Tangents: Eno’s Answer, Reel Life, Vinyl Sides

The Edge of the Scene: Brian Eno, along with another 163 people, including Richard Dawkins, David Gelertner. Xeni Jardin, and Jaron Lanier, participated in this year’s Edge Question, which is to say, he provided an answer to this: “What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?”

The ”ecological” view isn’t confined to the organic world. Along with it comes a new understanding of how intelligence itself comes into being. The classical picture saw Great Men with Great Ideas…but now we tend to think more in terms of fertile circumstances where uncountable numbers of minds contribute to a river of innovation. It doesn’t mean we cease to admire the most conspicuous of these — but that we understand them as effects as much as causes. This has ramifications for the way we think about societal design, about crime and conflict, education, culture and science.

His response seems to veer into the “scenius” territory he has discussed in the past, in which it is acknowledged that individual artists are often products of, and poster children for, un(der)acknowledged cultural forces. This is thinking that plays an important role in appreciating the pre-technological aspects of remix culture. But instead he takes an unexpected turn: “When we realise that the cleaners and the bus drivers and the primary school teachers are as much a part of the story as the professors and the celebrities, we will start to accord them the respect they deserve.”

PhD Blogs: Outboard Brains or Syllabi: Thomas Patteson started acousmata.com in February 2009. He’s in the PhD program in music history at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. The blog-as-research-repository has been especially fertile in academia, where it serves as what Warren Ellis has called the “outboard brain” of individuals trying to wrangle the vast amount of information they come into contact with and find useful. I’m still figuring out how to read these blogs as, like Patteson’s, they’re often untethered to anything other than the author’s ongoing (self)education and unearthings: one day it’s old video game music (Rob Hubbard‘s 1986 work on Zoids), another it’s a composition for monochords by Romanian composer Iancu Dumitrescu. The posts are almost the precise opposite of time-sensitive; instead, at least on acousmata.com, they’re an excellent, flashcard-like ongoing education for his readers. I wonder if in a few years these PhD blogs (phdlogs? dlogs? — and, yes, undergrads and masters students, as well as faculty, make them as well) will be an institutional norm, or if existing ones will themselves become part of future syllabi.

Reel Life: In one of several high profile examples of Hollywood film composers crossing over to video games, Hans Zimmer is scoring Crysis 2; there’s a taste at soundcloud.com. … Clint Mansell (best known for his work on Darren Aronofsky’s films, most recently Black Swan) is scoring the next Mass Effect game (I learned this thanks to a comment on the piece I wrote for mediacommons.futureofthebook.org about the Grammy’s myopia in regard to video game music). … Since Clint Mansell scored Moon, the previous film from Source Code director Duncan Jones, it’s probably worth keeping an ear out for Source Code‘s composer, Chris Bacon. … Sonic Youth have scored Simon Werner a Disparu by French director Fabrice Gobert (via thequietus.com). … Andreas Bick has posted at soundcloud.com some music he composed for a forthcoming documentary about German dramatist Heinrich von Kleist. … The Chemical Brothers have scored Hanna, directed by Joe Wright (The Soloist, Atonement).

Oughta Be in Pictures: A photo I took of the sign of a club called the Independent here in San Francisco — I shot it because it was impressive how the club had written about the name of the band Sunn O))) — is now up at the location page for the spot at sanfrancisco.schmap.com.

Vinyl Sides: Daniel Edlen makes art from records by imprinting them with the painted image of the recording artist. His work has been on display since last month, and will continue through this month, at the VH-1 corporate gallery in New York:

More on Edlen’s work at vinylart.info.

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