End of Blog

End of Blog

An interesting discovery dating the history of the clarinet back in time.

In 2005,

“The artifact is made of a deer antler in which several holes are seen, and a brass layer has been riveted with seven nails to its end.

No additional studies have been carried out on the skeleton yet. But considering the size, the archaeologists estimate that it is a male. In addition, a dagger, a cup and a glass, as well as a bracelet and a necklace have also been found in the grave. A bronze ribbon and a brass sheet were also put around the head of the skeleton.

With the discovery of the artifact, the musical history of the region dates can be dated back to older an era, indicating the cultural development of the inhabitants of the region 3000 years ago.

Today, in the villages of northern Mazandaran and in Gohar-Tappeh, the clarinet is still made out of a deer antler.” (Cais-soas)

September 10th 2011,

“The musical instrument, which was very common in Mazandaran, had been discovered in a grave beside a skeleton that belonged to a woman…

This is the oldest musical instrument ever discovered in the Mazandaran region…

Based on the carbon-14 dating tests carried out on the oldest archaeological stratum of the mound, it dates back to about 3500 BC…

The Parthians ruled part of Mazandaran and the northeast of Iran, but Gohar-Tappeh dates back from third millennium BC to the Iron Age.” (Payvand News)

What this means is that the musical culture surrounding the wind instrument is very old and logically very rich. Of course what this means for people looking into the music itself I cannot say, because what records might exist of the music that might have been played are not recorded but exist, I would assume, embedded in the musical traditions of the day. Typically music was passed on by ear and through peer to peer learning, and musical understanding is something of a heirloom. I don’t think that that is bullshit even though it is admittedly speculative.

I would rather belong to a culture that treasured the humanity of the arts and accepted its’ inherent belonging to the soul of both an individual and the society that nurtures it. This is in opposition to a culture which automates all of its production and seeks connectivity through digital and therefore mechanical means. Evidently I am not a good example of my own desires. But I find this is due to a sort of obligation that I don’t really understand but that I have certified within my own understanding of how the world works. Therefore I am going to stop keeping a personal blog of reflections and thoughts and I will not use Facebook for “socialising”. Neither will I express opinions that are my own overtly, I will only do this through reference because this is the way that the system prefers to work.

Whilst it makes sense to store and harvest a portfolio online, like a treasury of accomplishments that one can exhibit to others, this is also a habit contrived out of insecurity. Why should we be continually judged upon what we have done before. No-one really follows a linear progression of continual improvement, the idea of continual success is tied to competition and together they are dependent on there being a continued state of inequality. Competition does not mean all round improvement because it does not condone sharing or helping the competition. It actually requisites that the competition is, where possible, hindered or oppressed. But of course this is not something to willingly acknowledge because having been raised under societal pressures to conform to this ideology I am supposed to excuse the consequent inequality (social, economic, political…) that is engendered by my upbringing. I may seem to have digressed but the presentation of ones accomplishments as trophies to warrant some “higher” social status is problematic. I should elaborate.

Take the act of recording achievements as a token situation and look at why it is done and to what aims we follow this course through. It can be broken down as follows.

Presenting ones skills to get work:

The individual engages with the competitive commercial market and attempts to ascertain a status of value (capital)

The individual posits their faith in an employer (reduction of individual to commodity values)

The individual presents the fact that they are capable of working (reliability)

The individual competes for desirability in a commercial market (assumption of seller’s values (capital)) – this has nothing to do with the interests of the people but the interests of capital.

The value of art only really makes sense when we live in a state of excess. This is because we have enough time to appreciate the art, enough time to consider our immediate surroundings and our place in a local and tangible space. In other words we are prepared to dedicate time to ourselves which allows us to reflect on our being and upon the aesthetics of being. Why would there be a greater value placed on art in the past as opposed to now? Is this even a true reality? Do people have less time for art now? Well it seems incorrect to pose the suggestion that we have less time now, with so much of our life being automated and the tasks that we set out to do having been made easier through mechanical intervention, one ought to have more time for aesthetic experience. However we simply don’t.

