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Emergent Music And Visual Music: Inside Studies, CD 6 - University Playgrounds
Artist/Band: Various Artists
CD 6 - University Playgrounds is a celebration of what's possible in experimental music in the context of the university world. It represents a recorded sample of seven productions taken from many hundreds of events I've produced at universities as a faculty and guest composer/performer in the USA and abroad. The tracks include recordings of events at the University of California, Berkeley, Texas Tech University, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, The Ohio State University, Miami University, and Oberlin College.
Even though dyed-in-the-wool academics would assume a quizzical look when in response to their questions about the nature my activities I would tell them that one of my "specialities" was an experimental approach to emerging technology in the arts, I easily made an academic career in that field by exercising the operative word in the expression academic freedom, that word being freedom. Just as in the real world, the experimental arts in the academic world is a fringe game with never ending tests of the resolve of the experimental artist. Nevertheless, there are always enough administrative types with an appreciation of intellectual and artistic color and spice that are willing to support the farther reaches of the art imagination especially if the end products will reflect well on the breadth and quality of their institution. Most students are ready to join the experimental art game at the drop of a hat. Given half a chance faculty and staff collaborators will come pouring out of the closets to do the same. In the performance arts, behind the masks of many functioning standard academics, are creative souls ready and willing to risk playing freely so as to recreate the feelings and memories of their youth again. Enough of them know that when stuck in standard classroom teaching, someone just in their 30s will accumulate decades of psychological wear in just a few years and risk losing their original reasons for being unless they open themselves to opportunities for new challenges.
The Western world in the modern day continues to make monumental human and financial investments in universities of all sorts and sizes. Universities are where our culture focuses our resources for current visions of higher education. Philosophically what all those universities have in common is their dedication to both programmed and free play-physical play, mental play, and spiritual play. Despite the pressure from administrative and faculty bureaucrats and technocrats to conform to established standards (which tend to be fixed and mediocre) there are always untethered souls who intuitively understand the higher purposes of the university and still possess the child's sense of wonder, joy, and play at whatever opens windows to light and fresh air. Those untethered souls understand that their roles are to keep that aesthetic position alive and flourishing in the face of ever greater pressure to turn the university into a collection of technical schools that caters only to big businesses and the cogs it requires for its maintenance and growth.
Attending a university continues to be a special privilege at a special time in life-typically during the full bloom of youth. It's a special privilege because of what all the investments taken together have wrought-the grounds, the buildings, the general and special purpose spaces, the resources, and the people who bring it all to life including one's peers as well as the employed staff. People attend universities with the expectation that they will have opportunities to participate in once-in-a-lifetime experiences. This is especially true of anything connected with the arts, particularly the experimental arts. Every track on this CD is inspired by that expectation.