White Noise Syndrome

June 30, 2010

posted by caroline picard

based on a post by Katy Keefe.

According to recent reports, a curious epidemic has been spreading through  pre-teens in America. By some coincidence, all victims reside in American skyscrapers, where they began complaining of a “ringing in their ears.” Since that first sleugh of complaints over 100 million teens have ended up in Emergency Rooms across the country. While unclear what the cause, victims are discovered with a delicate white mucus around the periperal lobes of the aural lobe. They are unresponsive to sound and lose their appetite. While most experts believe the disease to result from a highly controled audio environement, one dominated by air-conditioning, refrigerator and excercise machines, there is a trendy rumor which attributes these deaths to a single mad scientist, sending suprahigh pitch soundwaves through the air, from a high mountian lair. While neither hypothesis has been supported with concrete evidence, the Mad Scientist Theory only points to the overall mystery of this condition.

posted by caroline picard

What follows is an excerpt from a lovely little book, put out by NY’s amazing Ugly Duckling Press–the one with the letterpress, yes that’s right they print a number of books by hand and they resonate with the near-impossible combination of crisp perfection and hand made character. You can tell, I am a fan, yes? This particular book, The Selected Poems of Hamster was written by Carlos Blackburn and published in 2008.


Small Mysteries.

The acyclical flux

of piss-smell,

The newspaper of the


The edge of this place.

Drunk on the fumes

of a new bed of cedar chips

I zigzag to the salt-lick.


Knocking things over

I K.O. this I

K.O. that

there are not enough things in here.


A plant has started

to peek at us

from around a corner.

Digging down

to the paper,

stirring a pot

with my face.

Dust of radio chatter;

the ballgame.

I can eat forever.


The voracious

imagination does nothing

with the earthen bowl

or the pellets.

And I found this image

June 29, 2010

posted by Caroline Picard

I found this book, cover torn, pages still uncut, save for those places where they were attempted with a hand and torn irregularly. It’s from the American Anthropological Association. It looks to be some sort of anthropological memoir. In any case, some of the paragraphs strike me as curious little poems. For instance….

Excerpt from

Notes on Reindeer Nomadism

by Gudmund Hatt

Interesting as this fact is, illustrating the uniformity of reindeer nomadism, we must not forget that not all reindeer nomads use the reindeer for draught…

Typical reindeer drivers are the Lapp, Samoyed, Ostyak, Vogul, Koryak, and Chukchi. Typical reindeer riders are the Soyot, Karagas, and Tungus. Both reindeer riding (in summer) and reindeer driving (in winter) are practices by some northern Tungusians, the riendeer breeding Yakut, the Yukaghir, and even by a few Chukchi and Koryak who live in close proximity to the Tungus.

Accordingly, reindeer riding and reindeer driving have their areas of distribution partly overlapping, yet quite distinct. The are of reindeer riding thrusts wedge-shaped into the area of reindeer driving. This peculiar form of distribution gives support to the opinion set forth on historical grounds by Laufer (p. 118), that reindeer driving is an older form than reindeer riding.

That reindeer riding was first practiced by ” a tribe that had gained some experience with horses” (Laufer, p. 140) is confirmed by the fact mentioned above that the reindeer saddle bears a fundamental similarity to the horse saddle of the Altai people. The question lies close at hand:

Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.

June 29, 2010

posted by Heather McShane

Amos is one of the characters I’ve met while at Ox-Bow this summer. There’s a whole documentary about him. Here’s a clip:

posted by caroline picard

It’s posted on the parlor website, which is great and awesome and rad.

Check it out by going here!

Letting Collections Go

June 28, 2010

posted by Caroline Picard

I’m not sure why I started thinking about meat in cans and why thinking about meat in cans made me collect them but, as an absent-minded collector, this is the extent of my collection–what more or less consisted of two cans of spam and a package of sardines. That modest beginning was then added to by friends (see “success comes in cans not cannots” and government issue “beef with juices”) where they took up a mantel on top of a very large half-working fridge. Years and a new fridge later, I’m releasing the meats back into the wild. In commemoration of the time we’ve spent together, I’ve posted the following images.

I especially like all the accumulated dust and cobwebs….

These sugar packets, while not being meat or can oriented, nevertheless wield a projected, nostalgic residue for me. I found these and several others like them in a tupperwear box. I believe they were saved by my parents and it’s likely for that reason (and their design) that I kept them so long. The exterior paper on many of these sugar cubes is totally stained and sticky with melted sugar. An affect that, for some reason, I found endearing.

posted by Caroline Picard

Newcity published a blurb/interview that I pulled together with Nick Butcher. I’ve posted it below. He’s playing at the Empty Bottle this week. Which is rad. Go here to see the article in its original context–

Jun 22

Soundcheck: Nick Butcher’s bicycle is still complicated

Nick Butcher is always working. He works across fields, with a visual art practice, he co-runs an independent print shop, Sonnenzimmer, with his ongoing collaborator Nadine Nakanishi, and he makes music. When he performs, he sits at a table with a plethora of curious objects: the guitar is the most recognizable, the others—electronic boxes, sticks, static surfaces—he collages together, creating walls of changing, textured sound. His two records, “The Complicated Bicycle” and “Bee Removal,” are available on Hometapes and in commemoration of a five-year anniversary since the release of “The Complicated Bicycle,” Butcher is re-releasing the record with a bonus disk containing new tracks, and performing at the Empty Bottle.

“For me the best art and music just happens,” he says. “It happens in that space where you weren’t thinking, that could be a doodle or it could be a few random notes played on a guitar. There is something that happens in that unconscious moment that I can’t quite put my finger on. There is an utter honesty to it that I find really cool. For me, this intuitive approach is the closest I can get to understanding how the world works. Because for that brief moment, I feel connected to something larger, outside of myself. So, for me, making music is a way to harness those moments and shape them into something further. To do this I use the crappiest equipment around. A cheap sampling keyboard (Casio SK-1) and a few cassette-tape recorders with handmade cassette tape loops in them. For source material, I use an acoustic guitar, or found sounds. Doors closing, coins spinning, etc…This allows me to record snippets of sounds intuitively onto the loops which, when played back, arrange themselves into repetitive patterns, unveiling the underlying structure. From there I add and subtract accent notes on the keyboard or guitar, then record another loop to play along with the first one. There’s not really an end point in mind, just a continuous morphing song cloud that shapes and shifts as it moves along. For my recordings, I take the same approach, but dump stuff onto a computer to be further edited into more focused compositions, which also allows room for incorporating beats, key changes, etc. For this reason, my performances and the recordings are two different yet connected things.” (Caroline Picard)

Nick Butcher plays the Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)276-3600, June 30 at 9:30pm.

Big Rock

June 25, 2010

posted by caroline

DATE: Friday, June 25 (6 p.m.)

LOCATION: Chicago Urban Art Society
exhibition + creative-use space
2229 South Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60608http://chicagoartmagazine.com/2010/06/ekphrastic-nexus-visual-art-and-creative-writing/
The Chicago Urban Art Society | Visual. Documentation. Education.www.chicagourbanartsociety.orgThe Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS) promotes the art makers visual voice by way of group or solo exhibitions, innovative teaching + learning opportunities + the creation of an arts + culture archive.

The panel involves writers and visual artists about text-image collaborations, as well as writers who have gotten inspiration from visual art, and it explores ways writers make connections with art and the visual artistic process, furthering the continuum of the artist’s studio as school, gallery, political stance, sanctuary, and muse.