Re[2]: How To Evaluate - more

Philly the Kid (
Fri, 13 Jun 1997 15:13:42 -0500

>Well said. Now as to what makes an artist - I honestly believe that
>anything so designated can be art. Yes, anything! A buldozer, a star,
>picking your nose. Needless to say I believe the word art (or Art if you
>must) has everything to do with the perception of the object or action, and
>almost nothing to do with the object or action itself. I'm not really able
>to explain how to describe the difference in perception of something when
>you are examining it as art, rather than as something else. I'm not quite
>clear on if someone has to formally declare "this is art", but I do think
>someone has to step aside and examine the thing as if it were art.

Here then, begins some of the trouble we can get into...If I record a 4
year old child banging madly on his toy xylophone. I then take the tape and
I clean it up and EQ it a bit, I then write some fancy program notes on how
these are the cacophonous bells of torment for the Peruvian freedom
fighters and that the rhythms were built using a mutated fibancai series
and that the dynamics use a modififed serial technique...I present it as a
miniature on a New Music Concert in a black box theatre to an audience of
55 people.

Now I would contend that for the average listener, especially one not well
versed in Contemporary Music - they would not be able to distinguish very
much between this 4 year olds tape and a solo percussion virtuoso playing a
very detailed and complex rhtyhmic notated piece of the same length. The
music would lack any metric pulse driven repeats, it would swell and dip
dynamically in unpredicatable ways and the harmonies and melodies would not
imply structured tonality.

THe audience at face value figures that the agitated and unpredicatable
nature of this music is reflecting some pain and anguish and suffering. IN
fact, let;s say we have a performer who plays a fake mallet instrument
along with the tape and the performer wears ripped fatigues and does a
dramatic rendition but actually no sound is produced from the fake

The problem then becomes this - if we can't make distinctions and there is
no point to "evaluation" - and perception and context create the
credibility - then all things are equal? Are they? Or in the latter
scenario of the fake performance, we have an art form that is premised on
deception and highlighting the ignorance of the audience - I have seen
these beligerent stances towards audiences for years...

Where do we go?

Wiley mentioned wanting to get his stuff heard. Do you also want the
audience to grow in size and come again?

I think there is a need for language and criteria, its in artists own self
interests...things can succeed and fail on their own terms...

I don't think that there is anyway to become 100% objective - but I do
think it is useful to maek some distinctions.

And let's not forget the political sphere. Class and politics serve to
foster conditions that codify and sanction some art forms over others. I
think because of the way people use art/music in theri lives they tend to
hold onto familiar things.

I have the same kind of experiences in my life encountering and absorbing
so called "experimental art" that the subscription goer to the symphony and
art museum has

>Now the innovator thing, well I don't have any ideas really. I do think
>that because he invented harmolodiks 30 years ago, Ornette Coleman will
>always be an innovator though.


I have aklways thought of an innovator as someone who took elements that
were already around and put them together in a new way or a way that made
them come alive more than they had before. Almost like opening or expanding

This is different to me than someone who invents something almost from
scratch - or with no obvious reference. ( obviously, no one is in a vacuum)

some thoughts for whta they're worth...