>1979 Born in Los Angeles
>2005 BFA Cal Arts
>2009 MFA USC
*lives and works in Los Angeles
News: November - December ANTI-URGES & STARGATE (solo) by appointment *** Aug 17 performance, General Projects exhibition @ Insert Press *** July 30 opening of General Projects group exhibition @ Insert Press *** Jun 6 @ 6pm KCHUNG Radio, performing on the Phil & Phil Show *** RATION ALL APPETITES Blank/Insert Press, available in summer 2013 *** Performing @ Velaslavasay Panorama, May 10 8pm *** (novelist) Janice Lee interviews Michael and I for BRIGHTSTUPIDCONFETTI.COM's Authors on Artists series, Apr 2 *** Performing for the PATACRITICAL INTERROGATIONS Vol. 3 Book Launch event @ the Institute For Figuring (IFF) in Chinatown, Feb 2 @ 8pm *** SLAVEBATION has been featured on Irwin Chusid's Carnival of Nothing radio show, WFMU 91.1fm Jan-Apr *** SLAVEBATION now available from Blank/Insert Press, March 2013 *** Reading & Performance at Machine Project's holiday event, Dec 8 9:30pm *** SLAVEBATION is reviewed by Doug Harvey in Dec 2012's issue of Artillery Art Mag *** Michael and I are interviewed by Erik Davis and Maja D'Aoust for their show EXPANDING MIND on the Progressive Radio Network (PRN), Dec 6 *** Cabaret Event (curatorial) at the Automata Arts collective in Los Angeles, Nov 31 - Dec 1 *** Spectral Psychography is featured in the Eros & Tanatos Salon @ the Besant Lodge in Hollywood CA moderated by Erik Davis and Maja D'Aoust, Dec 2 9:30p *** Collaborated with Liz Toonkel on tracks from her new album LA is The Pits, now available on WFMU's Free Music Archive & PleonasmMusic.org *** Spectral Psychography featured at Novum Strophe Performance & Lecture Series @ Ave 50 Studio, Nov 3 *** October Surprise @ 323 Projects *** SAVE OUR WHALES premiers @ FOCA LA in conjunction with Loop Show (a group exhibition curated by China Adams), Sept - Nov 2012 *** Stop Making Sense @ Machine Project, Sept 6 *** SLAVEBATION is now available on WFMU's Free Music Archive (FMA) and from PleonasmMusic.org *** BESIDE MY SELF @ Steve Turner, solo exhibition Oct 15 - Nov 12
>Authors on Artists: Janice Lee interviews Michael Decker I about Spectral Psychography, www.brightstupidconfetti.com ...these performances highlight belief as a strange aesthetic category...a terse catch-all to highlight certain aspects of authorship... specifically, that you don’t actually need ideas in order to express them.
>Interview with Erik Davis and Maja D'Aoust on the Expanding Mind radio broadcast, Progressive Radio Network (PRN)
>Slavebation is reviewed by Doug Harvey in Artillery Art Magazine ...Alternating between elegiac despondency, apocalyptic vision, didactic discourse, and guided deprogramming exercise (often in the space of a single lyric), Cummings convincingly positions himself as a nerdish prophet of doom... Christian Cummings is facing our crazy life head on, in all its bewildering entropy and Gordian knottiness, and in doing so has produced the first great protest album of the 21st century.
>The Medium is the Message: Jeffrey Vallance, Fortean Times …Living artists will use such visual media as paint or clay to express their ideas. Ghosts use psychic mediums, clairvoyants or trans-channels to express theirs. Simply put, the medium is our means for conveying ideas and information. A negotiator between messenger and audience. The word medium is also used as a designation for partially cooked meat. Brown and dead on the outside while pink and bloody within, this term evokes a sense of traversing two worlds in one bite.
>Christian Cummings & Michael Decker, Spectral Psychography at Human Resources: Carol Cheh, Another Righteous Transfer (dot) com ...I watched them produce two drawings. The first appeared to be a huge abstract mess, but turned out to be a pretty deft rendering. The second dictated by a spirit claiming to be Sigmar Polke, was a very clear rendition of a person standing outside a house. Perhaps most interesting, Cummings mused that when he participates his intentionality is confounded. Who is or is not doing these drawings, really? Who is “faking it” and who is not? Does it matter in the end.
>Report on the So-called “Ouija Board Assisted Ghost Art” of Christian Cummings and Michael Decker: Doug Harvey
ISEPCAH Occasional Paper XVII (Spring 2009) ...these farcical proceedings at best try the credulity of even the most gullible of art naifs, displaying the barest minimum of craftsmanship in their execution and a level of fatuous “creativity” more reminiscent of subnormal Kindergarteners than supposedly transcended souls – let alone those of their claimed ghost collaborators – Walt Disney, Paul Klee, Barnet Newman, Keith Haring, David Smith, etc. It may however be important to note - Popo and Decker don't seem to be pursuing typical paths to financial gain associated with psychic fraud – there's been no attempt to channel the spirits of departed loved ones for wealthy art patrons, nor have there been publications of channeled New Age wisdom (or any consistently discernible coherent agenda whatsoever, for that matter.) Whether these artists have engaged in some carefully crafted “kind of pat art world joke” as one commentator suggests is unverifiable, though Cummings' long-running interest and involvement with occultism seems to belie this interpretation. Not that a sincere dissemination of superstition is in any sense better. But it's apparent that Decker and Cummings are not incapable of making social impact, however inadequate and ill-conceived their efforts seem to a more rational mind. Should they come to realize the folly of this pursuit, or decide to employ their efforts toward more socially pressing issues than pajama-party spook pantomimes via art world posturing, an unpaid internship on Fiesta Island with ISEPCAH and/or The Burns Institute awaits them.
