Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Juan Muñoz, The Gambler

Chris Miller over at Mountshang has a post on the sculptor Juan Muñoz. It turns out he hated him, although, ever charitable, gives us an example of something he really liked.

I have another suggestion for Chris regarding Muñoz - Gavin Bryars' Man in a Room Gambling. It was a collaboration between Muñoz and Bryars, and it's excellent.

As the linked piece notes, the pieces are 5 minute lessons on card cheating - turns out Muñoz was an amateur magician. This work influenced me greatly - it rekindled my childhood interest in magic, although I must admit that my recently purchased copy of Erdnase's Expert at the Card Table remains relatively unperused...hmmm...perhaps that's a nice summer project, learning to cheat at cards.

With the rise of poker, and my deep hatred of state-run gambling (I'm quite serious, I don't know if there's any other state action outside of sanctioned violence more immoral than state-run gambling), learning to cheat at cards seems like something that could move one up in the world these days, indeed, someone could see cheating at cards to bring down state-run gambling as a kind of noble duty, an act of civil disobedience. Not I, of course...

Back to the music. There is great beauty in the deception presented here. Bryars and Muñoz trick one into thinking they are listening to broadcast segment, and Bryars music seduces the ears away from Muñoz's instruction - I have found it virtually impossible to concentrate - aural misdirection.

I know of no more pleasant way to learn the card sharper's noble art than through this work. In addition to Erdnase and Muñoz, I would also suggest a green felt cloth, and a copy of this Rembrandt to keep you ever in the mood.

And dogs playing baccarat. No poker here at the Transcontinental.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you are interested in the musical pieces of Juan Muñoz, you can find "A man in a room, gambling" here:


And just below, you'll find links to his other 3 musical works, including the posthumous for Kassel's Documenta, in colaboration with John Malkovich and Alberto Iglesias.