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_panegyric_

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...stupid indie rockers...! [04 Oct 2006|06:51pm]
"It is interesting that while rock regularly chastises pop music for its over-commodification of musical culture (Backstreet Boys lunch-boxes, anyone?), rock is less concerned with its own forms of consumption, focusing instead on the conditions of aesthetic and industrial production within rock. (Rock consumers are scrutinised less frequently - and less critically - than are rock musicians and rock companies.) Mass commodity consumption no longer seems incompatible with rock because rock's critique of the alienation and complicity implicit in that consumption is reworked as a critique of the means of musical production.

For example, indie rock's valorization of non-major label productions, and of the act of purchasing music directly from bands themselves at gigs, misses the fact that indie and mainstream musical consumption are both part of consumer capitalism, different only in the degree of their complicity. Indie rock is defined by its concern for the scale of consumer capitalism, rather than by its radical rejection of an economic system. This concern with reduced scale may also be glimpsed in indie culture's investment in the miniature: in boutique record stores, 45rpm singles, small runs of home-made cassettes, or the reverent recreation of miniature models of past eras or albums.

For all of rock culture's polemical concern with rejecting the trivial aspects of mass culture, and with 'correcting' the mistakes of mass taste, rock nonetheless possesses an equally important populism. Indeed, it is likely to see mass success as the birthright of those who deserve it. Rock culture embraces authentic success as a validation of artistic quality. For example, while some devout fans of obscure indie or alternative bands might deny their neglected heroes access to a wider audience, the majority would cheer their favourite little band onward and upward, recruiting new listeners, cursing the narrow-mindedness of MTV or BBC radio for ignoring such high-quality music, and then celebrating the band's eventual breakthrough as a kind of 'justice at last'. Though they might turn against the group if it seemed that either the new, mass audience liked them for the 'wrong' reasons (failing truly to appreciate the band as its initial connoisseurs had), or that the band itself appeared to change, losing touch with its core constituency through its pandering to the crowds of the 'big time', most rock fans would want at least some popular success for their favourite performers. Indeed, they would view that success as a vindication of their own, individual, superior taste."

- Keir Keightley, from "Reconsidering Rock", 2000
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...social production... [23 Sep 2006|05:34pm]
"It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness." - Karl Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy , 1859

"Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past." - Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon , 1852
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...Control Group 9... [22 Sep 2006|10:14pm]

On now until October 6, 2006 in the ArtLab Gallery. Featuring the work of Blair Fornwald, Dagmara Genda, Kathryn Immonen, Stephen Lavigne, Derek Liddington, and Todd Tremeer. With essays by Leanne Carroll, Sian Evans, and Jen Kennedy.
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...rock joke part ii... [12 Sep 2006|01:20pm]
...how many punks does it take to screw in a lightbulb?...

...one to hold the ladder, one to turn the bulb, and fifty on the guest list...
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...presents that come to your door in a vase... [03 Sep 2006|11:26am]
...sent from a far off place...

...in the right colours...

...are worth a polaroid...

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artists making fun of other artists is funny... [31 Aug 2006|08:13pm]

Charles Thomson, Sir Nicholas Serota Makes an Acquisitions Decision, 2000


So you can say whatever about Charles Thomson just being jealous and bitter over Tracey Emin's success, but this painting is just plain funny. Thomson's spent most of the past few years promoting 'Stuckism': "a radical and controversial art group co-founded in 1999 by Thomson and Billy Childish. The name was derived by Thomson from an insult to Childish from his ex-girlfriend Tracey Emin, who had told him that his art was 'stuck'. Stuckists are pro-contemporary figurative painting with ideas and anti-conceptual art, mainly because of its poverty of concepts. They have regularly demonstrated dressed as clowns against the Turner Prize."
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...Masterson's Monstrosities... [25 Aug 2006|09:53pm]

Conan Masterson, installation detail from Kaleidoscopic, 2006


Sculptor Conan Masterson constucts what she defines as "a bizarre unseen carnival" (or spectacle) in her latest installation project, Kaleidoscopic. Masterson's hairy hallway tickles your arms and sends shivers down your spine. As you enter the main space you find yourself confronted by soft, white, hovering sculptural forms in a darkly lit, glowing gallery space. She has effectively transformed the gallery into a kind of spectral antechamber leading on to an ethereal unknown...from the real to the unreal. Creepy. Seductively creepy. Yet eerily meditative.

