03
May
11

Architecture, Art, Arthur and Adams

I sometimes compare music to architecture. 

During one of my recent ruminations I got to thinking about why it isn’t sufficient to justify what you put on the paper only with extra-musical, programatic explanations.  If you want to add that element to a composition, fine, but there must also be a musical logic at work in the background, wherein the pitches and rhythms are reckoned unto themselves.  An architect may draw up fanciful plans, having been influenced by, or trying to evoke, some extra-architecural idea or ideas, but the construction will not stand if it doesn’t abide by the architectural guidelines that have been determined by our discovery of the physical laws governing the behavior of matter.

And then I remembered this bit from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

ARTHUR: But – It looks like… like… just like a plastic cup! Hanging in the sky. It’s…It’s about a mile long.
BIRD ONE: Looks like plastic. Carved from solid marble there.
ARTHUR: But the weight of it! What’s supporting it?! What keeps it there?!
BIRD ONE: Art.
ARTHUR: Art?!
BIRD ONE: It’s only part of the main statue – fifteen miles high. It’s directly behind us, but I’ll circle round in a moment.
ARTHUR: Fifteen miles high?
BIRD ONE: Very impressive from up here with the morning sun gleaming on it.                                                               

ARTHUR: But what is it? What’s worth a statue fifteen miles high?
BIRD ONE: It was of great symbolic importance to our ancestors, it’s called
’Arthur Dent Throwing the Nutrimatic Cup’.
ARTHUR: Sorry, what did you say?
[BIRD flies them closer]
BIRD ONE: There. What do you think of it?
ARTHUR: Ugh. Oh, oh. I mean…
BIRD ONE: Good isn’t it?
ARTHUR: Ah. Look, the statue, how did you get the cup bit to stay where it is unsupported?
WISE OLD BIRD: It stays there because it’s artistically right.

 Douglas Adams lampooning the ill-justified, the unsupported, in art.


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