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Old 03-26-2010, 11:29 AM   #21 (permalink)
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This is such a cool topic. I'm glad I asked, here
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:15 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Hi there,

I know this stuff about Duchamp and dada is getting off subject but I just feel the need to clarify.................. Aah, that's better.

I think Duchamp was just attempting to draw attention to the fact that 'art' is everywhere. We don't have to go into a gallery to see it and works of 'art' are quite often made by ordinary folks, tradesman who are not considered artists. That's where the term 'readymade' came from.
He was using the art galleries just to emphasise that point I think. There again, all art whether it be sculpture, painting, poetry or music is all a very personal subject. At the end of the day, a computer is what it is and it does what it does, - whatever label any one of us may decide to stick on it. Same with an oil drum...

Have a great weekend.. Gordon.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:30 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Hi there,

I know this stuff about Duchamp and dada is getting off subject but I just feel the need to clarify.................. Aah, that's better.

I think Duchamp was just attempting to draw attention to the fact that 'art' is everywhere. We don't have to go into a gallery to see it and works of 'art' are quite often made by ordinary folks, tradesman who are not considered artists. That's where the term 'readymade' came from.
He was using the art galleries just to emphasise that point I think. There again, all art whether it be sculpture, painting, poetry or music is all a very personal subject. At the end of the day, a computer is what it is and it does what it does, - whatever label any one of us may decide to stick on it. Same with an oil drum...

Have a great weekend.. Gordon.
A computer is what it is? Not quite.

Unplug a computer. Take it into the deep depths of the ocean and leave it there. Take a picture.

Is it a picture of a computer? Or is it a picture of a nonfunctioning object? Or a grey box? Or is it a play on the temporary nature of technology? Or is it a powerfully emotive statement on how humankind ruins natural landscapes with artifical intrusions?

Whatever it is, the context defines what it is. In this case, its not a computer, because it sure as **** isn't doing any computing.

Like I said before, a bike wheel isn't a 'bike' wheel any more or less than its a convenient round object or hoop or whatever. No matter what the INTENDED DESIGN, a thing isn't limited to being what it is in one context, in all contexts. Thats what art is about. Heiroglyphics are artistic, but they're a form of writing. Tapestry is as much a historical document as it is a piece of art.

You CANNOT define an object as being one fixed thing. It is what it is DEPENDING ON THE OBSERVER AND THE CONTEXTUAL MEANING.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:44 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I tend to think that depending on how something is defined, that may allow for it to be interpreted in a contextual way. Example, if you say an instrument is something you can use to create and play music on in realtime, then a computer is an instrument once it does that. So is a piece of grass if you can do that with it.

But I think the same way, some definitions are not so contextual. I would say a computer at the bottom of the ocean is a computer lying at the bottom of the ocean. Even if it's not doing any computing, it perhaps could if you were able to repair it and being able to refer to it as a computer gives information not only about the objects history but also it's potential in the future. It's useful and practical.

edit :

If your definition of a computer is something which is computing right now, then of course a turned off computer is not a computer .. But that's not a definition I use!
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:48 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I tend to think that depending on how something is defined, that may allow for it to be interpreted in a contextual way. Example, if you say an instrument is something you can use to create and play music on in realtime, then a computer is an instrument once it does that. So is a piece of grass if you can do that with it.

But I think the same way, some definitions are not so contextual. I would say a computer at the bottom of the ocean is a computer lying at the bottom of the ocean. Even if it's not doing any computing, it perhaps could if you were able to repair it and being able to refer to it as a computer gives information not only about the objects history but also it's potential in the future. It's useful and practical.
I disagree. To someone from the 1920's, a computer as we know it would be something completely different. To us a computer, even a basic one, is just a tool. To some of us who understand the way they operate, its something rather different than it is to someone who treats it like a magic comptuery box. To someone from the 1920s a comptuer from today would be way beyond that, it would be considered less a 'tool' in the traditional sense. They might even take it as some kind of undeniable proof of the glory of mankind.

Lets not forget worldwide philosophy ties into things too, modernism, postmodernism etc.

Simply put, I think ALL meaning is contextual. You may want to do some reading into semiotics and semiology in general if you want to make some inroads into how I think of this. Its essentially the science of meaning.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:53 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I think you're too concerned with words reflecting reality rather than facilitating communication. I made a thread here in the current events forum asking what a species is and so far, noone has been able to answer it including myself. Still, we have some kind of idea what it is and that's actually really helpful. If I say Rattus norvegicus to another biologist, he knows what I'm talking about well enough for us to be able to exchange a great amount of meaningful information about that particular species. Take away species as a word and doing basic conservation, agriculture and resource management would become a huge problem.

Language serves humanity, not reality. Words are still useful even if their definitions are not 100% set in stone.

edit :

I may have been "strawmanning" a bit here (the new term for arguing against made up arguments, I've recently learned) and if so, sorry and feel free to ignore.
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Old 03-26-2010, 01:12 PM   #27 (permalink)
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QUOTE:

"To us a computer, even a basic one, is just a tool".

That is exactly the point I've been trying to get across. It is indeed a tool that can help a musician make music but without being an actual musical instrument.


I think we need to stand back a little here and maybe look at this in a common sense way.

Something like a saxophone or a guitar or a piano is an object which is designed first and foremost for a musician to use to make music. Ok, a saxophone could be placed in a gallery as a piece of metal tube sculpture, a piano can be used as a piece of furniture and quite often is but their main purpose is to play music.

An oil drum is also an object but this time designed first and foremost for the storage or transportation of oil. Of course, it can be hit by a musician and used as a musical instrument but it is still an oil drum. A piece of grass can be made to squeak and I guess that is a very basic reed instrument.

The difference here as I mentioned about ten posts ago, there are objects that are musical instruments and there are objects that have the potential to be used as musical instruments but are really not.

A computer, (just in my opinion), is something that can be used to produce music just like an oil drum or watering can or a piece of grass but is not a musical instrument in the same sense as a sax or guitar or even banjo...

Gordon.

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Old 03-26-2010, 02:49 PM   #28 (permalink)
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If it is it's the easiest instrument out there.
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:53 PM   #29 (permalink)
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When I track music in good old fasttracker 2, I play the keyboard like a piano and it makes real time sound even if that's not how I record it. If I play a piano tune on my computer keyboard, is my computer not an instrument? If not, could a synthesizer be regarded as an instrument?
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:01 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Well in that case it is, but I see it that many people would see the computer as an instrument in the form of music editing and that type of stuff. As for getting like a virtual keyboard or that type of thing, yeah, it is.
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