Saturday, September 08, 2007

“Boring” as social construct

Last night, I had a good projection and the largest crowd so far. They were pretty silent through most of it, which made me wonder a bit. At the end, I opened it up for questions, and an old guy a few rows back told me that I had mentioned the desert Southwest for “Stark Film” but he didn’t see it in the film. I mentioned that much of the film pieces were shot in the Mojave desert and at Joshua Tree to which he replied “The Mojave isn’t a real desert.” He then proceeded to tell me that I had mentioned that David Echelard was an early music composer, but that the music for “Roothold” was some sort of Jazz (which it is sooo not). I tried to remind him that I had become attracted to a piece of Echelard’s that was different… with him playing the hurdy gurdy.

When he first started talking, many people in the audience started laughing, likely from his obtuse (by his own admission) line of questioning. I must have made him mad by telling him that he had latched onto certain words I said without taking in the overall context of my introductions. He then told me that this work was all about technique and he really found the whole thing quite boring. The statement would seem to suggest that most major art movements of the 20th century are all about technique (at least, if you looked at them without a degree in art history). Leaving aside the fact that I disagree with him about my work being “all about technique,” if we accept this argument, then Cubism would be all about technique, which I’m sure some would argue is exactly the case. But I doubt many of us would question the worth of cubism.

No, actually, the far more interesting thing that he said was that he found it boring. I’m really fascinated by this concept of “boring” because it seems to imply a need to be entertained. I can’t recall having the experience of being bored by a painting, because a painting doesn’t exist in time. It is “one without a second.” We become bored by time…. Television, certain kinds of music, the boring professor, etc. Further, boring is a fascinating state of consciousness. I’m interested in what makes us bored, how to be bored compares to being sleepy, being drunk, being in a trance. Perhaps it’s the inversion of trance. Where one becomes acutely aware of everything surrounding them to the point of it becoming painful.

Of course, I also think it suggests that we are refusing intellectually to engage with what it is we’re experiencing, and unfortunately, I think that was exactly the case with this loveable old curmudgeon.

After that, I had many beautiful and very flattering compliments and sold several DVDs of my work… I hope they didn’t think I took it personally? A great crowd all in all.

Quickly then (the plane is calling): Summerville was a moment, though not a special one. I’m born there, but I’m actually from somewhere else-- a contradiction that I’ve never been able to rectify. Today, my birthday, and off to Lake Charles, then a 45 minute drive to spend the night back with my mom in the place that my ancestors and I are really from-- Port Arthur, TX

Eric