A talk entitled “What’s Left of the Blurring of Music and Life? Some Pattersonian Speculations”, at a special program around Patterson organized by the MaerzMusik festival and SAVVY Contemporary gallery.
Ben Patterson’s early work, as exemplified by his legendary 1961 piece Variations for Double-Bass, both embodies and challenges the notion of “lifelike art” theorized by Happening inventor Allan Kaprow. Although the legacy of that notion has had a rough time recently, Patterson’s work remains fresh. Through my performative experience with Variations, I will explore why that is so, and argue that an understanding of the blurring of life and art – updated with Patterson’s help – might be more relevant to current problems in contemporary music than is obvious.