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VINYL II
Took place: 21 . 8 . 2004   [ Photos ]

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, Paul O'Neill, Douglas Park, Esther Planas, Riviera F. and Mark Aerial Waller.

Press Release 
VINYL II:
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, [1] 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" [2] 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." [3] Right on.

As the foremost female poet of the Black Power era, Nikki Giovanni's rap is the genealogy of the American way, deconstructed: "a radical, non-dialectisable alterity at the heart of the Same", [4] 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 "music" 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 matter, [5] may be of use to synchronise political purpose. (Cf. Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) 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).[6] With a wicked sense of inevitable revenge, Giovanni's lyric is drawn as an arrow, like Nietzsche's "Dionysian wisdom", and Adorno and Hörkheimer's "enlightened disaffirmation" from Homer's avenging gods and angels. There is no conspiracy, only "Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgement". (Cf. Poems, Nikki Giovanni, 1970)

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 conspiracy?

"Oh Music!" Odysseus cried out, in laughter, "sweet music."