Pianist Ian Pace has recorded Michael Finnissy’s epic The History of Photography in Sound in a superb interpretation on the Métier label. In the admirably comprehensive sleeve notes for the new release Ian Pace quotes Susan Sontag as saying:
“To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge – and, therefore, like power… Photographed images do not seem to be statements about the world so much as pieces of it, miniatures of reality that anyone can make or acquire.”
Elsewhere in his notes Ian Pace describes how:
“Finnissy’s work investigates quite exhaustively the possibility of removing something from a unique existence in a particular context; his musical materials become flexible ‘texts’ which assume different meanings depending on the circumstances in which they are presented.”
The History of Photography in Sound’s preoccupation with appropriation and changed contexts resonates with its composer’s “who the hell cares” attitude towards friends, followers and commercial success. While immersed in Ian Pace’s persuasive advocacy of Michael Finnissy’s pioneering but always human music I was reminded of these thoughts from new media maven Jason Calacanis:
“We’re harvesting our lives and putting them online. We’re addicted to gaining followers and friends … and reading comments we get in return. As we look for validation and our daily 15 minutes of fame, we do so at the cost of our humanity”.