Day For Night – Catalogue of Works 001-100
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Watch: “Tall Grey Buildings” by MALKA SPIGEL (swim~)
Watch: “High” by WIRE (pink flag)
Watch: “Pink Flag” by WIRE & Pink Flag Guitar Orchestra
DESIGN, WEB DEVELOPMENT & STRATEGY
NATPE.com – The Largest U.S.-Based Global Content Association
Talk About It! – Epilepsy Awareness campaign for the Epilepsy Foundation
One might question whether I suffer from schizophrenia to trade under so many different names… Day For Night, Rhythm Factory, Found, Kunstfabriken, King FM, Bluebottles, NIGHTfonts, Salvador Dalek… Eric Scott?
Yes, perhaps in the creative sense I have trouble resisting identities…or too much spare time to think. Perhaps (also) my reasoning originates with a desire to differentiate projects by a discrete manifesto – a subset of artistry defined by an independent projects label, and an image represented in a series of curriculum vitae.
Eric Scott projects are mostly linked to my pursuits as an author or composer of instrumental, ambient, (minimalistic) compositions for other ensembles (ie. Sexus)…plus a few songs written while dabbling with popular music since the mid-eighties onwards…
Found, as another example… compiled entirely from sources I’ve collected over the years and not relying too heavily upon melodies so much as the settings and scenarios created; some poignant, funny or even sad…
Or Sexus, the funny little six-keyboard ensemble founded for the purpose of performing minimalist ensemble pieces of which I am but one member as well as chief composer…
King FM is an ambient/dubstep/remix outfit…and what better source material to start with than the music of Rhythm Factory, essentially a techno outfit – me again, with an arsenal of keyboards – in which I play the three main roles, composer, program-mer, and producer (assigned three discrete aliases: Jupiter, Pete and Gez – The Sonic Investigators?) …But recent attempts to sculpt the upcoming releases “Push” (Day 022) and “Suck” (Day 024), not as electronica, but with guitars is part of the genre-busting we hear so much about…
The Von Trapps is me recording with singer/ lyricist Doug Green. Attempts made in the early 1990’s haven’t always aged the same as others (the presaging of breakbeat loops and no more electronic drums for another 10 years!) – still, the Von Trapps have been hibernating for quite some time now…there are but three recordings to this identity; a one-off perhaps, but as with most projects these things do wake up as they receive interest…
The eponymous Bluebottles album (slated for 2004), is a departure from the world of breakbeat and into a territory of jazz-halls and comedy. It really wouldn’t have that problem of sounding like it was done en-tirely inside a computer. (Even if it was!)
A temporary shopfront for NIGHTfonts, the foundry of digital and experimental typefaces, developed under the patronage of Day For Night. Font families are organized in groups by a particular thematic title (Manifesto, Control, Disorder, Mission, Style, Transit)…
So where exactly does Day For Night fit as a creative entity? What is there possibly left to say? It might be witnessed simply as a designer label, but Day For Night assumes predominantly a curatorial role in the big picture of internet theatre and the indepen-dent projects label: the proverbial camera operator presiding behind the creative lens, gently nudging the frame to the right or to the left.
The NIGHTlinkRail stations represent something internal to the Day For Night process; a creative embodiment on this specific type of willful misdirection. Which may account for why I tell people that NIGHTlinkRail is a work of fiction.
No identities are fixed. All identities are the product of change. They flow, and are not meant to be rigid entities.
So in the end, I can weave a good story, but I can also be a bit of a control freak, and what happens there is that the art, the music, the counter-narrative themes, or whatever, they become so me that nobody else knows how to get involved properly. Which can be sad really, as it’s meant to inspire, while at the same time, overwhelming the end user is one way I like to create that particular distinction in art.
Basically, what this suggests, is that “the thicker the book, the more credible the author and their information.” Sound familiar? I wrestled with the idea of the length of this book. And of the breadth of content on my CD-rom.
As an independent artist and designer, I have deliberately avoided some of the limitations, both of specialized areas of work and the obligations of commitment required in a design studio environment.
I prefer to work alone, allowing myself more room to experiment and change, and to choose commissions of a wider diversity (from web creation to record covers, corporate work to unique commissions).
Presently, I am pursuing only the commissions I believe in and can support morally, socially and politically. This approach leads me into essentially close relationships with clients.
With two of my experimental projects thus far – NIGHTlinkRail and H O SPITAL – I have indulged the passion for image making which most interest me… Siteworks offering a unique marriage of progressive musics with flexible visuals. Both are joined in a network unified by a starting point and an end point. In the middle lies a finite universe of 100 virtual underground stations, each one representing a completed Day For Night project.
This might be tied in to a long-time fascination with underground travel, allowing me to develop a more effective context to integrate my music and images, making for a journey that is both unique for each visitor, and yet, like a subway system, governed by a rigorous internal logic.
What I do is not a ‘job’ but a vocation, something that is fundamental to my life. My approach to doing projects is continually informed by a passion for language and for architecture – a balance of form, space and order.
I admit to a tendency to being something of a trainspotter – creating an ordered universe, where the beauty and serendipity of random order can ultimately be introduced to play a catalytic role in the creative process,
Future hopes include continually challenging the accepted notions of applied arts – experimenting with unknown materials and new technologies – to extend work into a wider diversity of projects and to work more with environmentally-aware clients.
