Amy Winehouse Sings Fado

          Recently I encountered an acquaintance who instructs art students in the special mixed media lab at a local college. I asked about how his art is going. He spoke of a new machine he just purchased and his fascination with creating a production that had never been done using that process, something “new.” He was challenged by the prospect of utilizing the machine for the production of art in a way that had not been anticipated by the machine’s design. Later reflection left me considering how my interests lie more with narrative. To appreciate his artwork, one would need some grasp or understanding of the process he employs, the technology. Otherwise, the man on the street (unaware of this) would only notice “another neat thing.” Yet, that same viewer would enter into a story, a narrative, without any of the prerequisite assumptions of sharing a knowledge of technical processes or innovation.
          Technical virtuosity has one leg in the eternal. It shares the time and space of mathematics, theory, and theology/philosophy. This is a space/time unaffected by the mundane. 2+2=4 is unaffected by budget cuts or states of war. When some truth of physics is concretely instantiated, there is a fascination with this phenomenon. The feat must share billing with the “truths that are eternal.”
          Bakhtin wrote about carnival and literary approaches that subverted the eternal truths through immersion in the everyday, the mundane, the necessary sustainable reality faced by a social entity. His reference to the sources of these modes of presentation centered on the middle ages and the ancient Hellenic Roman cultures. These were not capitalist societies (cultures) in the modern sense. One term he used to describe this mode was “slum naturalism.”

“Julie Britton, vice president of development for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in Florida, said officials may have to skew away from avant-garde art designed to push
boundaries in favor of things more certain to sell tickets.
“Part of our mission is to bring people things that are new,” said Britton. “That’s very
difficult to do when you have to be risk-averse in this situation.””
From an AP on line article dated August 29, 2009

          I don’t see where “new” has to be part of the mission of any arts organization (or individual producer). “New,” and newness, is a totally capitalist concept of advertising and marketing (phenomena). Before capitalism, and in cultures that were not capitalist, art was being produced. Its importance and relevance had nothing to do with “new.” It had everything to do with the interface between what is eternal, but unsustainable, and what is sustainable, but not eternal. Where is the “new” in an analysis of Amy Winehouse singing Fado? Would it be with the singer? The song? Or the singing? Should Ms. Winehouse ever take up the study of Fado, the fascination would be with the interface of “slum naturalism” and eternal truth, not with a “production that had never been done using that process.” There is nothing “new” with singers, songs, or singing.

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: