It’s been a hugely long time since I’ve posted here mainly because I was using Win 98 and firefox 2.0 and I just couldn’t get in. Now I’ve completely updated everything with Ubuntu as an operating system and it uses Firefox 3.4 or something so I’ve been able to get back into this site.
I’m still not quite up to speed and the overall reason for that is that I haven’t been doing instruments and music, well I have been doing music, but not of the type reported here but have been doing art and building little bach’s and while that has needed some form of recording I’m still not completely up to speed with my peripherals and the various interconnections between those and the internet sites I used to make it all come together seamlessly in this site… sorry for not being so incredibly competent!
But the restart of Vitamin S is imminent for the year 2011 and I can feel a growin’ need to get back in with that close knit bunch of sound exploration mavericks and do some playtime with noise!
My first foray into sound sculpture, which lasted about a year and a half, was mainly about me doing stuff at home in the workshops, using the abilities I had with instrument makin’ and electronics, to make things I could use at Vitamin S… without much, or any, consideration of Vitamin S or where it could lead to. I was just basically into makin things and then having Vitamin S and the Wine Cellar as a venue to see if the things nI made worked.
Now that I’ve had a fair amount of time away from “the scene”, in it’s entirety including my own makin’ of instruments, and been into the art making in different vein, more purely sculptural, I’m at a stage now where I think Vitamin S can offer me something interesting again. What has significant effect on this is that I’ve rebuilt my workshop existence somewhat, by adding a drawing and painting “office” and also adding fibreglass, as a usable construction mode, and also rebuilding my place to sleep with the whole bunch of changes culminating in a need to move my electronics department into a smaller space and therefore review how and why I use it.
My last foray was about me trying to keep up with the experts. To try and develop my skills, in instrument making and electronics, audio, so that I could get into the playing field used and frequented by the big boys. But along the way my wise old friend Felix Delux, of Raglan, got into electronics to expand his own musical universe and his down home improvisational and laterally, but logical, experiments in acheiving things with the minimum of knowledge and previous experience in the field of electronics have had a major effect on me in the sense that the proscribed way of doing things isn’t always the best way.
Thats not to say that my own previous attempts were wrong. They weren’t. In the long run is all very much like carving with wood. You use one set of tools to rough things out and then stand back, figure out where you’re going, and then leap back in a go at it with another set of tools more finely tuned to where you want to go.
In trying to do things the complex and professional way I learnt a lot about the building blocks of electronics but now I’m at a stage where those skills are more like a set of tools than they are and end in themselves and I think I’m ready for the second stage of my foray into sound making and being more able to par down those electronics abilities as a sideline to a more focused view on sound making and performance in line with what really interests me which is story telling.
As I’ve gotten older I haven’t ever really changed my original loves in creativity but I have gone through stages of expansion, potential and action, and then into review and subsequent discarding and paring down to essentials before jumpin back into particular veins of expression while at the same time becoming more aware of all these different set of action slowly melding together as a set of tools that will be my mature form of story telling. Everything, overtime, has come under that hat, storytelling.
The sculptures, the painting and drawing, the working with sound, and the buildings and landscaping, and , I suppose, the written word as well, are all a bunch of skills and abilities that are slowly forming into an archive of tools that seem to be under that great umbrella of wanting to be able to tell a story. What that story is I’m not altogether sure or even if that question is even relevant. What does seem relevant though is that the trying to climb this particular mountain seems a fair and reasonable thing to do even if the summit I’m yearning for is still lost in the mists above me.
Over the past two days I’ve watched Hamish Keith’s DVD “the big picture” and a very good DVD “the comics show”( which is a doco made by Shirley Horrocks about NZ comics) and while the first left me enthusiastic about NZ art I was somewhat bemused about how I actually fit what is already understood about NZ art but in watching “the comics show” I not only saw quite a few people I either knew or admired, or know admire, but got a much more significant feeling that I am a part of an art field, or accepted genre, even if my own comical attempts are insignificant beside these actual publishers of text and picture.
It was, in the comics show, more the attitudes and the childhood significant happenings of the comics creators, away from fine art, that I felt a kinship too. And also the associations with music and film, as well as straight out illustration, as industries of story telling that are existing in the world within commercial and entirely pragmatic constraints and how the New Zealand self published comics has gone from strength to strength driven by a love of the medium, by it’s creators, and been able to survive and flourish against all the odds created by commercial realities.
This has so much more to offer me than any insiders guide to Fine Art, even if Hamish Keiths effort is as non smarmy and egalitarian as fine arts is ever going to get, it’s not a world that means much to me, or ever will really, simply because it’s existence, though of usefulness to me, has nothing to do with what world I existed in as a child. Whereas comics, film and popular music had a profound effect on me when I was growing up, the mediums were able to do things that transported me into inner worlds, worlds of discovery and adventure that filled me with wonder and expectation, and hope, of world that would acknowledge me and want me to dig deep and be something useful.
Fine art was never there in my youth, and if it even was, it never moved me enough to allow me those forays into imagination that were my lifeblood, the food of the mind that fed and nourished my growing awareness of the potentials of life. Fine art was just this foreign thing that had something that whispered but was unheard amongst the shouts of popular culture.
Quite Funny then how in my Adult life that fine arts is my industry of choice. And that with such reminders as the comics show I know that I am an interloper in that chosen field. I am a secret agent on the side of the hoi polloi who’s task is to derarify the high arts and bring it’s significance to a wider audience.
So much of high art is without substance, or if it has any it’s ephemeral qualities render it breathable by only a few, a poison to some, and merely emptiness to most, whereas popular culture has a wide and deep foundation in creative skill that it seem to me that a melding of the two is a necessity. To explain why it might be necesary to me to meld those two is not something I fully understand yet but on the surface the most readily available answer might be that the emulsifier required to mix the oil and water of fine art and popular culture respectively is a chemistry of sociology that is a challenge to my Mad Professor archetype that alike a Robin Hood style archetype wants to address the problematic nature of modern life and make something more suitable to humanity.
And then a melding of such as I’ve put forth is a great challenge to embark upon. One, for purely selfish reasons, to create a buying public that supports me in all my adventures with stuff, but also altruistically and with what I hope is an enlightened self interest, that such a melding of divisions, created in the past by ideas of class and race in this lead up to a post industrial society, are a necessary development if we, the human race, are to grow into all that we can be by finding the underlying similarities we all share and not by the division by surface recognition that is so prevalent in this age of man we are in at the moment.
This is by Moebius; french comic book artist. Check him out!