Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What Does The Title "Fanfare For The Playing Man" Mean?

Decor determines gestures: we will build passionate houses
-Situationist International Slogan

My new radio show, running on KXLU 88.9 is called "Fanfare For The Playing Man". While I enjoy saying it, it also has a very personal meaning for me.

The "Fanfare" portion is an obvious reference to composer Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man". The immediate point of this reference is to create a sense of celebration for each of us. My show, as opposed to Copland's composition, is a celebration of an urban existence: isolated while perpetually surrounded. The use of Copland also creates a uniquely American experience, separating itself from the very French Situationst International reference found in the term "playing man".

To the Situationists, the city is designed around the working man. Each structure makes human capitol more efficient, from roads, to bus stops to cramped apartment complexes, every aspect of the city is made to accommodate work. Some artists of the movement decided to design cities of their own, not to cradle the working man, rather modeled for the playing man.

It is for this reason that modern graffiti and skateboarding are still two activities that are kindred spirits to the Situationist movement in France in the late 50s. The two activities take a city, designed for work, and rob it of its seriousness; they transform pre-laid objects of work into platforms for play.

It is this concept that guides my show during drive-time. To transform a morning commute, the cattle march to the office, into a time of play is all I can hope to do while celebrating each anonymous individual.

1 comment:

Jon said...

we listened this morning. it was swell to hear you in our apartment. just like old times.