Re: Academic? Long Posting

Subject: Re: Academic? Long Posting
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Sun Jun 06 2004 - 12:47:15 EDT

John Nowak wrote:

> Many psychologists think that interest in a piece of art often has to
> do with how that art relates to the artist. If there was art, but no
> artist, people would not find it interesting.

Which psychologists are you thinking of here? I can't think of any
offhand who've pronounced in this way.

Until rather recently, this surely wasn't true -- viz Foucault's essay
on the death of the author. The
concept of authorship we have today doesn't, for instance, easily apply
to Bach, and competely not
to Homer.

 There was a guy whose name I've forgotten in the early 20th C who faked
up sonatas
a la Mozart and Beethoven, which he promoted as lost manuscripts found
in his attic. When
he revealed their true origin his career was over. So your comment
does touch upon the
 problem of forgery in art.

I have a current problem with forgery, as I'm reviewing Cope's "virtual
bach:" album for
computer music journal. The forgery problem in this case is
severalfold, in that I find the claim
"this was written by a computer" impossible to substantiate except at
the composer's word --
which leads one to imagine the situation, which I'm not asserting to be
true of cope, whereby
one produces music by hand and then claims it's the result of a powerful
computer program. It
seems clear that the music does become more interesting if you believe
that it WAS in fact
computed rather than composed. Check out Doug Hofstadter's comments on
Cope's work,
for instance On the other hand, it's certain that these works have
little or no intrinisc value in case
they were, in fact, faked. So it's just the opposite of your assertion
-- at least in terms of
the attention cope gets, based only secondarily on the quality of the
music the alleged program

One conclusion here is that if there is in fact growing interest in
"what computers CAN do:' -- as opposed to
the title of a famous anti-AI book by Hubert Dreyfus -- it may also be
that there's a declining
interest in the uniqueness of individuals as the measure of man. Music
isn't just a way of
"expressing yourself" -- it's a whole public class, an immensely complex
body of knowledge
and prodedural actions whose instances until lately have been
composers, especially the
"personal voice" kind We're entering into an era with a new picture
made up of neurons and
dna and other things, and the simplicity of the private picture of man,
as opposed to the
mystery in which his existence is couched, seems a little retrograde.
The bext music for
me would be that which attempts to enter into the problematics of that
situation. The problem
about the cultural means for preserving the older views about how
composer personality is
supposed to be preserved -- as in Kevin's last post, for instance --
seem to me to be a
bit of lost cause.

enuff for now.

-- eliot


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b27 : Sat Dec 22 2007 - 01:46:02 EST