BootLeg Action

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Project

1. Performance <–> capture.
2. (re) Production.
3. Distribution.
(4. Reactivation /Reperception)

The BootLeg project is an ‘audio action’ conceived for parallel or simultaneous use in sound events involving the sub-processes listed above. It has as its theoretical framework a bastardized interpretation of Walter Benjamin’s 1936 essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction . In an age where mechanical reproduction has gone beyond the ‘mechanical’ in the form of digital audio and video streamed live and distributed instantly, performance frequently evades existence in any physical form whatsoever. Its distribution in digital form and storage on ‘cloud’ servers situates it in the realm of mega-corporations such as Yahoo, Google and Facebook. ‘Bootleg Action’ evades this by heralding a small-scale return to the use of physical media  as sole form of distribution.

BootLeg adopts procedures and the ethos of the pop culture bootlegger: a figure who, whilst considered by some to be ‘stealing’ the sounds, paradoxically plays a part in breaking down barriers between artist and audience by capturing artistic works for posterity.

The BootLeg sonic souvenir is, however, subject to a number of factors that prevent it from fulfilling entirely the role prescribed by Benjamin. Firstly, the impossibility of making a perfect reproduction of the ‘original’ : live sound, with enormous range of variables such as microphone type and placement, characteristics of recording equipment used, etc. Secondly, making copies, each one identical to the rest. The imperfections inherent in the capturing process, the medium, duplication process and packaging all mean that, despite sharing a common source, each reproduced copy is slightly different.

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BootLeg provides contemporary sound art audiences with a physical audio artefact of ‘the event’ in as short a space of time as possible, whilst demystifying its production and distribution. The sub- processes mentioned above all occur within the performance area in full view of artists and public.

The fact that these bootlegged cassettes are only available for a) a limited time (one hour) and b) only to those who attended the original event brings with it a different form of exchange of goods, one at odds with the digital file download and sharing model.

The relationship between artist and artwork is extended beyond the period represented by the duration of the event itself. The ‘Reactivation-reperception phase’: The purchaser finds the means to hear the cassette at a later stage, which in itself may mean a detour from their usual listening habits (finding a playback machine, perhaps in another location than where digital files are played). They then find themselves forced into making a mental comparison between their own memory and perception of the event and the recorded cassette of it. This may give rise to new interpretations of the work long after the event’s end.

BOOTLEG ACTION IV. GRS, AVLAB/MEDIALAB, MADRID.

BOOTLEG ACTION IV LONGBOOTLEG ACTION IV WIDE

ARTISTS BOOTLEGGED: Joaquín Mendoza, Edith Alonso, Wade Matthews.

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BOOTLEG ACTION III. GRS, AVLAB/MEDIALAB, MADRID.

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BOOTLEG ACTION III. 23 April 2016. Image: GRS MADRID

photo: graham bickellphoto: graham bickellphoto: graham bickell

 

photo: graham bickell photo: graham bickell

This edition of the action adopts a procedure inspired by Static’s work ‘Production Line‘ at Eindhoven. Procedure as follows:

  1. Cassette recorders (12) installed before concert near stage and loaded with blank tape.
  2. When performance begins, machines are started in Record mode and the show is taped.
  3. On conclusion of the performance, the casettes are removed from machines, packaged and labelled with name of artist (s)
  4. Cassettes on sale for a period of maximum ONE HOUR at end of event. A note is made of copies sold and artists involved. Any unsold tapes are returned to the recording area and TAPED OVER by the next event.

Artists bootlegged: Agnes Pé, Carlos Suero

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  1. Performance (the ‘original’, ‘authentic’in WB terms) captured on analogue tape via microphone from a position between artist and audience.
  2. Upon conclusion of performance, this tape is duplicated at high speed, (‘mechanical reproduction’ in the form of cassette tape).
  3. These copies are packaged, and put out for sale (distribution) in the concert venue.
  4. Reactivation: A step beyond all control of artist, bootlegger or venue personnel: it is the later listening and consequent reactivation of the performed work in whatever context the purchaser decides, and subsequent differing perception of the event when presented in this manner. Benjamin: ‘The technical reproduction puts the copy of the ‘original’ into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself’.

BootLeg at Cruce, Madrid. 28 Sept 2015. Performers: Rinus Van Alebeek, Nilo Gallego, Pelayo Arrizabalaya.

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see also http://rinusvanalebeek.com/?p=936

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¿Qué es?

En un mundo dónde los públicos están acustumbrados a acceder instantáneamente a  material audiovisual en internet, y a descargar y guardar una copia en su ordenador,  Bootleg Action pretende crear otro tipo de intercambio de contenidos, con una acción que tendrá lugar durante los conciertos de música experimental. Se trata de expandir y profundizar la experiencia del publico de los actuaciones en directo haciendo disponible un ‘recuerdo sonoro’, una copia física, que sólo será entregada a los que están presentes en el momento.

Concepto:

La base conceptual es una ‘bastardización’ de la  obra de Walter Benjamin (1936): ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ . La ‘reproducción mecánica’ identificada por Benjamin ha ido mucho mas allá de lo puramente ‘mecánica’; es decir, archivos digitales, que se distribuyen instantáneamente por internet. Por lo tanto, es frecuente que hoy en día los actuaciónes, aún siendo grabados (por teléfonos móviles y otros dispositivos, por ejemplo), carecen totalmente de forma física alguna.   Las grabaciones de este tipo, siendo archivos, suelen acabar en servidores  ‘cloud’  de multinacionales como Yahoo, Google y Facebook.

BootLeg adopta técnicas y métodos de la figura ‘maligna’ de la cultura musical del siglo 21, la grabadora clandestina, en una situación paradójica, ya que su actividad tiene como ventaja la creación de grabaciones físicas y, a su manera, la conservación de la cultura. El uso de cintas de cassette, aparte de ser fáciles de encontrar, baratas y un formáto físico,  refleja el orígen del proceso de Boot Legging.

Bootleg Action consiste en 4 fáses:

  1. Performance <–> Captura.
    2. Producción / Empaquetar.
    3. Distribución / Venta.
    (4. ‘Reactivation /Reperception’)

    1. Performance <-> Captura. La imposibilidad de capturar ‘perfectamente’ la actuación en directo hace que cada copia es única: Los variables como los tipos de micrófonos, su colocación, las características de respuesta de frecuencias de la grabadora y las cintas, etc. Las ‘imperfecciones’ en el proceso de grabación significa que a pesar de compartir el mismo fuente de sonido, cada ‘recuerdo sonoro’ es distinto.
    2. Producción / Empaquetar : Al colocar su ‘linea de producción’ en plena vista del público y artistas, BootLeg Action saca a la luz los procesos de producción y distribución que no suelen tener protagonismo en los eventos, haciendoles visibles y transparentes.
    3. El hecho que sólo están disponibles a) durante un tiempo muy limitado y b) sólo se venden en el lugar del concierto a los asistentes de lo mismo representa un modelo de intercambio de bienes culturales que contraste con el modelo digital/archivos de internet habitual.
    4. El último paso, Reactivación, está fuera del control del artísta, : se trata de una escucha posterior de la grabación del evento en el contexto elegido por el comprador, como consecuencia es posible que haya una percepción diferente del evento, un contraste entre lo vivido y la grabación .

photo: Graham Bickell

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