Friday, October 5, 2007

The Week That Was (10/1 - 10/5)

My Answer is Eight: "Or how many renditions of Pearl Jam’s 'Alive' can one person own [the answer is never too many. Each performance is unique and wonderful in its own way. Those songs stay.]" - Digital Boy, "Touch Me, I’m an iPod," Ramblings of a 21st Century Digital Boy, 10/2/07. I have eight versions of the song, including the original studio version from Ten, the slightly remixed version from Rearviewmirror (the greatest hits compilation), live versions from the officially released bootleg concerts from Buffalo (May 2, 2003), Seattle (November 6, 2000), Katowice (June 15, 2000), and Paris (June 8, 2000) shows, a version from the actual 1992 bootleg Black & White, and the version from the 1991 Stanley, Son of Theodore alt-rock compilation (which I believe, actually, was the first commercially available PJ live song).

Francis Bacon Definitely Manipulates Me: "Art always aims at manipulation. An artwork that fails to manipulate you fails as a work of art. Unlike an argument, art tries to get you to believe or do something without making explicit this purpose. Manipulation can be straightforward: skillfully generated perspectives, natural colors and light effects helped to make the painted look real. True manipulation, of course, wants more. You are not just to mistake the painted for the real thing, you are supposed to believe certain things, feel certain things, do certain things about it." - Madamechauchat, "Art as Manipulation," Atoms to Zeppelins, 10/2/07. Art, and its creation, is a fascinating topic. However, this post prompts me to ask whether a purported artist must have an intent to manipulate separate and apart from his initial intent to create in order to bring true art into the world? I do not believe the writer is using "manipulate" and "create" as synonyms in this context, at least not fully. Certainly, there is some manipulation in the task of filtering an image or concept from the mind's eye to the canvass, the printed page, or celluloid. But must the purported artist seek to manipulate subsequent viewers of the work and must that intent be conscious? Does the Impressionist, or the video documentarian for that matter, truly desire to manipulate those who will see the work at a later date - at least beyond the act of committing a scene or series of event to the medium of choice? (The writer quoted suggests the use of light and shadow "to make the painted look real" as examples of such manipulation, but if that is manipulation, then is not every thing the artist does some act of conscious or unconscious manipulation, rendering the word "manipulation" meaningless in the context?) These are interesting questions, and it leads me back to a discussion I used to have in the 1990s: Who, or what, is an artist? Is it anyone who creates something that said creator dubs art? Is it anyone who claims to perpetrate some form of aesthetic manipulation? Surely not. There must be some objective component, in addition to the subjective one, in the inquiry. Caveat: I doubt there can be a totally satisfying objective definition of "art" or "artist" but surely it cannot be as easy as saying that a puported work of art or artist is one because the creator says it or he is one.

Site Maintenance and Updates: Monday's post on the 1992 Housto local music compilation album, Infected: The Twelve From Texas, prompted many an email to me, as its author, from members of the bands that appeared thereupon and other Houston music scenesters of the day. I have made a number of revisions and posted several addenda to include information I had not yet obtained at the time of the original posting. The post now boasts new interviews with band members and images (including scans of the original 1992 Public News reviews of the album and the February 1992 record release party). Someone also sent me the 1992 Vatican night club advertisement for the record release party, as well. Speaking of music posts, I also updated my September 10 post on The Morgans to include an email I received from British radio personality Nigel Barker, another one of the band's members.

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