Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Much of what we value in art is a result of restraint, not extravagance. Just a drop of this, and a splash of that. To resist the urge to splurge is the essence of much classic and current art.
Knowing when to stop or reverse direction.
Holding back. Applying just a touch, a slight hint of.
Deleting, removing, erasing.
Trimming the fat. Skimming off the dross. Sanding down the rough edges. Smoothing the bumpy road. Eliminating the superfluous. Cutting out the ponderous fillers. Shaking off the accidental debris. Stripping to the bare essentials. Speeding up the fragmentary flow. Reining in the volatile tangents. Shoring up the untamed tide.
Art is both creation and destruction, productivity and austerity.
While some things are better when prolonged, most things are improved by shortening. What is left unsaid speaks volumes. What is expected, but conspicuously absent from the picture, is the elephant in the room. Less is mostly more and more is mostly less.
To exercise moderation, exhibit self control, limit egoistic exuberance, these are the marks of an artist.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
1. Art is non-competitive.
2. Art comes forth with no goal, no plan, no idea.
3. Art is an energy that manifests itself as inner compulsions and external works. Most artwork is discarded by the artist.
4. Bringing forth the work is the only purpose of art, but the work is the final stage of art, the waste product of the inner urge.
5. The moment the work is done, art moves on to other issues, caring nothing about results or effects.
6. Art is not trying to be immortal, understood, or successful.
7. Art is the urge to try new things, then the discipline to perpetually perfect what you're doing.
8. Art is the enemy of mediocrity, celebrity, utility, and productivity.
9. Art is boredom with what already exists and obsession with what does not exist.
10. Mimesis is the antithesis of art, for art is opposed to replication, imitation, tradition.
11. Art history preserves traditions about art, not art itself.
12. Art adds newness and revolt to the universe, which is weary of sameness and stability.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Most social media marketing is simply gaming and exploiting the online communities. The core values of blogging, and social network etiquette norms, are routinely dismissed in favor of Fake Transparency, Manipulative Messaging, and Artificial Authenticity.
Corporations are coached on how to blend in. Company representatives are told to act like a regular member of the social network, while harboring a greedy commercial agenda. People using social media tools to form digital tribes & virtual families are seen as sitting ducks for product offers and investment opportunities.
Sleazy network marketers and social media experts lure clients into a process of treating online community sites as just another advertising medium, and nothing more. Just get in there, tweet some inspirational quotes by other people, chat pseudo-authentically with fellow affiliate marketers, cheer each other on, and community members will start to like you.
Emphasis is placed on quantitative measures. accumulating Friends and Followers, thereby building a passive audience for your sales hype and customer deceptions, your marketing messages and scam routines.
But it won't work.
We call social media marketers, who use social networks insincerely as cash cows and revenue generators, a term. It's called Spammers. They interact on social networks primarily, not to join conversations in an altruistic manner, but to pitch dubious products and malicious investment schemes.
It's spam, pure and simple.
You did not ask for sales hype or investment opportunities. You may have friended them because you liked some of their inspirational quotes and cheerful blog posts. You trusted them to be real and genuine. With no hidden agendas or plots. But you were wrong.
It is fun to watch authentic Twitter users expose, belittle, and curse these Social Media Spammers. It's really amusing.
The best business use of social media is providing Non-Productive Customer Service. This means no sales, no marketing, no PR, no promotions, just solving user problems, educating customers, and providing fast response answers to questions, suggestions, and complaints.
Altruism is still a little utilized power in most companies.
They just don't get how Customer Service is a Profit Center. It retains loyal, mouthy, buzz-generating customer evangelists, unpaid but happy sales force volunteers!
Non-productive Interactions with Customers means no strings attached. The company gains no immediate financial benefit, and valuable resources are sacrificed to it. The payback is worth. One satisfied customer on Twitter may be worth his or her weight in gold, thanks to the positive, authentic, uncompensated buzz that could be generated.
