Not for SALE [part two]
Let’s continue with this glimpse at John Oswald’s work, considered an early wake up call to the reality of a music industry that pioneered and supported the development of what Nicolas Negroponte in 1990 and Chris Anderson in 2006 [among others] referred to as the modern “hit culture,” which perhaps will be deemed by the media critics of the future as a necessary step towards a post-modern, open society [no sarcasm here].
Post-modern and open [consumer] society have been incompatible for a long time, however today there are signs that the antagonism is fading. The Economist recently published a piece that deals with the unlikely reality of marketing appropriating the tools of post-modernism, that is, the discourse that post-modernists fashioned to eliminate consumer society, and using that same intellectual framework to do precisely the opposite: “…capitalism employs the critique that was designed to destroy it.” At least in the so-called advanced world, with its wired homes and wireless hyper-connected society.
The article reminds us that post-modernist thought predicted “the individual’s desire (and ability) to take control –-to become ‘the artists of his own life…’” in response to the ubiquitous influence of capitalism in society at large, with its tight control over mass media and the means of production. Plunderphonics, as a music genre, offered [back in the early 80’s] an interesting and creative way to challenge society’s conception of authorship by materializing the vision of individual control, which at the time was extremely revolutionary [Michael Jackson and CBS actually burned most copies of Dab] but that, in 2007, seems to be a little more than acceptable. Just refer to 2006 Time’s Person of the Year [You] or Advertising Age’s Agency of the Year [The Consumer] to see how, in the 21st century, post-modernism changed sides.
Here are two more brilliant pieces from John Oswald’s repertoire: BLACK from the album Dab, which is “part one of James Brown's Greatest Bits…” with a “guest appearance by Prince,” and BRAZILLIONAIRES THEME from the 69PLUNDERPHONICS96 box-set, which you will easily recognize.