Eric Schmid; A Channel, Dedicated to MichaelRecital
In 2013 I was living in California working as programmer and would talk to ‘our friend Eric’ (I owe this formulation to Rachelle Rahme) on the phone every few days – he’s always liked talking on the phone and I liked it then because I could take breaks from work and it was also nice to talk with our friend who was living in New York, where I had just recently left, but where most of my thoughts that were not related to work continued to be. He left a year and a half before I did just after the beginning of our final semester at school. He’d returned to the city to finish school shortly after I left to go to work. Now I am living in New York and he is in Chicago. From August 2014 to October 2015 we were both living in New York. On one of our phone calls he talked about an idea for art production that involved recording all his phone calls. At the time he had been writing these poems and a lot of his calls would come directly after he had emailed a poem to me because he wanted feedback.
I think that this CD comprised of all of the voicemails found on his phone dating from the years 2010-2015 is a response to that idea. “We have a calling to redeem weakness in the moment and to treat this indeterminate material as the solution to psychic stabilization,” he once said. Recently when I played him some recordings I had been working on he reminded me that I had expressed discomfort at his proposal to record all of his phone calls, so he did not do it. As someone who would talk to him on the phone every few days while I was on a break from work I was naturally uncomfortable with this idea because of a concern that it would alter the way that I would communicate with him.
I know that his poems had altered the way that I corresponded with him through email and text and the nature of communication over the phone seemed in that sense less productive – over the phone communication could occur with our friend about art and life without concern for the immediacy with which the one could be interpolated through the other. The voicemails that are found on a phone are the result of an undirected editing process over time and the production of an album from them is the result of an automatic export process – a found form. I like to think about the voicemails in relation to our friend’s bag sculptures and poems. What is the bag? We say: a vessel, something of the kind that holds something else within it. He reminds me that in this context it may be fruitful to make reference to Dieter Roth’s “Flat Waste”, the various vagaries of life, self-portraiture, and auto-biography.”
- Michael Pollard, June 2016