“There is something about perfection and artistry that is contradictory because artistry is not a mechanic thing…you are not a computer, and if you a too concentrated on being accurate, then you loose the essence of art, and art is feeling, to communicate feeling, feel something and to communicate it. Mostly something about love you know. Now how can you feel love if you feel as if you are a race horse, or you have to become a computer in a certain way. That’s something very contradictory.”
“The piano is a weak instrument when you realize you can’t control a note once you’ve hit it.
The human voice can hit the same note 100 times and it will never be exactly the same - like on a french horn or clarinet, the note will be shaped by tiny details of breath and vibrato and bow pressure.
But a piano key is hit and the only question is when the finger lifts and the note stops. In other words, there is no difference between Glenn Gould hitting a single note and a chimpanzee hitting the same note. It is only through ‘poetic illusion’ that the piano can be said to ‘sing’ - so instead of bending a note like a singer or saxophonist would, a pianist can add tiny grace notes that give the impression of ‘blue’ or ‘in between’ notes. Another trick is to use the thumb and pinky to play fast alternating octaves called ‘tremolo’, giving the impression of sustained, drawn-out drama. And of course a pianist is emboldened to hide the piano’s hopelessness behind the pedals, which create a variety of reverb-like atmospheres.
Solo Piano II was recorded on this weak instrument - precisely because this weakness and its noble compensations are so touching - because it’s impossible to REALLY make a piano sing.
Or is it?” #ChillyGonzales
Some deep cuts from around this small planet, Pax Romana.
Here we are killing each other over resources buried in the ground, and in the sands including sources of energy… whereas the universe has a unlimited supply of.. everything, including energy.
—Neil Degrasse Tyson on The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast.
Taking 9 years to make, and at the time, one of the most expensive films ever created in France. Jacque Tati’s determination to poke fun at Modernsim, and show it’s superficial effects on society, put him wildy into debt. Years later, he suffered the indignity of having to make a commercial for Lloyds Bank. “The message of the advert was that however modern Lloyds are, technology isn’t everything and you’ll always be able to speak to a “friendly member of staff or understanding manager” in their branches”, one year later in 1972 they released Cashpoint which would become the worlds first ATM.
Self-indulgent, hedonistic, consumption-oriented society cannot project a moral imperative onto the world… Our moral consciousness has been corrupted by… the equal indifference we assign to all values as if they were competing products on the supermarket shelf.
—Zbigniew Brzezinski (1993)
In 1860, an 11-year-old girl wrote to Abe Lincoln, suggesting he grow a beard. He not only responded, he obliged.
“Hon A B Lincoln…
My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin’s. I am a little girl only 11 years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got 4 brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter direct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chautauqua County New York.
I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good bye
Lincoln responded a few days later:
“Miss Grace Bedell
My dear little Miss
Your very agreeable letter of the 15th is received — I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughters — I have three sons — one seventeen, one nine, and one seven years of age — They, with their mother, constitute my whole family — As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?
Your very sincere well wisher,
While he made no promises about the beard to Bedell, he stopped shaving and allowed the beard to grow not long after their exchange and was elected as the 16th president of the United States a few weeks later. On his inaugural train ride from Illinois to Washington, D.C., the president-elect stopped in Bedell’s hometown of Westfield, N.Y., and asked to meet her.
Japan’s War in Colour:
A Logo for America: Alfredo Jaar (1987)
It can often seem that those in power don’t want us to enjoy making things for ourselves they’d prefer to establish a cultural hierarchy that devalues our amateur efforts and encourages consumption rather than creation. This might sound like I believe there is some vast conspiracy at work, which I don’t, but the situation we find ourselves in is effectively the same as if there were one. The way we are taught about music, and the way it’s socially and economically positioned, affect whether it’s integrated (or not) into our lives, and even what kind of music might come into existence in the future. Capitalism tends toward the creation of passive consumers, and in many ways this tendency is counter productive. Our Innovations and creations, after all, are what keep many seemingly unrelated industries alive.
—David Byrne (How Music Works)