Chatter: Tell me a story about an artist doing a sound residency at a paper company that’s trying to make photovoltaic lined paper. The story's about the fear of failure, jealousy and ultimately radical self-acceptance. Tensions emerge halfway through when the team of the company begins to hate the sounds being made and tries to kick out the artist…


In 2022 I imagined myself applying to be an artist in residence at the Sun Sun Paper startup in the middle of America. I made some calls, borrowed some money from the Austrian state, then hopped on a plane made of words without any regard for my family.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thirty minutes outside of Youngstown, the Sun Sun campus is nearly alone in an otherwise abandoned suite of office buildings. Tucked behind a tree line, the parking lot pushes itself against the road, and is dotted with an occasional crack and island filled with planted matter. The entrance to the building is overseen by a fir tree that looks sick and bends away from the sun. I first contacted Sun Sun Paper because they use infected and dead trees to¬ experiment with. They’re making photovoltaic lined paper and are caretakers obsessed with reincarnating wood.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kara stood on the sidewalk in a Braves sweatshirt, flared jeans, and thick, white sneakers. There was no need to wave, we both smelled the optimism and middle-aged hipster aesthetics filling the air. After some pleasantries we shook hands and watched the parking lot fight for space among the clouds. She walked me to the side entrance, past a row of boxy glass windows. There was a half-open roll up garage door with a mess of tools and techy skeletons spilling out into the daylight. She said the team had been there for about a year. They started with twelve but only have ten. Everyone’s on edge about going public. Everyone wants to be paid more. Everyone’s awake. Her voice lives somewhere between the edge of her tongue and the next word.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Five years ago a plague wiped out all of the county’s trees. A small insect (?) managed to sweep across the upgrowth, eating them from the inside out. It was devastating and Kara said Sun Sun was her conscience. She
wanted business to be kind. She wanted business to be natural. Neutral even.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I've lived here for almost twenty years now. I want to build something out of the sickness.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The sky was turning blue. I looked for my shadow as she talked, self-conscious that my reflection would get jealous. She gestured toward a carpeted doorway, then we entered into a mess of paper swatches and solar panels. I can’t remember everyone’s names. There was Andrew, Dwayne, Merlin, Grace, Kara. Merlin scared me the most. Once she passed me a note that said bass made her nauseous then waved an imaginary staff on my shoulders, knighting me with air. She dressed like a wizard, never spoke, and plugged her ears with fair-trade cotton.-------------------Andrew was the most attentive. He had a ritual for the lunch break concerts I would play. While I was setting up he would eat the footlong he bought the night before and get really stoned. Then he would lay as close as possible to my paper speakers and nap for exactly twenty minutes. I asked him how he was able to track time in his dreams. He said that as a kid he trained himself to sleep with minutes. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
One afternoon in late July, Kara invited me to leave the compound. I had a feeling her invitation wasn't entirely altruistic because she seemed to avoid my lunch break sessions and visiting the various sound pieces I'd been working on. She walked slow, measuring her steps, smoothing her blazer. Her flared jeans caught the wind and puffed up like sails around her Jordans. Once we were in her rusty Prius the conversation began. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I still mostly like the music from when I was a kid. I like melody. Cheerful songs. You know, upbeat with big chaotic choruses.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Yeah, it’s hard for me to write happy.
Sure, but lunch is supposed to be like a vacation from the mind.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Uhm hum.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------It’s not that everyone wants to see you fail.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Once my guru told me to eat my ego. To listen to the waves of the market. Look for its soul. Maybe you could think, like, the sounds you make are products and we’re your customers.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Yeah, totally. I'm not trying to make bummer music though. Maybe startup work is just sad.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------We sat for a moment and chewed on the words. She shifted into gear, driving from the parking lot over our reflections. My silence being more defensive than I’d hoped.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If the startup fails, don't you think you'll need a new playlist?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I caught this line before it reached my mouth. And tried again...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I've really liked being here. I haven't spent much time outside of Vienna in the last decade. Everyone's been really nice about all the messes I've made.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Cool. We’re totally awake to your residency.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Yeah? I hope so. Sorry if my music goes nowhere. I just like making something I can sit in.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Seriously, tunes can go a long way. Beats help. They have so much more love than noise.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Where are we eating?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Kara turns up the radio, considers the volume dial.
“The Crossroads” is the best, right. Bone, Thugs and Harmony always helps inspire and center. Some of the guys on the loading dock complained that you make white-boy noise…
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Can we go to Bennigans?

lunch break sets

paper songs - album/ ruff mix

{ working sequence 12 2022