— O.M.

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A voice of a century. The world has lost a rock and roll legend.

In the late 1980s, when the whole hair rock craze was rocking the world, a different kind of music was making it’s way through. The alternative scene was hungry for something that was true, real – something that wasn’t playing a pretentious game. There was an enormous scene brewing up in Seattle, that nobody knew about yet – folks wearing ripped jeans, flannel shirts, long hair and singing about real things. This scene was thriving so much, that even NME journalist had to fly in from the UK to see what’s happening.

One of the bands that generated substantial heat was Kurt Cobain’s band Nirvana, but before they came along, there was one more band – a defining chapter of the famous rise of Seattle grunge: Soundgarden. Their lead singer, Chris Cornell, had a charismatic voice – a tone that was never heard before, carrying indescribable passion and dark soul – something that could never ever be imitated. It comes with no surprise that this voice influenced a whole generation and was part of a movement that forever change the course of music history. It was raw, undefinable and something never heard before.
Myself, I am a 90s kid and never had a chance to experience all the havoc – that’s probably why I never had a close relationship to Soundgarden. But still – anyone that ever heard “Black Hole Sun” or “Hunger Strike” (see Cornell’s side project “Temple of a Dog”) must admit the gravity of the music. This was something absolutely unique and mesmerizing.
However, I was completely stunned when I first heard Chris’ solo work. In my MP3 player I had two albums, “Euphoria Morning” (released in 1999) and “Carry On” (2007) – these two albums truly showcased the incredible vocal talent Cornell possessed. They inevitably became part of my upbringing – “Steel Rain”, “Arms Around Your Love”, “Safe and Sound” and many other of his songs were instantly part of my daily playlist. I grew to love Cornell’s voice – mainly because I never heard anything so raw, strong and free of any boundaries. He sang as if nothing could tear him apart – except for himself.

Chris Cornell battled many demons, and quite possibly one was too many at times. It breaks my heart to see it come down like this. It breaks my heart to lose a legend of his stature.
It breaks my heart to lose this voice – possibly, there may never be anything more soulful than his voice.

I will miss you Chris. Goodbye.

CHRIS CORNELL, A ROCK’N’ROLL LEGEND, 1964 – 2017

 

 

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Rhetorics of hate2

We are entering a dark time of globalised fear, in which the most important men and women on the planet are preaching fear on a daily basis. We are constantly bombarded with a shadowly theme, in which we are led to believe in a force of greater evil somewhere in the midst of middle east outlands. This rhetoric, very much like many before, suggests an existence of one great enemy — an enemy so large, that it becomes incredibly simple to be pointed at. Consequently, there is no need for anyone to target and identify such an enemy — it will only be a huge mass that is easy to see, without having to make much of an effort. In fact, one will barely need to raise his hand to point at this enemy, because one is virtually surrounded by this enemy. But who is this enemy? Who exactly is it, that the leaders so strongly preach against? What is this invisible force around us? And how can one point so hastily towards something that is virtually nondescript? The rhetoric of fear has injected the enemy in to our surroundings, while in fact there is no enemy present. And as we all very well know, from history alone, human fear can be the true fuel to unprecedented tragedy, grief and destruction. A destruction within — an implosion of human kind.

This model of behaviour is nothing new to the human race — it is stored in every single one of us. Fear drives us to attack, and paranoia brings out the flaws in our characters, that may have never been revealed, unless provoked. We are taught not to kill, but that does not mean we aren‘t capable of killing. The only factor holding us back from killing is VALIDATION. One’s inner evil is only activated if externally validated — in other words, a man will only kill when he is given an excuse for doing so. This validation has many forms, but mostly it comes from the actions and words of those important men and women, that have recently re-adapted the rhetoric of fear. The world leaders are losing faith in peaceful resolution and constructive discussion, resorting to simple-minded hate speech. By doing so, they give validation to all the hate laying in the followers watching them. They validate the inner demon in a civilised society: By forecasting radical and “easy” solutions to world’s problems, they validate and activate the radicalism in the many single souls that are listening. And I can’t help but think: Who are the real radicals? This nondescript alpha enemy that we all hear so much about, but have never seen? The current state of affairs seems to suggest, that the true radicalism lies elsewhere.

The strongest and most vengeful interpretations, seeking radical social division, are now resonating throughout the western world. A shocking representation of the darkest condemned history has resurfaced: An elite white man, building walls around his “own” country and segregating based on faith, is hurling commands from a building built by black slaves. Preaching oppression of anyone who deviates from his utopian vision of an elite faultless society; igniting millions of souls to follow his words. Does this not sound familiar? This historical reoccurrence was greatly described by a Huffington Post writer, Tobias Stone, in an essay commenting the nearing dangers: “… a charismatic leader captures the popular mood, and singles out that scapegoat. He talks in rhetoric that has no detail, and drums up anger and hatred. Soon the masses start to move as one, without any logic driving their actions, and the whole becomes unstoppable. That was Hitler, but it was also Mussolini, Stalin, Putin, Mugabe and so many more.” He then continues with a chilling remark: “It seems inconceivable that people could create a situation in which tens of millions of people die without reason, but we do it again and again.”.

Though, what strikes the most is that we are capable of electing such personas in a fully democratic election. Millions and millions of people casted their votes in favour of a radical and “easy” solution to all problems, but failed to realise that there actually are no problems. Millions favoured aggression over peace, but failed to realise there actually is no great enemy. As Stone brilliantly noted — there is no logic driving these actions, it’s only the drummed up anger and hatred that makes the masses move. And of course — it’s perhaps just the course of history repeating itself.

