It's been 8 years already, and it would still seem fictional had it not been so real.
It's September already: some people come, some people go. It's the 'moving month'. As for me, I'm back. It's been a while. Things have happened during the summer. Mostly good things, I would say. It's been a busy but happy summer. Hello London. Hello again, from my two big new windows and my new mac.
Illustration via Madido (who one summer saw me sleeping in position #14 or was it #13?)
"'Herb & Dorothy' tells the extraordinary story of Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy Vogel quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb's salary to purchase art they liked, and living on Dorothy's paycheck alone, they continued collecting artworks guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Within these limitations, they proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists including Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert and Sylvia Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi, and Lawrence Weiner."
And an interview of Herb & Dorothy in the NYT
Surely the feat of landing a man on the Moon wouldn't have been the same if those men wouldn't have come back to Earth safely. I've got to say that, even though I have seen millions of times the images of the man on the moon, I don't remember paying much attention to this one above of that man (and the rest of them) returning to Earth [except in its cartoon reproduction in the openning of I Dreamed of Jeannie]. I, for one, find it beautiful.
Originally a 16th century mystic text written by the Spanish Carmelite monk San Juan de la Cruz, the Dark Night of the Soul is now the title of David Lynch's new (musical) adventure with producer Danger Mouse and the leader of the rock band Sparklehorse. Apart from (probably) suggesting the title of the project*, Lynch contributed with a 100 pages book of photographs inspired in the music, and with his squeaky, nasal voice in a couple of tracks.
The album, which probably will never be released due problems with EMI, can now be heard at the American National Public Radio NPR. To my taste, it is more a curiosity for fans, than an actual good work. So, if they were expecting a transformative experience as that narrated by St. John of the Cross (which I think they didn't), they certainly failed. Yet, it is still listenable and not really mysterious and dark as one would have expected. The photographs--which might be more interesting--in turn, are being exhibited at Michael Kohn Gallery in LA.
Following the ongoing posthumous Jacksonmania, Madonna included a tribute to M.J. in her show last Saturday at the O2 arena in London. As other artists, the Queen of Pop probably wanted to acknowledge the influence that her male royal counterpart had on her. Curiously, one of the Jackson’s songs performed was Thriller’s first track, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', a song which was, as it happens, not entirely Jackson’s, and which earned him a lawsuit for plagiarism.
The overall track—the rhythm, the melody—suspiciously resembles to Soul Makossa, an underground hit of the 70s, originally composed by a pioneer of disco music, Manu Dibango, as the B side of a single—Mouvement Ewondo— which was a kind of anthem for the Cameroon soccer team. But the suspicion is confirmed once one gets to the sticky Ma ma se, ma ma sa, ma ma coo sa at the end of Jackson’s song. Were it not for a slight change in the syllables, it would be exactly the same as the original Ma-mako, ma-ma-ssa, mako-makossa.
This, however, was not the only controversy affecting the authenticity of the authorship of Jackson’s greatest album. Luixi Toledo, an amateur musician from (surprise!) Toledo, Spain, claimed to be the original author of the song Thriller. According to his testimony, in 1974 Toledo, an obsessive fan of MJ who was born the same day as the King of Pop and reported to communicate with him in dreams, sent his idol a sample of his work together with a photograph of his hometown. Among the sixteen tracks he sent, was Exorcismo, a song he had registered for copyright in 1966 and which is surprisingly similar to Thriller (released in 1982).
Unlike Dibango, Toledo was not then a renowned artist. In fact, he was and is an eccentric who has declared to have lived in Mars 12.000 years ago. Surely, this didn’t help his credibility despite there being evidence that his score is indeed registered. In the end, Jackson worked out an agreement with Dibango (he paid him around €500.000) Toledo, however, never got compensation; Jackson claimed that Exorcismo’s resemblance to Thriller was a mere coincidence. (listen—laugh—and judge by yourself. If you understand Spanish, you'll see that the topic of both songs is also similar)
At this point, there is no doubt that MJ was influenced by other artists as he influenced them. But now that MJ is dead, nobody wants to recall these incidents (or accidents?); not even Dibango, who has recently declared that "the world has lost an exceptional artist, the most talented and ingenious the world has ever had". As for Toledo, well, I'm sure he is also mourning his death somewhere in Mars or in Toledo, which is equally dry in Summer.
John Cage wanted to dissolve the boundaries between art and the ordinary world by blurring the differences between music and noise; an ideal that, as it is well known, was embraced also by his Fluxus pupils in other artforms. Yet, it is not clear to me what exactly Cage’s ultimate aim was: whether to reduce art to ordinary objects or to elevate everyday sounds to the status of music.
On the one hand, he maintained, music should not convey any meaning. Music must be pure sound. Moreover, music shouldn’t be melodic, for it is the resposability of the artist—he said—to hide beauty. In this sense, we might interpret, he wanted to reduce music to ordinary sounds/noises.
On the other hand, the way in which he called attention to the sounds of everyday life was by awarding them a place in rituals traditionally restricted to Music. Sound, then, we could think, should be as 'noble' as music, and it deserves to be heard as music currently is; we should be able to appreciate the richness and the (aesthetic?) interest of noise/sound.
It seems to me that Cage's real aim was the former, at least if we take his writings literally. Yet, what he really did was the latter. After all, placing an ordinary sound in an extra-ordinary context as the music theatre—as placing an ordinary object like a urinary in a museum—conveys certain meaning to the sound piece and certainly changes its character.
In any case, this doesn’t really matter much. You may think, as the audience that laughs in the video, that this is just a nonsensical whim of an eccentric artist. But, like it or not, Cage opened a place for sound and noise in music. Before, music, at the most, just imitated sounds, but after Cage—and the advent of electronic music—we hear everyday noises in all types of music from soundtracks to Manu Chao.
It is always good to know one is not alone in this world. Actually, I have sometimes played Royksopp while fighting against deadlines
[The author of this video is Bang-yao Liu, a student of the Savannah College of Art and Design.This was his senior project]
Does a Nazi Deserve a Place Among Philosophers?
The year we changed the idea of Revolution
Januszczak vs Scruton on beauty and modern art
Waking the dead [new]
We all know that we can change the future but, can we change the past? Benjamin thought so.
On Philosophy / Philosophers