The Hill of Crosses in Siauliai, Lithuania (56°0055N 23°2500E) is one of the most demented folk-art installations on the planet, a thicket of 100,000+ crosses, crucifixes, graven images, minor effigies, rosaries and other pilgrim-offerings dating back almost 200 years and maybe longer. It is a monument to accretion, to the endless addition of one more thing. It has its parallels in the votive-stuffed caves of Arkalochori (35° 8' 0.76"N, 25° 15' 26.94"E) and Psychro (35.1628055°N 25.4448972°E), as well as the Buddha-stuffed caves of Mogao (40°0217.98N 94°4815.28E), Bezeklik (42° 57 22 N, 89° 32 41 E), and Pak Ou (20.0489°N 102.2101°E). At this Hill of Crosses, one rubs up against what Aliferis has called das Überwältigensein (“the overwhelm”) in one of its many forms. In the past, human encounters with the overwhelm were always described in religious terms: a glimpse into the abyss that staggers human speech, and our need to fill that void with a force that eclipses human measure; that is to say, God. But in 2012, our horror vacui has replaced God with ourselves, and the overwhelm we face is a socially constructed one, of endless surveillance and information-gathering, where everywhere is the same and anywhere is nowhere, and where the principle of too-muchness prevails unceasingly: “Labour unparallelld! a wondrous rocky World of cruel destiny / Rocks piled on rocks reaching the stars; stretching from pole to pole.”
Clearly we have lost our bearings. Clearly the need is for something on a smaller scale. Clearly we must reclaim the void. To that end, Fire Museum (39.955117°N 75.161240°W) and Tequila Sunrise Records (39.969203°N 75.14505°W) present this gathering of guitar-driven emanations, the first side leafy, lyrical and acoustic, the second side an astringent application of electric gnarl. “Circle of Crosses” brings together folk pythia Dora Bleu (guitar and vocal) with psych-improv wizards Sam Shalabi and Tom Carter (guitars and other instruments). It links Tripoli (32°548N 13°119E) to Washington D.C (38°5342.4N 77°0212.0W) and Houston (29°4546N 95°2259W), not to mention Mile End (45°3130N 73°3500W) to Louvain-la-Neuve (50° 40 4 N, 4° 36 42 E). Consider these songs map coordinates for safe-houses from das Überwältigensein, a set of precise locales for ecstasy, atheist shrines, or open spaces for reverie in the forgotten recesses of the planetary connectome.
-- John Cleves Symmes Jr (39°2342.89N 84°3341.44W), Tequila Sunrise Records
FOR LEONARD'S ISAAC
IMPROVISATIONS ON SILENCE
Dora Bleu's web page
Tom Carter's web page
Sam shalabi's Alien8 page