'Percussion' As Percussion

Jarrod Fowler

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Released Nov 29, 2008
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The songs in this album are licensed under: CC BY Please check individual tracks for their respective licensing info.
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prod master: sales order: acct mgr: artist: bus. rel.: contact: ofa date: ‘Percussion’ As Percussion is a re-reading of John Mowitt’s book Percussion: Drumming, Beating, Striking which attempts to grasp how rhythm makes sense. Jarrod Fowler charts an encounter between the theory and practice expressed in Mowitt’s book to produce both a critique and a supplement. This project features a foreword by artist James Whitehead (JLIAT), an introductory essay by poet Bruce Andrews, an appearance by vocalist Liz Tonne, and an afterword with John Mowitt. Jarrod Fowler is a percussionist living and working in New England, USA. He is the author of Translation As Rhythm, published by Errant Bodies Press.  On the cover: Jarrod Fowler, ‘Percussion’ Percussioned, 2008, drumstick to book, 15 x 15 cm. Critical theory/Noise “This uncanny CD takes the work of reading in directions and to places it rarely goes. Here, within the intricately differentiated yet coherent rhythm of the percussive field, reading and listening touch one another in ways that question our relations to both.”—JOHN MOWITT, author of Percussion: Drumming, Beating, Striking f o w l e r       ‘ p e r c u s s i o n ’   a s  p e r c u s s i o n ple jarrod fowler ‘percussion’ as percussion 1. Acknowledgments (0:05) A shout-out to everyone connected to this project. Names have been gathered there. 2. Preface  (5:00) An amassment of ‘Percussion’ As Percussion’s track numbers 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and 11. This consolidation is then reversed and added back to its original. “Power, load, play, read on.” 3. Introduction: (Re)percussions (4:00) Two overviews in four minutes. One outline, and its summary. Recited by Liz Tonne. Left speaker: John Mowitt’s introduction to Percussion. Right speaker: Paul Bowman’s review of Mowitt’s Percussion. 4. The End of Senseless Beating  (3:00) Three bouts in three minutes. One title, its repetition, and its removal. Source: Unforgivable Blackness, a documentary by Ken Burns. Left channel: Johnson vs. Burns. Mono - Johnson vs. Jefferies. Right channel: Johnson vs. Willard. 5. Knocking the Subject (0:10) Interpellation and interpolation. Source: “John & Yoko” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. 6. Different Strokes for Different Folks (5:00) A collection of each song named in Mowitt’s Percussion: “Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Wynonie Harris, “Rock N’ Roll Music” by Chuck Berry, “The Big Beat” by Jimmy Cavello and the Houserockers, “Crazy Man Crazy” by Bill Haley, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” by Paul Dukas, “School Days” by Chuck Berry, “Get Off of My Cloud” by the Rolling Stones (album), “Get Off of My Cloud” by the Rolling Stones (live), “If You Can’t Rock Me”/Get Off of My Cloud” by the Rolling Stones (medley), “Get Off of My Cloud” by the Rolling Stones (remix), “I’m Free” by the Rolling Stones, “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones, “Wipeout” by The Surfaris, “Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins, “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard, “Maybellene” by Chuck Berry, “Bo Diddley” by Buddy Holly and the Crickets, “Not Fade Away” by Buddy Holly and the Crickets, “That’ll Be the Day” by Buddy Holly and the Crickets, “Bo Diddley” by Bo Diddley, “I’m a Man” by Bo Diddley, “Mannish Boy” by Muddy Waters, “Revolution” by the Beatles, “Helter Skelter” by the Beatles. 7. Sound of the City: A Musician Is Being Beaten (1:10) Seven chapters in seventy seconds. Seven directors and seven languages. Fanny & Alexander by Ingmar Bergman, Grave of the Fireflies by Isao Takahata, Murmur of the Heart by Louis Malle, Satyricon by Frederico Fellini, The Shining by Stanley Kubrick, The Spirit of the Beehive by Víctor Erice, The Tin Drum by Volker Schlöndorf. 8. A Drum of One’s Own (0’10) Source: “John & Yoko” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. 9. Notes (0:24) Punctuation as percussion. 207 pages programmed into Roland MC303 then played at 120bpm. 1. PERC | “Introduction” has 11 Notes on 13 Pages (1 to 13), #s: 2-2-3-6-6-7-8-10-10-11-13. 2. CYM | “Chapter 1” has 9 Notes on 28 Pages (14 to 41),  #s: 2-4-4-7-9-11-11-17-22. 3. CLP | “Chapter 2” has 15 Notes on 25 Pages (42 to 66), #s: 2-2-3-3-3-4-4-5-5-7-12-13-16-16. 4. HH | “Chapter 3” has 14 Notes on 49 Pages (67 to 115), #s: 5-5-6-8-15-22-23-26-30-31-35-35-39- 46. 5. SD | “Chapter 4” has 15 Notes on 50 Pages (116 to 165), #s: 1-5-8-8-8-11-14-15-23- 26-38-40-42-47-48. 6. BD | “Chapter 5” has 18 Notes on 42 Pages (166 to 207), #s: 4-4-6-6- 8-9-13-13-23-24-25-26-28-31-34-35-36-36. 