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Published on May 21, 2009
Testes-3 (837-8373) was the phone number & name of a then-anonymously-operated 'phone station' created & run by The International Dateman; tentatively, a convenience; & Sumu Pretzler. The intention was to create an accessible interactive mass media that would function as a MYSTERY CATALYST. It's possible that tens of thousands of people called it & its successors. It officially began on January 24, 1979. On April 20, 1979 an article appeared about it written by Franz Lidz. One of the projects alluded to in Lidz's article (seen here as crawl-text) is a clear precursor (for better or worse) to Twitter. Parenthetically, Lidz's childhood autobiography was turned into a movie called "Unstrung Heroes" by Diane Keaton in 1995. For me, this project still stands strong as revolutionary. On May 22, 1979, I directed this experimental documentary 'about' the end of a particular series of outgoing messages that I'd created for it called "Library K&M". I instructed John Ellsberry, the cameraperson, to shoot 15 minutes straight (half the length of the 1/2" reel-to-reel vaudeo that was being used) & to then shoot short shots. These latter were then edited by me as interruptions to the continuous shot so that the time jumps back & forth. The repeating sounds are from the outgoing message that was playing at the time - activated by incoming callers. When the reel-to-reel audio deck is shown I'm listening to the archival recordings of past callers. The intermittent fragments of music are from my own calls to Testes-3. I'd call w/ a record from my collection playing & whichever part was playing when the answering machine would record is what would be heard. Towards the end, we try calling a number that a phone phreak caller left for us. Apparently, we called a day later than when he suggested so there was nothing there. As far as I can figure, he was going to somehow arrange to be connected to the same number at the time specified. To the credit of my archival organization, I could find, within a matter of minutes, the piece of paper that I wrote the phone number on so that I could scan it for this movie EVEN THOUGH IT WAS FROM 30 YEARS AGO! Coincidentally, the same day that this tape was originally shot was the day that NEOISM was founded in Montréal. - May 21, 2009 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE