Worshipping the glitch – Milan Knizak & Christian Marclay

Data glitching appears to have become a mainstream tool with plenty of online solutions, hacks and plug ins to turn your home movies into big hot data mess. But as long as there has been media there has been media corruption and media manipulation.

As far as sound is concerned, here are two artists that took aim at one of our early forms of audio media — the phonograph record and sought to exploit its weaknesses.

Milan Knizak – Broken Music
In 1964, Czech artist and performer Milan Knížák called his music “record-collages”. His “Destroyed Music” resulted from gluing or painting over and mechanically modifying records. He then glued together parts of various records he had burnt or sawed. Playing over these record-collages produces an entirely new music that is unexpected, tempestuous but also humorous. It can last one second or several hours, for example when the needle of the record player gets stuck in a groove and plays the same sound sequences in a loop. Through this musical experimentation, Milan Knížákist became a forerunner of Turntablism, or experimental playing on turntables.

Christian Marclay

Marclay, who works in a variety of media from video to sculpture, to installation, to performance, also has a history of working with records both as a raw material for installations or other works, but also as a performer. He is well known for his turntable work in which he subjects records to all forms of abuse.

As far as his work with vinyl goes: “.. Marclay’s most notorious project was 1985’s Record Without a Cover. It was just what the title suggested: a record (of the New York-based artist and DJ spinning other records) sold without any protective packaging, so that it sat naked and vulnerable in retail racks until purchased and further subjected to the vagaries of home use. It could be seen as a form of spontaneous composition, or instant random transformation. In this way the record is not about preserving sounds for posterity: it comes alive. “Record Without A Cover was about allowing the medium to come through,” Marclay says, “making a record that was not a document of a performance but a record that could change with time, and would be different from one copy to the next.”
– Rob Young – The Guardian – Don’t Sleeve me this Way




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