Art, currency & soup – by Dustin Wong

 With the recent issues with currency and the slowly dying music medias, it is a good idea to re-think what these possibilities can be. 

 I’ve been running into a lot of forums and discussions online about the issue of file sharing, whether that hurts the artist or it helps the artist.  The argument goes, that if a lesser known artist can reach more people through illegal downloading or free downloads, they can get more recognition and it would help the sales of their live shows. However I heard some people respond (who are musicians) that they made music but couldn’t physically perform at concerts.  Some artists say they have put their blood and sweat into these songs, and when these are being downloaded for free they feel like they are being cheated.  

 I also have had experience of this when I was in the band Ponytail, and we were about to release Ice Cream Spiritual.  At the time, it was few months before the release date, but then I found a discussion thread based in Boston and someone had gotten a hold of the album and posted a link for download. I thought this was a good opportunity to talk to them, and hopefully have them take down the link. I asked them politely to do so since it was still premature to have it out in the world, but told them that it was fine for them to keep the album on their computer. The response was interesting, some agreed and kindly voiced that the link should be taken down and some just became furious. They told me I was selfish, and that we were going to make money on this anyway so I should pretty much shut my mouth and mind my own business. We are still in the red for this album for multiple reasons and I have been thinking about this incident for a while now, it was such an interesting interaction.

 It’s the whole idea of money. That is why people are upset, it includes listeners and artists. We have been possessed by the whole idea of currency and have been taken under control by it. Paying for services, objects, foods, etc. It all should make sense, but it really doesn’t. It only perpetuates the feeling of desperation and skews the priority of what jobs can actually give us, joy. Because I believe that even dishwashers can unlock the mystery of the universe through their craft. But more on that on another piece of writing.

 We need to revolutionize the idea of the music media and get over the dogma and nostalgia of these media. I have seen the recent resurgence of tapes being sold, but also realized that a good amount of people don’t really listen to them, they just collect them. Then what does that mean? People are buying objects so that they can get the download codes. I’ve sold some tapes as well, but there is already a free download online, but people still buy them.  So in a way, if it is an object, or a service, it can be anything.  If one wants to create ceramic pieces, bowls or cups they can print a download code on top.  A band member might be really good at making soup, when you’re done with the soup you might get a fortune cookie with a download code.  It doesn’t even have to be a download code, it could be a media of the listener’s choice, but it seems like digital files are the media of choice right now. It could be a tour guide of the musician’s neighborhood, anything really. It’s the promotion of versatility. When money is gone it will be about the sharing of abilities, just like it was before when currency was nonexistent. A man might help a farmer for some food and shelter, a musician might play a song for a family, bringing back the idea of a minstrel.  

 If money changes, everything changes, energy, politics, and the little guy, music. Sound as an art form is experienced through the air, it is a form that goes farthest from material form. Since the music is losing this material form, this is its chance to make an example of what it could turn into. A microcosm of what it would be like without a set currency, a versatile exchange. We’ve been used to listening to music through records, tapes, CDs, and there has always been a scare when a new media was introduced. A fear for the capitalist ideal. Music will return to the place where it was about how the artist related to the world and to his soul/mind/spirit. Pretension in art, though originally about integrity-less and false pretenses, is becoming more seriously about people making art for the wrong reasons–fame and fortune.  However that again is for another piece of writing. 

 Dustin Wong, Live at Nana Hari :

Dustin Wong – Pencil Drove Hili Moon (from Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads)

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Dustin Wong – On/In The Way (from Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads)

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