Saturday, July 04, 2009


Been a long time, been a long time, been a long...

I'm curious: do you think it's okay to take art as you wish to take it, not as the creator intended it be consumed? For anyone whose read 'Namedropper', you'll recall Viva has a thing about shaping her entire life around song lyrics that she's totally misheard. It's in my head because I went to see 'Public Enemies' tonight, and for the first fourty five minutes I was saying "Oh, but this is brilliant!" Then I got incredibly bored and went to sleep for an hour. Then I woke up for the last act, sitting forward in my seat, saying "Oh, but this film is so beautiful!" And I cried and everything! Even though I didn't understand whose death I was mourning or why. My dear friend, Barbara Ellen, when working as the film critic of The Times, said in her review of 'Mulholland Drive' that the movie is a masterpiece, so long as you decide when it ends. Is it our right, as an audience, to take what was presumably slaved over by the "cook" like an elaborate Sunday roast, and then enjoy it as if it were a bag of Pick'n'Mix?

**song lyrics that she's totally misheard**

Been there, done that LOL...misunderstanding song you know Abba's "Dancing Queen"? I kept believing that they were "burying" the Dancing Queen (burying as in 'bury the dead'!)....for many many years I thought that this was a really sad song - about a girl that died in a fatal car crash or something...
I had an entire "film" in my head of Agneta and Annifred dressed in black standing in front of an open grave singing the song.
I always kind of found it funny that they had chosen such an up-beat tune for such a sad topic, but, hey, they're Swedes....Swedes are 'different'....just look at Ikea!!

When I realized that "to dig" had a completely different connotation in English, I was really disappointed...what a banal topic, I thought.
The same goes for "One of us is crying"...I liked "my" version better, because I kept understanding "Barnabas is crying"...and I thought the song was about the "other guy" who died on the cross and whenever I heard the song, I had scenes of the movie "Barrabas" in my head, and Anthony Quinn's strong portrayal of the Barrabas character (yeah, I know, his name wasn't really 'Barnabas' as in the song, ahem, but 'Barrabas'...but hey, could have been a 'Swedish' version of the name!).
I guess I do that all the time...I think we all do this all the time...or brains don't see the "real world" anyway...our brain creates the world that we see.

"Art is in the eye of the beholder" (or rather "in the brain of the beholder"), I believe that art can only fully blossom through the eyes of the on-looker.
There is no other way anyway (do I make any sense here??) any rate, our brains filter everything we perceive....we cannot see all the colors of the spectrum, we cannot see untra-violet for instance. On top of that, our brain interprets everything according to our own biography, experiences, expectations.
Everybody sees something different...we don't even see colors in the same way.
There was a door at my school and for me it was green-ish, for everybody else it was blue-ish.

You do not only have the right to make a piece of art (whether it's a film, a painting, a book, a photo) your "own" have no choice anyway.
There is no objectiveness in this universe.
I believe that only through your interpretation/perception art can really become interesting, as art is supposed to touch you in one way or another (delight, repulse, up-lift, inspire, move, whatever), it has to strike a chord - whichever chord that is.

A friend of mine is a painter and she was amazed to hear what *I* made of her works, how I interpreted them. She told me that my "perception" of her paintings and installations had made her realize things about herself...''cos I had seen a common "theme" in all her works that she wasn't even aware of.

Art is more than something beautiful to look upon - I believe that your personal "recreation" of art, or else the "translation" of what you perceive (see, hear, touch) into your own "inner dialogue" is what turns an exhibit into art.

Did I make ANY sense??
That adds the tally to five of the number of people I've heard of who fell asleep in that movie this week.

I had the same reaction with Road to Perdition, even though it's probably Tom Hanks' best performance in years.

Your work's always going to be taken out of context to a certain extent. I don't have a better answer really, other than you will always have your own interpretation of what you've created.

Interesting what you said about "when it ends"- if you take Minority Report at face value, it's fairly poor storytelling where everything is wrapped up conveniently.

I prefer to think that the last ten minutes are Tom Cruise's projection while he's kept unconscious in that chamber thing- might not make it the best movie ever, but I get more out of it.

Glad to see you blogging again!
By the way, the dance remix of Boys of Summer makes me very sad.

