[microsound] gaza drone
jcespinosa at aol.com
jcespinosa at aol.com
Sun Jan 18 18:55:58 EST 2009
From: Kim Cascone <kim at anechoicmedia.com>
To: microsound at microsound.org
Sent: Sun, 18 Jan 2009 4:44 pm
Subject: [microsound] gaza drone
thanks for this post, kim.
i have been thinking about this question since the initial post was made.? i
wasn't interested by the clip because it seemed to me more or less
traditional program music, the sort of thing that would have a score
including sequences for foley guys who would provide appropriate
clippety-cloppity sounds when the horses on which the fox hunters are riding
zip across the pastoral environment just before the basses and tympani start
a froth to announce a coming thunderstorm.
this format of propaganda takes many forms -- the slideshow with folksong seemed to have been born in the 60's - when multimedia slide-show presentations were all the rage
[think elaborate worlds faire exhibits circa 1965 or so]
I can remember seeing similar things on TV e.g. Smothers Brothers show
the Vietnam war nurtured this style via 'protesters' or 'peaceniks' finding a way to express their views by appropriating techniques used in propaganda?
in fact there was an essay written about the semiotics of Jane Fonda's newspaper photo of her sitting in a tank with some VietCong - I don't remember the writer (Barthes, Sontag?)?
but I still think Godard was close to achieving an effective mix of politics and 'glitch' - i.e. the sudden, jarring collage of visuals and disembodied sound
?the problem with that, beyond
it's tedium, is that it presents a flatly representational surface at a
point where such surfaces are themselves politically (and cognitively) a
this is the role of propaganda: to simplify/reduce complex subjects then categorize them into easily?digestible?labels
and while the Gaza YouTube video was considered out of context for the microsound list
it might have been the cartoon-like surface that led people to dismiss it out of hand
also, there is a cultural naivete?when being presented with 60's style politics - one that induces a feeling of 'embarrassment' for some
although Obama seems to have resurrected a Web2.0 simulacra of this using the peace symbol and an abstracted 60's style poster art?
i think it's particularly difficult to make direct political statements
through frameworks that see in representation, and the conceptual apparatus
that enables it, an ideological problem.?
this is why there is so little political statement in experimental music
there have been some interesting?attempts?of political expression by?
Fredric Rzewski, Ultra-Red, Cardew, Art & Language, AMM, Gang of Four, Test Dept etc.?
but none have really taken hold of the publics imagination in any way that deconstructs 'false consciousness'?
i thinks this generates problems
not only for bourgeois forms of representation (the conceptual apparatus
that you see made semi-material through television coverage of the world,
the tight focus on particular sequences of events, the erasure of context,
it's replacement with the voice-over which tells you what the sequence
you're watching "really means" in terms which are synched in their
arbitrariness to the arbitrariness of decontextualized
factoid-reality...whence the operative power of the discourse of "terror")
and its marxian inversion.? i think the idea of "what's really happening" is
a problem, one that opens onto ontological-register work---and newer forms
of sonic organization can be framed as performing such work in that the
enact alternative approaches to information and it's organization--but this
material (i suppose---i can't think of a better term at the moment, even as
i know this is not a good choice) doesn't operate itself as argument or
demonstration.? it requires the development of new analytic frames,built
along what amounts to an alternate ontology, that can operate alongside new
approaches to sound organization in a relation through which one type of
activity extends and informs the other.
the best political audio I've heard are the Chomsky?lectures -- he seems to dig deep enough to get closer to what is 'really' going on
and it seems to me that there is considerable distance to be traversed
before such projects link to more conventional forms of politics, of action,
if they do.
agreed -- many of them have never even left the gate so to speak much less arrived at any definitive link
it might be that the furthest "we" can go is to enact and conceptualize
alternate ways of thinking and seeing
very often though these 'think different' ways of seeing/thinking are rendered moot since any attempt to be outside the system (affording?perspective) requires money/power which then places you back in that system
its the age old paradox of political commentary ??
----these may end up being
self-referential---they may not issue into a way of thinking politics that
we know about--or it might.? either way, it seems to me there's an
interesting set of adventures to be had, new modes of failure to be
also agreed -- it's difficult to include political content in one's sound work given the context 'electronica' has: hedonistic,?bourgeoisie, leisure, workers weekend?catharsis...etc
then 'electro-acoustic' music has an academia link and represents an intellectual class that is currently not in vogue in the US
witness the rampant anti-intellectualism encountered here from time to time
and this presents yet another conundrum: where to find a platform that hasn't been leached of its ability to transmit messages without being delivered coated in 'cartoon-sugar' on its way to the receiver (sorry for invoking this communications model - especially after pointing out that it is woefully?inaccurate?and simplistic)
i have trouble talking about gaza sometimes.
it seems to me a massive confirmation of the ways fanon described the
dynamics of colonialism as a process that corrodes occupier and occupied,
that issues into a kind of psychotic space structured by types of
and it is exactly this psychotic space might be the place from where real?political?content can flow
one excellent example was?Thomas Ashcraft: 'The Sounds of Dogs Eating The Faces Off Of Corpses In Iraq'
it is this psychotic space (think: 'Apocalypse?Now') that is bolted on to the side of post-modernism's fractured narrative
and one that could very well use microsound, glitch to help shape content
the accident or concept of failure intersects with the concepts of disorientation, disembodiment brought about thru informational overload
which also adds to the inability to 'know' reality via simulacra and mediation?
perhaps one could count the 400 fewer children who are
alive in gaza after these past 3 weeks and arrange them as steps in a proof
that leads in this direction.
Gaza is a place of disorientation and psychosis - the children still alive are permanently scarred by this?
this seems to me to take you beyond folksongs that tell you earnestly that
situation in the world x really sucks.
yes - I guess what I was saying was that the YouTube video is a symptom of a larger machine - one that afford us all a?privileged?lifestyle,?manipulated?buying habits,?predilections?towards technological arts and objects, and leisure time to consume and produce artifacts made with this technology
it is this very machine that churns out this content which provides a surplus of psychic insulation and mirrors the technique corporate media uses to direct our thoughts and opinions
but that it found its way into the context of microsound is very interesting and?raises?many issues that are very worthy of discussion
microsound mailing list
microsound at microsound.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the microsound