Monday, February 25, 2008

Tarkovsky's Advice

Thursday, February 21, 2008

one more, just for kicks:

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I desire to make cinema my art.

The first two words of this clause cannot be removed from their relation to the self.

I desire.

I am, and I desire because I am, and I am because I desire. If to desire is attendant of essence, it proceeds with existence and manifests in existence. If to desire is attendant of existence, it undoubtedly has profound effect on essence. Desire in a broad sense permeates everything we do, or don’t do. In this regard it must be said that desire is the beginning of art. But what is it to desire? Perhaps it may be explained within the realm of physiology; the desire of hunger provides motivation to eat, thus upon eating the desire is fulfilled. The resolution at the end of the meal, of course, is only temporary; the desire will return as long as the body functions. Desire, then, is not an end, but a beginning – though there may be no end to desire itself.

Perhaps there is sufficient evidence to say that desire is irremovable from physiology; mood-changing drugs and the process of lobotomy effectively change desire on a physical level. However, these only change desire, they do not create it.

But if desire is limited to physiology – from what type of thing can the artistic desire come, and how is it created? What does it aim to fulfill, and how does it fulfill? Nothing changes physically within the artist upon completion of the work in order to cue an emotional change, but the inward emotional change comes because of an external physical change in the work.

So there are clearly two types of desire – that which is attendant of existence, and that which is attendant of essence. There has long been argument over which precedes the other; whether essence precedes existence (cogito, ergo sum) or existence precedes essence (existentialism). However, this distinction is frivolous: essence of the self cannot be apart from existence, nor can existence be apart from essence. Indeed in relation to desire, the two come to occur simultaneously: in a newborn, desire for food and desire for love are equally present in the earliest stages.

In creating a work of art, the work only has full existence when it has full essence (when the artist has said everything he intended to say) and it only has full essence when it has full existence (when the last stroke is laid, as it were). Can any say which comes first? If the essence is first within the artist’s mind, it still cannot be said to come first, for surely the means by which it will be expressed is likewise in the artist’s mind, and neither will be true until they are manifest. And this manifestation must always be simultaneous. I would suggest this is parallel to our own existence, and may be part of the source of the desire to create.

This desire we are considering is one which affects not the body, but the soul. Yet it does have root in a physical medium: manipulating a thing, in this case, celluloid film or today’s digital media, is what fulfills. Just as the human has a dichotomy of body and spirit, so the artwork has this same dichotomy, though only in its relation to the human: it retains and cannot be removed from its existence in physical form, while also retaining the propensity to have profound effect on the spectator’s spiritual state.

But how does an art work fulfill desire? As existence fulfills existence in the case of hunger, so essence fulfills essence in the case of art (even if these demarcations are not so clear in a practical sense).

So now we have a working understanding of desire. Or do we? Not in the least! It is at its core indescribable; it can only be understood through experience. Any words used to describe it cannot be once-and-for-all. The question arises: then why any words at all? Because it is of primary importance for the artist to know what he is doing when he does art. For himself at least, if for no-one else. For this reason, I'll leave the idea here and come back to it later.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I desire to make cinema my art.

Three terms in the above sentence require definition: desire, cinema, art. Over the course of the following entries (though perhaps not sequentially), I will decide upon a basic definition for each of these. These entries will not contain conclusive and all-encompassing definitions, but will represent my process of working through what it is I want to do.