10. Works Cited (0:17). A set of 11 pages as a set of 11 moments; each as an assemblage of citations. 1. 10 works, 2. 22 works, 3. 23 works, 4. 22 works, 5. 23 works, 6. 24 works, 7. 22 works, 8. 23 works, 9. 22 works, 10. 21 works, 11. 14 works. 11. Index (3:57) Mowitt’s index covers the 237-page-long section from his “Introduction: (Re)percussions)” to his “Notes”. Similarly, here is a 237-secong-long compilation of track numbers 3 to 9 from ‘Percussion’ As Percussion. Two pages are (erroneously?) not referred to by the index: Page 41/0:41: “...will seem less strange, perhaps even delightfully uncanny. I believe that the current intellectual conjuncture is such that we can no longer be satisfied with cajoling the public into better appreciating musical culture - or, for that matter, with having more of our colleagues in the humanities pick up, or return to, instruments. Though it may seem cryptic to put it this way, I think that instead we want to involve ourselves in doing what will be necessary to begin hearing the theorizing that takes place when we “tympanize” disciplinary reason. Walter Kauffman was surely right to remind us that Nietzsche’s “hammer” was, among other things, a tuning (pitch?) fork.  These ill-tempered (though not therefore ill-considered) remarks prompt a final conciliatory gesture. The difficulties to be encountered in reading this text are not the result of my lack of consideration for the reader - my lack of skill, certainly, but not lack of consideration. On the contrary. These difficulties arise from the struggle to consider, and to consider thoughtfully, how one might actually mime that which one’s writing seeks to illuminate - in this case, the reciprocal solicitations of music and theory as they blare from early rock-and-roll. “Difficult Listening Hour,” perhaps. Much depends on whether one “plays it too darn fast.” But if the room starts reelin’ and rockin’, remember: That’s not a bad thing. That’s the point.” Page 208/3:28: [Blank]. 12. Afterword (0:10) “90 minutes of a telephonic exchange first manipulated by a malfunctioning sound card, and rendered in current form as a 10-second compaction of all that was said by John Mowitt and Jarrod Fowler on 12 August 2007.  Cleaving to Eno’s dictum: trust your mistakes, they are your fondest intentions, foul became fair and the words meant to follow those in Percussion not only came after, they disappeared into an unanticipated after wherein abides the hum, the buzz, of call and response.  Left (and right) is the rhythm of a reading synthesized across the piece’s symmetrical duration voiced, appropriately, by someone other. Percussion as percussion now in the form of a re-reading that repeats the work of reading beating in the heart of the text.  The object grasped where it holds sway, still 5 years after.”  - John Mowitt                 Foreword   i                 Introductory Essay   ii                 Tracklisting   cd tray                 Acknowledgments (0:05)                 Preface (5:00)                 Introduction: (Re)percussions (4:00)                 The End of Senseless Beating (3:00)                 Knocking the Subject (0:10)                 Different Strokes for Different Folks (5:00)                 Sound of the City: A Musician is Being Beaten (1:10)                 A Drum of One’s Own (0:10)                 Notes (0:24)                 Works Cited (0:17)                 Index (3:57)                 Afterword (0:10)  1 2     1 1   1 0       9      8      7       6       5       4      3       2      1       2008        PLE003 This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Manufactured in the United States of America with recycled materials. Designed with and photography by Ben Kelley. Typeset in Sabon by Keystone. www.jarrodfowler.com
Back Cover Front Cover sales rep: 1st ofa date: artist: cust: control: job #: rel #: CD800P 8 Page Poster-Outside indd1/14/02 fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff foreword I remember an interesting point by Lord Clark that the naked is not the nude, so is ‘Percussion’ As Percussion laid bare by stratification. This could appear to be a shocking critique of Hearing Ends In Darkness?  Darkness and “bumps in the night” that create a fissure in the strata of meaning!  The work not as  sediment  or  ‘split’ which  opens  a geological record. “The death of the author, the death of god, the death of Marxism & the end of time?” In the morphology of “art” (under erasure)  we trace the increasing metamorphism of “now”. The force de frappe is no longer immanent – but  present and removed - Percussion is a history lesson. Bishop Berkley’s “note” in history and the incident with Sam Johnson – a “foot” note, the academic’s scoring of rocks,  Mohs scale,  the note played by the foot?  Or in the case of Ginger Baker – feet!  History folded and distorted, metamorphosed, inclined, cut through, inscribed by hitting and writing.  