Further DetailCollapse )
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...henceforth... [22 Aug 2006|05:11pm]
...I would prefer to be addressed as MASTER _panegyric_...
(...and in four years you can call me DR. _panegyric_...)
...long sigh of relief...
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...the ig... [04 Aug 2006|11:46am]

This is Tomorrow, exhibition posters designed by Theo Crosby and Richard Matthews, 1956


In August of 1956, an exhibition titled, This is Tomorrow opened at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, featuring the work of Independent Group (IG) members such as Reyner Banham, Richard Hamilton, Eduardo Paolozzi, and William Turnbull. The exhibition included artists, architects and graphic designers working together in teams to create a wide range of installations in an example of multi-disciplinary collaboration that was unusual at the time. Each group took as their starting point the human senses and the theme of habitation. In what has been described as its playful displays, dependence on recognizable, mass-produced visual representations, and its recruitment of a wider cultural audience, This is Tomorrow “challenged the exclusivity of the dominant ways of regarding art, and opened an avenue for a more democratic analysis of art and cultural criticism.” Ignoring critical theoretical readings, and denying any aesthetic or political principles, the members of the IG – brought together by their common interests and involvements in the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London – embraced American popular culture with the ardor of consumers, choosing to declare solidarity with the extensive and dynamic representations that they were familiar with as a generation. And so Pop Art Phase I began...
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[27 Jul 2006|04:21pm]
"There’s something not as valid when the scenery’s a postcard/ and the view from the glass is just the glass upon the finish...the view from in the city/ isn’t scenery at all but it gets a hold of you like a bad record"

The Faint, from There's Something Not as Valid When the Scenery's a Postcard, 1998

"Though separated from his product, man is more and more, and ever more powerfully, the producer of every detail of his world. The closer his life comes to being his own creation, the more drastically is he cut off from that life."

Guy Debord, from The Society of the Spectacle, 1957


There is something unfortunately familiar about imagining yourself standing behind a glass wall, looking out at a world seemingly beyond your control. Stuck behind the glass, you are exposed to a postcard image of a spectacular world, where economic forces seem to have stretched their hands into every crevice. At once a part of the image and cut off from it, it seems as though you are deliberately being kept from manipulating the scenery. As you stand there, you begin to ponder how, with one swift motion of your fist, you could shatter the illusory wall into pieces in the manner of a Situationist...or a rocker.
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...my favorite beat... [19 Jul 2006|04:26pm]
...wore black and waved red scarves...


"There was a new focus, with sights raised to a new visionary world view, a cosmic view really, for the spirit of 'sixty-eight around the world wasn't just the tired old Marxist rhetoric warmed over, nor just the old anarchist ideals. It was the first articulation, the first bursting forth of a new vision of earth, of man and woman. It was a new consciousness, or an ancient consciousness rediscovered."
- Lawrence Ferlinghetti, from Love in the Days of Rage, 1988
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...velvet pop... [17 Jul 2006|01:41pm]

Andy Warhol, Red Elvis, 1965


1950’s and 1960’s pop artists accepted the role their artworks played as commodities. Both the early and later Pop artists understood the interrelatedness of modernism and mass culture, and perceived a dependence between the two in their capitalist situation. In his article, “Pop – An Art of Consumption?”, Jean Baudrillard writes that “it is logical for an art that does not oppose the world of objects but explores its system, to enter itself into the system.” For Baudrillard, the success of pop art was in its ability to expose how an object moves from the level of the commonplace to the level of sublime once it is no longer useful as an object, but only as a sign. Pop artists presupposed that cultural images function as signs in a field of communication, and that these signs hold significant social meanings. They utilized as their materials, things that already existed as signs – photographs, brand-name goods, comics; things familiar to the viewer before they witness what the artist does with them. For the members of the IG and for the 1960’s Pop artists, authenticity, originality, and aesthetic autonomy were less important than the image perceived by viewers/ consumers. This is summed up well in the Velvet Underground song, All Tomorrow’s Parties, in which Lou Reed asks, “What costume shall the poor girl wear to all tomorrow's parties?”

For Warhol, Nico and Reed quickly came to personify many of the aesthetic qualities that dominated his own work, representing “the living parallel to Warhol’s pop canvases: they were enigmatically sexual and glamorous, yet simultaneously, they were distant and aloof.” In 1967, the same year that Blake and Cooper arranged the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Warhol designed the cover for the Velvet’s first album; a bright yellow paper banana that peeled away to reveal a purple-toned ‘pop banana’. The Velvets had become a major presence in Warhol’s films, books, and performances, even touring with him across the country and succeeding in attracting an audience base made of up rock & roll fans, avant-garde film fans, pop artists, filmmakers, and pop culture enthusiasts. Warhol intentionally transformed the members of the Velvet Underground into local pop icons. Warhol exposed the myth of ‘real’ art’s claim at being non-commercial and transcendental of the capitalist market, by exploiting it.
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see...it's not superficial... [08 Jul 2006|02:57pm]
...it's visual culture...

