Monday, August 25, 2008

Fuck Yoko Ono

Well just who da fuck do I think I am strolling in here 49 posts late thinking I can talk my chatty little nonsense all over the damn wall, like some absent father with a son just won the lottery? I must think I'm some sort of cool guy, my God. The slop of this, the human animal.

The urgent artist. As though the artist had to take a dump uptown and all the barnes and noble were closed.

It says the blog is for theory, meta, and mess from artists living by their work, in response to which I yield the following turn of phrase:

"Yes, yes to theory and mess, but meta: does it really matter?"

Matter, of course, pronounced to emphasize its similarity to the ahem, etc. earlier word etc. This would be enough to get me kicked out of any club. But. Perhaps meta does matter. And If So How?

I suppose I'm what you'd call an artist, which is to say, every so often I pop out a work or two makes me wonder maybe I'm not such a fuck up after all. The "Theories" I prize are those which keep my chin up while I'm wading through the mess.

For example: "Forward is when you put this foot in front of that one." Or: "When in doubt: forward." Ah.

For I am and have always been artistically short sighted. I've always thought I were duty bound to be like fucker Joyce and his grand master plan or fucker Nabokov and his ideas like galley slaves under the whip of his genius. And you know what, I also I thought I had to write songs in a trance as though possessed by structures of sonic light, all because some stupid loopy shit Tori Amos spat in an interview.

In fact, I have no great vision, and my works are concieved as they are wrought: step by bitsy fucking step. What people think of as a unified "work" is merely the aggrigate of these miniatures.

Also, unlike Joyce or Nabokov, I cannot "hold it all in my head." Each of my steps has to be recorded immediately to free up space in my flimsy brain. I try to record every whisp of intuition, because I know I will certainly forget it, or my anxiety about maybe forgetting it will preoccupy me so much I won't relax to think up anything else. I have never had a complex idea. I record little bits and flashes, and when I take a step back at the end of the day, I am surprised to see that complexity has accrued as though by the hand of another!

As a viewer, I tend to dislike works I could have come up with myself (for example, anything by Yoko Ono, or any didactic drama). I like things bigger than my flimsy brain. How hard is it to say "I will drop a piano from 600 feet"? That's a whole piece in one step! No no no no no! There are two types of chaos. There's "drop the piano from up high" chaos, but there's also "the accumulation of many tiny steps" chaos. The latter;s feeling of unified complexity results from the manyacts of recording on the part of the artist. Each little brushstroke, each little note written down. Intentionality. FUCK the monochrome canvas. W.O.W. fuck that right up the gum tree.

By which I mean to say, at the end of the day, when I step back and see something bigger than my thoughts, I get a treat similar to watching the work of another, with the added boost of knowing it came from me.

BUT I KNOW IT'S NOT MY JOB TO FEEL THAT WAY WHILE I'M WORKING. When I'm working my job is simply to literally or figuratively Put It Down On Paper.

So, from that we derive more Theory: "Always write it down." If I'm composing, record every idea, and every combination of ideas, on tape. If proof-reading, make sure every glitch gets noted in red pen. If I'm directing, the actors need to be able to retain my directions.

I suppose, then, that the Artistic Theory which most interests me pertains to the creation rather than the content of art. I guess that's "meta." So meta does matter. Sort of. But, and most importantly: process theory is not legitimate subject matter for art. Its private musings are best relegated to niche forums like this one, where there is at least a slim chance another artist will read them and benefit.

1 comment:

Sarah A.O. Rosner/The AOMC said...

I think one of the things that I admire most about you (as a person and as an artist) is the selfless way you envision your role in the making of your art, and the honesty you use when talking about your process.

I think that process wise we couldn't be more different (in terms of big picture/small picture - a ha! things are being illuminated about our collaborative processes - don't worry, we'll meet at the middle, right at the "stubborn" point). BUT i think that there is something important and beautiful that gets unmentioned about the creative process - that it really is just a series of WORKED steps - that makes it seem somehow other and an unavailable process to access or duplicate as non-artists.