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Masthead

Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
(e-mail)

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Saturday
Aug302008

In Which We Explain The Parting of the Sensory

Ways of Peeing

by Tavet Gillson

Visual art and technology are entwined in a tumultuous relationship.

Every so often, a technological breakthrough (linear perspective, the camera obscura, the photograph, the computer) revolutionizes the way the world produces and interprets images. These sorts of transformations are sudden and unequivocal: the new way of seeing swallows up the old visual order, forcing artists to adapt to new techniques and conventions.

Take the word “cat,” for example.

“Cat” means roughly the same thing whether it is handwritten, typewritten or on a webpage. But a painting of a cat is different – it doesn’t look the same as a photograph of a cat, and a film of a cat isn’t much like the other two. The meanings of images are rooted in their construction, whereas the meanings of written words are largely unaffected by their means of transmission.

Technology has the power to reinvent vision, and to retroactively alter established art forms. In the mid nineteenth century, the invention of the photograph caused the rapid, simultaneous development of hyper-realistic panting (with flat, high-contrast space) and its blurry, emotive counterpart, impressionism (filled with exaggerated colors and visually ambiguous forms).

The psychological impact of the Daguerreotype catalyzed two opposing, intensely experimental movements in painting, one in which artists sought to infuse painting with photographic truth; another which rejected the exactness of the mechanical image in favor of a deeper investigation into the tactile qualities of oil pigment.

Manet's Olympia

The best uses of technology produce transcendent, uncanny works of art.

In the 1860s, Édouard Manet exploited the party-snapshot voyeurism of high-contrast photography to dramatic effect in his paintings Olympia and Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe.

Fifteen years ago, James Cameron’s Terminator 2 convinced us of the T-1000’s bloodthirsty omnipotence by artfully weaving morphing and reflection mapping (then brand new CG techniques) into a film narrative. We remember these works because they are modern visual dreams, freed from the shackles of traditional perception.

But novelty on its own does not guarantee aesthetic victory. Computers aren’t as paradigm-shattering today as they were ten or fifteen years ago, even though computer technology is always “new” and constantly changing. The day-to-day evolution of technology does not guarantee the aesthetic advancement of art.

A lot of digital artists suffer from short-term memory, and from an attraction to technology rather than to what technology can do for art. Techies aren’t the most culturally shrewd bunch (they love Anime and part their hair down the middle), so most of the digital art on the Internet consists of bizarre, Frazetta/Geiger-influenced illustrations of sci-fi robot women with huge-breasts.

Richard Linklater’s high-tech rotoscoped movies Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly are likewise hindered by a geeky preoccupation with the latest digital toys. Waking Life was praised for its “cutting-edge” use of digital tracing, but the visuals fail to justify a script dripping with pretentious, freshman-year philosophy. In A Scanner Darkly, Linklater goes to great lengths transplanting a generic comic book style onto an already-existing live-action movie.

Less derivative digital art, sometimes called “processing,” is usually too “glitchy” and cold for the average viewer. Shifting grids, abstract 3D shapes and unrecognizably scrambled media clips tend to conjure an atmosphere of disaffected, confused alienation.

Godfrey Reggio’s Naqoyqatsi, one of the more highbrow examples of “digital art,” attempts to make sense of the digital pastiche by cycling through every technologically themed image in existence, no matter how passé or ugly (to the music of Philip Glass, no less). Like a lot of academic art about mass media, Naqoyqatsi falls victim to the schizophrenia it is trying to parse.

Of course there are exceptions – the digital artists Jeremy Blake (who committed suicide in July) and Paul Chan, fuse romantic, mystical imagery with postmodern, high-tech nonlinearity.

Ryan Trecartin’s sprawling experimental film A Family Finds Entertainment uses digital effects and pays homage to postmodern confusion, but maintains a blazing, unified aesthetic throughout.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y5AxLiUqC8]

Not surprisingly, Blake, Chan and Trecartin all have educational backgrounds in traditional media.

Jeremy Blake's girlfriend Theresa Duncan's blog. More about them here.

Visual art is about seeing, and technology has the capacity to deepen our understanding of that complex cognitive process. Technology can create and collapse genres. It can transpose the characteristics of one medium onto another and it can breathe new life into old forms (with the aid of software, graphic designers have distilled Warhol and Rosenquist into an even slicker, more ubiquitous mass-media aesthetic).

The images that stick in our brains are the ones that mean something in the context of our visual history. Now that the DIY digital media boom has slowed, we can bring a bit of experience to bear on our judgment of emerging art. The next time you’re blown away by something that looks brand new, don’t forget Manet’s chalk-white picnic nude, or that wonderful T-rex in Jurassic Park.

Tavet Gillson is an MFA candidate in experimental animation at CalArts. You can see more of his work here.

IF TODAY IS THE SAME AS YESTERDAY TOMORROW WILL BE THE SAME AS TODAY

"Moonshiner" - Cat Power (mp3)

"Calculus Man (alternate mix two)" - Modest Mouse (mp3)

"Sample and Hold (Tumbledore edit)" - Neil Young (mp3)

"Dead Lovers' Twisted Heart" - Daniel Johnston (mp3)

"Talk Show Host (live on the BBC)" - Radiohead (mp3)

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Becca's review of My Kid Could Paint That.

Our love of Tony Romo.

Just the way it pulled apart.

