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ARSCLIST  April 2010

ARSCLIST April 2010

Subject:

Re: The trials of trying to give away a record collection

From:

George Brock-Nannestad <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 15 Apr 2010 19:07:35 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (222 lines)

From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad


Tom, I'm happy you are taking this in the spirit it was meant and which it 
deserves. However, I am not advocating "unedited history", only "as many 
points of entry" as possible. That is not obtained by preserving only what 
good taste tells us to. There is no such thing as a "little pail of golden 
wheat", which is actually what you yourself are arguing against. It is all 
about context that disappears.

What we are having is a philosophical discussion that has been around in the 
various cultural fields, certainly since Alois Riegl first analysed "the 
modern cult of the monument" in 1903 (the English translation does not really 
convey the feeling behind his expression). The philosophies are mostly 
directed at what one should preserve, or perhaps HOW one should do it. Not 
even the art or antiquarian world agree entirely yet, and they have a far 
longer tradition than we have in the record field. I shall disperse some 
comments in your text. I apologise for the layout problem created by the fact 
that you apparently are able to use longer lines than I.


> George, I hear what you're saying, but there is no such thing as "unedited
> history" beyond what is 
> processed in an individual's brain, and then it's only that individual's
> unedited history. Everyone 
> chooses what to keep and what not to keep, what face they show the world and
> what they take to their 
> grave. 

----- well, that is why it is interesting to know as many whole collections 
as possible and a good argument not to break them up, as archives frequently 
do. The ensemble is what creates the expression of that person's face to show 
the world.


And history gets rewritten all the time. You are seeking an
> unreachable (if noble) goal if 
> you are advocating saving "examples of everything" 

----- well, that is not impossible if we are talking commercially issued 
recordings, but almost so. There are many tantalizing titles in old record 
catalogues.

or thinking there's such
> a thing as "unedited raw 
> history." I would suggest part of the reason that humans are doomed to
> repeat history forever is 
> that it's impossible to ever "preserve" history beyond the first-person
> experience. 

----- you need the little bits to make the big puzzle. What you need to 
preserve is the raw material for the image in peoples minds. Repeating 
history occurs because there is not enough reflection and creation of 
patterns of historical facts. The success of modern weather forcasts relies 
on the recognition of patterns; if such a pattern has led to a particular 
type of weather before, and we have that observation, there is a greater 
likelihood that we shall have the same result of that pattern the nexty time.

What we're 
> preserving are biased interpretations and "sampling" of first-person
> experiences and calling it history.
> 
> When you get into recorded music, it's even more of a false premise that
> what's being preserved is 
> "history." I always keep in mind a conversation I had with a classical
> pianist once, when the man 
> was in his 70's. Somehow we got on the subject of how he'd be remembered and
> he glumly noted that 
> his recordings would stand far longer than the experience of seeing him in
> concert. Yet, he had 
> spent thousands more hours performing in concert -- and he believed he had
> performed every single 
> work he had done best in concert -- than in front of microphones making
> records. 

----- ah, but a sound recording is so much more than a mere "record of what 
went down".  


So you can see how 
> this is the classic example of "sampling" first-person experiences and
> calling it history. The same 
> can be said of much recorded music. I think where the argument gets trickier
> is for the few albums 
> and genres that are completely creations of the studio, that they stand as
> music and also 
> performance art, as a stand-alone work rather than an edited summary of what
> the artist performs 
> numerous times and possibly in very different ways in front of live
> audiences.

----- as I said, if you care to think about the components that go into the 
package "the commercial record" you will find many traces of the recording, 
manufacturing, distribution and listening processes. But obviously you also 
need to know about contemporary and competing recording processes and 
contemporary and competing reproduction processes and apparatus. Context, 
context, context!

I am not here discussing the difference between a performance recorded and a 
performance built from building blocks. That is another discussion.

Why do you think that Mike Biel is busily and laboriously collecting album 
images? He is doing something that is more difficult to do now than in 1955, 
and the only reason he has a chance to achieve what he wants (and which we 
need as a documentation) is that albums have survived in various collections. 
If the records they contained were the only that was preserved, the whole 
graphic culture and the differences that occurred here compared to the 
differences that occur in for instance jazz music in the late 78 rpm period 
would not be discernible. Human endeavour would be less well documented.

WE  NEED  THE  BROAD  PICTURE

 - for this we need many details. It is as simple as that. The next question 
is who is to be responsible for giving us the access.

Kind regards,


George

----------------------------------------


> 
> -- Tom Fine
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "George Brock-Nannestad" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2010 10:53 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The trials of trying to give away a record
> collection
> 
> 
> > From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
> >
> >
> > Hello,
> >
> > Tom Fine wrote some wise words about collections and their public worth,
> but
> > then came a clanger:
> >
> > Much better to have a little pail of golden wheat than a silo of
> >> chaffe.
> >
> > ----- now, there speaks a person who wants to decide what the future
> should
> > research! It is an error of judgement of huge proportions. Everybody has
> that
> > pail, because that is what constituted "good taste". It is the ephemeric
> > stuff, the stuff that only lived for a short time, the stuff that was
> played
> > again and again, because those who bought the item had no more for a
> whole
> > month and could not affort to buy another one until more money was
> available,
> > that is the stuff that is hard to find. Wear in itself may tell the
> > researcher very much indeed.
> >
> > Try to make a list of the items of information -- intended and
> non-intended --
> > that sits in a given artefact, in this case a record and its cover, and
> you
> > will be astounded how many traces of the recording, manufacturing,
> > distribution and listening processes you will find. You will realise
> that
> > golden wheat is just as sterile as the corn sold by Monsanto companies.
> They
> > decide what we are going to eat.
> >
> > I am sorry about the harsh words, but there are some who have looked at
> > records as multifaceted cultural objects for many, many years, and a
> > statement like this rubs me the wrong way.
> >
> > Kind regards,
> >
> >
> > George
> >
> >
> >> ----- Original Message ----- 
> >> From: "Mark Durenberger" <[log in to unmask]>
> >> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> >> Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2010 9:17 AM
> >> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The trials of trying to give away a record
> >> collection
> >>
> >>
> >> > >From the perspective of a Museum operative (Pavek) it should be
> noted
> >> that
> >> > in today's environment it's difficult to accept a collection without
> also
> >> finding the funding for
> >> > the collection's preservation.  It's too bad, but that's often the
> >> situation...
> >> >
> >> > Regards,
> >> >
> >> > Mark Durenberger
> >> >
> >> > --------------------------------------------------
> >> > From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
> >> >
> >> >>
> >>
> http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/u-of-m-rejects-massive-donation-of-re
> >> cordings-90816414.html
> >> >>
> >> >> The University of Manitoba first accepted and then rejected a donation
> of
> >> 56,500 discs. Some
> >> >> points in the article don't seem to hold up (like dates and record
> >> types), but here is a
> >> >> collection of 56,500 discs dating back to 1913 that appears to be
> looking
> >> for a home. Cheers,
> >> >> Richard
> >> >
> > 

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