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Gertrude Steinbot (Mixed Media)

As a member of the Second Land collective, my role could be best described as "vocalist" although I don't often use my own voice. Second Land is an audio/visual collective. We are Luke H., Curt S., Dani S. , Dylan K. and Aaron L. We use various acoustic and electronic devices to create improvisational performances. To create the "Gertrude Steinbot" routines, I found passages of writing by Gertrude Stein. I recorded text-to-voice renditions of the words and then used the recordings to add atmosphere to the words. Text-to-voice may be considered by some to be an overused technique, but even that seemed appropriate for such repetitive passages. For live performances with Second Land, I do use my own voice to read writings like the one included here entitled "Mick Jagger vs. Gertrude Stein."

  • Gertrude Steinbot Online

    I created the vocals for this recording with a text-to-speech reader and a handheld audio recorder. The text is excerpted from the "Rooms" section of Gertrude Stein's 1914 book, "Tender Buttons." This audio was published as track 4 of Second Land's 2013 album, "The Copycat Sessions" on Earstroke Records.
  • Performing with Second Land at Artomatic

    This is a photo of me and other members of Second Land, during a performance at the Artomatic multimedia arts event held in Washington, D.C.
  • The Daily News

    "Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense." — Gertrude Stein This video was created using CrazyTalk Animator, one of its stock animation characters, and a still image from the Larry King Live television program. The audio was created with a text-to-speech reader and a handheld audio recorder. The text is excerpted from Gertrude Stein's 1933 self-published work entitled "A Long Gay Book."
  • Mick Jagger vs. Gertrude Stein

    "Angie," the 1973 song by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards; and "Susie Asado," the poem written in 1913 by Gertrude Stein: they both have some traits in common. For example, they're both named after women and they're both repetitive. With this mashup, I imagine that the two works are sharing a duet with each other.
    PDF icon Mick Jagger vs. Gertrude Stein

Strange Punctuation (Spoken Word Album)

Editing recorded words is very much like editing written words. You can add, subtract, rearrange the sounds in very much the same way that you can on the page. With sound there are additional ways to edit. You can revise the speed, pitch, volume, echo and decay. This prompted me to title the album "Strange Punctuation."

  • Cloud Check

    This recording was made in a studio, not in a bar. The poem was then "destroyed" by adding ambient noises and crowd heckling to make it sound as though it came from an open mic night. Such an environment has been the untimely death of many poets' poems, and this piece is poking fun at that.
  • At the Nuyorican Poets Cafe

    I traveled to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in NYC to test out some of these poems on an audience.
  • Morning Exploded

    This is a mashup of a song about peace and a song about war, our national anthem, which was also written in Baltimore and is also a mashup of songs.
  • Thoughts on a Suitcase

    This poem contrasts the idea that "you can't take it with you when you go" with our tendency to take so many things with us when we travel.
  • You Can't Prop the Sun

    This poem was originally recorded as several poems and a few bits of random conversation. They were edited together, and sounds were added, to form what you hear.
  • Strange Punctuation (Cover)

    This is the cover of the Strange Punctuation spoken word album.

Flashing in the Sun with a Glitter of Knives (Essay)

This essay lays out a basic introduction to the art movement known as Futurism and then offers some thoughts about how the tactics used by the Futurists might be useful for contemporary literature. It was published in the inaugural issue of Magic Octopus.

The typographic illustrations that accompany this essay were created by Alex Masica.

The Doppler Effect (Short Story)

“The Doppler Effect” is a short story published in the fifth issue of Seltzer magazine. It’s a story about an urban fire. It’s a story about existential differences. It began as an experimental attempt to write prose without adjectives, an attempt which was only mostly successful.

Original publication: http://www.seltzerzine.com/2013/06/24/the-doppler-effect/

  • The Doppler Effect (Short Story)

    This short story began as an experimental attempt to avoid the use of all adjectives but one. The attempt was only mostly successful, but the resulting work of fiction takes its tone from that attempt. See if you can spot the critical adjective here.
    PDF icon The Doppler Effect (Short Story)
  • The Doppler Effect (Short Story)

    “The Doppler Effect” is a short story published in the fifth issue of Seltzer magazine. It’s a story about an urban fire. It’s a story about existential differences. This is a screenshot of the story's appearance in Seltzer on the page at http://www.seltzerzine.com/2013/06/24/the-doppler-effect/

What's the Catch? (Spoken Word Performance)

This is a work of spoken word performance art. I think of its script as a Fluxus score and of its performance as a “routine” in the manner of William S. Burroughs. A Fluxus score, like a musical score, is a sort of recipe for a performance, but is not a set of strict instructions. A Burroughs routine, like a vaudeville routine, is a spoken word piece that is theatrical and improvisational, changing with each performance.

