Sunday, November 11, 2007

item #8037

I read your interview with interest. Obviously, you had articulated many of its main themes during our meeting, as abiding concerns of yours. I take your points regarding your wish to foreground the pursuit of process over, or as opposed to, the pursuit of kinds of art objects, soundartworks, etc.; finding meaning in that endeavour rather than in making fixed pieces, via synthesis, modes of composition, and so on. Clearly, in that respect, your releases are to be seen as documents of your engagement with a kind of experimentation. Your citation of the importance of intention on your part is well made, I think. This is an old debate in the arts, as I'm sure you will know. The challenge is to inculcate that into the finally-released artefact, in such a way as to carry evidence of your intentions which can be generally understood. Many fall foul of this; as intention is notoriously obscure: re. the age-old 'Intentionalist Fallacy' debate, which you may be aware of. I know life is too short for reading everything which is flung one's way, but good texts on this are Arthur C. Danto's essay, 'The Art World', but especially the Art & Language (as Michael Baldwin, Charles Harrison & Mel Ramsden) essay, 'Art History, Art Criticism and Explanation', included in Francis Frascina (ed.), Pollock and After: The Critical Debate, pp.191-216. The latter's notion of 'The Trobriand Island Problem' would, I think, be a key illuminator for you of these ideas. A&L frame the debate in the context of problems associated with anthropology - specifically that of the primacy of Participant Observation, disputing this as a naturally-dominant, dispassionate category.

Anything by A&L is worth a look, though.

Ditto your remarks about Pollock. The Frascina book is great on all that. One nugget about the Pollock method: it necessarily had a kind of temporal element, in that one could, via close inspection, see that, say, a blue was laid over, and thus was applied after, a red, and so forth. This temporal motif is not possible with sound layering, of course. A second nugget: Pollock sought to make paintings which were objects, rather than making a painting 'of' something else. Danto follows Plato and discusses this in terms of Reality Theory and Imitation Theory. Maybe you know Clement Greenberg's writings, and how the result of this wish to make paintings which were objects in their own right resulted in so-called Colourfield Painting.

It seems to me that your use of Deconstruction is, at times, almost by way of arguing for process as a serious enough artistic endeavour in its own right; again, making the point that objects are not the only things which matter. Conceptual Art is full of examples of this. In this way, to my mind, your Deconstruction is almost another way of indicating a commitment to something essentially diagnostic. This, I would say, ties in well with your love of scientific method, insofar as you are experimenting, mixing up elements, taking things apart, using certain tools to investigate substructures, internal composition, and so on.

Similarly, your ideas about letting the technology do what it does - with you almost as a kind of conduit - puts me in mind of two things: Heideggerian 'let it be' and Roland Bathes' 'death of the author'. This is great - as one could get all Zen about this, and end up drifting conceptually toward the East. Many do. There are, though, great reasons to keep it West! One key thing, I think, is that you do not seem to want the listener to trance-out. Indeed, I suspect it is attention to detail which you crave. If so, I totally agree. Ideologically or philosophically, then, this is more like Rationalism than the pursuit of Nirvana.

I'll not go on much further. A few quips only ... Sampling I'd say is part of the tradition of collage. Within this, there are nuances and increments - between the use of original elements raw and identifiable - ie. full-on Appropriation - and abstracting and altering the same as to be unrecognisable, untraceable to its source. The latter, if taken to extremes of abstraction and alteration, ceases to infer collage, of course: like saying that a fretted D on a guitar by a contemporary guitarist is a sample of that move by an earlier guitarist! This references your point about using instruments for your * project, and how that is more accessible than using non-instrument sounds. Here, as your interviewer points out, are implications for what Walter Benjamin termed 'aura'.

I like your point re. cyborg. Exactly so.

Best wishes


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