Re: Stan Brakhage Copyrights _Experimental sound-art

From: Myron Ort (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Oct 22 2009 - 11:44:40 PDT

I too loved listening to Stan's radio shows, learned a bunch too.
What was then really a fun "detective" project : figuring out and
tracking down ALL those old LPs of obscure, out of print, and mega-
rare recordings. Found them (except for some home tapes from his
personal collection).

Myron Ort

On Oct 21, 2009, at 1:20 PM, marilyn brakhage wrote:

> Hello Raha,
> Yes, The Test of Time tapes are great, on music and the other arts,
> and that is another resource we should have mentioned. They are
> available on the web through PennSound and UBUWeb.
> . . . The reason I don't agree that the term "musical thinking" was
> necessarily so very "wrong" though -- although certainly more true
> of some of Stan's films than others -- is because insofar as film
> images are perceived as 'moving,' Stan was constructing what he
> called an equivalent of the mind's moving ("moving visual thinking"
> as he'd say), but he also referred to music as the "sound
> equivalent of the mind's moving" and believed (as I understand it)
> that organized constructs of visions OR of sounds in time were, at
> source, based upon inner, biological rhythms (and the "movements of
> the mind") -- and that there was a synaesthesia of response in the
> listener/viewer. And by the time he had edited his work -- often
> specifically and consciously based on principles of music, and
> indeed sometimes on particular pieces of music -- the 'thinking'
> behind them could certainly be thought of as 'musical' (at least in
> part). . . . And this is specifically WHY the addition of music
> to his silent films is so problematic! It's because in some sense
> they already ARE 'music.' Thus, it doesn't seem wrong to suggest
> that the thinking behind their making was "musical thinking" (or,
> at least, a visual variation thereof -- with, yes, other influences
> as well). And I don't think Peiman's acknowledgement of what he
> termed the "musical thinking" behind Stan's work deserved
> hostility. I would be more concerned if someone did not perceive
> that aspect of the films. . . . Though perhaps you are concerned
> that that should not override other considerations -- the influence
> of painting, literary allusions, the visual metaphors, the "dream-
> work," hynapgogic vision, and so on. But although you are right,
> of course, about the "many other things," I just don't think that
> Peiman was so "wrong," either, in his perception of the musical
> aspect of the work -- and/or the thinking behind it.
> (Interestingly, though, while Stan had no problem in referring to
> his work, as he regularly did, as "visual music," if people used
> the term "visual poetry" he sometimes bridled. He had a very
> specific idea of what constituted "poetry" (language) and
> considered himself to have failed as a "poet," which he had wanted
> to be when he was younger.)
> Marilyn
> On 21-Oct-09, at 9:47 AM, Raha Raissnia wrote:
>> Thanks Marilyn,
>> I know about Brakhage's tremendous knowledge of music. I have
>> listened repeatedly to "The Test of Time", Stan's radio shows,
>> that is entirely on music, and I LOVE THEM. It is clear and almost
>> obvious how inspired he was by music, yet to say that his films
>> were "musical thinking" is wrong. They are "visual thinking"
>> inspired by music and many other things.
>> I agree with you in seeing nothing wrong for someone to respond to
>> his film with some kind of music...but knowing all we know about
>> Stan and why he didn't want music or sound to his film, if someone
>> does it, to me is annoying !!
>> Raha
>> Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 01:54:49 -0700
>> From: email suppressed
>> Subject: Re: Stan Brakhage Copyrights _Experimental sound-art
>> To: email suppressed
>> I am certainly as concerned as anyone to protect the integrity of
>> Stan's films. However, I find these attacks on a musician's
>> interest in investigating sound-vision relationships to be just a
>> bit harsh. Raha, you will find, with a little more research,
>> that Stan was indeed very involved in musical aesthetics. He once
>> wrote that "the more silently-oriented my creative philosophies
>> have become, the more inspired-by-music have my photographic
>> aesthetics and my actual editing orders become, both engendering a
>> coming-into-being of the physiological relationship between seeing
>> and hearing in the making of a work of art in film." He referred
>> to music as the "sound equivalent of the mind's moving," and said
>> he believed that a study of music would reveal "the physiology of
>> thought," writing, also, that "I seek to hear color just as
>> Messiaen seeks to see sounds." Interestingly (in reference to the
>> Bach question), he also claimed that several films of his had been
>> inspired by Webern's adaptation of Bach's Musical Offering. And
>> much later than that, Stan was inspired to make films IN RESPONSE
>> INTO NEW FILMS: Tenney's "Flocking," for example, and Corner's
>> "Through the Mysterious Barricade: After F. Couperin." Of
>> course, his silent works he considered complete, and made TO BE
>> silent - and to be experienced as "visual music" (which is also
>> how he referred to his work). And it would certainly seem that
>> any attempt by anyone else to add music to them would be like
>> adding music to music -- dubious at best, and the result would
>> certainly no longer be the film that it was. . . . But that
>> said, even Stan was not completely averse to the notion that
>> someone MIGHT be able to make a great soundtrack to one of his
>> silent films. (He agreed to let Joel Haertling, for example, try
>> to do so with the silent film "Creation" -- though I don't think
>> anything came of it.)
>> Nonetheless, Peiman Khosravi did not presume to say that he wished
>> to "make a soundtrack" for Dog Star Man, Part II (a 6 minute
>> section of the total film). He was, rather, apparently inspired
>> to try to create a musical response that would be, as I understand
>> it, his own aural interpretation of HIS visual experience of the
>> film (which I certainly did not think he was taking as a "neutral
>> vehicle," as Tony Conrad suggested he was doing). In fact, how is
>> it "insultingly dismissive" of the field of filmmaking, I wonder,
>> for a musician to wish to interact with it -- any more than it
>> would be insultingly dismissive of musicians for a filmmaker to
>> incorporate their music?
>> "Dog Star Man" stands on its own. It is not in need of a
>> soundtrack. Obviously. But that someone has been inspired by it
>> and wishes to try to make a response of some kind does not seem to
>> me to be necessarily "ignorant" -- though certainly intrepid!
>> Khosravi's project may end up being an empty exercise, or it may
>> lead to a creative revelation (for him, and perhaps for others).
>> I would not presume to know. . . But whatever it is going to be,
>> it is certainly not going to change or threaten "Dog Star Man,"
>> which has its own life.
>> Marilyn Brakhage
>> On 19-Oct-09, at 9:48 PM, Raha Raissnia wrote:
>> if Khosravi does a smallest amount of research on Brakhage he
>> will quickly find out that that Brackhage himself referred to his
>> work as "visual thinking ", never as "musical thinking " man !!
>> therefor I agree with tony and also find khosravi's project as
>> "ignorant or (more kindly put) jejune"
>> raha
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