January 1, 2000
It’s an amazing world, and let’s do that; create what we prefer.
Let us always create what we prefer. Let us create something of our own choosing, and allow ourselves the space around that creation, to become a “breathing zone”, for what we choose for ourselves. To support our higher selves — our truest version of self, it’s the only way we can have impact, ultimately, in our universe.
(Even more than sex…) I fantasize about a tolerant, patient, open-minded society
which can handle revolution
and rejects the musical spectacle
Why is it important that others align with their higher self, to find this understanding?
The goal of all life is, ultimately, to create happiness by meeting all the needs for survival, followed by the needs that lead to self actualization. Maslow identifies this with his hierarchy of needs, which ascends in 5 levels (physiological, safety, love, esteem, and finally, self-actualization.)
Perhaps, for one thing, there is nothing more boring at parties than someone who hates their fucking job. Because you always want to know from them, why don’t you really just do a career, and not focus on a job instead?
Maybe the world would become a more enlightened (and happier) space, if we all do what it takes to create this for ourselves, with a higher goal in mind.
What would a mass form of idealism produce?
Would it form a shallow, utopian view? If we don’t assume responsibility for ourselves, whenever we talk about Utopia, then the prospect doesn’t seem so realistic. We imagine a perfect world, but we also still assume that someone else, maybe a creator, is still responsible for our decisions. It is easy to see why we give up on a vision, especiallly when it becomes easier to assign “utopia” with a label… such as “equals, unrealistic.”
Synergistic relationships, however, between spouses, partners, clients and vendors …all begin with a principal alignment, which must require few compromises, few second-guesses. There is no world so heinous as one which senselessly endorses “harmful” goods and services — products that its inhabitants don’t really want. If we don’t make the time to research the alternatives we choose, to our own satisfaction, then we contribute to a glut of useless options, without addressing our civil right for better options — a right which requires self-authority; to make a deliberate choice early in the puzzle — and which precedes a glut based upon quantitative measures.
When we work against our better instincts, we unwittingly give creating energy to the parties whose products we do not deliberately endorse; this is especially true, when we undertake business relationships that we feel are separate from our awareness of higher self.
Perhaps it is every person’s responsibility: first, to get to know oneself, to understand and to value this importance. Equally, we must learn to be consistent within ourselves, in a manner which produces a satisfactory result, one which appears to be connected to the steps taken to arrive there.
How often does someone you know give up, frustrated, saying “I want C, but I do A and B, but I never get C as a result!” And how often do we also know that A or B may not have been the only right steps in the first place, but an abbreviation of merely some of those steps?
She/He may be limited…
in sexual knowledge…
in out of body experience…
in good life experience…
in bad times…
she or he may be limited in time.
I ended up realizing a production goal that year. I digitized and organized my entire back catalogue that year, beginning with those tapes, and including all my 4-tracks, work tapes, DATs, Sound FX, Loops and Samples.
Recording became an activity organized from a single hard drive, and with an incremental back up process takign place every night. Musically, it saved my life to see all of my work in a context that was free of judgment.
PROCESS: “I am source.”
A paragraph about my work process,
all music and source resident.
This work was produced using two hand-held recorders.
The difference in timing is accounted for by the variations in playback speeds on the individual recorders, when the two recordings are laid side by side.
Additional variations were produced by varying the speaker’s location in relation to the two recorders.
It took 7 years to figure out how I wanted to make music again. What it boiled down to was, I wanted making music to be easy, and free of a lengthy accounting or “clean-up” phase.
I also resented how I’d cornered myself using MIDI prior to 1993 — I was afraid of picking up an instrument and creating a work that could never be replicated.
I had studio envy — the idea that no matter what I was about to record, someone would later challenge the technical quality of the recording: if I’d used cassette, I should have used DAT. If I’d used DAT, I should have used a better mic and recording environment. Basically, I felt like I could never win. Not enough bass. Not enough high-end.
So MIDI had becoem this sterile, anabolic environment where the information was contained inside of boxes; and music was still an activity outside of my grasp.
Between 1993 and 2000, I recorded every musical idea on a cassette tape using a dictaphone.
I did my best to put dates on the cassettes when I’d finish them, although by the October of 2000, I had 88 C-90s, filled front and back with junk, musical snatches, amusing phone messages, personal journal entries, creative direction for the creative agency I was starting up, KaChing, as well as Day For Night, and ultimately, roughly no idea of where any of it was meant to go, except usually for the month immediately following completion of any one tape, after which all knowledge would fade into the recent past.
It was an interesting case of creating overwhelm – the quiet before the storm.
Or the difficult way,
but nobody really wants to do that.
You adopt this stance Recognizing the commonsense/emotional component of doing something
Being kind, helpful, efficient. It serves a very logical side of the brain as well as a compassionate one, being efficient means being considerate to oneself; a simplification that makes life enjoyable. And it’s logical because the brain recognizes the impact and influence for having chosen to do so. (We can do this the easy way or the hard way.)
I’m not a fan of doing anything twice. And if I can avoid exhausting personalities and just stay focused all day, then that’s a truly good thing.
I guess it all works out.
For me personally, working digitally means that I have a tendency to organize and database certain types of work-in-progress, as a precursor to a lot of the work that I do.
