Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Manifestos are for schmucks

What is your main message in 'Life, the Universe, and Everything'?

No message. If I'd wanted to write a message I'd have written a message. I wrote a book.
— Douglas Adams

A depressing meeting with the department chair today, about my independent study project. I wish I'd taken different things for him to look at, and I also wish I'd been able to explain to him that the short illustrated book which he dismissed as "whimsical" is also an observation about what it's like to have your life come apart in painful unexpected ways, and then to have your so-called friends refuse to acknowledge it.

In any case, I'm not convinced that whimsical is a bad thing.

The art world seems overly concerned with concept, and schools seem especially interested in how good you are at coming up with the concept ahead of time and then manufacturing some object or artwork to convey it to the public. Probably this is a good working system for some kinds of people, but in my experience it leads to stiff, forced, awkward pieces. I seem to be more successful if I encourage my brain to turn into warm mush while I'm actually making things, and worry about concept later. But it's no good trying to convince administrators that.

Revenge of the Tokyo Bubblegum Princess

This one is bubbly, giddy, cartoonish, and cute. But it's from a time in my life when I was very angry at someone who thought he didn't need to take me seriously as a human being, and so it's intended to have some undertones of radioactive menace, such that if you patronize it with baby-talk, it will smash your city.

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