Blogospheric buzz, acquired legitimately, may be the cheapest "advertising" you ever did, and it's not even driven by traditional marketing methodologies!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Backstage passes? Working as a roadie? Meeting your favorite celebrity rock icon?
Worship from afar can turn into disgust when the devotee actually meets the idol "up close and personal".
Worshiping a rock star, at its worst, can be seen when people say Michael Jackson, for example, can't be a child molesting pervert. Why? Because they like his music.
Stupid fans equate "liking his music" with "thus, he's a good person" or "thus, he's a genius musician".
Disillusionment is good, though. Illusions are detrimental to mental health and social functioning.
The fan is cruelly manipulated by a misconception.
This false ideal is what guides their emotional orientation toward the mistaken identity of the source of their pleasure.
Entertainment exists to provide the good feelings the fans are unable, or too busy, or too tired after a full day's work, to generate within themselves. Some say the fan projects his or her fantasies on the star, and in turn, introjects the star into their own psyche, in an act of psychic cannibalism.
Average people call this "identifying with" the star. The fan tries to look, act, and drink/drug like the star, hoping these acts of assimilation will impart some vague values to the pathetic, untalented fan.
The fan "consumes" the star along with the musical products of the star, and some mysterious power and glory of the star takes up residence inside the quivering fan. Or so they think. Sometimes the star is not fully digested by the fan, and the star is vomited out. Those fans are the lucky ones.
What the fan thinks they like is this: the artist.
The artist is separate, distinct, and alien to the art they make.
Often they have no explanation of how a song happened. It just "came to them" in the middle of the night, they feel like a shaman, the music goblin possesses their fingers, they go into a trance state, surrealist "automatic writing" spook wrings it out of them, a Ouija board (acting as ghost writer) composed it one letter at a time, a UFO beamed it through their tinfoil hat, they channeled Jim Morrison, they become "someone else", etc.
Not that the artist is necessarily a mediumistic conduit, as Marcel Duchamp said they appear to be, but more like a flower garden planted by a gardener is not the gardener.
You may see aspects of the artist in what they produce, but the art exists as a separate unique entity containing its own character traits and agendas. Often, in interviews, the artist will hem and haw around when evading the question of the genesis of a song or album.
I doubt that Bob Dylan can interpret his own lyrics very much. They come from deep within, where shadows and training overcloud the secret true self. Or they come from Elsewhere, but if they came from the surface personality, we'd all be bored.
You are not what you make, you are merely the maker of it. It has its own properties, laws, and future, which may have nothing to do with you, and will probably outlast you in time.
Thus, to like the art does not mean the artist is also liked.
This distortion would serve only to completely negate the artistic scope and its burden to warn and inspire, it would make art a facade, an enticement, a trapdoor dropping you down to an altar of grandiose megalomania.
We must learn to like the technique, without unduly fawning all over the technician.
You do not like an artist when you respond to art.
You think you like both artist and what the artist made, but it's child's play to prove that this assumption is wrong, dangerous, and delusional.
#1 -- If you met the artist, prior to any knowledge or experience with his art, you would probably not like the artist. It would only be upon learning who he is, and seeing some of his art, and learning of his prestige and originality, that you would then start to like him.
#2 -- If you leap beyond the art, the music, the poetry, the paintings, that you like, and attempt to contact the artist, the prognosis is dismal, with very few exceptions.
#3 -- If you think the artist is so great, just talk to his wife, accountant, attorney, pastor, doctor, or next door neighbor. Or ask the bartender in the dive closest to his estate.
#4 -- If you still gaze in awe at your idol, talk to some former bandmates and ex-old ladies. I'm sure you'll get an earful. Remember, the truth lies somewhere in between, at best!
#5 -- Ask the idol to do something for you, something that represents self-sacrifice on his part. You give him unmerited adoration. What's he giving you, aside from free CDs or xeroxes of bad lyrics? Demand that he share his groupies with you, if they're not too skanky. Check arms for tracks and lips for crack pipe blisters.
