the beep symphony

April 20, 2006

We're here to invite you to an unprecedented investment opportunity, You'll not only be in a position to get an excellent return on investment, you'll be helping to support the arts. And not just any arts, but innovative performance art; automotive music on a scale never imagined previously. The Beep Orchestra will stand as a unique series of events in the histories of both Autocology and Art.

It's an audacious undertaking, but we have an ace in the hole; the entire affair will be led by the world famous drunken mechanic Ivan Ivanov. The musical might of the mechanical maestro, this marvelous maven of music, his engineering expertise and explosive euphonious enthusiasm as seen in his excellent engines and exceedingly engaging edits is known around the world, along with his well-neigh superhuman abilities to consume alcohol in quantities so vast that his bar tab has been compared to the budget of some small nations, Ivanov has been heralded around the world and is cherished and beloved by millions of fans across the planet. His admirers range from bitter music school dropouts who are moved to tears by his ability to construct a harmony so beautiful it can only be played by an electronic musician (any human musician is moved to tears before the melody's haunting conclusion) to crusty old mechanics who have heard the tales of how he retrofitted a classic VW bug with a New York City transit bus' mighty diesel engine, from children who forever remember the Christmas saved by the surprise gift of a solar powered music box, to housewives who have been utterly charmed by his gruff manner and manly good looks.

We're proposing a travelling road show, a core of 500 drivers and their vehicles going across the country, joined by another 500 local artistic visionaries at each performance location. Concerts will be in local sports arenas, with no venue seating less than 30,000 being considered.

Recruiting will be intense. Posters in mechanic's shops will be key; we're going to offer free repairs for people whose vehicles are failing in ways that have certain desired acoustic properties. (The mechanics, many of whom were apprentices to Ivanov, others who have taken his online correspondence course, will receive special instruction in recognizing candidate vehicles, and then in how to persuade their owners to join in the magnificent caravan we are here proposing.) Also, Gas Stations and Junk Yards will sport magnificent banners in brilliant colors, proudly informing people of the mechanical musical mandate that compels us to this tremendous, unprecedented work of performance art.

Perhaps a quick review of the five sections of the Beep Orchestra's Symphony is in order, to take our vision from dry abstraction to visceral imagination, before we push forward and make it historic reality:

Ivanov will find the inner beauty of the horn of every vehicle, from the tiniest tinbox import to the mightiest hulking semitruck. He will make tuning adjustments when needed, and then group every vehicle into large harmonic groups. Ivanov was in a drunken snooze when we went to find out exactly how many groups, but we've heard estimates of between 20 and 30. It's been estimated that Mozart in his prime could have written for about 16 modern car horns, and that calculating the fifth or sixth level harmonics would leave the world's fastest and largest supercomputers as smoldering, hulking wrecks.... and yet this is exactly what Ivanov will do. We're already preparing the requisite crates of schnapps and cranberry flavored vodka he has ordered for the final time of composition.

Here, the mighty trucks will reflect the existential sorrow of an irrational world! Ivanov has already completed a melody of exceeding sadness and soul-stirring beauty. He will configure a bevy of giant semitrucks (and possibly the engine of a freight train, depending on the arrangements available at the local arena) to perform this work....moving in both the literal and figurative senses. Specially constructed megaphones will allow the precise asynchronicity of the engines to generate the saddest song the audience will have ever heard. Ivanov will direct the precision drivers in the revving of their awesome engines to produce this unprecedented emotional event.

After the sadness of the previous movement, the Symphony will move into an spiritually uplifting Aria. Unlike the previous movements, this work will be all about cars in motion and emotion, driving in a tremendous asphalt oval, especially engineered to be reassembled at each arena (carried to the location by the same trucks that featured so prominently in the previous movement) Through a diabolically clever series of stoplights and lane merging signs, a gloriously joyful song will emerge, with heavily miked windshield wipers providing a flowing percussive undercurrent. At every moment, cars will be on the verge of colliding, turning into fireballs of metal and steel, but the ability of these drivers and their cars to survive and prosper will be a testament to the strength of the human spirit under trying conditions.

Only Ivanov would be able to draw out the beauty and music that lies between the stations on an average car radio. An entire series of car radios will be wired into a specially modified keyboard where Ivanov will take direct control over the happenings. In preparation, Ivanov will have both consumed no less than 3 gallons of the local microbrewed beer as well as listened to at least 5 hours of the local radio spectrum, absorbing the local flavor and plotting a unique piece that will be electric for the audience, in a literal and figurative sense.

The triumphant conclusion to the evening's mechanomusical events...these vehicles will generally be old cars and trucks, each badly in need of a tuneup. Ivanov will carefully adjust and modify each engine to backfire in a precisely choreographed way. Similar in form to the Dirge that preceded it, but utterly different in the sense of mood and spirit, the Backfire Chorus will bring the audience to its feet, women throwing babies up in the air, men cheering until their throats are raw like beef tartare. Never again in the history of music or engines will there be a moment of such intensity... the audience will pass the tale of this experience onto their children, and future generations will speak of the legendary Beep Orchestra led by the demigod known as Ivanov.

Obviously an endeavor such as this will be a tremendous challenge....the logistics of engineering, importation of fine liqueurs, securing the appropriate insurance, and publicizing and training the artists to a sufficient degree is enough to make Hercules think about going and finding a nice corner to sit and weep for a bit. But we don't have Hercules...we have Ivanov, and thus the success of this adventure is guaranteed.

We need funding. Already major oil companies are lining up for sponsorship, and every major auto manufacturer, foreign and domestic, are jousting to be more prominently represented in the assembly of cars. With these organizations, as well as other interested investors such as yourself, we will be able to get the financing the Beep Symphony will require. The pre-order tickets have already accounted for half of the necessary total; investors are projected to get four or five times their money back.

Be part of the Beep Symphony. Be part of the mechanomusical history of mankind.

--For an artschool project, Ksenia asked me to whip up some raw text for an idea she had. She's supposed to make up various promotional media for a hypothetical event Unfortunately, this kind of text wasn't the more mundane planning material the teacher was looking for, but I had fun with it anyway. The artwork is hers.