>DRAWING BROUGHT FORTH THROUGH THE OUIJA BOARD: James Trainor, Frieze Magazine Issue 102
...May I ask’, the soft-spoken artist paused, as if searching for a tactful way to broach a delicate subject, ‘how you died?’ Admittedly, in polite society the question is sort of a conversation-stopper. When posed to an unfamiliar, disembodied interlocutor via the less than subtle communication tool of the Ouija board it has the potential to lead to a little trans-dimensional pique. Promptly the tear-shaped Ouija planchette pointer jerked across the board to the failsafe word ‘Goodbye’, and the channelled ‘spirit’ in question, an entity using the streetwise netherworld tag of Bartman, had evidently logged off from the realm of the living. So it goes in the easy-come, easy-go world of conversing with the dead...
As part of Creative Time’s ‘Strange Powers’ exhibition, devoted to art that keeps an open mind when it comes to paranormal phenomena and the occult, Cummings and Decker's four days of séance drawing were a highlight, billed as a sort of open call to creative aspirants on other planes of existence to commune with the living. Looks of wide-eyed astonishment and evidence of hushed goosebump-ish wonder were everywhere, and on a deliriously hot and sticky afternoon in an un-air-conditioned walk-up a little delirious suspension of disbelief can go a long way.
>Strange Powers @ Creative Time: Jeffrey Kastner, ArtForum Oct. 2006
…The ne plus ultra of paranormality involved contact across the membrane between the dead and the living--a connection pursued by the most affecting works here. For Automatic Drawing Brought Forth through the Ouija Board, Christian Cummings and Michael Decker spent the first few days of the show on the building's sweltering third floor attempting to channel, via extemporaneous drawings, spirits contacted during live seances--the decidedly mixed results included, fortuitously enough, a drawing "by" Barnett Newman taken from an earlier session; the late master's outlook on art and spirituality was one of the touchstones of the show.
>THE FUNCTION OF THE PLEONASM: Doug Harvey ...Ranging from heartfelt piano & traps dissertations on the Electromagnetic Spectrum to polished electro-pop explications of the mechanics of Photosynthesis, these WTF gems were allegedly created and launched into cyberspace by high school students trying to make up for their academic slack at the end of the term. Colonial History, Hyperbolic Geometry, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pi: no topic is too scholastic to be transformed into a death metal dirge or off-kilter rap. High School Musical 5 anyone?
>Space-Time Transients Through Hidden Events in the Transpersonal Libido: reviewed by PHILISTINE FRIENDLY blog …It's not often you come across music that's genuinely original, so this album (available on the Free Music Archive) is something very special. Even if you don't enjoy it (and many people won't), you have to admit it's different. The closest comparison I could attempt to make is Captain Beefheart, but this is in no way an imitation. I'll give this a ten out of ten just for the title (and the fact that it features the most bizarre REM cover I've ever heard).
>Pleonasm on MUSIC FOR MANIACS blog …Pleonasm is new FREE! 'net label for the "outsidery lo-fi obscure no-genre" and, yup, plenty of these recordings (e.g.: Baker & Abel) are in the fine tradition of kids-goofing-off-into-a-tape-recorder, tho some, like that of Beat poet Bill Bissett, verges on respectably high-brow. Their roster spans from New York to California, UK to Canada. Dig:
THE TAINTS: 3 songs in 4 minutes of juvenile Casio silliness; "I Wanna Get In Your Pants" is my pick-to-click.
CARNIVOROUS BIRDS' LIFE METAL: a whopping 27 songs and entertaining throughout; "Acid Squirtgun" really had me laffin'!
DOLPHIN EXPLOSION: One long song from this gang of unruly six-year-old girls, with one of my favorite artists Mike Kelley somehow on drums.
MANNLICHER CARCANO: a pretty intriguing Negativland-ish mix of sampling (inc. a 9 minute meditation on Johnny Cash) with live instrument improv.
POOPOO CUSHION: A fair amount of futzing around interspersed with songs like "I Don't Want To Go To School" that remind me of classic Cali hardcore, which makes me happy.
SUNDAY BRUNCH WITH STAN: Surprise! Actual pop songs, well recorded and performed - "Juicy" is funky genius.
And there's so much more...
>Carnivorous Birds on MUSIC SNATCHER blog …When it comes to outsider music, it doesn’t get more outsider than this. Christian Cummings aka Carnivorous Birds, the self acclaimed genius of South Dakota rock & roll makes Daniel Johnston appear commercial and polished. A good portion of his musical output is available on two free and legal online albums from Pleonasm Music. While we can debate the quality of the music. it is more fun to sit back and marvel at the overall weirdness which is high on the Bizarro Richter Scale. You will never hear me say this is good music but it makes me laugh and in these trouble times, that’s a good thing.
Various Curatorial Press
>What Were They Thinking: Sally Ashley Cound for PHAIDON Blog
>Artmaggeddon: Carol Cheh for the L.A. Weekly
>Curators Gone Viral: Lili Simonson for the Art:21 Blog
>CL @ SW: Christopher Knight for the Los Angeles Times
>Group Exhibition Featuring 1,600 Artists: Lisa Adamsfor the Huffington Post
>The Road to Art Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions: Edward Goldman for ART TALK on NPR