Musical Instrument Loss and Recovery After the Nashville Flood

Photo courtesy Guitar Center. They describe the scene: “A shattered Kay acoustic guitar (Circa late 1950’s or early 1960’s) sits on the floor of Soundcheck Nashville, waiting to be assessed for damage.” Wherever they occur in the world, disasters’ material impact can be nearly as emotionally and personally challenging as loss of life. Floods in Nashville, Tennessee have illustrated this vividly, as irreplaceable instruments at facilities like the legendary Soundcheck Nashville have born the brunt of the rising flood waters. For their part, Soundcheck has been running a flood blog covering recovery and equipment load out. National Public Radio’s All …

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Worldwide Busking Event Turns Street Music into School-Building Power for Zambia

Could busking – street music performance – be a tool for social change? It’s an idea I’ve heard artists mull before. Here’s one opportunity to do just that next month, in April, in support of building badly-needed school facilities in southern Zambia. And yes, digital musicians can participate, thanks to terrific, affordable, battery-powered amplification. I do hope this could launch a discussion, though, on how to organize this kind of action, and how to make busking work for good. Ben Matthews, founder of the charity, writes: LearnAsOne,a UK-based charity dedicated to funding schools in Africa, announces the launch of its …

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HAITI 2010 Monome Community Compilation + Other Efforts to Help in Haiti

Album artwork by Pau Cabruja (www.pauk.org) . Artists and creators around the world have been moved by the suffering of Haitians in the wake of last week’s earthquake. There are ways we can help, like giving to relief organizations to give them the capacity to respond wherever needed. The next crisis could be halfway across the world or in our own neighborhood. The monome community is about more than just the button-grid, open-source controller with which they work. They’re an example of the kind of collective spirit that musicians, digital or otherwise, can share internationally (see the map of these …

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Congress Restores Arts Funding, Drops Arts Stimulus Ban, After Public Outcry

Photo CC Brian Talbot. Here in the US, Congressional Democrats have reversed not one but both bad decisions on the role of the arts in the economic stimulus package. Provisions that would have blocked any stimulus funds from reaching arts centers, museums, and theaters have been dropped. (Golf courses and casinos are still in the ban. Maybe this time, someone read the actual legislation.) And the US$50 million (out of some $800 billion) that would go to the National Endowment for the Arts, dropped from a Senate version, has been restored to the bill. It appears both of those changes …

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Democrats, Republicans Join to Ban Arts Stimulus, Declare Arts Worker Jobs Not “Real”

Fore? Photo: Dan Perry. Folks, we have a lot of work ahead of us. To wrap up the thread I started, the plot in US politics, in the space of a few short weeks, has gone something like this: 1. A new Administration could bring new vision to making the arts part of the economy. 2. Arts spending is wasteful. 3. Any spending on anything should be specifically prohibited from reaching the arts, as that would be wasteful and evil, and the arts are the best symbol of Waste itself. I live on Wall Street (technically, on the corner of …

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Artists’ Jobs Aren’t Jobs? Will the Real Conservatives Please Stand Up?

Well, someone has pork on the brain, anyway. Photo: Jason Brackins. While I’m discussing the potential to take new directions in the arts and technology worldwide, and about ways in which creative technology can help repair the global economy, I’d be remiss if I didn’t make one sobering concession: To many policy makers, the “arts” don’t count as the economy. If you’re employed as an artist, (and by extension in creative fields), you’re not a worker. Um… thanks? Never mind that in the US alone, nearly 6 million people are employed in the arts – or that that figure itself …

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Obama’s Inauguration as Reaktor Mash-Up: Tim Exile

Living in the digitally-connected age means a constant flow of media – but also the chance to reprocess (or even hack) it. Tim Exile (aka Exile aka Tim Shaw) is an electronic music innovator and one-man DSP laboratory. He didn’t just turn on his TV to watch today’s US Presidential Inauguration – he mashed it up on his own Reaktor creations. Here’s a live take (after a few moments, he warms up and it absolutely takes off). Tim notes: Most significant international events don’t have a pre-warning but this one did, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to mash …

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Your Own Times of Change: Greetings, “Makers of Things”

If we want real change, we may have to push some of our own buttons. Whatever part of the political spectrum, whatever part of the world community, as you come to the CDM community I do believe that we as creators are touched by larger issues. I think it doesn’t make sense to talk politics directly on this site when it’s not relevant, and I’m sure we’d all disagree about those issues. But as the world waits to find out what kind of leader the US President Obama will be, now is as good a time as any to talk …

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NPR Piece: Global Warming Makes the Ocean Louder

A really striking piece in NPR today, via Gina Blaber’s Twitter (thanks, Tim O’Reilly): Humans Turning Up Volume In Oceans [NPR “Science Out of the Box”] A new report shows the way in which sound travels through the ocean has been impacted by global warming. A growing community of artists are working in media like sound to address environmental challenges. But it seems the planet is making some “sound art” of its own. Curious to hear what people think of the report.

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