Re: [-empyre-] microsound as music's digital praxis

thanks for the thoughtful response, John!

here are a few scattered impressions:

* I gravitate toward the anti-labelling critical practice of Derrida's
"Plato's Pharmacy"; here, "pharmakon" can never function as critical
shorthand because it always echoes and reverberates with other connotations,
operates on new frequencies, or mutters quietly in the background.

* critical and creative processes are not antithetical -- at least they
don't have to be. Of course, they very often are positioned as such, and
unfortunately, this split is frequently institutionalized; but I find myself
eager to discover and embody the critique as creative function and not an
afterthought or gloss or "artist's statement". Unfortunately, I think in the
sonic arts many perceive DJ Spooky or Kodwo Eshun as the model for a new
kind of critical practice; to the contrary, I consider them
"jargon-grinders" offering very little that is new and engaging to the
table, working only from surface-scans of Derrida or D&G, but without
getting into the psychedelic interstices of the mesh.

* John Hopkins wrote: "sonic/music/audio work is essentially divergent from
labels" -- punning this, though, I would say the opposite is true,
particularly in indy.alt Internet-cultures of sound; that is, we witness a
proliferation of labels and microbranding. Elsewhere, I wrote the following
to characterize this process: "Long associated with the histories of hip-hop
and techno subcultures is the phenomenon of the independent label. Event
promotion, compact disc production and distribution, web development,
creation of art objects, and clothing styles all bubble together in the form
of a micro-culture, an alternative reality that steals from, then remixes,
the capitalist impulse. Shadow capitalism tracks across pantopic webs of
sound, leaving behind material reconstructions of an ideal of the civic
organism." It seems to me that audio work now depends on label identity in
newly complicated but vital ways.

* John Hopkins wrote:
> it seems to be a process that social 'safety' is built on -- if I can
> use a term like 'microsound' I fall into a social comfort zone
> instead of groping in a linguistic landscape devoid of over-arching
> terminologies, risking mis-understanding (and so the Tower of Babel
> fell).

interesting that immediately upon the launch of this panel, we
guest-participants pretty much launched into a strategic dissolution of
"microsound," and that this created, in my opinion/experience, a greater
respect and admiration for these fellow artists. So, rather than acting as a
safe shorthand, the term provided an intersection of conflicting
interpretations and practices; only out of the ensuing conversation did I
realize that few of us indeed use this term to characterize our work, but
rather employ it, on the fly, as a set of tools/approaches to our own work.
And believe me, I enjoy a good grope as much as the next person, but I also
appreciate art's ability to construct meaningful social navigation charts.
I'm not sure I see how overpacked terminology provides a zone of comfort in
this case, or why comfort zones are suspect -- particularly given the
current USA media/gov't tendency to pack up and discharge strategic social
discomfort zones of fear, loathing, suspicion and hate (e.g., "weapons of
mass destruction"). I'm interested in more discussion along these lines.

> I wonder, while we are bringing our linguistic meanderings into
> juxtaposition here, how interesting it would be to be able to take
> all the personal sonic threads and weave them, and NOT comment on
> them...
> You are doing something of that, Trace, in the ADAPT project ...

Thanks, John! And wait until you see the critmixer I'm going to unveil at
EBR in the near future!


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