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<nettime> R.I.P. Negativland man, Don Joyce - tour de force sound artist
Molly Hankwitz on Fri, 24 Jul 2015 02:13:28 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> R.I.P. Negativland man, Don Joyce - tour de force sound artist


   Dear nettimers,Â

   It is with profound sadness that I am reporting the passing of a Bay
   Area icon of experimental art, the hugely influential and brilliant
   sound artist/hacker, Don Joyce of Negativland and radio program, Over
   the Edge. An earthquake of loss has shaken the experimenta arts
   community as this news emerges. Don Joyce was an intense and magnetic
   personality, a major influence, an incredible contributor, a true art
   hacker, and innovator. His presence will be sorely missed by all of us
   who came within that aura, that circle, that experience of his sound
   collages. www.negativland.comÂ

   MollyÂ

   Obit here from David EmoryLand:Â

   Don Joyce (2/9/44 - 7/22/15)

   Words cannot do justice to the loss of Donald S. Joyce, Crosley Bendix,
   C. Eliot Friday, Omer Edge, Izzy Isnât, Bud Choke, Leland Googleburger,
   Wang Tool and Dr. Oslo Norway, who all died yesterday in Oakland, CA of
   heart failure at age 71. Perhaps a loud, mournful squawk from Don's
   âBooperâ feedback oscillator would better sum up the feelings of
   Negativland, his comrades and partners in art for 34 years, who are
   devastated. It was Don who coined the term âculture jammingâ, and who
   devoted his life to the art of sound collage and his weekly live radio
   program, "Over the Edge", on KPFA FM in Berkeley, where it has
   continuously lived on the dial on Thursday nights at midnight since
   1981, without interruption.

   Don was a DJ at the station when a mutual friend, Ian Allen (who died
   this past January) introduced him to a group of Contra Costa County
   noise/music artists called Negativland, who entered the station one
   night, armed with stacks of recordings and electronic gear, and
   immediately transformed Donâs ânormal music showâ into a free-form
   collage sound odyssey, totally blowing open Donâs idea of what a radio
   program could be and what a DJ could âdoâ. And in Don Joyce (whose
   initials were conveniently also âDJâ), Negativland had found its âlead
   vocalistâ without even realizing they were looking for one. It was Don
   who took the idea of reshaping previously recorded words â in a
   pre-sampling age â and ran with it to an extent and depth never before
   heard, and never equalled. âRecontextualizationâ became his weapon,
   with the 1/4â tape machine and razor blade his ammunition, and the
   radio âcart player" â an entirely forgotten piece of broadcast history
   using endless-loop tape cartridges, which he used until he death â his
   delivery system.

   When he and Negativland discovered their mutual love for âfoundâ
   sounds, an intensely collaborative creative partnership was cemented.
   It continued non-stop for the ensuing decades, with Don endlessly
   scanning the airwaves of radio and television, along with his massive
   LP collection, for new material, day by day, week by week. There was
   often a TV and a radio on in his room simultaneously, cassette
   recorders always at the ready. And as an extremely shy and often quite
   reclusive person, radio was a perfect medium for Don. He could reach
   thousands of people each week without having to deal with very many
   actual humans, just as he preferred it. Creating art was not only Donâs
   full-time pursuit, it was literally his lifeâs work. He had made it
   clear to the group as recently as a few weeks ago that he was happy and
   satisfied with what he had been able to achieve in his life, and were
   he not able to continue to work, his life would feel as good as over.

   Don Joyceâs singular editing style was laced with profundity and
   silliness in equal measure. His work was that of a dada humanist, able
   to wring unforgettable sentiments and statements out of material which
   originally spoke something entirely different. Hugely inspired by both
   the droll radio of Bob and Ray and the reckless free-form of the
   Firesign Theatre, he created a wicked language of repurposed purple
   prose which has inspired legions of other collage artists over the past
   three decades. He was the father of the form. One need only to listen
   to his work on âTime Zonesâ (on the Escape from Noise album) or âPiece
   of Pieâ (in the No Business CD/book) to immediately tune into his
   unique wavelength.

   He was also an animal lover, a Bob Dylan fanatic, a staunch atheist, a
   convicted (but never jailed) draft dodger, and slept with the radio on.
   Cranky, curmudgeonly, loyal and fair, brilliant, hilarious and
   uncompromising, he was steadfastly devoted to the creation of his art,
   full-time, for more than three decades. He leaves behind not only his
   massive recorded legacy via "Over the Edge", but his work on nearly 30
   Negativland albums, two books, three DVDs, and his giant, meticulous
   paper collages.

   There was Negativland before Don Joyce (though not by much), and there
   will be Negativland after (indeed, Don stopped touring with the group
   in 2010), and he made it clear that he wished for the group to continue
   on in some fashion if he was the next member to go. At the very least,
   there are two nearly-completed albums in the works and possible live
   shows, and, in late 2015, all 34 years of âOver the Edgeâ (5000-plus
   hours' worth) will be available until the end of time on the Internet
   Archive, the result of a multi-year archiving project. But there will
   never be another Don Joyce.

   Don Joyce was born in Keene, New Hampshire, where he spent his
   childhood obsessed with drawing, leading to him getting a masters
   degree in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. By the late
   1960s, he had relocated to Northern California (with a brief stint
   living in Toronto during Vietnam) where he lived, in Oakland, until his
   death. He is survived by his sister, his brother, a spider plant which
   thrived on a window sill through decades of choking cigarette smoke,
   and his Negativland family.

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