VINYL is a series of collaborations in the context of a "nightclub"
that calls into question the synchronicity of sound and image.
Artists Kulwinder Bajar, Ellen
Cantor, Shezad Dawood,
Mark Dean, FLAG,
Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard,
Lee Holden, Claire Hooper,
Marc Hulson, Jacob Dahl Jürgensen,
Wolfe Lenkiewicz, Melanie Manchot,
Steven Micalef, Derek Ogbourne,
Douglas Park, Esther Planas,
Riviera F. and Mark Aerial Waller.
Siren Song: the Undialectic
(from Nietzsche to Nikki Giovanni)
Nietzsche's philosophical work
on the power of music and myth is marked by a violent change
in direction after his treatise on Wagner,
triggered from a disillusioning visit on August 12th 1876
to the composer's festival
at Bayreuth. Music,
he determines is not profound or meaningful in itself,
but an "empty noise",
unless filled with passionate association and human remembrance.
Nietzsche now refutes his cherished Wagnerian "ideal"
in the synchronicity of myth and music.
He accords no redemption in the pure aesthetic,
unless acknowledging the contingent and changing cruelties
of the contemporary. Music
will not, per se,
by aesthetic means, make you
a free spirit and cannot offer any kind of revolution of self
or society, by itself,
alone. There is no longer any
ideal, eternal myth,
nor big history, to protect
from the "monstrosities"
of logical positivism to come.
What underscores the pessimist tone of Nietzsche's
late 19th Century Romanticism is a feint trace of the enduring
voice of an all too human lyricism,
being altogether drowned out and silenced in the 20th.
In Homer's epic poem,
The Odyssey, the hero Odysseus
has himself bound to the mast of his ship to endure the enchanted
song of the Siren and embody his reason in its ineffable sound.
The myth's importance as an
allegory of "reason"
is in anticipating the moral conflict embedded in the (social)
body, necessary to accomplish
an act of liberation. "To
become, one must be bound to
the mast of rational self-affirmation",
wrote Adorno and Hörkheimer,
at the same time offering in sublime negation the slogan:
"the fully enlightened earth
radiates disaster triumphant."
As the foremost female poet of the Black Power era,
Nikki Giovanni's rap is the
genealogy of the American way,
deconstructed: "a radical,
at the heart of the Same",
threatening the "rational"
synthesis of knowledge and history by tying its body parts
to the mast in discomfiting reverie.
Giovanni performed Great Pax Whitey in collaboration with
the New York Community Choir in 1972,
with all the persuasive
Nietzschean spirit to nourish life out of the fetid American
dream of power. It's
hard to breathe in its putrid air,
for Giovanni, to just make
or "a show".
As the presenter of the live television series "Soul!"
broadcast in the U.S.
from 1968 - 1973,
Giovanni was the voice disseminating black American music,
culture and politics. In 1973
Stokely Carmichael himself appeared and fearlessly spoke of
how, and why,
he coined the term "Black Power",
so too Louis Farrakhan, to
explain the adopted X for Black Moslems.
Wagner's unadulterated aestheticism,
and the Beach Boys' for that
may be of use to synchronise political purpose.
Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford
However Giovanni is closer to Nietzsche by allying music,
lyric poetry and politics at an extremely "adulterated"
or de-synchronised level;
in doing so she releases the polyphony that speaks more clearly
of multiple and systematic injustices home and away.
Not for praise to any god,
governor or goody two-shoes
her words, ("In
the beginning was the Word and the Word was Death."
Great Pax Whitey 1973).
With a wicked sense of inevitable revenge,
Giovanni's lyric is drawn as
an arrow, like Nietzsche's
and Adorno and Hörkheimer's
from Homer's avenging gods and angels.
There is no conspiracy, only
Black Talk, Black Judgement".
Poems, Nikki Giovanni,
More so, is not the siren the
most empty sound of all? The siren,
whose "yelp and wail"
mantra will one day cease to announce daybreak with such determined
Odysseus cried out, in laughter,
Friedrich Wilhelm Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen 1872-74,
Friedrich Wilhelm Die Geburt der Tragödie,
1870 (the Birth of Tragedy)
Theodor. W /
Hörkheimer, Max Dialektik der
Aufklärung, 1944 (Dialectic
Geoffrey, and Derrida,
Jacques, Jacques Derrida,
John, Frozen Tears II,
Brian Wilson 'Smile':
Live in London, Robert Garnett,
Article Press, BIAD,
2004, p473 Garnett employs
to the Beach Boys who appear more convincingly radical,
or political in retrospect,
than most "political"
artists, who employ politics
dishonestly as their subject.
He has a point.
Nikki / Cleveland,
James, Great Pax Whitey/Peace
Be Still, ,
William Morrow Inc./Savoy Music
1972 courtesy Nikki Giovanni on Stand Up and Be Counted:
Soul, Funk and Jazz from a
Revolutionary Era, Volume 2,
conceived and complied by James Maycock,
2000 Harmless Recordings, Demon
Music Group, London.
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