he has been and remains a figure whose sound work is very important to me, so i thought i’d share it with you all.
he was a sound poet who used reel-to-reel tape as his paper, performance instrument, and collaborator.
Chopin is lesser-known than some artists even in the concrete world, so if you don’t know his work, there’s no time like the present to discover it — quite a lot is available online.
His work spanned more than just experiments with audio tape, as a graphic and visual artist and even a typographer. His poems took striking shape as visual art, like the dagger formed with a typewriter, at right (via the dbqp blog, below). As a magazine publisher, he brought together works by characters from William S. Burroughs to the Fluxus gang. I have to admit, much as I love some of the power of the blog world, I don’t think we have anything approaching the insane avant-garde magazines of the 20th Century. (But, then, maybe we’re just waiting for the 21st Century’s Erik Satie. Or maybe we need to spend more time learning from the likes of Chopin — Henri Chopin, that is.)
So far, I see these obituaries; please feel free as always to add other comments, memories, reflections, or links. Via Harriet, we learn that Chopin died peacefully at home with his family in England at age 85:
Henri Chopin (1922-2008) [obituary by Kenneth Goldsmith, Harriet blog (Poetry Foundation)]
Tribute to Henri Chopin [Soul Sphincter]
When Sound Ends, Vision Endures [words, images, and more following his death, from dbqp: visualizing poetics]
And you think you can do strange things on a mic? Watch this: