and a strategy for Electro-magnetic Survival
"Clear prose indicates an absence of thought....Most clear writing is a sign that there is no exploration going on." -M. McLuhanBegin by considering all that we know about every media. Consider every technique, action, style, message & produkt as equal bits of a global cultural vocabulary. A type of noise, a painting gesture, a manifesto, or a manner of criticism are each examples of artistic information which can be combined, permutated, edited & syncretized into a form of original expression which both reflects the inner processes & responds in total to environmental & historical stimulus.
"No matter how consummate a work of art may seem, it is only an approximation of the original conception. It is the artist's consciousness of this discrepancy between his conception and the realization that assures his progress." -E. Varese
There are 2 very opposite routes of creativity to choose from. The first is the time-honored & classic impulse to specialize & become a virtuoso. Its alternative is less clear, & by nature more experimental; for an artist to become immersed in the possibilities of all media, beyond definitions & conventions is still not accepted by the culture at large. Even if every historical period has numerous examples of creators who were visionaries mixing together all that was known at the time. This impulse is intermedia & the technological advances of the 20th century have made it increasingly sensical for an artist to mix whatever ideas are apropos & deliver the final produkt as a boundary less, unpredictable presentation.
"The acoustic element and the sculptural quality of sound have always been essential to me in art, and in terms of music maybe my background in piano & cello drew me to them. Then there was the use of sound as a sculptural material to enlarge the whole understanding of sculpture from the point of viewing materials. There for not only solid materials like metal, clay, stone, but also sound, noise, melody using language -- all become the material of sculpture, and all acquire their form through thought, so thought too is taken as sculptural means. That is an extreme position, the real transcendental position of production in general." -Joseph Beuys
In a recent NY Times article it is stated that CDs sell 3 times more than records & that cassettes have cornered 52% of the total audio recording market. Even without these figures it is clear that the audio/visual recording industry is undergoing incredibly rapid changes. A consequence of this snowball technology is that affordable mass consumer electronics are making it inevitable for artists to create & maintain their own environment of distribution & consumption while having some control over the particular values & modes which are adopted. There are endless reasons not to imitate commercial media's methods of distribution & consumption. Or to stand in opposition to.
"Music will release the powers lying within that abstract center of hearing and even of vision, which is Comprehension, while Comprehension, in all its spaciousness, will lend equal power to the printed page." -Mallarme
The time in history when all media can be recorded & preserved on the same medium is not far away. (CD-Roms already possess the capacity to reproduce text, image & sound in a fully animated & partially interactive environment. However mass consumer technology & public acceptance are slow in coming.)
Simply stated, hypermedia is the ability of any object, idea or sound to be linked to or associated with any other reference. Computer is the metaphor for the most fully realized intermedia machine & the human mind is the explicit model for the computer. In the last few years computers have developed a stunning (and problematic) interface to enable crossmedia referencing & associations. Imagine creating a disk of sounds that at any point the listener would be able to participate in, in an one-on-one audio experience. Each time the act of listening would become an interactive event. This metaphor could easily be extended to include many listeners in many different locations simultaneously. Up till now the only options a listener is offered is to change the speed, put scratches in the recording or shut the thing off.
These possibilities have shifted the actuality of artistic culture toward a truly multi-referential, whole-brained connectivity. It also leads those interested participants far away from the linear cultural astigmatism of mass electronic culture.
"All living art will be irrational, primitive & complex; it will speak a secret language & leave behind documents not of edification but of paradox." -Hugo Ball
The act of collective interactive hypermedia has become operational on 2 fronts. The first is obvious & unavoidable, the continuous merging of all underground voices & energies through the mail. In the last 10 years it has become possible for the underground experimental artist to establish a global base of contacts from which to operate. No longer are artists forced to locate in a culture center such as NYC & "make it". Underground experimedia networking has proliferated to in visibility & sheer mass. Popular media can no longer ignore its presence, power, & extreme cultural permutation. Such networking is a profound model of hypermedia spreading its tentacles & intertwining webs of information in order to collectively assemble & represent an undeniable & necessary mutation of contemporary taste.
"Language can only have been born spontaneously." -Levi-Strauss
To appreciate the true essence of "hypermedia" imagine any one moment the mail that is in transit between everyone whom you are in contact with; a complex stream of associations!
"In all the arts there is a physical aspect that we can no longer consider or deal with as we have in the past. Neither space, nor time, nor matter any longer represents for us what it has always represented before. We must accept that all these changes necessarily transform the technique of art, influence even the faculties in invention--influence them deeply enough to modify the conception of art itself." -Paul Valery as quoted by E.Varese
The final & possibly most evolutionary quest of hypermedia is direct & personal contact. While telephones are no replacement for direct contact, a one minute phone call can often reveal more than years of letters simply from hearing the voice on the other end.
BUT, whenever it's viable, the notion of traveling to meet contacts, demonstrate your wares, & create openings for further collaborations should be a part of any artist's commitment. Such as objects moving forward thru time, the energy conspired from personal contact can only hasten & consequently permutate the random collectivity of the experimedia underground....
Furtherly, at this point in time, it has become essential to regain & occupy the radical festivals of our unconscious & to enact them repeatedly in public. If there were a rotation of public festivals around the globe, each exhorting a unique theme or motivation, artists could tour to destinations where their individual powers were immediately useful & collectively become an entity that the world at large could no longer ignore or forget.
With a predictable & organized schedule of festivals it becomes very natural for personal contact to accumulate direction & vision. The three festivals that quickly come to mind are the "Destroy All Music" Festival produced by Glen Thrasher in Atlanta, the "Festival of Plagiarism" held in 1988 in London, San Francisco, & Madison WI & the yearly "Festival of the Swamps" produced by Xexoxial Endarchy in Madison WI. These festivals are merely an inkling of a developing tendency to institute large-scale artistic demonstrations & quickly & efficiently mobilize strategies for electro-magnetic survival.
"Sometimes one sees so far that expression refuses to follow as tho it were afraid." -E Varese