Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Passion by Rob Nilsson


None of us are to be blamed for being passionate about what we believe. In fact the opposite is true. Democracy means nothing as a bland hash of conformity. Our society needs strong opinions to fight the current trends where art is determined by academics and practiced by people who don't want to offend anyone.

This may be one of the only periods in human history when artists are encouraged to be safe, bland practitioners of an art which can be defined, but not felt, the product of theory but not the result of wild surmise, powerful hunch, amazing insight, unruly flight and missing landing fields. Even when art was commissioned by entitled royalty it could be overwhelming, but obscene, epic, but filled with the minutiae of delicate human observation, promoting the reigning politics or religion while filled with secret transmissions of resistance and transgression.

So we need to fight professional establishments in all the arts, both those who promote and exploit the edges of human experience and canonize sex and violence and those who seek to make art into a coffee klatch of right-on signaling with a program to avoid the contradictions of humanity altogether. Human seeking is our reason to get up in the morning, undergo our 10 minutes of despair, and then get going. Let's build an art for vigorous, living minds, and seeking spirits. Anything else is deadly boring and worse... it destroys what it purports to create. Like any human activity which shoves its paradigmatic ideal past the point of reasonable achievement, it creates the opposite of what it intends. I think great art is the peak of the possible, almost beyond achievement or description, but tangible, complete, ethereal and mysterious, but with blistered feet inside boots worn rough with work.

You may want to display your dislike of current Hollywood fare or your admiration for drama that lives closer to grass roots and muddy boots. It doesn't matter. We work out here on the edges for a reason. We think current American cinema lacks energy, passion and an inquisitive eye. To work inside the industry you have to "choose to be changed" and those accommodations often mean films which either rely on exploitative sex and violence or its opposite... good timey, well intentioned, conformist pablum which lines up on the right side of all issues, daring nothing while avoiding every human contradiction. To us paradox is the beginning of learning. This is a tough idea in a currently polarized society where everyone knows what's wrong and how to fix it. Until it's up to them.

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