World War Archive



Jim wakes up to find that he possesses a banker’s mind. “WTF?” he thinks. His brain, once a porous as pumice, as nonsensical as doggerel, is now etched with the kind of pretentious linearity as you might find in exclusive social clubs peopled by dudes named Cadwallader. Cadwallader. Are there really guys named this? How’d ya like to crawl through life with a “shibboleth” like this? Life is rough enough without being a branded a Little Lord Fauntelroy poster child. But now being a banker-brain is Jim’s trip. his bag, his raison d’etre. Do the French have a word for this? Jim was in Paris, about ten years ago, and he thinks the French should be a WEE bit more grateful to Americans for pulling their chestnuts outa the fire in World War. but back to Jim’s plight. Now, for example, he’s blind to te disenfranchised and shoeless minions, who came to this shore seeking a better life, but all they found was food stamps, welfare. unemployment and rats. They came here seeking betterment, only to have their teeth dashed out by the cruel reality of inequality.



Jim was in his yard in San Jose.  He looked at the abandoned World War II tank factory across the street, at the chain link and the bench across the street where the switchman from the train yard was sitting. He heard the highway’s brittle dread whine and the yellowish dirty exhaust and the soiled clothes of weary workers going home for the weekend.  Tomorrow,  industry would sleep and its ugliness would be smokeless.



Jim works at an appliance store in Cincinatti where he takes broken or outdated appliances home and interfaces them with old Casios that his friend Alvin, who they call Chipmunk, gives him and integrates keyboard music with the appliances creating what he calls “sonic structures.”  He designs these sound sculptures for pre-existing spaces, usually abandoned factories or Quonset huts no longer used by the local municipality.  He integrates these pieces into these specific spaces.  For example, in his 1975 performance at an old sewing machine factory in Cleveland, he hooked up a series of twenty Casio keyboards with a refrigerator, vacuum cleaner and four dishwashers customized to the cavernous factory, and had a narrator read a political commentary on Nixon’s resignation at the same time. He views his compositions as means, not as ends.  He sees them as merely the latest generation of a lineage of compositions, forms of composition which are not the objects themselves, but the ideas of these  objects, that is to say, the beginnings of a family of compositions.  Specific examples of mathematics, statistics, and physics are applied to Jim’s musical compositions.  For example, he used random points on a plane as generated by distribution of helium atoms in his  *Luminosity Symphony #6*, Cutler’s theory minimal heat in *Aeschylus Unbound*, and topological probabilities in *Bus. * At the 1987 Shell Oil Arts Festival in Montgomery Alabama, he designed a composition specific to the site of an old torpedo factory from World War II.  The following year he was commissioned by the Newhouse Foundation to compose *Nothing Is Ever Resolved *, which he dedicated to political prisoners in the Central African Republic.  By 1989, he had devised a computer system called UNIVEX, which could translate graphical images into musical results.  By this time, due to his commitments, he had to cut down on his hours at the appliance store.