Iain Cameron's Diary
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2006-11-29 - 5:47 a.m.

Hotel Puerta Valencia: Landed around 9pm local time and got a taxi to the hotel – my first ever visit to Spain. The Russian presentation in SW1 seemed to go ok – I had driven in from Oxford to leave my car at my sister’s house near the end of the Picadilly line.

The Russians were much more personable than I had been led to expect and more varied – some powerful leaders and some small firms – some from CIS including some of the stans. I had a chat with a Ukranian about what might follow Putin – as briefed by James – no one has a clue.

The interpreter was fun – she used to manage something in Moscow and complained how provincial and low energy Manchester seems in comparison. Its much easier presenting when you leave gaps for translation and you can think of what to say next. There was quite a discussion on the globalisation of automotive supply chains.

I knew Russ - the other person presenting from a crazy venture in Mexico City promoting UK automotive technology– I suppose it must have been 2001. (I flew one weekend from Detroit to LA to hang out in Santa Monica and then on to MC on Sunday evening. The guy next to me on the plane to LA saw I was reading about Miss M and said he had got to her via Georgia O Keefe – how many people approach from that angle?.)

Russ seems to be quite into Russia and is planning a trip to Samara next year which is where Autovaz have a mega factory with a track 1km long. He says GM sell more Hummers in Russia than anywhere else. I remember while we were in MC waiting to fly out he borrowed my paperback of film tunes and read through avidly for an hour – its just leadsheets with words, top line and chords.

At the first impression stage Valencia reminds me of MC but less dangerous - I hope. Broad dusty avenues, a great mix of architecture with just a hint of ideology, some of the nicest buildings the most run down. Also maybe there is just a bit of Japan – the industrial coastal plane – big rivers mostly quite dry but which probably rage at certain seasons – and certainly this hotel which is high concept minimalism is worthy of lost in translation.

Having unpacked, I looked in at the bar and saw Dusan from Slovenia and the Indian professor from the big UK multinational company and went over for a brief chat. Then I it was time for a quick walk towards the centre – across the bridge over the formal gardens with ornamental orange groves with views down to that preposterous Dan Dare building dedicated to science and and a quick spin around a circus with smart bars. So far so good.

On the tube I had read Lyotard on Kant’s aesthetic – which I had previously believed, wrongly, to be too much like hard work – the bit about the proportional resonances. I had this moment of apparently dawning insight which is the best one can hope for with stuff like this.

In Ion Plato wants to banish the interpretive power of the performer working off an artwork of consequence, from the domain of rules and order – some other more erratic domain. Heidi, on the other hand, wants the engagement which flows from the performance (and even more from bringing the artwork into being) to help redirect and save and lure us away from technological over-engagement. The domain of rules and order has become domination masquerading as value neutral instrumentality.

Kant seems to sit in the middle . He thinks that art is an integrating force – both within the individual psyche and the community. Art makes us feel obliged to draw others towards the artwork and encourage them to be receptive to it. But he is with Plato to the extent that he thinks that the artiness isn’t out there in the work in the world – its what the artwork does inside us. He is with Heidi in that he thinks its more than just an optional balm which shouldn’t be trusted too far. But the can’t trust the artwork to the same degree – can’t quite trust the essence of its being to lead the way.

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