View current page
...more recent posts
This newspaper headline is from March 2004. For the last 18 months or so Digital Media Tree blogger Jim Louis has been compiling a record of the inner-city shootings and mayhem in New Orleans, where he lived for many years. So it came as no surprise to us here at the Tree that this city, which was already a killing field, devolved even further into anarchy when everyone suddenly lost food, shelter, and property. The question is, why didn't the "authorities" know that and prepare for it? Troops and essential supplies should have been available immediately. Instead, all these wingnuts are scratching their heads and saying "I can't believe they're looting!"
Again, this is from before the hurricane:
Thursday, August 11, 2005
• Child, 7, mother gunned down at home
A 7-year-old girl and her mother were killed Wednesday after police said at least one gunman entered their Hollygrove home and shot them both in the head.
Friday, August 12, 2005
• Violence shows no signs of letup
In one slaying, a 22-year-old New Orleans woman was shot in the back while clutching a 2-year-old boy in her arms in Hollygrove. A few hours later, a 30-year-old man was near death in the 9th Ward after being shot multiple times early Thursday. He died later at Charity Hospital.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
• N.O. teen dies in Algiers shooting
A teenager died Thursday after being shot in Algiers, the Orleans Parish coroner's office said.
• N.O. man shot dead on city street
A man was shot and killed Friday about 1 a.m. in Central City, police said.
• Killers are killed, Orleans police say
For the second time in a week, the New Orleans Police Department has closed a murder case by saying that the suspects became murder victims themselves.
This comment on Sally McKay's page I want to pass along as a reality check to the Republican spin of "New Orleans residents didn't heed warnings and/or they deserve their fate." (The current variation on the sliming of Cindy Sheehan by a right desperate to shore up the fading image of their klutzy poster boy.)
my cousin (who's also an artist who was teaching at loyala university before the hurricane) lives(-s +ed) in new orleans. she evacuated to my uncles house in florida just before the hurricane hit. she has since gone back to the bayou, with a generator and other supplies she bought in texas, and headed to her partners parents house which apparently is still standing about an hour outside new orleans. she was telling my mom that this is the third time in a span of a few months they have been told to evacuate. so thinking that nothing too horrible was going to happen, because she was getting so used to the routine, she didn't pack much stuff and thought of it as a visit to my uncles before the new school year. which i think is an important thing that people are leaving out when they're blaming people for not heeding the warnings about getting out. the desire to heed warnings fades with repetition, and repeated costs of fleeing. she was indeed lucky/privledged, because she had the means to leave, and a place to go. she lost only her house and job. (big onlys but given the horrible stories, it's not that much) when i first started hearing about looting, i thought, that's not looting, that's stock that could be put to good use in this emergency. i read tons of knee jerk posts on craigslist new orleans, where people were getting angry at "looters" and saying crap like "i'll help when they stop looting!!" i'm thinking, what is so hard to comprehend? their immediate world is ending, they have nothing. and some media accounts are acting all righteous like it's a greedy capitalism thing. maybe some of it is but really, who cares. the city's decimated, so's the stock. i mean, so what if people are taking things to make their situation more endurable, to survive, to help people. it's such a dumb thing to focus on. i mean, bush, whatever - like we needed more evidence for his idiocy but he keeps providing it. blah.
Kodwo Eshun, excerpt of interview from July 2000:
I was really pleased to find an old essay by Sylvere Lothringer which explained how they wanted people to use Semiotexte books for speculative acceleration. Instead, people started using these texts to prove their moral superiority, saying "You are wrong, you have misunderstood Foucault." They used theory for prestige, to block speculation. That is why so many artists used to resent theory. You would get these lame pieces, somebody trying to apply Heidegger to Parliament-Funkadelic because they had seen the word "ontology" on a cover, instead of taking Parliament to read Heidegger. They always did it the other way round. Theory wasn't being used to pluralize, to see that there was theory everywhere you looked, and everywhere you listened.
When painters paint, they are theorizing immanently in the field of paint. Sonically, when you compose, you are theorizing tonally. That was a key breakthrough. When I wrote my book it did not have to be historical. It could be a sonology of history, it did not have to be contextualization of sound. It could be an audio-social analysis of particular vectors. Sound could become the generative principle, could be cosmo-genetic, generate its own life forms, its own worldview, its own world audition. That's still the key break between my book and most cultural studies analyses. They still have not understood that sonology is generative in and of itself. Like every field is. Every material force can generate its own form.
I was really inspired by the Futurists and Marinetti. For ten years I only read critiques of the Futurists, saying they were fascists. In fact, they were the first media theorists of the twentieth century. They were amazed by X-rays, by artificial light and lamps, out in the street, by new camera's and photography. They just wanted to explore how new technologies broke up the solidity of the organism and involved lines of force. Futurism, supremacism and constructivism were the science-fiction of the first machine age. The fantastic adventures of the early modernists, from Tatlin to Malevich. Machines, media and art thinking were one and the same. Some artists are just extremely good theorists. Still hard to find, this material. Go and look for the essays of El Lissitsky. The same counts for the speculative writings of the photographers Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta-Clark. I realized that Barthes never had an academic degree. And why McLuhan used to structure his ideas with number or the alphabet, not be bored to death by the academic obligation to seriousness.
My thoughts are with the people of New Orleans right now. Such a beautiful city, completely unlike anyplace else in the US. This is a terrible tragedy. Steve Gilliard has been noting the racist spin in the mainstream media--black people "loot" supplies, white people "find" them--I kid you not, look at the captions he found. He also reproduces some coded invective from that smug right wing freak Jonah Goldberg.
