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Duchamp (d¡-shäN´, dü), Marcel
French-born modernist artist and a leader of the Dada movement in New York City who was the first to exhibit commonplace objects as art. His paintings include Nude Descending a Staircase (1912).
The individual, man as a man, man as a brain, if
you like, interests me more than what he makes, because I've noticed that
most artists only repeat themselves.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), French artist. Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp, ch. 5 (ed. by Pierre Cabanne, 1967).
I am still a victim of chess. It has all the beauty
of art-and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer
than art in its social position.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), French artist. Time (New York, 10 March 1952). Duchamp had given up painting in favor of chess thirty years before.
The chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes
thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chess-board,
express their beauty abstractly, like a poem. . . . I have come to the
personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess
players are artists.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), French artist. Address, 30 Aug. 1952, New York State Chess Association. Quoted in: Kynaston McShine, Marcel Duchamp, (ed. by Anne d'Harnoncourt and Kynaston McShine, 1989).
"When artist and spectator play a game of chess
it is like designing something or constructing a mechanism of some kind.
The competitive side of it has no
I have forced myself to contradict myself in order
to avoid conforming to my own taste.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), French artist. Quoted in: Harriet Janis and Sidney Janis, "Marcel Duchamp: Anti-Artist," in View (New York, 21 March 1945; repr. in Robert Motherwell, Dada Painters and Poets, 1951).
All in all, the creative act is not performed by
the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact
with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications
and thus adds his contribution to the creative act. This becomes even more
obvious when posterity gives its final verdict and sometimes rehabilitates
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), French artist. "The Creative Act," lecture, April 1957, in Houston, Texas (published in Art News, New York, Summer 1957; repr. in Robert Lebel, Marcel Duchamp, 1959).
which brings an interesting note to the Burning
Man experience. on my first and only appearance, i did become
a spectator consciously. it was almost a sense of "reverse discrimination"
so that if you didn't "participate" in their very narrow definition, the
social construct comes into play just like any other (mainstream) society.
you feel peer pressure to comform to their standard of "participation".
that is why it is most important for me to define TAZ as an automagickally
participatory event (find it and show up, and you become the party - not
the dj's or "performers"). so basically i walked away from burning
man disappointed in one sense: that they are just as sociologically
fascistic as any other non-temporary, non-roaming gathering (burning man
is NOT a TAZ, as it's located at the same spot every year, it has become
a routine). i walked away with pride knowing that again, i was on
the outside, by a gathering of so-called outsiders, which negated the whole
notion of "art" at burning man. - @Om*
The Italian anatomist Luigi Galvani (who inspired
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's classic novel _Frankenstein_ in 1818) discovered
in 1786 that electricity
was one of the essential secrets of life. This discovery galvanised
society, its future applications are only just beginning to be envisaged.
Its infiltration and uses are beyond calculation, its symbiosis
presently is even greater than before as technology increases the use of
electricity becomes even more fundamental to the workings of machines -
Machine Breeds Machine. Duchamp's futuristic vision of allegorical machines
is one of the true marriages between matter and spirit, art and technology,
"the spirit is the bride". Duchamp invented a new physics of his
own, closer to Jarry's pataphysics than to conventional science, a fourth dimensional
engineering that goes beyond the rational axiomatic rigidity of scientific
law. One of Duchamp's greatest works, _The Large Glass or the Bride
Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors Even_ (1915-23) represents the most difficult
and mysterious of all domains, the fourth dimensional phenomenon of sex.
These theoretical suggestions which were later to be discovered by Baron
Von K. Reichenbach and Wilhelm
Reich, isolate and demonstrate a tangible biological energy generated
by the human body (particularly during sexual activity). These discoveries
can only enhance yet even more new possibilities in the future exploration
of the man machine symbiosis in all levels of creation. As technology
accelerates and new knowledge formulates so does the spirit in its needs
to expand its own awareness, only in the pursuit of knowledge of all things
can we discover ourselves.
- liner notes for track _Techno Geist_ by ClockDVA off of _Man Amplified_ CD on Contempo (1992)
As I may have mentioned before, when you reach this inevitable point in the history of "original" music experimentation where all the best moves have ALREADY been made, recycling becomes "revolutionizing" itself. That's where we are in the 21st Century of music and there's no way around it. New has become old and old has become new. It's only "political" because of copyright laws which are so far oblivious to this contradictory shift in modern creative practices. Otherwise, it is the most natural development out of actual circumstances (mental and technological) that one could expect from any art that has been so fully fleshed out experimentally and, from its inception, was always based on the joys of copying anyway.
As a consequence, modern artists should back off their traditional god complexes, expecting to be prayed for (and payed for) their individual creative efforts wherever they appear in subsequent new contexts by others. Complete propriatory control is neither possible nor desirable in a culture of significantly increased recycling. Ironically, found sample manipulation is the ONLY actually "new" thing to happen in "original" music making since about 1970. If anyone thinks it's "easier" to make something worth while by copping the "best" stuff of other artists, just try it. It has just as many creative pitfalls as "original" ideas ever had, including the one about resting on others' laurels if you don't make it "work" in some new way that's original to you.
"There is no solution because there is no problem" - Duchamp.