Friday, October 26, 2007

Serendipity in Seoul

To my surprise and delight, as a last second addition to the conference on Buddhism and New Media program here in Seoul, my keynote presentation had as its respondent, Jang Sun Woo who, it just so happens, is my favorite Korean film director and whose Lies (Gojitmal), is one of my all-time favorite works of cinematic art. Our exchange was highlighted by a discussion that grew out of one section of my script:
Each artist has to figure out their own unique creative path for themselves. There is no sure-fire way of constructing the "right" set of digital personas so that you can build your own one-person "art-making machine." The ways are endless and yet the destiny seems to be the same.
What could we mean by the phrase "and yet the destiny seems to be the same"?

A thought came out: "The destination is not something you arrive at, but something you move in."

I am interested in the difference between how Jang himself describes his film Lies (Gojitmal), and the more antiseptic explanation at Wikipedia. Jang says:
"A story about life and love - although love is not always spectacular. Love is, in general, stylized in films, but only a small change in angle is necessary to discover all of its absurdity and hopeless. This is, also, a story about the dream of living, eating, and making love without having to work. Social orthodoxy has it that all of the world has the right to work and to lead a decent life and, for this reason, I find it most amusing to show a point of view to the contrary."
Wikipedia says:
A high school senior, Y, is friends with another girl who has struck up a correspondence with a middle-aged artist, J. After talking to him on the phone, and determined not to lose her virginity through rape as her two sisters did, she decides to have sex with him and a meeting is arranged at a cheap motel. They have sex almost as soon as they enter the motel; though she is a virgin she gives him oral and anal sex. In their next rendezvous he tells her about his interest in sadomasochism and she allows him to beat her on her buttocks before they have sex again.

They arrange regular trysts where he beats her more fiercely and with a wider array of implements. While at first she only goes along to make him happy (telling her friend that she desires whatever he does) she eventually likes being beaten [...]

After an unusually harsh beating Y becomes angry, and he offers to let her beat him. Intrigued, she quickly assumes the dominant role and from then on they take turns beating each other. Their encounters become more frequent; though J pretends to be her art professor, Y's brother discovers the affair and sets fire to J's house. Y cuts her hair and drops out of university and he leaves home, as they live in hotels having sex every night; they carve tattoos onto their inner thighs.
These two distinct "readings" of the film reflect a greater divide I see developing between the kind of "canned" info-spam we all sample from when hunting and gathering data via Google and what I am now calling the "deep interior shot" of the artist (as medium).

The deep interior shot is fluid. Immersed in impermanence. Totally Fluxus. Metamediumistic and triggered from unconscious creative potential. It cannot be described or summarized without cheapening its effect. It's the opposite of "aboutness." It's like what they used to say about some of the wilder forms of jazz: "If you have to ask what it is, then you'll never know."

Metadata: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home