The latest issue of Arteffect is now available for download as a pdf document. The physical publication can be picked up at locations around Qingdao such as Cafe Kona, Freeman, Old Jack’s, and more. Call 136-6886-7325 or email for more information.

Arteffect (JAN 10, No. 6) features a look back on the posters and performances brought to you by Kadenza Art and Media in 2009, including Nah Youn Sun with Ulf Wakenius, Peter Scherr with Jazz Folk, East West Quartet with Wu Na, Sonic Calligraphy with Coco, Jeff Lang, David Braid, Huang Bo, and more. Also in the new mag: profiles of Zhang Chu and Xishan Laoyao (appearing at Qingdao Concert Hall January 15) and Carrchy and Cold Fairyland (appearing at the Qingdao Concert Hall January 16), and an essay by Clay Army, “Talent Will Out, or Else?” in addition to the monthly updated Venue Information and Events pages.

Excerpt from Arteffect (JAN 10, No.6):

Talent Will Out, Or Else:

For musicians in China, the path to broader exposure and a shot for the top is a straight line to Beijing, now only 5 hours away on the bullet train from Qingdao. Sooner or later, our musical homeboys head to the capital to be heard, in a modern day version of seeking an audience with the emperor. Now, we are all emperors in our own right, deciding what we want and when we want it, available on demand on 159 channels with 50 watts per channel, baby. Faced with so many choices, it does indeed seem we are kings, with 10,000 nightly options for pleasure, a buffet of sound and vision so varied and great that it would be not unusual for a little emperor to mistake the sheer amount of soul food on offer for the total panoply of what the universe could offer.

Some artists feel an obligation, nay, compunction, to bring their products to market, to enter the catalogue of the 21st century mercantile media stream. But there must be an unknowable quantity of art never requesting your attention, either by design or default. It brings to mind ritual sand painters who sweep away their work as soon as it is finished, the work being a procedural gem that for sacred reasons cannot be preserved. Perhaps it is some innate creativity in us all to imagine what might have been the painting never seen. This also could be why everyone wonders just what Mona Lisa is smiling about.

People who change their thinkable into our perceivable are said to have an inexplicable urge to divest their physicality of a spiritual matter, a craving of sorts that commands the bearer to share or else. The expression of the inner becomes a cure for the deliverer to be free from an unaccountable burden, which brings up the question of an artist’s selfishness. Do people make art for themselves, for others, for fame, for fortune?

All living things seek to create more life, as seeds are sown and genes are sped through the ages. Perhaps pouring out emotional inspiration into an artistic mold is just a manifestation of the urge to perpetuate one’s self. If you ask musicians the reason for making a fuss and calling out, “hear me, see me!” not a few will remark “I just wanted to get laid!” So maybe it really is all a big ploy to spread their chromosomal junk throughout an otherwise unwelcoming universe, and no one involved even knows it.

We can never be sure what leads artists to create but one thing is certain: there remains in each of us something that will never be shared. Symphonies are composed but never recorded; paintings are dashed, hidden, or abandoned for reasons known only to the canvas and perhaps also the creator; there’s a farmer in rural Gansu whose song is heard only by the wind. There are some who are just plain oblivious to the fact that what they do is an art form and then there are the truly unfortunate who know that the game is afoot but will not play it either for fear of being discovered or for fear of not. In the grand scheme of things, the faith that talent will out may test the patience of existentialists but as Jeff Tweedy sang, “I’m going away, where you will look for me… where I’m going you cannot come … no one is ever gonna take my life from me… I lay it down, a ghost is born, a ghost is born…”

Jeff Tweedy quote from the Wilco song Theologians, listen (in China only) here

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