Up and Coming Down
Time Another Place
MUSIC SECURITY ADMINISTRATION is the name Walter Dahn and
Philip Pocock gave to their collaborative painting and drawing works between
1994 and 1996.
It began in the Broadway Café, the artists' watering hole in Cologne. Walter
asked Philip to write a line from a song - When It Rains It Really Pours.
They went back to the studio and began working on a white-on-white painting
inscribing over and over with the other end of brushes - When It RAINS it
Really pours - into the drying paint. That afternoon, someone dropped by and
put several large bills in their hands in exchange for their first 'word painting'.
They looked at each other and from that day on for months they listened, saw
and read music. The only electric they used was for a CD player. They painted
with daylight only, and when twilight came they stopped and would migrate
to Dos XX or an equivalent bar for orange juice and dialogue concerning popular
culture, music, synaesthesia, relationship of sound and sculpture, photography
and even modern American history.
At the studio, they would rip apart music mags and books, read lyrics to each
other, always seeing them synaesthetically, and knowing that Philip was an
American (Canadian) and Walter a German (European) they understood their crossover
and how Fluxus, Grafitti, Outsider and Conceptual Art, as well as East Village
and Wildemalerei had spanned the same ocean with ease. Their juncture was
somewhere between Robert Filliou, Philip Guston, Cage/Beuys, Will Oldham and
They had become enamoured - this was early - for Palace (Will Oldham) and
other so-called 'lo-fi' music, and how they related to the lyrical music of
the quiet revolutionary period in American music since the Blues - Blind Lemmon
Jefferson, Memphis Ma Rainy, and the current response to electro as being
the 'painted song'. They felt a connection to the social and lyrical documentary
project initiated in the Great Depression by the Farm Security Administration,
and this link gave us our collective name - Music Security Administration.
PHILIP POCOCK / WALTER DAHN, MSA,
Music Security Administration, 1994-6.