[After Hong-Kai Wang’s A Conceptual Biography of Chris Mann]
‘i mean am i Wrong to prefer your version of me?’ – Chris Mann
‘It begins with affections. It departs
from one’s desire to construct a biography
of an artist’s life or singularity in various modes
of cooperation with his friends & it ends
with encounters & exchanges with others
in tracing a much larger cultural space
that he is part of. The artist is my longtime mentor
& friend, the Melbourne-born composer Chris Mann’ – Hong-Kai Wang
[Notes from a rearrange/r: this is a cento
from the expressions of Warren Burt,
Jim Denley, Eva Karczag, Rik Rue, John Shone,
Amanda Stewart & David Watson.
All references to Chris Mann have been: ______ ]
‘Take a conceit, a title or a line: what you might call
social tics—heckling people loudly, public
manifestations, against the idea of documentation,
slang & everyday talk, don’t follow word to—
it was either late 1973 or early 1974]
5 bottom lines: social, economic, environmental,
cultural & civic: ASIO had files on all [I thought
ASIO meant Australian Surrealist Intelligence
Organisation]. A now defunct theatre: The Pram
Factory, cardboard cut-out mannequin[s], the basis
for collaboration, love the fact it was free.
[A contract with the Victorian State Government—
Videotaping—someone should really record
this. I have mixed feelings about being
any kind of biographer, that’s a measure of time
we might abandon. We sit & chat, I have the video camera.
Cutting up tapes, the cutup culture
from the past, audio collage—it was Herbert
Brün: experimental music is not problem-solving
music, it’s a problem seeking processes
designed to embody failure. We did fail:
an unending stream of successes—
I’ll send you a link to an article I [wrote]
on [Australian] experimental music history,
make decisions later, an archive, talking
in a very unedited way, ramble, ramble,
ramble—I don’t know what your question
was, but here’s your answer: 10 artists
meet with 5 property developers
& 5 trade unions in a little bar in Melbourne.
How can you bring normally competitive capitalist
interests together without a conversation
about ideology to pursue the common goods?
Video conferencing from different parts of the world.
[She] went to work at a delicatessen to support us.
Courageously creative & idiosyncratic, if not mad
that reputation of mine has continued.
Peacocks, huge tails, beautiful colours, outdoor
life. A time of heavy Marxism or pseudo Marxism,
a lot of friends who were Trotskyites in Australia,
at that time, we didn’t have a name.
I’m a dancer & for me, ______ dances,
the listening [is] bodily, response, words,
silences, empathy & the way ______ gives an impulse
or takes an impulse, a charged space, starting out on chairs.
Who gives a fuck? You think I know what the words
are? Did ______ say “questions are portable, answers
are sedentary?” Did I say?
[His] parents started the first commercially viable folk
music company in Australia in the 60s, before they started
the record label, his mother ran a business, created capital:
went around schools recording children speaking a poem
or singing, the professional reel voice recorder. Funny part
was no one had a reel to reel, buying a reel of child’s
voice they could never play, told you she was a good salesman.
A consciousness of speed & not tripping over yourself,
you make your own hole—I saw the application
the other day, going through old files: “What is the difference
between a rock [&] a stump?” Ethics was the subject
of the group ______‘s text was often like a grid:
a sequence of paragraphs, more like a tarot reading,
gonna get the same cards, just don’t know the sequence.
Is it music? I‘m not even sure it’s a music group.
In sound work, things get flattened into the same space
wide junction of understanding, in the context
of what was referred as avant-garde music
at the time, free jazz voicing & improvisation,
that was the beginning, I don’t remember much more,
our friendship is not time-based, like a race caller.
I don’t believe in avant-garde,
it was a period that existed & it’s been framed.
______ stepped through the doorway yelling:
the meeting got underway. [In]1981, we started
the conversation about what we now call ‘internet’.
Little text duos, very fragile, sensitive, totally
unpredictable & unstable moments, strange,
halting, pausing logic between long conversations
on the phone a whole range of ethical issues
to do with language, of when the audience
is the medium, text & speech, speech & music]
We were not polite, we were searching—conversations
haven’t finished, like a functional/dysfunctional
family, just pick up the phone & talk
in the context of Machine for Making Sense.’
- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones