And you treat the next book like a box contained in the first or containing it. And you annotate and interpret and question and write a book about the book. And so on. (Deleuze & Guattari)
The motor of fiction is storytelling. We readers perch on the precipice of plot. Enter into a more lyric space of metaphysical meaningfulness—an ‘aboutness’ rather than a ‘what next’—and you find nothing makes much sense about the text. Peek behind the curtain: that’s where all the wires and pulleys and machine’s guts reside. And maybe there is no linear plot, but instead a magic ensues if we were to hear the gears and hammers loudly looping and clanging and creaking and sparking.
I devised this ‘book’ of sound pages in the late 1990s, when shuffle-mode on the play-back machine was the primary driver in a mostly-empty gallery offering sounds off the page and into the ears.
A story begins, is interrupted.
Voices proceed and then double-back on themselves.
Sounds swirl out of gauze-wrapped audio speakers situated atop two pedestals. This yielding of authorial control as well as the viewer’s position as neo-listener (a ‘not-viewer’ of any particular object) is integral to the work.
By disembodying the text, some of it avidly appropriated from Quebecois writer Nicole Brossard and other poet-philosophers into an aural medium, I offer ‘a’ story that undermines both the book and the hypertext. There is no control for either the listener or the artist as to the text’s unfolding, no links to choose an autonomous path of reading. Plausible narration as meta-hypertext.
I might have called it a difference engine back then.
A saturated weaving of pilfered poetics and philosophies about the resistance to structured stories and the materiality of the book. Shuffle the twelve pages and listen randomly.
(A) Generative Engine
Earlid, Winter 2017
international traveling audio art project, France – 2000
San Jose State University, Department of Art & Design – 1999