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Panem et Circenses
Thank you for your very interesting analysis and contents that have always been among my personal concerns and constant topic of action and reflection. I won’t leave a long comment here, as I would be repeating myself again and again. I will link to a few texts below which will offer a few (hopefully) pertinent comments to some of the concerns you expressed, for whoever will wish to spend time reading more. I want to point out though that in my opinion the main focus of this discussion should be a political one.
The exclusiveness of the “avant-garde”
Its indifference to the real situation in the world today
Its individualistic outlook and not least its class character
Collective creative work and experience stands against what is being promoted on all fronts as the "me" culture, where the issue, for example, becomes that art has importance because it expresses "my" life, "I" did this first, or it gratifies "me" and yes this is happening all over the spectrum and genres of creative music itself. This can only contribute to the general crisis of society. The question then arises, as it does in an acute form at the moment, as to what is the role of art, music and other forms of culture and creative thinking in a strongly needed political renewal. Generally speaking, that question has to embody those emotions and aspirations consistent with this renewal.
The very notion that there is a society, that people exist as human beings within this society and as collectives with their own existence, is being taken away, is being negated. To demand that society shoulder its responsibility is being even portrayed as extremism and that we should be “moderate”. When once I dared suggesting that Provincial and Federal funding to Canadian orchestras should be strongly reduced in favour of younger, fresher energies I was told I was “subversive” (sic). We need art orientated towards the people's concerns, not to the concerns of those who look for geniuses and stars. The social forms where the people on a mass scale are drawn into art making, with professionals serving and working with amateurs, will take shape if we are able to redefine functions. How there can be mass participation, direct participation, in the art making. What is the art of the future? This is one of the most exciting questions, this vision of the music/art of the future. To envision the art of the future, one needs to begin to envision also the society of the future and begin to push for that now. Meanwhile, everybody gets on with making the art they feel passionate about, with this perspective. And BTW why so much need for “free form” “free improvisation”, aren’t we already free? Can we become freer? Freer than Jazz…??
What are the conditions of performance, of social form, that will ensure creativity has a future?
The question "For whom?" now, when an acute problem is posed about the political renewal of society, and the role of culture in this, has to be answered in a nutshell by saying that the modern culture has to be based on humanity and on inviolable rights; a culture serving modern political requirements and serving the development of the productive forces. We need to foster a trusting environment versus a fearful one. Dialogue versus monologue in spite of the current trend (and possibly one we are going to face for a few years according to this recent exemplary specimen of propaganda: http://giorgiomagnanensi.com/events-news/item/538-waiting-for-the-barbarians).
As you, I know that Vancouver is full of amazing creative energy and resources whose potential is still greatly unexplored. The inability of the local creative community to coagulate around a common “political” program though clearly reveals the inadequacy of our communications and dialogues. Still, I have hopes and visions. This is the reason why I would support and vigorously encourage any opportunity for a local movement, which would allow a better and consistent discourse around these issues; this is the reason why I instigated and will continue to instigate creativity through the initiation of community ensembles such as the Vancouver Electronic Ensemble (VEE), and through workshops and activities to foster the energy that we all know but that not too many are yet willing to acknowledge or fully embrace. Too young, not established, not too many prizes or CDs yet?...
Art and creativityare a behavior and a vehicle for group meaning. While they both seem often irrelevant to most people lives they are actually a fundamental need because they involve making things special, taking care, making community. Reality is that in this city (and not only here) we don't have many spaces for people to exercise creative powers. Our models of art and creativity are not about participation in a social order: our models seem instead a way to escape from it.
[ panem et circenses, (…again) - the Canucks versus the power of imagination,
too bad we realize that when we don’t sell enough tickets to our circenses ]
Too close, self-centered, distant.
We have become so individualized and conditioned to experience ourselves as separate, we have an actual fear of community, unless our beloved team wins, no matter what.
Real beauty (beyond any aesthetic meaning or demagogic definition) is an activity rather than an entity. We need to foster dialogue/collaborative works/interconnectedness to make possible the creation of renewed creative/artistic knowledge. I believe that artistic intellect and knowledge live and grow inside artistic practices. They are in fact more inside the process of making art than in a final object or artifact, and these autonomous zones already exist. This knowledge embodies the attempt to articulate the different ways in which creative process unveil itself: composing, writing, interpreting, playing, listening and interacting. We all know we could find a common ground for that to happen, but whenever I found myself around a table I hardly found anyone ready to finally agree on even a few common goals which could foster a real action. If we want to see real change it seems to me we are left with radical options, either a common ground and a real movement, or Hakim Bey’s autonomous zones.