Tuesday, July 14

Oblique strategy


"In music, the burden is the drone or base in some musical instruments, and the pipe or part that plays it, such as a bagpipe or pedal point in an organ. Hence, the burden of song is that part repeated at the end of each stanza; i.e. the chorus or refrain. The term comes from the French bourdon, a staff or a pipe made in the form of a staff, imitating the gross murmurs of bees or drones."

Friday, July 10

retrorsum volantem

"Today the painter of space must, in fact, go into space to paint, but he must go there without trickery or deception, and not in an airplane, nor by parachute, nor in a rocket: he must go there on his own strength, using an autonomous, individual force; in short, he must be capable of levitation...Let's be honest, in order to paint space, I must put myself on the spot, in space itself."
Overcoming the Problematics of Art, 1959
"'Gravitropism' means growth in response to gravity...Gravity is the weakest known force, but is the most evident in our everyday life."
Against Gravitropism: Art and the Joys of Levitation, 2008

Tuesday, July 7

Search for a white whale

"Neurologist Oliver Sacks posits that human affinity for rhythm is fundamental, so much that a person's sense of rhythm cannot be lost in the way that music and language can (e.g. by stroke). In addition, he states that chimpanzees and other animals show no similar appreciation for rhythm."

A translation in one of the truest forms, as one fan's homage. I stumbled across a site of tablatures of drum tracks today, not a formal set of instructions from an authority but a forum where fans could post their own readings of what someone like John Bonham was playing during his solo for "Moby Dick." The written scores don't follow an exact formula (sometimes all the drums are shown, sometimes not; sometimes each drums part is a separate section of the score, etc.) Each tablature shows a real dedication and care for the original piece, so much so that the fan felt the need to write it out to share it with other fans, to allow them to re-enact the performance that they felt such an affinity to. When translating work, there is usually a concern regarding whether to preserve the spirit of the piece that its native language conveys or whether to take the original verbatim into its next form. That is from language to language. What if the responsibility is to take the piece from experience to text?

ps I read a related (in my mind, at least) piece regarding the translation of the first "psychological" Russian novel here, which does a very nice job indeed in expressing the problems faced by the translator.

pps This transcription of "Whole Lotta Love" shows a dedication the probably required a lot of viewing of "The Song Remains The Same" and "a ton of weed."

Saturday, July 4

Happy fourth


If you consider the likelihood of meeting someone who becomes a close, dear friend, it is something you could never anticipate. When I relocated to California, I had an idea of how my life would be: I would be in a committed relationship and have a job like the one I had in NYC. The reality that unfolded was that I met three unlikely friends that I'll probably be close to forever and I remembered what the direction of my life was going to be. I would never have thought that the outcome would be this. But then again, if you are open to the fact that this can happen, you never know.
This is from a past program, but it seems timely considering how many times I've moved in the past few years and all the people I've met. An episode of This American Life from February 13 that looks at the probability of meeting someone and the unlikely situations that bring people together. The episode looks at the cases of an American who pursues a lost love by singing Chinese Opera, two transgendered 8-year-olds who meet at a conference and a monologue on a boyfriend's girlfriend's boyfriend.