launched from the lower east side, manhattan, in 1983 as a subscription only bimonthly publication, the tellus cassette series took full advantage of the popular cassette medium to promote cutting-edge downtown music, documenting the new york scene and advancing experimental composers of the time – the first 2 issues being devoted to ny artists from the downtown no wave scene. the series was financially supported along the years by funding from the new york state council of the arts, colab and the national endowment for the arts. 

tellus publishers (digital artist and noise music composer joseph nechvatal, curator, former director of the institute of contemporary art, philadelphia and current director of the jewish museum (new york) claudia gould and new music composer carol parkinson, director of harvestworks from 1987 on) never considered running an underground culture audio publication, rather envisaging the compact cassette medium as a no wave fluxus art form in itself. this was quite a unique point of view at a time (the early 1980s), when many self-released cassettes blossomed through mail order and trade between audio artists, mail art folks and hardcore punk bands who were promoting a mostly minimalism punk inspired diy technique of more-or-less anti-art nihilism. but nechvatal and parkinson had met in the mid-1970s dancing as a performance art / minimal art dance trio (with cid collins) influenced by the post merce cunningham postmodern dance/choreography of lucinda childs, deborah hay, yvonne rainer and carolee schneemann (with whom they toured europe in 1978). and they continued to see each other in the art music milieu of the rigorous downtown minimal music scene as they worked for the dia art foundation as assistants to la monte young, marian zazeela and pandit pran nath. so by contrast to a lax attitude, the tellus audio cassette magazine never indulged in rank amateurism. their audio releases were always tightly focused, well researched and aptly curated.

 

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