Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-05-28 - 11:53 p.m.
I sat down and wrote quite a bit on how to organise motorsport - using the technology platform idea, the Fr thinking about knowledge communities and the Demming Loop. As chargeable time goes this is my idea of fun.
The sweep of the RKCS is pretty intoxicating - I skimmed the passage from Johns Flag to the Spiral Jetty.
After work I went to Berkswell - the next village along from Meriden (Godiva & Englandís navel in FoA). Berkeswell still has a well in the middle of it - didnít see any berks. I think the well aligns with Coleshill and where the Severn and the Leam meet (the Leam gleams like a National Steel Guitar). I sat in the 16C bar in the cool and read about RK and the Picasso collages of 1912 which she obviously finds very intense.
I need to explain Bloch. From this distance its clear that Thatcherism provoked a useful reaction in the domain of mags. Three are worthy of note - the Wire , Radical Philosophy and Bloch. Bloch is like a cross between the best of Wire and RP but on art. When I went to the Moma there was a Bloch compilation in the bookshop - reduced - which I bought. To be honest I was pretty impressed to see it there at all. Iain Sinclair says that radical culture reacted to Thatcherism by going long - by seeking to influence the bigger things. He maybe right - we now see Mrs T as a barmy old lady with a useless son and strange Chilean attachments. But Bloch has got to the point where there s a major new textbook on Bloch-think that will influence generations of future art-school students - long after Mrs T tried to eliminate all those polytechnic theoreticians.
So - Ch1 of the Bloch-book - this was my reading matter at Berkeswell. RK seeks to explain the intensity by what strike me as some severely neo-Kantian arguments. That in some way Pic is engaging with the fundamental mechanism of picture making. A good way into this is the way that certain bits of torn newsprint work within the composition - between their abstract properties as colored spaces - and how we resolve the limited cues on the picture plane into reference to the bottle and the violin etc.
In the Brit corner in Ch 1 of the Bloch-book is a more radical aesthetician who wants to go more social than RK - the weekendís task is to get my head round.
Another consequence of RKCS is how you cant help reading across to music - esp round 1913 - Jeux Rite of Spring Pierrot Luneaire . And 1905 - the Webern 5 pieces for string 4tet. There s a sense in which art seems to go faster.
Art also goes fast between the Flag and the Jetty but by this time you donít think of composers as such - you think of Lamont Young to Hendrix. For example - that whatever it was that JH found he found it in the middle of the emergence of performance, conceptualism, Fluxus etc So if I think of the Absex emerging say in the early 1940s I also think of Les Paul inventing the Les Paul guitar and recording the first ever rock guitar solo. In the 20s and 30s new classical music seems to have problems - it cant find its audience - major figures are displaced - Stravinsky and Schoenberg end up in LA still not talking. But art kind of steams on - at the end of the day the art-world keeps working - giving meaning to the new stuff and finding buyers.
Its this odd period - say 1930-50 - that Appel pulls together. His idea seems to be that while Europe was falling apart - in Manhattan a new general culture was being forged which stretched from Broadway to Pollock. Then he gives up in 1955 - because Coltrane gigs with Monk. That last bit is the most eccentric.
I was thinking about my 1970 Aesthetics of Improvisation. In essence it reserves a conceptual space. The argument is that it is not only the case the improvisation is intense - obviously true - think of Ascension - easy to see that as (too much) intensity. It tries to break the link between improvised and 2nd or 3rd best. It says that there is a way of doing aesthetics that is as good as anything else - this extra bit of aesthetics is about improvised forms - the judgments within this conceptual space are not necessarily 2nd best. Then in the subsequent exam I tried to demonstrate this with respect to the first section of A Love Supreme. So when we try to account for the intensity of Kind of Blue our judgments and reasons are just as authentic valid etc as when we think about Picasso collages.
I cant help bringing up Science and Scientists in the Early Novels of Aldous Huxley - my next and unsuccessful lunge. It addresses the first post FWW decade when Huxley was like the Dylan of the novel. The idea is that while Huxley tries on the basis of the new physics to resurrect humanism - referencing Beethoven and the Big Fugue - he cant manage it. And following the death of D H Lawrence in which AH and wife act nobly - itís the cultural pessimism of Brave New World. It still amazes me that people cant see the point. That BNW describes a good portion of how we are today - MNCs , new production methods, psychoactive chemicals. And that rafts of people try to be the savage.