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“Babakiueria” and the Politics of Listening

Disinformation’s chums in Melbourne – the excellent Liquid Architecture – who hosted the Rorschach Audio events at the Monash University Museum of Art and Gertrude Contemporary in 2015, have since organised several more events themed around mishearing… most recently a presentation by Jennifer Stoever on “Soni­fy­ing Race, Surveilling Space: the Sonic Color Line and the Lis­ten­ing Ear” (coming up August 25, see link). According to the mail-out, “Soni­fy­ing Race” focusses on experiences from the United States. In terms of Australian experience, similar themes were sent-up in the spoof documentary “Babakiueria”, by Don Featherstone, starring Bob Maza (President of the Aborigines Advancement League) back in 1986. Enjoy!

FYI the joke may have been inspired by the (since de-bunked) myth about this author’s namesake Sir Joseph Banks (no relation) and the word “kanguru”.

Thanks to Pete Reeves (from the University of Sydney) for the heads-up (see you next year mate)

Marshall McLuhan – “Advertising is the folk art of the 20th century”

Marshall McLuhan’s axiom that [5:27 into the video] “advertising is the folk art of the 20th century” (which, in fact, is a quotation that he responds to rather than directly articulates in this interview) is prescient enough, though in some ways his preceding statement, about the nature of reading, is even more interesting. Marshall McLuhan asserts that “the word to read means to guess…” and that “reading is actually an activity of rapid guessing” [4:33].

Etymologically speaking McLuhan is spot-on – the word “read” does (as he says) derive from the Old English rǣdan (from the Dutch raden, and the German raten) meaning to “advise” or “guess”; so the history of language corroborates the idea that our minds deploy “perceptual hypotheses” or intelligent guesswork to decode streams of text and speech (see the “Rorschach Audio” book pages 43, 46 and 167 etc).

Given what the “Rorschach Audio” book says about how “the earliest form of sound recording technology was not a machine but was written language” (page 96), it’s no surprise that the neural strategies employed in “reading” both speech and text are so closely related. From a public-understanding-of-science point-of-view however, the most striking feature of this interview is that when Marshall McLuhan puts forward this idea, it’s received as so improbable and outlandish that some members of the audience actually laugh [4:50]. +

Joe Banks, 20 June 2018

Yanny or Laurel – Audio Illusion

The following story was discussed under the heading “Technology” in The Guardian, but originally appeared under the heading “Black Magic Fuckery” on social media! +  [Thanks to J.R.]

The Unexplainers, Beast Spirit 450

Damien Hirst and Goldsmiths College

The idea that “genius steals” is an urban myth –

Disinformation at Dronica Festival #7 ****

Three day long art and music festival, featuring performances and installations by Coagulant, Gareth Davis, Diamat, Disinformation, Denis D’Or, Charles Hayward, Luxul, Jose Macabra, Kieron Mahon, Minus Pilots, Mothax, Needle Factory, Raxil4, Miguel Domingo Redondo, Blanca Regina & Pierre Bouvier Patron, Rotten Bliss, Ruido, Pascal Savy, The Seer, Daniele Sergio, Tasos Stamou, Mira Varg and V-Stok… plus home-made Sicilian street food by Sicilia Bedda. Thursday 12 to Saturday 14 April 2018 (with Disinformation exhibiting on Thursday and Friday) –

Thursday 7pm to 10pm – £5
Friday 6pm to 11pm – £10
Saturday 3pm to 10:30pm – £10

The Old Church
Stoke Newington Church St.
London N16 9ES

Download the events schedule –

“National Grid” featured on Resonance FM

Programme presented by Sam Conran for Gwaith Sŵn, featuring Sergey Komarov and Kurvenschriber from St. Petersburg, Tom Richards performing at Focal Point gallery in Southend, Disinformation and Borut Savski performing “National Grid” in Ljubljana, and Sam Conran with Sanichi Shikura at EMS Stockholm, programme broadcast 2 April 2018 –

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