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A Modern Decameron

Unfolding at hilobrow.com, thanks to Peggy Nelson

The great hilobrow.com website is in the midst of virtual Decameron. Writing in her introduction to this currently unfolding series, Peggy Nelson breaks down the origin of the term and the borrowed concept: “In Boccaccio’s original Decameron (circa 1353), ten friends decamped for a large mansion outside of Florence for two weeks to wait out the black plague surging through their city, and whiled away the time (when not indulging in light agriculture, or heavy prayer) by telling each other stories.”

Following Boccaccio’s lead, Nelson is rolling out a post a day for ten days by people creating something in isolation. This Hilobrow Decameron, which goes by the name Ten Days, isn’t just stories and poems, but photographs, and weird avatars, and of course, sound. In fact, all seven — as of today — entries have some manner of sonic content, Saturday’s in particular:

Day 1, a short essay by Vince Keenan, included this keen observation about a role of eavesdropping in daily life, and about the void left when chance has been severely, even when purposefully, limited:

Day 2 delivered a magically surrealist story by Scotto Moore titled “Teeth,” which included this bit:

Day 3, a collection of photos by Puzzlepurse included this ecclesiastical assemblage:

Day 4, sound by and above and beyond the shore were touched upon in Vijay Balakrishnan’s poetry:

Day 5, the clincher, is a set of carefully selected and artfully treated field recordings, if not gold well still then something, by Jimmy Kipple:

Day 6, Russell Bennetts and Colin Raff produced avatars that match our strange times, including this one with its “gradient grasp-rasps”:

Day 7, today, Monday, April 13, is a piece of fiction by Josh Glenn, the founder of Hilobrow, which includes this dialog regarding a piece of unspooling footage:

There are three more days after today, the last of which is something I wrote. Something, oddly, that has limited sonic content.

Follow the advent-calendar-like unfolding of Ten Days at hilobrow.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comments: 3 ]

One Comment

  1. Josh
    [ Posted April 13, 2020, at 6:37 pm ]

    Fascinating take on this series — wouldn’t have occurred to me!

2 Trackbacks

  • By Day Ten of Ten Days on April 19, 2020 at 8:30 am

    […] week I plumbed the then-in-progress modern Decameron at hilobrow.com for its sonic content, from field recordings to overheard conversation to the sound proximate to the shore. I had a […]

  • By Eavesdrop on June 15, 2020 at 8:38 am

    […] Many thanks to illustrator Hannes Pasqualini (horizontalpitch.com, papernoise.net) for the collaboration. This one is inspired in part by something Vince Keenan wrote during the recent hilobrow.org Decameron. […]

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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