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Secret Ballet: comment by Joe Gone

Originally posted 22 Sept 2002

Dear Detlev et al. I have read Secret Ballet a few times at various stages of its evolution and have found it quite exhilarating.

In addition to DW's references, I think John Oswald's pioneering plunderphonics (there's a good website, just google him) is a precedent of sorts. Also, the poetry of Marvin Gardens (http://marvingardens.blogspot.com - [caveat: personal friend of mine]) makes use of many pilfered bits, from single words to strings of sentences. But, like burroughs, there is explicit and undisguised intentionality.

Also, I believe there is a substantive difference between the recombinant practice of djs/samplerists and what is happening in S.B. DJs/S.ists are recombining all kinds of cultural plunder, surfing signifiers, operating within very very narrow aesthetic confines (except for a few like Christian Marclay). That's my intuition, the only friend I trust, of course. Now, when DJ's develop vocabularies of scratching and cutting (thereby turning their tables into instruments rather than sequencers), then that's interesting to me, but unrelated to the matter at hand.

As for 'didacticism' and 'disclosure' my personal opinion is that the explanation is unnecessary for (and even damaging to) the reader's experience with the text. Of course, this text won't do much for most people, but I'm sure you know that.

I'm afraid to say that I have to agree with DW's prognosis for publication. The chances are slim, at least in the US. I don't know about Germany (although they *do* subsidize creative musicians there!) Of course some 'intellectual' or 'creative' publishing houses persist, but it's not easy to find them and their backlogs are often daunting (publishing unpopular work doesn't lead to big budgets eh).

Detlev: I agree with you about what is interesting about your project. The avoidance of intentionality and the ambivalence to marketing are fundamental to the work, I believe.

Anyway, it's always a pleasure to check in on this odd and engaging bit of work.

Joe Gone the magnificent melting object

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