The Mental Museum

Archive for July 2009

John Cage 4’33”

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Post World War II emerged a digital age of cybernetics. The 1950’s unleashed an IBM cyber world that has grown into its own culture; digital culture. Culture of not only bionary code exchange but now real number exchange, imagery exchange, sound exchange and inevitabley, currency exchange.  A decade later, the 1960’s merged this corporate and government rationed digital world into the art world. John Cage,  son of a keynoted engineer helped his father in radar detection which in turn exempted him from the WWII draft.  A lecturer of Digital Art History at Birbeck College, University of London coins the term “cyber feminism” surely to resurrect some notion of superiority, or inferiority (to be completely pc). Nevertheless, this lecturer writes extensively about John Cage and assigns him credit with captaining  the digital world into art. Probably the most renoun of his works, the 4’33” piece of silence, Cage’s performance seems to offer suggestion to the audience, ‘attent yourselves to your auditory surroundings, rather than to visual performance.’  And the success of the piece is to be determined by the individual and where the focus lies.  Are we entertained by the actual intention of the piece? The performance of the piece? Or are we most entertained by the intellectual converse and consumption possibly to be had post the piece? BBC orchestra has also performed 4’33” at Barbican Hall. Play with the numbers enough and one can conclude that 4′ 33″ turns into 6′ 9″ …and one can only wonder what that performance sounds like.

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July 16, 2009 at 4:01 am

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Industrial Revolution, Pedestrians and Dorothea Lange

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ndtrain

The Great Depression is a phrase associated with the industrial revolution. Brief phrases, some famous images and relics found in the dirt are all that are left asside from the few who may still be alive to tell of the 1930’s experience. The generation gap has opened and we are now currently in and among another economic crisis. Dorthea Lange was an American photographer who voyaged the dusty roads of the US and trailed the stories of some of those who suffered in and among her own country.   It was a great time of change; herding people across land like cattle. Instiutionalizing the word ‘home’ for many across the world, while also instiutionalizing the idea of perfection with mass genocide. What some may fail to recognize is that depression exists everywhere. Always. Depression is relative. Economic crisis  shifts a mindset. Save your money! Don’t spend it! Or… spend it! But on smart items. And what are those smart items? Whatever they are, they are inevitabley an insurance policy. But value must be in the eye of the beholder. Or, value must be in the eye of whom the beholder is surrounded. There is the phrase “keeping up with the Jones’s.” Look good, sound smart, dress sharp, talk right. The way we communicate is a very telling happening. Our body language and pronunciation is very telling. How does one pronounce, for example, the word Vietnam? That may tell where one was during a war. How does one pronouce the word Water? That may also tell where they were during another war. Currently, English is the language of an empire. It’s how we speak English now that paints on us. Photographs and slogans or perviously,  images sketched in trial are only partial pieces of the world stage puzzle. Pronunciation. Dictation. Authority. Being bi-lingual or at least knowing enough about how to get by. Dorthea Lange can be created with preserving these American sufferings during the 1930’s and perhaps, on a positve note, leaving visual legacies behind that aid us in realizing economic change.

Written by thementalmuseum

July 2, 2009 at 10:41 pm

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