Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Can of Worms

I have been avoiding putting up a rationale for Disembody for awhile.
For lots of reasons.
Foremost, there isn't a single reason. The MVM doesn't really make political or statement art. I honestly could never point to a single meaning or statement I'm trying to make or that we want the viewer to come away with.
I may take several reasons into the creation of a piece, but often by its completion it has taken on a whole slew of new reasons.
None of which may be accessible to a casual visitor. And only a few of which may be accessible to even the most obsessed visitor.

That's not intentional obscuritantism. It's more a reflection of my distaste for anything that feels preachy or didactic.
The art that most attracts me, and that first drew my attention and passion, is open to interpretation. It is a doorway into multiple meanings, not a statement of intent.
I feel that is the case with most artists and creators.

Having said that, a project like Disembody, which will take place publicly in this blog and then as we build and film in the gallery, is going to raise the question "why" over and over.
And, as we experience different reasons why, we will post them here. And open them to discussion.
The work will be successful if it leads to even a handful of conversations about its nature, what it is. Not because that will change the art world or anything, but because inspiring dialogue is one of the important aspects of art.

The very first reasons for Disembody came out of Susan's request for a proposal and Brian Conley's critique of an earlier work.
Every piece The MVM has built has been site specific. We go into a space, imagine what we can do, assemble a crew to help us do it, and then embark on the creation of a temporary work for that space.
In this case, well, a site specific work for Los Angeles? Of course it was going to involve filmmaking. To that end we needed to found a movie studio and embark on the dream of creating a marketable, distributable film. Disembody rapidly grew out of that idea.

Brian's involvement came out of his questions about why the scope of the 23 Entryways Into My Mind project was being created as a series of site specific works. Brian likes the grandiose and universal. And when we described 23E as a method for disseminating our identity and consciousness worldwide, he suggested that we make a youtube channel that featured the dance-move-of-the-day or somesuch. For him there was no point in making without spectacle and the intention to attract as many viewers as possible.
I still don't agree with his opinion there entirely.
But I do think it is a valid point that if The MVM's goal is to share a taste of my experience, to put a little bit of me into you, to spread my memories as a virus, that the broader the market for a project the greater the likelihood that it will achieve that goal.
And what greater market could I imagine for an art show in LA than creating a film that could find a home in art houses and on DVD?

The idea that Disembody reflects my views on the collaborative nature of life and art, and that it is my contribution to the discussion within the art world of what the art world is and can be, is a rationale that is only developing now. And one we may abandon completely. In many ways by creating this project publicly (to a degree only, obvs), just as you will be able to read about crew and equipment and concessions and funding arising and dissipating, you will get to read about my relationship to the project and what it means and what I want it to say constantly changing.

And with any luck, you'll get to hear the voices of the people I'm working with sneak through and see how they influence not just its physical nature, but its conceptual nature as well.


More good news

In today's news, I wined and dined Alex Lukas and Keturah Cummings last night, and both are onboard for Disembody. This very good news for the project. Both are technically saavy and exceedingly skilled at camerawork. More importantly, it was Alex and Keturah who stepped in at the last minute in May and poured every minute of their free time into Portal 3. There is absolutely no way that Portal 3 would have been finished on time if it had not been for Alex and Keturah.
(It should also be noted, since we're giving out cred where cred is due, that my sister was the third part of the trinity that stepped in at the last minute and helped The MVM pull off a spectacular show/performance in May.)

Alex and Keturah not only helped with tech, like setting up DVD players and TVs in ridiculous configurations, they sewed a curtain at the last minute to shroud the space; they built doorways and secure equipment shelves; painted; and heaven knows what else.

Securing their involvement makes me feel much better about Disembody. As it stands, I believe they are going to be camera crew. Realistically, we are going to be working brutally long days, and I'm going to need more than two camera people. Brining in Alex and Keturah means Amy and Marcella get breaks.
Truthfully, I think it means I have a crew large enough that everyone can take breaks. Everyone except Chadwick, he's the director. Directors get all the credit, so they get no breaks.

As well, I spoke with Nate, glassblower and friend, and he is meeting me next Friday to discuss making the bottles for the signature scents that will be for sale at the concession stand. So, all is moving along at a healthy pace.

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Friday, November 9, 2007

a convo between Marcella and I, and hopefully you

MVM wrote:
a great deal of what this project is about for me is the collaborative
nature of contemporary art. I really don't think much art is made by
the singular isolated genius. I'm not sure it ever was. I think art,
like entertainment and love and most other human activities is created
collaboratively. It is created by the artist and her crew and her
friends; it is created with input from gallerists and curators and
collectors. That's a broad definition of collaboratively, I know. But
for me at the very least, making is an act of sharing, not just a
finished product, but the whole process. This work is a film and a
construction, and like most films and constructions it is people
working together.

None of which is to say that this is a completely collective act.
Clearly it's not. It's a project The MVM dreamt up and began
recruiting people to participate in. Ultimately I am responsible and
will make the decisions. But I don't and would never want to make
those decisions in a vacuum. My best work is like my best music, it is
me and my partners creating together. In some bands I'm the leader, in
some the follower, but in all the good bands, we're making music

Okay, so this is really borderline creepy, I know. But it's not just
all the theory. I really do think the best work is work made as part
of a community. And I also believe the art world, and in this it's not
alone, clings to an idea of sole authorship that is often illegitimate
and dishonest.

