Next Level Shit

I recall first seeing a Die Antwoord video two or three years ago. It was the strangely trashy YouTube video for the single ‘Beat Boy’ with an interview about South African Zef counter-culture:

I can’t recall how that video hit my radar, and I promptly forgot about it. In the meantime, Die Antwoord has broken through and their videos attract millions of YT views. The stuff is viral, addictive, and toxic as crack. Zany and sometimes wicked parody seems to work as a kind of Trojan Horse for critical viewers. Most viewers, who may not understand much of the parody are probably dazzled by the eye-candy (eye-smack, really) and the uncanny vocals that mix South-African English, and unfamiliar Afrikaans and Xhosa languages. Where did Ninja and YoLandi park the UFO? In one YT interview, shows Ninja (humourously) losing his temper at an interviewer who ask about their involvement with ‘conceptual art’, while Yolandi pretends not to understand the term. But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that indeed Die Antwoord have dablled in the art world and have collaborated with Leon Botha and Harmony Korine.

15 minutes with Andy & Laurie


“And there’s Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes. His time limit for fame, for the spotlight. And so why is it fifteen minutes, and not ten or three? Or a New York minute? And then I remembered – fifteen was a famous number at that time. It was in all the papers: fifteen minutes was the time that took for an ICBM to reach New York City from Moscow. You remember Moscow.”(Laurie Anderson, 2003)

(ICBM = 大陸間弾道ミサイル)

Fashion Goth Rant

Way back in 2005, when Momus (aka Nick Currie, a former zemi guest), was at the peak of his blogging form, he posted an entry titled Fashion Goth that began:

I’m not into this thing, fashion goth.
It’s probably because I’m not into rock and roll, Romanticism, or Christianity.
I’m not into Asia Argento or Vincent Gallo.
I think their way of thinking is inherently right wing.
I mean, Gallo votes Republican. Fucking fashion goth!

The Fashion Goth Rant was a brilliantly scathing and simultaneously brilliantly funny indictment of the modes of late twentieth century American popular culture and music. Wondering how the rant would sound spoken aloud, I ran the (slightly tweaked) text through a speech synthesis program with the most British sounding voice I could easily find. I happened to be listening to an ambient track at the same time, as was my habit while working, in my ATR days, and noticed a good fit. Here’s how the mix sounded:

I vaguely recall Nick saying he was tempted to include the mix on the ‘Friendly’ album he was planning at the time, but that his FG rant wasn’t friendly enough.

My all time favourite quote from the Fashion Goth Rant, and perhaps all time fave from Momus’ Click Opera blog is the line:

The Marquis de Sade was mounting a critique of the Enlightenment.
What’s wrong with the Enlightenment, girls?

Near perfect deadpan rendition of this by the robotic British voice! And I really love the quasi-mathematical:

When I say “I like X much better”, it’s usually because X has a keen sense of the absurd.
And also because I can’t immediately pigeonhole X’s style.

which serves nicely as a definition of what was great about the anti-rock, post-punk aesthetic of the late seventies and early eighties, Nick’s formative years as an artist.

Click on the link to go the entire text (with images) of Momus’ Fashion Goth Rant.

Artist Dan Graham also considers connections between rock and religion in American culture in the collection of his writings published by MIT Press, Rock My Religion, but from a standpoint that is not anti-rockist. Here’s some related documentary video art with the same title:

Rock My Religion from Diogo Tirado on Vimeo.

Sonifying Tweets: The Listening Machine


The Listening Machine
by Daniel Jones and Peter Gregson

The Listening Machine is an automated system that generates a continuous piece of music based on the activity of 500 Twitter users around the United Kingdom. Their conversations, thoughts and feelings are translated into musical patterns in real time, which you can tune in to at any point through any web-connected device.

It is running from May until October 2012 on The Space, the new on-demand digital arts channel from the BBC and Arts Council England. The piece will continue to develop and grow over time, adjusting its responses to social patterns and generating subtly new musical output.

The Listening Machine was created by Daniel JonesPeter Gregson and Britten Sinfonia.

See also: The Listening Machine Converts 500 People’s Tweets into Music (Wired)