Kenneth Goldsmith
The Weather
Make Now, 2005
ISBN: 0974355429

(Publishers Weekly, July, 2005)



Conceptual artist, University of Pennsylvania instructor and WFMU radio host, Goldsmith has earned a great deal of attention for previous projects, among them Fidget (a real-time record of every motion he made in one day) and No. 111 2.7.93-10.20.96 (a gorgeous 600-page cull of words ending in "r"). This elegant new volume continues his adventures in "extreme transcription": it consists entirely of radio weather forecasts, written down every day in the course of a year (20022003) and set as a book with no (or minimal) changes. Even the forecasters' hesitations and stutters show up in Goldsmith's text: "And what we have here tonight is, uh, brisk conditions under partly to mostly cloudy skies, uh, relatively mild, uh, temperatures, uh, staying above freezing all across the region tonight"; "well, we're continuing to watch snow sloat... spread slowly northward, uh, through New Jersey, uh, snowing around Trenton and, eh, Princeton...." These bulletins of sun and storm accrete a kind of documentary power and a minimalist, repetitive charm. Like Goldsmith's radio work, they show an individual artist deforming and triumphing over a mass medium's attempt to reduce voice to data. After 9/11, each day's report also serves to show Goldsmith-as-transcriber, and his audience, that his city is still there.




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