Artistic Synesthesia

I was just thinking recently, how artists are truly amazing creatures. But the amazingness, to me, comes in when a medium crosses borders and boundaries. Performance art is unique in this, because it is always an amalgamation of multiple forms and talents that comes together to form a finished product. In this sense, fortune 500 companies, and successful organizations and companies are like a work of art as well, I guess.

I was watching a little youtube video with David Guetta which was taken during the filming of a music video he was in with K. Rowland. I was thinking about how the two of them are musicians, they live in music: vocals, beats, bass, synthetic noises and movement. But when it comes time to make a music video, while the look for someone who has similar tastes and ideas, the creation is up to the discretion of the film-maker and his crew, in this case acclaimed music-video director Jonas Åkerlund. There was one point in the video where David was watching some of the filming and you could tell how impressed and happy he was with what Åkerlund was making, that it wasn’t something he would’ve been able to come up with on his own.

And it had me thinking about what kind of an artist I am. I often find myself trying to be in charge of the product, how it looks, how it turns out. I want to be the writer, the director, the musician, and the actor sometimes. But those are all positions that belong to other players, players that know their field better than I do. I am acquainted loosely with a Light designer who’s been working with a few different theatre companies. I worked with him on one show and it felt so strange to listen and work with his expertise, but it was also really beautiful, that is what makes great art.

Feeling the music.

There’s another thing about performance art that I’ve really been loving lately, and I think of it as a form of synethesia. It’s this ability some musicians have where they seem to be able to “feel” the music in them. I saw another video of Andrew Bird recently where the music isn’t just this sound that he produces, it seems to come out of his veins, out of his skin and into the air. I see break-dancers and ballet dancers feel the music in their skin as they move or choreograph music. As if they music speaks to them and not only do their ears hear it, but their body does as well.

I have been working with my good friend Steve from Municipal Heroes on a new idea he’s been really excited about. He says it has everything to do with this idea of synthesis. Where a theatre, or a dance troupe, or a band combines the talents of each of the artists in the group, to make one collective work of art, studio artists seem to be left to work solo. When Steve told me about this I was intrigued, indeed, I thought, the very nature of a museum requires artists to work as individuals. When was the last time you looked at a card next to a painting, or photo, or sculpture and saw “By: ‘The Studio Art Group'”?  Steve’s idea is for MH to be like a Studio Art Group, where the four heroes bring their respective talents together to make different works of art, and I think it’s an exciting proposal.

Meanwhile, I am working on the script to a play. Theatre, the ultimate collaboration; set-designers, costume designers, light-designers, musicians, actors, dancers, writers. All of them working for something that actually isn’t their own.

You can figure out the life-lesson right there. It’s not like I intended for it. I already mention corporations, fortune-500 companies, organizations. I work for a grocery store, and every day the person who buys products for the produce department has to admit that they don’t know as much about packaged products as they do about lettuce and winter squash, but it’s a non-issue because we all have to give up a tiny bit of pride to get things done.

A contradiction.

A few days ago, I was watching the music video to Club Can’t Handle Me, by Flo Rida and I thought about the number of “bands” that I have heard of lately. For the most part, the music industry seems to be dominated by lots and lots of individual artists. Bands break up and the members come out with solo albums. Artists know very well they need the other artists in other fields to make their careers work. Artists know very well they need the other artists in other fields to make their careers work, why the need to go solo? Sure John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were all great musicians in their own right, but they had to be together in order to be The Beatles. Maybe I’m just not paying that close of attention to the music industry, I don’t call myself an expert, but I see it in more places than just music.

But what amazes me, is the façade. We claim all the time to want our children to be individuals, how they need to leave the nest so they can become their own self. How it’s better to be your own man and stand up for yourself, that we need to have individual freedom and liberty. How many times we refer to ourselves as “I” every day. I don’t want to sound like a communist, even if I am, or a socialist, even if I am, or a democrat, even if I am. But every day, we make sacrifices and we work together and we give in a little bit, and we compromise. And we see that we are each part of a greater unit. We do see that, to some degree. I know that, because it’s impossible for a person to deny it.

So, how could our words and our actions be so contradictory?

Well, I don’t know. But it’s interesting. Maybe I’ll stop taking credit for more than I should. Maybe I’m not better, I just am what I am and other people are what they are.

Iunno, maybe.

Posted in Blogging by Preston on November 17th, 2010

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