May 20th, 2008

linkthink #2925: Unreconstructed Deconstructionist

videyoga ::

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Birdseed  |  May 21st, 2008 at 2:13 am

    Ugh, don’t remind me.

    I’m doing a course on Experimental Music and Sound Art and I was going to do an essay on dub from an experimental music perspective (because I think it fits in nicely). But then I foolhardily wrote a sentence in my (very tentative) synopsis about the slightly clichéd association between dub music and Derrida, whereupon my teacher goes:

    “Oh, this thing about dub and deconstruction, that seems interesting, can’t you write a whole essay about that?”

    So now I’m furtively trying to catch up on my Derrida, who I vaguely remember taking a single lecture on six years ago. Damn lucky I’ve got at least a basic undergraduate grounding in philosophy or I probably couldn’t make sense of any of it.

    If anything this should teach me to keep my pretentious mouth shut.

    (Oh and any tips on the subject material are greatly appreciated. Especially helpful would be dub artists who themselves claim to be engaged in some sort of decontruction.)

  • 2. wayneandwax  |  May 21st, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Hrm. Yeah, isn’t it remarkable how eager some profs can be to have their students connect the music they like to the theories _they_ like. More often than not, though, these connections end up making for some serious stretches. Perhaps Gates’s “signifyin(g)” project remains one of the better examples — and certainly most successful, at least in terms of influence — of marrying high (continental) theory with grassroots (af-am) cultural practice, though the trick there was to show that everyday people had been working with their own theories/practices of signification long before it became fashionable in the academy.

    I can’t recall a single instance of a dub engineer connecting what he does to the term “deconstruction.” You might check out Veal’s dub book, since he takes pains — although a little painful in my estimation — to make some of these theoretical connections in the final chapters (though, unfortunately, without much in the way of ethnographic evidence, unlike the magnificent middle section of the text).

    In general, deconstruction is a grossly overused term and usually not applied in the true Deriddean sense.

  • 3. Birdseed  |  May 21st, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Yeah, I figure that too. (My basic answer to the question “is dub deconstruction?” is definitely no.)

    I’m a bit hesitant at trying to over-force ideas of “everyday people […] working with their own theories/practices” but what can I do? I suggested I try to plot out a potential deconstruction of dub instead but he seems not so keen.

    Oh well. Back to attempting to decipher Derrida, or dub, or whatever. At least I’ve got Veal’s dub book (which unfortunately mostly runs in other circles) to rely on.

  • 4. wayneandwax  |  May 21st, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Yes, we’ve all got to run in certain circles sometimes, so no need to force anything. But it sounds like an interesting challenge to me: you’ve got to find a way to write what you want to write but, for now, for a rather specific audience. I’m happy to be done with grad school in that regard. The freedom to imagine an audience different from my advisor and committee (much as I like them) is a wonderful feeling. It’s a nice thing about blogs too — take refuge, oh YouTubeer.

  • 5. ripley  |  May 21st, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    However, Derrida did get onstage with Ornette Coleman at a Jazz festival (until he was booed off).. so the jazz connection has been made already…

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Wayne&Wax

I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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