Sunday, April 3, 2011

Unsound Festival New York : April 1 - 10

Like last year's fest, the second annual Unsound Festival New York is a cross-cultural coming together of the Polish/Eastern European scenes and their corresponding central European, UK and American equivalents in electronic experimentation, early electronic avant garde and 20th Century composition (and this year including the nether-regions of Doom Metal on the closing night). Largely featuring seated performances in exceptional environs like the Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the cathedral at Judson Church and Abrons Art Center. Prominent names in the fest this year include Ben Frost with Sinfonietta Cracovia performing his newly composed "Music for Solaris" and pieces by Steve Reich and Krzysztof Penderecki, Svarte Greiner supplying a live soundtrack to Murnau's "Nosferau", Demdike Stare doing a A/V piece in the "Cinema for the Ear" series, Deaf Center interpreting their most recent works from "Owl Splinters" along with Sinfonietta Cracovia performing chamber symphony pieces by Henryk Gorecki, Morton Subotnick performing a live multi-channel realization of his defining 1967 piece "Silver Apples of the Moon" with visuals by Lillevan, a night of psychedelic analog synth musics hosted by Emeralds, Dubstep and Bass culture until the sun rises by Appleblim, Kode9 & Badawi, an 'Ocean of Noise' created by Marcus Schmickler, Ivan Pavlov aka COH, and Burning Star Core's C. Spencer Yeh, and the afore-mentioned Doom night of Mayhem's Atilla Csihar aka Void ov Voices with a rare North American live event by Lustmord. That not enough for you? Well then, there's more days and nights of seminars, films, tutorials and talks than one could possibly have hours on the clock to fill. Combine this with the arts to be seen at MoMA, PS1, New Museum, The Whitney, Guggenheim, Cooper-Hewitt, The Met and all the smaller galleries of Chelsea, along with the Cinema of Anthology Film Archives, Film Forum, Film Society at Lincoln Center and the IFC Center, and the time spent hunting through otherworldy record and bookstores like The Strand, Academy Records, Time Machine, Other Music and Downtown Music Gallery and all the unearthly eats to be had throughout NYC - you've just entered into the abstract mind-crushing realm of a couple days worth of Negative-Time.

David Foster Wallace (final) novel, "The Pale King" :
Published April 15 - at Independent Booksellers Now

On the shelves at bookstores this week! One of the literary events of the year (decade?); the new David Foster Wallace novel! His first posthumous (and rumored to be the last major work) to be published and his first novel since 1997's late-century defining "Infinite Jest" apparently edited from nearly three times as much material, into "The Pale King". Significant pre-read contextual insight from the extensive New Yorker article of 2009: "From 1997 on, Wallace worked on a third novel, which he never finished—the “Long Thing,” as he referred to it with Michael Pietsch. His drafts, which his wife found in their garage after his death, amount to several hundred thousand words, and tell of a group of employees at an Internal Revenue Service center in Illinois, and how they deal with the tediousness of their work. The partial manuscript—which Little, Brown plans to publish next year—expands on the virtues of mindfulness and sustained concentration. Properly handled, boredom can be an antidote to our national dependence on entertainment, the book suggests. As Wallace noted at a 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College, true freedom “means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.” By then, Wallace had become convinced that the literary contortions for which he was known had become an impediment to this message. Franzen says of Wallace, “There was a certain kind of effulgent writing that he just wasn’t interested in doing anymore.” In the new novel, a character comments, “Maybe dullness is associated with psychic pain, because something that’s dull or opaque fails to provide enough stimulation to distract people from some other, deeper type of pain that is always there, if only in an ambient low-level way, and which most of us spend nearly all our time and energy trying to distract ourselves from.”

Wallace was trying to write differently, but the path was not evident to him. “I think he didn’t want to do the old tricks people expected of him,” Karen Green, his wife, says. “But he had no idea what the new tricks would be.” The problem went beyond technique. The central issue for Wallace remained, as he told McCaffery, how to give “CPR to those elements of what’s human and magical that still live and glow despite the times’ darkness.” He added, “Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it.” "The Pale King,” the name Wallace gave to the novel that, had he finished it, would have been his third, was one-third complete, by an estimate that he made to Nadell in 2007. The novel continues Wallace’s preoccupation with mindfulness. It is about being in the moment and paying attention to the things that matter, and centers on a group of several dozen I.R.S. agents working in the Midwest. Their job is tedious, but dullness, “The Pale King” suggests, ultimately sets them free. A typed note that Wallace left in his papers laid out the novel’s idea: “Bliss—a-second-by-second joy and gratitude at the gift of being alive, conscious—lies on the other side of crushing, crushing boredom. Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (Tax Returns, Televised Golf) and, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.” On another draft sheet, Wallace typed a possible epigraph for the book from “Borges and I,” a prose poem by Frank Bidart: “We fill pre-existing forms and when we fill them we change them and are changed.”

Link to New Yorker "The Unfinished: David Foster Wallace" article

Link to Little, Brown's "The Pale King" site