#6 -- Ask him to name his top 10 competitors who are doing music similar to his. Ask who he's jealous of, not just who he hates. Ask him who he wishes he could be. Ask him what his worst records are. Ask him what songs he regrets doing. See if he's a narcissistic misanthropic egomaniac! A hilarious thought experiment and personality test!
#7 -- If none of the above work, this is sure fire GUARANTEED get results in every single case: Start talking about yourself. Instead of him. Rant about what you despise. Blurt out your political opinions and religious beliefs. Disagree with his point of view on some subject. Brag about all the women you've had and give detailed descriptions of what it was that they loved about you and your sexual prowess. Blab on and on about other bands you like. Meticulously describe your own musical career and all the guys you've made music with!
Most artists appreciate cheering, but not too close up.
Most artists love the money and praise of the fans as a collective group, but have little concern for individuals.
They prefer distant praise, published reviews, critical accolades, and fans purchasing product. But to actually meet, and get to know, a customer? That's called "getting dirty" in the Wall Street investment business. The reasons for failure or disaster are obvious and manifold.
The artist tends to be both wary and weary of having to be "on" for an individual spectator. They danced and played air guitar in front of mirrors, and crooned in front of imaginary crowds when they were a child, and now they bitch about lack of privacy and papparozzi camera crews following them around.
It taxes their strength of professionalism to have to "be that artist", i.e. not the one he is now, or is trying to become, but the one who did that old crap the fan is all excited about.
It may be some work that the artist did before they acquired new skills or equipment, or when they actually had a talented "back up" band, and the artist is now deeply ashamed of it. Each compliment pierces and impales his self-esteem like a poison dart of bitter remorse.
Either he regrets his old material, and wants to focus on the new junk...or he's ashamed that his new band sucks, and he'll never be as good as he used to be.
Even if the fan loves the new material, the star is not capable of being that thing the fan idolizes. Much of the mystique and charisma is based on theatricality, acting, faking it.
A rock star can seem really brave, powerful, and exciting up on stage. Get them alone, one to one, and watch your admiration wilt as fast as Bill Clinton chasing a fat intern.
The fan makes the artist sick.
The artist feels irritable, retro-relevant, paranoid. because enthusiastic fans swiftly switch into wounded haters when the artist says or does something that hurts the fan's bizarre and incomprehensible feelings.
The artist realizes that an individual fan is a danger. Deeply devoted fans can be thinly disguised stalkers.
A single devoted fan, face to face with the adored artist, is a ghastly and gloomy sight, indeed.
It's easy to love them en masse, these fans. But to have to deal with a solitary specimen, that's a bit much for even the most sophisticated and kindly of artists.
The only solution is for the artist to deliberately ruin the fan's illusions.
Make the fan angry, embarrassed, or feeling imposed upon. Demand things from the fan. It's up to the artist to destroy the fascination of the fan, for the fan cannot dismantle his own delusions, that's why they're his delusions. They've overpowered, and deluded, him.
Once the artist is liberated from the fanhood of this specific fan, what becomes of the fan?
The formerly loyal fan must now despise the artist, regret ever being so ignorant as to like his art, and to think the artist was worthy of being liked, right along with his art.
Now the art, the artist, and the fan are in shambles. All because the fan wasn't content with being pleased by the art, he had to attempt to drag the artist into the messy mush of his likings.
Even his enjoyment of the art is thoroughly wrecked, dashed into a million pieces, never again to provide a single second of pleasure to the fan. That music or art is now dead, worthless, soon to be forgotten, like it never happened.
The fan finds redemption either in creating his own art, going far beyond the artist that made art he once was stupid enough to like, or in returning to another artist's art, and enjoying that, but firmly resolving to never again presume to equate liking the art with liking the artist.
And they all lived happily ever after.