Stenski and the Mass Media – And the Motorcade Sped On – Michael Imporico

This piece from the early 1980’s is a found media collage incorporation news media quotes concerning the assignation of John F. Kennedy and combing them with untra-cheese DEVO’esq dance beats.  I find it interesting to present such serious material is the loose campy way it was.  It makes me wonder how much time has to pass before it OK to do things like this.  Strangely I have a closer personal connection the the early 1980’s sound than the new bits about the assignation.

Upon first listening, it was immediately obvious i was listing to found media clips set to a beat.  This bit of casual listening helped me distinguish the clips of audio as audio from the evening news, as the tone and cadence in the speaking voices seemed inline with broadcasting from the past.  Listening past the clips with voices, which were seemingly in the ‘for front’ of the mix, the inescapable backbeat follows in the mix.  It’s a kitschy beat that screams 1980 – i love it.

Moving into semantic listening mode, I begin to identify the meaning of the new clips.  Clearly they all relate to TV media, beginning with the famous “Heres Johnny”, obviously in reference to JFK, not Carson.  This is made clear by the following clips that reference the assassination of JFK.

Moving further into Reduced listen mode is where I have decided from the sonic queues as to the meaning of this work.  There is a mechanical treatment not only to the clips, but the beats to. There is a persistence in the tempo and beat that also add a mechanical feeling to this work.  I find this to stand in juxtaposition to the content, one of death, which seems outside the realm of machinery.  This is what adds interest to me.

 

-michael imporico

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