“I Contain Multi-Tudes” – A Meditation on the Need for Rough and Rowdy Ways

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Bruce Russell


Since his elevation to the Nobel laureateship, quoting the lyrics of Bob Dylan seems even more apropos to successfully understanding the rubbish which fills ‘modern times,’ and the possible solutions to our current eschatological predicament. In the more-or-less poetic ‘meditation’ which follows, I will use his lyric as jumping-off point for a kind of wilfully Derridean exegesis. My aim is not to attempt to divine what St Bob ‘meant;’ but to use ‘categories’ derived from his words to cast a sideways light on an emergent art form based on improvisation with sound, which I believe can show us the embryo of a strategy for resolving some of the challenges we are currently facing.

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Author Biography

Bruce Russell, Ara Institute of Canterbury, New Zealand

Bruce Russell is an improvising sound artist from Aotearoa New Zealand, who since 1987 has been a member of the Dead C. This genre-dissolving New Zealand trio mixes rock, electro-acoustics and noise. He has also been active as a solo artist, and alongside the polymathic arts laureate Alastair Galbraith in A Handful of Dust.
Bruce has also directed two independent labels, Xpressway and Corpus Hermeticum, and written essays and criticism for The Wire, Bulltongue Review, artists’ catalogues and other publications. In 2010 he published Lefthanded Blows: Writing on Sound 1993-2009 (Clouds) and in 2012 edited Erewhon Calling: Experimental Sound in New Zealand (Audio Foundation/cmr). He has a doctorate in sound from the RMIT School of Art and is currently writing a book about the death of rock’n’roll and the poetics of sound.
Bruce Russell coordinates creative research and postgraduate teaching in creative practice at Ara Institute of Canterbury and is an adjunct associate professor in art and music at the University of Canterbury.