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Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine

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Tellus cassette tapes from the Christian Marclay cover art for TellusTools

Launched from the Lower East Side, Manhattan in 1983 as a subscription only bimonthly publication, the Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine utilized the audio cassette medium to distribute no wave downtown music and audio art[1][2] and was in activity for the ten years of 1983–1993.[3][4]

The Tellus Project[edit]

Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine logo

Tellus publishers and executive editors – visual artist and noise music composer Joseph Nechvatal; former curator-director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and curator-director of The Jewish Museum, Claudia Gould; and new music composer and director of Harvestworks, Carol Parkinson – conceived of the compact cassette medium as a no wave Fluxus-inspired media art form in itself.

Nechvatal and Parkinson had met in the mid-1970s and performed in a performance art / minimal art dance trio with Cid Collins influenced by the post-Merce Cunningham postmodern dance/choreography of Deborah Hay (with whom they studied in 1977) and Carolee Schneemann (with whom they toured Europe in 1978). In 1979, Nechvatal, Collins and Parkinson had organized the five night Public Arts International/Free Speech performance art festival in May at 75 Warren Street in Manhattan and Nechvatal and Parkinson continued to see each other in the art music milieu of the downtown minimal music scene, as they worked for the Dia Art Foundation as archivist (Nechvatal) and assistant (Parkinson) to La Monte Young.[2][5]

Nechvatal, who originated the concept of the project, chose the name Tellus from Tellus Mater, the Roman earth goddess of fecundity. In 2007, French music blogger Continuo and Stephen McLaughlin created an online mp3 archive of all of the Tellus tracks and accessibly archived them at Ubuweb.[6]


  • Ego Masher (1983) 07:05 by Joseph Nechvatal - from Tellus #1 - has been anthologized on the CD An Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music #6.
  • Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine has been mentioned as an inspiration to the opening of the Sound Art Museum in Rome (2007).
  • An exhibition was held at Printed Matter, Inc. in New York City devoted to current American cassette culture entitled Leaderless: Underground Cassette Culture Now (May 12–26, 2007) that referred to the influence of Tellus.
  • In 2011, selections from early Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine recordings were included in MoMA's exhibition Looking at Music 3.0.
  • In September 2011, Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine was the sole subject of a Kontra Bass (BSSX) internet radio broadcast originating in Serbia.[7]
  • In February 2011, issues of Artforum (with images of covers) and ARTnews covered Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine.
  • In 2013, Devon Maloney, at Wired Magazine, reports that Master Cactus: The Art Zine Available Only on Cassette, was directly inspired by Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine.[8]
  • In 2016, Multi-genre compiler and NTS radio host Jaro Sounder created and streamed Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine Selections Vol. 1 (1983–1993) on Bandcamp.[9]
  • In 2017, curator Tom Leeser created an audio homage to Tellus titled Imagining Tellus # 28: Heard in LA, stating that "The Tellus Project, produced and curated by Carol Parkinson, Joseph Nechvatal and Claudia Gould, is now considered a historic and significant archive of experimental sound, noise, performance and spoken word artists from the 1980s."[10]
  • In 2018, Adrian Rew of Blank Forms, a curatorial platform focused on the presentation and preservation of experimental performance, spoke with Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine co-founder Carol Parkinson on Montez Press Radio to discuss the history of the pioneering sound art label and play selections from its tape-o-graphy.
  • In 2019, Ego Masher (1983) by Joseph Nechvatal from Tellus #1 was included on the audio anthology Manic Antenna 34: Move On Up![11]
  • In 2020, Kenneth Goldsmith writes in his book Duchamp Is My Lawyer: The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of Ubuweb that "Perhaps no collection of audio inspired UbuWeb more than the Tellus cassettes…."[12]
  • On June 24, 2021, a two-hour Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine Special aired on Dublab with Tellus co-founders Carol Parkinson and Joseph Nechvatal joining Dublab host Frosty for a survey of the Tellus mission and history and a selection of Tellus archival recordings.[13]
  • June 17, 2022, music historian Paul Paulun published at Sounds Central an audio program of his selected Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine tracks called Tellus: New York City’s Art Scene on Tape (1983–1993)[14]

Tellus cassettography[edit]

