So I mentioned a few pages back, that I’ve recently discovered the Ubu podcasts. I’ve long been a fan of the site, but have only recently discovered the podcats.
For those of you inclined to seek it out, the second of their podcasts is about Outsider Art. And included in this cast is a very interesting series of recordings by Jim Roche.
The following text is written by Roche himself, and is quoted from the Ubu site (you can read the complete text here):
I first started doing the tapes while living in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. The sixties were ust over and Americans had polarized themselves completely on political, economic, and racial issues. I had traveled all over the forty-eight main States by then and realize now that the audio work is indeed d summation of travel in the sixties, viewed through a seventies reality that (although I did not know it back then) predicted conditions for the eighties that are starting to appear.
My primary work has been in the Visual arts working through the museum exhibition system. The sculptured narrative installations I was doing at the time of the tapes were composed in part with actual “human condition” packets. These were pinned up solidly, shoulder to shoulder, and covered entire walls of these participating museums. These narrative (readable) fragments of a rapidly changing culture were torn out of newspapers, received through the mail, removed off poster Walls and, in general, taken from all sources. They were then sewn up in clear plastic for protection and installation use. A visitor to the museum could spend time reading about thousands of recent incidents that, when viewed in total, accurately represented to my satisfaction the human culture condition at the time. These packets were literal evidence of our cultural goings on” taken from sources available to all. In short, they were for public, by public, but offered me a chance to juxtapose content at Will and thereby imply and seek d change of context. In contrast to this impactual sculpture, the audio tapes were an opportunity for me to explore private thoughts about “felt” evidence taken from sources that were not so readily available.
Most of the early work had me in d suppose/ remember situation which I would describe and recount via the microphone and it is this work and the total body that developed from 1971 to 1976 that form the basis for this double stereo-record set of thirteen separate selections.
As described on the podcast, Roche began these monologs by going to galleries in Soho (the major district of the time), went into a trance, and performed some of these different characters, channeling parts of his and our history. And evidently, this practice of impromptu performances in the galleries got him blacklisted for some time. Regardless, the recording have a peculiar fascination.
It seems now he teaches at FSU.