I've performed this routine a few times before: first on the Ed Schrader Show, then as a featured performer at “Speak Your Piece” with the use of actual telephones, then in Knoxville, Tennessee, with a larger variety of telephones. With the August 2013 performance, I was able to actually ring the old phones and use an overhead projector for added imagery and atmosphere.

My script calls for a single voice although it depicts multiple conversations. A slash mark “/“ indicates a shift from one telephone conversation to the next. These are snippets of a conversation that happen over and over again forever, each time with only slight variation.

There are two sides to the conversations here. The first: things that a telemarketer would say on the telephone, such as “you’re eligible to be entered into our fifty thousand dollar sweepstakes” and/or “how would you like to buy a subscription to TV Guide?”. The second: a series of responses, like “what’s the catch?” or “I can’t talk now, I’m busy” or “he isn’t here right now. Can I take a message?”

Instructions for the actor are simple:

Pick up a ringing telephone. Say part of the script.
Hang up the telephone.
Answer another ringing telephone. Say more.
Hang up, repeat as desired. Use varying speed and tone.

  • Detail Image of Telephones

    These are the telephones used in the performance. Many of them malfunction in various ways, but most of them will ring when they receive the correct electrical current. For the purposes of this piece, ringing is the only function the phones need to retain, which makes them easy to collect.
  • What's the Catch? (Photo of Performance)

    This is a photo from an earlier, featured performance of "What's the Catch" at Singer's Speak Your Piece night in Baltimore. This performance was much more fast-paced than the one depicted in the video.
  • What's the Catch? (Photo of Performance)

    This is a clearer image of the performance at Singer's.
  • Tele-Q Telephone Ring Voltage Generator

    This device (pictured from the back) is a Tele-Q Telephone Ring Voltage Generator that has been modified to ring up to 10 analogue telephones simultaneously, as opposed to the default 1. It runs on a standard 9-volt battery.
  • Tele-Q, modified

    This is the inside of the modified device, showing the original device inside.
  • What's the Catch? (Video of Performance)

    This is a video of a performance of "What's the Catch?" at the Charm City Art Space, during the first Projection Speaker Series event on August 17, 2013. Performances in this series all make use of an overhead projector, as seen here. For this performance, the telephone ringing device was operated by Paul Mericle and the overhead projector by Francisco Esteban.

Infinity's Kitchen (Literary Journal)

I am the founding editor of Infinity's Kitchen, a graphic literary journal of experimental and conceptual writing. In it, I seek to publish work online and in print that is experimental or conceptual by nature, work that invents a new recipe for how it is made or work that reinvents an existing recipe in a compelling way.

I would like to thank Tony Venne, Graphic Designer, and Deborah Stein, Associate Editor, for their contributions to this project.

  • Infinity's Kitchen No. 6

    The sixth and latest issue contains work from 14 international contributors and includes homophonic countdowns, fusion sonnets, visual poetry, word squares and an essay on poetry for multiple voices. Its release was celebrated with a reading at the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn, New York.
    PDF icon Infinity's Kitchen No. 6
  • Detail of Cover of Infinity's Kitchen No. 6

    The sixth and latest issue contains work from 14 international contributors and includes homophonic countdowns, fusion sonnets, visual poetry, word squares and an essay on poetry for multiple voices. Its release was celebrated with a reading at the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Cover of Infinity's Kitchen No. 5

    Weighing in at more than 100 pages, this is the largest edition of Infinity’s Kitchen ever. It includes constrained writing, antonymic poetry, a hypertext cento poem, visual poetry, algorithmically generated poetry, socially generated poetry, literary criticism, prose in Russian doll form and even an apocalyptic press release.

Augury (Spoken Word Audio Collage)

voice recording, found sounds
2013

Party Planet (Play)

My 10-minute play entitled “Party Planet” was performed by the Annex Theater as part of Artscape, on July 19-21, 2013. The play is a dark, farcical story about astronauts.

This iteration of the Annex Theater’s 10-minute plays celebrated the short attention span with short plays presented by international and local writers and a host of local talent activating the street space all weekend. The Annex Theater constructed a three-tiered stage on the concourse outside of Baltimore's Penn Station, at the feet of the giant man/woman sculpture there. It was a great place to watch plays: on a stage and on the street at the same time.

My play is based on a script written by the composer Erik Satie entitled Le piège de Méduse. I interpret that Satie, as a composer, was "composing" (not exactly "writing" or "scripting") the sounds and actions of the actors and the interstitial music in order to arrive at the experience, which must have seemed delightfully nonsensical back in 1913. I also suspected that the nonsense was only a side effect of the intended effect, so I sought to borrow his "recipe" so to speak, to make something with only slightly less nonsense involved.

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About Dylan

I'm looking for the right literary processes, good recipes, so to speak, that yield new and interesting forms. While writing, editing or performing, I am very conscious of my process. I ask myself: am I going about this in an interesting way, or am I following an uninteresting recipe? Are the ingredients... more

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