Listen to Audio Arts: The 1970s Tape Cassette Arts Magazine Featuring Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp & Many Others


As a pod­cast­er, I’ve long since grown used to the idea of peri­od­i­cal­ly issu­ing audio con­tent. But the con­ve­nient record­ing, inter­net, and com­put­er, and mobile lis­ten­ing tech­nolo­gies that made such a medi­um pos­si­ble only real­ly con­verged in the ear­ly 2000s. How would I have gone about it had I want­ed to put out a “pod­cast,” say, 40 years ear­li­er? We have one such exam­ple in Audio Arts, a British con­tem­po­rary art “sound mag­a­zine” dis­trib­uted through the mail on audio cas­settes. “The sev­en­ties were the years of con­cep­tu­al art with text adding val­ue to the actu­al works,” co-cre­ator William Fur­long once said in an inter­view. “As an artist I was more inter­est­ed in ‘dis­cus­sion,’ the idea of lan­guage and the peo­ple that already worked in con­cep­tu­al fields in Great Britain. Soon I realised there weren’t mag­a­zines capa­ble of report­ing such mate­r­i­al inspired by con­ver­sa­tion, sounds and dis­cus­sions. The evoca­tive force of a voice is lost with the writ­ten word as it will only ever be a writ­ten voice.

Fur­long, a sculp­tor, and Bar­ry Bark­er, a gal­lerist, began pub­lish­ing Audio Arts in 1973. Its run last­ed until, aston­ish­ing­ly, 2006, by which time its archives had come to 25 vol­umes of four issues each. Its list of sub­scribers includ­ed the for­mi­da­ble Tate, such fans that they actu­al­ly acquired the mag­a­zine’s mas­ter tapes, dig­i­tized them, and made them all pub­licly avail­able on their web site. No longer must you seek out nth-gen­er­a­tion dupli­cat­ed ana­log cas­settes and dig out your Walk­man; now you can sim­ply stream on your media play­er of choice every issue from Jan­u­ary 1973, “four cas­settes with con­tri­bu­tions from Car­o­line Tis­dall, Noam Chom­sky, James Joyce and W.B. Yeats,” to Jan­u­ary 2006, which caps every­thing off with con­tri­bu­tions by Gilbert & George and Jake and Dinos Chap­man. Oth­er notable artis­tic pres­ences include Mar­cel Duchamp in Vol­ume 2, Philip Glass in Vol­ume 6, and Andy Warhol in Vol­ume 8. Help­ful­ly, Tate has also put togeth­er a sec­tion with tools to explore Audio Arts’ high­lights — some­thing more than a few mod­ern-day pod­casts could no doubt use.

via @WFMU

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Andy Warhol Inter­views Alfred Hitch­cock (1974)

Lis­ten to John Cage’s 5 Hour Art Piece: Diary: How To Improve The World (You Will Only Make Mat­ters Worse) 

Library of Con­gress Releas­es Audio Archive of Inter­views with Rock ‘n’ Roll Icons

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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