December 16th, 2010 | guest informant

Rita J King and I got talking on Twitter a while ago. She’s one of those scary people who can seemingly do anything: writer and journalist, futurist, Senior Fellow at two think-tanks, an Innovator In Residence at IBM, artist, public speaker and I give up. She’s currently exploring what she calls “hybrid realities,” which very broadly speaking could encompass storytelling, the digital world and the public event. I asked her to write to you about whatever thing interested her today, and this is what she wrote:

Artists, writers and cartographers who can imagine the magnificence of the Seven Seas should check out the guidelines for participating in the story of the Levitating Mermaid.

The story is that the Levitating Mermaid is in possession of a massive trove of secret letters, with the Imaginary Sailor, Balthazar, in hot pursuit across the Seven Seas, described here by the 9th century AD author Ya’qubi:

“Whoever wants to go to China must cross seven seas, each one with its own color and wind and fish and breeze, completely unlike the sea that lies beside it.”

* Sea of Fars ends at a strait where pearls are fished.
* Larwi is massive, filled with islands that have kings. It can only be sailed by starlight and contains many wonders that are beyond description.
* Harkand has an island filled with precious stones and rubies.
* Kalah is shallow and filled with huge serpents that ride the wind and smash ships.
* Salahit is large and filled with wonders.
* Kardanj is very rainy.
* The Sea of Sanji, the final crossing, is the sea of China.

The site contains handwritten letters written to and from the Levitating Mermaid and the Imaginary Sailor, as well as glimpses of the trove of secret letters in her possession. Balthazar’s passion is letter writing (the results are sometimes, but not always, NSFW, like his site), which is how I met him when I requested a letter.

The story has just begun, so now is the time to become a character in this electrifying global art caper.

Follow artist, adventurer and entrepreneur Rita J. King on Twitter (@ritajking).


December 16th, 2010 | bookmarks

SPECIAL SOUND: The Creation And Legacy Of The BBC Radiophonic Workshop – Louis Niebur. Page 29. Excuse shitty iPhone photo of the page in question, no time to run the scanner tonight:

Further down the page, there’s also this:

…he disavowed its comparison to music by noting that the BBC has chosen the term ‘radiophonic’ over the more controversial musique concrete and that the work they are to hear is a completely new genre, the radiophonic poem… ‘a poetic experience that only exists in terms of a sound complex.’

These were the days, you see, when you could hear Samuel Beckett plays on the (national) radio, and producers realised that the only way his bad dreams could be presented in audio was to accompany them with dream-sounds that could not occur in reality.

I don’t know that there’s anything in British radio that continues this today, beyond the work done at Resonance FM. You could, if you felt so inclined, probably draw a line between the 1956 BBC radio production of Beckett’s ALL THAT FALL and, say, the latter work of Moon Wiring Club.  The connection between the radiophonic and the supernatural, of course, remains strong in the work of many purveyors of the Confusing English Electronic Music — Belbury Poly and the Broadcast And The Focus Group project to name but two.

(Go here for Moon Wiring Club’s six favourite pieces of Confusing English Electronic Music in 2010.)

I was talking with Adam Drucker — cLOUDDEAD, Doseone, Anticon and the co-composer of the music for Alan Moore’s most recent spoken word piece, UNEARTHING — the other day, when it occurred to me that Bandcamp would be the most perfect home for the radiophonic production.

Anyway, completely random, just wanted to get the bookmark and the thoughts down before they vanished into the ether…

Links for 2010-12-15

December 15th, 2010 | brainjuice

Modern Times

December 15th, 2010 | researchmaterial

“Made with no money, just a little time and a lot of passion,” the filmmakers say.

MODERN TIMES from BC2010 on Vimeo.

D.O.P: Richard Mountney
Lighting and Camera assistants:
Simon Mountney, Tom Mountney and Robin Mair
Film Excerpts and Music used under a strictly non-profit basis.

Urushi Musical Interface

December 15th, 2010 | music, researchmaterial

Urushi Musical Interface from Yuri Suzuki on Vimeo.

“A project for Collacqueration: Designed in the UK – Lacquered in Japan – exhibition at Embassy of Japan in the UK.”