Hard / Talk

Stephen Sackur interviews Tracey Emin

January 13th, 2015

Never thought I would say this but Tracey Emin’s perspective in this BBC interviewreally resonates here and is meaningful to me, now.

Thanks to Manu Burghart!

[ Catalysts ]

The Art of Asking and the Shared Dignity of Giving and Receiving

by Amanda Palmer

December 28th, 2014

 

Via Brain Pickings: "Through the very act of asking people, I connected with them. And when you connect with them, people want to help you. It’s kind of counterintuitive for a lot of artists — they don’t want to ask for things. It’s not easy to ask. … Asking makes you vulnerable. […]

 

I don’t see these things as risks — I see them as trust. … But the perfect tools can’t help us if we can’t face each other, and give and receive fearlessly — but, more importantly, to ask without shame. … When we really see each other, we want to help each other. I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is, ‘How do we make people pay for music?’ What if we started asking, ‘How do we let people pay for music?"

 

Via The Definitive Reading List of the 14 Best Books of 2014 Overall: "When you’re an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magic wand of legitimacy. You have to hit your own head with your own handmade wand. And you feel stupid doing it.

 

There’s no correct path to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to university, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected."


Watch her TED talk!

[ Catalysts ]

Dark Psychedelia

A conversation between Gean Moreno and Michael Jones McKean

November 8th, 2014

 

Via dis magazine: "GM: Some of this rewiring may be afoot. Neuroscience doesn’t tire of challenging our cherished idea of a phenomenal self. Certain strands of it are proposing the the notion of a self is just an evolutionary prop. There literally is no such thing as a self, just chemicals firing up the illusion of such a thing as a survival mechanism. It constantly reminds us that there is no me beyond the biochemistry. Once this knowledge seeps into the general culture and replaces our common-sense understanding of who and how we are, who knows what biological and cognitive consequences will follow?"

[ Catalysts ]

Ultraliberal

Mutter

November 1st, 2014

 

Mutter in Cologne was definetly my concert of the year and if you haven't heard them yet it is high time. Do not miss their lyrics either. Reifen rollen.

[ Catalysts ]

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."

[ Catalysts ]

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."

[ Catalysts ]

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.

[ Catalysts ]

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."

[ Catalysts ]

"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."

[ Catalysts ]

10 rules for students and teachers

from John Cage

November 24th, 2013

[ Catalysts ]