From William Furlong and Audio Arts, a New Book – NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/arts/design/29furlong.html


For a couple of decades the lowly plastic cassette tape, full of good sounds, cheaply copied and passed around like samizdat, served as creative raw material mostly in the indie-music world and the college dorm room. But in London in the early 1970s, a conceptual artist named William Furlong began harnessing the cassette for his unlikely purposes in the visual arts. The motivation wasn’t dauntingly conceptual: he and his friends talked a lot and listened to the conversations of other artists and realized something.
“It became apparent to us,” Mr. Furlong said in a telephone interview last week from his home and modest recording studio in the Clapham section of London, “that none of that talk and none of our interests were being met by any traditional arts publications.”
Phaidon Press has now published “Speaking of Art,” a small sampling of the immense undertaking that resulted from that dissatisfaction. Beginning in 1973, with the help of a few collaborators, Mr. Furlong created Audio Arts, a no-budget “magazine” composed solely of cassette recordings of interviews with artists Mr. Furlong found interesting. He mailed them to friends and subscribers, at first hundreds and then thousands.
The critic Mel Gooding, in the book’s introduction, invokes the provisional title that Joyce used for many years for “Finnegans Wake” — “Work in Progress” — to describe the spirit of Mr. Furlong’s enterprise, noting that another provisional title for Joyce’s novel would have applied just as well to the vast audio archive: “Here Comes Everybody.”

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