Ken Sitz

Aldous Huxley wrote of the quality of the sound in the Mojave in his 1954 essay “The Desert”: “But the light forgives, the distances forget, and this great crystal of silence, whose base is as large as Europe and whose height, for all practical purposes, is infinite, can coexist with things of a far higher order of discrepancy than canned sentiment or vicarious sport. Jet planes, for example -- the stillness is so massive that it can absorb even jet planes.”

"Through all its stern lessons in attentiveness and indifference, the desert points to a beauty and wholeness found only on the far side of emptiness. In the desert wildness we meet an untamed God who upsets every expectation, destroys all order as we have known it."

Belden C. Lane, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes

Brick (1994): 600 bulk-erased 8-Track cartridges, blue plastic tarp and database documentation.

Bulk-erasing has rendered these objects mute. This invisible act leaves no trace of music to contradict or confirm our construction of the past. The disruption of nostalgia honors memory even if memory cannot be retrieved. Sitz repositions the stillness in Brick, the soundtracks of which have been erased, a redundant act taking second place to a technology rendered largely obsolete. All that remains is the noisy promise of the package, fading slowly in the sand.


Ken Sitz was active in the music scene in New York in the late 70’s, covering the NYC for V. Vale’s Search & Destroy magazine, promoting Ed Bahlman’s 99 Records, co-founding the bands The Yorks and Khmer Rouge, playing CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City, the Mudd Club and Irving Plaza among others venues including the first Noise Festival at White Columns. He was also deejay Mr. Mod Monday at Tramps’ long running Mod Mondays and created the Naive Rhythm Nights series to promote downtown bands like Liquid Liquid, Dog Eat Dog, Konk, and Off Beach.

Moving back to San Francisco in 1983 he worked as a printer and gave lectures on typography at San Francisco State University Art Department. Working with photographer Judy Steccone he collaborated and designed SF Art Institute Walter/McBean Gallery catalogues for Carolee Schneemann, Carrie Mae Weems, Francis Dyson and Douglas Kahn. His encyclopedic knowledge of music was featured in RE/Search’s Incredibly Strange Music, Volume II.

Sitz later moved to Los Angeles and worked for Disney and Fox. After leaving those deserts he moved to the Mojave, as far east as practicable -- Wonder Valley. It was here that he became entranced / inspired by the inexplicable and unselfconscious quality of sound, and its lack.

Sitz is co-author of the weekly Wonder Valley Sand Paper, and ran a desert film series for two summers. He is currently cataloguing his extensive record collection, becoming reacquainted with the bass guitar, and shopping for a set of drums.

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