Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Scott Walker: 30 Century Man

Netflix recommended this documentary to me.  The algorithms tonight couldn't have been more prescient.

The idea that art is art, outside of self and taste and worth.  That is the question I am grappling with tonight.  Intellectually, I believe that it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of something I've created.  In practice, of course, that's not a truth.  I am just as human as anyone else, stymied by negativity.

Then I watch this goddamned documentary 'Scott Walker: 30 Century Man' and am confronted with a man who seems to walk the walk and not just talk the talk (like me).  To just create, to just wholly and utterly give birth to what is inside of you, and not disown it or vilify it or praise it, but let it go, unjudged.  To be pleased with the process, alone, and unfettered by what anyone thinks...this is the ultimate goal.

Like in Buddhism there is the notion of transcending self.

In art it is the notion of transcending judgement...your own or anyone else's.

Now go create and damn the consequences!



37 comments:

  1. That last sentence should be on a T-shirt. :-)

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  2. Yep, gotta agree with the last sentence as a great line of inspiration. Its the point I am trying to get to, in life as well as in art. Nice to know I am not alone on that spiritual journey

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  3. I haven't seen the documentary, but I'll weigh in: the artist *has* to be critical of his/her own work. And I mean 'critical' in the sense of informed analysis and sober judgement, performed after the act of creation is complete. To release your work without viewing it with a critical eye is to doom yourself never to grow or learn as an artist, never to be aware of your strengths or weaknesses, never to discover what I call 'happy accidents', never to be self-inspired.

    It goes without saying that if this process cripples the artist in any way, well, then, as the man said: 'you're doing it wrong'.

    Just my $.02 :-)

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    1. This has nothing to do with the revision process...to do something until it is exactly how you envision it in your mind is a given - not vomiting onto the page (or whatever your medium is) and calling that art. But once you've gotten the shape of the thing, put it into the framework you'd like...then you let it go and stop putting anything on it. Your job is done.

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    2. I'd agree with that. Otherwise you end up like Charles Ives, forever tweaking pieces you should have been done with years ago...

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  4. Amber, you ever read The Joseph Campbell Companion? Courage to Create is a good one too. And of course Rilke Letters to a Young Poet. What a journey huh?

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  5. Ironic. I just experienced this while trying to create this comment. THOUGHT #1: Inspirational post... I should comment. THOUGHT #2: I adore Amber Benson. What if I write a comment and it sounds all stupid and.... ah, so hard to not worry about being judged.

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    1. You know what is awesome...? Even with all that mental back and forth, you still made the comment. Damn the consequences! :)

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  6. It's what I did a few days ago. I started writing a novell with some really... cruel and strange parts. One of my best friends badly wanted to read that and I was really afraid of shocking her with my weird thoughts.

    Besides I'm a bit afrait of commenting because my English isn't very well. But: damn the consequences ;-)

    You're inspiring. Thank you.

    Best wishes from Germany

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  7. I'm having a difficult time with trying to figure out that balance at the moment too. I'm doing a teaching degree with art as my specialty, and I also sell my own work. I don't think anyone can really judge any form of art as everyone sees any piece of art differently, but I have to try and assess my students works (which kinda feels like a judgement to me). Any advice?

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    1. You could assess your student's work in conjunction with them. So you tell them what you think about their work and they tell you about their intention. I wish my art-teacher had done this with us :D

      Greetings from Germany ^^

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  8. I don't think you can separate the act (or acting) from the results. For example, possibly as a result of differences of approach, I've heard of you but never heard of this Scott Walker till you mentioned him. Having now Googled him I find him to be someone I don't particularly care for.

    If you don't care about what impact you have on the world why should the world care about you?

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    1. If you don't care about what impact you have on the world why should the world care about you?

      I probably will never know if I or my art will have any impact on the world or not, nor do I care about it.

      Most artists will never know what is/was their impact on the world.

      And why should world care about my art?

      I'm trying to change and understand ME (And trying to have fun while doing it), not the W0rld.

      Besides, as you probably know, success and impact on the (art) world are two very different things.

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  9. The letting go part can be tricky, indeed. I was so afraid of just getting to that point and not being able to, that I wouldn't even go past the halfway point with anything for years. Finally, I finished the first draft of a novel this past December, and got to a point where I had to push myself over one night to get the final touches done, otherwise I would've put it off for weeks, months, maybe forever. So glad I never slept that night; now Book One's up and Book Two is underway.

    I also agree, make that last line a T-shirt. I'd wear it under my work shirt everyday.

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  10. I saw this from Wil Wheaton on G+, and it's now one of my desktop backgrounds. It really struck a chord for me. The quote is originally from Ira Glass:

    https://plus.google.com/108176814619778619437/posts/FmayAUVEBEd

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  11. The philosopher Fichte said (paraphrasing) "I don't think, Universal World Thought thinks through me."

    That's kind of what happens to me when I write; my characters shove me out of the way, because they have their conversations with the world they want to express and I'm the annoying filter.

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  12. You know Amber, that concept doesn't just apply to creating things. It applies to how we each live day to day. I create things for the hell of it. And I serious don't care whether ppl like or dislike it...because its not for them - its for me...and by things I mean writings. Poems, prose, a mix of box...whatever. I write for me.

