Nettime mailing list archives

dsi on Tue, 2 Jul 2002 22:59:09 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]


This presentation took place at the University of Naples
in which Derrick De Kerckhove and the music band Planet Funk also took part.

by Domiziana Giordano
University of Naples - Department of Sociology
June 19th, 2002

Piet Mondrianıs work is a good example of how during the last century
figurative arts went hand in hand with music. He was a fine connoisseur of
the music of his time, and inspired by it to such an extent that his work
represents the closest connection (or ³contamination²) between visual arts
and music.
This ³musical language² can be found in those works he painted while living
in the States in the thirties, works he appropriately called Boogie-Woogie.
Here, the black lines are interrupted by a fine, transparent layer of white
paint, almost as to say: Ğthis is not an empty space, this is a pauseğ.
He thus creates a representation of rythm, that is transformed into a
language in code by the use of a personalized symbol of sign and color.
The empty space between the lines is none other than Silence, which in music
is the pause that sets the rythm.
The repetition of a pause through time creates Silence. A silence that is
conventionally known as Music. As a matter of fact, in one of his
compositions, John Cage only used this ³note².

In these last years technology has entered our everyday life, and various
formal aspects have converged together during the evolution of the different
expression modes, creating a new language: the Internet. This discovery
could be compared to the birth of a new color of the rainbow.
Its origins can be found in the invention of televisionıs remote control ­
which could be considered the hardware of what has followed.
Zapping from channel to channel has contributed to the birth of a hypertext
(passive) language that has helped us to adapt to the Webıs specific
modalities and timing.
This faster mental process makes it easier and quicker for us to digest
Weıre not smarter, just faster, and the consequences from a neurological
point of view are interesting. (topic that will not be analyzed here any
³Hopping from one thing to the other² has trained the mind to jump from one
assumption to the next, and the brain is now capable of processing
information faster and using a less elaborated synthesis.
This behavior has brought on a transformation on how information is
understood, but it doesnıt mean that human intellectual powers have evolved.
This is an isomorphism at the heart of semiotic research that spills
directly into a purely sociological subject.
Whatıs interesting about this linguistic evolution is that the sociological
phenomenon is much more apparent now than in the past. The result is that
the general level of culture has dropped, replaced by an ephemeral
shallowness that does present interesting aspects because of its own formal
linguistic evolution.
And which are these substantial changes? A good example representative of
modern society, could be the language used in Internetıs chat rooms and in
messages sent through mobile phones.
Here weıre faced with a grammatical and psychological synthesis. The word
itself doesnıt loose its purpose because of its misspelling but is often
transformed in a series of acronysm belonging to a language that is
recognized and understood by a specific group of people.
A new concept of Tribe can thus be defined.

Music itself is also personalized. The DJ is he/she who creates a unique yet
reconstructable moment during which different tribes confront each other: a
place where a meeting of the minds takes place that is approximate
intellectually but filled with eloquent sign of belonging to a specific
tribe. This pertaining to is expressed through clothing and movement that
establish a new culture as interesting as the more learned one. At least
from an anthropological point of view.
Thereıs a direct link between language, art and music.
I personally think that music is the moving force behind this evolution.
DJs create live and in discotheques, new personalized compositions that
render homage to different musicians through the use of samples of
pre-composed music.
Whatı interesting about this way of composing is not the homage, the
citation, but its lexical structure.

The narrative mode, which can be applied to other forms of narration, can be
found in the model of the Sonata.
Refined during the 17th century, it deals directly with the structure of a
musical idea. The score is divided in three movements: introduction,
conflict, solution.
In contemporary music, on the other hand, we have a musical excerpt that
goes but doesnıt return.
The musical turn doesnıt have the possibility of taking off because the
rythm is blocked in the repetition of its first notes, in what is better
known as the loop. The loop never evolves, and other rythm are added to it
but donıt contribute to the development of the song because it remains
suspended, turning almost into a mantra.
The interest lies in the loop, in the repetition; to dance at the same music
that offers nothing but innumerable similar versions of itself
The specificity of the loop is that itıs the example the most reliable for
understanding the Western World. This society is so fragile and distressed
that, just to avoid thinking the direction in which itıs headed, it repeats
over and over again the same media output. A hypnotic repetition of clones.
In Psychoanalysis, this search for a sense of security is quite normal
during the infant stage, but itıs clearly considered a regression if it
takes place during adulthood.

Security lies in seeing and living the same sensation, sign, and sound, in
their continuous repetition.
Everything moves fast but stays the same.
Whatıs missing is the isomorphism of the message. Whatıs more important is
the passage, the fact of ³being there².

Mc Luhan stated that ³the Medium is the Message². Now itıs time to say; ³the
Transit is the Message². This self-referring process brings us back to the
terms of Gödelıs Theorem of  Incompleteness.

The contents isnıt interesting any more, it has ceased to exist, and if it
is there, it cannot be stopped and analyzed for lack of time. Everything
flows, everything is in transition. Whatıs important is to transit and be
part of the flow.

DG / DSI                dsi {AT} DigitalSistersIndeed.org

It was pure bliss
              when I finally achieved silence.



#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net