A Moment on Radio Wildfire

Just a quick post…

I’ve just heard today that my “interview” for Radio Wildfire, regarding the purpose of this blog, will be broadcast between 8 PM and 10 PM UK time, Monday June 2nd, 2014.

Of course, if you’re already here you know about the blog. Maybe my interview will clarify a few points.

It’s also been posted on soundcloud.com, where it should remain available for some time.

Outside Broadcast

Originally posted on Poetry and other sounds:

For over two years I’ve been hoping there’d be a way to hear the works of David McCooey beyond the confines of the few tracks he’s posted on soundcloud.com. Finally, he’s released an album of his poetry soundtracks, as he refers to them, a mixture of music, sound design, and poetry: Outside Broadcast.

And now I’m a pretty happy guy.

So many of us producing this sort of poetry and music thing are not musicians or recording engineers and the results tend to be pretty ragged. The poetry might be excellent. The performance or reading of the poetry, however you want to think of it, might also be fine. The choices of sounds and how they’re pieced together might be interesting and moving. In general, the idea of what we’re trying to do might be brilliant. But unless we’re collaborating with musicians and engineers the results can be hard on…

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Mark Goodwin and Brian Lewis on Poems, Places & Soundscapes

swampmessiah:

I always wish I could be in England. Right now I’d like to be there to witness and experience this exhibit.

Originally posted on Strange Alliances:

Poems, Places & Soundscapes exhibition space

Poems, Places & Soundscapes exhibition space

Poems, places and soundscapes describes itself as ‘An international exhibition of digitally produced sound-&-poetry focusing on place & soundscape’. It is a description that does not do justice to the depth of sensory texture the visitor experiences from the combination of media in the meticulously curated exhibition of work from an extensive range of poets and presentations.

This type of work is also available online, but there is something of a sense of occasion walking into the intimate Cube gallery in Leicester’s Phoenix arts complex.

I interviewed the exhibition’s curators Mark Goodwin and Longbarrow’s Brian Lewis to find out more.

Tell me about why you put this exhibition on and a little bit about it.

Mark: One of my motives is that I’d like more people to start making this kind of work. I’m amazed by the variety and ingenuity of the of sound-enhanced…

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Poems, Places, and Soundscapes

Poet Mark Goodwin and publisher Longbarrow Press are putting together an exhibition of poetry as sound art, this month in Leicester.

I’ll let Mark’s notice do the talking:

Hello! Happy Spring!

As part of my Arts Council England Grants for the arts funded project – Mark Goodwin’s Sound-Enhanced Poetry – I and Longbarrow Press will be exhibiting digitally produced sound-&-poetry made by various international artists. The exhibition – Poems, Places & Soundscapes – will be held in the Cube Gallery at The Phoenix in Leicester, and will run from 7th April to 25th April 2014. More information can be found here: http://phoenix.org.uk/index.php?cms_id=850
The exhibition presents thirty sound-enhanced poems and twelve film-poems … and represents over sixty artists … including musicians, sound-designers, a painter, film-makers, poets, and poet-sound-artists.

We are holding an informal discussion event about sound-enhanced poetry, film-poem and artistic collaboration at The Phoenix in Leicester on the evening of 10th April … all are welcome to listen and contribute …

After the exhibition, Longbarrow Press will present the exhibited works, associated material and evaluation here: http://poemsplacessoundscapes.wordpress.com/

Kind regards, Mark Goodwin

Here’s the link to the list of contributors: http://poemsplacessoundscapes.wordpress.com/contributors/

I wish I could be there.

The Familiar Is Best?

For the moment the best way to produce a multi-media presentation of your poetry might be something very familiar: the downloadable album.

There is and may never be a truly universal format. At present all the available multi-media digital publishing options are severely limited as to where they can be fully operational and how many hoops you have to jump through as a producer to make them worth your while (to me the Digital Publishing Suite, available with InDesign, looks like a nightmare).

Downloading albums has not been part of my entertainment repertoire. I don’t like them and find that they’re generally overpriced. But some online friends have been putting their recordings up for sale on sites such as iTunes and Bandcamp. Of course it triggered my curiosity and imagination. What really caught my interest is how many file formats Bandcamp has been allowing in the category of “bonus features”: text files, PDFs, videos, JPEGs. I forget what else.

Also, it was really easy to put an album on Bandcamp. Even an old guy like me can do it. The cool thing is that you can keep it as a draft until you’ve worked out the kinks and bugs and have tracked down all your typos and whatever other brain farts you’ve added to the page while you thought you were awake. (I also want to point out that the search engine on Bandcamp is superior to that on iTunes. Just go to the respective sites and try to find Dave Migman, on Bandcamp, and David McCooey, on iTunes. The only way I can find McCooey’s Outside Broadcast is to do a Google search and then link to iTunes. Maybe by the time you’ve read this Apple will have corrected things.)

In an earlier experiment, Essay, I tried giving you the example of an interactive PDF, which could contain audio and video files, plus internal and external linking. Unfortunately, Adobe still creates a Flash player for the audio and video, which severely restricts the utility of the book. It will be read only, like any other printable PDF, in Apple products and most mobile devices.

Uploading an album to Bandcamp (the album can be as long or short as needed, but if you’re doing an extended epic I suggest breaking it into sections since they do have a limit to the length of track upload, currently about 25 minutes long) allows you the luxury of higher resolution audio (compared to what you’d normally use for an interactive book). The PDF bonus book can be printed and bound, if you’re that old fashioned, or a rich experience on an electronic device (for instance navigation by thumbnails or by a linked table of contents, plus hyperlinks for users connected to the web). You can also add album artwork and posters. You can include videos. Basically, you can give your audience a lot to play with and enjoy for not much fuss. (Well, this depends on how difficult it is for you to create these things, how much time you have, and how obsessively perfectionist you are.)

