Posts Tagged ‘Debussy’

Gentrification in Berlin's Kreuzberg neighborhood. (photo credit)

Living in San Francisco, you can’t avoid the anti-gentrification rants—and my fellow artists are some of the loudest participants. The Mission District, once a bohemian enclave, has become astronomically expensive and a playground for obnoxious Tech Bros. Longstanding arts organizations in SoMa and the Tenderloin have had to relocate or shut down to make room for new luxury apartments, to the point that the city is considering a tax on new development to subsidize nonprofits. Shady landlords find underhanded ways to evict rent-controlled tenants and sell the properties at a handsome profit. Even formerly unredeemable neighborhoods of Oakland have started to succumb to baby strollers, designer boutiques, and rising rents. All the while, artists and the poor get pushed out, and any last remnant of cultural life goes along with them. Or so the story goes.

In reality, gentrification has an artistic upside, even when you factor in all that bad stuff. Gentrification is not just about the disneyfication of formerly quirky neighborhoods at the expense of anything unique or original. (more…)

Photo CC by Micah Baldwin on Flickr

I read a great book recently, Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, which is essentially this fantastic global theory of poverty and progress that works flawlessly across all of history and the world. One of their key concepts is creative destruction, the idea that any innovation that improves living standards (e.g. printing press) destroys what came before (e.g. demand for hand-copying), which leads to conflict because some other group will have an interest in maintaining the status quo (e.g. scribes).

That’s also basically the story of experimentalism in music, so I began to wonder how far the parallels go. Well, upon reflection, it seems to me that there’s a biologically determined limit to this process as it applies to art, and this inherently creates a limit on experimentalism itself. We’ve reached that limit. It’s no longer possible to be an experimental artist in the true sense of the term. (more…)