For example, in 2003, I finally worked out a relational system for organizing my output, allowing me to work even faster. The prime objective in my output is to get from the starting point “A” to whatever destination “B” should turn out to be – by taking the most enjoyable, and effective, path I can create.
I work with hard-drives, and the file-to-folder hierarchy, to keep content in order. I date all my work consistently, using YEAR_MMDD in all file paths, so that I can sort my work chronologically, at a glance. This ties into a personal Code that is at the root of some personal research; effectively a life-long thesis on what it is that I’m creating.
In the past it used to take me a month to finish a musical composition, working with instruments, on paper, using hardware, and eventually hard drives and software. The end result was on a DAT, which was digital. So the process of working from analog-to-digital would take a lot of energy and would test my patience for the course of a month.
Partially, this is because these tools, as an organization, have limits, and my grasp of those tools limited me further.
Since realizing that this is a hinderance to the actualization of more output, my goal for growth is twofold – to keep improving the toolset, and to continue to improve my ability to use intuition, and satisfy my drive to create more output.
So much goes into the art of narrative, not the least of which is the work. Like when the teachers said, “show your work” because you needed to prove that you knew what you were doing whenever you got the right answer. This unfolds many, many hours of “proof”. Where to begin?
Thus far, I have kept sketchbooks, notebooks, journals, binders, cassettes, videos, CD-roms, bound books, bags, drawers, floppies and hard drives full of the stuff. Which supposedly builds character, or “image.”
I was faced with the proposal of doing a distillation of my work for a cd-rom, but in the end, I voted against it, because I simply did not want to present a reduction or derivation. So there’s a dual motive; most importantly, there’s the artistic one that says that an object is an object, and cannot be reduced or explained properly, much like when you try to help someone achieve a vicarious pleasure by describing an experience to them, that they weren’t party to experiencing firsthand. You know that you’re going to fail if you ultimately want to recreate your enthusiasm.
But there’s also the mischievous pleasure found in the possible disinformation aspects of creating a whole body of work — one which lacks obvious lines of support within other, more established sources.
It’s like a “faith” thing. We take faith when we’re devout; but we also take faith when it gives us comfort, or even when we’re lazy; ie, too lazy to read into something by ourselves. We ask to have our hands held, we remember parents reading to us and taking care of us, and suddenly, we’re in an age where the glut of information overwhelms us and faces us with the challenge of reading, which at times we know to be a greater challenge — of our good sense, because we also know that much of what’s written and published no longer has that required stamp of authority. Everything everyone says now seems to emerge from a position of authority. Any semi-literate person can host a web-page; and if the design looks professional enough, we choose to believe in that party’s authority, to say whatever they believe, even if it lacks the research and support to back it.
And then there’s the general feeling that no one likes to stand out as a nay-sayer, so few people will bring that role back upon themselves to bring down false authorities; the rewards often appear too thin for doing so.
I’m definitely intrigued by systems, and by artists who use systems in their work. Peter Greenaway, for example, whose paintings show an entirely “other” side to his filmmaking, and which he has always admitted to be a wholly artificial construct. You always know that what your seeing looks artificial. You just don’t always know why.
And sometimes, that bothers the more naturalistic aspects of film-going, because we see reality depicted artificially, as though it were true reality, when in fact it’s not. We know that films aren’t real, but we like to believe that they are. So when they don’t enable us with our belief, we reject them as bad or unfriendly. But if you consider film as 24 paintings a second, you might be in the audience for an entirely different reason, having more to do with entertaining the eye, with light.
Music: it’s pure sound, when it’s at its best. If we decide that imposing a formal construct upon it is the only solution, we get into secondary issues which might often detract from the primary one, which is organized sound, to be post-Cageian about it. We see the storytelling aspects of Opera or Country music as natural, because their folk aspects are centuries old. But in another way, their time has come, if we are truly in a post-PostModern age.
We have just come from deconstructing popular art form with Modernism, and post-Modernism is already a relationship we have with the past. We’re always post-something. Since the early 90s, we’re in a place, where the artist’s awareness, or attitude about hyper-professionalism is what is on display. Ease of creating an illusion and affordibility all adds up to make a good artistic statement.
Being a digital artist is a term we hear more and more of. Perhaps it really describes more of an attitude – it’s about how we get organize our work to get digital results, rather than merely being a symptom of using a few of the tools; Photoshop and a drawing tablet alone do not make a digital artist.
Digital means are those reserved for the storage and organization of all virtual, non-physical assets we choose to create.
Of course, neither medium, whether actual or virtual, is meant to replace the other. Yet for some reason, we continuously experience portfolio sites, containing reductions of printed matter – this is where a choice has been made (or non-deliberately, has been allowed) to put a thumbnail in place of an original object. Without going so far as to saying whether I feel this is good or bad, let me just say, you can probably already guess where I’m leaning on the subject.
To become better digital artists, we may think of our output as that whose destination is screen-based. Work we create in this category would therefore include things created for broadcast as well as for on-demand, or personal, browsing. Perhaps, for this reason alone, it remains truly important that we not think purely in terms of reductionist experiences, any more than we should ever talk down to an audience – both are potentially condescending and result in negatively conditioning, and finally, losing an audience.
We already know that the history books have a tendency to edit history severely; we should not edit ourselves out of existence in the process of getting there.
