Crackers (Ottawa)

(2000)

ACTION + AIFF – Cdn$ 10

AIFF – Cdn$ 5

MP3 (320kbps) – Free

Remastered in 2016 by Grey Market Mastering.

       1 (14:25)
       2 (0:14)
       3 (9:58)
       4 (1:53)
       5 (12:44)
       6 (7:09)
       7 (5:06)

Other version: Crackers (Halifax)

A joint is the locale where bones articulate a tension. Crackers are compulsive about the release of that tension. A crack is incontinent. A cracker too. As the sound of the cracks echo, some wince, others feel relief. A crack is a body nonsequitur, a crack is a bone edit, a crack is a broken break.

The material for Crackers was recorded during a residency at Gallery 101 in Ottawa, Canada, in October 1997. Crackers were solicited through the radio, classified ads in the weekly paper, and via the Gallery’s membership. The recording sessions consisted of an interview succeeded by a cracking session. Crackers: Justine Akman, Tony Daye, Marguerite Dehler, Sarah Dobbin, Vera Greenwood, Germaine Koh, Louise Levergneux, Christof Migone, Michael Sutton.

The tapes were edited at Avatar in Québec City. Crackers was then first presented as an installation in a group show curated by Emmanuel Madan entitled “Incredibly Soft Sounds” at Gallery 101, in January 1998. This show was documented with an exhibition catalogue and limited cdr. Documentation of Crackers was also featured in “Site of Sound: Of Architecture and The Ear,” a book with CD edited by Brandon LaBelle and Steve Roden (Los Angeles: Errant Bodies Press, 1999) and presented the following year as a solo installation curated by Michael J. Schumacher and Ursula Scherrer at Studio 5 Beekman in New York City, January 2000. The installation version also features a video of my right ankle cracking repeatedly for twenty minutes (presented as a projection at ankle level).

The CD for Locust Music (label is now defunct) was produced in Montréal in the Summer of 2000.

The CD booklet features drawings by Onya Hogan-Finlay.

In live performance, the prerecorded visual (but also containing sound) material features 2 different recordings of my bare feet where I repeatedly crack my right ankle (the only joint I can crack at will). This is projected on one screen while I repeat the same action live and this is projected on another screen. The sound of the live ankle cracking is not only heard but is also sent to make (via Max/MSP software on a laptop) the image and sound of the prerecorded version stutter. In addition, the treated sounds of the initial recordings done in Ottawa are added.

Presentation History
– 2006 Montréal (exhibition, Galerie de l’UQAM)
– 2001 Halifax (performance, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design)
– 2001 Montreal (performance, Ultrazone.01/micro, Théâtre La Chapelle)
– 2001 Chicago (audio publication, solo CD, Locust)
– 2001 Geneva (performance, Festival de la Bâtie)
– 2001 Paris (performance, Statuts/Association Edna , La Ménagerie de Verre)
– 2000 New York (installation, solo show, Studio5Beekman)
– 1999 Los Angeles (publication, image+text+sound, in book+CD Site of Sound: Of Architecture and the Ear). Track on CD entitled Crackers #4. This track does not appear on the full length Crackers CD on Locust.
– 1998 Ottawa (installation, group show, Incredibly Soft Sounds, Gallery 101)

     

Do you crack your fingers? your neck? your back? your knees? your elbows? your ankles? your hips? your jaws? your toes? your…?

… ahhhh… ok and now in order to do my elbows I will have to make a quick motion like this, so I’ll make sure I don’t bust into the mic but I usually have to be standing to do it… so you keep it in one place… that’s as close I can go there… now the jaw which is usually on this side… it’s not one that a lot of people like to hear…. now… neck, if you can put the mic back in here, tell me when you’re ready… ok… I was hoping for a better one than that… not much no… toes, of course… alright so you’re going to have to be right on the floor for this… no, just a second, I can do it here… ok, the other one, mine as well exhaust all of the areas and then get to my back… ok…. now when I do my back I have to swing it as well… so stay in one place… the best sounds usually come out of about right there…

