Subject: (Fwd) Thaemlitz RE: Prix Ars Electronic 99 (Computer Music)
From: a l an b am f o rd (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Jul 06 1999 - 10:16:37 EDT
this forwared from Terre Thaemlitz on his request
------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date sent: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 16:29:08 -0700
To: "a l an b am f o rd" <email@example.com>
From: Terre Thaemlitz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Thaemlitz RE: Prix Ars Electronic 99 (Computer Music)
i was forwarded by a third party some email between you and barry (from
ICMA?) about the PAE's shift away from electroacoustic music (i'm
this is from some public email forum - please forward this email to that
forum if still relevant). as part of your response you had mentioned my
work, so i thought you and barry might like to know my POV.
i do agree with some of the things barry says - especially that the PAE is
sending a clear signal that electroacoustic music is not welcome. for the
past few years in which Modernist academia controlled the Computer
category, i believe my electroacoustic entries were not acknowledged
because my involvement in Contemporary Ambient music and Queer
Theory/Transgenderism/post-Marxism, all of which made them appear
thematically and stylistically foreign. now with Digital Musics' emphasis
on marketplace electronica, my electroacoustic entries are prone to
dismissal as purely 'academic'.
case and point, my 1999 honorable mention was for a MIDI (totally
non-electroacoustic) piece which is not the type of thing i would prefer
to be acknowledged for by PAE. both prior to submitting my entry, and
after receiving my honorable mention, i was told by various people
affiliatd with PAE that if i were to submit an electroacoustic work it
would get 'lost with all of that other electroacoustic stuff that all
sounds the same.' while i stand by all of my productions, it is well known
that my greatest thought and consideration is put into my electroacoustic
compositions, and the allure of PAE has been the possibility of being
recognized for such work. however, that not being a possibility, it was an
entirely strategic move on my part to submit a MIDI piece and test my
assumptions about the selection process (as well as get some badly needed
money ;). while i did not receive any monetary prizes, my MIDI piece was
recognized with an honorable mention by the jury. there is no doubt in my
mind that an electroacoustic piece would not have been recognized at all.
(however, i was rather pleased to hear that one of the jurors, Robin
Rimbaud/Scanner, was actually disappointed by my entering a MIDI piece
rather than anything electroacoustic, and took 'points off' from my MIDI
on another note, i am sure i am not the only one who finds it strange that
a video production ended up winning the digital musics category. while i
think the AFX video is stunning, i think it was recognized by the wrong
category. and if the jury's selection was for the audio alone, then the
work should have been entered and recognized as such. (otherwise, i have
some great Adobe Premiere presentations i would love to enter in the web
for someone like myself, who teeters between 'academia' and the
'marketplace' with neither the benefits of institutional affiliation nor
financial stability, i think there is still a great need for criticality
when it comes to the subtext of the PAE's new Digital Musics category,
which seems to be shifting from its traditional embrace of academia toward
an embrace of the electronica marketplace. In my opinion, both stances are
problematic and in need of critical review. and as the 1999 jury results
did not reflect an interest in promoting critical discussion between these
two entrenched facets of digital audio production, it should be no
surprise that long-time academic entrants feel unwelcome and will no
longer participate in the competition.
as for myself, this year's jury results marks an end to the last few years
of transition from academic "computer music" to marketplace "digital
musics". i know that many of us had considered these past few years a time
of great importance and potential to integrate culturally critical
discourse into the PAE, but that does not seem to be the case. since i
think the computer music category was in need of reform i cannot be angry
about its loss, but i am disappointed by the way in which the 'digital
musics' is not critically looked upon for its own exclusionary tendencies.
it is highly unlikely i will enter PAE again, let alone with an
>gabbling on about Prix Ars Electronic 99 (Computer Music) Barry was
>heard to mutter...
>> Last spring....regarding the Prix Ars Electronica,you advised Larry
>Austin who posed the question that his
>> work, and by implication this type of computer music, would be
>> "welcome". The results of this year's jury emphatically show that this
>> was not true.
>well perhaps not so.. just that the prizes didnt go to 'that' kind of
>> it is
>> clear that the Prix A-E has lost credibility with
>> those working in artistic/non-commercial forms of computer music
>> because of the controversial and obviously biased results of this
>> year's jury.
>I think it needs to be said that the likes of Aphex Twin and Fennez do
>not make buckets of loot from their music. Aphex probably does by far
>'the best', but to imply that these musics are somehow 'commercial', as
>you do by putting in opposition to them the ' artistic/non-commercial
>forms of computer music' that did not get prizes, and that they are for
>some reason to be differently regarded is purile, if you forgive. A
>careful listening to the sort of stuff on mego and related labels such as
>Mille Plateaux, Table of the Elements, Sub Rosa, Warp, Chain
>Reaction,Trente Oiseaux Dorobo, Raster Music, Meme, Touch, sigma,
>Caipirinha,Mtamkine, iridium, cci, Barooni, em:t would inform you as to
>the degree to which the composers on these labels have listened to and
>been influenced by the composers who are generally lumped in the ( now
>quite redundant) 'academic' or 'computer music' baskets...as well as
>having been influenced by the likes of the Beach Boys and The Stooges,
>And this is exactly my point.. these composers are independent in the
>sense that as they have the technology 'at home' they are free to
>incorporate into their music whatever they like and they are not bound
>any more than they want to be by stylistic considerations or
>considerations of lineage or tradition. The technology makes his possible
>to degrees unheard of before.
>The music that results is no less 'artistic', laboured, considered, or
>informed by ideas and abstract concepts than any other 'kind ' of music,
>allthough I have to say there is often a fair amount more humour there
>than has been in evidence in the past. Have a listen to/read of the work
>of Scanner or Terre Thaemlitz.
>A few of the people who have been moved to write about the PAE would be
>better advised to take a leaf out of the books of these mentioned
>composers and cross fertilise a bit. Computers are marvellous for it.
>> I would therefore urge you to, once again, reconsider how this
>> is defined and juried. One suggestion that has been circulating is to
>> divide the category so that "popular" and "artistic" styles are
>> considered separately - though the exact wording of this distinction
>> would obviously be tricky.
>This is elitist, laughable and impossible. The technology that exists
>today ,makes it so.
>> In any case, you should be aware that because of this year's
>> if no further change is made, I personally, and probably most of my
>> colleagues in the computer music field, will no longer consider
>> participating in your otherwise worthwhile and prestigious competition.
>Thus rendering it even less worthwhile and prestigious....
>Pierre Henry plays at dance parties for goodness sake....the kids love it
>and so does he....Steve Reich gets 'remixed' ... DJ Spooky works with
>Xenakis...Tony Conrad records with Faust....Terre Thaemlitz does piano
>interpretations of Kraftwerk....as does Balinesku in his own way ('scuse
>spelling)...and the Kronos Quartet did Hendrix years ago....
>get into it!!!!
>"Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds"
>Wild Bill Shakespeare.
terre thaemlitz comatonse recordings
email@example.com 1097-b 54th street
http://www.comatonse.com/ oakland, ca 94608-3018 usa
"They're a group of a black-trenchcoat mafia homosexuals."
- Student interviewed on CNN via cellular phone during shootings
in Littleton, CO
"[Disenfranchised youth] are all over this country, and they're
all being insulted, and they're all being ridiculed. All you
people who are saying stuff about them, stop it unless you want
another bullet hole in you, too."
- Alex Marsh, former member of the Columbine HS 'Trenchcoat Mafia'
"Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds"
Wild Bill Shakespeare.
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