Posts filed under ‘art’
From an art show at bkk art house in the bangkok cultural center.
This has been sitting in my drafts file for awhile. Made some minor revisions and decided to publish it because it’s 4 a.m. and I have nothing else to do. WordPress doesn’t let me embed you so you can watch Mach-2o here.
Laurie was able to take an idea like information and turn it into a sperm whale race by adopting the conventions of the research paper and folding it into a storybook. Her pieces like Mach-20 aren’t brilliant for their literal conceptual meaning, but the way they shift the topography of our ideas. By simply folding metaphors, changing the track of her thought, and wandering inspiridely through her thinking, she reintroduces wonder into a stale intellectual environment. But it brings me back to Greil Marcus’ Mystery Train, one of Randy Newman’s greater charms according to Marcus is that Newman’s inventive and self-conscious, Laurie Anderson on the other hand is inventive with consciousness. Mach-20 employs a kinda metaphorical thinking similar to the lyrical output of Bob Dylan and Stephen Malkmus, but she is able to move these totemic ideas into constellations that collapse in wonder. Anyway, she caught a little euraka moment, but even better she manages to share the process of coming to that thought with us.
Sorry about the fact this blog is basically just a bunch of my links these days, anyway reading Sontag’s In America (it’s quite good, but the intellectual conversation she’s responding to is so familar to make many of the ideas trite).
“I can’t help thinking a person who sneezes in an absurd way is also lacking in self-respect. Why else consent to something so unattractive? It ought to be a matter of concertration and resolve to sneeze gracefully, candidly. Like a handshake.”
“And God is abetting all this. This longing for newness, emptiness, pastlessness. This dream of turning life into pure future. Perhaps He has no choice-though, in so doing, God the Star is signing His own death warrant as an actor, as the star of stars. No longer will He be guaranteed the major role in any drama of consequence attended by the most coveted, educated audiences. At best, minor roles from now on-except in picturaseque backwaters, where people have never seen a play without Him. All this moving the audience about will amount to the end of His career.
Does God know this? Probably he does. But that won’t stop Him: He’s a trouper.
God Spits. ”
It’s fucking hilarious, and a rather good summary of the movement away from religion dating around this time historically in the novel to Darwin and a harbinger of Neitsche.
“She wished she were in love, for being helplessly in love awakens one’s better self. But when marriage puts an end to that, it is deliverance. Love makes men strong, self-confident. It makes women weak. Friendship, though… that was another matter. Friends make you strong.”
“You are whatever you think you are… Whatever you dare think you are. And to be free to think yourself something you’re not, something better than what you are-isn’t that the true freedom promised by the country to which he was journeying?”
“The first morning he masturbated to the mental image of a fat brown walrus slowly turning from side to side.”
Clearly she had a deep understanding of male desire.
All qoutes from In America by Susan Sontag
And one from Eno via an old copy of Frieze:
“Saying that cultural objects have value is like saying that telephones have conversations.”
Dan Fox qoutes it from Brian Eno,A year with Swollen Appendices, Faber and Faber, London, 1996
And finally Pynchon, ” ‘Explosion with out an objective’, delcared Miles Blundell, ‘is politics in its purest form.’ ” from against the day
p.s. added amazon referrals to make the blog more long-tail-ish.
the olde school? (note: wordpress still doesn’t allow youtube videos apparetly despite using code)
Yeah, violence is cool in games, but as games reach out to a new audience through either Nintendo’s innovations i.e. Animal Crossing, the Brain Trainers, or even PS3’s Pixel Junk the audience of games is growing into the spectrum of the population that probably won’t want to play violent games all the time or at all. The people buying games are having a greater say in how games look and feel:
My point being, the era of the shooter as the main avenue of games has pretty much already come (cellphone games outsell the latest pc games these days), but the debate over violence in games could in reality be one of marketplace. The action and horror games that comprise video games major genres don’t appeal to all the people buying Brain Trainers and please note this isn’t entirely a question of gender many women do play FPSes and the survival horror games, it’s that avenues are opening up. How long are we from non-violent games that are bestsellers and will they actually have good stories?
Action games will always sell as much as that science fiction flicks rule the charts, but how will the abundance of different genres and the demands of those viewers effect a previously untouched genre?
One of the bigger problems of criticism, is that it’s quite easy to decipher the symptoms of a music that will cause its decimation, but it’s harder to write a piece of criticism that can actually make the listener listen anew. Marcus, and for that matter myself, fall into the first category. Mr. Marcus is adept at finding the limits of various American music genres nailing them down to specific mind sets he situates with the experience of American culture, but he’s unable to elaborate where music should go and by extension Americans. Some asides are made to Randy Newman, who breaks with the confessional style of the sixties and seventies, and Sly Stone, but for the most part Marcus sets out to explore a body of music he’s a master at murdering. However, regardless of how Marcus kills his subjects, he does so humanely and with a fondness that merely shows that thinking often leads to music falling flat. Mystery Train is still an essential piece of criticism, because it’s heart lies in a mind-set that bands today don’t just situate themselves around, but actively worship with nostalgia.
The bigger problem with Marcus is that the albums he charts his America through had an entirely different impact when he was writing about them, then as they do now. The Band’s Big Pink coming after their electric period with Dylan was another amoebic growth of the post-sixties generation, a time when the children out numbered the adults and their new found trends didn’t just signal next seasons fashion, but a potential swurve in the hippie majority’s concerns. For someone born in the post-sixties generation the Band is just another way for AT&T’s creative staff to pitch next year’s cellphones with a catchy toon (and no I don’t think that degrades the song).
One of Mystery Train’s greater reasons for infamy is simply that Marcus was living through a time when music critics were important and publications like Rolling Stone really did break with literary conventions, but the groups he’s picked often line up with the shocks that radio gave at the time and the pressing mysteries of who invented rock and roll. Greil is great at finding flaws, but it’s really the critics who invert history, who destroy listening, who can re-imagine the music of their times that are most memorable, many of the sixties generation of critics were engaged in the game of second guessing the history of their music as it happened as if music criticism was a game of deciding who would ultimately become important. In the late nineties music criticism differed, and such questions of epic quality didn’t touch upon us, perhaps someone would argue the merits of the most experimental band at the moment or something, but few seemed to be convinced anyone today was making history. The creative process has been taken apart taught in design courses and dispersed on web-logs to the point that we have exhaustion at the means through which a band is attempting to achieve the new. Mystery Train at the very least caught a creativity of a different sort, one of place and alienation with the only connector being the am radio dial. It is, a testimony to the individual and a totem of them.
Quickly, Gondry has an obvious love of creation and Be Kind Rewind’s humor might come from the reinactions of our own private fantasies in hollywood films (aren’t most movies addictive because we imagine ourselves in them?), but it’s also a meditation on the creator and the modern world, it has a mild copy-left message, and it’s about production or the way that creating things has been subsumed by entertainment, in the end people might be better off developing these pursuits instead of just engorging themselves on them.