Music for Our Times
There is so much talent in the blogosphere. The artist speaks about his work:
The music is the last three minutes of my Piano Sonata in C - "Ares", the video is the last 6 years in the form of abstract art, using the names of the fallen use service men and women as the running visual theme.
I. The Music
In October of 2002, I watched people from a different planet debate a situation that didn't exist. Namely the US Congress was debating whether to let George Bush threaten Iraq to get Saddam to comply with UN sanctions. Since we were already engaged in attempts to overthrow his regime, and Bush had to invade for his own reasons, the entire debate about whether the UN could do what they wanted it to do, was moot. The reality was that Bush was going to invade, because once he had the permission to, he would. He needed war powers and war money.
He got both.
During those days in October I read sagacious columnists and wise old men ask a few limp questions. They read like a pre-flight check, and since those same sagacious columnists and wise old men were not willing to oppose authority with all their might, they were, in essence, a pre-flight check for an invasion that was happening. No one wanted to put their viability in danger by doing more. And those that did, were ignored or sent out to internal exile.
The first movement, not presented here, is the sound of me banging my head against the piano keyboard in frustration. It's title is "There Will Be War", after an essay I wrote for Democrats.com. The second movement, however, was the reverse side - the need for an heroic struggle for peace. Not peace as a product that our elites will put on the shelf for us to buy, not peace as an escapist beatific vision, but peace through courage.
The last three minutes of this second movement are what make up the soundtrack for the video. Midi-keyboard, macintosh computer and the sampler sounds of Garritan Personal Orchestra.
II. The Video
The video, however, is a work of abstract art in its own right. I use the names of the fallen as a visual element - all the ones admitted to by the DoD are there - to tell the dreamscape story of the last 5 years, including two elements not named, but depicted - 9/11 and Katrina. 9/11 in the use as columns, and Katrina in the rain and water motifs. There must be Peace, because the opposite of Peace is not war, but the Collapse. War may break the Peace, but an ideology that is opposed to peace opposed to life itself and all of the things that allow life to continue. This is true which ever book one misquotes to uphold it.
I asked for quotes the other day, and got a suggestion to connect Iraq with Vietnam, you will have to look closely to see it. The other was not one of the important quotes from the Bushites about the war, but one of the little quotes which tells the story of how the war was lost by itself. Again, you will have to look closely or stop the video to see the whole quote - but the key word is highlighted. "Replaceable".
People, according to the ideology that grips power, are replaceable. Like, to quote Zelazny, spark plugs.
III. The Art
In the 19th century, Art was a pillar of society, of the established order. There was a religion of art. In the 20th century, particularly the late 20th century, art was criticism of events that rushed onwards without it. Much of the art still made, is critical art.
However, we are no longer in that world. The need for raw technology and raw industrialization is over, and in fact, is choking us. Art must step out of the junior role of criticism, and into a leading role. Art is how we view the world, and mediate it. Art is life, and most specifically our inner life is a stream of works of art that we improvise every moment. What we see is a creation of our brains more than the light on the retina, what we hear as sound and language a symphony or chorous out of reverberations and echoes.
Living, lyric, art, does not critique what others do as its main function - your sight does not spend most of its time critiquing your movements - but instead creates a a web that links memory, activity and perception. Art is life, and a world without artistic vision is blind. We went to war in Iraq, to no small extent, because people could not see what was going to happen, and could not imagine another world than the one they live in right now.
It is a new epoch, and we need to look at art differently.
I just love the fact that we are increasingly the Producers of our own culture.