Dead Fingers Talk 2012 – The Mayan Caper is a series of sound art works and experiments by artists, musicians, writers, composers and curators inspired by the work of William Burroughs.
Few writers have exerted as great an influence over such a diverse range of art forms as William Burroughs. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch, The Soft Machine and Junky, continues to be regularly referenced in music, visual art, sound art, film, web-based practice and literature. One typically overlooked, yet critically important, manifestation of his radical ideas about manipulation, technology and society is found in his extensive experiments with tape recorders in the 1960s and ’70s.
In 2010’s Dead Fingers Talk at IMT Gallery, London, contributors were asked to provide a “recording” in response to Burroughs’ tape experiments. Following on from this Dead Fingers Talk 2012 – The Mayan Caper at Galleri Box revisits some of these diverse works alongside what Burroughs called ‘Playback’ recordings: parapsychic manipulations of time and space that he believed would have definite, sometimes disastrous, effects.
Burroughs’ described his use of the texts and recordings of others as “closer to the facts of perception” than traditional artistic activity, which make his ideas especially relevant today amidst heated discussions on the copyright and reuse of audiovisual culture.
Inspired by the painter Brion Gysin, and yet never meant as art but as a pseudo-scientific investigation of sounds and our relationship to technology and material, Burroughs’ tape experiments provided early examples of interactions essential for artists working in the digital age. This new exhibition demonstrates the diversity of attitudes to such a groundbreaking period of investigation.