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Re: [microsound] oval armani

     Here are some directly and tangentially related thoughts:

Lately I have been rereading Cage to understand any possible relationship between chance and the glitch. So far I am able to conclude that Cage valued chance as a strategy of disinterestedness and that this bears little resemblance to the glitch in its most current incarnation. For sounds to be themselves they can't be right or wrong; glitches are intentionally wrong.

When glitches are captured as a sample or treated as a sound source rather than a systemic condition they are not related to chance at all. Glitches that are the result of a system (such as a MAX patch or a faulty piece of hardware) are closer to Cagean chance in that they are naturalized by their inevitability. In other words they are not judged.

One problem with applying Cage's ideas now is that it's impossible not to recognize the influence of the tools we use. Maybe it's possible to be disinterested in (and thereby unattached to ?) the results of a probabilistic procedure but this seems to be a step away from autonomy in giving a lot of unacknowledged control to other parties (in this case software developers).

Hope the connections are clear.


On Friday, December 28, 2001, at 04:18 AM, Derek Holzer wrote:

ÿivind, philippe, Frans, et al........

interesting to see this thread go past the 'player-hater' phase and into some rich areas. the economics of the underground remains one of my interests, but this last comment touches on something even more important...

markus popp has brought the idea and sound of generative music to a wider audience than ever before, even with the armani spot excluded. to me, generative art involves two distinct things:

1) that the 'artist-as-virtuoso' (aka rockstar) has been undermined by technology which removes performance from the equation.

2) but at the same time, the artist has assumed the role of engineer or technician to create the micro-world in which this generative situation occurs.

conclusion: all reports of the 'death of the artist' have been greatly exaggerated.

by admitting 'glitches' and 'accidents' into our work, we acknowedge a small part of the first point. john cage and others in the 60's pursued a similar vein when they said that any sound that occurred in the performance space was also the music (replace 'technology' with 'circumstance' in the first statement). the second point has been explored most recently by program-it-yourself art applications such as PD and MAX/MSP, and by satirical looks at how software shapes what it creates like auto-illustrator.

popp's work, for me, is a prime example of how an art form (generative music) which originated in part to 'erase the artist', or to 'make everyone an artist', has been subsumed by this new 'artist-as-engineer' movement to create new rockstars. for convenience sake, we see 'markus popp', engineer and composer, but we might as well give credit to Phillips, Sony, Microsoft, Toshiba, etc for actually creating the tools necessary for popp's generative environment. or own own... as for his 'source sounds', his debt to christophe charles is jimi hendrix's debt to robert johnson and django reinhardt--something we don't admit fully on CD liner-notes, but that anyone with a sense of the music cannot ignore.

happy new year,

some notes:
yes, i'm aware that 'systemisch', 'diskont 94' and 'dokk' are not generative pieces, that they were manually chopped and spliced just like most any other soundworks, with allowences made for accidents in the name of art. but with popp's recent attempts to to "inscribe [himself] into this more musical heritage [and contribute] to a historical musical discourse" with his "oval process" (Lecture, SFU Harbor Centere, Oct 19, 2000), i think it's fair to dissect him as a generative music technician on a theoretical level.

also, for an example of replacing 'technology' with 'circumstance', you could do much worse than to look at the work of christophe charles himself. his environmental field recordings are some of the most sublime i have ever heard.

----Original Message Follows----
From: ÿivind Ids¯ <plateaux@xxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [microsound] oval armani