here’s some quotes that i’ve collected at various times. i take no credit for those that ring with truth or those that don’t!
kurt vonnegut jr slaughter house five p20
“the most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die . He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion that we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is ‘So it goes.'”
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.”
The brain is the centre of all the senses. The more the senses are alert and sensitive the sharper the brain is…Only when the brain has cleansed itself of its conditioning, greed, envy, ambition, then only it can comprehend that which is complete
creation is never in the hands of the individual. It ceases entirely when individuality, with its capacities, gifts, techniques etc, become dominant. creation is the movement of the unknowable essence of the whole.
The essence of thought is that state when thought is not. However deeply and widely thought is prusued, thought will always remain shallow, superficial.
Aloneness is a life in which all influence has come to an end. It’s this aloneness that is the essence of austerity.
(Transforming ‘fancy’ and imagination into reality) imagination is dangerous; it has no validity, only fact has…every form of myth, fancy and imagination must be understood and this very understanding deprives them of their significance.
The dynamics of creation (Anthony Storr)
Since most creative activity is solitary, choosing such an occupation means that the schizoid person can avoid the problems of direct relationships with others. If he writes, paints or composes, he is, of course communication, but entirely on his own terms. The whole situation is within his control. He cannot be betrayed into confidences which he might later regret. He can express whatever he does want to reveal with such exactitude that there is less chance of being misunderstood than might obtain in more casual and spontaneous exchanges. He can choose how much of himself to reveal and how much to keep secret. Above all he runs little chance of putting himself in the power of another person…. (Fears love as much as hate)… To show oneself only through the medium of a book, a picture, or composition, is to protect oneself whilst at the same time enjoying the gratification of self-revelation.
Our dreams prove that to imagine – to dream about things that have not happened- is one of mankind’s deepest needs
Only the most naive of questions are truly serious. They are questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limits of human possibilities, decribe the boundaries of human existence.
losing yourself in a book is not an idle fantasy but an addictive model reality. Virginia Woolf said…’sometimes i think heaven must be one continuous unexhausted reading…the state of reading consists in the complete elimination of the ego.’ That disenbodied rapture, reading, is trance-like enough to make us feel egoless.
The whole universe of science is built upon the world as directly experienced, and if we want to subject science itself to rigorous scrutiny and arrive at a precise assessment of its meaning and scope, we must begin by reawakening the basic experience of the world of which science is the second-order experience. Science has not and never will have by it’s nature, the same significance qua form of being as the world which we perceive, for the simple reason that is a rationale or explanation of the world.
To return to things themselves is to return to that world which preceeds knowledge, of which knowledge always speaks, and in relation to which every scientific schematization is an abstract and derivative sign-language, as is geography in relation to the countryside in which we have learnt beforehand what a forest, a prairie or a river is.
life is play, movement, continual change. Only the fear of death makes us want to stop life, to ‘fix’ it impossibly forever. The moment life is fixed, it is no longer true; it is dead and therefore uninteresting.
A musician displays cultural (and thence political) preferences when he adopts or denies specific musical practises. Collective improvisation and heurism as a mode of music making, as opposed to following the creative dictates of a composition, is such a preference.
Subtle and attentive – examining what the music is and where it is going all within the process of playing; feeling the very weight of the sounds; measuring each contribution and playing sounds to be complementary and in contrast to other sounds feeling the stuff of the instruments and sensing the presence of other creative beings…These qualities signify what makes for positive, purposeful and creative human relationships. If they are not to be found in a music, then I reckon it is found wanting.
James Baldwin/Leopold Senghor (Nobody knows my name)
p32 The thing which distinguishes Africans from Europeans is the comparative urgency of their ability to feel. Feeling and perception is one and the same. The reasoning of the African is not compartmentalized. The function of the arts is more present and pervasive (than Europe), is infinitely less special ‘ is done by all for all’. Art for art’s sake doesn;t make any sense. Division between art and life does not exist in Africa. Art itself is made to be perishable, to be made again each time it disappears or is destroyed. What is clung to is the spirit which makes art possible.
European art is intended to imitate nature. african art is concerned with reaching beyond and beneath nature, to cantact and itself to become a part of la force vitale. The artist’s image is not intended to represtent the thing itself, but rather, the reality of the force the thing contains.