Or we don’t realise that we do. The arts have seeped into our lives in a way that they don’t seem to be arts anymore, they are too integrated to be distinct from our lives. This is what we call culture. We have a culture that is fast, energetic, composed of bright colours and entrancing melodies. The arts occupy ever space of our lives and in fact we have a hard time escaping them. The music on the radio is constant, the television is a framed image in almost every house, the colours that have been chosen for the packing on food stuffs, on shoe boxes, have been selected because they are psychologically affective. Art has been conceptualised, broken down, and the aesthetic potency of the arts have become a thing for study. A study of how people are affected and a study of the arts themselves. The arts community is a community of designers, designing the psychological landscapes that the masses will experience on a day to day basis. But the reason why this is problematic is because it is about money and that is it. Whilst it is great to be an artist today, there is lots of money in design (if you exploit rather than being exploited), it is removed from the interests of people. People are not interested in television, they are not interested in the radio, or product packing design. People are captivated but they are not interested in what is going on, the opportunity to contemplate on the situation, the role of the artistic director as a mediator of information is absent, there is no lasting impression. The age of meaning is behind us. The technological age has been about a displacement of roles and a supposition of conceptions regarding status. As long as people are preoccupied by colours and sounds they will not be thinking about their status or about their own interests. The modes of living are conditional but the conditions are deeply ingrained into the culture. Media presents a study of other people – forget yourself.

As it stands my argument is flawed. What do I propose in response to the problem of capitalism (which promotes artist as producer for capital gain)? Well first of all I propose that the artist chooses to make artwork for themselves and to practice in opposition to capital industry. This seems illogical because it seems to be biting the hand that feeds but makes more sense because the individual feeds themselves. Not only would the work be able to more more reflective, enlightening, valuable and critical to the age in which we live, but the arts would be considerate of the societal needs rather than the needs of the commercial industry.  What is more is that there is no limit to the scope of the individual, mass media is not enlightening, people must be aware of what grows in their back-garden as well as what distant country has waged war with what distant country. Not only is this “distant” information useless to the masses but it inhibits curiosity and engagement. What would one do if they watched the news all day long, a war can be began, waged, and ended without any participation of the individual at all. When the Greeks were fighting the Ottomans for independence, the poet Byron went to take up arms with the Greeks, he didn’t just read the papers and talk about what people ought to do. We are only alive for a very short period of time, what good reason do we have to work in a monetary system that exploits those whose human rights it harms? A system that builds up expectations and promotes desires only inhibits our ability to engage in those interests. What good does this do the human psyche?

So for that reason I abandon this blog and look to seek a better way of life.

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Another few days…

Constantly moving with a project in mind can be very demanding. The current trend is to move between the occupations that surround pistachio nut cultivation, production, and sale, which means juggling information around in ones head very fast as we go from person to person. Despite the way that I have phrased that, we are not just rapidly working our way through a set list of people with the hope of tripping over something. Rather, having made educated decisions about which subjects are critical to the research and having broken these angles down, our method is to approach each party in an attempt to nurture a rounded idea of each subject. This is mentally demanding.

The past few days have been very interesting but again they have been very intense. Something that I have to admit is that I haven’t really allowed myself to acclimatise which makes it difficult. The locals siesta and I have not adapted to do that although it is wise to do so. Instead I wake early and work throughout the day and sleep late at night. The daily cycle seems slower to what I am used to coming from England but again this is to do with climate and the fact that things will happen in their own time. I have to learn this. My English attitude is not stupid but it isn’t healthy here. The body and the mind must rest, I have an aptitude for over-working and I must learn to respect myself more.

Earlier I read through an article on the subject of creativity within contemporary culture. The article stated the view that a critical development in arts practices has taken place wherein the arts have steadily moved away from being to do with humanities to being about design and commerce. Now it seems senseless to say that art has never been about money because all trades are about money. Or is that the problem, the use of the word trade in parallel with the word money. I suppose in some way it is, whilst in another way it isn’t. What I mean is that the idea of exchange is something that does not need money, in fact money has nothing to do with trades themselves, it has only to do with debt. Money being symbolic of the indebtedness of one person to another, perhaps in exchange for the use of ones trade. Without money is perfectly fine to imagine that a piece of art could be exchanged for goods or for the use of another trade. This is almost unimaginable now because we are unable to gage value without referring to money(debt). So perhaps then it is logical to see the relocation of the arts from human concerns to financial interests. Why this might not be the problem is because of the fact that we are utilising a monetary system and it is a matter of function to sell work for money. This does not mean that the money needs to dictate the quality and style of the work, rather the tastes of the collectors ought to be diverse enough to favour an unlimited range of styles. More to the point we are not talking about art being brought and sold but rather the arts themselves are changing to be more based in furthering commercial ventures than they are about being artworks. Design schools, which are not art schools, are becoming the emphasis, the idea of having a career as an artist is increasingly manifested in the workshops of businesses, the artwork is “commissioned” and designed. Art has always had purpose but the design schools promote manufacture and intellectualism. Perhaps I am wrong, but the new age artist cannot be a designer, not only is design a rapidly dated line of work but a designer cannot comment on the experience of being alive because the designer creates the experience of being alive. Perhaps the only similarity between art and design is that they both promote theft.