ATTN: SUPERDOME RESIDENTS [Jonah Goldberg] I think it's time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you're working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he's not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen. It's never too soon to be prepared.Aside from the fact that it's incoherent, veiled racism and, doesn't make any sense even as ironic fiction (gilled supermen?)--How could anyone say such horrible things at a time like this? Oh, yeah, this is the same guy who has been urging on the Iraq war but begs off that he's too old to fight it, has a son, etc. We should be praying for people in New Orleans, not comparing the city to Mad Max. In addition to being humor-impaired next to the articulate left (with a few notable exceptions such as PJ O'Rourke and, reaching way back, Evelyn Waugh), wingers have no basic empathy, that's why they're so disgusting.
Posting will be slow again. I prefer the PC to Mac--I like that it's the stripped down "people's computer," more use it so more are sharing PC-centric stuff, it's the favorite of the workplace (same advantage--more users and surfers), it has better lo-fi (stupid) imaging programs, less self-consciously design-y graphics, and some of my favorite musical instrument makers are in Europe and they tend to design for PCs over there. The Mac users on the Native Instruments boards, for example, are constantly complaining they can't get things to work. Also, two friends with Mac laptops gripe that their DVD drives suffered mechanical failure within a few months of purchase, so the laptops could have that super-thin, elegant, "pull it out of your bag at Starbucks and log onto your design blog" look.
The downside of PCs running Windows, as we all know, is periodically you have to wipe your entire hard drive and reload the operating system and all your programs and data because lovable doofuses send you nasty bugs to show how smart and wackily malicious they are. That is what just happened to me--first time ever! My sound, picture and vid files are all backed up but lots of programs have to be re-installed. I'm typing this on an older computer pulled out of mothballs that miraculously still talks to the Net.
Daniel aka The Interruptor is offering free VST (virtual instument) plug-ins on his website, mostly echo and tape delay effects to be used for Dub production. The interfaces are really tasty--I can feel the yellow spray paint on the top one and love the whole '60s Day-O look. No, I haven't tried them in my sequencer yet, being somewhat effects-shy because they hog CPU resources. I know, lame. I tend to think of Dub more as a flavor than a genre, and yet marvel that The Wire has a whole page dedicated to reviews of new Dub releases--obviously there's a lot of music I'm missing (this is confess my ignorance day--see earlier posts).
Thanks to Michael Bell-Smith for finding this, and for including my "Guitar Solo" video on his new co-curated delicio.us page of videos called Represent or Die. In RSS form the link feed becomes "the flagship D(elicio.us)TV channel."
Update: I should have explained the last quote better. As Michael mentions in the comments, he is "using del.icio.us as a blogging tool for DTV - a cool new RSS video downloader/reader (in beta). While currently mac only, and still buggy, it's well worth the download, if not for its amazing potential, then to check out Some Pig, a video art channel out of Providence featuring vids by Devin Flynn, Paper Rad (P-UNIT Mixtape) and others."
Paul Slocum announces the completion of the first release version of his Cynthcart, a program that turns the vintage Commodore 64 computer into a synthesizer (with a piano keyboard overlay covering your QWERTY keyboard). The cartridge, which also generates lo-fi psychedelic graphics, is available for purchase at the Atariage store.
The music made with the Cynthcart sounds great from the .mp3s; the SID chip's characteristic nasal sawtooth sound is unmistakable, and I like the third track, where Slocum has spliced it with scrambled vocal bits--also the fourth, which is a full blown song with rhythm programming. I know the chip a bit from working with Elektron's Sidstation synth, and yes, I'm a consumerist techphobic weenie for using a current piece of hardware instead of a killer mod of the original gear, but (this promises to be a constant theme today) I'm only abstractly interested in what's under the hood. I've learned a lot about softsynths this year and am increasingly drawn to big, user-friendly graphic interfaces where I can control sound visually.
Speaking of the SID and Sidstation, others doing good things with them are MEQ AND THE URS ("this page is no longer supported in Internet Explorer below version 7 and if you're still using IE you probably won't like this music anyway"--right, Jotsif, or because someone is surfing at work and doesn't have a choice, thanks for condescending to about half your potential listeners) and Receptors, which was one of my favorite acts at the last BENT (circuit bending) festival at the Tank in NY--still haven't posted my pic of him. Someone really ought to do some curating/compiling of the current SID music that's out there. With critical commentary! Dream on. The chatboards mostly talk about the gear, never composing music.
Jack Masters has a funny cartoon up on his page caricaturing the main Internet search engines. Yahoo! consists of signposts pointing in a dozen directions, Jeeves is servile but basically mentally defective, etc. The cartoon leads into a pro-Google, or rather anti-anti-Google rant by Masters that I've definitely been on the other side of. Yes, if Google starts to suck we'll stop using it and then we won't have to worry about it being all-powerful, and if separation of powers starts to slip we'll elect a more aggressive Congress that will stand up to the President. A few weeks back Masters posted a gnarly piece of electro-noise music that I really like. I sampled a couple of snippets from it for my song "Unfriendly Satellites," which I recently realized lacks a bass line and needs one rather badly--working on it. Regarding the Masters piece, can someone please explain the following exchange about it in his comments? I'm curious and baffled:
earthbound called, it wants its background music back
# posted by applesos : 6:29 PM
i thought earthbound's background music was like... a choir... i only have one song from it
# posted by Jack Masters : 5:07 PM