Little _panegyric_ recently finished reading Saul Bellow's Ravelstein, which was only so-so due to it's massively pretentious writing style, and self-indulgent meanderings. Nonetheless, there were two short passages that absolutely drove me wild with excitement in their simple truth and honesty, and which point to the extent that our contemporary culture relies on the visual:

"Ravelstein had come to agree that it was important to note how people looked. Their ideas are not enough - their theoretical convictions and poltical views. If you don't take into account their haircuts, the hang of their pants, their taste in skirts and blouses, their style of driving a car or eating a dinner, your knowledge is incomplete."

...and...

"I was dissociating myself from the view that you destroyed an entire world when you destroyed yourself. As if I would destroy a world - I who lived to see the phenomena, who believe that the heart of things is shown in the surface of those things."

...o that I might always note the surface of things...
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Bowery's Word on Fashion... [01 Jul 2006|04:23pm]

Performance artist, Leigh Bowery designed and constructed almost all of his own clothes after moving to London in the 1980's. Bowery felt an overwhelming need to simply "look as best as I can through my means of individuality and expressiveness". For Bowery, the clothing that was in mass taste at the time, was "strictly the opposite" to those in his own interest and in order to express his own character as well as to suit his club-going lifestyle, Bowery made hundreds of clothes as well as entire fashion ensembles which included accessories, shoes, and cosmetics until his death in 1994. His off-beat and outrageous designs would often completely transform his physical shape and form. He wanted to reflect the idea that "transformation gives courage and vigor by reducing the absurdity...you can do anything dressed like this!" Bowery insisted on detaching himself from mainstream society and engaging in a subculture involving night clubbing and socializing which became his daily life. Even while working more conventional jobs within various areas of the London fashion industry, Bowery continued to proceed with his daily tasks dressed in his own designs. Bowery took inspiration from every aspect of his daily life, for instance, one ensemble "was inspired by home improvements": Bowery had, in 1992, decided to buy a new toilet seat since his old one was broken. He had fitted the new seat and was wandering around his London flat wearing the old one around his neck, using it as a necklace, but the simple accessory gradually grew into a full-bodied 'look' in which he attached the toilet seat to a plastic halter-top and painted his face the same colour of the lid. Bowery's interests in "a jarring aesthetic and the tension between contradictions - the idea that something can be frightening and heroic and pathetic all at the same time" was demonstrated in his use of fashion in his own life. He situated his fashion/perfornace pieces within his own everyday existence in order to merge his strange theories into practice, and to fuse the artistic and philosophical act of reflection into the realmn of the ordinary.
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...everthing counts... [19 Jun 2006|12:30am]
Take the quiz:
Which Depeche Mode album are you?

Speak and Spell
You're Depeche Mode's first album, you love the newly invented synthesizer and your songs are written by Vince Clarke!
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...secularism... [14 Jun 2006|06:21pm]
"I don't pray. Kneeling bags my nylons."

- Jan Sterling (as Lorraine Minosa) in The Big Carnival, 1951

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...of course it is... [06 Jun 2006|02:27pm]

6/6/6 is...NATIONAL DAY OF SLAYER

...don't go to work...listen to slayer...
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...today is like a prison... [03 Jun 2006|03:56pm]
"At best, daily life, like art, is revolutionary. At worst it is a prison-house."
- Paul Willis, 1977

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Libraries... [30 May 2006|02:49pm]
...are not so much for reading...as they are for crying...


KK Kozik, Cat's Eye, 2005
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...alive & kicking... [24 May 2006|09:02pm]
"The things we love, it seems, are always dying"


Is Rock Dead? by Kevin J.H. Dettmar, published by Routledge, 2006

I've finally found it: a contemporary book about rock & roll that lays to rest, once and for all, the stupidest quetion ever asked in academic scholarship about popular music. This book does not attempt to investigate whether or not rock really is dead per se, but critically follows the proclamations of such from both academic and journalistic writing on the subject to the rock-music narratives that, themselves, wrestle with the end of rock & roll. Is Rock Dead? explores some suggestive examples of attempts to contain the rock & roll corpse, as well as rock's sometimes ingenious responses as it seeks to remain a vital imaginative resource for our culture. Dettmar adopts a particularly brilliant style of writing that is accessible, personal, and passionate while at the same time maintaining a hard-hitting approach to his analysis. This is one of only very few scholarly texts I have actually read from cover to cover...with sustained interest. Psssst...the piecederesistance conclusion reads that, "insistence on its own morbidity is rock & roll's 'strange necessity'"...smooch.

"The death of rock is experienced by the fan as the collapse of the various forms of rock (metal, rap, alternative, punk) into the vast, undifferentiated no-man's-land of 'pop': pop is the place old rock goes to die, a kind of sanitarium for rock & roll that's lost its edge, drive, and power."
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