top of page
Gold Liquid

S.E.M. is a collective of multi-media visual artists carrying on the legacy of the band S.E.M., who are lost in an alternate reality, by collecting and recreating fragments of that parallel reality and continued making in the spirit of the 'original' band.


WHO IS S.E.M.???

Cassette Tapes
  1. Create art in the spirit of S.E.M. band (see below)

  2. discover,collect and recreate original s.e.m materials

  3. Hold the Space of Not Knowing

  4. use algorithms as oracles

  5. cross pollinate and take creative risks

  6. Go toward the thing you are afraid of

  7. discover the other

  8. Research=Play=Art

  9. grow the s.e.m. art community

Origin Story

In August 1994, members of the band R.E.M. were rumored to have been seen on a yacht moored in Northeast Harbor, Maine. The sighting was reported in the local paper. Nellie Goodkind, resident of Somesville, clipped the article to save in her informal archive of local sightings of rich and famous persons (of which there were quite a number). Mrs. Goodkind asked her young niece, who happened to be visiting, to make a label for the new folder. However the young woman, being excited about the news and unfamiliar with the label maker and probably a bit high, accidentally labelled the folder ‘S.E.M.’. Mrs. Goodkind passed a few years later, R.E.M. was never sighted in the area again (if indeed they were ever there in the first place), and even if they had been, the folder was mislabelled. And thus the clipping and the folder were orphaned. But something strange happened...


When, in 2008, the Somesville Historical Society decided to rescue Nellie’s crumbling archive from beneath a pile of crocheted slippers in the attic of her abandoned cottage, the original erroneous S.E.M. folder was discovered, populated with a number of clippings about the enigmatic band. Reports surfaced of other S.E.M. folders mysteriously appearing in other DIY archives. Research is ongoing into the possible spontaneous appearance of S.E.M. documents in archives around the world. 


In March of 2021, thanks to a virtual residency convened by Ross Lynn Community Foundation and North Central Louisiana Arts Council, three artists found themselves alone in a Zoom meeting as the video stream matrix began to glitch out. Sarah Nguyen, Eden Radfarr and Mami Takahashi found themselves intermittently face-to-virtual-face with alternate versions of themselves leaking from a parallel universe. Those other selves revealed that they in fact were the long lost band S.E.M. (that no one but a handful of obscure community archivists had ever heard of), calling for help from their disintegrating digital reality. 


So now Sarah, Eden and Mami are tasked with carrying on the torch of this innovative band as best they can, although they are not musicians. And so began the collection, translation and recreation of the fragments of a parallel history. The search for S.E.M.’s lost albums is ongoing.


Note: Some readers might be tempted to speculate that the band name comes from the initials of the band members' names. That is the easy answer for non-believers, but according to a recovered document*, it stands for Snarling Entangled Meanings.

*Transcription of S.E.M. interview found on a VHS tape rescued from a public access TV station dumpster by PDX Femina Obscura Archive. Date unknown.

community archivists, librarians, mediums and other artist types are encouraged to report suspected findings of s.e.m. materials here

bottom of page