“Off the dome and into it”: Three Tracks by Ronaldo Wilson

Today calmaplombprombombbalm.com releases its second data dump of the season. Last week (see announcement here) we brought you Moving My Vowels by Charlie Morrow. Today we’re ecstatic to present three audio recordings from poet/performance artist Ronaldo Wilson‘s improvised poetry project Off the Dome: Rants, Raps, and Meditations:

“FoodMaxx Parking Lot” by Ronaldo Wilson (6:50, 6.6 MB)

“Hotel Room Emeryville Mountains” by Ronaldo Wilson (6:41, 6.4 MB)

“Imagine a Battle Where…” by Ronaldo Wilson (2:26, 2.3 MB)

These three tracks were recorded in three locations between April and June of 2012. Utilizing the recording capabilities and portability of the iPhone, Wilson hits “Record” and doesn’t “Stop” till he’s completed his sequence. Between these two points we find every word, speech-sound, and environmental sound captured by the mic. This form of performance-recording allows us to engage with Wilson as well as with the physical environment that informs and accompanies his verse. In the first track, we meet Wilson among the rattling shopping carts and humming cars of a FoodMaxx parking lot. The second and third tracks take us to walled, interior spaces. Playing off the contained resonances of the room and the muffled sounds outside, Wilson’s lyrics take us to the windows of his shifting external and internal environments.

In his introduction to “Street Songs”, a 3-track selection from Off the Dome released this month by The Conversant, Wilson describes his process as “entering into a streaming, internal conversation that vocalizes questions around, race, representation, selfhood and place… In each place, I engage in various activities that find their way into my current thinking and play with various forms of totally improvised, “off the dome” poetry, rap-battles, meditations, and songs.” A line from “Imagine a Battle Where…”, published here, adds further insight into Wilson’s internal conversation and environment: “I’m not talking about you directly; I’m moving around you. It’s called location’s indirection” (editor’s transcription). The three tracks released here cover all of the above, meditating specifically on a constellation of topics from the Trayyvon Martin murder to the Oulipo to trash talk at a party to the poet’s own aesthetics to the children’s song “There’s A Hole in My Bucket” to Dionysian violence to references to and celebrations of poets CA Conrad, Duriel E. Harris, Sylvia Plath, and Phillis Wheatley.

Admirers of the Off the Dome project should especially focus on “FoodMaxx Parking Lot” for its explications of some dynamics of the work: “I’m simply going off the dome and into it”; “If you scream off the dome and you walk in flip flops, you think that you’re always a cop, but you’re not because you just got copped”; “Understand it’s off the dome and into it; Respiratory figures” (editor’s transcriptions). In one particular breath, Wilson states, “I’m going off the dome every single day.” If this is true, and let’s hope it is, then there’s an abundance of audio to look forward to from this great poet.

Two more releases of selections from Off the Dome: Rants, Raps, and Meditations will be released by The Conversant next month. Stay tuned for more audio and other media from calmaplombprombombbalm.com this and every week.

Some Data

“I link, therefore I am.”

-RE: Nay de Carte

-1. (hi)


1. Today’s data dump begins with SOUNDWORKS, produced by the Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA), London. SOUNDWORKS is a compilation of audio recorded, performed, curated, or otherwise developed by 100 international artists. Here we find sounds like Benedict Drew’s enunciated car colors, Rosella Biscotti’s minimalist remix of KRS-One (the referenced song found here), Scanner’s musical treatment of murmers and mutters, and Michele Di Menna’s collaging of everyday beeps, ticks, and clicks. From ICA’s exposition of the project:

SOUNDWORKS embraces the ephemeral nature of sound, and presents an online platform that doubles as a virtual exhibition space. This site aims to make the works internationally accessible, a place to explore the genre as a medium which is simultaneously inclusive, interactive, and subversive. It includes a wide range of audible approaches by artists who have been working with the medium for many years, as well as artists taking their first venture into the sonic arts.

Click here for a direct link to SOUNDWORKS. Many thanks to Margaret Tedesco of [2nd floor projects] and KUSF in Exile‘s Roll Call for bringing this to our attention.

2. Next we have a page of bloody research conducted by artist Cassie Thornton. In her recent work, Thornton’s projects often revolve around personal visualizations and enactments of debt (often student loan debt) and security. Here Thornton takes a slight detour to commodified ichor, splattering your screen with joy ($10). Other projects not to miss are Wealth of Debt and her Application to the London School of Economics. EDUCATION DELIVERS PEOPLE, a re-writing of Richard Serra’s video TELEVISION DELIVERS PEOPLE (1973), premiered at Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco this year and is forthcoming from calmaplombprombombbalm.com. More information on Thorton can be found on her website.

3. Third we have some tracks from experimental electro-jazz composer/musician/collaborator Vijay Iyer. Of particular interest might be the techno-poetic-operatic collaboration between Iyer, Mike Ladd, and Pamela Z: Cleaning Up the Mess (2007). This track came to our attention through Pamela Z’s June 2012 Gazzetta in which Z announced a recent collaboration between the three. No information is available as to the release of this new track, tracks, or album, but, when it surfaces, not enough data will provide. The interested might also check out Pamela Z’s site with information about her ongoing ROOM performance series as well as Mike Ladd’s site which features a new track “Kids and Animals”.

2. Our last dump of the day comes from the people who brought you MAKER’s MONEY (reviewed in a previous post). TROLL THREAD is a publishing collaborative run by Holly Melgard, Chris Sylvester, Divya Victor, and Joseph Yearous-Algozin. It’s the kind of press that does too much (and, for this, we are grateful), championing the literary data dump (copy, paste, reformat (or don’t reformat)) while offering challenging and refreshing departures from conceptual, minimal, and visual writing. Simply, in the words of the press, “TROLL THREAD IS TROLL THREAD.” Time will tell how this beast evolves… For direct, free access to their books in .pdf form, click on the large cover images on their site. For more information on TROLL THREAD, check out CA Conrad’s interview of the publishing collective on his blog 8-Pointed Star.

1. Stay tuned tomorrow for a fun-in-the-sun second installment of the not enough data Summer Reading List.


-1. (bye)