Friday, March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011 — Life without the Liner Notes

I often use my mixed media collages as a way of preserving lost or soon to be lost elements of our lives. In some ways all visual art captures and preserves a moment in time. And there are times when artists do it with a real intent of preservation. I certainly am not unique. Just a week ago I saw an exhibition of the work of Lauren DiCioccio (see my art blog for details). She does an amazing job of preserving day-to-day items in her art.

For today, the item I want to preserve is liner notes. Acquiring music by downloading has all but ended liner notes. Just a few albums have a PDF of notes (and it is not eally the same). Without the notes, and ability to speak Portuguese, I would have no idea what Cesaria Evora was singing about. Or for that matter, that she never wears shoes. Nor does Susana Baca. I’ve seen them both in concert — great experiences and definitely barefoot.

What is really missing without liner notes is the experience of listening to the album for the first time. The ritualistic unwrapping of the CD or record; the first playing, the sitting down or lying on a floor; and reading and looking at the liner notes. It’s a cultural pairing that we’ve lost. Listening to an album for the first time by hitting play on the computer is not the same.

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