I like the idea of giving the audience the richest possible experience. It doesn’t cost you any extra to upload more goodies.

My demonstration is a revival of a book I made in early 2001, when I was at the beginning of my computer experiences and in the process of archiving all my drawings, poems, and recordings: Six Sonnets and Some Wild Words Resurrected from the Last Century plus a Line without a Home. Originally I printed maybe five copies on an imitation vellum and hand bound them. This year I recreated the book in Adobe’s InDesign and exported it as a printable PDF, leaving in the hyperlinks of the table of contents (the nice thing about PDFs is that they are ubiquitous, there are free downloadable PDF viewers, most word processor and publishing (and photo?) programs will export PDF, so you could make rudimentary documents for free).

Though the site engages you to choose your own price I encourage you to download the album for free. Just type a zero (or zed) into that little box and you can go straight to download.

The album is just a test piece. I hope my example inspires you to make something magnificent.

Legacy

What will survive us? What will we have to say to the future?

The internet seems so much a present moment hustle, whether everyone speaking at once or everyone trying to sell something now, this second, that it seems like it has nothing to say to the future. Also, there is the question of what will survive, what will still be online (and if not online, will it be anywhere).

Before the digital age it was harder to have a voice, though not necessarily any more difficult to be heard. And, once something was written down, such as a letter, or printed and maybe even bound there was a chance that the physical artifact would outlast the writer and be discovered by someone years later.

I present this blog not only to speak to you now (in which case I suppose I should be frustrated because that “you” is a very small number of people) but to lay down a legacy of what we were doing with poetry and sound, how technology both inspired and foiled us, and maybe how what we did leads to what some future artist is doing.

So what happens to our words? Will these posts be eradicated forever when WordPress folds? Will they be deleted even before then? Partly I maintain this as a free blog (free to me) so that it might outlast me. Once I am unable to pay, because I’m dead, I have to assume the site will vanish or be reduced to a small portion of what it was.

I (that is, this particular person writing this post) do not necessarily deserve to have a legacy. Maybe even the artists I’ve mentioned do not. But the idea of what we’re all working on—the recording and fusion of sound and poetry and our explorations of the process—certainly does.

Interesting questions are posed for all of us bloggers. What becomes of our words and ideas? Do we have a legacy? Is there any way to guarantee there will be something for a future audience or scholars to explore? Will there be any connection between generations? Will historians of art find a trace of us?

I’m sure most people don’t give a shit about past or future and what we’ve found of their lives and art is just an accident (or that their concern rarely extends beyond vanity). It doesn’t seem to be an essential component in the human makeup. I am one of those historically inclined oddities. I sort of want the future to know about me and I definitely want them to know about all of us collectively.

If nothing else, I want them to know that we tried to do something all other generations have done and that we had not yet become nothing more than passive consumers. And that they might still be like us, that the corporations have not totally destroyed the human spirit and the will to create.

A Quick Mention

I want to treat this installment as a news flash. Mark Goodwin has an upcoming event and Dave Migman has two new releases of music and poetry.

First, I’ll pass on the basics of the exhibit Mark Goodwin is putting together in Leicester, quoting from an email announcement he sent me: “Poems, places & soundscapes  An international exhibition of digitally produced sound-&-poetry focusing on place, and soundscape. Poet Mark Goodwin and Brian Lewis (of Longbarrow Press) bring together and present a range of vivid, immersive sound-enhanced poetry made through various poet, musician and sound-designer collaborations, as well as by individual poet-sound-artists. The exhibition also includes a small selection of ‘place-entranced’ film-poems. This exhibition is part of Mark Goodwin’s Sound-Enhanced Poetry project, which was awarded an Arts Council of England Grant for the arts in 2013.  An open and informal panel discussion about sound-enhanced poetry and film-poem will launch the exhibition on April 10th 2014, 6.30 pm, The Cube Gallery, The Phoenix, Leicester.”

I hope you get to see and hear it in person.

I’m also hoping there will be more to post about the event and exhibition.

Something a little easier for most of us to experience are two more collections of recordings by Dave Migman, both released on March 5, 2014. We have a collection of his solo works, In the Kingdom of the Blind, released on Spleen’s label Splitting Sounds Records, which includes possibly my favorite recording of his, The Drift.

The other collection is another collaboration with Spleen, Where All Tracks Lead. As much as I liked their last album, Sheol, I think I find this one even more satisfying, perhaps because the music is more rhythmic (the old rocker in me is hard to put down).

In the future I’d like to do an article about Radio Wildfire, from the UK, who feature recordings of poetry and sound (I noticed both Dave Migman and Mark Goodwin on a current playlist), as well as hosting and presenting live events. I’m trying to get ahold of them. (A brief aside: the background on their site kills my eyes and leaves me with a fuchsia afterimage that prevents me from seeing much of anything for about 30 seconds. I hope your eyes are more adaptable than mine. It looks like an great site.)

I intend to get more information about recorded poetry from Longbarrow Press (notice that they have a tab for recordings), who publish Mark Goodwin and are involved in the exhibition. My ambition is to fill the world with multimedia publications, so if I ask enough people and write about it I will eventually get my wish? I think with or without me it’s happening.

I have also been digging into what Bandcamp allows you to upload into a release package. This includes PDF and video. So there’s no reason a poet and noisemaker couldn’t include a standard PDF with text and images as well as an interactive PDF with the recordings included, as well as video. Time and technology and skills permitting, of course. I’ve been thinking of releasing something of my own just to test the possibilities but more so I encourage others to try. I would like to hear and see what you can do.