Saturday, November 12, 2011

From a Diary: I:ix

(Photo: Pauline Oliveros, David Behrman, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, Robert Ashley, Wesleyan University, November 2011, click to enlarge.)

My great, good fortune: to continue to learn from my teachers. I was fortunate not to struggle with my teachers, but rather to learn from their struggles, which were largely against rigid institutional structures and closed networks and their implicitly pessimistic estimates of the possible limits to how and what music gets made. Their practice, creating new, alternative institutions and networks — often modest, provisional, and transient — remains model and sometimes even a musical modus in its own right. But most of all, against this background, these musicians provided — and continue to provide — a profoundly optimistic assertion that the extent and limits of the musical are not yet known, let alone established. I also learned this: technology is resource and an opportunity, but there is a deep difference between a faith in technology — the technological fix (from the RCA synthesizer to the Synclavier or the 4X) — and the creative ((mis)appropriate) use of what one has available, whether it be sticks and rocks, fine old Cremona fiddles, industrial electronic surplus and hand-soldiered circuits, off-the-shelf consumer products, or just our clapping hands and singing voices. Means not ends, music not institutions.

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