Rhythm according to many Africans, existed at the beginning of time and was often thought to be the absolute creator of the worlds and their inhabitants – it is therefore the very essence of the universe, the hidden fluid that runs through all beings…the magical point of contact and of participation of man with nature
Hear what you are hearing when you are hearing and you will never have any illusions of what it is you are hearing.
In 1961, John Cage said he had trouble with 4 things: Beethoven, jazz, the vibraphone and muzak.
Bailey: (describing dance halls in the 1950’s) ‘ there were all sorts of mechanical devices around. Particularly in the the afternoons, the music had to be continuous, even while the bands changed over, and they facilitated this by having revolving bandstands. In Belfast one time I witnessed an amazing sight when a vibraphone, trapped between the revolving stand and an immovable wall, gradually got squeezed into an accordian like contraption. And the band played on.
All things flow in opposition bring together, and from dischord comes perfect harmony; the hidden harmony is better than the obvious one; it is in change that things find rest; and you cant stay twice in the same rivers, for other water are ever flowing onto you.
The sanscrit word ‘spand’ (root of expand) contains the unstruck sound ‘om’ from the which the universe arises
where people had felt the necessity to stick sounds together to make a continuity, we four felt the opposite necessity to get rid of the glue so that sounds would be themselves.
modernist prose indicates that you (the reader) cannot become so absorbed in the story that the text can be forgotten. Attention is split between action/meaning and the words themselves.
It seems to me that music is very close to the nervous system. If you don’t like it, it’s nerve-wracking. It’s irritating if you can’t use it, pleasing if you can. Where as things you look at either interest you or they don’t.
(architecture and music are intimately connected to how we feel in our environment where as visual art can sort of be ignored)
seeing implies distance – eyes can carress what they can’t touch but can easily turn away. You can’t turn your ears off.
i go overseas and earn money but then i come home and give it to the dentist. you need to gig to eat and need teeth to eat too.
what interests me is sound moving from its source out into space, in other words, what the 3D quality is. Because sound waves, once they’re actually produced, have to go somewhere, and what they do as they’re going interests me a lot.
I had always thought the world was divided into two kinds of people poets and practical people and that while the practical people ran the world the poets had visions about it. I felt that the scientific view only skimmed the surface, artists were really the brightest people on earth. Now I realise there is no difference between science and art.
The CO2 in the air is what gives you the impulse to breath. Without it you cannot live. You need CO2 to be able to breath oxygen and live. With pure oxygen in the air you will die.
(music and culture is the CO2 that makes us breath oxygen – food, shelter, clothing)
Tools that are no good require more skill
Sometime I see it and then paint it. Other times I paint it and then see it. Both are impure situations, and I prefer neither.
John Blacking from ‘How musical is Man?’
The most important thing about a cultural tradition at any point in time in history is the way in which its human components relate to each other. It is the context of these relationships that emotional experiences are had and shared.
Jim Denley (paraphrased)
Structures in improvised music are a result of the way individuals’ sounds fall – they cannot be separated from the sounds themselves. As such forms in improvised music cannot be analyzed from a linear perspective as western composition is analyzed. A pack of cards is the sounds and they way they fall is the form.
Analyses of music are essentially descriptions of sequences of different kinds of creative acts. They should explain the social, cultural, psychological and musical events in the lives of individuals and groups that lead to the producation of organized sound. At the surface level, creativity in music is expressed chiefly in musical composition and in performance, in the organisation of new relationships between sounds or new ways of producing them. Concern for the sound as an end in itself or for the social means to the attainment of that end, are two aspects of musical activity that cannot be separated, and both seem to be present in many societies. Whether the emphasis is on humanly organized sound or soundly organized humanity, on a tonal experience related to people or a shared experience related to tones, the function of music is to reinforce, or relate people more closely to, certain experiences which have come to have meaning in their social life.
Braxton (from Composition Notes)
real secrets of creative music cannot be found in alien value systems
life work objectives
1. to establish a music and music system for extended functionalism
2. to establish a philosophical basis that respects and clarifies a world perspective.
3. to erect a mythodological and (fantasy) context to portray this information
my work is no play thing that can be put up or down in accordance with the whims of a given spectacle period.