Tellus #1
Cassette, 1983.
Curated by Claudia Gould, Joseph Nechvatal, Carol Parkinson. Cover art by Walter Robinson.
With Jody Harris, Jerry Lindahl, Sonic Youth, Brenda Hutchinson, Live Skull, Tom Lopez/ZBS Productions, Rat At Rat R, Bradley Eros, Bruce Tovsky, Gretchen Langheld, Mitch Corber, Barbara Ess (with Barbara Barg), Joseph Nechvatal, Verge Piersoi, Tron Von Hollywood with Raina Jane Sherry, David Linton, Rhys Chatham.
Tellus #2
Cassette, 1984.
Curated by Claudia Gould, Joseph Nechvatal, Carol Parkinson. Cover art by Jane Dickson.
With Kiki Smith, John Fekner, Vernita Nemec, The Scene Is Now, Tony Papa, Cardboard Air Band, Peter Nechvatal, Charlie Morrow, Alex Noyes, Ikkoh Mine, David Rosenbloom, Carol Parkinson, David Garland, John Fekner, Mitch Corber, Jamie Daglish and George Elliot, Dr. Telecom (Willoughby Sharp, Susan Britton, Robert Stewart, Virge Piersol), Charlie Noyes, Holly Huges+Sally A. White+Maureen Angelos+Jill Kirschen+Janee Pipik, Ron Kuivila.
Tellus #3
Cassette, 1984.
Curated by Claudia Gould, Joseph Nechvatal, Carol Parkinson. Cover art by Erik Kualszik.
With Kirby Malone, Jim Farmer, Christopher Knowles, Disband, Chain Gang, Gregory Whitehead, Daniel Shklalr, Bruce Tovaky, Wolfgang Staehle and Steve Pollack, Isaac Jackson, Colab's Cardboard Air Band, John Shirley and Sync 66, Tim Schellenbeum, The Tlnklers, Boom, Brian Reinbolt, Wharton Tiers.
Tellus #4 Piano
Cassette, 1984.
Curated by Claudia Gould, Joseph Nechvatal, Carol Parkinson. Cover art by Joseph Nechvatal.
With Julius Eastman, David Weinstein, Michael Byron, Paul Dresher, Carol Parkinson, Ellen Fullman, John Morton.
Tellus #5 & 6 Double Audio Visual Issue
Cassette, 1984.
Curated by Claudia Gould, Joseph Nechvatal, Carol Parkinson. Special boxed double issue. Cover by Joseph Nechvatal.
With Louise Lawler, Paul McMahon and Nancy Chun, Julie Harrison, Richard Prince, Julie Wachtel, Perry Hoberman, Ericka Beckman, David Wojnarowicz and Doug Bressler, Paul McMahon and Nancy Chun, Raimund Kummer, Barbara Barg and Barbara Ess, Kathryn High, Bite Like A Kitty, Anne Turyn, Michael Smith, Rhys Chatham.
Tellus #7 The Word I
Cassette, 1984.
Curated by Gregory Whitehead. Cover art by Peter Nagy.
With Linda Fisher, Michael Peppe, Wiska Radiewicz, John Miller, Terry Wilson, Lynne Tillman, Victor Poison-Tete, Jean-Paul Curtay, Claire Picher, Patrick McGrath, Molly Elder, Michael Gira, Gregory Whitehead, Nicolas Nowack, Cid Collins Walker, Richard Kostelanetz, Paul Bob Town, Nameless Stone Productions.
Tellus #8 USA/Germany
Cassette, 1985.
Curated by Carlo McCormick. Cover art by Debbie Davis.
With Konk, Joshua Fried, Details At Eleven, Cargo Cult, Destructo, His Masters Voice, Rat at rat r, Yellow Grave, Live Skull, Elliott Sharp, Fast Forward, Christian Marclay, Club of Rome (aka Asmus Tietchens), Saurekeller, Galerie Global, Nicolas Nowack.
Tellus #9 Music with Memory
Cassette, 1985.
Curated by John Driscoll. Cover art by Carol Parkinson.
With Nicolas Collins, John Driscoll, Brenda Hutchinson, Ron Kuivila, Paul DeMarinis.
Tellus #10 All Guitars!
Cassette, 1985.
Curated by Live Skull founding member Tom Paine. Cover art by Jane Bauman.
With Lee Ranaldo, Arto Lindsay and Toni Nogueira, Janice Sloane, Butthole Surfers, New Detroit Inc., Bob Mould, Bond Bergland, Joseph Nechvatal, Elliott Sharp, David Linton, Jules Baptiste, Tim Schellenbaum, Bump, Rudolph Grey, Hahn Rowe, John Myres, Lydia Lunch and Lucy Hamilton, Sue Hanel, Blixa Bargeld, Andrew Nahem, Sandra Seymour, Run Nigger Run aka Steve Albini and Nathan Kaatrud, Thurston Moore, Mark C. and Marnie Greenholz, Glenn Branca, James Vidos, Angela Babin and Joe Dizney, Frankenjerry.
Tellus #11 The Sound of Radio
Cassette, 1985.
Curated by Karen Frillmann and Karen Pearlman. Cover art by Steven Frailey.
With Jay Allison, Adam Cornford and Daniel Crafts, Susan Stone, The New York IPS, M’lou Zahner Ollswang, Ginna Allison, Marjorie van Halteren, Lou Giansante, Karen McPherson, Barrett Golding, Rick Harris, Janice Bell and Portia Franklin, Melanie Berzon, Edward Haber, Steve Jones, Helen Thorington, Ginger Miles, Karen Frillmann.
Tellus #12 Dance
Cassette, 1986.
Curated by Gretchen Langheld and Bruce Tovsky. Cover art by Barbara Ess.
With Bill Obrecht, A. Leroy, R. McQuire, Carol Parkinson, Linda Fisher, Lenny Pickett, Anita Feldman+Michael Kowalski, J.A. Deane, Gretchen Langheld, Bruce Tovsky, Brooks Williams, Jim Farmer, Hearn Gadbois, Liquid Liquid, Al Diaz, David Linton.
Tellus #13 Power Electronics
Cassette, 1986.
Curated by Joseph Nechvatal. Cover art by Joseph Nechvatal.
With Maybe Mental, Merzbow, Amor Fati, If, Bwana, Rhys Chatham, Psyclones, Blackhouse, Joseph Nechvatal, Master/Slave Relationship, Maybe Mental, Architects Office, Controlled Bleeding, Mojo (aka Jim Smith), Coup de Grâce, Le Syndicat, Mitch Corber, F/i.
Tellus #14 Just Intonation
Cassette, 1986.
Curated by the Just Intonation Network. Cover art by James Nares.
With Harry Partch, Ralph David Hill, Carola B. Anderson, David Hykes, Lou Harrison, Jon Catler, David Canright, David B. Doty, John Bischoff,+Jim Horton+Tim Perkis, Ben Johnston, Erling Wold, Susan Norris, James Tenney, Larry Polansky, Alexis Alrich, Jody Diamond.