Tuesday
Jul292008

In Which This Recording Is A Memex Made Out of Your Face

An earthquake shakes Molly's keys loose...

a SONATA for p/rep/ared KEYBOARD

BY molly LAMBERT

i AM not TRYING to MAKE this P/URP/OSELY look likE a RANSOM note OR because I’m A STR8 GANGSTA now. my COMP/TUR is BROKEN. I am TAKING this BETCH to THE glendale galleria GENIUS bar right AWAY.

i couldn’t STOP/ myself FROM trying TO blog AND it GOT me THINKING that JOHN cage WOULD be reallY into P/REP/ARED comp/uter KEYBOARDS and THE IDEA of BLOGUEING concrète. i’m SURE there ARe P/OETS who HAVe THOUGHT of THIS vis A vis THE internet. THERE was A dep/artment FOR it AT my SCHOOL. thE HYPERTEXT field IS wide BUT shallow. They HAVE yet TO imp/rove ON p/roject XANADU.

The ON the ROAD typ/ewriter scroll

RIGHT now MOSTLY the CAP/S lock IS turning ON and OFF at WILL and SOMETIMES things COME out AS sp/aces INSTEAD of CHARACTERS. It’s P/RETTY imp/ossible TO tolerate. IMAGINE how FRUSTRATING it WOULD be IF comp/utERS were MORE like HARP/S or ORGANS. LIKE if YOU had TO hold DOWN a SHIFT key NOT just TO cap/italize BUT to WRITE vowels OR YOU HAD to TAP/ some KEYS TWICE and OTHERS three TIMES.

WE think OF typ/ing AS being INTUITIVE AND close TO thinking, LIKE kerouac TYP/ING out the MANUSCRIP/T for ON the ROAD as A scroll, but LANGUAGES are ONLY intuitive ONCE you’ve LEARNED them AND thEY become INTERNALIZED. I remember looking At BILLBOARDS BEFORE I knew HOW to READ. Staring INTO THE incomp/rehensible ICONS known AS letters, willing them TO reveal THEIR meanings TO me.

The SCROLL of KUBLA khan by SAMUEL taylor coleridge

unfamiliar LANGUAGES can BE clunky AND HARD to USE. html IS a LANGUAGE but if I ever started THINKING in IT while NOT BLOGGING I’d want YOU to murk ME.

I was TERRIBLE at LANGUAGES in HIGH school. I took FRENCH instead OF the INFINITELY more USEFUL sp/anish p/arce QUE je SUIS un ABRUTI.

but EVER sincE i learned HOW TO P/LAy GUITAR off ABOUT.COM i AM sup/er COCKy THAT i CAN learn ANYTHING from THE internet. (EXCEP/T how TO fix A comp/uter KEYBOARD ap/p/arently).

John CAGE saddle shoes BY RAY johnson

my CELL p/hone IS broken in A way WHERE i CAN’T read MAYBE a FIFTH of THE screen AND i JUST work AROUND IT. Sometimes I get TEXTS where THE key WORDS are BLACKED (or actually, P/URP/LED) out like “HEY MOLLY i WANT to [........] YOU LATER.”

I AM still WAITING for THEM to INVENT a MACHINE that WILL directly RECORD MY thoughts.

THIS recording DIDN’T invent DIGITAL p/oetry WE just P/ERFECTED it. blogs ARE mostly ASSEMBLAGE anyway.

SAMUEL T. COLERIDGE: faggy GOTH kid

Kerouac wrote ON the ROAD IN an AMP/HETAMINE induced SP/RINT. DID Jack GET the IDEA for A CREATIVITY enhancing drug BINGE from SAM coleridge, WHO wrote KUBLA KHAN and THE rime OF the ANCIENT mariner IN an OP/IUM hazeP?

aaron SORKIN was COOKING his own CRACK when HE wrote THE american P/RESIDENT. I WONDER IF he WATCHES the WIRE. if DICK wolf RAN the WIRE there’D be AN amy WINEHOUSE ep/isode THIS season. I’M only on SEASon ONE so far MYSELF. don’t SNITCH.

John CAGE cooks

The VOYNICH manuscrip/t IS a mysterious illustrated book with incomprehensible contents written between approximately 1450 and 1520 by an unknown author in an unidentified script and language.

BOB coover AND his Electronic LITERATURE Organization would ap/p/rove. i LOVE ELO!!!!!!!!

John CAGE with P/IANO

LINKS TO MAKE YOU smarter WHILE GOOFing off at WORK:

TIMELINE of HYP/ERTEXT technology

great WORKS by TR’s P/ATRON saint JOHN cage

Indeterminacy ONLINE

UBU web IS the HOME of CONCRETE p/oetry ON THE web.

OUTGRAP/O

OULIP/O

ALL the covers OF p/ublished editions OF OTR

P?aul HARTAL

Haptic Poetry

John CAGE comp/osed IN america

Hyp/ertext

HYP/ERCOMICS

Memex

EMERGENCE

OFFICE of The FUTURE

WORLD brain

Symbiotic INTELLIGENCE

situationa/l awareness

Cybernetics

My Life Bits

Life LOG

Dymaxion Chronofile

ATOP/ aN ap/p/le MACBOOK,

yourS truly,

m LAMBERT

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording.

STEFAN HUSSONG PLAYS JOHN CAGE ON THE ACCORDION

download part one here

download part two here

 

P?REVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

P?ictograp/hs ARE Worth A thousand WORDS

Tess HAS got LASER eyes. SHE knows WHAT you’re THINKIN and SHE’S so CURIOUS

Fuzzy F. Baby, P/LEASE say THE baby

JOHN CAGE READS THIS RECORDING IN HEAVEN

 

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