I had some awful dreams last night. I think it’s because Bill, Dana and I watched yet another Stephen King film adaptation. The film was called Big Driver and it wasn’t scary in the slightest but it did remind me of an extremely pale interpretation the film Irreversible, and my dream was reminiscent of the night club/fire extinguisher scene from that, so I think there was a connection.
Anyway, I dreamed I was at a community center in the projects somewhere (why are bad neighbourhoods called ‘the projects,’ anyway?) and it was inexplicably walled in with thick plexiglass walls so no one could get in or out. There was some giant bonehead with a mean temper who really wanted to get in and was right up against the plexiglass, arms spread out, face pressed against it. I had the impression there was a girl in there that he felt he some right to. Some random unassuming fella came over, put his hand on the bonehead’s shoulder and was like “hey man, what’s up,” but the bonehead was laser focused on whatever was in the community center he wanted, and he shoved the random fella away without taking his eyes off his objective. The bonehead had this “I’m invincible and untouchable” kind of air, but the random guy didn’t care and just picked up a big rock and smashed it against the bonehead’s hand on the plexiglass. His hand shattered, blood splattered out from it on the plexiglass, and the bonehead screamed and stared at his smashed hand, instantly losing his untouchable air and becoming starkly human. The random guy then started bashing the bonehead’s head in from behind with the rock until there was nothing but a bloodied pulp left. But the random guy wasn’t upset at all, he was smiling the whole time, like the whole thing was a fun game. It was kind of neat to see the bonehead be exposed as the human he was, and for the random dude to show that you don’t have to be an imposing monster to come out on top over others — you just have to completely disregard social hierarchies and essentially be nuts. But more than anything, the scene was just horrifying. It’s left me feeling disturbed all morning.
I also had a really busy day yesterday, and I have another busy day today, and that’s got me feeling weird too. So it’s just a strange-feeling day overall.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how genius is usually fleeting. There are very few artists who consistently make amazing stuff, and most of my fave art is one-off amazing shit by artists whose resumes are otherwise mediocre. Blade Runner is a good example of this — I think it’s one of the greatest films of all time but Ridley Scott’s other films mostly suck (with Alien being the obvious exception, and it’s great but it’s no Blade Runner, obv). Amorphis made Tales From the Thousand Lakes and Elegy, both of which are sublime in my eyes, and everything else they’ve done has pretty much sucked. And a lot of my fave songs are the only songs in that artist’s entire catalogue that I enjoy at all.
I could go on with examples but my point is that I think there are so many factors at play in the creation of art that it’s nuts to assume an artist or collective of artists will be able to replicate their successes. Where were their minds and hearts at during the creation of a particular album or song or film or painting? What external factors influenced their work throughout the creation of it? Now apply those questions to everyone involved in the creation of a film or an album — producers, directors, actors, costume designers, special effects creators, set designers, engineers, people who perform the mastering of audio recordings, artists who create the visuals for movie posters and album covers, etc. The stars must align for each of these individuals, and they must then align for all of them — then a masterpiece will occur. So to expect that such a thing will occur with any regularity is like hoping for lightning to strike twice. Yes, sometimes it happens, but it’s rare. I think that consistency is easier to attain for artists who are able to work more independently since that would mean less variables involved in the creation of the art, but it’s still not a sure thing since people feel different from day to day. It’s kind of a crazy thing.