[W]hile prose tends toward pure ‘interiority,’ coming to life in the reader’s mind, and cinema gravitates toward the ‘exteriority’ of experiential spectacle, perhaps ‘comics,’ in its embrace of both the interiority of the written word and the physicality of the image, more closely replicates the true nature of human consciousness and the struggle between private self-definition and corporeal ‘reality.’
I am an artist. It’s self-evident that what that word implies is looking for something all the time without ever finding it in full. It is the opposite of saying, ‘I know all about it. I’ve already found it.’ As far as I’m concerned, the word means, ‘I am looking. I am hunting for it, I am deeply involved.’
Part of the theatrical experience is what you bring to it. We’re not encouraged to bring anything to an experience anymore. If you’re watching a scene where somebody’s getting beat up behind a couch and you can’t see it very well, then your mind goes to all your own personal nightmares, what could be going on there that you can’t stand to see, and that feeds your own emotional life. But if you’re seeing every graphic moment of it, then it lets the audience off the hook, so they’re not sharing in the experience of what’s going on; they’re not contributing anything to it.
We writers are the worst kind of cruel,
Because we worship our own stories and poems,
And what human can compete with metaphors?
Writers stand still and yet vacate our homes
Inside our fantasies. We are word-whores,
With libidos and egos of balsa wood.
We’d have sex with our books, if only we could.
Yes, I hate blown glass art and I happen to live in the blown glass art capital of the world, Seattle, Washington. Being a part of the Seattle artistic community, I often get invited to galleries that are displaying the latest glass sculptures by some amazing new/old/mid-career glass blower. I never go. Abstract art leaves me feeling stupid and bored. Perhaps it’s because I grew up inside a tribal culture, on a reservation where every song and dance had specific ownership, specific meaning, and specific historical context. Moreover, every work of art had use–art as tool: art to heal; art to honor, art to grieve. I think of the Spanish word carnal, defined as, ‘Of the appetites and passions of the body.’ And I think of Gertrude Stein’s line, ‘Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.’ When asked what that line meant, Stein said, ‘The poet could use the name of the thing and the thing was really there.’ So when I say drum, the drum is really being pounded in this poem; when I say fancydancer, the fancydancer is really spinning inside this poem; when I say Indian singer, that singer is really wailing inside this poem. But when it comes to abstract art–when it comes to studying an organically shaped giant piece of multi-colored glass–I end up thinking, ‘That looks like my kidney. Anybody’s kidney, really. And frankly, there can be no kidney-shaped art more beautiful–more useful and closer to our Creator–than the kidney itself. And beyond that, this glass isn’t funny. There’s no wit here. An organic shape is not inherently artistic. It doesn’t change my mind about the world. It only exists to be admired. And, frankly, if I wanted to only be in admiration of an organic form, I’m going to watch beach volleyball. I’m always going to prefer the curve of a woman’s hip or a man’s shoulder to a piece of glass that has some curves.’
Many commentators measure political theater only by its effectiveness in the ‘real world.’… I try to resist such stark binaries between performance and reality, and suggest that the experience of performance, the pleasure of a utopian performative, even if it doesn’t change the world, certainly changes the people who feel it.