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  1. #1
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Brian Eno, "The Revenge of the Intuitive"

    This reflection on "traditional media" is a few years old (1999) but I just came across it and didn't find any links to it on APUG--

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.01/eno.html

    A snippet--

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Eno
    Even the "weaknesses" or the limits of these tools become part of the vocabulary of culture. I'm thinking of such stuff as Marshall guitar amps and black-and-white film - what was once thought most undesirable about these tools became their cherished trademark.

    The Marshall guitar amplifier doesn't just get louder when you turn it up. It distorts the sound to produce a whole range of new harmonics, effectively turning a plucked string instrument into a bowed one. A responsible designer might try to overcome this limitation - probably the engineers at Marshall tried, too. But that sound became the sound of, among others, Jimi Hendrix. That sound is called "electric guitar." Or think of grainy black-and-white film, or jittery Super 8, or scratches on vinyl. These limitations tell you something about the context of the work, where it sits in time, and by invoking that world they deepen the resonances of the work itself.
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  2. #2
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    That is very lucidly written. Reminded me of a whole range of cultural criticism from the early Marx to the Frankfurt school and beyond.

  3. #3
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Very interesting David. This statement of Eno's writing is the one that resonates with me.
    Software options proliferate extremely easily, too easily in fact, because too many options create tools that can't ever be used intuitively. Intuitive actions confine the detail work to a dedicated part of the brain, leaving the rest of one's mind free to respond with attention and sensitivity to the changing texture of the moment.
    Its interesting because someone in the music world is frustrated by exactly the same thing that frustrated the technical world, and the frustration comes from the implementation of what is at first believed to be better technology.

    Nearly the same thing can be said about resonance. In one form of music, it can be beautiful and useful. In other forms of music, it can be horrible and destructive. In a building structure, bridge, aircraft, automobile, ect., resonance can become catastrophically destructive. Yet, it enables other forms of useful technology.
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  4. #4
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Someone who is an engineer once told me about the importance of "graceful fallback": when something breaks, it should break in a manner that plan B is possible, then plan C, then plan D, etc. When my father took Judo lessons, he told me that the first thing they teach you is how to fall properly without harming yourself. Same principle.

    In the Fine Maths of a B&W Print thread, that was my argument for comparing not the absolute highest standards possible with either media, but rather the flaws, the defects: which defects are you more willing to cope with? JPEG noise or grain?

    As a mature technology, film has an amazingly graceful fallback.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  5. #5

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    Interesting article. It definitely highlights the importance of maintaining old methods and processes in all kinds of fields and endeavors.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
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  6. #6

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    Brian Eno is excellent. Here Come the Warm Jets and Another Green World are phenomenal albums.

  7. #7
    Sparky's Avatar
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    simply put - I suppose it's about maintaining useful tools.... and not letting yourself be used BY them... also being a lover of analogue means of music production, and being very familiar with eno (and then some!) it sure jives with me.

  8. #8
    Sparky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Graham View Post
    Brian Eno is excellent. Here Come the Warm Jets and Another Green World are phenomenal albums.
    My vote's for "my life in the bush of ghosts' with david byrne - have you HEARD that?? my god.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QLXTsviMxk

  9. #9

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    ...Software options proliferate extremely easily, too easily in fact, because too many options create tools that can't ever be used intuitively...
    That passage very aptly decribes my frustration with most of the techno gadgets around nowdays, such as most mobile phones, typical digi cameras and much software. Too much of this stuff is designed with a philosophy of "we can add this and this and that function, isn't it cool to make it do that". Rather than paying attention to the core functionality and making it do that well.

  10. #10
    Sparky's Avatar
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    YES - I really have to admit that I'm SOOO DEEPLY entrenched in this 'cult of the analog' thing - I can't TOLERATE using cell phones... the intelligibility is so poor! You'd think technology would improve the quality of things... guess not. It's all about 'features' (that you'll never use anyway!)

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