David Foster Wallace, Big Red Son:
Every spring, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents awards for outstanding achievement in all aspects of mainstream cinema. These are the Academy Awards. Mainstream cinema is a major industry in the United States, and so are the Academy Awards. The AAs’ notorious commercialism and hypocrisy disgust many of the millions and millions and millions of viewers who tune in during prime time to watch the presentations. It is not a coincidence that the Oscars ceremony is held during TV’s Sweeps Week. We pretty much all tune in, despite the grotesquerie of watching an industry congratulate itself on its pretense that it’s still an art form, of hearing people in $5,000 gowns invoke lush clichés of surprise and humility scripted by publicists, etc. - the whole cynical postmodern deal - but we all still seem to watch. To care. Even though the hypocrisy hurts, even though opening grosses and marketing strategies are now bigger news than the movies themselves, even though Cannes and Sundance have become nothing more than enterprise zones. But the truth is that there’s no more real joy about it all anymore. Worse, there seems to be this enormous unspoken conspiracy where we all pretend that there’s still joy. That we think it’s funny when Bob Dole does a Visa ad and Gorbachev shills for Pizza Hut. That the whole mainstream celebrity culture is rushing to cash in and all the while congratulating itself on pretending not to cash in. Underneath it all, though, we know the whole thing sucks.
I’m off on the JoCo Cruise tomorrow. If I can, I’ll post some updates on Twitter, and you can also follow Wil Wheaton’s blog where a number of my friends will be guest blogging while we’re on the boat. See you in a week, Tumblr friends!
Build the shittiest thing possible. Build out of trash because all i have is trash. Trash materials, trash bodies, trash brain syndrome. Build in the gaps between storms of chronic pain. Build inside the storms. Move a single inch and call it a victory. Mold my sexuality toward immobility. Lie here leaking water from my eyes like a statue covered in melting frost. Zero affect. Build like moss grows. Build like crystals harden. Give up. Make your art the merest displacement of molecules at your slightest quiver. Don’t build in spite of the body and fail on their terms, build with the body. Immaculate is boring and impossible. Health based aesthetic.
My ancestors made everything out of wood because they lived in forests and wood cost nothing, children played with pinecone cows because the pinecones were there, the daily food of my family was not built around foreign fruit and rare meats, their cuisine was built on finding mushrooms, built around certain farm plants wilting and certain surviving, built around preserving what’s edible so they’ll live through the 5 month winter.
I make my art out of trash because trash is the only thing I can afford, I draw on envelopes of the letters sent by the social security, I eat the foods that don’t go bad in my fridge during times of depression when I can’t peel an orange or wash pans.
Data is free and I can’t afford to care about notions of real art any more than my ancestors cared about silk and silver when all they had was flaxen shirts and bones for buttons. Make pixel art. Use illegal programs and freeware. Take photos with a phone camera that doesn’t quite work in that lighting. Who cares. I’m an artist and I’ve never sold a painting because the world of oil paints and canvases is not where I live. Have a tweet made from bed after crying for 3 hours.
Adapt like a caterpillar that builds it’s cocoon out of whatever it can find, leaves, petals, old rare stamps, wallpapers that mice ate to pieces. Don’t go out looking for better materials for better results just because that’s how you think it should be done.
Use your energy and trust your intuition like a starving snake with only one bite of poison left.
Don’t focus on being as good as something, focus on surviving
To get fire from matches you’ve got to strike ‘em.