Friday, October 06, 2006

Experimentation is:

• things that change the shape of your mind, and how you think about the universe, and experience;

• things that are new to you, the artist, and to you, the audience;

• things that don't repeat what you already knew, but take you to a place you've never been before; this could be a view from a hill, a new restaurant, a town you've never been to, something erotic, something relational;

• things you knew about but never tried before; reporting is not the same as experiencing;

• things already known but described in a new way; dove-voiced acronyms of exaltation spill across fertile ears, and turn keys in locks of air; this is the realm of new shapes for old thoughts; the place where old stories are told anew, in new ways, and even though everyone already knows the old stories, and how they will end, the shape of the telling is so new that the excitement of our first hearing, like a memory of the first bedtime story ever told, is present in us, and echoes;

• things you have never thought of, things maybe no-one else has thought of, things unknown to your experience and your imagination; astronomer J.B.S. Haldane once wrote: The universe is not only queerer than we imagine, it is queerer than we can imagine.

• all of the above.

• none of the above.

• something we haven't described yet.

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Blogger chapman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Those are all very good points, chapman. Thanks very much for the comments.

As I've said elsewhere, John Cage is someone whose life and work I very much view as mentoring to me. Cage and Stockhausen were in agreement about the unprecedented, I think (even when they disagreed about other things). I admit I mine Cage for ideas with regard to experimenting with text and the presentation and performance of text; every time I read Cage, I feel refreshed, inspired, prodded into action.

That such ideas are still seen as new, avant-garde, shocking, and/or experimental is no fault of the innovators such as Cage and Stockhausen and their peers, but rather a failing of the critics who came along in their wake.

4:29 PM  

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