Sunday, January 31, 2010

Officer Crupdate

This week I wrote out a score for the piece and have retitled it "Duet for Two Humans." The score is loose, every 15" is blocked out and the performer is asked to take a bite or a drink from the glass a specified number of times within each time-frame. The whole piece will be about 3' long.

Each bite will trigger an action with the video. The first bite will turn it on, the second off (the third on, fourth off, etc.) The video will progress along in this way (each clip in slo-mo). Each drink will trigger a different action: the video will play for the duration of the drink (from lifting to placing the glass back down). This video will play in normal time (or maybe sped up). There are 5 times that each performer takes in a drink during the whole performance. The first raises the feedback from the contact mics to 20%, the second to 40% until, at the very end, the feedback is at a howling 100% right before everything gets cut off.

I've thought a lot about the end of this piece, and I'm a little indecisive about it. If you're reading this and you care to comment, you should tell me what you think. The most obvious ending is the orgasm. This seems like it might undercut the experience, however. Imagine, if you will, the sonic atmosphere at the end. The whole piece has been saturated with munching and chewing sounds, but once the feedback is at 100%, it will just be a mess of noise. Here are some other endings I've been throwing around in my head:
  • everything goes black (including screen) before orgasm
  • I found a clip where the action is really intense and then the man pulls out (which could imply orgasm without all the visual mess)
  • the performers get up and walk offstage leaving the sound to fade out on its own with a black screen

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Totally radicant, dude

Thank you, OED:


A theory advocating the teaching, on traditional lines and to everyone, of certain ideas and methods supposed to be essential to the prevalent culture.

"Gayatri Spivak defends the idea of a 'strategic essentialism,' in which minority individuals or groups lay claim to the cultural substance on which they found their identity, which permits these 'subalterns' to gain a voice in the context of globalized imperialism."

Of a body in respect of its elements: Composed of diverse elements or constituents; consisting of parts of different kinds; not homogeneous.

"The more that contemporary art heterogeneous artistic vocabularies deriving from multiple non-Western visual traditions, the more clearly there emerge the distinctive characteristics of a single global culture."

The process of making or becoming homogeneous; the action of homogenizing.
Of one thing in respect of another, or of various things in respect of each other: Of the same kind, nature, or character; alike, similar, congruous.]

Once you cut through the pretentious bullshit of the language in this book (the above words are mere small fry), you find that many ideas are actually quite enlightening. In fact, I'd say this book has opened my mind a bit.

It got me thinking about my own goals and aspirations. My initial plan for after school was to find a city and root myself down, spend 2-5 years trying to make rent while trying to find time for my art and then somehow break into a scene. My goal was to eventually support myself with my art so it was all art all the time (I'm lumping music into art). This is the Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman) ideal. Show up in a city, become a god.

That seems to be an old ideal. Cities are only getting bigger and people are less and less willing to listen to you what with all the information that's thrown at them.

After reading these first few pages of the Radicant, I had a thought. What if I helped pull together a group of artists interested in the beauty of a creative world? We could provide out art for free online while keeping a rooted presence in many different areas around the world.

In many ways this would seem to be exactly like the metaphor: roots extending to other roots. Each artist in the collective would be connected to many different artists and traditions in their respective regions. Bringing artists from one region to another would only get easier and in the end, the world stops seeming like a vast hole and more like a cozy cabin. All I want is to snuggle up with my friends and make sweet sweet music.


This week I did these things for my project:

  • Went to the Shoppe and got matching plates (white), a set of clear tubular (phallic?) glasses and a matching vase to put flowers in (I'm thinking daisies).
  • Got myself some actors: Chris Dorn and Elyse Lucas, the art department's favorite couple (beside Johnny and Julie, of course). I thought of them because a) they love meat b) they're a couple so they'll be comfortable with the whole sex thing c) they're artists so they'll be comfortable with the bullshit and d) I just think they're aesthetically pleasing (cute, right?)

  • I started the max patch and have been thinking of a way to trigger the video. I want it to be a physical motion on stage that connects to the thrusting portrayed in the video.
  • I got some contact mics from amazon.
  • I searched forever online until I found the actual original production of the video I'm stealing from. It's called "A Girl's Guide to 21st Century Sex" and it was produced in 2006 for British Television. There are eight total episodes, of which I've downloaded 3 (they're big files, AVI broken up into four parts for each episode). The video is really good quality. And the show is kind of silly, but there are some educational facts to be learned (apparently penis creams actually do work). I've started editing a bit already.

