CLASS 001

ON PASSING STRANGERS - THE EAST VILLAGE POETRY WALK

After a few small struggles to get the audio file into our iPhones, which has always been an itch with the IOS, we managed to map ourselves right in front of Saint Mark's Church in-the-bowery, and the journey began. When we heard this was going to be an one hour walk, my body shook inside a little, thinking we might loose the tempo to keep up with the story, eventually ending in us becoming two mice lost in the maze of east village. That, never happened. The walk couldn't have been more inlined with the audio, the female instructor who would pop up in transitions of stories was like a wizard who knew exactly where we were, what was on our right side at one exact moment, and how long it would take for us to cross one street from another, leading us to the next stop elegantly. The structure and pace of Passing Strangers was as beautiful and smooth as a river in Spring.

Just to keep things short, I am writing in bullet points of some other thoughts of the walk that I very much enjoyed.
1       The vivid scenery composition and construction of stories. There were quite a few moments that by using sounds the creator built up a scene so colorful and vivid that I felt could be in that moment with the characters in that story. 

2       The richness of voices. The audio piece did not choose to use one unique narrator, instead using various narratives and extra voices as a collective ingredient. It kept the 90 minute walk colorful, and gave the story more texture.

3        The readings of poems by different people, non-poets. I have to say, I do have love for poetry but embarrassingly, my uncultured knowledge, I only recognized two poets from the audio. However, by hearing unfamiliar poets' poems, I found myself feeling more familiar with their stories somehow.

4         The power of audio does not limit to sounds. Maybe this sentence is too obscure, what I mean is when I'm listening to the audio, I hear them, but simultaneously the sounds are triggering my brain to create moving images in my mind. Because of that, and because it's my own interpretation and imagination of the stories, it is almost more powerful than watching a ready made video telling the same story. I've also had a similar discussion on this topic earlier this summer, why listening to audio porn is so much more arousing than watching porn. Of course, this has a lot to do with the production quality of porn these days, but also, that goes back to the topic of the limitation of ready made video vs. the negative space for one's own imagination that audio gifts you.

 

ON REMIXING/REFERENCING/SOURCING AND UNDER INFLUENCE

This is definitely a heavy and worth discussing topic especially in the "art" world, where reference is left ambiguous and where the most sharpest and deadly weapon to an artist's work is being called as a "derivative".

On the topic of everything is remixing, and "Art is sourced. Apprentices graze in the field of culture." In Kevin Kelly's latest book The Inevitable, he spent a whole chapter on the topic of Remixing, he stated that Paul Romer, an economist at New York University who specializes in the theory of economic growth, says real sustainable economic growth does not stem from new resources but from existing resources that are rearranged to make them more valuable. He ended the chapter with this strong sentence, affirmative as a man could be - "In 30 year the most important cultural works and the most powerful mediums will be those that have been remixed the most." In this sense, I see a fundamental difference between Kanye West and Richard Prince.

The significant emphasis of referencing and sourcing in the academic world and also the programming/coding world is a demonstration of good practice - earnest and transparent with knowledge. Why can't the creative art world join the movement? Even Newton admitted he had giants to step on.