Quarantine & Introverts

I don’t know if many of us will be quarantined, but I already think about it…

I read this morning, about China, that being locked in your apartment with your spouse will “maybe” provide a baby boom this next winter, but in the meanwhile gives two consequences :

  1. Infodemia (too much informations about epidemic dramas) and depression.
  2. Explosion of… divorces.

 

We don’t need a master in psychology to know that many couples go on just because they don’t have time to be with each other. Busy busy busy! That’s OK, we all do what we can, right?

Locked together, toxicity begins to dance around, boredom walks along walls like a tiger in a forgotten cage, back and forth…

I can’t imagine what happens to sports addicts, bikers and runners. They can do push-ups, but well, that’s not enough drug, I suppose.

But for introverts, it’s probably different. Being quarantined with shelves of books and Blu-rays (or with a computer and Internet, if you’re a dematerialized person) looks like holidays…

 

Bah, it’s just a feeling. Spring will come soon and will make all of us (including introverts and other cat persons) in a sudden urgent need of going outside to 1/ run with a dog or 2/ to lie down in the grass to smell the good quiet power of nature growing.

Let’s hope the heat wave will kill the viruses, all of them.

Thanks for reading!

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Deparkerization?

I work in a bookstore where someone recently asked me about the Parker wine guide.

I answered with a bit of surprise : nobody asked me that in years! I checked and realized that the last Parker guide, in France, was from 2009.

We asked ourselves about how nobody seems to care anymore about Parker.

I remembered the “problems” at the time : the guy was giving notes to wines (from 0 to 100), and he was so powerful (or such an influencer) that wine makers around the world had begun to twiddle their wines around to satisfy him. And the higher notes made some wine unaffordable. And in France we have a suspicion about notes, the idea of “evaluation gives a digit”. Especially in Arts and human activities. Etc.

In fact, there were many “controversies”. The “Mondovino” documentary ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411674/ ) tells a bit about them…

If a wine is Parkered 67/100, is it better than a 63/100? Really?

This leads to many structures :

  1. The fact that Parker used digits to “note” wines was a problem in itself. Therefore we could note movies, poems, maybe love, why note? “This poem is a 88/100 and my wife is a 76”. Can we do this and why?
  2. Parker was powerful and listened, and when he titled a book “Bordeaux, The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961”, the impact was huge. What is a “definitive” ranking?
  3. Why is someone a star of an influencer at one moment and pretty much nothing ten years after? What about the stars we have today?
  4. What about “controversies”? Should we listen to the cons, always? How to study their arguments?
  5. What does one do with “Mainstream Tastes”? Do we jump happily in the pool of obedient followers? What is mainstream in a small world of specialists? Why do people follow, and who are those who don’t and try to find less frequented paths?
  6. What is social pressure when it’s activated by an influencer, a critic?
  7. If there a “Number One Influencer”, who’s the second (let’s rank the rankers, bim!), and the third? What if we compare them, organize ideas fights?
  8. What about the minority of the “last followers”, the believers? What if they were right?

Then, again : where to apply and think with these tools? Photography? Movies? Fashion? Anthropology?

This article made you think about other people? Who?

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading!

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“This is how it should be done: lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times.”

Gilles Deleuze

Fruitful Constraints in creativity & the wall of “I don’t know this”

I wrote an article about Fruitful Constraints & Creativity in 2017. Here it is :

It’s an old tool many artists know : many constraints are fruitful. Mainly because a constraint is a problem calling for a solution, therefore you have to move, to be creative.

All jobs and activities have constraints : budget, environment, other people, time, space, your skills, your tools.

If it’s too loose, though, you feel a freedom, which can be messy. You can not catch anything. Stuck. You maybe need to tight something up, to find “your” freedom within a new frame.

