In this eloquent and passionate volume, Bob Ostertag explores the common ground and points of friction among music, creativity, politics, culture, and technology. In terrain ranging from the guerrilla underground in El Salvador's civil war to the drag queen underground in San Francisco and New York, these essays combine journalism and autobiography to explore fundamental questions of what art is and what role it can occupy in a violent and fragmented world, a world in which daily events compromise the universality toward which art strives. Drawing on his intimate engagement with political conflict in Latin America and the Balkans, Ostertag identifies an art of "insurgent politics" that struggles to expand the parameters of the physical and social world. He also discusses his innovative collaborations with major modern performers, filmmakers, and artists around the world. Part memoir, part journalism, and part aesthetic manifesto, Creative Life is a dazzling set of writings from a musical artist who has worked on the cutting edge of new music for thirty years.
Bob Ostertag--composer, performer, historian, instrument builder, journalist, and activist--is a professor of technocultural studies and music at the University of California at Davis and the author of People's Movements, People's Press: The Journalism of Social Justice Movements.
Introduction; Art and Politics After September 11; Early Years; Central America; El Salvador, 1988: Absolute Diabolical Terror; Sooner or Later; Nicaragua 1990: Power Outage; Creative Politics; The Balkans; The Balkans 2000: Tour Journal; Program Notes for Yugoslavia Suite; Queers; Desert Boy on a Stick; Why I Work With Drag Queens; Music And Machines; Between Science and Garbage; Living Cinema Manifesto; Human Bodies, Computer Music; Why Computer Music Is So Awful; Conclusion; The Professional Suicide of a Recording Musician; Appendix; Acknowledgements; Biography; Discography; Filmography; Books; Permissions