All of which is to say, please feel free to offer suggestions,
criticisms etc. And any advice you have time to offer about what the
website could become, please feel free to share.


quick update

I have a lead on another architect. Friend of a friend. Naturally. That's the best way to live.
May fly (or bus) down to LA next week if he's interested in participating and available. I need to make the fly-thru and elevations my number one priority so that I can really get to fundraising.

Also, emailed a friend who is a brill glass worker. He's interested in making the bottles for the three signature scents that will accompany Disembody. I'll try and meet him next week to follow-up on that.

I created a resume and account at imdb last night. Still waiting for it to post. But once I have a url I'll put it up here.
And I'll make an entry for Disembody as a film in pre-production, which we are.

Also got the Hollywood Reporter paperwork, so we should be listed there as being in pre-production within a few weeks.

Soon I'll be posting a conversation I'm having with Marcella, one of my fine cinematographers, best friends, and biggest inspirations. OMG, and, I totally didn't think of this until now, the woman ramming her spinal cord through the back of my skull in the 23E Studios logo!
Logo designed by the wonderful Alex Lukas, btw.
Anyway, we've been discussing one of the meanings Disembody has for me in a series of emails. And I'd like to bring that discussion into the public sphere.
(By which I mean, this blog which exists in the public sphere and is read by a handful of people besides myself at this stage.)
But I'd love to get everyone's feedback on this idea of collaboration, so I'll set it up as a discussion thread where as many folks can contribute as want.

Every blog entry loves a picture, so that's my cousin Tim heading up this post.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

well my stars and garters

Thats' a nice phrase don't you think?

Anyway, yesterday I got great feedback about the revised proposal I'm writing for fundraising. Now I just need to find time to write it.
As well, Erin made an intial home page for me to look at. And, of course, it's brill.
I also sent out an email to everyone involved asking for bios etc. The website is going to serve as the first line of promotion, because...

Damn it, getting elevations and fly-throughs and the like made is hard. Airason wasn't able to find anyone who could help at CCA. And he's not got time himself.
So I'm pursuing another lead in LA now.

I have a review in school in 6 days, and then again two weeks after that. So, the next three weeks will be a real challenge to find time for generating content and creating the PR book, but those are my priorities. I want to go into December with a site and book for PR. And then I want to put together a press release to send out.

Plus I need to get us listed in Variety.

last night I was all cleaned up for a scholarship dinner at CCA. I met the donor who funds my scholarship and she was magnificent. I had attended because I need practice schmoozing. And Christin made schmoozing seem like hanging out with a great new friend. I am getting pix from the photog who was there later today and will post them when I can.

I told Christin all about the project and she really seemed to like it. That was incredibly gratifying.
Plus she's an artist herself, and her work sounds very much up my alley. We had many tastes in common, which was nice.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

omh I am so excited!

Okay, I don't even want to talk about how little time I have put in to working on that proposal for the distributor today.

But I do want to tell you how excited I am that we have a new crewmember,

Erin Brooke Grindstaff

Okay, so she's a fucking genius and everything. She's Jonathan's wife.
It's like I have Marie Curie and Pierre Curie as my GP, right? Know what I'm saying?

And we've just embarked on discussing the upgrades for this site. So, in a flash, it's going to go from my totally dated 1999 sensibility to something a little more respectable.

Oh My Heck!

And I'm about to get all cleaned up to go to a dinner at California College of the Arts, where I was the recipient of a cash award last year when I graduated from the MFA Fine Arts program. I'm going to this dinner to meet the donors who fund scholarships and awards. I am going to show my appreciation. And I am going to pitch Disembody to everyone who will listen.

With any luck, that new cleaned up proposal I'm supposed to be working on will be needed for more than just the distributor.


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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

good news?

before we get to the good news,

I have not heard from Airason, the architect. I'll call him tomorrow. I can't believe the fucking architecture drawings are what I'm getting stuck on. So fucking amazing. Did not see that coming.

I left a message for Laris today. He's a friend of a friend and I'm hoping he has advice on PR and marketing in LA. He's Philly based but is the founder of Arthur magazine. He may have some good LA connex. I'm hoping he can point me in the right direction for getting a PR machine going in LA.

The big news is still secretish. A friend of a friend who works for an art video distributor heard about Disembody. And requested info. So my friend asked me for a proper proposal for them. Which means I have to put that together. But it's pretty dang cool to think we might be considered by this place. They handle much bigger folks than I, so I don't have high expectations. But, on the other hand, my luck tends to be unrivaled in most things, which is how I pull these sorts of large scale projects off, so who knows, maybe in a month or two I can tell you all about our big distribution deal.

For now, Chad, my director, and Janet, my lawyer, and Arthur, my father, are looking at the existing proposal to offer advice on how to impress big hoodoos in LA.

I think that's all the progress in the past few days.

Oh, wait, I spoke with Yosh about specialty bottles for the scents. I'm probably going to have all the bottles blown individually for the concession stand. Vime for Men and Vime for Women and the theater scent for the architectural models will all be in handmade bottles.

The budget just keeps going up.

I love this project.

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