Curating The Week: The Myth of The Chaotic Creative, Jan Swafford, Randy Gibson’s Minimalism


An article about the myth of the chaotic creative.

“Chandra thinks young artists often need permission to be organised before they can start to do anything about it. ‘I blame it on the Van Gogh biopic. Everyone has seen this trope of the dysfunctional genius so they almost feel like an impostor if they’re not chaotic. I think people fear that if they organise too much they’re going to lose the creative magic, but it’s like a snow globe. It’s contained. It’s swirling around the globe but it’s not swirling around your house.'”

An interview with Jan Swafford.

“My basic assumption is that this music is not some grand abstraction, not an adjunct to a lifestyle, but a special and profound kind of communication among people; its main impact is not intellectual but emotional.

If Susanne Langer is right, symbolic responses are built into us too, so we innately respond to all sound, including music, as if it were a symbol of something. That means, among other things, that instrumental music, without words, is the most intimate and personal kind of symbol, because what you bring to it is what you, in particular, are. That’s true of all art, but I think more so of ‘abstract’ music, which we don’t perceive as abstract at all.”

An article about the minimalist music of Randy Gibson.

“As is sometimes the case with outwardly unvaried Minimalist music, the texture emerges from the overtones, the frequencies that sound above fundamental notes (in this case, those seven Ds on the piano). Mr. Gibson’s electronic design for the piece highlights these naturally occurring acoustic phenomena, making their ghostly quality more easily perceived. By recording his pianist’s playing in real time, and feeding the resonating notes into a laptop hooked up to speakers, Mr. Gibson is able to amplify a series of overtone relationships, pushing them back into the concert hall as the piece very, very gradually progresses.”

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