Tellus #15 The Improvisors
Cassette, 1986.
Curated by Claudia Gould, Joseph Nechvatal, Carol Parkinson. Cover art by Scott Richter.
With live ‘improvisions’ by Chris Cochrane, Anthony Coleman, Carol Emanuel, Tom Cora, Bill Frisell, Bobby Previte, Lindsay Cooper, Fred Frith, Irene Schweizer, Christian Marclay, Bill Horvitz, David Weinstein, Denman Maroney, Samm Bennett, Jim Staley, Ikue Mori, John Zorn.
Tellus #16 Tango
Cassette, 1986.
Contributing editor Gerald Lindhal. Cover art by Russell Buckingham.
With Carlos Gardel, David Garland, Chris DeBlasio, Keeler, Brenda Hutchinson and Gerald Lindhal, Alan Tomlinson, Elodie Lauten, Jo Basile and Orchestra, Robert Scheff, Molly Elder, Matthew Nash, Jo Basile and Orchestra, Christopher Berg, Fast Forward, Mader.
Tellus #17 Video Art Music
Cassette, 1987.
Curated by Peer Bode. Cover art by Peer Bode.
With Woody Vasulka, Peter Chamberlain, Richard Kostelanetz, Shelley Hirsch, Joe D’Agostino, Julie Harrison, Kjell Bjorgeengen, Sorrel Hays, Eric Ross, Megan Roberts, Jean-Paul Curtay.
Tellus #18 Experimental Theater
Cassette, 1988.
Curated by Claudia Gould and Carol Parkinson. Cover art by Mike Kelley.
With Spalding Gray, Ann Magnuson with Vulcan Death Grip, Mike Kelley with Sonic Youth, Jerri Allyn, Ann Magnuson and Lydia Lunch.
Tellus #19 New Music China
Cassette, 1988.
Curated R.I.P. Hayman. Cover art by Zhang Wei with calligraphy by Huang Pao Lian.
With Ji Gong, Wang Li, Zhang Xing, Tiao Ba Tiao Ba, Zui Jiu, Hao Yuchi, Electronic Dirge, Xian Percussion Ensemble, Miao Love Chant, Liu Dehal, Gong Yi, Fred Houn, Chen Yi, Ge Gan-ru, Zhou Long, Wu Wen Guang, Tan Dun, R.I.P. Hayman, Jing Jing Luo.
Tellus #20 Media Myth
Cassette, 1988.
Curated by Joseph Nechvatal. Cover art by Steven Parrino.
With Randy Greif, Pierre Perret, The Psychic Workshop, Social Interiors, If, Bwana, Crawling With Tarts, Violence and The Sacred, Art Interface, Minóy, Nicolas Collins, Silent But Deadly, JPM Studios, Joseph Nechvatal, A Place To Pray, Maurice Methot, Michael Chocholak, Dance.
Tellus #21 Audio By Visual Artists
Cassette, 1988.
Curated by Claudia Gould, Joseph Nechvatal, Carol Parkinson. Cover art by Cindy Sherman.
With Joseph Beuys, Maurice Lemaître, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Raoul Hausmann, Antonio Russolo, Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Lawrence Weiner, George Brecht, Patrick Ireland, Richard Huelsenbeck, Arrigo Lora-Totino and Fogliati, Jean Dubuffet, Mimmo Rotella, Joan Jonas, Christian Boltanski, Ian Murray, Terry Fox, Jonathan Borofsky, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Richard Prince with Robert Gober, Martin Kippenberger, Jack Goldstein, John Armleder, Terry Allen, Gretchen Bender, Y Pants, Ed Tomney, Susan Hiller.
Tellus #22 False Phonemes
Cassette, 1988.
Curated by Ellen Zweig. Cover art by Matt Mullican.
With Remko Scha, Larry Wendt, Brian Reinbolt, Mark Rudolph, Alice Shields, Paul DeMarinis, Paul Lansky, Jon English/Jim Pomeroy, Ron Kuivila, John Cage
Tellus #23 The Voices of Paul Bowles
Cassette, 1989.
Curated by Stephen Frailey. Cover photograph by Antonin Kratochvil.
Audioportrait incl. Paul Bowles early compositions Music for a Farce, Interlude and Prelude # 2, and Moroccan field recordings.
Tellus #24 FluxTellus
Cassette, 1990.
Curated by Fluxus archivist Barbara Moore. Cover art by Peter Moore. Including a 16-page accordion fold-out booklet with Barbara Moore's essay The Sound Of Music.
Featuring early sound work by George Brecht, Philip Corner, Dick Higgins, Joe Jones, Alison Knowles, Takehisa Kosugi, George Maciunas, Jackson Mac Low, Larry Miller, Tomas Schmit, Robert Watts and Emmett Williams. The cassette case includes a sound art work by Takako Saito.
Tellus #25 Siteless Sounds
Compact Disc, 1991.
Curated by Claudia Gould, Joseph Nechvatal, Carol Parkinson. Cover art by David Wojnarowicz.
Contains political and personal views as expressed through new audiotext works by David Wojnarowicz and Ben Neill, Shelley Hirsch, David Moss, Constance DeJong, Brenda Hutchinson, Gregory Whitehead and a collaboration with Jacki Apple, Linda Albertano, Keith Antar Mason and Akailah Nayo Oliver.
Tellus #26 Jewel Box
Compact Disc and Cassette, 1992.
Curated by Brian Karl. Cover art by Kiki Smith.
With Anne LeBaron, Laetitia Sonami, Sussan Deyhim, Bun-Ching Lam, Catherine Jauniaux and Ikue Mori, Sapphire, Mary Ellen Childs, Michelle Kinney.
Tellus #27 Mini-mall
Curated by Brian Karl. Cover art by Vito Acconci
Compact Disc, 1993.
With Brenda Hutchinson, Jin Hi Kiim, and Pauline Oliveros with Fanny Green.
Tellus Tools
Double-LP (TE-LP01), 2001.
Curated by Taketo Shimada. Cover art by Christian Marclay.
Including selections from previous issues: Isaac Jackson, Alan Tomlinson, Joe Jones, Christian Marclay, Ken Montgomery, Catherine Jauniaux, Ikue Mori, David Linton, Gregory Whitehead, The League Of Automatic Music Composers, Maurice Lemaire, Jerry Lindahl, Tim Schellenbaum and Jack Goldstein.


