RE: [-empyre-] question for Barbara

> > >
> > >
> > > "We believe in a future where music will no longer be considered a
> > > linear composition, but a dynamic structure, and musical composition
> > > will extend to interaction. We also believe that the divisions of
> > > composer, performer, and audience will be blurred, by the introduction
> > > of such media."
> Jim,
> I think that there have been many years of experimentation in that
> direction already.  People are adapting technological processes based on
> prior cultural experiments and necessities, and are thus building
> on those
> cultural experiments/traditions.  The "introduction of such
> media" happened
> as an effect, not a cause, of such experimentation.
> Do you agree?

Yes and no. No, insofar as language draws a magic circle around the realm of
the thinkable; and computing's informationalization of what previously was
not informationalized at all clearly creates new language, and hence a
larger realm of the thinkable. Yes, insofar as you are correct that much
work has been done in synthesis of arts, and synthesis of arts and
mechanisms that attempt to develop music, for instance, that is interactive.
I am neither a 'technological determinist' nor a 'technological
non-determinist'. The 'causes' of art history have both relation to the
technologies of the day and of course to the aspirations of artists. (And to
other things also like global/national/regional conflicts...).

> (As a kind of proof, take the inventions of the phonograph and the
> telephone and their relative impacts on the development of sound
> art across
> the span of the 20th century...Why did the telephone have so much less
> significance for sound experiments until late in the century? What caused
> the "discovery" of the phone as a medium for art as well as communication
> in the 1980s work of Mr.Apology, for example, as well as sonic
> artists since?).
> Nonetheless, the extended use of media over time does feed back into the
> way that one experiences one's world, producing certain patterns of
> perception, expectation and engagement, etc.  I just think that, at this
> point in time, we can look for changes beyond those of compositional
> restructuring. For example, the DIY aesthetic grew out of punk
> and this has
> fed just as much into the blurring of divisions between artist
> and audience
> as what has been enabled by technological interfaces.

Of course interactivity doesn't have to be (nor is it in practice) solely
about compositional restructuring.

I have a lot of regard for punk. Yet I am also eventually bored (sooner than
later, actually) by sameness of works (that sound/look/read the same)
however wonderful the politics. Yet ten thousand works that all sound
basically the same have other important purposes (like providing kids all
over the place with opportunities to participate locally in not only the
music but the scenes that grow around it). Several anthems reconstituted ten
thousand ways. The music as simply part, though an important part, of the
social millieu that it is 'drummer' for. Important stuff, like a few million
breaths before the end. Life is importantly repetitious. Yet we seek to
explore where others have not been, also, the breath of fresh air.

> >What is your feeling about this sort of possible future concerning video,
> >particularly as experienced in front of a computer at which one
> 'works' (we
> >'work', right?).
> My software participates in DIY culture. When it comes to video and
> film,  I identify as part of the audience. Therefore, my effort is in
> creating active ways of viewing screen images.  The act of seeing
> becomes a
> performance, which means that the division between maker and
> viewer becomes
> blurred as an effect of the performativity of the audience (myself or
> others using software).

Yes, I see what you mean, and agree.

> Eventually DIY culture changes the construct called "audience"
> entirely.  Groupings coalesce with entirely different
> expectations and ways
> of engaging the screen.
> I may be over-emphasizing the DIY aspect.  It isn't just about different
> ways of positioning oneself as a viewer.  It is also about
> escaping what is
> over-determined and predictable, probing/constructing labyrinths to get
> lost in, etc.  The computer is so chimerical... a mimic of other
> machines...

Yes, it can be a mimic of other machines. Yet it is crucially quite unlike
previous machines as much as we ourselves are unlike previous machines. They
weren't programmable.

But, at this point in time, if we happen to still "work in
> front of the computer", I do not know how productive a challenge it is to
> speculate on how that might change someday.  Obviously it will change.
> What do you think, Jim?  I guess that you raise the question because you
> have some insights of your own.

I agree it will change. Let's hope that your notion of 'active viewing' or,
more generally, active thinking/feeling/criticism of/reprocessing of media
continues to be deeply aided and abetted however we work with computers.


ps: i posted the below, barbara, to another list, thinking of the
conversation about interactive video, among other things:

in any case, it seems at the mo to me that 'new music' is changing. the idea
of what 'new music' is. it used to be that new music was primarily new by
virtue of it sounding different from older music (among other things).
although of course there'd be elements--usually very strong elements--of
older music in new music. blues in electric rock and roll, for instance. but
the electric instruments sounded different and the whole sound was quite
different than acoustic music.

now, it seems like 'new music' is not going to be so much defined by its
sounding fundamentally different from previous music. we have the whole
range of sound at our disposal. any instrument that will ever exist is now
possible, simulated in the digital. any music machine. any instrument.
possible now. because a turing machine can simulate any conceivable machine.

so it seems 'new music' is not going to be 'new music' from now on, as much
as it was, by virtue of the distinguishing features of the sound, and any
but minor unprecedented aspects of the sound. but, rather, by virtue of the
larger contexts it situates itself in. the interactive experience, for
instance. the compositional aspect. the game aspect, say. the theatrical
aspect. the x that has not been part of the audience's experience before, or
the music's structure.

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