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Your opinions on avant-garde/experimental art/music/literature?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
after a quick search, i haven't found any recent (see: not 3 years old) threads on this matter.

i think i'm a pretty open minded dude. i can tolerate a certain level of "weirdness". (music like The Flaming Lips and some pretty weird ambient, books like Ulysses (that was pretty tough to tackle at my age, admittedly), stuff like that)

but lately, as i continue to download more and more music, and look through the vast boxes of books in my possession for something worthwhile, i realize: what the hell are some people thinking when they jot an idea down? i'm not new to "experimental" music, and "modern" art... but seriously, when someone told me "If you liked Ulysses, then you'll love Finnegans Wake!" i wanted to inflict some sort of pain on him. "That wasn't your cup of tea? How about Virginia Woolf!" blagh.

when i first listened to the "jazz cover" of 4' 33", again, i became violent.

Another cited influence for this piece came from the field of the visual arts. Cage's friend and sometimes colleague Robert Rauschenberg had produced, in 1951, a series of white paintings, seemingly "blank" canvases (though painted with white house paint) that in fact change according to varying light conditions in the rooms in which they were hung, the shadows of people in the room and so on. This inspired Cage to use a similar idea as he later stated, "Actually what pushed me into it was not guts but the example of Robert Rauschenberg. His white paintingsā€¦ when I saw those, I said, 'Oh yes, I must. Otherwise I'm lagging, otherwise music is lagging'"; Cage's musical equivalent to the paintings uses the "silence" of the piece as an aural "blank canvas" to reflect the dynamic flux of ambient sounds surrounding each performance
i can pay attention to ambient sounds around me without having to buy a tape of silence. not to mention the wasting of a perfectly good BBC Symphony Orchestra.

but wait! it all makes sense now! referring to "As Slow As Possible", which is currently being played (see: wasting a perfectly good organ) on an ancient pipe organ in Germany.

ASLSP Performance Note: The title is an abbreviation of "as slow as possible." It also refers to "Soft morning city! Lsp!" the first exclamations in the last paragraph of Finnegans Wake (James Joyce).
they're in on it together. "Art trolls"! (pardon the dumb joke)

i mean no disrespect to the dead with my post, and maybe i'm just missing something. am i just too young to appreciate the works of experimental artists? sorry for this scattered, unorganized, hissy rant, but i think this is the only thing that i haven't complained about on the internet.
post #2 of 6
When it comes to music, I like it weird. I really do. I'm especially fond of noise music. I tend to seek it out because I find listening to something so different from the conventional definition of music to be a particularly special experience. Of course, I find it can also take a lot of patience, so I don't listen to experimental stuff all that often, but when I do, I enjoy it.

I just need a headphone that will let me listen to 'Metal Machine Music' without giving me a splitting headache like my Grados do.
post #3 of 6
When it comes to literature, I like experimental. Although the things I read aren't that out-of-the-ordinary, experimental literature is always interesting. However, music and art are different. Whenever I visit MOMAs (Museum of Modern Art) I find the exhibits very unique but I can't really bring myself to appreciate all of them. And as for music, I'm a big Tool fan, but there's a limit and I can't handle a lot of more experimental IDM and other crazy sampled music.
post #4 of 6
While I'm open to new form of art, I don't think I can evaluate them beyond the "gut feeling" level -- there are arts that, when I first approach them, I feel as if a new possibility has been born, a new path has been opened. I can't put the feeling in works, except to say it is a very "clean" feeling, something like "wow, it is really that simple, how come nobody has thought of it?"

But such epiphanies are rare; to me much of the modern visual arts, literature, and stage art ( particularly operas) are simply capitalising social taboos -- the works by artist's like Jenny Holzer and Damien Hirst "work" because they compel us to face -- and come to terms with -- our own inner demons. Their works may strike some people as "new" and "groundbreaking", but art has been serving this cathartic function for millennia.

Even more problematic are high-brow artists who brandish weirdness for the sake of weirdness -- like those who "deconstruct" everything beyond the call of duty (I can't make head or tail of Tan Dun's opera Marco Polo, liberetto by famous music critic Paul Griffiths), or those who construct schizophrenic private mythologies, leaving them to the poor reader and audience to make whatever sense they can (incidently such mythmakers often have an unhealthy penchant for sex and violence: card-holding members of the capitalising camp). Instead of having that cherished "clean" feeling, my mind feel as if stuck in some grimy goo.
post #5 of 6
Art means creating something new. To be an artist you have to be doing something new otherwise you're an entertainer.

I think it is important to be creative and I'm interested in creative music.
post #6 of 6
I'm fine with it... until EVERYONE else decides they want to be all "experimental" and starts to write music that sounds like variations on what the original composer wrote... then it's just annoying.

and then there is music that just doesn't sound any good...
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