Therefore, a sequence of sound and visual bites does not replace any single element we’ve created in our body of work. The presentation of digital content should be appreciative; it should increase in value, as it is time-based. And our final destination, with all digital work, should be the preservation, as well as the presentation, of original content as both a means, and as an end.
Consider each Catalogue number to be a self-contained thesis in the Post-Situationist-International (SI).
Consider each Day to be a looser definition of time; much like the interpretative measurement of days in the biblical sense.
The integration of the Spectacle represents a point where the marketing messages of the corporate broadcast environment intersects and forms a grey zone with the detourned messages of independent thinkers…One might say that the Revolution will be televised. That’s definitely one way to look at it.
The spectacle rejects the value of real experience, by creating empty substitutes for that kind of experience. It’s the empty calories of a visual culture; and now we have developed additional terms to reflect this idea (with dismay). We are becoming a post-literate society.
But more about that later.
Don’t you think it’s about time you inspired your local community to REJECT life’s passive creations — those which are provided by forces of capitalist consumption, as alternatives for real experience.
Examples of these creations are those supplied as marketing messages to consumers like you, your family, and friends.
They, who would “buy or die”
Young, fresh minds are being exploited for their disposable income.
The messages created by “integrators” of the spectacle, are messages populated by waves and sensations of powerlessness
The consumer “buys” to avoid rejection by peers.
The messages urge buyers to feel less empty by consuming more empty calories.
They use the power of seduction to weaken the will, instead of strengthening it or inspiring.
They abuse the potential of any new (or current) medium, by forcing a trite message to a non-creative end.
They use a misdirected, or displaced “culture of cool” – yet another Mixed Message of a gentrified, yuppified underground culture that is no longer elitist.
The messages flatten, condition, and de-stimulate.
They are spells.
They condition new behaviours in people to not read, but to “skim” instead of reading and contemplating.
In such a case, everybody loses.
They are enablers for not thinking or forming opinions in favor of a consumable, quantitative hunt for options. They favor the external image: the lure of the politically correct soapbox — but the soapbox is almost six feet underwater, and our eyes are just peering above the waves. It is a last gasp of air. It is a popularity contest.
The right to deliberately experience a unique viewpoint — don’t we all still think we have this? How many would question this? That they are so accustomed to the unseen machinery, a metastructure that most can no longer see, is perhaps not a concern for some.
But to consume empty calories is also to fatten up, to get slow. There is little to say in favor of blinker the mind to accept the pop culture spectacle as reality. Remember — you don’t want your girlfriend or your wife, you really want Britney Spears and her contradictory messages. You want gangsta shit. You
MTV, VH1, E! — what are these channels about? If you asked for a manifesto, you’d probably get directed to a mission statement. It might even sound non-committedly noble, to “offer music fans what they want.” That’s what everybody says they are doing. Answering to market need. On-demand services.
So I propose this. Let’s do an experiment. Let’s create 999 more channels of boy bands, girl bands and vanity. Let’s manufacture music, and let’s enforce that all ideas we see are our own.
Let’s add about 240 more shopping channels. Let’s create additional infomercials where we position our reverse-engineered products.
Let’s “introduce a need” into the market, by showing a consumer struggling with pancakes. Let’s give the people what we say they want. Let’s put asses in the seats.
Let’s do reality television, it’s more real than reality — it’s a hyperreal substitute for experience, man, plus it lacks the huge time commitment of having friends. ALSO the hyper-real TV people are innately more beautiful, and what’s so AMAZING — is that they apparently have no idea they’re being filmed, so their problems are DEFINITELY interesting.
Let’s overstimulate children. They’re all Baby Mozarts, Baby Einsteins, Baby Da Vincis. Let’s put them in front of endless multimedia triggers — new parts of their brains will stimulate, plus — it even makes them better shoppers than we were.
Let’s not have an opinion. Let’s have a brand, but no attitude. We don’t stand for anything as designers of messages, but our opinions are those of our clients, whoever they might be. Let’s stand up for what the people who pay us stand for. Let’s not stand up to our beliefs, someone’s gotta pay the rent for this $2000/mo office!
Let’s continue to create stupidity and offer more options, more choice, so that others can feel outrage and offence at the short-sightedness of home-based entrepreneurs and their e-myth.
Let’s trade upon the lives of all young people, and keep them indoors more, it’s safer anyway and that way they won’t have sex or get into gangs.
Let’s exploit the spectacle by placing our own messages into the canons of meta-advertising. Let’s place message that say “consume this you dumb-ass fucker! You’re not smart enough to know the difference between Pepsi and RC, so this should fly by over your head.
There’s also the global brain theory, which is really interesting.
The global brain exists, and according to writer Peter Moraites, the next phase of collective consciousness is inevitable. It’s the next level we move on to, beyond the state that appears to be amassed with chaos and entropy. Today we are meta-particles, bumping into one another; then, at a sort of neo-atomic level, we vibrate en masse when the collision rate increases beyond a certain level, and we change over into a different life form. Or something like that.
There is always the possibility that we could extinct ourselves too, before this other thing could happen.
It’s one of many photos; a young man with a slight grin, holding up a sign he’s made with the following words on it, “Everything is connected in life. The point is to know it, and to understand it.”
It’s contained in this beautiful quote, located in Gillian Wearing’s project “Signs That Say What You Want Them To Say, and Not Signs That Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say.”
