Re: observances, etc.

Subject: Re: observances, etc.
From: Dennis Bathory-Kitsz (
Date: Sun Jul 18 1999 - 23:11:07 EDT

At 09:50 PM 7/18/99 -0400, Eric Somers wrote:
>There has been criticism of Eshun's use of coined terms in the defence.
>Like the late architect, R. Buckminster Fuller, Eshun tends to use coined
>terms where existing terms do not express his intent.

Coined terms need some serious effort from a writer to translate them into
communicative terms & leave (as Larry put it) 'the group navel' behind.
Eshun must be one deep cat if he has so many inexpressible concepts to
express. But in truth, like Fuller -- and don't forget that, despite his
achievements, he was a consummate academic -- this is just old-fashioned
obscurity. It ain't the Sixties no more, and that was my point in the
previous post. To stream a personal philosphy in one's journal is quite
different from articulating a point of view in defense of judgments made in
the presentation of hard cash. (If you disagree with my summary of what he
said, that's another matter.)

>Also, how many have listened to the CD by Kodwo Eshun and Franz

I have not, but this is irrelevant with respect to the PAE jurying.

>Thus what we see in the statement are not the self-serving words of a
>commercial "star" making big bucks off banal music, but the the words of an
>original artist, with an original vision, trying to define his broader
>vision of digital arts.

He was trying to present a position defending a jury that was awarding cash
and honors. That's quite another matter from philosophy or 'original vision'.

Look, polishing Eshun's artistic halo is entirely off the mark. No matter
how he convolutes the explanation, it appears that the jury was bored with
what they believed was academic ("the Bourges Festival, another elite
competition"), they were hearing technological footsteps close behind them
from all too many (they heard "no such iconoclasm" and dissed so-called
"Powerbook composers"), they were trying to 'get nineties' (rejecting music
that met "no commercial imperative") while simultaneously 'getting sixties'
(rejecting music showing "cultural irrelevance"). That said, and bolstered
by metaphor, he creates a verbal flood that carries along pop forms and
noise and digital breakdown (invoking Hendrix -- no surprise, another
Sixties icon) as if that murky mix were somehow a great sea of originality.
It seems to be more a muddy reflecting pool for Eshun's (or the jury's)
essential boredom.

It also says to me is that I was lucky not to submit to PAE this year,
where 700 entries were apparently skipped across the aural pond, the jurors
hoping to hear a noise new to them.


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