Friday, October 05, 2007


Excerpt from an upcoming international address entitled "Artist, Medium, Instrument":
How does a work suggest its 'going-on-ness', especially when you take into account issues of duration, Internet-era attention span, creative momentum, narrative, mixed reality, and interactivity?

Stan Brakhage spoke about "a magicwork that makes itself" - a creative force that is filtered through the unconscious and that can only happen once one has freed themselves of the weight of commercial success and other burdens that come with a life fettered with unnecessry attachments. Only then, says Brakhage, could an artist finally blaze the path that they intuitively know they have to make (I'm adding my own associative word-thoughts here now). Sampling more of his phrases from a local TV interview in Boulder, Colorado, we hear him frequently refer to the "buzzing of mind" and "vision of muse" that fills his head like bees in a beehive as the work gets created on its own terms without any interference. He was cautious enough to make clear that not every work will be a magicwork, and any artist who has stuck it out over decades of trial and error art-research practice knows this to be the case. Sometimes it just comes out, sometimes not. And when the creative momentum one experiences while making a specific work is lost, you are never really sure if you will get it back. These are the risks one takes when developing their new material in a variety of media/mediums, especially when it's time-based new media that they are porting their poetic vibes through.

The instrument needs constant tuning.

The beehive mind needs to buzz.

Some mystic needs to forget themselves.

The unconscious experience of the intuitive body becoming new media ...

Think of it as creating an active unconscious momentum, where the proprioceptive artist-medium "knows" where they are going without ever having been there before.

Or: imagine the artist-medium playing out their aesthetic potential via an innate body intuition, flushed with the illogic of sense (data), operating on autopilot.

The history of new media is the history of the world. For example, we can time-travel back to Germany in 1805, where we find a short essay written by Heinrich von Kleist, collected in his now out of print An Abyss Deep Enough. The essay is entitled "On the Gradual Fabrication of Thoughts While Speaking," where the author intuits the unconscious neural mechanism that triggers creative thought and writes: "For it is not we who know; it is rather a certain condition, in which we happen to be, that 'knows.'"

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