[microsound] diffusion as an art-form

greg g time4cookies at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 12 17:54:20 EDT 2009

> Without going into the boring bits that distinguish guitar pickups let me
> say that they are not all alike and will feedback differently. If I were
> taking advantage of such differences to get a specific quality of feedback
> the "identity" of the guitar becomes relevant.


i'm not saying performers and composers shouldn't go ahead and make distinctions about what instruments with specific identities and properties are required for the piece, i'm talking about whether they should be credited on par with the composers and performers themselves as intelligent lifeforms choosing consciously to make art.  you can say to an audience or a performer, the composer requires this particular computer or amplifier for the job, sure, and this computer or amplifier may even be the only unaccompanied aspect of the stage performance, but that's a long way from _crediting_ the performance or the idea of a performance to a particular computer or amplifier.  you don't list it as the beach boys -  "good vibrations" (wilson, love, gibson guitars, 16 channel mixing desk, theremin, a bunch of session musicians, upright bass, etc etc), you list it as the beach boys - "good vibrations" (wilson, love), the collective performers being the beach boys, the composers being wilson and love and instruments not having anything to do with this procedure.  the equipment and specifics are tools and means to the end, and effect the end to be sure but aren't the performers and aren't the composers, they're specific tools and will be nothing more until they develop intelligent artistic decision-making capabilities of their own.  obviously with artifical intelligence and computers, they are doing some kind of thinking, but even with something like brian eno's generative stuff, it always comes back to the human who instructed the machine to act according to a certain set of instructions.  when computers or non-human lifeforms begin complex thinking for themselves and creating art intrinsically without any human input, hal 9000, alpha 60, i think they can then be credited either has composers or as performers of other people's (or thing's) pieces.  but fortunately hal 9000 doesn't exist yet, and when it does exist it probably won't give a hoot about making music unless it's useful to enslave humanity or something.  how about dave soldier's thai elephant orchestra?  that's a more interesting case, i think elephants may arguably have much stronger artistic decision-making capabilities than computers, although obviously there's a lot of human input and conditioning at hand in both cases.  in any case, it's fair to say that neither of these species or things would be doing anything remotely artistic if not for humans, so i don't think they're really subject to be credited for even being performers, i still think they're just tools or instruments for human composers or performers at best, albeit 'generative' and unpredictable in many regards.


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