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MTAA-RR » news » mriver » from the archives:

Sep 11, 2011

from the archives - $’##”

posted at 22:18 GMT by M.River in /news/mriver



On March 3, 2009 Christiane Paul curated a one night program of performative new media works at Light Industry. MTAA presented two works that night - $”##’, and a Live Demonstration of Autotrace #3 (Number 1A; performative)

Although we reviewed the script with Christiane before the event, we requested the work only be described in the program notes as $’##”—MTAA re-stages John Cage’s 4’33” within a framework of a new media lecture.

Tim and I had a long ongoing joke about new media lectures. New media art lectures tend to begin with someone trying to plug something into something, a projector failing, a power point in the wrong format, and some poor soul trying to make the microphones work. We thought it might be good idea for a presentation to just plug a bunch of stuff together frantically, call it art and say goodnight.

This idea on how to circumvent failure evolved into the script for $’##”.

The work begins with a table set up in the middle of an audience. On the table is a laptop connected to a projector and an amplifier. Also connected to the amplifier is a single microphone. Behind the table are two folding lawn chairs. A video camera is pointed at the table. The laptop projects a .jpg of the text $’##”. The projector is pointed at a wall that is not in the front of the audience.


M.River and T.Whid of MTAA sit in the folding chairs. Each have a iPhone with a timer set to count down from 4’33”

Without curatorial introduction, the work begins with Tim saying “Hello. We are MTAA and this is $’##”. At this point Tim hits play on audio file we made for the 2001 online work “Twenty-Five Concrete Examples of Why John is Not My Father”

The song used in this work is The Sweet’s 1975 hit Fox on The Run slowed down to exactly 4’33” in length.


As audio for Fox on The Run launches, MTAA stands up begins to power off, unplug and move the entire set. In the dark, we wrangle everything though the audience to the front of the space where we rebuild the set and plug everything back in. As the song finishes, we make last hurried adjustments and then sit down. Tim then says the title of the work again and “Thanks”.


Below are two videos of the work. The first is a rehearsal with the lights on. The second is from the event.

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