Sunday, May 07, 2006

Open Democracy

Open Democracy - an "independent online magazine for freethinkers" has two recent feature articles worth reading. Roger Scruton provides an appreciation of the work of Jane Jacobs the Canadian writer who died last month. Her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) emphasised the part played by ordinary people in shaping their environment, and the importance of sponteneity. In doing so it challenged the basic assumptions of urban planning and changed the way people thought about the character of cities.

Virginia Anderson provides an overview of the life and work of Cornelius Cardew 25 years after his death: "Cornelius Cardew (1936-81) developed a philosophy of experimental notation and indeterminacy that influenced art music throughout the world. He was a deeply moral thinker, engaged in a constant struggle for truth in art, life, the political world, and himself. In face of all criticism and mockery, he stood with his personal, political and aesthetic beliefs against British musical conservatism, the avant-garde establishment, and finally, the experimentalism he himself had created. "