NEWS: The Curves of the Needle @ BALTIC 39, Newcastle | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Theodor Adorno was a German cultural theorist who was perhaps most famous for coining the term “the Culture Industry” but a lesser known fact is that for a long while during the early 20th Century, he researched and wrote about the influence of the then relatively new phonographic record, exploring its role within reproductive technology. During his time exploring this aspect of culture, Adorno used the term Nadelkurven, or The Curves of the Needle, in his work. Despite a slew of other physical technologies coming along to allow us to listen to our music (CD, cassette and even, shudder, the minidisc), vinyl has remained a staple of many music anoraks’ collections since Adorno’s time. BALTIC 39’s latest exhibition, named after Adorno’s writings, explores the cultural significance of the vinyl record collection, bringing together various contemporary artists who have experimented with the format.

Designed as a celebration of the analogue world, The Curves of the Needle displays an array of rare and eclectic visions, often associated with the North East art and music scenes. The artworks on show serve as markers that help to link us to the art of music production; it demonstrates the vitality that vinyl still has today, rather than as a historical artefact alongside today’s digital medias. Artist who have contributed include alt.vinyl, Rhodri Davies, Locus+, Elizabeth Price, Sun Ra and Zoviet*France. There will also be a display of fan-made record covers and inserts sourced from RPM records, as well as a commissioned text on record sleeves by writer Harry Pearson.

The exhibition will also include the first UK screening of Christian Marclay’s Looking for Love, a presentation of Soviet-era bootleg records made on human x-ray plates devised by X-Ray Audio. It sounds bizarre, but it’s guaranteed to be a thoroughly intriguing insight into the vinyl trade during a bleak period in Russian history.

The Curves of the Needle has been specially planned to coincide with Record Store Day on Saturday 18th April and will culminate in a special evening of events for The Late Shows on Saturday 16th May. For anyone interested in the history of music, production and art, this is a truly unmissable exhibition.

The Curves of the Needle comes to BALTIC 39, Newcastle from Friday 3rd April until Sunday 17th May.

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