Laggardism is a study and application of slowness amid rapid boom and bust cycles of unfettered libidinal economies by sound artist and instrument-maker Victoria Shen & rhythmanalyst DeForrest Brown, Jr.Presented in the form of a site-specific sound exhibition and live performance, Laggardism exacerbates the limits of one-size fits all mass-production and distribution models described in Theodor Adorno’s Culture Industry and Alvin Toffler’s The Third Wave. Together, the two artists engage in the construction of a creative vernacular that explores the possibility of falling so behind the edge of innovation that one is ahead of the next. To be a laggard is to be apathetic towards the shock of the new, and staunchly opposed to future-oriented industrial economies while aiming for the destruction of history in the face of a lust for the future...
Artist and performer Shen’s body is the space her work utilizes to restructure sonic meaning. In her live performances, she proposes an exploration between meaning and non-meaning through the physical activation of noise tropes. The appendage-like instruments and objects she makes, exemplify Shen’s ability to embody through sound her interest in the tension created by opposition: control and chaos, the unique and the mass produced, the practical and the absurd. For Laggardism, Shen produced a series of cut-up records in cast resin embedded with found materials, functioning not only as playable music media but as unique art objects. This excavation and recombination of physical indices of the sonic past invites the viewer to unpack one’s relationship with the material possibilities for creating sound and its itinerant meaning.
Expanding on Kodwo Eshun’s chronopolitical theory that “There are no drum-machines, only rhythm synthesizers programming new intensities from white noise,” Brown, Jr.’s Speaker Music is a developing programmatic praxis rerouting sound and gesture into sonic paintings via iPad, or further abstractions through live mixing with Ableton. As a matter of staging a closed stereo field, a rhythmanalysis of the exhibition environment will be factored into the spatial situation of sampled audio alongside improvisational techniques for drumming inspired by percussionists such as Rashied Ali, Max Roach and Steve Poindexter.
Beyond the scope of offline assembly production and online algorithmic feeds, Laggardism sculpts a post-industrial, post-digital musical expression culled from the excrement of a consumer society at the end of the economy.