As part of the Other Places Art Fair, I gave a short talk in October 2020 titled Like Gold and Faceted /// The Story of Earth 2 Special Low Quantity Version (Autofact Records, 2003). This was the official description: In November 2003, Autofact Records issued a limited edition, triple LP edition of Earth’s mind-erasing album ‘Earth 2.’ It’s a remarkably devotional object – stark, leaden, arcane. No expense was spared in its production, no detail left unexamined. It would stand as the definitive document of a masterpiece. Six months later, the owner of Autofact Records was sentenced to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud. Host Ethan Swan digs into these two intertwined events and the forces of participation, compulsion, and justice in underground music circles.
Josh Hunt and I met in 2004 after he got out of prison the first time and before he went to prison the second time. I think he ran one of the best record labels ever even though Autofact was a complete disaster and made him many enemies. This is one of the most compelling stories I know and it connects to many ideas I think about all the time. My idea was to make like a lazy podcast, where I tell a true crime story about obsession and creative activity and mistranslation but I don’t actually interview any of the people involved or, like, bring in experts. It’s a kind of harrowing/kind of ridiculous story I watched unfold from beginning to end.
A few people asked if the documentation of the talk would be available and I said no. I have always wanted to write about it but the reality is that everyone involved is still around and desperately wants to forget all about it. I thought the most responsible place to share it might be the fleeting intangibility of an online talk as part of Other Places Art Fair, self-described as “fluid in definition, bonded by an intention to operate in other places.” But in January 2021, Ohio passed a really disgusting and cruel law designed to reduce access to abortion, part of a much larger wave of legislation like this, so in response I transcribed the entire talk and laid it out as a zine with all the images from my slideshow. The zine was available at that time for a $10 (or more) donation to Women Have Options/Ohio Fund. $400+ were raised via the zine. I recently got asked to print some more copies so it is available again – email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your receipt and address and I will send out a copy. Or buy it here and I will make the donation. You will have to pay $4 in shipping if you order it here, but I will just add that to the amount sent to WHO.