Saturday, February 14, 2009

Really Real

I was checking YouTube for otherwise unavailable Fred Neil performances and came across this.

A few things are interesting in the scope of this "blog".

First, in terms of television media -and we make stuff for TV -this is a program from the early 1960s.

The concept is not all that different from many of the post-Regis "reality" game shows of today.  While many decry the devolution of broadcasting, the formats are essentially the same as 50 years ago -it's the public that's changed.

To be purely McLuhan about it, the television viewer of the late 1950s/60s was significantly more erudite than today, therefore the programming reflected their sophistication.  Ryan Seacrest is today's Bennett Cerf.

Point #2 is directly animation related.  Or at least in my mind, it is.

The performance they speak of was organized by John Cage (and featuring the pre-Velvet Underground Cale amongst several others, presumably John Cave, John Cane and John Cade).

Much of Cage's music is abstract -I use that in contrast to "gestic" -it's not well suited to the traditional animated film.    To my knowledge, even his prolific friend Stan Brakhage only used his music once, in his first film In Between.

Even the title of Brakhage's film gives us a clue as to the importance Cage's philosophic insights applied to animation.

Just a brief example from Silence: Lectures and Writings:

"What happens, for instance, to silence?  That is, how does the mind's perception of it change?  Formerly, silence was the time lapse between sounds, useful towards a variety of ends, among them that of tasteful arrangement, whereby separating two sounds or two groups of sounds their differences or relationships might receive emphasis; or that of expressivity, where silences in a musical discourse might provide pause or punctutation; or again that of architecture, where the introduction or interruption of silence might give definition either to a pre-determined structure or to an organically developing one."

The silence Cage talks about is the same as the "space" in animation.  It's the world between the sounds (or drawings) that give the surrounding work meaning.   This philosophy on music has profound application to animation.

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