Less as More
My work, my art, noise, volume and music. One thing leads to another. This article in the New Yorker came to my attention and it is about music, sort of about my art, and about noise as metaphor. The article is pretty straight forward concerning noise not as metaphor, too. The film inside the story is not about noise per se, unless noise is metaphor. (well, it is)
Everything today seems geared towards: more is better. Which, if you think about it, is sort of this pillar of capitalism, and I do resist all this. I learned in Duane’s sound engineering course that louder seems better to us– then to be careful about that misconception. That’s our human condition– that louder is better (a concept that can sadly translate to profit). More always seems better it seems as we interpret input.
What if we just picture it this way: more sugar, more noise, more volume, more money, more news, more opinions, more friends: more of everything will seem better to us. It will seem better. If a little coffee seems good, wouldn’t five cups seem better than just one? So this is it, that I spent a lot of time thinking about input, whether it is through the ears or eyes. How does the mind process input? In what way does the human mind take data, and input and then translate it into something has an assigned value to us. I am suggesting to myself, or asking, if I take what seems like containers– for example songs or sounds or my works of art– and reimagine those as granules that form a larger whole(?), then what looks the most valuable to me? Probably, the louder grains would stand out the most.
Do I just want even the soft sounds to be louder? My hurdy-gurdy has four strings. If I record each separately so as to reduce noises, is that still a primal desire for loudness, or am I caught up in something here that is not good at all? Is upping the volume analogous to a power grab? I’ll do a minimalist play that I wrote next week— two people, one chair and one light. I also take part in sweet, soft musical conversation between trombone and bass clarinet. I am also doing a sound piece where the strings sounding far off and whispery…. I can end this now but my point is to ask if less can be more. One of the ideas in intermedia, I think, is to reverse effects. Another is to superimpose metaphor. Another is to play off “mistakes” and weave those into a meaningful discussion. Last week a few of us in our class had the great joy of hearing Silence (actually entitled 4’33” composed in 1952 by John Cage) as performed by our fellow MFA candidate Steve Norton.
This moment writing is my way of contemplating less as more.
… the album’s extremes are so varied and unexpected.
Some of the songs are riotous and merciless
suggesting the experience of being perforated alive.
a quote from an article in the New Yorker magazine about noise
the article in above blue is by the writer Hua Hsu July, 2015