Re: regarding innovation

Subject: Re: regarding innovation
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Wed Feb 16 2005 - 17:51:38 EST

Ross Bencina wrote:

> I'm wondering about when interest in "innovation" or "the creation of
> new systems" and/or "originality" became an important focus for
> individual musical creation, ..
> I know some of the facts, but I don't have a good enough grounding to
> say something like "Oh that's a manifestation of the general
> trajectory of Western thought in the late industrial period where
> people were mostly concerned with X,Y and Z due to A, B, and C,
> important themes were explored by I, II and III" -- not that that
> would necessarily satisfy me, but it might be a good place for me to
> start.

It's probably built into our admiration for creative authenticity -- the
same regard we feel towards
the prophetic and shamastic. The poet invokes the muse of poetry, not
other poets (unless as Virgil for
Dante, or with a set oif complex meanings, eg TS Eliot and Chaucer,
etc). I think we require
newness and innovation as a mark of that kind of autheticity. Luckily
there are usually
enough people around who can deliver this.

The problem now is that as J. Lennon says it's getting hard to be
someone -- we seem to
be fusing into a collectivty in which the individual creative vision is
secondary to the possibilities
of working in the collectivity. There's overall probably much greater
creativity in sci/tech at present
than in the arts, just because it's a collective enterprise. There's
certainly a feeling about the arts
as we prtesently understand them have exhausted their potential.

I was ruminating on the show today about the kind of spontaneous
collective art that erupted
in gags like "all your base are belong to us." Dada would have loved
this. And it shows a little
burst of the potential spontaneous power that the internet has to
generate overwhelming projects,
persued for pure involvement and mutual recogniition, based on genuine
intuitive grasp of of the
complex of dense semiotics that gives the thing meaning and common sense.

The photoshop contests on are another aspect of this. With
requiste skills you
participate in a kind of minstrel competition that attracts thousands
more free to join the
fray. I suspect this is what healthy art always looked like.


> ... i think i know it's a risk to be so "systems" centric... but
> that's how i'm thinking this morning .. and i would think someone has
> written abou this.
Risk in what sense?

> Actually what I'm really interested in is music software systems and
> some concrete reasons why some people make their own, why others use
> existing systems etc.

It's whatever engages you more, no? I don't quite follow your misgivings.

-- eliot

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