I no longer love the color of your sweater

Laurie Anderson makes art. Laurie Anderson needs media technology to make her art. Laurie Anderson's art often comments on human dependency on media technology. My critique is also apparently dependent on IT. It's impossible to know how to use all of IT, yet we use IT everyday. Sculptors know marble and wood and metal. Laurie Anderson attempts to know IT. She's got a valiant mission.

More practically, I was thinking about how I don't even know how to fix my breaking down car. Or my computer, for that matter. Two hundred years ago, if your horse and cart broke, you could probably fix the cart yourself. Maybe that's not true. But I feel a bigger and bigger divide between the consuming public and the able consuming public. Maybe it's because there's just too much to try and keep track of technology-wise.

Less practically, I was thinking about how Laurie Anderson uses her hands in her art. It's like she's making another character on stage..."it's not me who's doing these actions, it's this hand."
It reminds me of David Byrne, a similar artist from a similar time. The video I'm thinking of ("Once in a Lifetime" from Stop Making Sense) was pulled from YouTube. So just watch this for fun:

Spaceship Earth

Buckminster Fuller had the right idea about people. People, in general, seem to think the world is limitless. Turns out we're actually hurtling through space all contained in one tiny little orb. And we're juicing that orb dry.

[My car broke down three times on the way home from the U.P. today.]

The problem with thinking of the world as a BIG place is that it takes the responsibility out of the hands of the individual. If there are 100 people on a spaceship, each person is responsible for their cabin--it should be cleaned and inspected daily--as well as some important function of the ship. Just watch Star Trek.

But here on earth, there are just too many human beings, and most of them don't even clean up their own shit, much less take a further conscious responsibility for the upkeep of our planet.

Either more people need to think like Buckminster Fuller, or the population needs to be greatly reduced so there are less useless people and more people concerned with keeping Spaceship Earth ship shape.

I wish there were something I could do. Oh well. I'll get to it later.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For Those Who Need Their Porn Fix

I looked at the blogger policies and apparently adult content is accepted.

So here you go:

Somebody just took all the dirty parts out of some kinda erotic sex education video. Or maybe its porn. Who can say?

In any case, I'm using this for the first project I'm going to attempt to tackle. Just the scenes from inside the vagina. It'll be projected above a table while two people eat meatloaf or some other food.

It might look something like this:

There'll be contact mics connected to their throats that run through a computer with a bunch of delay on a Max patch.

At least that's my plan. We'll see.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Have I got a gal for you! (The Seemingly Unfortunate Love Life of Mary Ford)

While watching the American Masters documentary on Les Paul, the great man who invented multi-track recording and the solid body electric guitar, I was mostly intrigued by the life of his one-time wife and business partner, Mary Ford.

Young Iris Colleen Hatfield, just out of highschool, found work with Gene Autry as a back-up country vocalist. She was making a fine living in this position, but there was no chance of getting into the big money if she stayed there. Luckily for her, Gene passed her off to a good friend, Les Paul. Mr. Paul was looking for a girl to sing with him. Any girl with a good voice and decent enough knockers should do.

So now this well dressed guitarist with a classic midwestern face and a knack for business rolls up and what else is a poor unsuspectingly ambitious gal supposed to do? Their partnership started strickly professional. Mr. Paul chose a name for her, Mary Ford. He chose songs for her to sing. He moved her around from city to city, showing off their classic combo. I guess it just made sense to get married four years later. Good business sense. When they stopped making hits, it was only a matter of time before that partnership became obsolete.

In the end, at least she got a catchy line from one of their songs on her tombstone. Good thing Les Paul made her the way she was, or no one would even visit her grave.

Fattest Possum

It seems like most of the people who venture into unknown cultural territory are in it for the money.

Matthew Johnson may not have been in it for the money only. He claims that he wanted to bring recognition to a group of blues artists. But, of course, what good is recognition without the money?

People seeking fame (for themselves or, in Matthew Johnson's case, other people) puzzle me. I'm not really sure why it's important for an individual to gain "recognition" in the world. There are a lot of people who I recognize and they do really terrible things. I wish I didn't recognize them at all. So why was Mr. Johnson so keen to get the music out?

The guys were old. Practically knockin' on heaven's door. That's a lot of promotion to do in such a small amount of time.

Personally, if I were an old blues guitarist (ah, another lifetime) I wouldn't want some motivated college boy getting on my back about tour dates and doctor appointments. I'd just want to sit and play and drink.

But then again, there is the money. I could afford nice things and supply for my family. I get to see places I've never been. Money would be great.

I don't need a tomb full of records and concert ticket stubs. Just get me my money while I'm still alive.

And please,
See that my grave is kept clean.