New Vintage Porcelain Dishes Crawling with Hand-Painted Ants

by Evelyn Bracklow

September 13th, 2014

 

Via Colossal: "German artist Evelyn Bracklow of La Philie has created an entire new collection of ant-covered porcelain dishes and tableware since we first shared her work here early this year. Many of the new pieces are part of a unique partnership between the artist, Rijks Museum in the Netherlands, and Etsy. The pieces are hand-painted in Bracklow’s studio, signed, numbered and fired to 160 degrees. As unsettling as having insects permanently invading your dinnerware is, I can’t help but be enchanted by how perfectly crafted they are. You can see more of Bracklow’s recent work here."

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19 Questions

answered by the singular John Cage

May 19th, 2014

 

Via Mode Records: "John Cage answers 19 questions on a variety of subjects, using chance operations to determine the duration of his colorful and often witty answers. A unique opportunity to view the Cagean process of chance in real-time."

 

For example:

"Thoreau was very happy to be little known while he was alive. He said it enabled him to do what he had to do. I'm now very well known. It makes me very happy, because I'm able to do what I have to do."

and

"I think conversation works best when the second thing that is said is not in the mind of the person who said the first thing."

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LICHT

On Being Invisible

April 20st, 2014

 

Via James Ingram: "Freitag aus Licht (1991-94): My favorite of the operas. Possibly because it is partly about the marriage of people and machines. Its his reaction to the advent of computers (which intelligence uses to seduce us). Possibly also because of its ambiguities and its being sometimes so politically incorrect that one has to laugh (the alternative is too dreadful to contemplate). Also because of Johannes Conen’s fantasic stage realization, and because Freitag-Versuchung is technically the most advanced score I produced for Stockhausen (full use of all my experience and software). Michael Manion did the basic work of creating the initial Finale files, but it was a long way from there to the final score! The score also contains a full photographic record of the production, and is heartily to be recommended. (Buy it! Buy it! Here!)
The piece is a good example of the danger into which his absolute trust in his intuition could lead him. The piece ends with a beautiful auto-da-fé, with mixed-race beings (bastards) being ceremoniously burned. Kathinka calls 'Do you all repent?', but we are not told why they should repent. Nobody notices what’s happening (if Stockhausen notices, he does not care) because he does his best, as always, to make things as beautiful as possible."

 

Also, check out James Ingram's notations.

 

Thanks to Elmar Hintz!

 

Invited Johannes Conen to my Visual Music seminar at the Institute for Music and Media (IMM) in July. Am very excited to meet him and get to know his concepts.

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Love, Sex, and the World Between

Susan Sontag's superb 1978 conversation with Jonathan Cott

January 19th, 2013

 

Via Brain Pickings: "In Susan Sontag: The Complete Rolling Stone Interview (public library) — the superb 1978 conversation with Jonathan Cott that ranked among the best biographies, memoirs, and history books of 2013 and also gave us the beloved author on the false divide between high and pop culture and how our cultural polarities imprison us — Sontag, one of the most celebrated minds of the last century, who spent decades contemplating love and being discombobulated over sex, zooms in with her characteristic precision on our culture’s impossible expectations of the relationship between the two:

We ask everything of love. We ask it to be anarchic. We ask it to be the glue that holds the family together, that allows society to be orderly and allows all kinds of material processes to be transmitted from one generation to another. But I think that the connection between love and sex is very mysterious. Part of the modern ideology of love is to assume that love and sex always go together. They can, I suppose, but I think rather to the detriment of either one or the other. And probably the greatest problem for human beings is that they just don’t. And why do people want to be in love? That’s really interesting. Partly, they want to be in love the way you want to go on a roller coaster again — even knowing you’re going to have your heart broken. [...]

 

I have loved people passionately whom I wouldn’t have slept with for anything, but I think that’s something else. That’s friendship — love, which can be a tremendously passionate emotion, and it can be tender and involve a desire to hug or whatever. But it certainly doesn’t mean you want to take off your clothes with that person. But certain friendships can be erotic. Oh, I think friendship is very erotic, but it isn’t necessarily sexual. I think all my relationships are erotic: I can’t imagine being fond of somebody I don’t want to touch or hug, so therefore there’s always an erotic aspect to some extent."

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"The young artist... will discover out of ordinary things the meaning of ordinariness. He will not try to make them extraordinary. Only their real meaning will be stated."

Allan Kaprow

January 7th, 2013

 

While reading Christoph Schlingensief's Ich weiß, ich war's [I know, it was me] I was reminded of Allan Kaprow, who was an important influence on Schlingensief's still outstanding projects. Kaprow's thoughts about art resonate and I miss Schlingensief.

 

Via Journal of Contemporay Art: "Morgan: . . . that again gets back to the reference of life in relation to art, as opposed to art in relation to life.

 

Kaprow: Yeah. So what could we say about that? It is a matter of paradox; therefore, when I say I’m interesting in un-arting, that is to divest as much as possible in my own work what I know about art. It’s a paradox because I can’t do it any more than, for example, I could follow John Cage’s seeming belief that I could focus on the autonomy of the sound itself, divorced from context or memory.

 

Morgan: Well, it’s a pragmatic phenomenology, the way I see it. It’s a very practical, almost instrumental use of language and action that you’re dealing with; at the same time, you’re not imposing models from social science to the extent that it is going to dismiss any possibility, any rupture within the enactment of the piece. In other words, there is always room for slippage in your work.

