TTW#02 - Jean Baudrillard - Le Xerox et l’Infini
Cassette only – limited edition of 250 copies
SOLD OUT – audio archived at UbuWeb
A: Part One - 17m12s
B: Part Two - 15m07s
Jean Baudrillard's “Le Xerox et l'Infini” – originally published in Paris, 1987 – as read by Patricia and Ellen. Recorded on 12 July 2009 by Vicki Bennett in Hersham, England.
Translation: Agitac, London, November 1988.
The original text in French can be read here.
“Jean Baudrillard is perhaps the most important theorist of the ‘after modern’. Though he says himself he has ‘nothing to do with postmodernism’, many interpret him (along with Jean-François Lyotard) as among the most important prophets of a truly postmodern era. His works have attracted high praise and derision all over the world.”
Since 1991 British artist Vicki Bennett has been an influential figure in the field of audio visual collage, through her innovative sampling, appropriating and cutting up of found footage and archives.
Using collage as her main form of expression, she creates audio recordings, films and radio shows that communicate a humorous, dark and often surreal view on life. Vicki's artistic output includes twenty album releases, numerous singles and remixes, live sets, seven films and over a hundred and seventy radio shows. These collages mix, manipulate and rework original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film, television and radio. People Like Us believe in open access to archives for creative use, and have made work using footage from the Prelinger Archives, The Internet Archive, and A/V Geeks. In 2006 she was the first artist to be given unrestricted access to the entire BBC Archive.
People Like Us have previously shown work at Tate Modern, Sydney Opera House, Pompidou Centre and Sonar, and performed radio sessions for John Peel and Mixing It. The ongoing sound art radio show Do or DIY on WFMU has had over three quarters of a million hits since 2003. The People Like Us back catalogue is available for free download hosted by UbuWeb, www.ubu.com.
Patricia and Ellen were born in Reims, north-eastern France, on July 29, 1929. They told interviewers that their grandparents were peasants and their parents were civil servants. They became the first of their family to attend university when they moved to the Sorbonne in Paris. There they studied German, which led to them to begin teaching the subject at a provincial lycée, where they remained from 1958 until their departure in 1966. While teaching Patricia and Ellen began to publish reviews of literature, and translated the works of such authors as Peter Weiss, Bertolt Brecht and Wilhelm Mühlmann.
Later on, with the development of the magnetic tape recorder, Patricia and Ellen used these new means in order to manipulate their performances and expand the possibilities of language sound transformations. Patricia and Ellen continue to actively perform their work, the contextual quality of which is enhanced by their idiosyncratic delivery.
Second of two releases on the newly launched UK label Tapeworm, the other being a killer solo bass record from long time aQ fave and turntablist, Philip Jeck, while this one, well, this one is a bit harder to describe. A spoken word record by two mysterious ladies called Patrica And Ellen, reading a work by legendary (anti) post modernist Jean Baudrillard. Recorded By Vicki Bennet of People Like Us, these readings are riveting, due in no small doubt to Baudrillard's tangled wordplay, but also due to the strange delivery of the two women, who take turns, in their thickly accented voices, reading the texts, sounding like they're perhaps seeing those words for the first time, struggling through pronunciations, little giggles and asides, brief breaks as one hands the text to the other. We'll be the first to say, that we're not much for “spoken word” records, but somehow this transcends, becoming some sort of art, or sound poetry, especially when the two are reading together, those moments are fantastic, playful, silly, and the delivery of the two, slightly off, with both randomly dropping out, or stopping for a breath, makes the reading sound less “read”, and more weirdly musical.
Obviously, this won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's definitely fun, and interesting, and quite strange! Like the Jeck tape, LIMITED TO 250 COPIES, we got about a dozen...
The Wire (UK):
[…] on the mildly mysterious cassette-only label The Tapeworm. Their releases are available through TouchShop; fittingly, since these cassettes restore tactility to the listening process, not only by making us handle a physical object, but also because playing a cassette (taking it out of the case, turning it over) involves an interruption on the ‘total flow’ of digital media, something that is both irritating and pleasurable. And, like Touch releases, The Tapeworm cassettes are delectably designed objects.
Le Xerox et L'Infini is attributed to Baudrilard, but actually it's a recording made by Vicki Bennett of People Like Us of two womem (credited only as Patricia and Ellen) reading Baudrillard's 1987 text “Xerox And Infinity”. Its reflections on replication technologies are an obvious choice for a debut Tapeworm release, and the two women's stumbling, mispronounced reading of Baudrillard's vortical jargon-poetry are a humorous exemplification of the data-loss that happens when one medium is translated into another. In the end, though, it's not clear who the joke is on: Baudrillard for the machine-language of his theory, or the old ladies for not being able to read it fluently.