We are all connected to everything else. It’s so important that we not forget this part. If someone were to tell me that there is a meaning to life has been finally discovered, I’d have to tell them, Sorry man, you’re too late, I’ve already read it somewhere else.
Just that, nothing more.
What I mean by this, is that the only artifacts of early Situationism are the words…This is what a mostly-failed movement could offer, if not for the inclusion of Fluxus style lightness to divert and to subvert.
No website that writes about Post-Situationism, without also “detourning” at the same time could be of any real value. No one wants to read about conceptual art theory. Hence, this essay is going to be kept very short.
Subverting the public space of the web has been Day For Night’s m.o. since 1995, when it began to create NIGHTlinkRail, NoelCrane.com and numerous web presences for the show ALIAS. The objective of such diversion was to distract and amuse, to subvert and shake.
Since, this has become absorbed into the “Integrated Spectacle” — it is increasingly commonplace for networks to think they’re being subversive, too, by creating Reality televisions and for a fictitious property to “converge” media. Naturally, there is more than a few media
What will happen when all media has been converged? Will reality TV go away? Or will it simply go back into supporting the public’s apparent adoration of this form of Spectacle?
To resolve this, we must educate ourselves. We must condition ourselves, by encouraging and rewarding patience, even tenaciousness. It might even involve re-training ourselves to put ourselves before the clients we work with. If I cannot endorse a product or service, then I must also exercise my right of refusal. I will grow my own food, and provide my own services to others who are like minded. I must recognize what makes this so important.
It is by coincidence that the use of a realist metaphor, that subverting the language of advertising can become a big part of how something like that gets presented. For example, we have Simon Patterson’s “The Great Bear”, joining the world’s public persona, engineers, comedians, royalty, planets and major philosophers on a tube map; the environmental graphic design icon of the London Underground.
Sarah Lucas, and other representatives of what became termed in the 90s as Young British art, the wave that followed the “Freeze” and “Saatchi” exhibitions, for the talent that spun off of Goldsmith’s college alumni in the 1990s, and covered so thoroughly in Matthew Collings’ books “Blimey” and “This is Modern Art.” Many of these have created theses by way of a thread, to follow the media subversions of Situationism, Surrealism and Fluxus.
It also stands to reason that many contemporary subversions in the form of viral marketing are deployed by Post-Situationists, using the medium for social commentary or wise-crack; the most visible example in Los Angeles is Shepard Fairey’s “OBEY” flyers, using Andre The Giant’s saddened, heavy face, almost-perfectly posterized though photocopying.
I’ve always had this passion for fiction intertwining with reality, and blurring those edges – especially where these either make for a good dialogue about life and art. Perhaps it even fulfills a need I have; for irony to find a home in art. The effect of bringing lightness and humor to every experience now prevails, because, only now, I can see it in all of my work…!
In France and Britain, in the mid-to-late 60s, Situationists played with the messages brought forth by the spectacle, when they doctored its language and subverted its imagery.
The most notorious offense, lies in the commercial misappropriations of the human form, face and body – especially the face. At its least obvious, we usually recognize desperation on the part of a seller, to put on a Noxzema-fresh, Photoshopped close-up of a sexy model – as a gesture of unattainability.
The place for this in Day For Night’s body of work exists within a desire to uphold the aesthetic appeal of beauty and the beautiful creation, but meanwhile, it assumes some overlap with the integrated spectacle.
Words, to describe pictures of people who use words and pictures, to describe places and things.
The Situationists were a league of French political artists during the latter 20th century, whose slant on social reform took the form of a surreal post-Dadaist manipulation of word and text. Often, their détournements (diversions) involved the supplanting of common meaning with abstract and subversive meanings of their own, as a statement of social upheaval and reform. The détournements of the late 1960s may now take on an added significance as the worldwide web now begins to pervert itself – an internet we begin to take for granted, which now willfully distorts and subverts – disorienting us as it fetishises commerce, leading us into a greater state of net-complacency. One might ask what would have happened if the Situationists had evolved purely into web designers?
Internet Theatre, (Day For Night shorthand for web situations) is the art of misdirecting an audience while holding court, and tapping into the web’s awesome theatrical potential, by chaining together a suspension of disbelief similar to that thing which film does, and which theatre and television do, too. It’s the representation of image as fact, made even more surprising by its plausibility, through a series of strategic clues.
Example One. Noel Crane is a second-year graphic arts student at the University of New York in Manhattan. He is also resident advisor on the 7th floor of his dormitory and dispenses homespun wisdom to the freshman students. On the side, Noel designs fonts in his spare time and has a webpage, Noelcrane.com to front his desire to establish a career in the graphics biz someday, possibly soon after graduation. More interestingly, though, he has fallen in love with a girl named Felicity Porter who is one of his advisees.
Noel primarily inhabits a television world created by the producers at Imagine Television and Disney Online… This world shared space on Tuesday nights on the Warner Brothers television network as the tv show Felicity. Of course, Noel has no idea how we watch his every move on television, nor does the interactive world he has “created” online indicate any such confidence. In fact, there are no mentions to a television show, or even the girl named Felicity, but only a passing nod here or there. Noel remains blissfully unaware that viewers are writing their pleas to try and wake him from web slumberland.
