Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Meditations on the Unknown

It's impossible to know your own work while you're making it.
Even after it's done, even after it's been presented, even after you've stopped working on it in any way, you can't see it.

I just looked back at a piece i did at the beginning of last year, and felt like this was one of the first times that i was truly able to see it. After a year.

So here i am beginning to wrap up a piece that not only am i not done with (we still have miles of cleaning and re-working to go before we sleep) but that i plan to resurrect in the future and make into an evening length piece. So there's no way in hell that i'm ever going to be even close to seeing this piece for what it is anytime in the near future.

I know it's something. I know work has gone into it. But honestly, that is ALL. I. KNOW.
It could be a masterpiece or it could be shit. AND, it's probably somewhere in between.
But. That .00000009% possibility that it could be a masterpiece is what's tormenting me out of my mind right now.

I don't care if it's shit - that i can deal with more easily. I can defend my choices and i stand by my and my dancer's work, so if it's shit, who cares. But. The possibility of this golden calf we call "masterpiece" is so fucking enticing, and the sinking feeling that whatever i've just made is just 2% away from being close enough for anyone to identify it as such, is why i probably won't sleep well until a few nights after the piece is performed and all the feedback is in.

And even then i won't be able to see what i've made. I just won't care because i'll be working on the next one.

The Other Essential Problem

The other essential problem, and I do not say this jokingly, is stymied sexuality.

There is only one thing that, as artists, motivates us to do our work. And that is: we are not getting laid, and we are sexually frustrated and heaven be damned if we aren't going to take it out on SOMETHING.

Any art that doesn't emerge from sexual frustration is for the birds.

We all just want our cock sucked, and to like it, instead of hating it like always.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Essential Problem

i am told, and we have all been told, by the various mystics and sons of mystics that at the very root of reality there is no seperation between any one thing and any other thing. In other words, the universe is non-dual and made of one continuous fabric like that one scene from the fucking huckabees movie.

now that means that there is, at the moment, no seperation between me and the music I'm supposed to have completed for Sarah Rosner's dance piece.

but I still have to write the damn thing, othewise it WON'T BE THERE.

that is the essential problem of art.

Friday, November 23, 2007

and so the first image is: a dancer getting smacked in the face with a raw fish! (read more to understand)

so here's my problem:
i've never made a non-serious piece.
i get ideas for funny pieces, light pieces, SIMPLE pieces, but somehow they all get discarded in the end for "serious" pieces. It's not that i think that funny or light art (especially in dance) can't be done well, or even be serious pieces - some of my favorite SLC student work in the past has come from Julia P-T or Gorgas (two incredibly comic choreographers) and Mark Morris is a master at containing both humor and biting commentary in his work simultaneously. It's just that for some reason, something in my brain won't let me give as much value to MY work that, in my mind, isn't "important" or "urgent".

So there we go - i'm equating importance with seriousness. There's my issue. I don't like that. So my next piece is going to wrestle with that, at least to start. If it turns into something "serious" (as i'm sure it will), fine, but i'm committed to figuring out my block against the irreverent.

How can something be extremly important, and still retain a commitment to not necessarily being serious?

I'm starting this next piece with a few intentions and images:
1.) use as many of the left-over "non-serious" images that i've never out into action as possible
2.) wrestle with my own linking of serious/urgent (do they have to be linked?)
3.) accept as many absurd outside suggestions as possible.

give me your images. Anything that you've truly wished to see in a modern/postmodern dance. The only catch: you have to actually have wished to see it (or be currently wishing). No insanity just for insanity's sake. Diga me!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

what makes an urgent artist?

In talking with Theo last week about art (specifically my dances, his music, and the TV show Lost) we came to the conclusion that, while we surround ourselves with artists here at Sarah Lawrence and in the greater world as a whole, a huge difference exists between those who live by their art, and those who engage in art-making for the sake of making art. We were talking about art with urgency - both in its subject matter and in its process - and getting frustrated and excited.

So what is "urgent art"? Isn't all art urgent, in some way? At a basic level it has to be, or it doesn't get made. Someone has the urge to make, they make, art is made - that process contains at least origins of urgency. But there's so much bad art out there. Lazy art. Uninventive same art.

In talking with Theo, Alanna, Cavin, others, i am always struck by how our art is compulsory. We do it because we have to or we'll explode. We create to save ourselves and save ourselves by working our shit out via our medium. There's something about this process that, for me gives something to the final product that sets it apart from other work. And while i'm not a huge Kerouac fan, i think he's close here:

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!”

Art can't be normal.
That's a lie. It can be; i just don't want any of it any more.
Call me an art snob, call me a postmodern intellectual, but more and more it's how i feel.
I'm feeling militant, so forgive this mini-festo:

Art is a call to arms.
Art is redefinition.
Art is process.
Art is a howl.
Art is beautiful, ugly, unsettling, evocative, but not no NEVER not just okay.
Art can be beautiful if the beauty will slap you around, and ugly if it will help you sleep at night.
Art is personal.
Art is urgent.