Friday, 24 July 2015

Helicopter execution

In Ingelstadt, Stockhausen's 'Helicopter Quartet', one of the most ridiculous things the human mind has been capable of producing, has been 'executed':

It is supposed to be a 'work' of 'sonic art', i.e. something that has, of course, nothing to do with music, but even as such it is merely a bad and crazy joke, which costs quite a lot since 4 helicopters have to be hired, including staff, and electronic equipment to get the mixing right. But such things are entirely conform the ideology of 'progress' and 'transgressing of boundaries', stock and barrel of postwar modernism, and by now entirely outdated and thoroughly discredited because works which do adhere to this ideology of progress and transgression, but do not also offer artistic value which can survive the transition of time, are doomed to oblivion. One must lack any cultural awareness and adult intelligence, and must be completely unaware of what humanity has created in terms of music, to think that Stockhausen's 'helicopter quartet' has any value whatsoever, even as sonic art.

The stunning aspect is that the community pays for it as if it were a serious artistic work. Only in a society where egalitarian unthinking has become a strong influence, such insanity is possible. The ideology of egalitarian unthought wants us to believe that there is no intrinsic value, that any work is as good as any other, and that value judgements are mere personal, subjective opinions without any bearing on the work itself, mere reactions and without consequence. In this sense, a 'performance' of this 'work' undermines any sense of reality and civilization, because of the implicit self-destructiveness. The message is: THIS is possible as a work of art music, because anything is possible and valuable. In other words: there are no distinctions, no hierarchies, there is no 'good' or 'better' or 'worse'or 'bad', only occurrances without restrictions, 'events' and 'experiences' that stand on their own, independent from any value assessment framework. But then - and that is the absurd contradiction - it is presented as a work of art, and made paid for it entirely out of proportion. It is not very far from saying that ISIS does not commit abhorrent crimes but that their beheadings are creative deeds - after all, they are committed entirely independent of any civilizational value framework. Indeed, Stockhausen himself called the 9/11 terrorist attack a 'great work of art'. So, performances as the above-mentioned have implications, they send a negative message into the world, fuelling the nihilism and lack of belief in our own civilization which are nowadays so wide-spread.

But performers and festival programmers are free to to present such 'works', as the community in the form of local and/or national government bodies, and sponsors, are entirely free to refuse to pay for it.

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