November 1 – December 10, 12 PM – 8 PM
Bone Music is an exhibition examining a unique episode in postwar Soviet history. From the late 1940s to the early 1960s, inventive Soviet music lovers made illegal copies of banned music on used X-ray film. Their recordings were not limited to Western jazz and rock-n-roll, but also featured Russian émigré music, as well as popular prison and gypsy songs. Putting their freedom at risk, Soviet bootleggers brought some of the hits of the era to a broader Soviet audience and added an exciting chapter to the history of samizdat. Their craft died out in the mid-1960s with the introduction of reel-to-reel recorders, but left a legacy of sonically and visually unique artifacts.
The exhibition on New Holland Island presents research by the X-Ray Audio Project (London). Along with the original recordings on x-ray film, visitors will hear the stories of people who made, distributed and played them. The installation features ephemera of the period immersing the audience in an atmosphere where underground technology, forbidden culture, recycling, Cold War politics, and human ingenuity intersect. It reveals the unintentional beauty of the rare “bone music” disks and accentuates the accidental aesthetics of these artifacts of clandestine production, born out of necessity.e where the recording industry was completely controlled by the state, music lovers discovered an extraordinary alternative means of reproduction.” (Stephen Coates, curator of Bone Music)
Bone Music is curated by X-Ray Audio (Stephen Coates and Paul Heartfield, London). Bone Music has been produced with the support of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.