Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Breaching conversation with an internet acquaintance can be a bit delicate, especially if they're someone you consider famous or admire. So, I'll wait patiently for TradeMark Gunderson to response-- maybe he will, maybe he won't-- but I cannot, it seems, wait long enough before my blog post is due.
So, instead, what I have chosen to do is interview the only other person I've forcibly exposed to Negativland_: Molly Heroux, my sweetheart-darling-suga'-pie. Of course, I know what sorts of media she consumes but I decided to ask anyway. She told me that she watches the same stuff as me and as rarely as I do-- that she and I just get whole seasons of shows via Netflix and watch T.V. like that. But she started to talk more about a trend I have been noticing with her; Molly likes celebrity gossip! But not the mainstream gossip, that's too boring for her. Molly is an addict of PerezHilton.com.
When I asked her what might PerezHilton.com and Negativland_ have in common, she thought for a moment and eventually told me that they both poke huge amounts of fun at fame and celebrity. I thought that was a rather good point. Molly also told me that in so many ways, both PerezHilton.com and Negtivland_ are really nerdy. I understood that Negtivland_ was nerdy, I, myself have come to terms with this. She went on to explain that she was ashamed, to some degree, of her addiction to the site and that any obsession with any topic is pretty darn nerdtastic.
I asked Molly to listen to a few songs I thought were interesting. Then I showed her some videos. I have to agree with her in the fact that much of what Negativland_ does is not so much listenable. This has been a point of fact that I, too, have wished wasn't so. We then started to compare The Evolution Control Committee with Negativland_ (TradeMark Gunderson is the sole mastermind behind the E.C.C.). Her and I both enjoy the E.C.C. to a high degree, as they are the more modern and musical of the two. It's interesting to note the similarities and the differences because I came about learning of Negativland_ through my enjoyment of the E.C.C. In fact, I'm aware that they put out an album or two on Negativland_'s record label: Seeland.
We noted how Negativland_ was and still is much more experimental in the way that they create and manipulate media. Molly had mentioned how perhaps the enjoyable differences between the two were some oddity of generational difference. After all, Negativland_ hails all the back to the 1970s, while The E.C.C. is (formally) as old as me! Negativland_ came about before the record pace of change in media formatting and us: video tapes, cassettes, 12" technic turntables, personal computers and their many applications (.exes), compact discs, and digital formatting! The E.C.C. were there and already on the hook of the rapid changes being made; Negativland_ was spurred from a more punk movement, using what they wanted and how they wanted to say whatever they wanted to say. It's not even music? Too bad. Molly especially enjoyed this quote from a great Flash site I recently found, which labels this sort of music "Music Collage":
"To the anarchistic, culture jamming, kopyright liberating post-punk pranksters who make it known that music is free, sampling is an end in itself, not a means. It is both art, canvas, paint and brush. But it is more than just a form of music. It is an ideology, encapsulated within the fundamental belief that art is an expression, not property. It is to be explored, not controlled. Yet this simple recognition of the aesthetic worshipping of sonic liberty has made it the most illegal music in the world. But you know what? They don't care. They will sample anything they damn well please. You can not stop them. They will sample your hit single. They will sample you complaining about sampling your hit single. They will sample you trying to stop them from sampling your hit single. And when you sue them, they will sample that too. They will take anything that fuels culture and powers society, and appropriate it for their own uses. To them, anything you say is simply raw material."