Percussion as memory- the sedimentation of the  Weltanwesenheit both geological  and  ethnographical as in the tells of Troy and Nineveh, the problematic inscription – IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDAEORVM –  the written constitution of an American democracy – crossed out – the pipe and drum of revolution, the inscription of an atheist creed and regicide. Do Fowler & Mowitt speak as part of this sedimentation or do they like  Johnson refute by kicking? In every bar in Europe an LCD screen is showing what I need to call soccer- something that Umberto Eco thought wrong. What is wrong with kicking?  Sam Johnson the great writer kicked an idea out of play. He kicked the bucket. (cockney rhyming slang?) The history of Sade,  the acts of inscription on the naked bodies of women,  the feminists inscription on the Velasquez nude, the slap on the backsides of Courbet’s nudes. Hitting, percussion is the source of the world, the transgression of the bi-sexuality of human nature.  So, Fowler & Mowitt speak – write – inscribe – both in and out of history. That’s not so radical,  radicalism is now at the centre, naked not nude, logical not rhetorical. Bruce Andrews in his liner notes makes some excellent points, he lays down theory –I’m not opposed to this – I am no longer concerned with strata and stratification, yet doomed by the inevitable process other than by virtue of perhaps a misspelling – something I was naturally “good” at – ‘Percussion’ As Percusion! James Whitehead   august 2007 hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hearing ends in darkness For Jarrod Fowler & for John Mowitt; let me spin out some categories from thinking about experimental literature — to see how they sound when rubbed up against radical ‘percussion as percussion’. What would a language writing as radical percussion sound like?  What kind of space does it occupy — or call out for? The issues involved might hug some trajectories both of contemporary theory and of contemporary experimental writing. First, we dethrone the originating ‘subject’ — leaving the author/performer unseated.  No longer ‘sovereign’.  The (sound) text no longer ‘autonomous’.  No longer an ‘inner’ authority worth reproducing in our reception. Once we dethrone the performer/author, they can no longer translate or ‘explain’ the making of sense & meaning & value — or at least not all by themselves.  We listen for a shift from inner to outer:  toward an emphasis on a pragmatic dimension — toward the listener, the beholder, the reader.  [Here I’ll conflate all these into what I’ll call the Reader.] [In the political economy, this parallels an awareness of a shift in emphasis from Production to Consumption.  (Or an understanding of how crucial the social relations of consumption must be to the shape or interpretation of production & to its success or fragility in the ‘moshpit’ of meaning.)  As these shifts get articulated after the 1960s, they resonate with a change in the political climate & in the political hopes which are more & more invested in the ‘affected’ community, rather than in ‘heroic’ leaders or in prefixed institutional ‘structures’ or ‘forms’ ‘up on stage’.] The key, for writing & for percussion: to see how best to involve or implicate the Reader — (& to sound out this contingent role, rather than taking it for granted or treating it like a deductive reflex of preexisting form & structure).  ‘Heroism’ devolves to the listener/reader.  And the overall shift rhymes with a culture of copies, of unoriginality, of sampling/ appropriation, of ‘making do,’ of ‘othering’. This might also remind us of a move toward participatory ‘democracy’ — away from the Author’s central (sovereign) authority.  And yet, instead of leaving a vacuum to be filled by some celebration of posthumanist machinic automatism, it takes this ‘de-authorizing’ of writing — not as an end in itself — but as an occasion to empower the Reader. But:  what kind of Reader could be empowered?  And what kind of textual experience is best equipped to deliver  or make possible this Reader?  And what kind of text or writing is best equipped to make possible a pleasurably resisant or transformative experience? We could chart the method of writing (& of the ways in which it gets experienced) across two distinct but intersecting planes: 1. Vertically, a plane of depth details the ‘what’:  of levels of abstraction or types & degrees of reference — making a spectrum that extends, on one end, from the offering up of purely non-referential or literal matter through a middle zone in which there is an engagement with (generically) referential materials & then proceeds all the way, at the other end, to a variety of (expressive or depictive) representational practices.  And then, intersecting this: 2.  We can chart out a plane of concentric circles, configuring the pragmatic ‘how’ of operating contextually, toward the ‘outside’:  of soliciting a Reader in a variety of contextual ways.  