    With that being said, creating things without letting other's judgement or opinions hinder you is too narrow for my liking. So let's try this... BEING without letting others judgement or opinions hinder us. So, I turned 26 yesterday. I never thought I'd see my 21st birthday, let alone my 26th. However, I am 26 years old and a pre-med student. People see my grades, my aspirations, the classes I take, how I juggle everything on a day to day basis and they go "WOW! You're AWESOME!" Then they see my birthday and the tone changes. All of a sudden, I should have had it all figured out before now. I am too "old" to be going to medical school. All of a sudden its "you know, only one in a 1000 get into medical school". Most of the time my response is "Yea...so? I'm that one." However, there are times when after so many people say it or so many people are negative about it I get discouraged and I want (for a millisecond) to go into something easy like psychology or English. Something I'm naturally good at that I can get a career in right now. But then after contemplating that for that brief millisecond, I return to the fact that it doesn't matter what THEY say, it matters what I say and I say I'm going to make it. I say I'm going to medical school and I am going to come out with an M.D. or a D.O. attached to my name.

    Giving birth to what is inside you doesn't always come out on paper or on a canvas or on a movie screen. Giving birth to what is inside you, however, does always come out in your life. Life is art. Art is life. We are all able to create something...we create our lives and our own story.

    and yes, I agree with the first person who commented...that last line needs to go on a T-shirt. So Amber - that's a good way to create funding for your projects! Sell T-shirts! I know Joe would probably buy 366 of them...one for each day of the year... including leap-year day. Btw- He is such an awesome guy. He absolutely adores you. He always knows how to make me smile...

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  13. "A writer writes."--Billy Crystal in "Throw Mama from the Train"

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    1. An artist that I have found myself envious of for similar reasons is Andy Goldsworthy. He is an environmental sculptor. I have heard him talk about how most of the art in his work is in the decay of the piece, which is something that is very difficult to capture. I can't imagine making a piece of art knowing I could not share it in it's entirety.

      If you are unfamiliar with him I highly recommend "Rivers and Tides" It is another great documentary on Netflix.

      (edited for grammatical mistake)

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  15. Joe aka AmberAddictJanuary 17, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    It sounds interesting I've just checked Netfilx UK site and not on there hopfully we'll get some more content soon.

    As for walking the walk I doubt there is anyone out there who gives absolutely no thought to what people think of their work! It just doesn't seem to be our nature as humans. I maybe wrong as I'm not an artist or creative person as I lack the talent and intelligence to stop talking and do something.

    One of the many things I admire unlike me if want to do something you go out and make it happen.

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  16. Oh, how true that is. I'm completely envying this guy. I pretend like negative feedback never bothers me, but of course it does. I throw it to the back of my mind, and yet it wiggles its way out of the depths of the "Don't Think About It" prison and haunts me. Argh, such frustration!

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  17. well i talked to Joe- aka my buttercup - and he said he would buy 732 shirts. so if you find a place that could do a bulk of shirts coming out to $5 per shirt and you sell it for $10, based on Joe's purchase alone, you'd be making $3660.00 =) Funds for a project? ha! One thing I'm good at...making money!

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  18. You know, I briefly experienced something like that just last night. I couldn't sleep because I had a story running through my head, something that I had never thought about before. I think I got up about 5 times to write down what I was thinking before I finally fell asleep. Today I sat and wrote the whole thing out properly without really even thinking about it. It just flowed out of me. Unfortunately, once I was finished, I found myself dying to ring my friend and ask her opinion. I think this concept is possible, when we're 'in the moment'. But then our brain turns the emotions back on and ruins everything.

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  19. Just don't you disappear for forty years.

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  20. So true! The hardest part about writing (to me at least) is the fear of what others will think of what you have created. I wish (and don't we all!) it were easier to dismiss negativity and carry on with confidence, creating just for the pleasure it provides and not being concerned with the disapproval or distaste of others.

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  21. I'm a production designer, animator and sometime producer, but I still get it into my head that I should try writing.

    I'm pretty confident about my non writing work (because I'm good) but writing usually turns me into a gibbering mutant of doubt. It's a funny thing, trying to be an all rounder. There's always those areas which you think are too hard to try.

    Perhaps I should take up the banjo instead?

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    1. There are definitely not enough banjo players in the world!

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  22. Thank you for this! I am an Anthropologist working in Environmental Health and I've just been tasked with creating a short film on Professional wet cleaning (environmentally safe alternative to dry cleaning). I am NOT a film maker and have been struggling with how to approach this and worried that it will indeed SUCK. I will watch this documentary!!

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  23. Totally agreeing with the last sentence being on a t-shirt XD

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  24. What is the purpose of art? Is it to communicate to communicate something to an audience, or is it for the artist to express herself fully in a way that she sees fit? Is there successful and unsuccessful art?

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  25. I just put my belive in Beckett's wisdom:

    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

    Samuel Beckett

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    1. I think it's good advice, but the sentence sticking out at me is, "No matter." For some reason I think it would be awesome to create something out of no matter, just without brain or utensils... nothing something.

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    2. Hmm... I think that just by thinking you are using energy, and even though energy and matter are two different things it still isn't "nothing"...

      (I love Beckett's work almost as much I love Finnegans Wake. Beckett and I and Finn's take)

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  26. That's my problem: I always go back and hate what I've done. So I never get to the next chapter; if i could do thta, my 5 pseudonyms would have long publishing histories by now:-(.

    Ditto on the T-shirt idea; ask Danielle to do 'em up in a distinct lettering style so you can trademark the thing-as-a-whole and you can *both* sell them to support your work!

    DaddyCatALSO

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  27. I made a necklace for you that I don't see you wearing...but I'm okay with this because of what you shared above. :)

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