You probably belong to the cucumbers

Original Publication:


In September 2017, I traveled with Rubén Coll and Sara Buraya to Riga, thanks to the European Collaborative Project Midstream, to produce a series of interviews about the exhibition You’ve Got 1243 Unread Messages which was being shown at the Latvian Center for Contemporary Art. That show strove to evince the existence of networks before the advent of the Internet, capable of functioning even independently of international mail. Alongside the multitude of interventions made by curators, collectors, lenders, and researchers, we presented a podcast series that can be listened to here. We also coordinated the piece Full Cycle of Songs by Jelena Glazova.

All of this was accompanied by another research podcast. Making use of the archaeology of media, Rubén Coll and I surveyed a whole range of technologies and media that were part of Soviet Riga’s everyday life. Drawing on Friedrich Kittler’s critical work, in this podcast, we explored several media-originating manifestations, such as the “electronic voice phenomena,” resulting from recording sounds and pretending to hear the voices of ghosts in them Also, the running of Radio Libertad, the sound reproduction of samizdats or clandestine publications, and the magnitizdat or the copying of banned sound materials onto magnetic tape. To crown it all, we delved into the use of that same magnetic tape in the journey that led to the production of those fruitful tape jockeys which paved the way for Soviet clubs.

Thus, with this podcast, we wished to vindicate that whole range of tools and mechanisms which, unfortunately, seem to repeatedly fall outside and separate from the official histories, though they help us, as Kittler or Siegfried Zielinsky note, to explain history itself.