Re: Re : (junk yard dog in) hidden place

Subject: Re: Re : (junk yard dog in) hidden place
From: Kenneth Newby (
Date: Wed Sep 14 2005 - 19:32:14 EDT

Anthony Giddens thoughts on this are very relevant. He characterizes
high or late modernity in terms of the "post-traditional" -- a
situation in which a variety of forces, but in particular the
disruption of the unity of space and time, contribute to the
development of abstract systems in which the particularities of place
not longer have the same meaning as under a unified traditional order.
Witness the emergence of an international avant-garde in art. The
development of communications technologies is intimately involved in
this process along with the process of cultural flattening that goes
hand in hand with globalization. Everyone has to buy into the same
system to enjoy the benefits it offers.

I love the way innovation occurs in so-called traditional cultures...
particularly those that still lean heavily on oral transmission of the
artifacts of culture. Innovation is almost certain to occur as a
result of small variations in interpretation by the student of the
teacher's style. Then if an individual comes along with an impulse to
consciously break with the flow of cultural transmission their efforts
are put to the test in the community and live or die based on the
relationship of the new approach to the particularities of that
space-time-context. This is something we could do with more in our own
culture imho.

On the other hand... with the rise of highly technologically mediated
means of art production and dissemination (home studios, laptop
recording, editing, mastering, cheap reproduction of media, internet
distribution) the development of micro-cultures is possible in which a
distributed community of enthusiasts for a particular style or even a
single composer-performer can evolve and sustain itself.

> On 14 Sep, 2005, at 18:59, Michael Gogins wrote:
>> With respect to music history and innovation, there are (at least,
>> broadly speaking) two situations. Western art music has a particular
>> kind of historical consciousness that glorifies innovation. In the
>> music of other cultures (not that I'm an expert), there are different
>> kinds of historical consciousness. I know enough about some
>> non-Western-art-music styles to know that musical innovation occurs
>> in them and is important, since there is an obvious sequence of
>> styles from generation to generation, and obvious cross-cultural
>> influences, even predating Western influences. But it's not quite the
>> same thing, the same feeling of being driven by or out of history,
>> not the same insistence on innovation.
> Could this be put another way? In some of these cultures at least
> there is more emphasis on being part of a tradition - each artist
> interprets the tradition in her/is own way, so a constant evolution
> occurs, but the respect for the tradition always remains.
> OTOH, in Western culture, at least since about the 18th century,
> iconoclasm has been the driving force - history is bunk! This seems to
> coincide with the development of science - the idea of continuous
> advancement of knowledge as the driving force of our culture.
> In this model there is no stability - this week's theorem will be
> disproved next week - only innovation has meaning.
> Just a thought.
> L
> Lawrence Casserley -
> Lawrence Electronic Operations -
> Colourscape Music Festivals -
Kenneth Newby, Assistant Professor
Computational Poetics
School for Interactive Art & Technology
Simon Fraser University

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