There is no more ringing endorsement to simple forms in storytelling than the wide dispersion (at least in the contemporary art world) of avant-garde videos which consist of overlong cuts of the everyday and mundane. It seems that I am always coming across them, whether in galleries, ART FORUM, or in other art magazines I find scattered over my parent’s coffee table. I am sure the previous statement will reveal, to the more cultured of you, my incredible naivety, and to the less interested my hopelessness. What stands is the ubiquituousness of these films.
In them the viewer is forced into direct relationship with the familiar or the unfamiliar, a relationship that, though of course biased and carefully selected, feels intense, haphazard, and natural. We are consumed by the idea that we are “there”, and the thoughts that result are accepted due to an enforced context. Sometimes the reactions are vague and unformed, emotional; sometimes they are logical and follow a conscious train of “narrative” thought. A film well presented and viewed actively will stimulate the creation of thousands of new relationships, feelings, and avenues, though most will never be fully articulated. These movies, at their best, at the viewer’s, provide raw inspiration. They succeed because the world they inhabit is self-affirming in the way that all moving images are.
To me a perfect novel or narrative is an unpretentious string of such active, intense moments –moments that are presented in a believable and rigorous context. We might not trust the narrators, the world might be out of continuity or open to interpretation, but each moment and each character must seem real. The reader must accept everything that happens as “true”. Too frequently, literary writers spend too much time on style, on thesis, but, used improperly, these both hinder expression and are even redundant. We do not need “truth” spelled out for us, as in a movie like Synecdoche, New York, if we can plainly see it. Writers of commercial fiction have a similar hang-up: they are concerned with describing specific characters and situations without letting us breathe them, they sometimes impose plot in a way that seems constrained and unnatural.
I think my previous blog shared some of these problems. At points I was obsessed with creating “images” but provided no real context to judge them. The results were sloppy: sometimes effective, sometimes amateurish, and usually meaningless. For the most part these images tried to be fluid, which was another goal; they represented true trains of thought, but were often intelligible only to me or under intense scrutiny, or both (they were not worth the effort).
Over the last month or so, I have found that writing with structure is both more demanding and more satisfying. The blog changed fundamentally, as you probably noticed. It became different enough to warrant a move. I’ve taken the entries that seemed most relevant, which explains the curious phenomenon of ten or so entries posted within a day of each other, all claiming to be chronicles of the (highly incongruous) day previous.
Part of structure is defining and then meeting (or exceeding) expectations, so I’ve decided that this blog will update daily, which means five out of seven days of the week. I will try and sustain this for as long as possible, which means in perpetuity, or as long as I am able to derive some kind of pleasure or insight.
“Because what is more exacting and respected a format than the blog, am I right? Guys?”