Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Take, like, personal music players+headphones. There's no doubt that the experience of riding a bus or train, looking out the window, the music thats most beautiful and meaningful to you streaming with fidelity and clarity into your very own ears...well, thats obviously totally amazing. And I think that, for the average person, that level of personal, individual engagement with music is basically unprecedented in human history. But then think about the fact that for most of human history, music served a mainly social function; it was performed and received in an entirely communal setting. Consider, then, how rare meaningful communal experiences of music are these days. Consider also the landscape that you're passing by in that train or bus and how mediated your actual experience of it is. Think about how removed you are from the thing itself. And then think about how isolated you are from the other people on the train. And about what that isolation means for us as public people. That's an unsettling trade-off, right?