Monday, January 19, 2009

SIGNAL TO NOISE 5

V : Intents And Purposes

'Chimp loves yes adores his Chimp paints and Chimp brushes with all his Chimp heart and Chimp soul and any Thing or any Human that gets in Chimp way really fucking piss Chimp off!'
Congo

When someone is so passionate, cares so much about what they make, for the simple act of making it, the results will inevitably resonate with significance. And it's then and only then that factors such as technique, or applied transparent concessions, can be considered. This is because all output is primarily filtered through the prism of intent (compare Stanislavski's stage term super-objective). That's why it's so important to ask oneself what intent does The Invisible Man (i.e. the artist) have?

Common themes of impure intent (representing the vast majority of adult human creativity):
- I do it for money (for greed, to pay bills, for drugs/booze, for my family, for other projects)
- I do it for the celebrity
- I do it to be like someone else
- I do it to help me get laid
- I do it because others pressure me
- I do it for attention
- I do it as a way of compensating (for shyness, for having been bullied, for lack of success, for revenge)
- I don't know what else to do with my life
- I do it to be liked

All these examples are compromised to hell because the focus is towards some thing outwith the art itself. Ars non artis. Conversely, artists whose intent is one of devotion to a god, an ideal or belief system, a lover or a hero, are not. The focus in this latter group requires the same degree of passion, commitment, and sacrifice for the art itself as Congo's does, and sometimes even more. I'll be blunt, the vast majority of human artistic intent is utterly and irredeemably untrustworthy. I don't give a damn how well-produced, glossy, limited edition, catchy, professional, proficient (or not) it is, because those qualities are secondary to what counts. Congo's wonderful soulful work beats all that crap hands down. That's why artistic geniuses are inimitable, because the epigones imitate the visible parts that don't matter. That's why scratchy lo-fi recordings of Robert Johnson will comprehensively blow away almost any latter-day blues guitarist, good and bad. Other examples are surely already occurring to you.

It's worth adding that intent isn't static and can radically change throughout an artist's life. It's all too common for initial integrity of purpose to be soon and forever corrupted.

continue to part 6

4 comments:

n-rich said...

Hi William - hope you're enjoying your travels. When you have a moment, I thought you might be interested in the following blog post: 10 Most Fascinating Savants in the World.

The Dreadful Flying Glove said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joseph said...

you may be interested in having a look at denis dutton's 'the art instinct'.

Shonx said...

Been enjoying these rambles immensely. Had a look at the article n-rich posted (thanks btw) and had an investigation into Allan Snyder who was linked to within the savants piece. Seems like a very interesting chap, has done some research into inducing temporary autism by using an electro-magnetic field to stop part of the left hemisphere working and this being shown to alter perception when spotting errors in text or trying to draw representations of animals.

It seems that normally functioning human brains try to get more of a big picture and thus just look at the relevant data and discard unnecessary detail to make it fit into what they know about the world, whereas savants think in detail and don't apply the same rules - Snyder mentions that we remember everything yet recall very little, but clearly in autistic people there aren't the same value judgements being made as to what information is important.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=swOtoHhj4xY&feature=related

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=NYAfmyMZe5g