SMS Listening Party Recap
By Emily Pothast
posted: 03-27-09
Marcel Duchamp Cover for SMS #2 1968.
Image Source

"The next piece we listened to may be considered the pièce de résistance of the SMS Portfolios.  Marcel Duchamp’s cover for SMS #2 consists of a seven-minute recording of Duchamp playing contrapetrie, a Surrealist word game that creates meaningful phrases from similar-sounding words.  A spiralling example printed on the opposite side of the record, “Esquivons les ecchymoses des Esquimaux aux mots exquis,” (literally “Let us evade the bruises of Eskimos with exquisite words”) provides a visual counterpart reminiscent of Anemic Cinema.  While the French audio was met with varying levels of comprehension, the artist’s endearing inclusion of a single English pun, “My niece is cold because my knees are cold” brought laughter to the entire room."

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