A Virtual Tin Cup

Virtual Tin Cup

It's ironic that the lead-in to my site, free since 1996, is now a virtual tin cup with a PayPal bottom. Around 1980 after years of corralling all the usual suspects to support my work (NEA, NEH, US State Department and other local, national and international independent and institutional sources) I decided that it was in my best psychological interest (spiritual health) to test whether I could make a living as an esoteric experimental artist outside of being a regular member of the academic world. So far, so good.

This virtual tin cup is one more in a long line of my experiments in generating the wherewithal to live the life of an experimental art researcher/monk in a mobile monastery of my own design. The experiment is a test of whether and how long my site's users value it enough to keep it online and support its continued growth. Dropping a coin in the cup follows the usual online routine for such matters. PayPal seems to cover the bases since it also takes credit cards. If you want a material return on your coin, check out what's available in the form of my books, DVDs and CDs. Amazon.com provides fulfillment when you buy my publications from my site.

Since 1996 there has been a steady stream of visitors to this site, enough of a stream to keep the site's main URLs in the topmost spots of the search engines, Google in particular since its birth. During the mid 1990s before the other Pellegrinos (actually a very common Italian name) found their ways to the Web, the initial 3 or 4 pages of search engines were all links to one or another of the pieces on my site. Periodically when I explore how my site is being used by others I find that it appears as a part of university course plans, link lists of art and science institutions, articles on the experimental arts, Masters theses and Ph.D. dissertations and even as a fencing partner for undergraduate papers. In addition to that institutional lineup numerous independent artists and scientists cite pieces from the site as being influential in their work

Access to this site has been free of charge since I started building it in 1996, and it will continue that way until it follows me into the aether and off the Web. From the beginning I envisioned it as a repository for what previously I would have put in a book, or on an audio tape, video tape or film - in other words, as an educational resource for those interested in exploring the electronic arts of sound and light. After becoming frustrated with the slow and inefficient traditional publishing process of putting out my second book, The Electronic Arts Of Sound And Light, I vowed never to write another book. Instead a website seemed to me to be the perfect solution for presenting my work which has involved multimedia since the late 1960s. Nevertheless as I was approaching the age of 70 a few years ago I realized hardcopy such as books, CDs and DVDs would outlast me and my site. So beginning in 2009 I began pouring my materials into more permanent media and excerpting some of the materials to put on my site.

Lately I've returned to working on my site. More work will follow although my friends will shake their heads because of how much is already here. A common compliment (complaint?) is that it's encyclopedic. Believe me when I say so much more could be going into it, but I'm far more of an existentialist than a materialist so I lean more toward real time than clock time. For the past three decades I've lived by the principle that every day should be sculpted like it's my last day; so I set apart time for an hour of exercise first thing in the morning to wake up an aging body, reading at breakfast to feed mind and soul as well as body, a day of monk's work to earn my keep, a walk at sunset to marvel at the art of the One and finally, at the end of the day, hours to conduct psychophysical experiments in brain building via reading classical piano music just beyond my capabilities. The object of that psychophysical experiment is to force the creation of new neurons, synapses and neural networks by stimulating and challenging those parts of the brain that monitor, control and integrate the coordination of the eyes, ears and hands. In a nutshell, I practice the time honored principle of using struggle (working just beyond one's immediate capacity in order to build new capacity) as the key to creative health. I have observed that in regard to life matters, comfort leads to decay and struggle to growth.

As of this writing, for over 43 years I've dedicated my life to exploring the farther reaches of affordable emerging technology in the arts, in particular the electronic arts of sound and light. During the late 1960s throughout the 1970s the academic world was a good environment for a monk of my sort. It took me over a decade (1968-1981) to realize that the academic world was quickly morphing from ivory towers into technical schools - perfect for producing industrial cogs but hardly suitable for esoteric explorations. With the advent of the Web and its ever improving recording and presentation media, I along with many other artists, found a vehicle that seemed heaven-sent for offering up perspectives that flourish beyond the well-tended academic and industrial fields and function more as open-system gardens without gates and fences.

For certain my site will last as long as I do. When I exit to the aether, it will probably go with me. Its organization is very personal and very convoluted so it would not be a simple matter for another to maintain much less grow. When I've put that issue to my high achieving grandchildren all they had to say was "cool, Grandpa", but remained tellingly silent when I pressed the subject of maintaining it when I'm gone. Not so strange that I would use the expression "when I'm gone". As I'm writing this note I'm 71+ and actually relish the thought of returning to the aether, leaving all this increasingly troublesome matter behind to current and coming incarnates. Nevertheless, until the fat lady finishes her song I'll keep working and putting what I discover on my site for interested parties to ponder. Coins in the tin cup will lengthen the fat lady's final fermata.

The Virtual Tin Cup Coin Drop

Thanks for the thought and any support you might send in this direction. The "Virtual Tin Cup" image is one of a collection of visual music stills taken from one of my music-driven laser animation ragas that stream in real time. In various combinations I've relied on the ragas for numerous performances I've done on the road over the decades. Remember that you can get a hardcopy return on your cash via my publication offerings; Amazon.com provides the fulfillment.