21 May 2009 12am - 12am

Thursday 21 May 6PM – 12:06AM

Performance: Alvin Lucifer by Brian Joseph Davis and Steven Kado

In 1977, the same year that punk rock crossed over from a presumed New York underground and gained horrid legitimacy through the medium of the British popular music press, Alvin Lucier created Music on a Long Thin Wire. The work consisted of the titular long, thin wire suspended over a great distance, activated by an oscillator and amplified by pickups at both ends. It created two distinct drones that were sometimes in harmony, sometimes at odds. The Library of Congress refused to register a copyright to Lucier for the work on the grounds that the piece itself was a natural phenomenon, and not the work of an ascribable author. Interestingly, the attempt to claim a natural phenomenon as one’s own work brings Lucier’s “compositional” gesture closer to the practice of conceptual and land art, resonating with Hans Haacke’s early “systems” works, than to typical musical composition. At the same time, this legal decision removed that honour from Lucier, a moustached sound artist from New England, and conferred it to none other than the entire cosmos.

If the physical reality of nature authored the work, who is truly responsible for the way our world works? Whence springs this world of nature as we know it? The Library of Congress actually knows this seemingly unknowable fact very well, holding as they do, one of the few copies, bound in human skin, of that most terrible and forbidden of books: The Necronomicon. As such, under the more acceptable guise of attributing the work to “nature,” they in fact conferred authorship on the void wherein dwell Lord Cthulhu, Shoggoths and the jibbering chaos of Nyarlathotep. This conspiratorial identification of American bureaucracy with our world’s true masters (the unspeakable Eldrich Ones) is well enshrined in the Masonic roots of America’s founders. This foundational void was first the site of research by the Ancient Gnostics who passed it on to H.P. Lovecraft—like Lucier, a New Englander—and from him to the most advanced of death metal bands. Alvin Lucifer seeks to reconnect the mythical Lovecraftian darkness at the heart of all creation to the presumably sterile
and ‘physically neutral’ systems-based Minimalism of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The work is restaged to Lucier’s specifications, but is taken one step beyond by using Ampeg amplifiers and a Rat pedal in order to attain timbres and tonalities more pleasing to “the old ones.”

This drone communication—between cultures, eras and dimensions—will last 6 hours, 6 minutes and 6 seconds.

Reign In Blood,


Steven Kado was born in North York in 1980. He has endured life in many touring bands. Recent work includes The Singing Tower at the Department of Safety in Anacortes, Washington, a volume of Amy C. Lam’s “My Topics” subscription series of books from Toronto and The Singing Tower II: Not Retarded Just Half White at A402 in Valencia, California. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Brian Joseph Davis is a sound artist and writer based in Toronto. L.A. Weekly recently wrote, “Davis has an amazing head for aural experiments—creating expansive compositions out of found sounds and computer manipulations—that are smart on paper and fascinating in execution.” He’s performed his compositions across North America, most recently at Issue Project Room in New York, and as part of numerous group shows and solo exhibitions including the Yesterduh solo exhibit at Mercer Union; a work Salon deemed “Oddly haunting.”