Archives: June 2002

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Minding the Gap - My First Exquisite Corpse

June 21, 2002 01:24 PM | Posted in: Projects

So it's nice to see that my first exquisite corpse is complete, as I was wondering how long it would be before I got to see the final result. What's an exquisite corpse, you say? A sort of collage invented by the Surrealists, wherein each person working on a canvas sees only a small portion of the work done before, and then passes on their contribution to the next in line. Anonymous collaborative processes always fascinate me, especially when they expose how tenuous context and meaning really are. I like the juxtaposition of irrelevant elements, the lunges for meaning across discontinuities, the idea of interrupted and altered messages; there's much to savor in a good corpse...

Here's the link:

local tags: art, mind_the_gap, surrealism

Sartre's "The Age of Reason"

June 16, 2002 12:46 PM | Posted in: Reading Room

Slow to begin, and very, very French, my immediate reaction to this opening novel in Sartre's Roads to Freedom trilogy is positive. It is an oddly obviously organic language, full of references to the fluids, flesh, smells, and textures of humanity; perhaps a consequence of the translation? The conclusion took me by surprise, again perhaps an after effect of losing subtleties in the translation - or the fact that most of my reading was done late at night while about to fall asleep.

local tags: literature, sartre

The Hives at The Roxy: Veni Vidi Vexatious

June 13, 2002 10:26 AM | Posted in: The Media Environment

Instead of a fun and furious live set from an up and coming retro Mod punk outfit, this was a frankly disappointing example of the misfortunate mismatching that occurs when the media apparatus determines what it wants us to like. Friends loaned me their second album just as the publicity wave was cresting a few weeks ago, and I was mildly excited by the energy I heard on repeated listenings; their live performance didn't sustain the feeling, however, and given what I saw Tuesday, I wouldn't recommend that anyone hoping for as much from them on stage as on disc take the time or trouble.

The basic problem? Bluntly - Howlin' Pete Almqvist wouldn't shut up. I know it's a challenge to play a full set when your catalog is as brief as theirs, but there's just no excuse for stopping after every two-minute song to chatter about how wonderful your band is, and how terribly entertaining you just were; especially when it takes you longer to chatter about your song than it did to play it in the first place. At it's worst, this is like musicus interruptus - it demolishes the natural cycle of building and releasing tension that any dramatic performance in the Western world not explicitly billed as experimental should follow. I've never been this genuinely annoyed with a headline act. I'll confess to feeling a bit frazzled before I set foot inside the club, as I'd flown up from Atlanta only an hour before the show, after two full days of user research at an engineering conference (the joys of practicing IA on a tight budget...), but I wasn't alone in feeling the interruptions and disliking them. On my left was a table of five frustrated concert-goers yelling the inevitable "You SUCK", continuously. I'd say it was lack of experience, given their age and newness, but I know The Hives have toured for years, and it seemed that their refusal to engage was more capricious than accidental.

Oh, Mooney suzuki was there as well. What's with the Snake? I didn't mind their product (and it had those sly "we're art school kids larking about with the identity of musicians" timber), but the vocalist looked and acted too much like Nicholas Cage doing his best Mod impression of Elvis to allow me to simply immerse myself in the music. The drummer looked like one of the Nerds from Buffy the Vampire Slayer...

local tags: events, music

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