And I need to remember to get another copy of "Namedropper" as I still have the blue covered version, which I seem to recall you weren't that happy with.
All of life is an illusion of our own presumption. The job of an artist is to shape our perspective. Although I do admire the deliberate sense of ambiguity that films and books like Mulholland Drive and American Psycho leave us with - as someone with little confidence in their own mindset I do tend to crave the finality at the end of certain pieces of entertainment. Yet that's not to say that I don't question the artists interpetation of finality anyway, but it's a comfort to know that somebody out there creating has a concrete perspective on their own works whether I disagree or not.

S'all to do with neurological relativism really.

**S'all to do with neurological relativism really.**


That brings me to the ultimate we *really* exist...

That brings me to the ultimate we *really* exist...**

No need to be catty. Wasn't on about solipsism but more about the unique perspective and selective interpretation of the individual.
This comment has been removed by the author.
"All of life is an illusion of our own presumption."

Ah, yes. So right. xo
Our life experiences, passions and beliefs all play a role in how we see things.
Once a movie or book touches us in some way, or makes us think, then surely on some level the movie maker/writer has achieved their goal.
Even if our reaction or take on it hasn't been the one they planned.Perspective is very personal.
Do we even see colours the same way? I doubt it. Your red maybe very different to mine.
**Do we even see colours the same way? I doubt it. Your red maybe very different to mine.**

No, we don' I said above, there was a door at my school and for me it was green-ish, for everybody else it was blue-ish :)

Back in the hamster wheel my dear?

PS: I couldn't agree more...
I think as soon as an work of art is released, and by this act the creator thinks it is ready for consumption by it's audience it's no longer property of the creator. You see it all the time where an artist or writer tries to explain his work after the fact, but if he feels that is necessary he didn't do his job right of bringing his point across. Art is a way of bringing these points and mood to the audience and if the audience takes the piece and places it in another way they are allowed.
and anyway almost everyone has their own way of interpreting a work, or a reason for why it works/moves them; most of the time in ways the creator not originally intended.
About 15 years ago I saw "Exotica" at the New York Film Festival. I loved the movie; my interpretation was it was about people who can't get over the past. Then Atom Egoyan came out and was talking about how he was inspired to make the movie after driving his babysitter home. His inspiration was apparently sexual and I didn't see the movie like that at all. I wished that I had left after the movie was over.
to be consumed perhaps of the materials from which it was actually made...wee bits of style layered over set pieces and lazy music the best part of the oreos every time

**eat the best part of the oreos every time**

LOL...welcome to the club :)
The first time I read “Namedropper” I was 11, and as child I wasn't exactly as smart as Viva must have been at that age. Spice Girls were my world in 1998, not Bruce Springsteen, I'm afraid. Anyway, I was impressed by the book and by Viva herself, though I found it hard to associate all the names she mentioned with a face, and had scarcely heard about maybe three of all the movies she quoted.

Nevertheless, I kept on taking “Namedropper” from the shelf every once in a while, during the last 11 years. Spontaneously, just for the sake of delving into those words I had bared in me for so long, even before understanding the true meaning of most of them, misunderstanding most of them. I loved that late-nineties atmosphere, tasting of Doc Martens and no-mobiles conversation over normal phones. I loved the fact that one of the first songs I downloaded, once DSL reached my place, was “Boys of Summer”. This afternoon, while stuck in bed with 'flu, I finished re-reading “Namedropper”.

I realized how profoundly rooted in me that book is. Things I believed to have thought on my own were instead strongly connected to and suggested by that astonishingly good piece of literature I casually bought on one summer day, during junior high school vacation.

Incredibly, in this decade I have never looked for other novels by “Emma Forrest”, never even typed your name in a search engine until today. I don't know why, maybe I wanted to keep you safe back in the '90s. Realizing that 11 years with your book have past, that I lived into it and that it has grown a bit into me too was shocking. 11 years, a lifetime!

Year after year I added something to the box of names in my head, ending up loving "Harold and Maude" too and getting well aware how easy it is, at 17, to fall in love with someone who has seen your favorite movies, even though it's just the movies themselves your falling in love with.

Well, I don't know if this makes sense to you – consider that a 'flu bored girl in bed can come out with lots of weird reminiscences and silly stuff – but I just felt like writing to you. I think I'm “ready” to move onto your other two novels now, but I wanted you to know how important “Namedropper” has been to me, your job is really worth being stored for more than 11 years in a person's mind, and I hope it'll live even longer on.

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