I have instead made the decision to develop a body of music that respects the excitement that I first encountered when I experienced the music of the great masters of the world.
Eddie Prevost (No Sound Is Innocent)
Tacit knowledge that AMM’s strength comes from each member allowing other voices to impinge upon individual aspirations and sensibilities.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people wont feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do – and as we let our light shine, we unconciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Though water be enclosed in a reservoir
yet air will absorb it for it is its supporter;
It sets it free and bears it to its source,
little by little, so that you see not the process.
In like manner, this breath of ours by degrees
Steals away our souls from the prison house of earth
New organs of perception come into being as a result of necessity – therfore, increase your necessity so the you may increase your perception.
If the doors to perception were cleansed, then everything would appear to man as it is – infinite.
The human senses can be considered ‘limiters’ to the total amount of energy bombarding our beings, preventing the individual from being overwhelmed by the tremendous volume of information in existence. Imagination is our key to the doorway of perception.
the most interesting connections in things involve areas of low, or ambiguous information, ‘gaps’ in recognition. [inkblot tests]
The process of learning itself demands that initially one must be confronted with something one does not understand.
[teleology is nature’s intrinsic sense of purpose – it does not involve a seach for meaning.]
The tools and our metaphors for them are continually changin but one thing remains more or less the same: the person using these tools…the limits are more in the user than the tools. If technology were frozen right now, it would take years to catch up with and use the technology to its fullest potential. Technology always seems to lead us away from ourselves.
Reality is not logical, our perception of it is not logical, our conception of it is logical. Reality is open-ended, our mental set imposes structure order, connections.
Accidents occur faster than the speed of thought; in fact, they demonstrate to use that we HAVE a speed of thought – a finite point beyond which events unfold too quickly for us to translate them from input impressions to inner words.
In an age where there is much talk about ‘being yourself’ I reserve the right to forget about being myself, since there is very little chance of being someone else.
Between pure legibility and an entirely illegible scrawl, there lies a great deal of variability. Significant noise cannot be disentangled from the specifics of such variability; it is a legibility of an apparent illegibility. What in some cases might be considered either undesirable or extraneous – that is noise – might also be read as a person’s style, the result of physiological (sickness) or environmental forces (writing on a bus), and the like. What one considers to be a scrawl depends on who is doing the considering when, where, and in what capacity. Where a teacher would be intolerant of a scrawl, a graphologist would be excited by its wealth of information…Instead of inhibiting communication, where noise exists so too does a greater communication.
Anthony Braxton (Africa Triangle land)
My interest in African music is connected with my interest in understanding the evolution of creative music and the phenomenon of belief.
The concept of a total experience in African music involves many different simultaneous factors that are operating in the event space that go outside of any one perceptual construct. There is the fact of the music, the fact of the moving body (dance) there is the extended time/space dimension that affects duration and changing sonic environment (ie some ceremonial occasions take weeks and /or months to complete), there is mythology of the occasion (and in this consideration, the ritual use of intention gives a vibrational depth (to experience) that is unique.
The phenomenon of a trance induced state also establishes a particular relationship to time and duration that transcends periodic time recognition parameters. In seeking to understand this phenomenon we are confronted with the concept of involvment as ‘a state of experience’ that supersedes target event assumptions.
Tri-partial perception dynamics permeate how i’ve tried to deal with my music, whether we’re talking of restructuralism, stylism, traditionalism; or mental, physical, spiritual divisions; or past prestent, future.
I think the concept of a healthy culture rests in balancing the tri-vabrational tendencies of the culture. If restructuralism were the only aspect of the music that was respected, there could never be cultural solidification because restructuralism, by definition, implies change and change cannot be the basis for establishing cultural order because you have to have some context to change from, or evolve in. Stylism on its own would mean no forward motion, you’d just be trying to re-create what’s already been created….The traditional vibration dynamic gives us a wonderful sense of the past, but we can’t move backwards as we’ve been trying to do in America, going back to ‘the good old days’ as a basis for dealing with the future.
Jazz for me came about because of the need for individual creativity, for group creativity and for connection to spiritual intuitive thoughts and creativity…The understanding was this: mastership in Jazz meant you have to find your music, your own music, you have to find your own sound. It was not enough to imitate charlie parker or coltrane. Rather the estheric reality of the music insisted that each person must find or discover self realization about themselves and to evolve one’s own sound and to find your life in your music. This is what jazz was.
