The Plastic Brain

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Electronica meets Plato.

As a fan of Plato’s Theory of Forms, and of kickin’ bass, I can’t help loving this. [For the kiddies out there, there is a language warning on this clip].

Check the lyrics, and a decent interpretation, here.

And, who this this guy anyway? I’ll leave that up to Beat Magazine.

Some wunderkind lovechild of Grimes and Skrillex, defining the next wave in DIY dance/rock fusion, Robert Delong is a Seattle-born man child who makes music using – I shit you not – Wii remotes and Sega Genesis controllers. With these scraps of plastic and metal, plus drum pads, synths and MIDI interfaces, he crafts big, soupy bass beats and warped, spine-scraping accents; hunks of fun time electro to make you stamp your feet, met with epic, heartfelt vocals. His voice – a barely-broken, bright-eyed thing – is almost Ben Gibbard-esque in its self-aware sincerity. Excellent.” BEAT

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Magritte’s original truly wasn’t a pipe. It was a painting of a pipe.

But this actually is a tie.

Does that mean that this tie is dumb? If you interpret Ceci n’est pas une pipe as I did in one of my first posts, the answer would be yes.


However, since the tie is labelled as dadaist, the counter-factual statement does its job of poking its tongue out to logic, and, especially in the form of a tie, to the establishment in general.

Am I reading too much into this? Maybe.

Would I wear the tie? Definitely.

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Milton Galser took the link between Magritte and Plato one step further.

Of this work, he said: “The four hats shown in the poster suggest how art might be defined: as the thing itself, the word for the thing, the shadow of the thing and the shape of the thing.” 

Compare this, now with Plato. The hat, its shape and its shadow are all of the physical. Although the word may advance us a step towrd the Form, it remains only a represenation of the ‘true’ hat.

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As Magritte so poignantly expresses, a picture of a pipe is not a pipe. But as Plato mused, is a pipe even a pipe? What is a real pipe? Surely not that thing you hold in your hand, that did not exist before it was made, and will one day again be dust. The only real pipe is the Form, the idea of the pipe. It is not of the physical world, only of the intellectual, and is eternal and unchanging.

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