Brian Eno invented the Oblique Strategies (mainly for musicians) as a card game. You pick a card and you have to obey (sometimes it’s terrible!). Some directors are well known to tell the actors to follow precisely something (the dialogs, or the places they have to move on the set, etc) before shooting. Some digital artists sometimes go out in a park with a pencil and a notebook. A photographer can go outside with the limit of 20 pictures taken, not much. And G. Perec wrote an entire book without the letter “e”.

Constraints are fruitful. You probably have many disposable levers for these. A poet can obey : write something in alexandrine; without any letter “p”, in less than 5 minutes. You may have to present a project in ONE minute only, and… with no words. What are your levers?

You can pull a lever to Zero, it’s the Total Constraint. For example, you’re a photographer and you go out without any camera. Just your eye. You’ll feel the need, you’ll feel your brain simmering. As you can only watch and… think, you’ll maybe have bursts of ideas (instead of taking pictures). Take notes!

Of course it’s an example of “Amor Fati”, being content with what happens to you, even if it seems bad. Embracing fate : every constraint, if you can’t avoid it, should (and will have to) be danced with.

 

Today I’d like to extend this. If “constraints in Arts” is a well known concept, what about life, or culture?

Obviously, it’s linked to the idea of “Comfort Zone”. Let’s take movies, or music…

If one listens to the music they love, good to them. But how do we discover other musics, in fields we’re not used to dig? We have to think, make efforts, find a way and a place, informations. Then we begin, and our brain is surrounded with constraints : we don’t necessarily feel pleasure, there are things we don’t get, and our lazy head pushes us to stop.

It’s the same for painters we don’t like, movies we usually avoid, etc.

Out of our comfort zone, we have to make efforts, we must use an amount of curiosity, we must find or draw maps. In fact, we build, we extend, we grow.

The wall of “I don’t know this” can be an obstacle. Do we skip over, making efforts and feeling the fecund constraints of the undiscovered, or do we go back to the mellowness of what we already love?

Is the real new fruitful for us? How?

If exploring is sometimes unpleasant, is it worthy to fight the unpleasantness (OK : displeasure) and why? You have to invent new tools to think? You could find pearls and emeralds and gold?

What haven’t I explored until now?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Trent Parke

The 2 Circus Clown Archetypes are fraternal enemies

As I was exploring F. Fellini’s movies, I met this one : The Clowns.

The 2 mains circus clown Archetypes are Whiteface and Auguste :

  1. Whiteface is the leader, vain, dignified, often stiff and pompous, but also sweet, good-natured. He laughed, but maybe cries inside…
  2. Auguste is the one “who get the pies in the face” and gets hit in the pants. He’s the fool, the humble, the loser…

 

Now here’s a little Shakespeare :

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts

So you see me coming, right? The world’s a circus and humans are clowns. The master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the reasonable and the fool, the obedient and the rebel.

 

What does Fellini say? :

  • Whiteface is mum, dad, the master, the artist, the beautiful : what one “has to do”.
  • Auguste could be fascinated by this perfection, but it’s spread with such rigor and severity that he revolts and hosts a perpetual contestation…

 

Now we could play with examples. We can see Freud as Whiteface and Jung as Auguste. Who else do you see?

Of course you can use this for a single person : ourselves, for example. Like in old cartoons, the white angel and the red little devil with his pointy fork are arguing over one character’s head, it is a great metaphor for the clownery of life : we have inside fraternal enemies, we have two or more facets who want to exist.

If life is a play and we wear masks, it’s a whiteface mask. The genuine person is the Auguste, who wants and needs to exist! But it’s masked also, in the end…

It leads to this : what if there was an Auguste under a Whiteface you know? And the contrary, isn’t he frightening?

We can watch circus and see how the clowns are interacting. Whiteface is reason, but he’s sweet. Auguste is mocking, but he falls in every trap. Everyone has pros and cons, and they exist on the scene because they’re a couple, they’re together…

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Those who sell, what do they buy?

Those who sell, what do they buy?

In the nineties, when I wanted to buy a good walkman, I asked to the guys (I work in a big store) : What is reliable? What brand is after-sales service unprone (which, I suppose, is not English, let me play)?

