John Duncan

Stun Shelter

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This CD was released by the Nicola Fornello Gallery through John Duncan's Allquestions imprint. It comes in a DVD case with a luxurious 60-page book. In September and October of 2003, Duncan and Carl Michael von Hausswolff presented interpenetrating installations at the Nicola Fornello Gallery. Duncan's "See" is a visual cut-up of scenes from adult films he directed in Japan in the mid-'80s. Actors fake intercourse, their moans and grunts echoing in the art space, occasionally subdued by Duncan's processed Japanese imprecations. Hausswolff's "the Thinner Bar and Glue Lounge" consists of two separate elements: a bar made of glass and metal displaying rows of identical cans of paint thinner, and loudspeakers emitting low frequencies; lounge chairs and coffee tables with cans of glue, and loudspeakers emitting high frequencies. Both installations toy with our perception of stimuli (sex acts that are not sex acts -- our imagination filling in what taboo left out -- and physical reactions that find their source in sound waves one cannot "See"). "Stun Shelter" is the combination of the audio components of both works. The unstable frequencies, flapping against eardrums and insinuating themselves into the listener's very innards, provide a disturbing background for the cavernous moans of the Japanese girls. The resulting piece, 66 minutes long, fully occupies the listening space. There is no real development of the sound materials -- they are not meant to be developed, but to impregnate the mind of the listener through time. And despite the fact that the subject is very different than Duncan's The Keening Towers, the result is similar: the listener feels displaced out of time and into a troubled psyche. The cries of children have been replaced by moans of pleasure. Ela Bialkowska's numerous photographs provide a sleek glimpse at the visual component of these installations, while Daniella Cascella's essay leaves enough questions unanswered to allow the piece to make its own impact.

Track Listing

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