RADIA #332: HEARTS/MINDS by Matt Middleton
a contribution by Radio One 91FM, Dunedin, New Zealand
a new sound/media art composition by Matthew Middleton crafted in the lead up to the 2011 New Zealand parliamentary elections, Hearts/Minds explores how media language influences public opinion during election campaigns. Interweaving a haphazard collection of media samples and spoken word excerpts from media commentators, philosophers and political theorists, Hearts/Minds evolves through various loosely delineated movements to evoke the delirium of the mass mediascape’s presentation of the political arena, while simultaneously turning a critical and irreverent ear toward the Western press’s ideological mechanisms. Recalling the subversive media experiments of W S Burroughs and John Oswald’s concept of Plunderphonics, Hearts/Minds can also be heard as something of a meta-commentary on authorship and censorship, an analysis of broadcast radio as a medium historically harnessed to ideological and political purpose, and the role of the news media as politically collusive information moderator, c. 2011. Presenting initially as a crude radio documentary, the piece develops into an acerbic mulch of industrial psychedelia.
The multimedia-artist MATT MIDDLETON is based in Dunedin, New Zealand. Working under the Crude moniker for nearly 15 years, Middleton received modest national recognition with the release of his Inner City Guitar Perspectives album on Flying Nun in 1996. Around the same time he garnered interest in the USA which resulted in the release of Refute a Myth Society on Ecstatic Yod records (a collaboration between Ecstatic Peace and Father Yod records). Riding the U.S. interest, the album My Right To Riches by Middleton’s noise-rock band The Aesthetics was released on Ecstatic Peace in 1998. Around this time he began self-releasing his work via his own Dirtlove imprint, a publishing project which currently continues as the label Artless Intent. Middleton received a grant in 2006 to travel to New York City to perform, and it was on his return to New Zealand that he began to explore more seriously the possibilities of installation art and multi-media practice. Middleton’s most recent exhibition, Even More Austerity Measures, at None Gallery, Dunedin, for the week inclusive of july 22–27 2011, explores the relations between current events, political economy and the role of the ‘performer’. Radio sound and radio art is an occasional but strong motif in Middleton’s recordings, especially the deeply affecting psycho-physical power of short-wave drone. His own show on Radio One 91FM, End Times Jukeboxx, explored the sound worlds of the experimental/electronic/avant garde/obscure/eclectic with studio guests and live-to-air performances, and is archived here : http://endtimesjukeboxx.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html Middleton’s work can be followed up on his blog La Decennie Brut : http://crude2010-2019.blogspot.com/, or via his homepage : www.crude.co.nz.