June 09, 2006
Essentially, the recording of a live performance may present very good listening, but it is not the event; neither is it the same as being at the event. And (for me there is no doubt that) the act of recording the performance will itself have changed both the performance and the event, in subtle (and unsubtle) ways.
(Via Robert Fripp’s Diary)
You should read the whole post. While I wholeheartedly agree with Fripp, I don’t hope or expect to change the view of that member of the audience who chooses not to be present by electing to concentrate on recording the music that is created by the participant/performer and the participant/audience. Everyone has a choice to participate in life or to remain removed and aloof. By choosing to concentrate on recording an event, instead of experiencing the event in the present one prepares for a future experience of that event – but without the sight, touch, smell and communal aspect of that original moment. Instead of contributing ones presence to the performance/event, one is caught up in preparing a private experience of that performance at a later time. Isn’t that somewhat like going on a date and recording the evening rather than interacting with the other person?
That’s an interesting perspective that you are bringing up, because I think that often the perceived “value” of a performance is the music that’s produced as opposed to the experience itself. As much as there are always concerts going on, the majority of us might see ourselves more as “CD consumers” than “concert goers”.
Also, in many ways I think that “events” in our mind are more often about something else… we’re very much a society focused on outcomes. So a date, or other social event, is often recorded in our mind for playback later… (Did I say what I planned to say? Did I respond appropriately? What’s my analysis of what other people said? Etc.)
It’s interesting, and much more exciting, going into different situations and trying to let go of controlling the outcome or analyzing what the experience is about.
Regarding your last sentence: Yes, and of course one does influence the outcome by one’s mere presence and by one’s responses and thus we change the experience for all involved.