Saturday, March 21, 2009

Original is Nothing

18 comments:

c-dog said...

Ha!

D. Sky Onosson said...

I like this title better than the first one!

TheBlueMask said...

yeah, i'm inclined to agree with this. no truly original thought exists, b/c every idea, song, painting, conception, poem, scientific theory, etc etc etc is endlessly borrowing forms and ideas from those that came before. to think anything is original is to assume that your ideas developed in vacuum.

for e.g., i'm reading Lord of the Rings right now, and the degree to which he "steals" from other sources (Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, the Kalivala, the Bible) is amazing. i mean, that whole book is one big rip-off.

but at the same time, it's so much more than just a photocopy of someone else's stuff.

that's why, as Jarmusch says, it's all about authenticity.

10:51 AM

Anonymous said...

Those that truly accept this are sentenced to dismal repetition with nothing to strive for. I still believe in originals, hard fought discovery compels me to always dig further down to where the ore is molten and full of violent, spurting potential.

qw said...

is it just me or is it getting hot in here?

word verif: deprowl

TheBlueMask said...

Wayne Gretzky once said " I don't go to where the puck is, I go to where it's going to be."

Anonymous said...

Oops, it was supposed to be a volcano metaphor, heh.

qw said...

i've heard that quote before, it's a good one!

word verif: sperimm

c-dog said...

Anonymous = Macro

"Those that truly accept this are sentenced to dismal repetition with nothing to strive for."

Too extreme, simply too extreme.

There are many who argue for authenticity and not originality, and either way, it's not the end of creativity.

Why? Because I see creativity every day, regardless of whether it is original or not, say, for example, this post, creative in its cheekiness.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous = micro

Too extreme, simply too extreme.

-Isn't it simply the other end of the scale? Isn't "Nothing is original" extreme?

There are many who argue for authenticity and not originality, and either way, it's not the end of creativity.

-I may not know the real difference here (original/authentic). What is it?

Why? Because I see creativity every day, regardless of whether it is original or not, say, for example, this post, creative in its cheekiness.
-How do you know if it's original or not?

Anonymous said...

au⋅then⋅tic
   /ɔˈθɛntɪk/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [aw-then-tik] Show IPA
–adjective
1. not false or copied; genuine; real: an authentic antique.
2. having the origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified: an authentic document of the Middle Ages; an authentic work of the old master.
3. entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy: an authentic report on poverty in Africa.
4. Law. executed with all due formalities: an authentic deed.
5. Music.
a. (of a church mode) having a range extending from the final to the octave above. Compare plagal.
b. (of a cadence) consisting of a dominant harmony followed by a tonic.
6. Obsolete. authoritative.

or

o⋅rig⋅i⋅nal
   /əˈrɪdʒənl/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [uh-rij-uh-nl] Show IPA
–adjective
1. belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something, or to a thing at its beginning: The book still has its original binding.
2. new; fresh; inventive; novel: an original way of advertising.
3. arising or proceeding independently of anything else: an original view of history.
4. capable of or given to thinking or acting in an independent, creative, or individual manner: an original thinker.
5. created, undertaken, or presented for the first time: to give the original performance of a string quartet.
6. being something from which a copy, a translation, or the like is made: The original document is in Washington.
–noun
7. a primary form or type from which varieties are derived.
8. an original work, writing, or the like, as opposed to any copy or imitation: The original of this is in the British Museum.
9. the person or thing represented by a picture, description, etc.: The original is said to have been the painter's own house.
10. a person whose ways of thinking or acting are original: In a field of brilliant technicians he is a true original.
11. Archaic. an eccentric person.
12. Archaic. a source of being; an author or originator.

qw said...

i was at red river books recently checking out the art section. (btw don't bother there's not much there) there was a glossy book from a show of some artist whose name i forget and the book was from the 80's. the work was pretty much exactly like some new work i had seen last summer of another newer artist. like, definitely appeared to be from the exact same source without any significant changes. it made me wonder if the current artist had seen this older artist's work or if it was just a coincidence. and how messed up it would be if someone handed you a catalog of art that looked exactly like your own but was from twenty-five years ago. what do you do then?

there are for sure singular voices and an artist can find meaning and inspiration in striving to create something original. i like that goal and i think of it as being pretty advanced.

wolfBoy said...

well, Anon, i'd argue that Jim Jarmusch, who clearly believes in this theory, has certainly not been sentenced to dismal repetition, with nothing to strive for.

waaaaay too reductionist.

also, way too anonymous.

p.s. Bluemask--ha ha ha.

anonymous=micro said...

I remember several years ago sitting in a car with Andrew at the university of Manitoba, having a similar discussion, about art and origins.

At that time I suggested if someone just scribbled on a page in an arbitrary way, I wouldn't be surprised if I could find a book of someone else doing the same thing (at the 'U of M art and architecture library' - highly recommended).

Later that day I went into that very library and randomly pulled books from the shelf. One of them was about an artist who made drawings exactly like what I was describing in the parking lot; seemingly arbitrary, quarter circles, wrist-radius arcs, and enough pages of them to imply seriousness.

I thought, "really, how many more things can be done on that little white rectangle". I wonder if my professors are right, and that painting is dead (what a drag that would be).

Then I remembered talking to Prof. Bob Sakowski. He used to stress the need to constantly 'expand the language of art'.
I asked if that was the goal with the English language. We must constantly expand English? Like our goal is to just make up more words? More importantly I think we need to speak and understand in the language of art (yay, I can justify painting again!). Originality, soely for the sake of itself doesn't seem like an ideal I'd personally subscribe to, but it is an interesting/enjoyable side effect.

Even though we share a lineage, speaking in the same language, we speak in our own unique voices, informed by unique perceptions, from unique experiences. It seems understandable to consider each of these an origin (even if they come collectively from another origin).

Knick Knackerson probably summed up this discussion very well with his cyclical double talk

"nothing is nothing" (the internet concealing his smirking eye-roll-'here we go again'-murmur).

As to the question:
if someone handed you a catalog of art that looked exactly like your own but was from twenty-five years ago. what do you do then?

Wouldn't that be amazing? I would want to meet that person if possible, or at least try and research them a bit, it would be like finding a lost relative.

Anonymous said...

Hey, is this anonymous thing an issue?

We/you could change the settings if it bothers you.

TheBlueMask said...

...then you meet that artist and he/she says....
"Stop ripping me off!"

micro said...

Oh ya, that may pose a problem.

qw said...

yeah, you're all, "hey! our art is like completely identical! how awesome is that!"

they're, "you've obviously copied the eff out of me. stop copying me!"

you: "no, no, you don't understand, i've never seen your work before! in fact, i'd never ever heard of you!"

them: "but i've been doing this for decades!"

you: "funny isn't it?!?!"

them: :(