  1. ^ [1] A Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine Special Dublab Broadcast on Thursday, June 24, 2021
  2. ^ a b McCormick, Carlo (2006). The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene, 1974–1984. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-12286-1.
  3. ^ Allen, Gwen (2011). Artists' Magazines: An Alternative Space for Art. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-01519-6.
  4. ^ Marc Masters, High Bias: The Distorted History of the Cassette Tape, University of North Carolina Press, p. 68
  5. ^ Tellus, the Audio Cassette Magazine, The Wire (magazine) October 2001 (Issue 212) p. 69
  6. ^ [2] A Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine Special Dublab Broadcast on Thursday, June 24, 2021
  7. ^ [3] Tellus Audio / Kontra Bass archived at Archive Org
  8. ^ [4] Devon Maloney, Master Cactus: The Art Zine Available Only on Cassette. Wired
  9. ^ [5] Jaro Sounder Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine Selections Vol. 1 (1983–1993), Bandcamp
  10. ^ [6] Imagining Tellus # 28: Heard in LA
  11. ^ [7]Ego Masher on Manic Antenna 34: Move On Up!
  12. ^ Kenneth Goldsmith, Duchamp Is My Lawyer: The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of UbuWeb, Columbia University Press, New York, p. 243.
  13. ^ [8] Archived Dublab Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine Special radio program.
  14. ^ [9] Sounds Central, Tellus: New York City’s Art Scene on Tape (1983–1993).

External links[edit]

  • [10] Official Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine page at Harvestworks
  • [11] Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine cassettography archive at Ubuweb