Tag Archives: new american radio

The Respirator

and other outcasts (1989)

Another MINERVA EDITIONS release, mixing stories with purely invented sound beds such as In Malpais, with voice works like totenklage/lacrymosa and Twilight for Idols.

The title track takes an actual quotation from a magazine article about traumatic brain injury, which I then re-voiced and subjected to multigenerational entropy and eruption, in the style of Ziggurat and other earlier pieces.

If not strictly autobiographical, The Respirator certainly draws in spirit from my own experience in a near-fatal car crash at age sixteen, suffering injuries which rearranged my subjectivity in ways that took a very long time to get sorted.

Several of these pieces were also included in the 1993 Staalplaat CD, The Pleasure of Ruins, clickable below:

Lovely Ways to Burn

A hybrid documentary play, weaving together three stories: a scripted witnessing of an electrocution; documentary interview memories of burns, fires and suburban oblivion; and an imaginary philosopher on the phenomenology of fire, neurobiology and the gaze of ecstatic death.


Created for New American Radio in 1990; released on cassette  in a very limited and hand made (and hand singed) by MINERVA EDITIONS; now released into the pyretic commons:

The Pleasure of Ruins


Inspired by the book with the same title (by Rose Macauley, with remarkable photographs by Roloff Beny), I set out to conjure an acoustic ruin through the poetic disintegration of a chanted list of global ruins, using the technique of rhythmic cyclical “eruptions” that I had developed in Disorder Speech.

At the time, there was a good deal of heavy cultural theory about libidinal flows and “economies of pleasure” in the air during the late 1980s, an irresistible invitation for humor; thus I proposed a sort of radiophonic archeology of pleasure, unfolding (or degenerating) in real time.

With the exception of a tour guide speleologist and a few other documentary scraps, the only voice used is my own, through a variety of personae.

Commissioned by the brave New American Radio series, under the direction of Helen Thorington and Regine Beyer, The Pleasure of Ruins has been broadcast throughout Europe, Australia and North America, in all of its ruined pleasures:

The Pleasure was resuscitated with a variety of other castaways on a 1993 Staalplaat CD release. I have a small number of copies of the original MINERVA EDITIONS cassette release, available to serious collectors.

Let me here sing praises for Patrick Sumner, whose stunning photographs and design work enlivened the MINERVA releases, as well as the Staalplaat CDs. The photograph below shows the salvaged remnants of a house owned by Patrick, and Sheila Davies, burned during the terrible fire that rampaged through the Oakland hills in 1991.

The Thing About Bugs

Etymological radiophony created in collaboration with Christof Migone for New American Radio in 1995. An exploration of deep bug muckmusik, digital hygiene, ethnic cleansing and the True Bug plan of attack.

The process was collaborative at each stage, with raw materials generated through a series of improvisations. Christof was experimenting with mouth mics and various home made noise boxes. We then worked on the raw materials independently, creating brief buggy sub-mixes, which were then finally composed at sea-crow media studio on Nantucket island. GW plays the voice of the etymologist; CM performs as the True Bug, and as a concerned homeowner in search of a final solution.

{The complete BUG OUT, together with other tasty bits of acoustic bush tucker, is available on CD from Generator Sound Art.}

Display Wounds

In 1985, while still working on Dead Letters, I became fascinated by the idea of wound reading, and committed myself to the practice of vulnerology, collaborating with Phil Sims on a “wound box” that combined brief caption-texts with his dry point etchings, while also fabricating a series of “wound diddlers” that linked rubber block carvings with surgical tools in a variety of small assemblages; objects that offered a kinetic structure for sustained contemplation of wound contours.

The captions draw from medical text books, plays, cultural theory, art history, hermeneutics and other sources to provide a playful exploration of poetic overtones within the woundscape. A continuous sequence of the wound box caption texts is available here.

With the launch of New American Radio, I then elaborated the caption-texts into the continuous monologue of a “vulnerologist” (played by me, with voice slightly slowed down), using the wound diddlers as props for the vulnerologist, as he poked and carved inside the operating theater.

The related idea of a “woundscape” originates in my experience as a passenger in a near fatal car accident (involving a total of eight people, suffering a wide range of serious injuries that created a complex and multilayered woundscape) on a dark road in rural Maine, when I was sixteen. More on the accident, and it’s many dimensions within the woundscape can be found here.

For a complete transcription of the play, see: Display Wounds: Ruminations of a Vulnerologist, in When Pain Strikes, Theory Out of Bounds volume 14, University of Minnesota Press, 1999.

Critic and theorist Thyrza Goodeve wrote a provocative essay that further explores the notion of an articulate wound: No Wound Ever Speaks For Itself, in Artforum, January 1992.