Saturday, August 09, 2008
Erik Davis against automated playlists.
The efficient delivery of pleasure is not what I want out of listening to music. In fact, the technical cult of efficiency, of developing algorithms to maximize pleasure, is part and parcel of the calculating, over-processed and data-saturated world that I turn to good music to escape, to interrupt, or to buffer. I don’t want to listen to what Heidegger, in his famous essay “The Question Concerning Technology,” called a “standing reserve.” What bothered Heidegger was not machines themselves, but the way that machines turn everything into a reserve of potential usefulness. Once you create a hydro-electric dam, then the rushing stream that inspired poets or musicians or hippie trippers becomes, inevitably, a “standing reserve” of power, another item in civilization’s immense calculus of extraction.
Recorded music is already a standing reserve, deficient from live music.
Interesting articles these two on production/reproduction, thanks for the links. Brings up interesting issues of availability for just as the printing caused a certain revolution by providing access to texts and knowledge, strangely this alone did not lead to any social revolution as evidenced by the invention of printing in China and its use throughout the centuries by various cultures including the massive output of handprinted texts in Tibet. Further, we now have lost our trust in oral transmissions and tend to rely on the printed word as the final arbiter much to our own detriment on various levels.

Another note: In his brilliant commentary on The Question Concerning Technology,
called The Gods and Technology, Richard Rojcewicz presents what i think is a better translation for "bestand" namely "disposables" for which Lovitt has used the somewhat more abstract "standing reserve."

Obviously much to mull over here...
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