At any rate the document that is being wrote about posed this (albeit heavily cut-up and paraphrased) conclusion:

 

“We must go back to the original question of creativity and alienation…which does not favor the endless externalization of creativity as new objects and ideas, but favors the creation of a new economy that takes “life” as its first consi­deration… we demand a new form of artistic practice that is not within the critique of the art itself [but] the artistic system as a whole. We need to build a community that sustains amateur production and artistic production, and that doesn’t belong to the entrepreneurs, or the computer scientists, or the geeks.” (Reclaiming Culture and Creativity from Industry and the UK “Creative Economy” : Towards New Configurations of the Artistic System, DOXA, Yuk Hui and Ashley Wong, 2010)

 

I would like to add some nice pictures to this blog today but I don’t have time. It should probably be added that whilst it might seem that I don’t appreciate Design or see any merit in it the truth is definitely contrary to this view. There is a lot to be learned from design practice and it is highly valuable to society. I thought that I should add that for reasons of clarity.

Weights on my mind

Aegina Island is intense. Not because it is so ludicrously bombastic or visually offensive, actually it seems quite the opposite. It is for the simple reason that we are here to work and work we shall that I find myself compelled to confess that I am utterly fatigued by our drive and the hours that we have to put in to get the most of our time here. As per usual this means early starts and late finishes, working through the heat of the Mediterranean sun and against the slow momentum that is the drawl of everyday native life.

Now I really appreciate the stresses of taking ones time, and I mean really taking ones sweet time about getting things done, I understand that life is to be enjoyed and every minute belongs to the individual. But then it seems as though the Aegineans, and actually the Greeks at large, seem to have the attitude that taking time is fine, things will get done, and its not worth over over exerting to get it done quicker. I feel as though the English have a very different mentality, that which is that one should get things done as fast as possible and to the highest possible quality because we can relax only once we have got things out of the way. I suppose that both mentalities have problems. The English are crap at relaxing and the Greeks appear comparatively lazy. But then these are very different climates, things must take different times because the bearable working hours are different. However I feel as though this ought to be reflected in the economy, it should be shifted to suit the local customs, the local rate of production. Whilst the economy ought to reflect the values of the lifestyle, it clearly doesn’t. It is very expensive to buy food here and the cost of buying even local goods is quite high. Compared to the wages, the average income, the rate of production, the likely working hours that suit the environment, this economy is actually just wrong. As it stands it doesn’t seem as though there is much chance of this changing, the people who own the businesses and who regulate trade within the country are of course not only not Greek but are also categorically capitalist. Being capitalist does not mean that one is simply out to earn a living but it outlines a particular ideology which doesn’t singularly base itself on exchange but is inexplicably cabled in with exploitation. In terms of business it means exploiting the producer and the consumer whilst maximizing the profit margin of the middleman (the sales person).  Of course this means that whilst any economy is supposed to be self-interested, the self-interest propounded by a-national businesses, taking the money out of local economies, beyond borders, and without concern for local prices, results in the collapse of balanced local economies. Independent businesses must buy their goods from somewhere and this isn’t going to be from independent farmers, or at least this is unlikely to be the case. Instead independent businesses also buy their goods from the major international corporations. Of course the cost of goods is also controlled by the larger companies who would rather reduce the profit margins of other business as much as possible than lose out on profit at their own end of things.

Of course there is also inflation, which makes the problem with the Greek economy difficult, this is a result of a devalued currency due to an increase in the amount of circulating money. A devalued currency means higher prices. The problem is that Greece is having to loan a lot of money to pay its debts that it has accrued through what can only really be called bad management. Bad management that has led to unrewarding projects, poor investments, and general wastage of allowances. The country is in severe debt which has left the people in a situation where a lot of public sector jobs cannot be sustained. These people are losing their jobs and there is no new jobs being created, the lack of jobs means there is a big drop in the amount of money flowing around for people. Businesses are affected and businesses fail, reduced incomes for businesses means companies must downsize, more unemployment. The cost of everything goes up, the demand for work rises but there isn’t the money to pay people because the cost of space and resources to make a business function have also risen. How will people by food and pay rent? They can’t.

So people must turn not to the government, although that must also change its policies dramatically, but instead the people have to turn to themselves to create opportunities for themselves. With a prediction that 25% of the population will be unemployed by 2012, the situation is grime.  Whilst it is playing on a popular idealist theme of self-sustainability, the Greeks must nurture their own enterprises not to create great capital but to simply survive.

This music from London is great, I heard it and it lifted my mood up.

It is promoted on this website: http://chordpunch.com/