Compositional Obstructionist Theories of Otto Werner (1927-2008)
Compositional Obstructionist Theories of Otto Werner (1927-2008), Professor of Music at Colorado State University.
Werner shared a profound theoretical manifesto only to his students (and never to external practitioners) based on Sebastiano Timpanaro and Jeremy Benthem's Panopticon writings. I studied with him for two years.
His outstanding gifts of textual criticism took the form of adversaria and punctual annotations that eventually yielded over a thousand pages of meticulous dissection of musical passages.
Werner cites a “plurally fraught metaphysical universe,” and a refusal of an authoritative “panoptic vision” of the world, spoiled both his own attempts at composition and the efforts of music critics looking for a tidy interpretive framework through which to engage and explain him. But as students of Werner, we echo his intent of a loose definition of young composers, the so-called “speculative realists.”
From Professor Werner... "the Panopticon is not merely, as Foucault thought, “a vicious, ingenious cage” (Werner misquoted this), in which subjects collaborate in their own subjection, but much more—constructing the Panopticon produces not only a prison, but also a god within it. The Panopticon is a machine which on assembly is already inhabited by a ghost."
Werner's Redactionist approach to composition and performance was revolutionary and an absolute inspiration to a small, intimate group of composers.
Here is my response to my teacher/mentor...a purely Wernerian work employing all of his compositional coordinates.
This work of mine, "Organization Interpenetrate" for Obstructionist Solo Organ (Duration 1:43:34"), has been reviewed as "vexatious, galling, maddening, impossible, antagonistic, mundane, irritating, plagued, pestiferous :: subversive, insurrectionist, profound, political, extremist, 'provocateurian', hilarious, brilliant and untouched." - Bil Smith Composer
"Organization Interpenetrate" for Obstructionist Solo Organ on Soundcloud. https://soundcloud.com/bil-smith/organization-interpenetrate