Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine

Launched from the Lower East Side, Manhattan, in 1983 as a subscription only bimonthly publication, the Tellus cassette series utilized the cassette medium to promote downtown music.[1][non-primary source needed]

Tellus cassette tapes from the Christian Marclay cover art for TellusTools

The Tellus ProjectEdit

Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine logo

Tellus publishers - visual artist and noise music composer Joseph Nechvatal; former curator-director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and current curator-director of The Jewish Museum, Claudia Gould; and new music composer and director of Harvestworks, Carol Parkinson - never considered running an underground culture audio publication. Rather, they envisaging the compact cassette medium as a no wave fluxus art form in itself. Tom Paine compiled Tellus 10.[2] Nechvatal and Parkinson had met in the mid-1970s performing in a performance art / minimal art dance trio with Cid Collins, as influenced by the post-Merce Cunningham postmodern dance/choreography of Lucinda Childs, Deborah Hay, Yvonne Rainer and Carolee Schneemann (with whom they toured Europe in 1978). In 1979, Nechvatal, Collins and Parkinson organized the Public Arts International/Free Speech performance art festival and Nechvatal and Parkinson continued to see each other in the art music milieu of the rigorous downtown minimal music scene, as they worked for the Dia Art Foundation as archivist and assistant to La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela.[1][non-primary source needed]


Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine was in activity for the ten years of 1983-1993.[3]

Tellus championed the audio work of women and gay artists.[1][non-primary source needed]


  • Master Cactus: The Art Zine Available Only on Cassette by Becca Kauffman was partly inspired by Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine.[4]
  • 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….”[5]


  1. ^ a b c McCormick, Carlo (2006). The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene, 1974–1984. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691122861.
  2. ^ Palmer, Robert (1985-09-25). "POP LIFE; ELECTRIC GUITARS". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  3. ^ Allen, Gwen (2011). Artists' Magazines: An Alternative Space for Art. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-01519-6.
  4. ^ [1] Devon Maloney, Master Cactus: The Art Zine Available Only on Cassette. Wired
  5. ^ Kenneth Goldsmith, Duchamp Is My Lawyer: The Polemics, Pragmatics, and Poetics of UbuWeb, Columbia University Press, New York, p. 243.

External linksEdit

  • [2] Official Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine page at Harvestworks
  • [3] Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine cassettography archive at Ubuweb