The creative premise of Noel Crane.com is that, on the surface, it could be the homepage of any young and technically-gifted college student, noodling with web design like a true hobbyist. The site’s primary objective is to reinforce Noel’s brand by defining the walls unseen around his public life – the web browser is a gap between the bricks, wherein a separate dialogue emerges between the show’s creators and viewers.
By presenting a student’s homepage, complete in its virtual idiosyncrasies – as opposed to a sponsored website, self-consciously boasting cross-promotional and merchandising offers – the fans have retained a seemingly personal, private window onto Noel’s world. They will learn more through his tastes and insights. Thereby, omitting any references to the universe created by television, the Felicity listservers and mailgroups also have something interesting to talk about. And in many cases, fans who discovered the site ended up endorsing it with hyperlinks from pages on sites they created themselves to honor the show and its characters.
Noel’s fictitious site experienced a sharp rise in visits over the next weeks, capping just over 43,000 visits during the month of November 1998 when it was first announced – during the course of dialogue, during the show – and many visits came from repeat visitors. It was a fairly auspicious start for a web designer whose work was never registered with search engines or linked to from any other part of the show’s integrated brand experience.
With Internet Theatre, that fourth, proverbial, mythical wall stands intact. It says as much about a show’s presentation as it can become a presentation of the show – all the while observing newer, unusual boundaries for siteworks. For Day For Night, this offered up, with each new project, a laboratory for new experiments in electronic communications and commercial misdirection.
Internet Theatre is guided by a logical process. The characters cannot see the past the edge of the stage.
Perhaps this can be likened to the dedication of method actors when they assume character. Day For Night is at its most passionate when it comes to maintaining a hands-on approach within this level of sitework – where each project can executed by adherence to a logistical script, and in a fully-adopted character or guise.
We measured the success of a project like Noel Crane.com by the bewildering level of positive confusion we can create with it – when a casual visitor can positively cross-reference a universe created on television, from a separate reality existing only on the web.
Two identical pictures of a girl and boy under tree. The girl is stroking the boy’s hair. He lies with his head in her lap.
Caption under 1:
The ending to a happy film?
Caption under 2:
The start of a very sad film?
Remember, we always see what serves us best, and what we really want to see, long before we see what’s really there. Use this well.
Current policy is to remove harmful or limiting adjectives from any stage of the creative, or music-making process. As I began to use language that felt free of terminology, labeling or artistic judgment, I found that I also felt happier about much of it. Instead, I was favoring a system of organizing music by its innate qualities. I find it freedom-inspiring.
I proposed this as I organized a database of all my musical tracks – by the time I did this, I had over 1400 of them. Each track would take on a measurement in each of the following categories:
1. Timbre (mood-keywords)
2. Melodic (musical key)
3. Tempo (speed in beats per minute)
4. Rhythm (the artist or identity)
I felt my definition of modern music becoming more important around 1994, although it had always been really significant since 1980, but really the deciding factor in Day For Night’s output. My eyes opened about a lot of things, and I realized that I had already been down a road that had been about new music for the concert hall and modern classical. I liked the openness of a term like avant-garde-jazz-classical (to coin Vini Reilly’s own description of Durutti Column). And post-chamber music for keyboards and ensemble players.
Really, it’s more that genres exist to give journalists and people who work in record shops an easier life, but they don’t help artists… except to give them something back to react angrily to.
As soon as you inform a new age musician that they’re it, they hate you, and they hate the term even more. Tell any electronic musician that their downtempo grooves are them doing “Trip-Hop” and you’ll get a look back. No matter how convenient the wording, all genres are there to be shattered by the best artists, who are happiest when their work falls in between the cracks. And the more popular the subgenre, the dirtier the hatred, and the greater the need for defying those boundaries.
I have also identified categories in my work, some of which do work: “Arty Noisy Abstraction” … “Complex, cerebral, sophisticated” … “Post-Niche, Reinvented inside a Computer”… “Trip Groove Downtempo”… “White, Funky Contradictions.” This works for me to identify trends in my music, though it, too, is a process that is likely to be reinvented often, as it is founded upon my personal code.
It made me remember that, earlier on, I had used personal shorthand or code to label tracks, before they received official titles. Sometimes in fear of committing too early to a name, I would favor language like: “Robert Smith of the Cure battles Julian Cope in the carpark to a 1983 Eindhoven New Order gig.”
Begin by putting all the ideas into a kind of bag. This restores a greater degree of equality between each idea.
This, in turn, builds awareness of the effects (sometimes adverse) which labels can have upon our beliefs about what we create and do.
So de-labeling at the beginning, that is a system that works great for the during any brainstorm.
Proceed to grouping ideas using key words and themes, with the aim to identifying patterns and waves; the peaks where any two ideas resonate through things like rhythm and tempo, and can mutually reinforce one another. This works with all forms of music and art. Visually this happens when we overlay tissues over a backdrop and see the cumulative effect of our decisions emerge along the way.
Eliminate dead weight often… Travel light.
I have limited attention and like to work on only one project at a time.
But often, I’m required to manage many more, and so my attention is continually being divided between what I feel I should be doing and what I prefer to be doing.
So, each week at Day For Night, Thursday is played out like a game – the objective is to not treat Thursday with great seriousness, but rather with renewed energy and by tackling fires at an invigorating speed.
The game is about freeing up attention – such that Friday becomes a fully available play day of its own right, creating a sort of three day weekend.
