Monday, October 1, 2007

Caldiero, Carrier, and Bowden: An Unholy Trinity

"Scott has reported from the Far East," Bowden said, "and Alex has reported from Outer Space. Now I'll report from the Mexican/American border."

I've been wondering just what Charles Bowden might have meant when he began his reading after having heard Alex Caldiero and Scott Carrier last Friday at UVSC.

There's a way that all three readers/performers reported from outer space. They dislocated us. They displaced our minds. They surprised and shocked and delighted and concerned and generally worked over our accepted ideas till we were less sure of ourselves and more sure of what needed to be done in Burma and Juarez and the USA.

Carrier and Bowden had that effect through what they taught us about their respective catastrophes (and by means of their very different but equally remarkable voices). Caldiero disconcerted and regaled our minds and emotions by working on the border of the articulate and the inarticulate, that place where sounds become words and words slip back into sound. Sicilian, Spanish, and English alternated with the vibrations of a Jewsharp, with the grunts and raspings, chants and sibilant whispers that only Alex can conjure.

Incantations, Ken Sanders claimed, after Vegor pointed out that Alex's bag of tricks were straight out of Aleister Crowley's book of magick.

For 90 minutes, Utah Valley State College was the center of the universe.


The Pipeline said...

I thought all three were brilliant but I was particularly impressed with Scott Carrier use of You Tube. There was this really cool kind of 'meta' moment during his presentation on Burma where the media became the message.

Towards the end Scott didn't give his summary opinion, he didn't editorialize...he just said that the government had shut down the internet and he didn't know if there would be anymore footage.

It was pretty powerful, and it made me think that if an army quashes a rebellion and no one is around to put it on the internet, did it ever really happen?

Grabloid said...

I was also quite impressed with Scott's presentation and I had a similar feeling. It really emphasized the power of technology.

Alex blew me away (as he does every time I see him perform) and kept me thinking on and on about all of the things he had to say. I love his poem that ends in "NO THING BUT LANGUAGE DIVIDES US...NO THING BUT LANGUAGE UNITES US!"

Hearing Charles Bowden was very crucial too. I think that with all the bullshit floating around about immigration and 'how to deal with it...', it was so refreshing to hear a story about real people and the real reason why they are trying to get across the border.

This is real reporting.To bad that we can't hear reports like this from the Far East, the Mexican/American border, and from Outer Space every night on cable TV.

Grabloid said...

oops. I actually think he says "NO THINGS BUT WORDS DIVIDE US...NO THING BUT WORDS UNITE US!" But who's counting?

The Pipeline said...

For those who missed the show that night at Ken Sanders it was equally good.

Alex was amazing, substituting a few pieces from his performance at UVSC. So good.

Scott played three radio pieces he had put together about Juarez a few years back...super powerful stuff.

Bowden was really good...I swear with that voice he could read the phone book and I would be transfixed. He started riffing on how he hated coniferous plants, how angiosperms were better "If you think sex is a pinecone you can have it! Give me a stamen and a pistol any day!" He read some passages from his new book and you could just tell this guy is the real deal. He lives what he writes.

The Pipeline said...

For those who enjoyed Scott's use of the web as a teaching tool, might I recommend this:

It is called The Machine is Us/ing Us and is a very cool introduction to Web 2.0.

Scott was showing this to my wife (she works for the Comm dept.) this morning and he said this is exactly the kind of journalism he wants to teach at UVSC. Using the free and easy resources of the web to tell stories and reach millions.

By the way, the guy who produced The Machine is Us/ing Us is Michael Wesch, an anthropology professor at Kansas State. He now has a digital-ethnography class conducting fieldwork about YouTube.

Grabloid said...

Yeah, I heard about how Scott Carrier wants to teach students to report and do journalism like this. I think this is great! It is empowering for individuals (it's easy to do...anyone can do it) and has revolutionary implications on how we think about news, news stories and news sources. (Also very threatening to the "official" news sources/big news corporations/i.e. Rupert Murdoch!)

Torben B said...

This conversation thread is so valuable! The video is amazing and I agree with your comments. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. I thought that each of them provided a unique perspective on each of their topics. Alex is always great. It was fun for me to see Scott Carrier after reading up on him and listening to his pieces on TAL. Also, I have been to Burma and spend quite a bit of time in Thailand each year, so I'm very aware of the conditions there. What's interesting is trying to pinpoint what made the citizens really tip. The situation in Burma has been terrible for quite some time. Why now? Charles Bowden could absolutely read a phonebook and have me mesmerized. I wish my voice was cooler :)

Kristina said...
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