They answered me : Aiwa! So Aiwa it’s been…

So it is : “Those who sell, what do they buy?”. When you learn that many Microsoft people use Macintosh, you smile, right? I keep this in mind when I have to buy things – knowing that I need a grain of salt. Some guys use a brand because they got it for free, or because they’re interested…

The store guys liked to mock me about Apple computers in the 90s (“it’s almost dead”), but had so many problems with PCs and Windows that they all own Macs today…

What about choices?

Steve Jobs invented the iPhone & iPad, but his kids were not allowed to use them. Isn’t it interesting? Why are we curious when we spot an article about an artist we love, who is asked “What are the best albums of your life?”? And writers? Who do they read?

When you meet a professional, do you ask about their tools? A graphic designer? What printer brand? A photographer? What bag? Why?

Where else can we watch this? Who should we ask? The elderly?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Safer paths?

There’s been an interesting post on the marvelous Facebook of Humans of New York (which you should follow, it’s… humanist).

One guy was in NYC, in his mid-30, struggling to be an actor with no or little success, living paycheck to paycheck. The people’s answers under the post were interesting, picking paths for him (from “go on you’ll make it” to “wisdom says you should let go now”).

I chose an answer from a reasonable person, who chose a family life. Drawing a three branched tree :

  1. People with a more safe and secure life, as a choice, staying anonymous.
  2. People with dreams and passion, wishing for success (in entertainment).
  3. People “mourning unfulfilled dreams” within an ordinary life : they were too afraid to try and dare.

With a conclusion : “Not all dreams work out” and people fall down. But also the maybeness of dreams become true – with the eternal behind-law which says approximatively “When the Gods want to punish you they fulfill your dreams”.

Of course, the actor was necklacing castings, with very little success. It looked like  lottery and gamble…

It becomes a game : What’s worse, to have an ordinary life complaining you should have been an artist, or to struggle for decades until nothing happens? What if you succeed, and it’s boring? What if my book is at least edited and no one buys it? Are there stages in these paths? What if you succeed and then fall into oblivion? What if you decide to move and act at mid-life? Or the contrary, disappear after success?

Oh oh, my three-branched tree became a tree!

Thanks for reading!

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The Mastroianni/Mitchum State

Robert Mitchum (1917-1997) and Marcello Mastroianni (1924-1996) were two actors. Both are known for their state of mind, which are different and similar at the same time.

They don’t give a tinker’s damn

Where? Well, it spouts from all the texts, books, articles and interviews about them :

  1. The characters they impersonate often seem… floating, or watching, rarely “intense”. See Mitchum in Ryan’s Daughter.
  2. In their relationships with directors. Fellini, for example, adored Mastroianni because he was not the “I have another question” type. He just followed. He did what he was told to do. Like a clay ball.
  3. In their work. They never seemed to work a lot. But they were ready though. Mitchum is known for partying and drinking all night, then appearing on the set in the morning almost… defeated, then giving a splendid acting work in front of the camera.
  4. In their lives.

 

This “I’m not really here” state is hard to name. Aloof sounds a bit snob, right? And indeed I don’t think it’s really a decision.

Here we also touch the Paradox of the Actor : “Do great actors experience the emotions they are displaying?”.

What are the limits of Actor’s Studio‘s methods? Mitchum was much less pulling faces than De Niro in their respective role of the bad guy in the two different versions of Cape Fear (1962 and 1991) – and Mitchum is said to be much more terrifying.

 

Is it a state of floating? Of being a “watcher”? Of being cool? Clever? Indifferent? Polite? A genius? A zen master like “I observe but I don’t judge”?

Is it a wisdom, an elegance of life, a modern, Chekhovian way of knowing that all is NOT that important, and we’ll die pretty soon, and let’s stand up cool, nothing big deal?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Intention of Effect Kills Effect

Chekhov, Fellini and Sisyphus’ lesson : “Slide, mortals, don’t bear down”