It’s been over a year since I first discovered ds106 and it’s amazing to me how much creative energy I’ve discovered since then – I’ve made more work in the past year than I have in the previous ten, seriously.
Ok this isn’t exactly true, I’ve made many things over the past decade, but they’ve principally been of the industrial sort – client work mostly. There’s a lot I’m proud of, particularly media materials for my wife’s non-profit Row New York (videos like Monique and Because I Row (with Daniel Phelps) as well as photography and design).
But in the last year I’ve begun to make work that reminds me of the work I used to make. Back then I made lots of stuff, all sorts of stuff, but when I made it, I was just creating, and creating and never reflecting. Despite that fact that I was in an MFA program, I was prickly about critiques, always evasive about why I made this or that. And it wasn’t because I thought ‘my art should speak for itself,’ it was because I didn’t have any confidence or sense of how or why to describe what the heck I was doing.
So probably more important than the creative energy that I’ve rediscovered is the feeling that I can and should describe my work. I falter at this effort (it’s taken two weeks to write this post and only a few hours to make Cary Grant into a track star), but it’s one I realize I need and want to work on. I want to be more confident and comfortable describing my work, not just making it.
This summer I’m hoping to focus my energy toward a bigger project. One that’s inspired by the ds106 mashup, pop culture, ‘make art dammit‘ mantra. Above is an animated movie poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic North by Northwest. I previously created one for Rear Window, and I love making these. So I’m thinking I should commit to a series, six? A dozen? I’m not sure.
But I’m also thinking about something else. Earlier this semester I read an article in the New Yorker about Christain Marclay’s mashup masterpiece ‘The Clock.‘ Marclay assembled thousands of clips from films that referenced time into a 24 hour mashup movie, that when viewed it would reference the present moment in time. So if you happened to start watching at 11AM, the clips you’d see would reflect that time.
How crazy is that? A T-W-E-N-T-Y F-O-U-R H-O-U-R movie, about time. It apparently took Marclay 2 years of slaving over his computer to create it. And its supposed to be amazing. You can only see it in galleries or museums. And I’m dying to see it, here’s a BBC story about the piece to give you some sense of it.
So besides animated GIFs I’m thinking about something else – it’s not a 24hr movie – I could never. But it’s a mashup that would require help. I’m thinking about telling a story about education through the innumerable portraits created of teachers and students in movies. I feel like there might be something we could learn from these portraits of schooling.
I’m picturing a mashup of scenes that portray high school and the interactions between students, teachers, parents, and principals. I want to see what will happen if I create interactions between characters from the Blackboard Jungle and the Breakfast Club. Too crazy?
Anyway that’s where I’m thinking of pointing my creative efforts – Hitchcock GIFs and/or a high school mashup. I’m excited and anxious at the same time. It’s been a while since I’ve felt ready to do something like this.