Saturday, January 23, 2010

Art lets go of accounting/elasticity of time

"In moments of sense gratification..we let go of accounting...
Art has a way of doing that to our experiential clocks.
At the moment when art is experienced,
time comes to a standstill.
At least it becomes experientially elastic."

-David Wang, "Art in a Tick Tock World,"
Mars Hill Review, Issue 24

This is a great article.
Two thoughts:

1)Re: the term "accounting." This connects me to Wolfgang Simson's comments about literal accountants in his seminal "Houses That Change The World." One excerpt:

Democracy may look like the safest form of church government, but it has proven to be the very one which is quickly leading into spiritual oblivion and facelessness, because it has the ability to block out prophetic direction in the name of the numerical majority, and usually introduces bureaucracy as the most inhumane and legalistic form of administration by accountants who will make sure that the letter of the law is followed.

2)It hit me that what Wang means by "experientially elastic"
is close to what Michael Pritzl meant by the term "elastic" in the motif and metarrative of The Violet Burning's classic "Plastic and Elastic"..
let alone what one experiences in some of the holy moments of that "timeless" (oops, will have to change that word) album:

The interpretive key to this layered and intriguing work is spelled out as early as the title ("Is this CD plastic or elastic?" "Yes, both, precisely").

" Michael Pritzl, who basically "is" the Violets, was inspired to have his band cut this CD after returning from Berlin and seeing a sign reading "Plaste und Elaste"..that is, "Plastic and elastic."

This sign triggered his thoughts that life, relationships, romance and faith are sometimes divided into "plastic" experiences and songs (fun, maybe superficial and throwaway party stuff), and "elastic" items (flexible, fluid, stretching, deep, profound, emotional to the max).

So about half the songs are at heart "plastic": fun, rollicking rockers like "Moon Radio," "Berlin Kitty", "I'm No Superman".."new-wavish" songs and "single jingles" that stick like crazy in your head, and are all incredible on CD; and triply more so in concert; but songs I confess sometimes only preface the real treat of this disc: the "other half": the very "elastic" and ultimately astonishing, elongated, ethereal beautiful and at times almost-impossible to deal with emotive "feeling" songs; both in lyric and guitar. Like "She Says Electric" (a song about ..among other things, that is..remember that plastic "stretches" thematically) what a friend told Pritzl it feels like to be lost in worship": I am electric..face to the sun." Like "Oceana," (about ..on some listenings and levels another friend leads him closer to God; and "Gorgeous" (most days my favorite song of basically, well..nothing less than all time..tied with "Goldmine" from the previous VB CD and "Song of the Harlot" from "Strength") ....a song I believe invokes how God feels about us: "I feel so much the distance in your eye..You won't catch me that way.. You're gorgeous".

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