Too Much Failure Around Here
Inspired by Gary Wicker's tribute to his "failed" old school techno group x-eleven, Paul Slocum of Tree Wave pulled out his tapes of techno music he made in the '90s and posted some tracks here. The following excerpt from "v tide" is one of my favorite bits from the page: [mp3 removed]. Slocum thinks it's "standard minimal house" but not everyone can make a good track. I give it an "A" for the vocal physics (minced Diana Ross) and the organ stab that kind of drops out in the middle like a sampler memory error even though it probably isn't. This is pretty sublime music, and people need to stop talking about stuff being failed. Slightly off topic, Chris Ashley recently shrank a perfectly good, Stephen Westfall-ish HTML drawing with non-contiguous linear elements because he said it was failed and that's just ridiculous. Below: one of Ashley's HTML compositions installed in a virtual gallery.
The "failure" I spoke of was more in an inquisitive sense than a sad sack sense. ;o) I hope it didn't come off as the latter. hehe. I was touching at my ongoing struggle with what success and failure really are in music and art, and what the value of exposure is. I really do like a lot of the music I posted, it just never had any exposure. Since the 90's when I did that stuff I have a much better handle on what success is to me, and Iím slow to seriously call anything a failure if the person doing it is having fun, is passionate about what they do, and is striving for originality and betterment. But balancing exposure/fun/ self-satisfaction/stress is still such a fucking struggle! Maybe I need some yoga or something. :o)
I don't think anyone's using it in the sad sack sense (mostly I think as an ironic shield) but there is that constant tension between public failure, and failure in the private (or as George Bush would say, personal) realm. To quote the philosopher Warhol, "just when you stop wanting something you get it" and there does seem to be a high incidence of bodies of work or careers being abandoned in disgust that are later embraced by an insanely devoted public. The flip side is the art world is topheavy with people who "need to be successful" for fucked up psychological reasons and thus push and sleep their way to stardom all the while having a demonstrable, open, and notorious lack of talent.
If I may quote myself here, "I believe we love failure because it makes the world a more interesting and beautiful place." Peel back the veneer of any "success" and you're likely to reveal the many, many "failures" that preceded it. This is true across the whole spectrum of human endeavor: business, art, love, you name it. I simply reject any negative connotations associated with the verb "to fail", at least as it applies to anything that I do.
I'll second what Gary said: "Peel back the veneer of any "success" and you're likely to reveal the many, many "failures" that preceded it." Everyday I try to present something that is "successful." But there are a lot of what I consider failures- things that didn't work out, things I didn't know or couldn't decide to what to do next with- and I just thought it might be a little interesting to peek into that, just in case anyone was wondering whether everything I show is born whole and fine, if there was any curiosity about my process. I like works on paper for this reason- sketches, sketchbooks, the dregs of an ouerve that get revealed later, and show how a person worked; I fnd that really interesting..