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Keaton Macon

Laurel Doody
637 South Cloverdale Ave Unit 7
July 19, 2015–September 12, 2015

View of “Data Recovery,” 2015.

Keaton Macon’s Data Recovery, 2013–15, comprises 366 field recordings on cassette tapes, one for every day of the year, two hours each, for a total of 732 hours. Playing them back to back, it would take about a month of continuous listening to hear them all. Digital media might have offered the means to logically extend Macon’s exercise to a seamless document of every second of one year of his life, yet the present sample is what it is: Deliberately, overwhelmingly incomplete—indeed, just “complete” enough to indicate an impossible totality—an aural corollary to Sontag’s proposed “image world”—the (finite but unattainable) set of every possible field recording. A marked nostalgia remains the sad partner of the tapes’ inevitable end.

The cassettes line three custom benches, and set into the top of one is a tape deck. The collection is navigable in at least two ways: by the dates on the cases’ spines or by a flip-book of duplicate J-cards—which note, for example, that December 31 contains “Déja vu”; August 11: “Screwed up”; or December 24, Christmas Eve, simply: “TV.” November 4, “it be I / metaphysical man,” features the tinny beat of a Ghostface Killah track. Yet the recordings are mostly ambient, peaceful; not uneventful exactly, but with the threshold of an “event” attenuated to something like (on July 4) a few popping fireworks. It’s not exactly what’s on the tapes that matters so much as their monumentality—their imposing temporal scale. A crow caws on the tape (March 6), and outside the window at Laurel Doody a crow caws in response, and this live crow is now weighted with all this time.

Travis Diehl