently cited example of serendipity is the invention of the Velcro fastener by George de Mestral (1907-1990) from Lausanne. After a bird hunting trip, he took a closer look at the cockleburs burrs stuck to his dog and his clothes. He noted that hundreds of hooks caught anything with a loop, such as hair or clothing and animal fur.

A few years later, in the fifties, the pioneering and highly respected Danish sound recordist Carl Weisman had a problem with dogs ruining his recordings of singing birds. He always had to remove their barks - at that time manually by physically cutting the tape with a razor blade. After some time Weisman found himself with a bunch of short pieces of magnetic tape with barking dogs on them. When he was asked to do something for a children's radio show and had the idea to order the barks by pitch, and he glued all together following a simple melody. Finally, he had an enormous success and produced several disks with singing dogs.

At about the same time Friedrich J├╝rgenson (1903-1987), a Swedish musician and artist, accidentally recorded strange voices on his tape in the summer of 1959 when, as he often liked to do, he recorded bird voices in the woods. At first, he thought he had recorded parts of a foreign radio program - until he noticed voices he knew and that came from people who had long since died. He investigated the matter and got caught in the undergrowth of the paranormal. Research today assumes he had audio hallucinations. Nevertheless quite a few people emulated him and developed his practice further. (from Konstantin Raudive to William Burroughs and Genesis P-Orridge)

I suggest starting our project with (field-)recordings and looking for unintended sounds (or unexpected ideas) that we can use as a basis for developing narrative sound structures.
Not only form and content, but also the structure of the project will be developed together. It can be in relation to our radio (LapTopRadio.org), but it can also lead us to independent sound pieces or sound installations.
 

Genesis P-Orridge and a dog
Cover of William Burrough's 'Electronic Revolution' with a dog and a cable
Speaking of birds: William Burroughs appeared in an obscure video by Antony Balch of 1963 called "William buys a parrot" and Genesis P-Orridge's album of 1968 "Catching the Bird", was recorded but never pressed.
 
 

  

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