June 21, 2011

Our Records Outlive Us

Our records outlive us:

The practice of recording and archiving audio and visual information is a (healthy) response to the awareness of our impermanence. There is something juicy and real in the act of organizing information for safekeeping, as evidenced by the recipe books, geneologies, discographies, herbaria, legers, and memoirs we are compelled to preserve.

To honor the human tradition of recording practices and make a little love letter to history, I'm making an artist's book and read-along-record soundtrack, due out in 2012. This is the culmination of 10 years of work in photography, mixed media, sound recording and turntablism.

My musical background includes study in music history, theory, composition and performance at Fordham University and University of Vermont. In 2000, I took a second (and a third) job to earn the funds to purchase two turntables, a mixer, recording equipment, and to begin collecting vinyl records. I began recording and editing mixtapes, playing dance parties, and playing a weekly radio show. Hip Hop culture is a rich environment for creative interaction with music history, and for experimenting with analog and digital technologies in composition.

Concurrently, I began to see my work in photography and mixed media as complimentary practices: photographs became visual "samples"; collages became "mixtapes".

As I began to study Buddhism and work in the field of Hospice, both modes of recording and organizing information (photography and sound recording) became significant to me in their relationship to impermanence; our records outlive us.

The project I'm working on now, "RECORDS", is an audio/visual essay on impermanence and archiving, in the form of an artist's book and pressed vinyl companion record. The form is borrowed from the read-along-record stories enjoyed by the children of the late 1970's and 1980's. I chose to borrow this form for its analog integration of audio and visual information, and because of its concurrence with the birth of Hip Hop culture. The title of the project is a play on words, directly addressing the subject of recording and archiving information, while engaging the interest of audiophiles, DJs, secretaries, librarians, and others interested in the human compulsion to and practice of organize(-ing) information.

I'm currently editing both the artist's book and the mixtape soundtrack.

One piece of the work is honoring the beauty of being alive in this world by documenting tiny things, everyday things. Showing the spectacularly ordinary things in a beautiful way. We have nothing more than this collection of days we call our lifetime. And the gratitude for being here to notice. The essence of the book is love. A celebration of impermanence. A testimony of engagement. Things do not last, but we love, work and celebrate nonetheless.

And our records outlive us.


Anonymous said...

Beautifully said.

TARA JONES said...

Love what you that your trying to represent impermanence in your work. How cool is that?...records outlive us!!!

genese said...

Thank You, Becca, for being an archiver, collector, gatherer, and arranger of the precious beautiful sounds, signs, samples, shreds, shards, and symbols of memory, fleetingness, love....You call us to attention. You trace the trajectories of our often messy lives. You remind us to look, to listen, to care, to pause, to love.