Wednesday, 19 April 2006


So here, find the final mix of Wind - the Twittering Machine remix, from Simon.

This mix is neither ironic or idealizing, but rather a product of the imagination, which Simon's art affirms at every turn. Crank it up, and between the main verses, strange birds start to sing their hearts out against a vast, atmospheric wash backdrop that opens up a space beyond measure.

The strength lies precisely in how the subtle guitar riffs reveal vulnerability in small-scale sonics that are nonetheless vast and deeply profound. Somewhere between nature and the mechanical, between the comic and the tragic, the birds twitter with a music that expresses how frail and vulnerable existence is, especially in the modern world.

The song taps the primitive inner child in all of us with a sophisticated wisdom and wit. "Something's coming," sings Christina, "I can hear it." There is a combination of the intuitive and the mechanical, the rational and the fantastic in an art that defies stylistic reduction or categorization.

There is no "ism" that can encompass this vision; This is more than taking a walk with a beat, which is exactly what Simon does in limitless variations on the theme. In "Zwitschermaschine" we hear a different version of the machine aesthetic, suggesting how the machine can stimulate fantasy and the imagination. Though working at an intimate breathy scale, this art is capable of addressing both the comical and the tragic. The focus is always on the creative process. "I am not at all graspable in this world, for I live as much within a parallel universe. Somewhat closer to the heart of creation than usual. But not nearly close enough."

Simon is a member of the esteemed faculty of the Holy Hoses (corrupted from the original German Heiligehaus). Part of the utopian celebration of a machine aesthetic, the Holy Hose slogan says it all with: "Polymath thought - A New Xinssxz." But the curriculum of the Holy Hose was well-rounded and interdisciplinary: they study everything from crafts to architecture, sculpture, painting, stage design, typography, music, dance, and eastern philosophies and religions. For the members of the collective, there is "no essential difference between the artist and craftsman," and technology and spiritual growth are not only compatible, but co-dependent. Teachers were expected to exercise creative flexibility outside their "expertise."

Students work alongside their instructors according to a collaborative group model rather than the traditional academic hierarchy of the "expert" handing down information to the lowly students who dare not question authority. Taking on real-world commissions in design problems, the school is self-sustaining, teaching through creative problem-solving and collaboration. The art is socially oriented rather than art for art's sake.

The members are part of this positive, communal approach to the problems of the industrial machine age, but what is offered is an art that focuses on the imagination and the creative process as that which makes us most human. "The work of art is above all a process of creation," it reminds us, "it is never experienced as a mere product." Many members fit into the transcendent, visionary side of the Holy Hose philosophy: 'Art does not render the visible," it tells us, "rather, it makes visible."

Enjoy the tune - truly the sound of painting.

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