Index of Articles
NorthWest CyberArtists

Einar's articles from the NWCA Newsletter.

August 1993

Important Note: These articles are history and all references to upcoming meetings and contact addresses and phone numbers and other things that change with time should be ignored. I decided to leave them in for readability.

August 1993

Title: Let's talk about art.

I'm sitting beneath a life size image of Einstein and wondering if he ever stopped what he was doing and said "I can't wait until xxx happens so that I can do xxx". I doubt it. As Tom Vigal noted last month, creative people tend to be able to work around obstacles. Or through them.

When a writer has trouble creating it's called writer's block. For two years -until about six months ago- I had a different sort of block. I remember sitting in a room talking about how a live electronic music performance could be realized with some very professional people who did sound for a living. I had a simple idea of using home made DAT recordings as a backing track and then playing whatever I chose over the top of it. The argument against this was valid. It is not a perfect way to present sound to a club. There are no ways to isolate drums and bass, amongst other problems. But I wasn't looking for perfection. I just wanted to play!

I was suffering from a technological block.

I am a musician. If I wanted to learn how to paint, would I use the finest brushes, finest oils and finest canvas? No. Sometimes artists start with pencils on napkins. It doesn't impede their creative flow. It certainly doesn't make their expression less valid. As a musician I don't mind sacrificing the perfect mix if it means I can get out and play. Someday, if I'm lucky, I will be able to pay someone to learn my music and mix for me. In the meantime I'm gaining valuable experience on stage. I'm improving.

There is a lot to be said for the Nike slogan. "Just Do It" seems to make things happen.

I spent nearly two years on a project that never came to be because of a technological block. In the era of the home studio we run the risk of never being "finished". There is always something that bugs us about what we hear, and we know anything can be easily tweaked. So we do it. In my own opinion it is the little mistakes that make art interesting. To err is human.

I worry about the impact of technology on the art of today. Wendy Carlos has said, regarding her electronic music, that if a parameter can be controlled, it must be controlled. That might be fine for her, but as we are dealing with complicated tools that can control so many parameters, just how many manuals are we supposed to read and comprehend? I look up at Einstein and wonder if future artists are going to have more in common with him than Monet. Or Ibsen. Or Shakespeare.

Considering that many of us are working on multi-media art, the knowledge required to become a true master of every aspect of the art is enough to drive a guy nuts. The punk movement of the late seventies, much of which I consider very expressive and 'to the point' art, would never have happened if folks like Sid and Johnny had to bone up on manuals and technique before they could perform.

Perfection is appreciated, but it is important not to confuse artistic perfection with technical perfection. In art, a perfect whole can come from imperfect parts. On the other hand, the most technically perfect elements can be assembled into garbage (computers, for example, have written some technically flawless poetry but I wouldn't want to spend much time reading it).

I saw David in Florence. If Michelangelo had laser technology and electron microscopes would David be more meaningful?

See ya,

Enough! Back to!

Einar Ask /