Watching Artists Draw Is Not Only Therapeutic for Other Artists, It’s Educational

Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon Draw Stuff

I know, I know: we all revert to 10-year-olds when told something is “educational.” But no, really, it’s the next best thing to drawing yourself. In the video above, Dzama and Pettibon collaborate on some large drawings. It’s beautiful and inspiring.

It’s good for us to observe art in action. And, if you never watch other artists, you’re often struggling in a vast ocean of possibility. Maybe you’re getting better at staying afloat, but it takes a long time and is exhausting.

In the Midst of Moving, More Videos!

I’m still moving everything I own down the street(s), and all is scattered and turvy. But I’ve got some links I’ve enjoyed recently, and here they are:

The sound of dial-up:

I was talking about early internet days with my brother, and how this very specific set of noises prepared me for the infinite possibilities that awaited.

David Tennant does a very different Hamlet:

The desperate quiet pain of a young man turning in on himself is beautifully, devastatingly interpreted, here. I need to see the whole thing, even if it’s got missing bits as the soliloquy here has.

The ultimate evil eye ending:

I quote Simpsons lines and scenes often, and in this segment, Homer and Mr. Burns carry off a beautifully timed, unhinged, and hilarious denouement. It’s the kind of trope-tweaking the show used to be very good at.

More art soon. The view from the new place is the image at the top.

Holly Herndon’s Ethereal Thunder Dreams

Somebody linked Holly Herndon’s Godmother on Twitter months ago, and I was an instant convert, sorry that I hadn’t found her before. Herndon recently finished her music PhD, and her sound is a kind of amalgam of vaguely recognizable traditional cultural forms of uncertain origin. It sounds weirdly familiar, but I can’t place specific influences.

There’s an emphasis on rhythm and voice. Herndon and her collaborators pile vocal tracks atop one another in a dizzying stack, though production remains remarkably unmuddied.

There’s also something disturbing, unnerving about both songs and video. Herndon uses programmed manipulation to chop up lines, in some cases letting a trained AI feed impressions back into songs. It’s all heady and fresh, and I’m very on board.

What It Feels Like to Realize the Death of Formerly Solid Evidence

For a while, now, it’s become clear that what used to be obvious documentation of events is approaching a cliff. The edge is believability, and we’re all clustered at the precipice, some have fallen off, some are looking at the chasm. “It’s Photoshopped” was the death knell of images as proof of things. Soon, it’ll be video as well.

For smug tech nerds like me who believed we could spot fakes at least relatively quickly, it’s about time to wipe the smirks off. As the above video demonstrates, we are very close to being able—and by “we” I mean random people with easily downloaded apps and some time on their hands—to present any number of people in just about any real world situation. Fakes are becoming indistinguishable from reals.

The philosophical implications are big. It’s going to be a struggle to vet sources and establish trust. For art, this is a massive gate to new worlds opening up, but I think the sociological implications need to be acknowledged. In fact, this is something art can expose and illuminate very well.

The Mesmerizing Power of Heavy Metal

Although it’s not the best quality recording, I was still frozen in place, jaw dropped, as this massive gong increased in resonance from a few simple, soft taps.

It’s almost a dark ambient soundscape on its own, filling the room with barely recognizable tone, as if you could play thunder on a keyboard.

Fantastic Music and Dance Short Film From Thom Yorke and Paul Thomas Anderson

Thom Yorke’s Anima, the album, is an expected delight, moody and strange. Unexpected was how delightful this new short featuring music from the album is, from Yorke and director Paul Thomas Anderson. I wouldn’t ordinarily share a link from a paywalled/subscription site, but if you have Netflix, it’s worth a watch.

I don’t quite agree with the blurb that it’s “mind-bending,” as weirdly wonderful as it is, but perhaps my mind is already pretty bent. Also, we have trouble finding ways to categorize and label contemporary dance works. Maybe we all need to watch a lot more of them to get more familiar.

Anima on Netflix

You’re Not Usually Done At the First Try, Sometimes It Takes Many

I sometimes return to this video to remind myself how often it takes more than a few viewpoints and a handful of revisions to get the best version of a work of art.

It’s telling that it took multiple people multiple attempts to get to the finished initial Star Wars film. Most familiar, probably, is the advice to writers that the first draft is only the beginning of the writing process. Musicians’ demos are another example of an idea that was often made into something greater.

It’s not that art always has to be deeply refined. Sometimes the spontaneity is the reason for a piece. But generally, the idea is brought into sharper focus and more resonant emotional power by honing, tweaking, shifting, and occasionally rebuilding from the parts.

Wandering Aimlessly Through the Picard Vineyard

The above video is pretty much a wine commercial, if you remove the voice over. That captured the imaginations of many a fan and potential convert. The latter because so many of us imagined a TV series consisting solely of Patrick Stewart walking through his vineyards, looking thoughtful, tending to the watering drones, and contemplatively bottling and boxing his wares. Maybe once in a while someone shows up for a short conversation or a dinner.

The upcoming Star Trek series probably won’t be as languid as all that, but I think it speaks to the frantic nature of both media and internet communications that such a restful, unadorned concept seems intensely appealing.

I keep thinking there are lessons to be learned in the opposite direction of any trend. Like, what can we do to bring more calmness into the world in the face of so much that seems metaphorically—or actually—on fire?

The Best Answer About Life and What Comes After From a Thoughtful Human Being

I spend considerable time every Mother’s Day missing mine. It is getting a little easier balancing that with remembering how lucky I was that she was so amazing.

But I couldn’t help sharing this small, profound moment from Keanu Reeves’s appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. It’s just a person who’s aware of our place in the universe and he tells the truth.

“What do you think happens when we die, Keanu Reeves?”

“… I know that the ones who love us will miss us.”