Saturday, March 1, 2008

Willem de Ridder

Five years ago the artist Willem de Ridder sent me an audio tape as his contribution for a book I was editing at the time. He said he had grown disillusioned with the written word and was communicating solely thru recordings and broadcasts. Of all the things I've had to transcribe, it's the only thing that I did not despise by the time I was finished. He can be a little hokey at times, but his accent, his laughter and his intimacy with the microphone made the ninety-minute tape infinitely listenable.

I've just discovered more than an hours worth of podcasts he has done for Typeradio, a site focused on design and type. All three seem to be a sort of sexual etymology of the alphabet, reminiscent of some of my favorite bp nichol works.

Ridder has a very extensive bio, which I've edited down considerably here:

He graduated from the Academy for Art and Design in Den Bosch and quickly decided to stop painting altogether. He took the white paper from his easel and crumpled it into a Paper Constellation (predating Martin Creed's Work No.88). He co-founded the MOOD ENGINEERING SOCIETY and hosted new music concerts. George Maciunas made him chairman of FLUXUS for Northern Europe where he founded the European Mail Order House and Fluxshop . Together with Wim T. Schippers he created in 1963 an historic television documentary that for the first time introduced Pop Art, New Realisme, Fluxus and Zero to The Netherlands. He co-founded SUCK (The First European Sex Paper), which became a cult item from New York to Tokyo, and led to the very first Erotic Film Festival in the world: The Wet Dream Film Festival. He fell in love with artist/porn star Annie Sprinkle after being handcuffed to her when the two were arrested for an erotic magazine they published together. The couple lived together in Italy for a time, in what has been reported as Sprinkle's only monogamous relationship.

De Ridder's podcasts can be heard here.

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