 

Kaprow: There’s not only room, but I insist on it.

 

Morgan: When you talk about the absurd, or when I sense the absurd in your works, I don’t see your meaning of the absurd as an existential dilemma, but as another kind of absurd that is more within the process of daily life, the pragmatics of how we actually see reality or ourselves.

 

Kaprow: Let me give you an example. You’re waiting at a bus stop along with a few other people. You wait for a half hour. The bus comes along and you get on. The fare is a dollar fifty, and you reach into your pocket and you find a dollar and forty-five cents. You say to the driver, 'I only have a dollar forty-five. Will you cash a twenty dollar bill?' He says, 'We don’t cash twenty dollar bills,' and points to the sign on the coin box. And you have to get off. Now this is a typical example of what happens every day in our lives. And we often complain about these things: Why is the world this way? But what’s evident to me is that ninety-nine percent of the world is that way and there is no possible way to change that. Maybe there’s no need to change it, even though the more earnest of us and the world’s leaders keep talking about control and making things come out the way they want them or they think they ought to be. So it’s an attitude toward the world that is perhaps more permissive, a little bit more humorous, more gently ironical, more accepting, even though there is the apparent magnitude of suffering. Some will find this position of mine privileged, indifferent, but, in my point of view, this is the only route toward compassion, whereas insisting on fixing the world, as we see so far, is not successful. We haven’t prevented street people from being street people, or stopping the war in the gulf by the moralisms that abound today. So it’s a different way of looking at the kind of life we have."

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10 rules for students and teachers

from John Cage

November 24th, 2013

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Everybody loves Spinoza

by Laura Miller
November 10th, 2013

Via Salon: „What makes Spinoza’s philosophy unsustainable in Goldstein’s view is the fact that ‚in its ruthless high-mindedness, it asks us to renounce so many passions. (Among the passions we must renounce is romantic love, which, Spinoza deduces, will almost always end badly…)' Any love that is dependent on something that must inevitably change and cannot truly be possessed — such as another person — Spinoza explains, is asking for trouble. With a dazzling comprehensiveness, the philosopher seemed driven to topple every species of sacred cow. Anyone who isn’t disturbed by his refusal to believe in the conventional notion of God as a person will surely be put off by his skepticism about the secular religion of our own time, true love.

Key to Spinoza’s heresy was his monism, his belief that everything that exists is essentially a single thing, nature (that is, the infinite universe), and that this is identical with God. (As a girl, Goldstein was taught that Spinoza wickedly equated God with nature, when Jews and Christians agreed that God is supernatural, outside of nature, and a person.) Everything we experience — people, events, objects — is simply a mode of that single Substance or essence. Because God/Nature is infinite and we are finite, we perceive these things to be separate when they are not; all separate identities, including our own individuality, are merely an illusion or misperception. We perceive good and evil when neither really exists, from the perspective of God. The only way we can come to understand the true unity of the world is through the understanding of pure reason, which is integral to Substance in the same way that roundness is integral to a circle.

We can’t fully grasp this — our minds aren’t adequate to the task — but with a dash of intuition, we can glimpse it and experience Spinoza’s notion of true happiness. We can then attain what Goldstein calls a radical objectivity, a perspective that’s outside of our own limited identity. This objectivity will enable us to see the insignificance of our own pains, pleasures and losses except insofar as they help or hinder our ability to reason. We will realize that a life of restraint and peaceful coexistence with our fellow man is exactly what will sustain us in this cause; self-interest and virtue will be revealed as identical. Finally, we will be able to regard with tranquility the fact that we are mortal, that our minds, like our bodies, are simply a mode of the great infinity of Substance, and will someday end.“

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O Superman

Laurie Anderson's Farewell to Lou Reed

November 7th, 2013

 

Via Rolling Stone: "I'm sure he will come to me in my dreams and will seem to be alive again. And I am suddenly standing here by myself stunned and grateful. How strange, exciting and miraculous that we can change each other so much, love each other so much through our words and music and our real lives."

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Metaphors vs Symbols

by Andrei Tarkovsky

November 3rd, 2013

 

"I prefer to express myself metaphorically. Let me stress: metaphorically, not symbolically. A symbol contains within itself a definite meaning, certain intellectual formula, while metaphor is an image. An image possessing the same distinguishing features as the world it represents. An image — as opposed to a symbol — is indefinite in meaning. One cannot speak of the infinite world by applying tools that are definite and finite. We can analyze the formula that constitutes a symbol, while metaphor is a being-within-itself, it’s a monomial. It falls apart at any attempt of touching it.” —Andrei Tarkovsky

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The final call is aesthetic

A great talk by ‪Terence McKenna
October 20th, 2013

Via YouTube: "Join Terence McKenna, author, explorer and philosopher for a think along deconstruction of the deepening worldwide weirdness. With his characteristic hope and humor, McKenna examined time and its mysteries, the nature of language, the techniques of ecstasy, high technology and virtual cyberspace, the role of hallucinogenic plants in shamanism and the evolution of human cultures, and the foundations of post-modern spirituality. The lecture and discussion was didactic, syncretic, challenging, eclectic, eidetic and irreverent intellectual adventure."

Thanks to Manu Burghart!

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