Destroy: Information Only

Dan Lander

Destroy: Information Only

  • Dan Lander
  • Year of composition: 1991
  • Duration: 33:33
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T0705325503

The title Destroy: Information Only comes from a rubber stamp that the Workers’ Compensation Board uses on copies of microfilm pertaining to an individual’s claim. In 1976, while living in Vancouver, I experienced an occurrence with my back, thought to be the result of several years of employment as an industrial labourer. These recordings were made while visiting friends who knew me at the time of the subsequent surgery. As in the failed myelogram — a procedure in which spinal fluid is removed from the spine and replaced with a dye in order to add detail to an X-ray image — the search did not reveal what might have been expected, or even desired. The details of memory are specific to each individual and may, or may not, coincide with my own recollections of the events in question.


•• This work begins with Employment, with its drone as metaphor for the tedium of the job, a song for hope — We Shall Overcome — and the sound of objects crashing together as an indicator of industrial violence and, in this case, injury. As a prelude to the larger work, Employment serves to provide a quasi musical setting for the digestion of what is to come.
•• Marvin, in the privacy of his own apartment, makes coffee before reminiscing on the time following the accident. His primary memory appears to be linked to the acknowledgment of pain. However, he quickly digresses to involve himself with a video game, a diversion perhaps, from both the past and the present.
•• Yvonne (mother) speaks of memories linked to her maternal intuition and also of her own back operation. She relates the story of feeling shivers up her spine at the exact moment the surgeon’s knife is inserted into the back of her son.
•• In Loon, flatulence becomes a metaphor for the loss of control of bodily function in general. As each wind passes, a new relationship to it is developed through the conversation of fellow campers.
•• Dave does not remember much. He speaks of the importance of rock and roll, complains about the price of concert tickets for Yes and describes a Hollywood film set, all while making popcorn.
•• In the following section a creaking door, equipped with bells, triggers a spasmodic utterance of the word Spasm, drawing a relationship between the mechanical and the emotional.
•• Memory is consciously activated by Darlene (sister) as she and her brother drive through and discuss an area they grew up in. However, when it comes to the events in question she freely admits her lapses, stating “it is fuzzy.”
•• Raising and butchering chickens is a topic that Ann discusses before elaborating on a car accident in which she herself suffered no small amount of pain, prompting her to conclude, “I wish I could forget.”
•• Finally we have Dan, who, while traveling on a bus, relates a story concerning eagles who eat the afterbirth of cows until they can no longer function and need the attention of a veterinarian. He concludes with a series of statements about a face and his own unwillingness to recognize the passage of time and his immanent old age.

Destroy: Information Only was made possible by a grant from the Media Arts Section of the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA). Excerpts of this piece were premiered during the Radio Contortions festival in Montréal in 1991. It was realized in the artist’s home recording studio and was constructed via razor blade and analog 1/4” magnetic tape. Thanks to Darlene Blair, Janice Carbert, Dan Dornan, Eva Ennist, Ann Kitto, Yvonne Louden, Marvin Maylor, Danita Noyes, Dave Paisley, Lindsay Rodgers and the WCB of British Columbia.


  • July 1991, Radio Contortions: Concert, Montréal (Québec)