Music and Value

Reducing the importance of artists have also reduced their accountability as purveyors of rigor and quality; i.e., the standard by which artists evaluate themselves is as low as their communal value. 

Imagine a community that finds the artist as a hero, his works incomparable and worth a value-for-value exchange. This community may even strike down the mediocre for their attempt at greatness, for better or worse. So members must prove themselves with even more vitality than the hero in order to surpass them. There is only an upward angle to art with this situation.

Now imagine a community that regards the artist as filth. Only a few members are willing to give the time of day to this artist. Must the artist prove themselves in this environment? Instead, their work is like a grovel, asking for a pittance in exchange for a pittance. Some artists in these communities demand altruism as their pittance; only pity may keep the artist alive. The audience does not particularly enjoy the piece, yet hands out value in the most passive ways.

Now imagine a society that values the workmen, the engineers, carpenters, scientists as heroes for their productivity. They create tangible practicability further our grasp of the physical life. In the background of this heroism, a song is playing, perhaps a march, or a dance track. When society pushes back the curtain and reveals its producer, the corners of their mouth crease into a patronizing smile, and they throw a quarter into the artist's upturned hat. Strike that - they throw one-third of a penny to a hero's technology company with the guarantee that this artist may receive such funds. Strike that - they throw fifteen dollars at the technology company, so that the hero may turn off advertisements for them as they play a throwaway music track, and of that fifteen, one-third of a penny may enter the artist's pockets for their contribution to the marching of workmen. And we complain that there isn't good music.

Where did the good music go? Where the value went: to those few who realized value does not exist in the proliferation into nothingness. Where the workmen accept that their production depends on art, that the artist's domain is placed on equal grounds in terms of value. The inarticulate brutes that control art today serve only to further devalue a pillar of society and culture. They state that the interpretation is in the eye of the beholder - there is nothing more effective in destroying the integrity of art than by saying that meaning can only be extracted from others. It is accepting that one cannot explain their work, and approach it like a dog sniffing a bone, curious and dumb to all meaningful cognition.

If you have no explanation for your works, then perhaps you are excreting products, not sculpting them. Art is a vision of what ought to be and how you approach life; perhaps you approach life like an oar-less dingy deep at sea? Perhaps you have a leash to pull you around, and suddenly a bone is set before you, and you then call it art? That is what the statement that art "just comes out of me" means: that I do not value thought, but simply the animal senses of the work. I am a cat with a laser pointer, and have found nirvana in the most shallow trickery.

You can easily tell the weak-willed arts: pliable, unimaginative, over-exuberant, innocent, flailing, groveling, thin, careless. And that includes pieces that required one hundred hours to complete, for mediocrity can take seconds or years to produce. And to defend their mediocrity, they simply say "it is what you make of it" and "I don't know, you just have to feel it." As if value came from feeling it rather than willing it.