‘Incredibly strange’: Unlimiting RE/Search
Abstract:This article explores the construction by RE/Search of the category of the ‘incredibly strange’. Focusing mainly on the discussion and definitions in The RE/Search Guide to Incredibly Strange Music Volume 1 (Juno and Vale 1993), it outlines and scrutinizes the category and the processes of definition employed. Comparing this to uses of similar concepts in avant-garde aesthetic practice (specifically that of surrealism) and in recent American art theory (notably Hal Foster’s The Return of the Real ), the article seeks to situate the RE/Search conception of the ‘incredibly strange’, and explore the resonances of the term (and particularly the notion of the ‘strange’), in relation to those elements of contemporary cultural practice – the collecting and ‘rediscovery’ of obscure popular musical recordings – on which this issue of RE/Search focuses. It argues that RE/Search deploys the category of the ‘incredibly strange’ in ways that can be understood, when read in relation to avant-garde histories, as conventional, thus rendering the category itself both problematic and productively dynamic.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Manchester Metropolitan University
Publication date: August 30, 2011
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