1.13.2009

Another Banned Word

Following from my last post, I add:

Represent. 

If there was ever a word to describe the artistic practice that spelled the death of its own medium, this is it. It is a word that denies creativity, denies interpretation. The artist becomes merely a conduit, and usually to things that are easily observable otherwise, and therefore don't need to be represented!  

The "B" side of "represent" is when the word is used the denote the practice of acting in accord with the symbol of yourself that you have created or that has been created for you. To represent is to try to become the person you are seen to be.

Try and identify these quotes from Generation Ecstasy:

"That was during the years after the separation [of techno into different styles]. It was a depressing thing for a lot of us. I 've always enjoyed playing longer sets. When I do them, I take things up-down, fast-slow, encompassing different kinds of music."

"It was about [the] two [+8] DJs playing the whole night, embracing the old principles of house, when there weren't enough records being made to play one style all night."

The quotes are from Richie Hawtin and John Acquaviva respectively (the editing belongs to SR and myself, respectively as well).  

Not to pick on Hawtin, who takes quite an unjust beating for the fact that some of the music his label has released has become a parody of itself (of course, it was all so exciting when it seemed new, both to the current "haters" and, of course, to him and his labelmates), but I point out these quotes simply to show what happens when DJs, any DJs, ally themselves too specifically with a sound. The circle that runs between what you want to project as an artist and what others expect from you tightens until it becomes a noose.

At the end of the day, I am all for purism. Those DJs that want to show themselves off by picking out any and every record they have ever heard to prove their eclecticism are just representing in their own way, only they "represent" eclecticism instead of minimal or house. The hard work of the DJ has always been to recontextualize, to make a Chain Reaction record a sexy vocal house record, or to take some bonus beats cut at the end of an old 12" and make it a minimal classic. In this way, genres remain open and fluid, capable of change and evolution. The first step down the road to the death of a genre is when the DJ doesn't play anything else.  

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