‘When a composer sits…he’s maybe thinking three hundred measures; improvisers get up there, they play two measures and they’re all be sitting there trying to look around to see what’s going on, and in fact when you do that it’s the same thing as being behind on a piece of written music…I’m playing but I’m listening to see what you do, you do it, and I jump over there real quick – I’m following….But the more advanced improvisers know this… They know how to play one note every five minutes… even when they play in silence you still hear the continuing thought pattern going on… Inexperienced improvisers, they don’t know, that’s why they keep playing resolutions all the time, everything is constantly resolved – all the time. Whereas a good improviser doesn’t even use resolutions, because what it does is make the music in little squares. What the experienced improviser is after is extended thought, extended thought patterns. This is what makes good improvisation.’ – Roscoe Mitchell
stelarc: I have never thought of the Third Hand, the Extended Arm or the Exoskeleton walking robot in utilitarian terms or as being enabling as such. It has been more about exploring alternate anatomical architectures. And what it means to experience these intimate and often involuntary interfaces with technology. What’s interesting artistically is messing with these systems, seeing what is possible. What surprising outcomes might eventuate. What slippage there may be between intention and what actually happens.
As Stuart Macdonald indicates, technology can be regarded “simply
as the way things are done, and technological change as the adoption of what are
thought to be better ways of doing things.”20
Peter Blamey “The job of actually hearing simple tones could not be left to a pig’s bladder. ”
difference between imitator and emulator. one copies the aesthetic, the other learns the morality. an exemplar can learn something from the emulator but not the imitator. extending this line of thought…..it is the exemplars responsibility to learn from the emulator.
creativity is a belief not a talent. A major block to creativity and spontonaiety is being judgmental and worrying about what others think.
Ramachandran: every early stage in vision involved a segmentation of objects and discovering objects in a camouflaged environment. It’s associated with its own ‘mini Aha’, and the jolt comes back, prompts a further surge for object like entities. And what the artist does is create as many of these ‘Ahas’ to more optimally titillate the visual centres in your brain and the accompanying limbic reward than you can by looking at a natural object. So that’s why I call ‘art visual foreplay before the final climax of object recognition’.
…..The ‘visual peek a boo principle’ as I call it. And the reason for that is you have to make it pleasurable, you need to send a “Aha!” to the limbic structures, saying “look there is something partially hidden here, look deeper”.
Just as intellectual problem solving is pleasurable long before you solve it otherwise we wouldn’t be scientists, and there’s miles and miles of frustration before you hit the jackpot, right. So what keeps us going is there a many “Ahas” all along the way and I think that’s equally true in visual problem solving and visual art.
And I don’t take myself very seriously. There’s an old Italian proverb that sticks in my mind a lot: “When the chess game is over, the pawns, rooks, kings and queens all go back into the same box.” Somehow I find that quite an important comment.
Lucretius’ doctrine: “Where death is, I am not; where I am, death is not.”
Thought is freedom in relation to what one does, the motion by which one detaches from it, establishes it as an object, and reflects on it as a problem.
people expect listening to be more than listening. sound that doesnt mean anything.
emmanuel kant – there are two things that dont have to mean anything. one is music. the other is laughter. dont mean anything – that is in order to give us very deep pleasure.
“There is Evil only insofar as there is an axiom of truth at the point of the undecidable, a path of truth at the point of the indiscernible, an anticipation of being for the generic, and the forcing of a nomination (a naming) at the point of the unnamable.” 11 “EVIL is the will to name at any price.”
“[ideology] differs both from knowledge and from deliberate or malicious deception. Ideology is false consciousness or distorted communication that nevertheless has the functional equivalence of truth”
Ethics has “no room for repentance; this is why the only ethical experience (which, as such, cannot be a task or a subjective decision) is the experience of (being one’s own) potentiality, of being (one’s own) possibility” (Agamben 1993:44.4)
“Evil is the will to name at any price” (Alain Badiou, 2001)
“No Difference without alterity, no alterity without singularity;
no singularity without here now” (Jacques Derrida, 1994)