Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-09-19 - 6:43 a.m.
Listening B Jansch playing Bernstein in a Glasgow Folk Club in 1962 - strange but true -Somethings Coming. Then Careless Love - which is a piece of work too. Runs DG pretty close for really really excellent early UK acoustic playing. A blistering Veronica - ditto Angie and Work song - edgey or what? The classic version of Blues Run the Game too. The CD is Young Man Blues and was recorded originally by a 14 year old in Glasgow.
I mailed Laurence about SOS - and began to play with how part 5 might shape up. ACDC certainly helps - he’s a beacon in the 1980s for a number of earlier themes - that got sprayed around the first four parts. It useful that he thinks the Phenomenology of Spirit is a credible template for the evolution of art - the third model. Also he is against the general move of a reversal into primitivism. He also suggests that in Hegelian terms art is assuming a form which is best modeled by the feminist art of self-transcendence
Like ACDC I am fairly sure that Shamanism becomes an unsustainable model in the hands of Plath and Hughes - esp as they act out in parallel with Beuys’ development of ironic shamanism. Al Alvarez calls them a high wire act. Prof Rose suggests that Plath’s violent self assertion is a reaction to the muse-construct that she find Hughes surrounds her with. Rose is hard work but if you stick with it some strong stuff comes through. I just wish she wasn’t so thoroughly psycho-analytical. I suppose its fair to say at one point she is more Jungian than Freudian - she suggests that Plath as she acts out self-transcendence she becomes the thing that Hughes believes he has to transcend to realise his individuality. That sounds genuinely Hegelian doesn’t it? Rose also thinks that this kind of stand-of of individuation can’t be the whole story. Becker attended Plath’s funeral and records in her memoire that several times Hughes says, ‘It was her or me’.
The next step might be to work out some of the ways that Shamanism might unfold into Disturbatory Art - I am sure there is more than one way in which the attempt to fall back on your internal primitive symbolic resources might lead you to put yourself into the work in a disturbing way. It is certainly true that putting yourself fully into the art in a risky way is a small step in the same direction that Plath took in reaction to Hughes. Some of the DA actually acts out the kind of confrontation that appears to have taken place between Hughes and Plath.
The other Hughes wrote about Munch in the Guardian this weekend - helping to promote an exhibition of self-portraits at RA - I thought it was pretty good. As indeed was the M Collings programme on Channel 4 about Self Portraits. It occurred to me that self-portraiture might be part of sustainable creativity - MC featured Rembrandt Matisse and Picasso - and Munch - who despite everything lived into 80s - . MC also featured Van Gogh who didn’t but MC was quite good on the negativity in VG’s vreative ecology.
In the Guardian there was a large article on Einstein anniversary books. One of these was about Einstein and Godel and I was so intrigued that I went out at bought it, reading the first two chapters. I also bough Hawking’s Brief History which I have never read as a background.
Roughly the story seems to be that as is well known Einstein never signed up to the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Both Einstein and Godel were at the IAS in Princeton which had been set up by a vast endowment at the start of the 30s and was a magnet for mathematical talent. Godel was born and educated in Brno (also the birth place of Mendel) and was educated in Central European metaphysics. With this background Godel supported Einstein in his anti-Copenhagen approach as their friendship at IAS developed. If anything Godel was further out.
In fact Godel took General Relativity equations and derived a spectacular interpretation which showed that time travel was possible - this being in tune with his Kantian view of time as the form of experience rather than an objective dimension. This Godel result has been ignored rather than disproved - although there is a suggestion that Hawking treatment of black hole theory evidences his awareness of the Godel interpretations.
Black holes are quoted as a rare example of the theorizing far outpacing experimental confirmation which eventually shows up. Going back to ACDC this is an interesting example of progressive endeavor - the way that art used to be seen as progressive improvement. Hawking likes to emphasise his continuity with Newton and indeed he points out that black holes were first hypothesized by a Newtonian around 1790.