intellectual property rights, music

So art can still be subversive…

This is probably the coolest copyright non-infringement performance anyone has come up with yet. Disabling bureaucracies by DOS-style, yet form-based requests is probably not entirely new as a concept, but putting together a 33 second-long piece of music using 70,200 samples, just to demonstrate some of the fundamental problems of today’s copyright and licensing schemes, as artist Johannes Kreidler is planning to do, is quite an achievement. There’s more if you click on the link, but it’s in German.

And here’s a video by the artist himself. Also in German.

hat tip: nerdcore

oddly enough, traveling

Mona Lisa’s Lächeln

Mona Lisa (source: schon was besonderes. Auch wenn ich persönlich das Bild weniger beeindruckend finde, als manch anderen Schatz, den es im Louvre zu bewundern gibt, ist das Bild Leonardo da Vincis wohl immer noch die massenwirksamste Attraktion des Museums. Bis zu 65.000 Besucher sollen es sein, tagein, tagaus, die sie sehen wollen. Definitiv zuviele, zumindest nach Auffassung der für ihre Sicherheit verantwortlichen Louvre Aufseher, die nun laut Spiegel Online für eine “Mona Lisa Zulage” streiken.

Vor Leonardo da Vincis Bildnis der jungen Frau drängte sich immer die größte Schar von Besuchern. “Das Gequassel der Menge tut richtig weh”, sagte ein Aufseher heute. … Und immer wieder müsse man das Fotografieren mit Blitzlicht unterbinden.

Man sollte allerdings auch bemerken, daß der Amüsationsfaktor angesichsts der anwesenden Massen dort ebenfalls am größten ist. Als ich Mona Lisa zum ersten Mal gegenüber trat, stand rechts von mir ein amerikanisches Paar, dessen Ehrgeiz, sich mit klassischer europäischer Kunst auseinander zu setzen, seinem Patriotismus keinen Abbruch tat. Und so identifizierte die Frau nach einiger Überlegung konsequent, was dem Bild Leonardos zur tatsächlichen Perfektion fehlt:

“Would have been better, had it been painted in America.”

almost a diary, music

(barely) aLive and (rather) Acoustic

Cindy AlexanderGentle readers, it’s a shame.

The very talented Californian singer/songwriter Cindy Alexander is touring Germany for the second time in only two years and I won’t be able to attend any of her concerts for I am not in a state to leave my bed for much more than brief stops at the trusted pharmacy and, of course, the videostore around the corner.

Even if I could leave the house for longer I suppose I would immediately be sent home by a police officer for disorderly conduct – sure it’s getting better, but sometimes I am still coughing in a way that would most certainly make late 19th century tuberculosis patients pale in comparison. Of course, spreading cold germs is not yet a crime. But there’s a reason it’s frowned upon…

So, much to my dismay, once again I will have to turn to Ms Alexander’s recordings instaead of “the real thing”. However, all of you who are not confined to your beds tonight and live not too far from Marburg, Hessen, Germany, should leave right now and attend “The Acoustic Meeting” in the Waggonhalle at 8pm.

Unfortunately none of Cindy’s songs are legally available online since c|net has shut down the servers in January. Well, not quite – there are at least some samples at, even including my favorite song of hers, “Better Than I Am“.

So listen quickly, and then get going.

almost a diary, compulsory reading

Art & Life Documented (for the 11th time)

Dokumenta 11 logoYesterday I visited “Documenta11“, one of the most important exhibitions of modern art which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. As the suffix 11 indicates, this is the eleventh of such exhibitions, whose broad aim is to provide either a thematic or temporal survey of modern art and artists.

I am by no means a qualified art critic and not usually interested in mostly pseudo intellectual debates about modern art. So all I can present is my opinion and so please remember – de gustibus non disputandum est.

Well. I went to D.9 and dX in 1992 and 1997. In 1992 I was a) 17 and b) went there with about 50 people from my Gymnasium, so I only remember a huge video installation and a tower constructed from wood. My overall impression was that art had lost it completely. My impression of dX was pretty much the same, I thought it was mostly bullshit presented by pretentious and impolite pseudo intellectuals calling themselves artists (note to myself: public discussion about the definition of artist necessary). The one thing I really remember was a project to have visitors paint cubist pictures and publish them online. Oh, and yes, they had living pigs to show that, yes, life can be art, too. How enlightening.

All in all, it was so horrible I did not want to go until two weeks ago, when I met this American artist Scott (can’t remember his last name) in Berlin. Scott is predominantly painting viruses. He told me that this time, Documenta would be *really different*, exhibiting lots of stuff with a *real meaning”. So I decided to give Kassel another chance.

Today I am glad I did. Scott told the truth, most of the art exhibited does have a message. As the artistic director of D11, Okwui Enwezor, holds, the underlying theme is a cultural discourse – mostly concerned with global distributive justice and the fate of Africa.

After decades of exhibiting meaningless stuff branded “made by famous artist X”, the art exhibited in Kassel is now art which considers people, politics and society as worthy of consideration. But while I enjoyed this change in attitude, the documentary character of many exhibits will again have people ask “what is art?”

No doubt, it is more important to have people watch a documentary regarding the Hutu/Tutsi genocide than to discuss the artistic value of pigs being fed by art tourists. But the question remains – is that art?

I am not going to answer it. I don’t care, as long as I like it. And this time, for the first time, I did like the exhibition. So I will again plead “de gustibus non disputandum est” and leave the discussion to others.