Disco Sec


       Disco Sec (73:25)

Je ne dis plus je cite toujours.
– Samuel Beckett, Comment c’est

La citation travaille, altère toujours, aussitôt, aussi sec, ce qu’elle paraît reproduire.
– Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc.

Disco Sec mixes discophilia with a synoptic obsession. A series of works using the principle of citation on a collection of recordings which is representative of the artist’s listening over the years (so it functions as a form of portraiture). A reduced record collection. An abbreviated discotheque.

Les objets qui nous entourent, les choses qu’on accumule au fil des ans contiennent les traces de nos recherches, habitudes, études, cadeaux et dons reçus, trouvailles, coups de foudre. Ce sont des objets-mémoires, des mémentos du quotidien autant que des moments clés. Michel de Certeau parle de « la citation-réminiscence qui trace dans le langage le retour insolite et fragmentaire », ensuite il ajoute que « la citation conjugue des effets d’interprétation (elle permet de produire du texte) à des effets d’altération (elle in-quiète le texte) ».

Disco Sec s’agit d’un portrait de mon écoute à travers ma discothèque.

Disco Sec propose la réduction d’une discothèque à travers des stratégies diverses. L’oeuvre sonore éponyme se concentre sur la première et la dernière seconde de chaque pièce sur un cd. Ce geste place l’emphase sur l’élan du début et la finalité de la fin. Disco Sec est un juke box saturé de déclencheurs de mémoire, de secondes isolées et de silences qui se replie sur la mémoire de l’auditeur pour se faire entendre. C’est un disque référentiel, qui se limite aux indices, et qui met en évidence la subjectivité du temps.

Une citation contient une sorte de circularité, il existe un va-et-vient entre son contexte original et son nouvel emplacement, il y a une double temporalité et une double localité. Disco Sec se sert de ces doublures du référentiel pour développer sa structure.

Disco Sec est un projet synoptique qui peut être engendrera au sein du public une sorte de danse bizarre, saccadée et bégayante, une danse qu’on appellera le disco sec.

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Disco Sec publication consists of an LP cover, 5 x 11″ x 11″ full-color inserts, plus an audio CD. Published by Avatar/OHM éditions. Graphic design by Jean-François Proulx of Balistique.

LP sleeve + 6 11″x11″ inserts + drilled holes + MDF board + PDF + CD + AIFF + MP3 (320kbps) – Cdn$45

PDF + MP3 (320kbps) – Free

Images (order)
– Mercer Union install
– Mercer Union opening
– AxeNéo7 install
– Publication

Presentation History
– 2010 Montréal (installation, Optica)
– 2009 Québec (publication, Ohm éditions)
– 2009 Gatineau (installation, AxeNéo7)
– 2008 Toronto (installation, Mercer Union)

List of works in the exhibition
Cut Cut (2008)
The front and back covers as well as the vinyl of two copies of the Slit’s first album ‘Cut’ (1979) are cut according to the circumference of each track on both sides of the album (there are five tracks per side).

Disco Fall (2008)
A disco ball (20″ diameter) is stripped of its mirrors. For the installation, the hundreds of mirrors lie on the ground directly underneath the revolving Death Star.

Disco Sec (2004-2008)
AUDIO: One hundred records representative of my listening over the years are reduced to the first and last second of each track. The playback of these seconds follows the placement in time on the original cds. Listen to audio  via player above. TEXT: The artists’ names, album and track titles are scrambled to make new sentences. The track titles appearing in the TIMES section are left as is, they are in order of appearance on their respective CD. See full content below.

Doubles (2008)
The lyrics of 12 double albums placed in alphabetical order.

Rimmed Record (2008)
Vinyl records physically reduced to the outer rim, packaged in silk-screened recycled record covers. Playable at your own risk. Edition of 100.

Second Second (2008)
The second second of the second track of two hundred recordings. The playback of these seconds follows the placement in time of the original.

Single (2008)
The lyrics of 45 songs are placed in alphabetical order and each word is allowed only a single appearance.

Smoke Sec (2008)

Strobe Sec (2008)

Sunray Sec (2008)



Sculpture (28.3), review by William V. Ganis.

