CASSETTE, a commisioned poem

Gökhan Turhan
4 min readJul 11, 2023

This piece of pure noise-oriented audio work is indeed the strata of different layers of spoken word and sound bites that I did create in the Summer of 2022 — late August to be precise in an AirBnB near Galata Tower in Istanbul.

I could gaze at a hidden church, and a portion of Bosphorus where it meets the Sea of Marmara. There laid my iRig MIDI controller, mini Rode microphone, and MacBook Pro next a pack of espresso capsules.

The TV was on. I do not own a telly myself. I sometimes award myself with in-city artistic residencies just for a change of air, and that was it. On TV, there was a talk from Art Basel where some of my favorite arts and culture figures such as the Real MPH and Holly Herndon was talking about, wait for it, NFTs. There were people from Folio, too, which, in my humble opinion, is the best non-fungible publishing house.

In those days, I was busy contemplating on how to render the mainstream narratives across the shared set of Crypto Twitter and NFT Twitter. We were yet dealing with faux-foci on the rights of creators where proposed mechanisms were rather aiming at killing the entire idea remix-based cultural critique and creation that was necessary for the evolution of our emergent economies in a much more alluring fashion for the use of knowledge in “society.”

Once you intervene into how markets, that are people and their non-human peers, appreciate the flow of information, you risk a thermodynamic decay. Plus, we had the ideas that aimed at the crucial architecture of smart contractual thinking that almost sounded like they were in place just because of a “warm glow” felt solely by the proposers, or executors.

Thinking about these complex web of human agony over the status grand prix, I was just trying to learn how to record clean audio on Ableton Live, Logic Pro and Presonus because I just wanted to provide the world with another clean reading of Alvin Lucier’s “I am sitting in a room” with my own appropriation and remix of the text.

Yet as the night went by in that smol studio hidden in a cul-de-sac among historical residences just under one of the most crowded avenues on Earth, the silence enclosed my thoughts just like the void in Gomringer’s seminal visual poem “Silencio.”

I, then, too had the financial dire straits of being too early on the scene, and rush of energy went through my already sore neck muscles thanks to my gym streaks. I just wanted to create extremely niché artistic works, and be able to market them on a platform where collectors like to entrust their ether to — to profit in the short or long term.

I first applied to Superrare in April or May 2020, I do not recall precisely, and I just wanted to apply again. All of a sudden, I found myself improvising on the mic, and recorded a couple of haphazard statements that sounded gently cold in the face of short-sightedness of the art market on weeb3.

Then, I retrieved a couple of open source material law texts from their websites and choose a portion of their statements into a dada poem maker. I was wearing the exact clothing that I am wearing now when sweating so hard on that kitchen counter: a pistachio Nike Trail shirt, and a fuchsia Nike runner short.

I sprinted: First, I recorded that poem as a reading, too. Then, another funny conceptual take. On top of these, I created about ten different sound bites in Logic Pro. All too discordant. Sampled a couple of drum ‘n bass intros from others’ sample from cassettes pressed fresh.

Submitted my Superrare application in a couple of days. I really do not like recording myself for submissions. I can comfily speak in front of an auditorium of 1000s but I really do find it insufferable to “share 30 minutes of my own” for a product feedback, or a job, or any other thing application.

Anyways, in the first application in 2020, they responded that there were too many similar artists on Superrare. I always say the content is a real paperclip. Focus on the form. For this one, they have never. The way they TCRd the curational registry demands that you are in a network. But I am a full stack network myself and offer no visible profitability for any collector. Whenever I saw that file titled “work”, I got itchy. It was because i really liked the process, which is a rare case. When it comes to processes that include artistic practices as their background, I am more like Dean Blunt.

Be blunt. Is it boring? Yes. Is not? Then, OK.

Just as I was about to trash that file into the black hole addy, I was chatting with my friend WM Peaster over Discord about our interview from then-following months — first he interviewed me for JPG, then I interviewed him for my own Mirror blog. I like to talk with people by writing in a HackMD notebook.

…and, the finality of that talk was a poem commission.

I wanted to turn all of those files that went to SR application into an admixture of lo-fi cassette spoken word and experimental music, which is pure poetry for a person such as myself per se.