Friday, October 15, 2010

Quick thought

Sorry we haven't posted in a little bit, but we've been busy with school things and etc. And at the moment whiskey.

One thing I was just thinking about, though: it seems like a lot of the stuff I write about here, I write about from the perspective of how it opens itself to reader/player/listener/user participation through what is, in classical terms, flawed presentation. Repetition that draws attention to itself, the inclusion of mistakes, intentionally "flawed" delivery, operation according to fairly specific constraints. These elements are common to vast swathes of art, of course, but even in the sort of minimalist exercises of post-modernists, there was a sense of engineering a sublime artistic experience. As increasingly the line between audience and artist/performer/whatever blurs, as we begin to understand that we are all creators not only in creation but in reading, it seems as if the appeal of what we might call unfinished art improves.

I was thinking of this in the context of the Penny Arcade-hosted Blamimations, which Tracy and I have been enjoying tremendously since their debut. The constraints are many: the artists animate very quickly, creating a presentation that is both professional (most people definitely couldn't draw, compose, or time this well) and limited: they don't have time to draw a lot of frames, so they wiggle the art around a lot, and use a lot of copy-and-pasting. There are only two of them, and only their voices appear. There is something of a format, though the format does change often. They leave in their mistakes (though of course the mistakes become intentional, and they are very likely doing the scenes several times and choosing pieces from different versions) and they often draw attention to the seams in their animation, the stiffness, etc.

There is a sense in which this sort of work is limited by its insistence on engaging with its own limitations, by refusing the artifice of grace. But there is also the potential, I think, for lasting greatness in this; and the illusion of sublimity may be something we could do a lot without.

Maybe I will develop this more tomorrow. Or tonight, when I am more drunk.

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