Pat's Response to Ascott and Moholy

 I'd like to touch on a couple quotes that especially captured my interest:

Moholy -- "It is high time to state once and for all that the much disdained masses, despite their "academic backwardness," often exhibit the soundest instincts and preferences. Our task will always remain the creative understanding of the true, and not the imagined, needs."

Ascott -- "The artist is faced with two possible ties; either to be carried along in the stream of events, mindlessly, half aware and perhaps bitter as a result; or he can come to terms with his world, shape it and develop it by understanding its underlying cybernetic characteristics."

The thought that got my wheels turning is "What if one's instincts are opposed to modern art? What do artists owe to audiences, and what do they owe to the progress of art -- if anything?" My gut response is that an artist can only produce meaningful work if he truly cares and is moved by its medium. To write a type of music because it is trendy (or, because it is not) seems artificial.

Yet on the other hand, at the crux of my conception of art is that it needs to be shared. Part of that recognition is a demand for innovation -- people do not want to hear the same old music for all of time. I agree with Ascott in that resisting modern technology and trends can be foolish, as they open up even more possibilities for expression. I suppose that only further exploration in the music I love will point to where the perfect balance between these considerations might lay





 

Comments

Accessibility

So responding back to Pat's original post:

You raise a lot of really interesting questions, especially regarding what the artist's responsibility is to the audience or society in general.

I remember coming up on the Moholy quote in the reading, and being really peeved, haha.  It seems like many artistic movements claim to be "for the people,"  but often the art that comes out of these movements isn't accessible at all.  I don't think that I have many friends who would know how to approach or appreciate much of the art that Moholy proposes.

It reminds me of a comment that John used when he visited to give his talk.  He mentioned that a lot of electronic sound artists are wary of using rhythm and other recognizable musical forms for fear of sounding trite or un-experimental.  But then, he said that he sees nothing wrong with making accessible art.

I mean, I think putting together a hip hop beat is just as legitimate an artform as creating a soundbed on a 16-channel speaker system.  Maybe the purpose is different.  There is an art to creating really dancable beats, and there's an art to creating an immersive soundscape.  I don't think artists should be pressured to make their work accessible or not.  Accessibility is not a virtue, and it's not a crime.

clarification

Hey,

They way you have responded above, it seems like you might have a certain music(s) in mind when you say for instance that "to write a type of music because it is trendy (or, because it is not) seems artificial."  And earlier you mention your gut, which always raises warning bells for me since your 42nd president's brought gut-thought back into vogue.  So yes, I have a few questions:
Which music[s] are you pointing at?
In what ways does it contradict or enbody a 'true care for and movement from" the artists medium?
What is it about the music that you love that is incompatible with other musics? is there something of this loved music in the other? 
What is it about gut-music that is more appealing than other music (er.. head music?)?
Whose gut is this we are talking about?
   i.e. when Maholy refers to "true, and not imagined, needs," who the heck's need's is he talking about?
   how are we or any other group of people to deside that we have the authority to answer this question?!

I think that is all for now... I just had some flags raised in my mind when I read your response.
Pip pip cheerio.
hi ho.
mb

Clarification

 All important considerations. 

The type of "trendy" music to which I'm referring really depends on group norms, which obviously vary substantially from group to group. For instance, some types of pop music (let's just say, for the sake of example) Lady Gaga or Owl City) are trendy among many of my friends, but seem to me unauthentic -- that is, I get the feeling their music was composed for the sole purpose of making a lot of money and being dance-able, rather than making an artistic statement. Other times I hear modern compositions that are incredibly complex, but sound more like noise than music -- and I get the feeling that these pieces were composed to merely impress academic elites. (Of course, this raises the question of what constitutes music, but that's another discussion.) I suppose what I am saying is that motives are crucial for me in music, because they reflect sincerity. Not that I mean to suggest that there are no artists who genuinely espouse these types of music, either. But sincerity for me is key.

And as for the gut -- In my book it is quite acceptable to trust instincts in music (though I agree, not in politics). Great music resonates in the heart, and there is a component to that which transcends cerebral thinking. To quote Duke Ellington, "If it sounds good, it is good." Amen.


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