This extends outward from a boundaried & centripetal ‘center’ of Formalizing Autonomy, to an outer ‘layer’ where the space of a basic (or generic) Reader does get engaged, and then extending further out into the ‘play’ made possible in an even more discursive & more broadly social arena.  It’s this second plane, or series of concentric spaces, that I want to elaborate on a little bit here.  What is a work ‘subject to’?  The key question would be how a work alters the contextual space outside — & how the contextual space allows for an expansive Reader.  Openness — the press on the how.  If there is an act, let’s imagine it as the Reader’s, not something accomplished on the part of the writing ‘all by itself’; with the Reader as ‘functional’ (& possibly collective), with contextual ‘translation’ (or totalizing) taking place on the side of  — & not ‘on behalf of’ — the Reader. [This outer social layer or circle is occupiable by a particularized (or ‘surplus’) Reader.  And that more socially engaged Readership itself makes up a spectrum between a fixed or static identity (or agency), at one end, to another identity which is ‘on the move,’ tilted toward (& open to) development & fluidity & transformation & change.] This would be a plane of Context or Mediation — extending from an [auratic or formal] ‘immediacy’ — & then outward toward an acknowledgement of the Reader’s active mediation, & then still further toward an even more outlying discursive or social network.  Where the authored act becomes progressively less definitive — & encourages more & more sharing of power (or empowerment). We could configure this plane of Context in three concentric circles: (A),  A centripetal (inward-sucking) point (or ‘inner circle’) of formalistic closure & autonomy at the center.  And around that, extending the text outward, would be (B),  mechanisms by which a generic (any kind of — or basic kind of) Reader would be engaged by a certain kind of text noticeably venturing out into that Reader’s actual physical (or ‘real’) space.  Gaps solicit a contextual space by allowing or requiring a Reader response.  So, for instance, if the material/materiality is shredded, torn up, ‘volatilized,’ it moves it further away from formalizable autonomy on this plane.   And, even more extendedly, (C), we find the text engaging  (often by transformationally working on) a set of discursive or social meanings (or elements of sense-making) so that we find an even more outreaching layer or concentric circle where ‘participants’ of a less generic & more particularized sort are capable of being engaged — with the very sorts of discursive meaning that distinguish them, that particularize them. All this makes up a contextual plane. This suggests a charting of the uncloseable, the unformable ‘in itself,’ the move towards an “informalism” where the Reader is doing the work & is given responsibility for the ‘forming’.  This plane amounts to an exchange, a map of transactions between inner & outer.  Context involves the types of space created for the Reader, the degree & type of ‘Intrusion’ involved in Reception — the types of Interpellation & the type of Resistance made available (or at least the ways of foiling or skirting or distorting that Interpellation). Interpellation, famous from Althusser’s essay, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” & from its wielding by cultural theorists, points to a mode of address or hailing that effectively positions the listener — or at least reinforces  & stabilizes their positioning.  You are out walking in the street.  Someone calls out behind you, “Yo!, Shithead!”  By swivelling around, you acknowledge that you are (or certainly at least might be) the appropriate, fitting ‘subject’ of that address.  And the acknowledgement — as a recognition — helps to create or upholster a space for you to occupy, a position to  identify with, to take up ‘subjective residence’— transforming the listener into a subject, with a merely or basically physical 180 degree conversion.  Closure — the predetermining of the what, linked with recognition.  Recruitment — the hegemony of the what over the how.  When is it more than mythification? For each of these three concentric circles or arenas: First, we can ask how each articulates a different mode by which the interpellation of the Reader (or listener) would be affirmed / confirmed / reassured / guaranteed.  And, second, we can ask how experimental writing (or sound) could help resist / transgress / unsettle / distantiate / undercut such a mode of Interpellation. And each of these three arenas of contextualization could be elaborated a little further, by assigning to each a type of sign, an element of textuality, & a characteristic type of Reader. A. First, the ‘inward pull’ or internal logic of Form — as Closure, as Autonomy, as if unmediated.  The ‘for itself’ & the ‘in itself,’ that which doesn’t need to be ‘actualized’ — form, the formable, as the directive, as the closure-able. Creating a unifiable gestalt — as the ‘already’.  