By Edritch Priest
"Boring Formless Nonsense" intervenes in an aesthetics of failure that has principally been delimited by means of the visible arts and its avant-garde legacies. It specializes in modern experimental composition during which failure rubs shoulders with the types of probability, noise, and obscurity. In those works we pay attention failure anew. We pay attention boredom, formlessness, and nonsense in a manner that offers new buy to aesthetic, philosophical, and moral questions that falter of their unfavourable power. Reshaping debates on failure as a classy type, eldritch Priest indicates failure to be a hugely doubtful idea. The ebook frames fresh experimental composition as a deviant type of sound artwork whose affective and formal parts examine present matters in modern tradition, and gives analyses of musical works and function practices which are not often heard, not to mention regarded as major cultural phenomena - displaying the position that obscurity and the esoteric have in articulating present cultural realities. formidable in content material and experimental in its process, "Boring Formless Nonsense" will problem and fracture your perspectives on failure, creativity, and experimental track.
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Additional resources for Boring Formless Nonsense: Experimental Music and the Aesthetics of Failure
It is something in the way that a hole is something, and as such it fulfills its etymological destiny: it “bores a hole” in us. Now, why would artists want to intentionally bore? 8 Isn’t art’s purpose to enliven, to vitalize, and thus to Brian Massumi, Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002), 35. 7 Elaine Scarry presents this argument in her work The Body in Pain (1985), which proposes that sentience lies along a spectrum hemmed by complementary extremes: At one end is the imagination, wherein the act of imagining coincides with the object imagined, and at the other end is pain, in which the act of perception takes itself as its own object.
It therefore does not afford the listener a way of being (or at least the semblance of being) unbored. Instead, for reasons that I’ll address below, Mein Schatz is a work that articulates a contemporary neurosis regarding the incapacity of post-Cagean aesthetics to transfigure the homogenizing indifference of being bored into, at minimum, the condition of being (minorly) interesting. The twentieth century, of course, has seen and heard a vast number of artworks that use forms of slowness, tedium, and repetition as aesthetic strategies to explore the strangely multivalent effects of aesthetic distortion, but because the contemporary expression of these forms occurs in a cultural space that has become self-evidently untotalizable, there is much less concern today with boredom’s being interesting.
12 Like Tenney’s pieces, Mein Schatz, too, presents a refrain of slow growth and minor variations. But like all refrains, which assimilates and crystalizes differences to catalyze and organize the kinds of interactions occurring within its remit, Mein Schatz is no less territorial. It conscripts the activities and intensities coursing through a listener’s body, as well as those vibrating between the concert hall, performers, and instruments therein, to bring attention to its peculiar immanent order of dissipative sound events.