ALCStudies Journal

Advanced Labor & Cultural Studies Web Site & Blog

Is It Live, Memorex or Youtube?

Excellent article in the Irish Times about digital replication (streaming) of music and art vs. live performance and presentation.[1]

Woody Guthrie, troubadour of the American dustbowl in the 30s (who had a thing or two to say about labor, exploitation and music) observed “… electric fonagrafts an’ radeos an’ talkies has fixed it where you put a nickle in an’ one or two musicians entertains hundreds or thousends of people, an’ hole armies of well talented folks goes beggin.” [sic]

His complaint preceded Facebook and Youtube. The dilemma now as then is how to reward and support those who honor their artistic muse when the prevailing commercial and consumer trend is to turn her solely into a commodity, if not a whore. Our organization (ALCStudies.org) promotes live spoken-word and musical events (e.g., live radio and lectures). We believe the Web can digitize and duplicate the simulacra[2], but never replace the immanence (and sacredness) of connecting human beings through the gift of live art, including music, dance and the spoken-word. People hunger for that experience still, which is as old as civilization. The Gaelic and Celtic cultures gave us some of the greatest examples. Just ask Ossian (or at least James Macpherson) ; – ).

Speaking of exploitation, see an article on emotional labor at FastCompany.com

— DA


[1] *Memorex, orginator of a famous casette tape television commercial featuring singer Ella Fitzgerald, filed for bankruptcy in 1996.

 [2] Thanks to artist Chris McGinnis for introducing this term: …The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true. – Jean Baudrillard

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2 responses to “Is It Live, Memorex or Youtube?

  1. Jay Merical February 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    I’m excited to uncover this great site. I want to to thank you for your time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every little bit of it and i also have you book marked to look at new information in your blog.

  2. D. Abramoff May 3, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Is it possible to get too much publicity? In her 5/1 article in the New Statesmen, Sarah Howell suggests the proliferation of smartphones and social networking threaten the serendipity of live art: http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/05/are-smartphones-ruining-art

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