To pull the Reader in, & by doing so, to function as if the contagions of everyday reality [context] can be held at arm’s length — with the art’s formal properties working as anaesthesia or bandage [but also as lure]. The equivalent of a sign of the icon type (where the sign physically resembles either the referent or object’s properties or else is an analog of its organizing principles). [And possibly comes to physically ‘resemble’ the Reader, through its characteristic style of Interpellation.  The iconicized reader.  We would resemble pictures or maps — images or diagrams — modelled on the text.  A work’s ‘authority’ becomes our mimesis.] The Reader choreographed here is a kind of pre-reader, or pre-subject (a self or individual not yet equipped with full, discriminating agency & choice-making; an imprint, often where potential agency is getting overwhelmed).  As if ‘the Possible’ were anonymous — or virtual — as if unperceived or at least not constituted by perception — unmediated, uncoded, as if without much need at all for any intervening receiver. [Some parallel here to the Lacanian realm of the Imaginary.  And to Charles Peirce’s ‘Firstness,’ where the “mere may-be” functions as an array of possibilities in all its ‘freshness,’ unselected/unmotivated by any pragmatic interest.] Element of language involved = the ‘already read’, the not-to-be-read, or the ‘doesn’t need to be read’.  hearing ends in darkness iv  hearing ends in darkness ii iii ‘percussion’ as percussion MAGENTA  CYAN YELLOW     BLACK Page 3 Page 2 Page 8 Page 1sales rep: 1st ofa date: artist: cust: control: job #: rel #: Safety margin Bleed line CD800P 8 Page Poster-Inside indd1/14/02 The characteristic mode of Interpellation here suggests a soothing or deadening or hypnotic positioning.  The fix is in. [Paralleling either the dreaded regressive ‘unit of the mass’ (like the victim of spectacle), or perhaps the swooning absorbed- into-presence of the contemplative subject.  As unchoice, or mimesis of the listener — modelled on ‘Authority’.] In whatever version, fittingly, we expect to find a non-Reader — captivated by a closed, formally complete product of art- making. And if we want to counter (or counteract) this Interpellation, a progressive project would very likely involve a de-forming, a move toward  (or a stress on) incompleteness, a rejection of closure, an acknowledgement of the contextual elements calling out for active engagement (yet adverse to hypnosis). [This de-forming could open up opportunities for either a fixed/static Reader, or a moving Reader (the dancing Reader, the Reader ‘on the move’) to emerge, minimally individuated, differentiated out from the mass, pulled into focus as if by centrifuge.]  With that challenge to Interpellation, we approximate what happens in a second, more extended layer. B. One concentric zone outward on this plane: the text, or the sound, more pointedly involved in address, extends itself into the existing territory of a generic Reader, fashioning a determinate (durational) space.  Here we get beyond the detemporalizing ‘all at once’ of iconic (autonomizing) reception. Readership gets engaged by a more physicalized interaction — the offering up of materials that can be read or interpreted [& thus re-read]:  ones that depend upon the playing or engagement of the Reader for their full[er] significance to register (or be experienced). An art less already unified into a finished form or gestalt that preexists (& seems not to depend upon) the Reader. Something which suggests a causal relationship between sign & referent (or object):  the equivalent of a sign of the index kind — where the sign could register a physical trace of the referent, like a clue or symptom — with some coercive control over the Reader.  Here we find the press of documentary evidence, rather than the distancing aura of ‘logic’: with the index — either connected to an object by some factual relation or by ‘forcibly intruding,’ whether it gets interpreted or not. [And where the Reader might suggest a physical trace of the sign — where the recruited are ‘called out’ & ‘forced to correspond’.  The indexicalized reader:  index as Reader; Reader as a predicate.  Impact = to be ‘moved’.  Readers as clues or symptoms partially caused by the work.  Text’s ‘power’ as measured by its (mediated) impact on the Reader.] The Reader being engaged or reinforced here seems like a more abstract (phenomenological) sort — equipped with a certain agency & capacity for choice & identification, but where this  still remains at a basic, generic (or unparticularized) level. [Some parallel here to the Lacanian realm of the Real.  And to the documentary; to Peirce’s reactive, perceptual ‘Secondness’:  inducements of movement, the realm of ‘brute facts’.] Element of language involved = Syntax.  Mostly.  A syntax of generic individuals gets called for (or hailed) — to mark out the abstract functioning of a language:  as minimally readable or decipherable, but without much in the way of non-abstract or particularized meaning (or ‘use’).  [Almost as if we’re back to Marx’s Theses on Feurbach & the notion of an “abstract — isolated — human individual” (as distinct from the socialized, unisolated, ‘real’ individual).]  A parsing: a marking out of slots & functions, capable of being occupied by ‘any’ subject.  [And percussion often fits here.  It tends to register too intrusively to be tameable by any formalizing autonomy.  It tends at least to carry an indexical punch.] Here, the mode of Interpellation suggests a physical harnessing of the permitted Reader:  the soliciting of some expansive movement, the creating of some space for movement, but without undercutting the ‘security’ of a generic position.  The interpellated subject — as generic Reader — precedes any particularized prompting, any specific identity.  The index makes the specific — to finetune into specificity; the generic position capable of making specific assertions or ‘reading’ “specific objects”.  And the Reader is prompted to link up resonances much like a detective’s discovery of clues or the doctor’s ‘reading’ of symptoms to work up a diagnosis. The text offers a ‘beating’.  It hammers the Reader into a trajectory (much like the premodern space of fear & punishment) — [as in Foucault’s Discipline and Punish] — but at least the distances are not insurmountable:  there’s some space to be affected, to be opened up. What could enable the ‘fencing moves’ of a Reader, on the borderline between inner & outer? How could it ward off excess stimuli & carve out some space?  To counteract this Interpellation, the generic Reader would need to be offered a filter, a protective shielding — by some way in which the work could be felt to undercut itself.  To solicit the Reader’s ‘cutting’.  The ‘heroic’ Reader or reading listener would be osmotic:  not ‘swept away’ by the text, yet also not impermeable — more like an ‘organ’ of the threshold regulating the intake, as if a controlled leakage or exchange (rather than ‘free trade’). The clues need to be ‘read’ backwards; they need to be explained — reading as translation, requiring some inference or interpretation of what’s missing or equivocal:  as a way to limit any imposition of a fixed, unambiguous syntax; some shift toward the use of materials which have the kind of ambiguity or openness (even if only openness to prior prejudice!) that we find approximated in the third, more extended concentric band or layer: C. A discursive or social ‘outer’ layer — where the work (the text) engages a less generic Reader (extending itself into the particularized territory of meaning or sense that we associate with the discursive elements of a text rhythmically activated with socially loaded materials). Right away, the autonomy & closure of the distanced aesthetic object or icon gets sharply undermined.  And so does the ‘merely’ physical (if more open) operation of a generic sign or index, in its status as a ‘pre-cultural’ event. Here we’re engaging a particularized Reader with a set of cultural materials (of varying degrees of recognizability or familiarity).  We move outward from the generic subject to a particular identity, a particularized Reader capable of making general assertions.  The Reder is no longer merely ‘a’ subject, but becomes “tendentious,” the respondee with a particular agenda.  So that the work’s meaning operates on the same plane or in the same arena as the socialized subject who is capable of cultural engagement:  to produce a work that depends upon that actual (non-generic) Reader for its significance to get experienced. The aesthetic transaction takes on a more audibly cultural tone. A Reader discursively engaged — & that also implies that the social materials will depend upon the Reader’s involvement:  for them to be validated, reinforced, or contested.  There is no ‘finished’ discourse; no ‘complete’ rendition of a social body. With this, the sign relates to its referent (or object) in an arbitrary, conventional manner — as with the symbol.  We operate within a conventional [rule-following] relation to the text.  Norms [or “laws”] provide the motivation.  [And where the sign ‘array’ is situated in an arbitrary, conventional relationship to the Reader: plunged into a discursive pattern of resonances and overtones, it promotes additional or ‘surplus’ meaning on the way to being conventionalized or arbitrated.  As if an argument is getting made.] Here, the Reader who is (partially, repetitively) solicited or positioned is no longer ‘bare’ or ‘basic’ or generic.  Now it’s particularized, expected to have distinguishing features, adjectival modifiers— & to be engaged in cultural choices on the basis of those distinguishing aspects.  