CRACKER SESSION NO.1 You tell me which areas you crack and I’ll try to place my mic the best I can… I’ll do my fingers first, those are easy… for the toes I have to stand… those were good cracks… I can sometimes do my back but I won’t be able to do it today because it’s in pain… I don’t like to do my own neck, because I wonder if my head is going to fall… if my chiropractor does it, then it’s ok…

CRACKER SESSION NO.2 Best thing to do is for me to try to straighten out here and for you to put the microphone on my back… I can’t repeat that, although I could try to sit slouched for a little while… try my neck… you have to get closer… that was a good one! I tried not to do it all day… knuckles… one at a time?… that might be it for the knuckles… let’s try my elbow, you might get a little tiny one, that’s usually a crunchy one… see I told that’s the crunchy one!… oh, I have another good one! ok, my lower back…. um, it’s not working, it’s too bad, it’s a good one.

CRACKER SESSION NO.3 Well, let’s start with my hands… ok … now in order to do my elbows I will have to do a quick motion like this, so I’ll make sure I don’t burst into the mic… so keep it in one place… I usually have to be standing to do it. Now the jaw is usually on this side… it’s not one that a lot of people like to hear…. now… neck, if you can put the mic back into here, tell me when you’re ready… ok… I was hoping for a better one than that… not much no… toes, of course. got to take the shoes off. Oh, knees first… one went, the other one didn’t… now, when I do my back I have to swing it as well… so stay in one place… the best sound usually comes out from right there… and that’s about it.

CRACKER SESSION NO.4 I’ll crack the shoulder first, I think I can do it sitting down, I don’t know I’ve never tried it… my knees crack when I squat… ok… wow… that’ll only happen once… I need a fair amount of room on the floor for my back… so you’re going to roll this way?… seems like it’s a pretty internal sound… ya, it was pretty quiet, let’s try the other way, so you just stay there and I’ll just turn around… ok… ok here goes… it’s better if I can hang on to something… that was it…alright… I haven’t tried it in a while but I think I could do my knuckles…

CRACKER SESSION NO.5 let me try my hands… I don’t really crack on command… no, they’re not going to do it… You might be able to get my ankles… usually they just crack once… this is the weirdest doctor’s appointment I’ve ever had… that’s my big toe, the one thing I can crack on command… um… I don’t think I can do my knees on command, when they go they go big though… so, I’m sort of a disappointing cracker.

CRACKER SESSION NO.6 I’ll do my fingers first, those are easy… those were good cracks… here’s the top joint on my fingers… I don’t what to force it ‘cos it’ll hurt… that was my wrist… I can’t do my thumbs at all… Ok, now elbows… this one feels like it’ll go and I have to sort of fling it out… Yeah, it went but it wasn’t loud… I can’t do it again for a while… I’ll try this one too, I don’t want to hit you… my shoulders are constantly cracking, but it’s more of an internal kind of crack… I’ll try my knees, I sort of have to snap them up… Ok, I’ll do my back… I’ll just sort of lean back and twist to the left… Oh wow, that felt great!… Now, my big toe cracks… I think it’s the right foot, I don’t remember now… so that one will just keep going and going and going… it’ll just go ‘tick’ ‘tick’ ‘tick’ as I walk along… instead of the tell-tale heart, it’s the tell-tale toe… that’s it, I’m all cracked out.

CRACKERS, a portrait of a city through the cracking bones of its citizens. This is a specific form of soundscape, it is a crackerscape. The portraits feature forms of behavior that navigate nervously between the controllable and the uncontrollable. A city’s identity contains an inherent tension between order and chaos. From the history of its physical progression to its development of community standards and its relation to critical cultures (graffiti, street protests, performance art, etc.), the city is an organism which defies planning and prediction. The individual contains similar internal struggles. With CRACKERS: a joint is the locale where bones articulate a tension. Crackers are compulsive about the release of that tension. As the sound of the cracks echo, some wince, others feel relief. In all instances, a crack is when and where something breaks.

a crack is a body nonsequitur,
a cracker is a bone edit,
a cracker is a broken break.

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