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Saturday, 5 July 2008

Got Flummoxed!

On Thursday I went to Flummoxed at The Rainbow Warehouse next to The Rainbow in Birmingham. Last time I went their was Below - a rather epic and deep techno night which was quite a contrast to the intriguing events unfolding at 7 Inch Cinema and VIVID's collaboration event.

On entry I was greeted by a lady in what I can only think was a icecream van who relieved me of £4 and told me that a piece based on the No.11 bus route was taking place next door. So I wandered through and after a quick hello to Mr.Ben (Illustrator and purportrator of unusual musics) realised that the array of onstage musicians playing doublebass and violins were somehow describing the route of a bus...

Time for a beer methinks, and promptly walked into a beach constructed beneath the arch of the railway. So after getting sand between my toes, I plump for a bench instead of the deckchairs from which I might never leave. I'm given a flickbook and reveal to the guy handing them out that I am already armed with a crayon and ready for action.

So I drink and chat and draw my flickbook - a journey through the air and into an ariel view of me getting beaten in an arm wrestle, which I hope might appear online at the 7 Inch site at some point, as I didnt catch it on the big screen... The screen that's showing the flickbooks being scanned in and animated as their made...

So the event is about Fluxus, a 60's performance art movement involving such artists as Yoko Ono and John Cage. It's all about playing and making and doing and exploring. Strangely I have a long lasting link to Fluxus, as for years I have been using the name Phluxm to create and perform (as Artist/Musician/VJ/DJ) with, a name that evolved from Fluxem ('em - as in them) a cheeky rewrite of Fluxus. As part of that process I developed PHLUMX, VJing software (which is the same word as Phluxm with the last two letters flipped), a word that works in ALL CAPS or all lowercase but strangely not so well as a mix of the two. Anyway... shut up Ben... Here's a pic that I recognise from my Fluxus research at Uni. Can't think why...

Photograph of Shigeko Kubota performing her Vagina Painting,
taken July 4th, 1965 at Cinemateque, E 4th Street, New York City during Perpetual Fluxus Festival.

In the side room I watch Flux Concert 2 which involves a selection of performers called into play with the ring of a bell. The sort you have in Faulty Towers at the reception. A small steel thing, you tap on the top. Bing! Manuel!!

The happenings involve; a barrage of noise in the form of a 3 piece band, a message written on paper but never seen, which is torn to pieces on completion and thown into the audience, and a potato which is peeled intil there's nothing left. The highlight for me was John Richards's "Piece for Sparklers & Dirty 'Dutch' Feedbacker" - a new piece - which involved creating sound from heat/light sensors attached to candles. The electrical hums, buzzes and crackles are controlled through the lighting, burning and blowing out of candles, to create a sort of audio-visual, electrical/heat-light sound composition.

I couldnt help but think of two other works; one seen at Sonar 2007 in which the sound of tiny metal rods had been amplified on a tiny table - the movement of the metal rods was controlled with magnets to create a juddering drum-like performance. The second by Brian Duffy held at Ikon in which he had used the light from the stars to create sounds which altered as the stars changed.

After this Ian Francis introduced us to a video 'which they wouldn't normally show'. It was a video documentary about a government cover-up made mainly of hidden camera footage . It was all very serious and intriguing as a story unfolded of a disaster at some sort of atomic facility over which the media coverage had been suppressed. I did get a bit suspect of the genuineness of the footage when a worker (apparently trapped in a safehouse in a contaminated area for 3 days) appeared to be standing in what looked more like someones bedroom covered in tin foil... then through the back door of the room stumbled a mutant! It was the guy from the video, lit only by a group with torches - he stumbled into the room and collapsed. A niceley executed shift from video to reality...

Aha.. just found a little bit of paper with a few links on it about the inspiration for the piece which was called The Atlas Experiment. Try these for some real info: and

From here on, I relaxed on the beach watching the flickbooks animate on the video screen and laughing at the occasional whistleblow which called onto the dance floor a gang of silent ravers (all with mp3 players), one who seemed to be some sort of cross between the badguy in Flash Gordon (with the goldmask who melts) and a Transformer. On leaving, this strange being gave me a playing card, which I have just found. On it is written "There's a suit for your kind! Find them - this evening!". Which I did:)

Official Fluxus Site

1 comment:

  1. pics here:

    see if you can spot General Klytus