Re: [rumori] mystery tapes, complexity, and meaning (was long-winded intro, etc)

From: Steev Hise (
Date: Thu Mar 13 2003 - 09:05:48 PST

on Wed, 12 Mar 2003 Ben McAllister told me:

>So I've been really digging into the John Oswald Mystery Tapes (which I
>believe I downloaded from Steve Hise's website - thanks VERY much) lately
>and wonder what documentation, if any, came with them.

the idea with the Mystery Tapes, originally, was that you could
easily get them, but not get information about exactly what was
on them. now the situation is reversed, you can't easily get them
(from Oswald at least), but Oswald has posted lots of information
about them on his site (

on if i remember right i have a scan of the original
art that came with "Kissing Jesus in the Dark". i have other art,
courtesy of wobbly, from other Mystery Tapes that i have yet to
scan and upload, but plan to whenever (or if) i ever get the

>The tapes got me thinkin. I think that with the internet, mass media, and
>collage thinking/creation, you've got new unprecendented complexity in
>structure. For example, there are gestures that feel like candences/arrival
>points in a 'time based collage piece' (sound or video or static visual
>art), given the context of the piece, which can't exist outside the piece.
>Things like political angle, media source, emotional intensity, lack thereof
>can often be gleaned in less than a second by the average viewer/listener,
>which gives a whole new context given the density of the info.

I'm not sure I totally understand your drift, ben, but this is an
interesting subject. I'm always interested in discussions of the
"inherent nature" of collage work.

Certainly I think increasing complexity is at least *easier* to
achieve via collage and other "intertextual" techniques. This is
because by creating a structure out of chunks of things that
already have structure you are creating a structure of
structures, which seems to be inherently more complex than
something made of simple materials.

However you seem to be equating complexity with "density of
meaning", so to speak, which i would say are 2 different things.
one is formal and one is to do with content. and i don't know if
collage works are inherently more "meaningful" or more "packed
with meaning". and increased structural complexity doesn't equal
increased meaning.

>Oh yeah - is this off topic?

certainly not. thanx....


Steev Hise, Syssy Admin
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