Aug 152012
 

Herewith a strange and unsettling hybrid demonstration, part-concrete poetry and part-quotation, really two works amalgamated: three audio pieces (Ray Hsu stepping on a poem, a digitally re-produced reading of a definition of  the Ponzi scheme, and a recording of ambient room sound (Ray’s room) and a triptych of text images (drawings using letters)). These audio and visual images are efforts to reframe the relationship of the arts; they create an aesthetic/intellectual surprise, an audio-visual aphorism, if you will. For example, “We Are Ponzi” is a computer-generated reading of a financial description. The reading reframes the text as art (in some way that bespeaks also an angle of critical and ironic reflection thereon); the computer-generated sound distorts the flat reading; the title interacts with the reading mysteriously through the use of the first-person plural pronoun — the text becomes political, a culture commentary (and relates on some way to, say, Kenny Goldsmith’s reading of Brooklyn Bridge traffic reports at the White House).

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The sound of me stepping on a poem one Monday afternoon

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We are Ponzi

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1.01 mins. of room tone from my window on New Year’s Eve

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—Audio & Images by Ray Hsu

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Ray Hsu is co-founder of the Art Song Lab, an interdisciplinary platform that partners 24 writers and composers to create fusions in the genre of art song alongside performers. These new works are workshopped and premiered at the Vancouver International Song Institute’s SONGFIRE Festival in partnership with the Canadian Music Centre. While completing his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he taught for two years in a US prison, where he founded the Prison Writing Workshop. Ray is the author of two award-winning books and writing in over fifty publications internationally. His work has been set to music and adapted for film; and he has been artist in residence at the Gibraltar Point International Artist Residency Program.

See Ray’s earlier contribution to Numéro Cinq here.

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