Mercer Union brochure, essay “A Portrait: Christof Migone’s Disco Sec by Martin Arnold.
Christof Migone told me that he thinks of Disco Sec as a kind of portrait; or, as he’s written: “a structural portrait of a personal history of listening to recordings compacted onto one CD.” Being a portrait, Disco Sec is not a discrete soundwork that happens to use some of Christof’s collection of recordings as its source material; and it’s also not some kind of commentary on or cultural critique gleaned from his listening habits. No, it’s a portrait; and like any portrait it represents just an aspect, just selected parts of the whole of what is being portrayed. Disco Sec “drags forth” (an English translation of the Latin protrahere, the etymological source of “portrait”) particular features, facets (or facets of facets) of his record collection, presenting something that, while new (depicting characteristics profoundly changed by being drawn out and re-experienced through their repositionings), never-the-less remains intrinsic to its source, a re-presented part of it; Christof has created no new material for Disco Sec. It’s a portrait of a “personal history of listening to recordings”; but be careful how you take the word “personal”: Disco Sec is not a self-portrait. Rather, it seems to me that to declare this collection as personal is to celebrate its systematic arbitrariness. In his subtly ambiguous, shady illumination of collecting, “Unpacking My Library”, Walter Benjamin speaks of the radically contingent make-up of any collection: “Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories. More than that: the chance, the fate, that suffuse the past before my eyes are conspicuously present in the accustomed confusion of these books. For what else is this collection but a disorder to which habit has accommodated itself to such an extent that it can appear as order?” But even if this disorder as a whole is Christof’s, many other listeners will encounter their own personal “chaos of memories” engaging Disco Sec, activated by glimmers of recognition or near-recognition. Christof’s collection embodies the kind of wild, uncalculated eclecticism one would hope for from one pursuing the question “I wonder what that sounds like?” as it presents itself in its myriad of contexts. But a music collection doesn’t embody answering that question just once; one collects music—keeps it near—because how something sounds never stays the same from listening to listening.

I collect recordings, lots and lots of recordings; so, not surprisingly, it’s significant to me that Christof has chosen a record collection to run his processes on. Music is a peculiar thing to think of as a thing; it’s more a complex event than an entity. And I have never been convinced by the pervasive inclination in this culture to talk about music as if it were a kind of language; I’ve always experienced music more as going on a trip than receiving a message. For me, music unfolds (and folds and unfolds) an uncanny psychogeography for my imagination to drift through; and as Merleau-Ponty says: “Music is not in visible space, but it besieges, undermines, and displaces that space.” But the aural space that enacts this displacement is radically ephemeral; as Eric Dolphy says: “When you hear music, after it’s over, it’s gone—in the air; you can never capture it again.” This inability to capture music gives recordings a kind of, well, magic: I know that I’m listening to the same performance, but my experience of it is never the same. I look around my apartment at my shelves of c.d.s, l.p.s and cassettes and I’m not looking at objects that I possess, that I contain within my little room; I’m looking at portals to other spaces that will besiege and blow this little room wide open. I think a book collection can give off a similar sense of unbridled potential; but there’s a speed to music that allows the close spatial proximity of recordings to be transformed into the close temporal proximity of listening at a velocity that reading can never match: I can experience what can happen if I listen to Betty Davis after Alice Coltrane after Judith Weir in a quick sitting—efficiently concise in clock time, immeasurably expansive in lived time. It’s the wonder of these disorderly proximities that Christof drags forth, portrays in Disco Sec.

Disco Sec is the name of a series of projects as well as an audio work. I think there’s something about their relationship to the delirious, transient polyvalency of musical experience that distinguishes the physical, visible accoutrements of recordings: album covers are never just packaging and the imaginary dimensions of discs of various sizes always exceed their actual, physical constitution as the hand moves them to the playback machine; the visible elements of recordings are keys and doors and launching pads inextricably linked to their portals, to the invisible—they’re a part of it. These are the kinds of links that bind the visible parts of the Disco Sec project to the audio work. They are portraits as well as they draw out and transform aspects of these keys/doors/launching pads. Again no new materials have been added. Christof calls them “structural portraits” and I find there’s a weird science at work in the formation of these structures: a record rim becomes a new whole (can it really be played? can it really be the visible gate to some other audible space?); and then there’s the quasi-Kabbalistic invention of new texts from song lyrics in Single—an application of a kind of near-gematria/notarikon/temurah as words are rearranged to create new esoteric meanings, as if the lyrics alone could be as unstable in their potentials as the music that embraces them. Even the denuded disco-ball evinces a kind of alchemy: I can’t see it as a stripping away; rather it exists as a strange transmutation—diamonds into lead.

Christof might be getting uncomfortable with this essay as this point. It was in the context of me blurting out my Kabbalistic associations to his work that he demurely stated something along the lines of: “I’m not really into the mystical. I think of Disco Sec as a portrait.” I’m not really into the mystical either; but the idea of a portrait becomes increasingly mysterious the more I think about it. I think this mystery has something to do with these comments Theodor Adorno made about the earliest representational artworks extant: “It is perhaps not irrelevant that the oldest cave paintings, whose naturalism is always so readily affirmed, demonstrated the greatest fidelity to the portrayal of movement, as if they already aspired to what Valéry ultimately demanded: the painstaking imitation of the indeterminate, of what has not been nailed down. If so, the impulse of these paintings was not naturalistic imitation but, rather, from the beginning a protest against reification.”