Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-08-10 - 5:09 p.m.

Adrian Piper did some performance art in the early 80s which culminated in four written pieces about Funk. Her aim was to link Funk forms to classic western high art categories - but - and this is the important point - to avoid the issues and propositions of post-modernism. AP is a neo-Kantian and the pomo and the neoK just do not mix - not least as regards the position and unity of the subject. AP wants funk to be assessed positively against high-art categories and concepts without resorting to any kind of pomo tricksy relativism. This is highly original as far as aesthetic theory is concerned - really out on a limb. AP is pretty close to my age and also has a deep philosophical background. Her politics come from an intense liberalism that wants to confront prejudice with rationality and objectivity - using Funk as the battleground in this particular instance.

I am still watching the perplexing Prince DVD from the latter part of the 80s - wondering if it will take a NeoK reading. I have decided that it should be seen in the same light as a 19C opera - with a relaxation on the narrative coherence and a corresponding upscaling of structural meaning and moments of intense symbolism. Prince is the hero - there are those who are pitched against him for control of the club - Prince performs the music which enshrines his values at the club and the enemies want to deny him this platform. Various female characters tangle with the hero and his enemy. His career in the early 90s shows clearly that Prince would go to great lengths to defend his musical values - as far as the artist formerly known etc - putting his identity right on the line and relying a super-sensible identity embedded in his musical offering. When Miles said Prince was the new Duke Ellington he saw something deep and in the Prince-project that he wanted to be a part of.

SO - if there is a NeoK reading of funk and Prince’s music is the 80s derivation - say of George Clinton’s heavily inflected use of the funk form - what are the supersensible propositions that Prince has coded into the DVD? I am aware of the progressive development of black intellectuals in the 70s and 80s - leading to the emergence of figures like Rice and Powell this decade - something which the UK has little experience of.

Prince rescues the iconic female from the luxurious embrace of his enemy who has given her a potion whereby she will wake up and fall in love with the first face she sees. He takes her back to his flat to recover and goes onstage to sing about being ‘a little bit behind the beat - just enough to turn you on’ and the ‘joy in repetition’. The next morning she wakes and sees P. (Prince utilizes fragments of Ravel at this point. ) The iconfem warns him that her visit is only fleeting - could she have a muse function? I should also look at the Mis-education of Lauren Hill - another work of great ambition.

Woke up and started dredging through the material which might go into the next 10 stories - pulled out about 14 WAVS to think more deeply about. Then it was time to set off up the M69 to Watling St and along to MIRA - the major national automotive technical centre where Viv has organized an RnD strategy seminar. This means that I have had to drop out of the meeting with Prof David at Loughborough about Manufuture and the Learning Grid - but we talked through what we are after and how we might get it

Reading Paul W s piece about perfumery - which takes off from an observation in Beano’s swollen year.

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