The true radical lies in us, and we inflict the pain on ourselves. That is, because we are incapable of informing ourselves and opening a free discussion, and we base our opinions on false un-reliable sources, and rushed emotions. We seek extreme change, even though we don’t truly need it. We seek war, when we are at peace. We seek conflict, when in fact we are incredibly close to consensus. It is always a bleak step away, yet we always revert to destruction. I attribute this to the ill-educated nature of the modern world — if only we were capable of this discussion, and if only we were capable of broadening our horizons. The remaining step would then be complete. We must talk, and we must reach out to others. We must have the patience to discuss the diverse opinions: embrace diversity and discover the benefits that this diversity can bring. Ultimately, a unanimous consensus is never possible — but a well-informed public, completed with a diverse discussion, is a basis for a true democracy and a peaceful society.

Therefore — rather than opting for those who divide, let’s opt for those who aim to unite.

***

Originally posted on Medium.

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My semestral paper for the Department of Musicology, by the Faculty of Arts at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech republic.

Abstract:

ENG:
This paper deals with the evolution of the exhibition space in the modern and post-modern history of art. It investigates the changes in approach to space, and the works places inside it, in the last 100 years of progress. This progress is illustrated by a series of examples, which played an instrumental role, and helped towards the so-called “re-discovery of context”. Another part of the paper also deals with the problematic of the participatory role of the viewer in post-modern and conceptual art, which is a thriving topic of the contemporary discourse.
Brian O’Doherty’s essay “Inside The White Cube” was one of the key & inspirational resources for this work. However, it is accompanied, side-by-side, by works written by Sol LeWitt, Boris Groys and other authors relevant to the field.

CZ:
Tato práce se zabývá vývojem výstavního prostoru v moderní a post-moderní historii umění. Zkoumá, jak se přístup k prostoru a k dílům do něj vloženým proměňuje, a jaké změny v tomto přístupu zaznamenalo posledních 100 let vývoje. Tento vývoj je popsán prostřednictvím několika příkladů, které v tomto vývoji sehrály významnou roli a které napomohli k tzv. “znovuobjevení kontextu”. Část textu se rovněž věnuje problematice divácké percepce post-moderního a konceptuálního umění, které je neutichajícím tématem soudobého diskurzu.
Stěžejním a inspirativním pramenem k této práci byla esej “Uvnitř Bílé Krychle” Irského teoretika Briana O’Dohertyho, po boku této eseje se ale v této práci také objeví například úryvky z prací Sol LeWitta či Borise Groyse a dalších relevantních autorů.

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The "1984" commercial for "Macintosh". Directed by Ridley Scott.

I have just got off a 13-hour long direct flight from Dubai to Sydney. Together with the connecting 6-hour flight, it was an excruciatingly long experience, but luckily it was operated by a high-quality airline which, of course, is a good companion for a long-haul like this. However, this short elaboration will not be about airliners. It will be about people and their expectations on what “being entertained” actually means.

The reason I am even stopping to type these words is only a side-effect of this homeland journey. On a long flight like these, every seat of the enormous airplane is equipped with an in-seat entertainment centre,  usually offering a variety of movies, tv shows, video games and etc. I looked around, just to observe the other passengers in the cabin, and I discovered (rather unsurprisingly) that all these people were obsessively drooling over the screens in front of them, being fed with a huge portion of new-age passive entertainment. Practically everyone, apart from the lovely gentleman next to me (who was happy with only his little book, an occasional bite and some coffee – a very fine man, I must say), everyone was hypnotically attached to their screens. Quite an orwellian sight, one could say.

There were families with children, old & young travellers, and many others. I was most interested in a family sitting right in front of me – a father, mother and a teenage son – they barely exchanged any words during the flight. They were all stuck to their screens, reenacting the classic “couch & TV” family scene. The american dream, where all you need to do is just sit down and let the media force-feed content down your throat. One then seems to slowly lose certain values, and transcend to a screen-induced “vegetative state of existence”. The brain leaves the body, as it seems no longer needed.

That’s what modern entertainment does. It effects our consciousness and limits our independence. Social guidelines and conventions are no longer implemented and passed through education and institutions, but rather through mass-medial forms such as television and social media. We are no longer encouraged to think and be challenged while being entertained. An intelectual challenge is no longer a desired effect for the modern man.

Ultimately it was a single observation that struck the core: The father of this family was watching a cartoon. A cartoon that was probably only intended for five-year-old children. That, indeed, shows a prime example of what we are facing:
There obviously & unfortunately is no more need for intellectual challenges. We have given up. We are no longer looking to exceed ourselves – and that, in any case, is critical.

People are becoming helpless hordes and yet America still sees the television as a holy altar. Where do we go from here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DJ Tom Lodge in the tiny Caroline studio on board the Mi Amigo in 1966.It’s been a great year for music. Selecting a collection of the best albums, in an objective manner, would probably be too much of a task for a single person, although music magazines call them out every year – While Rolling Stone and Pitchfork selected Kendrick Lamar’s  “To Pimp A Butterfly”, NME and Stereogum called out Grimes’s “Art Angels” as the record of the year. But at least a very subjective list is called for. Just or the sake of sorting this year out – here is my top 10 albums of 2015:

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The way we limit the world’s access to our inner affairs in times of solitude creates a peculiar moment of introspection. We become an unexplored terrain, that is opening it’s gates to a lonely wanderer.

That is for ourselves, lonely explorers, but for the outside world we remain hidden. We become inaccessible.

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Co mě vzalo a nepustilo. Červen 2015.

Pokud to negunguje, tak poslouchejte ZDE.

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