There is a lot to be said for ‘found art’ – something true for writers too.
Let me explain. I once heard a wonderful story about the time Rick Wakeman – then keyboard player for Yes – was sufficiently unimpressed by the artwork for their 1978 album Yes Tor that he hurled a tomato at it. The net result was a new title – Tormato – which was released complete with the remains of the fruit on the cover. As a kind of artistic statement it worked very well.
I remember the album mainly because it featured Wakeman on the Polymoog synthesiser, the first polyphonic offering by Robert A. Moog’s company. I remember playing the original Polymoog myself as a teenager in the late 1970s – it was more a hybrid than anything else, because the sounds were based on presets, and it produced (to my mind) a rather weedy sound via the same frequency-divider technology as a Farfisa organ.
It got better if you pumped it through a guitar distortion unit – as Gary Numan did to get the classic ‘Numan’ sound on most of his early albums.
I once tried that myself using my Roland Alpha-Juno 2 and a Boss multi-pedal unit. The results were…well, interesting (the Roland was a proper analog synthesiser with full waveform control, unlike the Polymoog). I still have the recording, and no I am not going to post it online.
There is a lesson for writers. What am I getting at? Wakeman hurling a tomato at the album artwork and Numan doing something unexpected with electronics both led to something new – something that nobody had thought of. Something different, and something creative.
In both cases they did it with dissonance – something outside the parameters.
What followed was an emergent property of that dissonance: new artwork and a new title; and a new sound.
It seems to me that this is one of the things writers, too, need to aim at – to create something unexpected, something new, by embracing those qualities of creative dissonance. It gives the material an edge that it wouldn’t otherwise have had – makes it distinctive.
Exactly how to do that – well, that’s a long story. Watch this space.
And if you want to find another sort of found art – you know, an author’s Facebook page, jump across to mine and please ‘like’ it: https://www.facebook.com/MatthewWrightNZ/
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016