Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Networking Hive

  • Here’s a question: Is failure the inability to produce something of quality or simply lack of success? And if one has no audience, who is to judge the quality of what one produces? This is something I often grappled with at university…the fact that there should be some standard of excellence applicable to one’s endeavors…a way to not quantify but qualify art. In fact it is perhaps the lack of such apparent standards, and the nature of the true artist to perhaps initially shock, and then fail to shock…which has produced volatility in the current art market. And the contemporary art ‘audience’ has become so accustomed to shock value, that they fail to apprehend quality in something that looks traditional, boring…

    And what if the audience is not qualified to judge? Are artists the gladiators in the arena these days…or not… the fact is, it is the audience in the arena. They are placed there by 'artistic' managers. Most artists never make it there.

    I have been recently criticized for my lack of networking. This is something that not only terrifies but disgusts me. Networking is what my kids do… they spread gossip, share things which should remain private. Networking is what huge business conventions are all about… the whole corporate structure, in fact. Networking perpetrates the sad fact that a very few of the American workforce actually does a job…and these are the underpaid, the undervalued. The networkers are the busy bees that create the illusion of the hive. They run around, email, talk and text on phones, organize and ‘manage’. They get paid for creating an enormous hologram of a corporation based on a small core.

    Can you imagine a rockband with five or six guys that stand around waiting for a cue…creating a vibe? Well, actually… a good deal of contemporary music is just this…the scratchers, the dancers, the human ‘echoes’ who shout out the last word of the Hip-Hop rhyme much the way you and I used to yell out ‘Dock” and ‘Clock” when our pre-school teachers prompted us with nursery rhymes. Not just five..sometimes ten or twelve.. and backstage? Behind the scenes? The Music industry networkers? The hocus-pocus salesmen and their bodyguards and ‘boys’?
  • I was backstage at a Hip-Hop benefit recently and the box-office girl told me of the 5,000 in the house, 4,200 were on the guest list. By the time the VIPS got done ordering their champagne and caviar, the fundraiser was in the red. Bright bleeding red. But you can be sure, plenty of networking was going on there.

    I’ll just bet any of these Hip-Hop record companies can produce a fictitious being—literally anyone. Like you—or me…and create an enormous successful niche with all their networking and buzz and the engineers in the studio who now have every possible combination of beats, sounds, notes, production… at their fingertips. Like computer art, this is computer music. Complemented by these pedestrian street gangsta lyrics which sound okay but rarely make sense and if I hear bitches and riches or man and plan, finger and dead-ringer one more time I’ll yawn. Again.

    Is this success? Who created this? Is it art?

    If a poet reads his verse in the dark with no one listening, does he/it exist? And if it doesn’t exist, can it be good? Apparently I am lying in the forest of fallen neglected artists who do not make a sound when they die because no one was listening.

    My son discovered today that when you lose your ipod earbuds, there is no music. If he had only acquired the ability to think, he might take this one step further. Meanwhile, his mother, a failed networker and thus in the music business a non-entity, does not even fail to appear among the now digitally mute thousands of non-existent selections on this now useless device which hopelessly emits the unqualifiable but well-networked sounds of the hive.

    Not only are bees becoming extinct, but I read this summer that the ‘busy’ thing is a myth and most of them are unemployed and just making a lot of noise. Ouch.

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