Category: Links

New links posted regularly. I will try to only post links that are of particular importance to me, or that I just find especially compelling.

The Happy Listener's Guide to Mind Control

Ken Freedman, longtime station manager of the wonderful and stalwartly independent New Jersey radio station WFMU, made this compilation as a fundraising promo back in 1991 (until 2005, it was only available as a little white cassette tape). “The Happy Listener’s Guide…” is a collection of “corporate, religious and political propaganda”—it offers a head-slapping, eye-rolling, sometimes simply horrifying overview of 20th century propaganda techniques, including delirious pro-corporate pop songs distributed to Exxon employees, demoralizing Nazi big-band broadcasts, stentorian all-American spoken-word records, and an eerie in-house motivational tape from a ritzy fashion boutique.

The Happy Listener’s Guide to Mind Control

Frederic Rzewski: Coming Together

I think the combination of age and a greater coming together
is responsible for the speed of the passing time.

I think the combination of age and a greater coming together
is responsible for the speed of the passing time.

I think the combination of age and a greater coming together
is responsible for the speed of the passing time.

Coming Together (1973)

Mimi Nguyen: My Hair Trauma

This is something that I first read a long time ago—it’s an essay that really influenced my conceptions of race, gender and representation (for whatever that’s worth). Academic/author Nguyen says that this essay makes her cringe (in part because it’s so totally of its late-90s moment), but I’m glad she’s reposted the whole thing online; while it does feel overly condescending or self-righteous at points, it’s still a fiery and insightful piece of writing, with ideas that are certainly still challenging 14 years later.

My Hair Trauma (1998)

Jim Woodring's visionary art

Cartoonist/painter/etc. Woodring’s artwork has the marks of an American childhood—tin toys, old cartoons, suburban homes—but it also has an energy that seems to come from…somewhere else: totems and hallucinations from some other, yet to be understood plane.

Jim Woodring

Bryan Crockett: Cultured

Sculptor Bryan Crockett’s 2002 exhibition found an immediately relatable, instantly grotesque cross-point between centuries-old sacred tenets and the unseen, undergirding terrors of our contemporary society.

“This exhibition centers on seven cultured marble sculptures of newborn mice personifying the seven deadly sins. The figures are representative of actual mice engineered for the study of human diseases.”


June Jordan: Requiem for the Champ

In early 1992—in response to Mike Tyson’s having been convicted of sexual assault—poet, activist and essayist Jordan wrote this column for The Progressive: an absolute masterpiece. This essay does not seem to have a stable online home—it’s presented here as a series of screen caps on an arts blog; you can’t keep a good essay down.

Requiem for the Champ

Paul Slocum: You're Not My Father

In 2007, Slocum asked assorted participants to submit videotaped performances of a 10-second clip from the infamously cornball early-90s sitcom “Full House”. In some ways, this project is just a simple bit of crowdsourced wackiness, but I would say that it’s more considered and subtle than your average spate of pop-culture reenactments, reflecting on concepts of power, representation and media.

You’re Not My Father

Aram Saroyan: Pages

Minimalism, concrete poetry, youthful discovery, playfulness, seriousness. The back cover of the book tells us that Saroyan “is the only poet an entire volume of whose verse has been read from cover to cover on the 6 o’clock news.”

Pages (1964-67)

Yang Zhenzhong: I Will Die

Between 2000 and 2005, Zhenzhong asked various people, of all ages and from all over the world, to look into his camera and say, in their own language, “I will die.” Some are solemn, some are coy, some treat it like a joke or a game; for many of these people, this was probably the first time they had ever made any sort of public acknowledgement of their own mortality.

I Will Die

Zhenzhong’s site has still images, but there also seem to be several videos of the project illicitly posted to YouTube, like this one, this one and this one.