Joe Colley – Playback System (For Johnny Stewart)

A single-sided 7″ on the now defunct Little Enjoyer label documenting one of Joe Colley’s installations from his prolific mid-2000s era – Playback System (For Johnny Stewart). The notes on the insert say it all:

Cassettes of animal distress cries purchased from the vast catalog produced by the Johnny Stewart company are presented on a table with three cassette decks. The output is sent to an array of sculptural forms spread across the gallery floor. Visitors are free to select and change the tapes being played. The forms act as surrogates for the disembodied animals in distress, emitting the growls of predators and their prey recorded in the field at various times from the 1970s to the present. The forms have no eyes, only mouths whose hollowness filters the screaming frequencies and repetitions, broadcasting polyrhythms of sustained fear. Implanted speakers become replacement voiceboxes for these creatures relocated to ‘civilization’, among human animals. In the process of capture, control, and taming of this pure fear, wildness is removed ever further from the wild – first by the initial recording, and then by playback into manmade space.

Montaged from onsite recordings of movements through the exhibition space on January 17, 2006, Lobot Gallery, West Oakland, California

Thanks: N. Teele, C. Wolf, T. Grimley, A. Ortega, A. Frieberthauser, M. Scollard

The producers are not responsible for unwanted interaction or damage caused by wildlife attracted by playback of this recording.

That’s metal.

Get it here.

For some additional context…

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