Begin Thursday with a list of hot items – your big To-Do list. The objective is to confront attention-deficit, by giving each activity exactly 20 minutes, measured using an egg-timer with a bell.
The rules are simple: Each time the timer goes off, I stop where I am, save my work, go to next thing on the list. I found that I would invent new shortcuts by playing this game; for example, I found I was happy to create files with consistent naming trends, and make aliases or shortcuts, on my computer’s desktop so that I could quickly revisit what I was doing, later.
The objective of such a day is to change the dynamic of work by releasing attention that gets fixed upon chores that demand the most attention. By addressing each thing on the hot list for exactly 20 minutes, I found I work smarter at it. It also leaves nothing up to procrastination. Although each project may appear to move forward only slightly, the overall momentum results in a greater excitement, and movement forward, than by tackling only two or three projects for the day in their near (but often not complete) entirety.
So what is a musician’s responsibility, as an artist, to music before all else?
Electronica, in musical terms, is a sort of textless world… The prospect of less politics may be what makes this seem so encouraging. After all, it captures the inspiration of so many solo music-makers, along with the immediacy of the process. It’s emotive technology.
We love to relate to the artist as a person. And, we love to visualize artistry, especially when we can experience it fully, and with all of our senses.
The humanity of the artist does, after all, elevate people as a whole, when we align ourselves with the arts. We like to believe that the person who created the work, knows fallibility, just like we do. It also reinforces this ideal we have for DIY culture; and that everything is ultimately attainable. We might even consider how an artist’s likeability-index is a greater factor in that artist’s influence across cultural circles today, than it was perhaps in the 1600s, when reputation was based largely upon hearsay, which was very slow-moving, especially by today’s standards.
Visibility is increasing for everybody, and for every thing. And, at once, it never changes at all.
We are generally intolerant of things we don’t understand. And as musicians, we love to taunt and tame the limits of modern music consumers. Targeting the unreasonably short fuse is a viable place to start.
We pervert sound, we make the unfashionable listenable. We suggest that anything that was formerly listenable is still exercisable as an option.
Quick wits challenge slow tempers. I have actually sat in many movie theatres and concert halls, loving to watch people squirm. I find this really interesting.
One critic of my release, “Paris: A Musical Overpass,” kept using the word insistent to describe what she heard in common to this and to “3 Mains” – she was trying to be kind, God bless her.
We listen, and even make ourselves aware, as musical phrases emerge and repeat, that we as listeners continue to evolve over that same span of time, regardless of what we think the sound is accomplishing for us. We are, in fact, finishing an unfinished work.
We like the breakdown in the singularity of meaning, for the art-object. People are no longer designing finished works, and we are no longer consumers of finished work. Artists are creating unfinished ones – to be remixed and restructured in a dialogue that includes others, and elements of chance.
Experimentation in the realm of audio as music, is certainly no new topic. Being experimental is of value to every artist, in all media.
Sometimes it seems to lack relevance; we have seen pioneers championing electronic technology since the first half of the 20th century. As a topic for discussion, it is perhaps less relevant to ask, “In what way is the Day For Night catalogue experimental?” and instead, “Why should it be so, and how can this possibly matter?”
The value we assign to experimentation is hard to measure exactly, but it is a consistent marker.
It continues to inspire all that we do, from what we choose to create and consume, to what gets us up in the morning, and also what keeps us from going to sleep at night. Sometimes, we must also masquerade experimentation in less obvious packages, which would otherwise too often scare away a new and potentially timid audience.
Such a belief about audience bears examination, too.
In the field of modern classical composition, how can a topic so battered and trite as minimalism be weighed in the current age, when met against the leagues of serialist composers such as Boulez, Cage and Stockhausen, and all of their scholastic disciples? All of these legends have had their run in the academic world – there appears to be material there to study, and this is informed by process as well.
Are those other minimalists from the 60s and 70s (they now prefer to be unnamed) forever resigned to a dimmed future, based upon the unfortunate associations between sonic compositions with repeating patterns, and the minimally blank canvases – from two similarly named, but differently fueled media? (I certainly hope not.)
Instead, one might ask, “Does this new work challenge any important preconceptions?” And in the case of musical minimalism, it is evidently a challenge to the patience of a willing audience.
Brian Eno, in his introduction for the latest edition of Michael Nyman’s “Experimental Music: Cage & Beyond”, makes some excellent points about the trajectory of 20th century experimental music and our intellectual fetishes..
The best books about art movements become more than just descriptions: they become part of what they set out to describe.
I particularly like what this sentence illustrates; about how any cultural movement might see a divergence between academics and non-academics. I like especially what it says about all art – that we should deliberately feel and experience the differences between the intellectual options that replace the experiential ones.
Eno mentions that music colleges, in his time, were not interested in minimalism and experimentalists of the late 60’s
but the art colleges “ate it up.” There were the composers like Cornelius Cardew and Gavin Bryars who earned their living teaching art students, and who saw their contribution in a more pure, intellectual, spiritual experience. These became known as part of the English School, and Eno describes that as “a place where we could entertain and test philosophical propositions or encapsulate intriguing game-like procedures.”
This may be what makes music interesting.
