This Friday, May 17, 2013, literally trillions of “things” will happen, as the seven billion person narrative of modern, human existence continues to unravel and evolve. Like every other day, the rotating engine of suffering, jubilee, and mediocrity will churn and scatter its lot among its willing, unwilling, and generally confused inhabitants.
But unlike most days, this day marks an unusual intersection of three superficially unrelated narratives: Norway will celebrate its national holiday, “Syttende Mai”; east Asian Buddhists will celebrate Buddha’s Birthday; and I will celebrate the one year anniversary of a trip to Stockholm that eventually led to the creation of this blog.
Finding myself at the chronological juncture of these three red threads that managed to weave their way into my own personal narrative, I find it difficult to reject the possibility that this day has additional significance - some priority over most other days. Granted, the initial conditions (i.e., the asynchronicity of the Gregorian and Chinese lunar calendars, and my decision to get on a plane one year ago today) were all set by choices, made by people. But when these choices overlap and interact in such spectacular and surprising ways, to reject their significance and meaning is to capitulate to a meaningless life. I choose otherwise.
Gratulerer Med Dagen!
The wild and vivid imagination of Emilie Nicolas has been set to film in this fantastic music video reel by André Foldøy Chocron. Though it’s a composite of several music videos, the syncopation brings it all together quite well.
Arty and Mat Zo are hands down my favorite producers of electronic dance music. Though they’ve collaborated on a number of excellent tracks, “Rebound” is a real standout, with a bridge (3:00) that is absolutely out of this world. The bridge is so sensational that Will I Am allegedly helped himself to it, using it as the base for his brainless, auto-tune-laden monstrosity, “Let’s Go”, featuring Chris Brown.
Carl Sagan once noted that “the universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent” to human life. The observable indifference of nature does not however imply that human life is somehow inherently unworthy of dignity. For unlike the inculpable and apparently immutable laws of nature, human beings are capable of choice. Because nature has no preference for or bias against life, the value of human life is therefore ours to determine.
If we choose to value the happiness and safety of others, then human life will have real value. If instead we add unnecessary tragedy to an already unstable existence, then human life will have little value. The indifference of the universe is merely the context in which these choices occur - the choice to value human life is still ours.
Today is the birthday of Leonard Euler, a squinty-eyed Swiss genius. He was a prolific mathematician, a trendsetter in terms of notations and concepts, and a pioneer of the use of imaginary numbers, which turned out to be not-so-imaginary after the development of quantum physics.
Speaking of great music that happens to be electronic, Emilie Nicolas just posted a new track. Be sure to repost and help spread the word about Emilie’s wonderful music.
Modern music has created an effectively limitless context of sounds. Everything is fair game - strings, synths, brass, industrial noises - the only relevant question is whether or not it all “works”. As a result, modern music forces us to acknowledge the abstract reality that thoughtfulness is entirely independent of medium and style: art is either well-done or it isn’t.
Telefon Tel Aviv was a Chicago-based duo that produced some truly spectacular, truly modern, electronic music that made use of a maddening variety of noises and textures. At the time their music was dubbed “IDM” - intelligent dance music - but my personal view is that it’s just great music that happened to be beat-heavy and electronic.
I had tickets to see them perform at the Guggenheim Museum in 2006, but their flight from Chicago was delayed, and the show was ultimately cancelled. Three years later, one of the two members of TTV, Charles Wesley Cooper III, died, and unfortunately, I never got to see them perform live.
Being animated, and impacting the things around you in an organized manner, is a key distinction between living matter and the rest. And in that regard, creating objects, images, songs, and institutions that people continue to interact with extends the lives of their creators - they form a fossil, a thought or a moment suspended and sustained. The capacity to create these artifacts gives us the ability to communicate with and touch the lives of people far beyond the term and geography of our corporeal existence. So despite never meeting Charlie Cooper, he continues to exist as an imprint, like the scores of other artists and thinkers that have contributed to the context of my life. In general, death forces us to acknowledge the abstract nature of human interaction - we know others by interacting with them, and some of us seem to stick around for a little longer.