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Nonceptualism in the Northwoods Welcome to the Lockdome: Binary in the Time of Coronavirus

Nonceptualism in the Northwoods

Welcome to the Lockdome: Binary in the Time of Coronavirus

by Jeremy Gluck,
first published: April, 2020

approximate reading time: minutes

"The first couple stabs were a little too plain -- Amish minimalist electronica -- that's a niche genre if ever there was but with a little back and forth between us we had something interesting" Charlie Kramer

Jeremy Glick Image
There is always a missing person I - jeremy gluck

Back in the middle Eight-days I was a hack for SOUNDS, a British music weekly. Deluged by American underground music, most of my fellow freelancers and staffers as much as avoided engagement with it. Genuinely enthused by the strange sounds emerging everywhere from the ‘neck barrios to the ‘burbs, I took it upon myself to champion the weirdness, one major source of which being Gerard Cosloy’s Homestead imprint. To the bemusement and on occasion sarcasm of my hack brethren, I forged on, knocking out copy on Homestead signings, and more than once being flown in style by a then fat bizniz to the States to cover them including, for example, Live Skull. 

I stacked up dozens of Homestead review copies against my walls, some dismantled randomly by my young daughter rifling them with a distinct lack of care. And while, yes, I do now recall a Homestead act, Happy Flowers, I know I never reviewed them. 

Flash forward to the Lockdome. April 2020, somewhere in Swansea (which is like saying in Swansea because Swansea just ain’t that big). Now over sixty (but looking much younger I feel obligated to sidebar), in the final stretch of a fine art M.A. brought through a long creative arc I arrived at the point of having to express ideas originally destined – before Lockdome – for live performance at Bath Arts Fringe and other UK arts festivals, now of necessity requiring online expression. 

To capture my proposed performance, on the theme healing as art, working titled I will bring you Light, you will bring me Love (IWL), then 0 minus 1, retaining its tensive aspects presented me with a considerable challenge. Reflecting on meeting it I recognized that whatever the outcome it would not be obvious. There was no question of literally recreating or developing a performance in the form of a vanilla film of myself performing actions and so forth. That would be trite and negate any opportunities to make something wholly satisfying to me intellectually and artistically.

Upon reflection, the basic premise became utilizing binary as the bedrock of a new sort of performance in which the theoretical and practical aspects of the work would be implicit, with its explicit expression ambiguous, if not nearly opaque to the source motivation and material. 

Seeing through experimentation that I would not alone be able adequately to render my binary in audio and visual form, I put a callout on Facebook to attract potential collaborators, targeting electronic music network communities. Within hours I received a message from Charlie Kramer, an American living in Virginia, a fellow legacy punk rocker, and now with experience coding music in ChucK and Processing. Sending Charlie my 01 context as initial source material, he quickly created a demo using the binary alphabet processed into raw audio and visual

I chose to take a steganographic approach - steganography is the practice of hiding secret messages in otherwise non-secret mediums - concealing the context and nature of the performance digitally inside an explicitly neutral binary format. It is not uncommon for data to be concealed in files wholesomely, and by hackers, unwholesomely. By excerpting key passages of my work here and converting it using online tools and outsourced experts to binary code I could reinvent the performance as a data stream apparently devoid of performative qualities. This approach would literally – as my artist statement motto has it – “conceal what I reveal and reveal what I conceal”.

The morning of Easter Sunday 01: risen. I received two files from Charlie Kramer, the first being nearly seven hours of raw audio output, and the second being an hour-long video complete with synced audio.

Late that same day, having sent binary converted from just my written description of my performance, I received further files – two synced videos - shorter in length and ideal for my purposes. I laid one video on another, slightly out of sync, and set to work. Processing the videos at threshold provided a stark, high-contrast black and white aesthetic. Having enhanced and mastered the audio, I made various sylistic additions. The temptation to overcompensate for the monotony and natural minimalism of the source material was far outweighed by the authenticity of it: an alien, neutral but also strangely human and emotional, evocative sound and vision mesh. 

Jeremy third image
There is always a missing person II - jeremy gluck

During this ordered mayhem, I asked Charlie to send me a biography for publicity purposes. It duly arrived, including this passage: Charlie is a member of Homestead recording artists Happy Flowers and has been performing as a musician since the 1970s

And so, once again Fate played its hand, from Flowers to dataflow.  The resulting collaborative work, Nonceptualism and Northwoods: Welcome to the Lockdome: 0 - 1 Binary Performance is eleven minutes of sound and image raw from Charlie, processed excessively by myself, and implicitly capturing the energy and essence of the original performance proposal. 

With this video – and others created for this theme – I felt that I succeeded with Charlie’s invaluable assistance to make stenanographic work, capturing the essence of IWL implicitly, integrating the 01 methodology, conjuring an aporetic, tensive online environment, aesthetically somehow void, meditative and healing.

Said Charlie, “When I saw Jeremy's idea to turn binary data into music I was intrigued. What do these neat rows of zeroes and ones sound like? I liked the constraint of working with a fixed input and focusing on the job of interpreting it--especially collaborating with someone I didn't know except through his work. I followed my usual process. I sat on my bed, armed with a cup of black coffee and flanked by my two Chihuahuas, and unceremoniously jammed the data into a mass of ChucK code. I fiddled with it until sound came out. The first couple stabs were a little too plain -- Amish minimalist electronica -- that's a niche genre if ever there was - but with a little back and forth between us we had something interesting. Jeremy proceeded to take it to another level entirely. When I got the first draft of the video, I sat there enthralled, completely drawn in. The Chihuahuas looked worried! I gave them some lunch meat and they were fine.” 

Nonceptualism in Northwoods: Welcome to the Lockdome: 0-1 Binary Performance

/ 0 delete 1 / Manifesto

0/1 Data meditation: the art dream healing of data exhaustion. 0 delete 1.

The methodology of digital emptiness. 

zero zero zero delete one 0 0 0

Systematic aporetic spatiality. Giving numbers voice language virus contagion killed.

The tensive elements will be assigned a numerical system. 

Binary meets materiality. The body into space.

This is how data meditates, this is how data heals. Zero delete one. Laza-r-us.

Quasi-magical future deletion. Matter to spirit, the miracle matrices.

It’s so simple, it has the elegance of a scientific equation.

It’s extremely abstract and intuitive but also utterly literal.

There is no room in this art for error.

This is my pseudo-scientific art equation. The being is done and doing begins.


JG 01
01, 2020, Digital art

Essential Info
Jeremy Gluck
, nonceptualism abounds on Facebook and Insta
NorthWoods (Charlie Kramer) is an experimental live coding project, producing soothing and harsh soundscapes from digital oscillators, found sound, random numbers, numbers stations, musical and unmusical samples, and the speeches of Richard Nixon.

Jeremy Gluck

Jeremy Gluck (MArts), is an expatriate Canadian, UK-based metamodernist intermedia artist. His background is multidisciplinary, spanning, writing, music, and art.

He's on Instagram and Facebook

about Jeremy Gluck »»



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