Monday, March 16, 2009

Karkowski and Gehry

The importance of play. The rubric of academic work does not encourage the playful creation of art. Is this true? I was speaking with Zbigniew Karkowski about his style of working and his practice of creation and I thought this little quote to myself. Looking around at myself and my work, I think the limitation that playfulness is not part of the academic rubric is only partially justified. The importance of play, and this video of Gehry (down at the bottom) comes to mind, really holds a great deal of resonance with me. So, it seems that a portion of the lack of play is a personal infliction.

That said, there is a moment in the Gehry video where he notes how much of his own personal decision it was to divide the work that one does for others and the play that one does for oneself. I remember last year making a couple of short play pieces that I considered as play, nothing worth exhibiting. Yet when I played those for people there has been this sense for various listeners, that these little shorts are truly "Christopher".

It seems that incorporating this approach of playful as well as the other more precise refinement of "doing it to the best of your ability" is not as mutually exclusive as I have thought them to be. Karkowski noted how he liked the immediacy of Japanese culture, the sort of giving a piece everything you have and then being totally detached because it is done. At the time of thought about the severity of total immersion in a project and indeed, there is a common thread of the tortured artist in history of the art that I based this mental model on, but, I am now glimpsing that torture component is not necessary. In fact, is it possible that the "tortured artist" notion is a misinterpretation of an artist at work? Maybe people who are not actively creative on a day to day basis the way that a devoted artist is mistake the dedication to a project for a tortured soul. After all, if you are not inside the work, as one is when working through some truly resonant creation, there is really no portal to understanding the emotional depth and connection that is part of the working process. The playfulness component Certainly there are people who were "tortured souls", but possibly this is a mental place that they strive for. After all, one need simply look at the practice of S & M to be reminded that not everyone has the same desires.

What I keep thinking and locking into is the positive implication of "play." I will have to focus on that for a while and see where it leads.

This one is also on point.


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