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There is something I would really like to give you-
This is the incentive and desire to accomplish something that you normally wouldn’t do.
For me or yourself.
Something that makes you proud and makes you feel like you did something good or accomplished a feat that you thought you couldn’t or were scared of for whatever reason,
including failure.
And whether you were successful or not in your feat or your good deed went unnoticed or was not appreciated for very long,
doing the extra things beyond self survival,
for yourself or others,
is what I ask of you,
and in this way I can give you something now,
that I inherently couldn’t while alive.
Don’t let your dreams die.
This is what I give to you and what you can give to me…

See you soon!!!

Kevin Lightner
01-30-2000

Wishful thinking. Unproven and desperately in need of factually cited examples.

Many original musicians have sold (individually) 10’s of million of albums and sold out huge arenas and stadiums.
Merchandising in the form of movies, games, clothes and other tangible commerce comes along with it.
With each artist or act, there comes a huge amount of employment. People eat supporting talented artists.
Drivers, hair and makeup people, roadies, techs, agents, engineers, flights, hotels, legal needs… the list could go on quite a ways.
Each artist actually becomes an employer and helps support a large number of people in various trades.
The level of their musicianship rises to the point of demand and creates jobs and even industries sometimes.
Newman’s own salad dressing wouldn’t be able to donate millions of dollars had Paul Newman been a bad actor.
Angelina Jolie couldn’t help adopt need children or become an inspiring figurehead for that cause.
Sting, Bono and others couldn’t gain the ground needed to elicit milions of dollars to help the rain forests or the victims of land mines.
That is social responsibility and only comes with definite, appreciated artistry.

Now, name some DJ’s that have packed an arena or stadium or sold platinum albums.
Name an artist known for their work on circuit bent instruments that creates and supports jobs.
Name either that can affect society to the point that everyone knows their name and has an opinion of their art.
Name some that have created sectors of jobs, obtained millions of dollars in needy donations or inspired masses.
They don’t exist.

See how limiting such “art” is?
Circuitbending’s outreach is tiny. Likely unmeasurable.
They do little and affect little in their path.
By comparison, trash men are Gods.

You live in Brooklyn?
Stop everyone from circuit bending for a year, then take a look at your city.
You won’t see any change. Not squat.
Now remove sanitation workers, food suppliers, city maintenance workers, garment workers, babysitters, laundry services, medical services, police, etc.
Likely then you’d see what people truly play a part in social needs, environmental needs and the like.
Circuit bending is very far down the list.
Losing a small exhibit at an art gallery or two will hardly affect many people at all.
True musicians will not have any problem expressing themselves if the occasional circuit bent toy is not available.
Life truly goes on without circuitbending.
It’s impact is negligible.

Let’s go farther and a bit sideways here…

Many acclaimed artists are considered “triple threats.”
They are singularly musicians, actors and dancers. They can do all three.
Prince, Madonna, Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Sinatra (any of the rat pack.)
These are extremely talented people that paid their dues and this combination is to be noted: Had they been massively talented, yet undisciplined, they likely wouldn’t be successful.
Equally, had they been very disciplined, yet poor artists, again they’d likely have not seen success.
It’s only when a talented individual embarks on study and application do they usually succeed.
Only when they can entertain large numbers of people can they effect change, whether it’s laughter, commerce or lasting art.
The point of the triple threat mention is that the bar for talent used to be considerably higher.
It used to take study, practice and discipline to get anywhere in the entertainment business.

Of course there are exceptions and many more so today, but these acts usually don’t last.
Fads based on novelty are nothing new, but novelty wears off.
You’ll notice that we no longer see images by Andy Warhol all around, nor people pushing everyday images as “art.”
It was done once and until we forget about it, it likely won’t take hold again.
Warhol was first, was original, popular and thus locked it up for himself, even past his own death.

An example:
If I say “The Three Stooges” to you, you likely think of well, THE Three Stooges.
But consider the format: three ugly guys slapping each other, telling jokes and getting into mischief.
Hey, that sounds very easy to do, doesn’t it?
There’s no shortage of guys who can do that, right?
The originals are long dead, right?
Ok. Fine.
But why do we not see more versions of the Three Stooges?
Because it’s been done before.
Anything attempting that same format would be considered unoriginal, deriviative or plagiaristic.
These are all widely considered to be negative qualities.
Because of this effect, no one touches doing the Stooges.
It’s off the plate. Untouchable.

When art lasts past the artist’s short life, then it may well be considered art and not a fad.
That’s the reason art is art. It is original. It’s novel and fresh. It’s a 1st… and it lasts.

And this is also why circuit bending so badly fails at both usefulness and true art.
It doesn’t have an ability to be marketed and if duplicated would provide little functionality or usefulness.
Few people appreciate it because it’s not a very capable medium.
It has very little useful aspects .
This is a dead end. It can’t grow or go very far.
The artists performing it don’t end up with a product that’s so unique it’s legacy will outlast the person who did it.
If you died tomorrow, your circuit bent collection would likely not be hailed as the legacy of a serious artist.

Circuit bending always starts with something done fully, then subtracts or adds to it.
Many circuit bent items can’t even do what they were originally designed to do.
They sometimes actually lose their originally designed capability in the process of some circuit bending attempts.
What is the result?
A device that does something different than intended simply for the point of making it do something different.
Now if that difference is truly spectacular, great.
There’s your audience and thus your marketability.
You’ve justified your time and created value where none existed before.

But otherwise, you the artist, the circuit bender, usually end up with more of your art than others do and the time spent is rarely covered to the point of positive gain.
You might survive therefore, but it’s doubtful you’d grow.
One can’t mass market the devices, nor create much demand.
It’s all one on one and very limited in the ability to affect anything to any large degree.

It’s quite like tagging.
If I was a tagger and sprayed up a wall near me, I could look at it often and derive some sort of pleasure from it.
My friends that “get it” would also appreciate it in my small social world. I would feel important to my peers.
But in the larger context of the world, it doesn’t mean anything. Nothing at all.
Three blocks away, no one even knows and showing them won’t elicit a desire for the same in their neighborhood.
Asked, they very likely wouldn’t want it at all.
It’s limited, widely unappreciated and only endorsed by a small, like-minded population.
Yet those in the group doing it, think it’s important and will even die or kill for it.
When was the last time a dead tagger made the nightly news?

Yet had these taggers something more meaningful to do, something with skills that made some money or helped someone, then they could be responsible members of.. there’s that word again… society.
But they don’t. This is what they do. It’s a beginning and end unto itself.
That wall won’t grow and the world will never know if it. It’s limited and again, a dead end.

Indeed, circuit benders practice much of this same sort of denial.
Because they haven’t the skills, they defend their art and call it important.
They gather with others who practice the same.
They stay apart and often shunned from the greater musical world.
The NAMM show doesn’t feature them, music stores don’t carry their instruments and in general they are a very minor subset of an already minor electronic music genre.
Yet they believe they are socially important, musically important and educationally important?
This just isn’t true and circuit bending has failed in all three of these aspects.
It is a dead end because it cannot grow past its own inherent self-limitations.
It cannot create valid enough musical tones to be a featured instrument.
It cannot help create jobs and industries.
It cannot help educate people past its own limitations.

Circuit bending is a big bag of fail.
The sooner you and others realize this, the sooner you can get to doing something truly important, useful and helpful.
Until then, I consider it self-indulgent electronic masturbation.
Great for the person doing it; useless to most others.

–Kevin Lightner, early 2015

Something Kevin wrote in 2004 for prospective clients.
I think we might have used this, but I don’t remember for sure.

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