Whereas the avant-garde could be seen as a proper site for real musical skills, and was therefore being slowly co-opted into the academy, the stuff we were interested in was so explicitly anti-academic that it claimed to have been often written for non-musicians.This, versus the ones who were interested in the pure sonic experience – the sensual, tonal pieces, which were full of repetition.
Both aspects were always present in experimental music of the 60s, often to the exclusion of everything that lay in between. I admit to being concerned more with processes, than end products myself.
So if this was experimental music, what was the experiment? Perhaps it was the continual re-asking of the question, “what also could music be?”
What makes music interesting, is our desire and ability to experience something as music. A process of apprehending, that we, as listeners, choose to conduct…This has moved the site of music from out there to in here.
Music – it’s something your mind does.
You open your mind, and this is where you experience the new.
This is a fundamental element of wanting to enjoy myself as much as possible. If I judge while I listen, I tend not to find much to enjoy. Maybe, because I begin by assuming that I’m right first, and that if I don’t get it, then that’s the artist’s fault. When I cast a veil of suspicion over an influence, my options become less interesting… and it’s actually not that much fun being right about that after all.
But life’s too short not to experience other viewpoints without prejudice – and that music, film, and art all make the same assumption, when they’re exploring the new.
Namely, that you’re going to be open to their message, and so here it is, unexpurgated.
OK, now that’s funny.
I’m remembering now – perhaps due in part to recently taking in 24 Hour Party People – the very first time I remember hearing New Order and liking them.
It was, of course, hearing Blue Monday on KROQ, which my father would let me play in his car – on the way back from Odyssey Video, in 1983, and thinking, back then, that it sounded plastic for my tastes.
This was also the first time that I liked it – and that it for once didn’t irritate me, but rather, intrigued me, because something was undoubtedly right about it, as well – despite the absolute certainty I’d held until that point, that technology was possibly destructive and evil.
I was also still putting together what it felt like, relative to Joy Division, whose moodier airs on Closer had so definitely seduced me. That music, I felt I had a more classical grasp on; this music, on the other hand, stood up to repeated listening, but also revealed little about its source.
It’s funny how we choose to listen to music.
Music people somehow fall into two vague categories, people who are genuinely interested in music and fans of the medium itself – and casual listeners, whose conscious efforts are often left out of the matter, but who enjoy their role as consumers.
Fans of the medium will sometimes form even form clans – audiophiles take on the D.I.Y.-ers on the issues of sound a purist medium, even touching on form over function topics.
Generally speaking, our conscious attention has an interesting relationship with new sounds, and their effects upon mood. Sometimes we listen as closely as we can. Headphone listening. Headmuzik, that’s the best kind…like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, or Scanner 1 – on an overcast day.
I have a personal recollection – it’s about the David Toop disc Screen Ceremonies – it changed some of my beliefs about the potential of musical conditioning. I ended up using it to condition myself to fall asleep at will, with the help of some Percocet I had been prescribed. I was recovering from surgery, some years ago. It turns out that I am no longer an insomniac. I learned that studying and listening to interesting sound has the same effect as counting sheep.
Screen Ceremonies is a good example of an induction or auditory spell. I absorbed its potential at very low listening levels, while reading into the musical editorial from his book, Ocean Of Sound, all from a reclining position.
The immenseness of calm and overwhelm at once were truly inspirational – and the potential hugeness of it all still inspires me to this day.
This one is justified visually, by the signage in big record shops, as a purported improvement over listening with your ears. This is the one that says listen with your beliefs. And, this is a form of compartmentalizing personal experience.
Of course, most artists reject categorisation of their work. It’s insulting. It demeans and diminishes what the individual is capable of.
Some artists will create a successful brand for themselves, support that primary goal with enough consistent work to begin to develop an artistic thesis – but then find that after a few years, shifting and evolution is something that typecasting resists.
And naturally, without categories, so many people argue they couldn’t discuss music otherwise, like it needs to be converted into a verbal abstraction, or architecture for the masses.
Could it really be important enough to discuss what makes music important?
Yes and no. Other people who are genuinely interested in music will definitely join me on this one.
“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Thanks to debatably, either Elvis Costello, or Frank Zappa for that gem. Or both.
We aren’t really interested in reading about something we can hear. So, in general, our ocular and auditory senses get a good dose through the industries of entertainment and sponsorship. It seems likely enough, too.
As the invariable product of a metaculture, obsessed with technology since the industrial revolution. Make something, find a use for it later is the motto of many inventors and designers. (And I hang my head, as I am definitely guilty of that one, at least on a drawing-board level.)
Perhaps Salvador Dalí correctly intuited that his lack of clarity, into the motivations for his own painting justified his theory of surreal, subconscious thought processes. Then again, nobody forces anyone else to release useless shit onto the market…So why does this continue to bother us?
Overstimulus is but one way to get the world to submit to this spectacle.
I don’t know exactly what it all means, or what might happen next, but… I definitely like it.
That has generally been the assessment, or ethic, of all Day For Night work produced, usually at the moment of completion. Occasionally, I make attempts to re-contextualise my finished results. So, too often, the work is finished, then it’s unfinished, and finally, it’s finished again. Until it’s not.
Over time, I locate new relationships between the things I am currently making, and other things I have previously made. This, for example, was the basis for drawing the underground map that became NIGHTlinkRail.
Presently, that map is now as much an illustration of past work, as it is a navigational tool, which I use to move forth, into areas of future work within the Day For Night catalogue.