The experience is interpretive & not merely literal or perceptual. (Meanwhile, the more particularized the identity, the more that can threaten the reproduction of those particularized non- generic features — & the more that has to get arranged to secure or guarantee them:  hence, we are likely to find an even more expansive motivation or ‘security regime’ on the part of the Reader.) [Some parallel here to the Lacanian realm of the Symbolic.  And to Peirce’s relation or lawful or action-oriented ‘Thirdness’] Element of language involved = Content.  (Semantic sense, social sense) The slots & functions are now fine-tuned socially or culturally — are layered choices, no longer ‘one size fits all’ (even for a seemingly ‘radical’ project). [The matrix of associations is loaded.  The Reader is the content.] The mode of Interpellation — as a fixing theorem: not to reveal the unfinished, the problematic — suggests a pointedly social recruitment, where the space for the Reader to be affected, to be ‘open,’ is being shaped into a directively disciplinary space — as Influence on our choices, our sovereignty.  Discourse as contractual; discursive ‘recruitment’ as differential or relational; discourse as a sign system tapped into.  A space of self-discipline, a summons to normalized or domesticated choices, to social identifications (& often ‘pride,’ with appropriate gang tags or colors or puffed-up claims of ‘I did it my way’). Not a ‘beating’ ‘from the outside,’ but often a self-coordinated & well-practiced dancing routine: or reading as sychronized accompaniment. To counteract this kind of Interpellation, to create a space for resistance, we would shape the work to take advantage of the fact that cultural recruitment isn’t typically unified.  The accompaniment is wayward, unpredictable, or re-chartable with a different ‘fake book’. That any fixed Reader identity (or agency) can be unsettled, discombobulated — not ‘all at once’ in some traumatic wounding or redemption, but as a accompaniment, or backbeat, or background noise, to a commitment to change.  The move is away from the (even grammatically marked out) isolation & relative autonomy of individuals — to a possible collective future via [informalist] connections.  A receptive subject which can be connectable, ‘politicizable,’ open to any number of collective projects —  not just the ‘mass’ demonized by genteel opinion.  What’s worth resisting — figuring out a strategy for resisting — are either an recruitment into preset identity  or regression into a collective mass-like object.  Collective listenership:  the connections are forged in just the same way as they are between the cultural inflections of sounds & sound mixes.  They are not imposed ahead of time — [“ahead of time”: a telling phrase].  The process could play out in two stages:  first, a heightened awareness of distinguishing cuts (instead of any suturing or confirmation of  predetermined, precomposed identity); & second, a revved-up move toward connections.  First, a mixdown into a complexly layered set of [motivic] raw materials; second, the highlighting of links & hybridities & interdependencies between these subject positions or motivations, pointing toward possible collective identities.  To ‘cohere’ the particularized Readers into an active chorus, responding, filling in gaps, leaping the intervals/layers. In the field of Interpellation, there are gaps; there are contradictions which a text can take advantage of. Sounds are unsound.  The individual isn’t unified.  Interpellative effects are not unified.  There is rarely if ever an umbrella of a unified ideology.  Agency as social resistance would be made possible in part by the dissonance in & among the various subject positions made more available (& by which a Reader could be ‘called by’). There is a social/cultural ‘collage’ quality to the ‘content,’ to the address activated by a discursively-saturated work like this.  Not the individual as a presumed plenitude, complete & singular & coherent in itself, but as a lamination, a less predictable collage.  (And relevant to so much radical art & music & writing:  the layered & multiple resonance summons up a characteristically urban space.  Urban multiplex circumstances project some of their own energy & structure back into the writing/reading.) This is one thing that makes possible a Reader ‘on the move’ — ‘in process’ socially (& not just according to some abstract generic schema).  The ‘backbeat’ as the Reader retranslating, as a socially contestable resounding or  reflection upon itself. A Reader encouraged to beat back, to reject or reconsider or reinterpret; to reassemble a life of choices — including the choice of willful distortion, of ‘creative falsification,’ of  overlayering, of dissonance, of noise.  Of conceptual percussion as social repercussion. Bruce andreWs   august 2007  hearing ends in darkness viii  hearing ends in darkness viv ‘percussion’ as percussion vii ‘percussion’ as percussion MAGENTA  CYAN YELLOW     BLACK Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7

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Camouflage Sep 26, 2009

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