Thursday, April 27, 2006
Before the advent of voice mail there was the cassette based answering machine. Clunky and unreliable the tape machine often unintentionally recorded people’s messages for posterity as the old message was only ever partly erased by the new. The result when played back on a regular cassette player is a collage of snippets of talk interspersed with clicks, beeps and random thuds.
On the night of Camerawork’s shredding show Gustav Metzger is my Dad our patron Gustav phoned in giving his apologies for not being at the private view and entreating us not to give out his address “even to his closest friend”. The message had such a nice ring to it (and as we were shredding everything else) we kept the tape. Listening to the recording some 8 years later one can hear not only Mr Metzger but a couple of messages later a disgruntled punter complaining about the show and then after a darkroom booking or two a member of staff discussing the shredding policy.
A new artform? Of course no surprise, there is already an LP of answer phone messages and a website or two. You can hear two or three minutes from the original Gustav tape here.