Re: [rumori] RE: pho: "threshold" for copyright??

From: Don Joyce (
Date: Sun Mar 18 2001 - 11:29:38 PST

> " How can you say that all 'drip paintings' will be virtually the same as

All drip paintings will not look alike, in fact no two drip paintings could
ever possibly look alike. They are filled with uncontrolable randomness. (I
wonder if anyone has ever attempted to forge a Pollock!) Looking exactly
"the same" is not possible, but if you do what he did, you will surprise
no one in the way he surprised everyone with what he did. That's the
difference between "NEW" as I am using it, and "new' as you are using it.
If you use his procedure (dripping paint off sticks from above the
horizontal canvas) you will create a new drip painting but you will not
have done it in any new way. What your paint does will just be one of the
infinite variations possible using this already established procedure. (And
you would soon see how "similar" the look of your painting is to the look
of Pollock's because you used his particular procedure which always obeys
gravity in "similar" ways.) Pollock did not invent the intentional drip,
just another way to create them that was new, new partly because that's ALL
he did with paint. Music is now in the same condition as the drip in
painting, it's all been done in every way possible - from brushes, from
sticks, from guns, from cans being thrown, sponges tossed, horizontally
dripped on, vertically running down, streams at a slant, air sprayed, tooth
brush flicked etc, etc. etc. There is no new kind of elemental dripping,
only new varieties and combinations of already tried types of dripping. So
it is with music.

Pollock reached an inevitable conclusion, the "end" of dripped paint being
considerable as some "new" kind of painting, in the same way Coltrane's
Ascension reached an "end" to free jazz as "new" music. The procedure can
be repeated in infinite variations, but you cannot go beyond it with
anything that could be declared to be adding anything "new" to that
particular musical tangent - pure free playing without regard to rules of
rhythm, melody, harmony, or predertermined structure of any kind. A billion
"new" sound combinations can be created in this way, but it will never
again be seen as a new KIND of sound in music. The 20th century went to
such extremes to BE categorically new, forsaking everything tried and true,
and actually succeeded in mining all the extremes possible, beyond which
are no new ones. Now there is nothing "new" to be tried in redifining what
music might be, and we are left to recombine or reinvigorate established
tangents... FOREVER! I believe this is now as true in painting as it is in
music, by the way! There is going to be no new elemental category of
painting any more than there will be any new elemental category of music
from now on. Having exhausted categories, both painters and musicians are
all exclusively synthesizers now.

I think you are being overly hopeful to assume that categorical invention,
as opposed to craftsmeanship, will NEVER run out in a field as finite and
limited to hearable frequencies as music is. We've had a VERY long time to
accomplish this and now we have. You can decry entropy too, but it DOES
overtake all energy eventually. It just takes time, and musical invention's
very long time is finally up. Frankly, I'm excited to be around to see it!
At last we CAN see the total audio parameters within which we will continue
to work. In fact, this will probably result in much more listenable music
in general being made hereafter, as all those extreme explorations of pure
noise and questionably musical experiments at the extremes have done their
job and have now run out of esthetic relevance. All these investigations
will remain as elements to utalize but probably no longer the whole point
as they often became in modern music so intent on sounding "new."

" All you need to do is compare artistic innovation to scientific
>innovation, to see that just when you think you have learned all there is to
>learn, some little window opens up, and a new universe becomes clear...."

I wish you were right, but I've thought about this for quite a while now
and have not reached this point as a hasty conclusion in order to tweak
musician's pride. The fact that none of us can think of any new kind of
sound element, nor any new procedure for creating sound to add to music
which has not been tried before (go ahead and try!) is a much more concrete
conclusion than the idea that science can't see what possibilities will
open up in the future. Music is NOT science! Science is dealing with a
scope of unknowns which music is not and cannot.

Scientific discoveries now rely almost EXCLUSIVELY on equipment and devices
which detect and analyze BEYOND the natural human senses because what our
human senses (the human senses of sight, sound, touch, smell) can detect in
terms of scientific discoveries pretty much ran out over a century ago.
It's all discoveries via technical equipment which artificially extends our
senses at this point, in relms and ranges of perception quite beyond our
natural human abilities to sense anything. Science has a MUCH longer road
to running out, if it ever does, than music does because it's NOT limited
to our built in sensory abilities. Music IS!

All of music is RESTRICTED to what the physical organ of the human ear can
hear, period. Outside of that limited audio frequency range, there is no
sound to be heard. This range of possibilities is extremely limited and
finite compared to where science is going. And if you're thinking of using
"unhearable" sounds - microscopic sound, internal organic sound, ultra
high/low frequency amplifications, cosmic noise, magnetic fields, etc,
that's all been used in music too!

The comparison of science to music is one of irrelevantly dissimilar

>>This was such a purely intellectual gambit at such an elemental level >that
>>it remains necessarily one of a kind, (there are no different versions >of
>>silence) unrepeatable as art because once it has been done as art, it >can
>>go nowhere new. Like Pollack's barely controled drip paintings,someone
>>only has to do it once and after that others who follow the procedure >will
>>only end up with a painterly phenomenon virtually the same as > Pollac's.
>It's things like the above that make me nervous about saying 'Never'
> How can you say that all 'drip paintings' will be virtually the same as
>Pollac? I'm not a fan of painting, but it seems to me that true innovation
>will only come from someone who is thinking in an origional way. And the
>fact that DJ (whom I have an immense amount of respect for) cannot see what
>particular way this will manifest itself, only makes it more
> It's not suprising that no one now can see what form this innovation will
>take. That's exactly the point.....
> All you need to do is compare artistic innovation to scientific
>innovation, to see that just when you think you have learned all there is to
>learn, some little window opens up, and a new universe becomes clear....
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