MASSIMO MAGEE “Hunting Horn and Rotation Studies” C40 (Lurker Bias)

“The ‘Hunting Horn and Rotation Studies’ are a group of 5 audiovisual digital art pieces made with an antique French hunting horn. Each piece is designed to be read by a computer as both a visual still image an audio track, these two readings arising from the same file in each case. The computer sees the two readings as one but they are presented here separately for human observers.”

Take a look at that cover image up there, and you can sort of get what the liner notes are talking about. Each fragment of the front cover is one of the five visual pieces, and the cassette itself comes with the full pieces printed on cardstock. Unfortunately, as a human person and not a computer, I must, as suggested, have the visuals and the audio separated to observe them. Amazing that a computer program takes a visual piece of art and also processes it as sound. Who thought of doing that – whose idea was it to painstakingly create something that human beings can’t even properly ingest without cybernetic brain implants (probably)?

Massimo Magee, that’s who.

I’m familiar with the London-based artist because of his work with Tony Irving on “The Fog,” released by Astral Spirits last February, but he’s got a larger body of work that it’s probably imperative I check out. “Hunting Horn and Rotation Studies” features the titular antique instrument, though, and I keep reading it as a “French horn,” which it’s not; it’s this. What results could only be some weird computer spectrum of sound, an interpretation that’s more surprising than anything. From the twitchy kinetic energy of “Study I” to the micro glitch of “Study IV,” then the twitchy micro glitch of Study III to the frightened ambient of “Study II, “Hunting Horn and Rotation Studies” never stops evolving, which is exactly what you want it to do. Computers aren’t here to regurgitate the status quo – they’re here to blow your mind when manipulated by forward-thinking humans. Magee’s one of those. Probably a cyborg too.