Monday, June 25, 2007

aesthetic orthorexia

A brand new disorder I hereby claim as my own little invention. First, check this out for background.

But surely, man cannot live by no bread alone!

I hereby swear off all forms of human expression that are not raw. I am henceforth on a Raw Art diet. No art for me that's been sullied by the greasy fingers of commerce. No artificial ingredients in my art. No derivativists, preservationists or genetically modified lineages. Only pure, raw art. By restricting my soul's exposure to only these empyrean expressions, perhaps someday I too will become a Raw Artist.

Processed art? Bah! Raw Artist Manifesto! Raw Artist Manifesto! Raw Artist Manifesto! etc.

Into the Fire: Miles! Trane! Rollins! Monk! the first to go. Then Cecil, Art Ensemble, Braxton, Ornette! impure, impure. Sullied by long-antiquated structures! Even Henry Grimes! Away! (if he had stayed off the scene, then he would have been RAW, but his triumphant comeback is a total disgrace). And all the ones influenced by the above, all who have so much as admired for the briefest moment the false prophecy of their seductive siren songs!

Let's see....who is left? It's awfully quiet on a raw art diet. True, but perfection, absolute purity of motive, of presentation, of the very soul itself...these refined realms require sacrifice!


Robert said...

Do you know "Raw Impressions," A guy I met in New York started it after 9/11, it's a nonprofit to encourage people in different media to create. It's a broader version of one started in Minnesota for just writers. (I want to call it the Nautilus project, but Google doesn't verify this).

The idea is that struggling writers - promising upstarts and veterans with blocks - who got accepted would live onsite for a period, say 30 days. All food, lodging, just about everything is taken care of while you're there, your only obligation is to produce a piece of written work every single day. Writers are routinely drilled with the idea that they must write every single day, and this was an opportunity to live it for people who believed it and genuinely wanted to.

"Raw Impressions" takes that idea and removes food and board, but introduces collaboration. They have several projects. One of them deals with film, as an example, and at a big Day 1 meeting, writers, actors, camera people, producers, editors, composers - almost none of whom have ever met - are broken into 6 teams, introduced to a general plot goal ("something hidden," for example), given 2 locations (with appropriate NYC permits prearranged) and a spending cap of about $200 bucks for food, props, and duct tape, and the meeting breaks up and everyone's sent off to produce a finish film of 10 minutes or less. One of the founders was an NYU film professor and had access to all kinds of equipment, and almost everything else could be begged, borrowed, or worked around. This is day 1. The film is due and shown publicly on day 14 or day 15. The result is surpisingly clever stuff a lot of the time, and surprisingly undone - writers don't have the time to spot every inconsistency, editors and sound people have little gaffes, and so on - but it's that idea that your first idea is often the best, and after a certain (often early) point, you're making your creation different but not better. They've done musical theater, dance works in 6 days, whatever. When I was last in touch, every team in every event had always finished; tempers flare, egos get stepped on, logistics get complex, but the collaboritive drive was always strong enough to create the good kind of inertia.

It was a whole lot of fun, I scored a film with them and did one of the dance pieces. You can imagine how the timelines and external pressures completely bypass normal self-editing hangups, you do what you do, you do it as fast and as well as the circumstances allow, and it leaves your hands. The writer's job was largely done in most cases by the start of the second day. The composer's job started on day 12.5 and was probably done by day 13. (Give or take.) You can't plan for chemistry, so there are efforts that are flatter than others, and ones that have gone on to win awards, but in every single case I saw, there were moments of brilliance, so even when the chemistry wasn't optimal, individuals were able to find ways to shine.

peter breslin said...

Hey Robert- thanks for the link, a fascinating idea.

My post was intended as a silly self-deprecation, as I can write like quite a purist sometimes. I mean to be examining and questioning, but my Virgo sun gets the better of me and sometimes I adopt extremist views along the way.

The aesthetic orthorexic would actually shun exposure to, for example, Miles Davis from 1969-1975, because of course Miles did his *real*, *pure* work in earlier settings. Of course, the real orthorexic would shun Miles altogether...and perhaps even late Harry Partch, for example.