[ encouragement ] for the working poor artist

Always-never thinking has its own traps. We can not measure the good we do in the ounces or pounds of miracles we enable, because those results and their import cannot be known to us. There’s a little trick of faith in accepting you are here because the universe asked you to be here. The universe set a place for you at this table. What you sow and reap with your hands, well, who are we to know what it feels to be that wheat? We cannot know. We can only trust that we are doing what we do best.

Guard your heart from making despair, there is enough of that in this world.

You are loved, you are loved, you are loved. This is the only certainty.

in process : stills from i.thou : chapter ~ 19

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (flight)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (flight)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (19)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (19)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (nikita in kitchen)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (nikita in kitchen)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (baby crocodile)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (baby crocodile)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (19)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (19)

these stills are taken from a 4 minute sketch i worked up the last few days. this is for the next chapter of the film in progress, i.thou.

the chapter or excerpt is titled “19”. the moshing technique assists the viewer take a meditative journey on identity, memory, witnessing, transpersonal consciousness, the tellable story, and the problem of unbelievable experience.

the still image of the girl named “19” is taken from the television show CSI. the source video shots used (pre-processing and ‘mosh’) look like the two stills that follow:

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (source still)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (source still)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (source still)

i.thou : chapter ~ 19 (source still)

meditation : songbirds

Some voices embody something on our behalf . Aretha Franklin provides the husky strength of presence, power, and integrity, she invokes respect.  Amy Winehouse rolls her eyes for us, tells all the fuckery we can’t say out loud.

Some voices by their texture and nature tell stories. Nina Simone’s haunted reedy soulsinging says she sees what we don’t. Edith Piaf’s yearning love paints with a brush made of sorrow. Lady Day’s escapism and loss (Billie Holiday) echoing with her need for redemption by being loved.

Some singers are inalienably wedded to their audiences. Dave Gahan and Freddie Mercury jump to mind, as do Janis Joplin, Edith Piaf, Lady GaGa. There is a love-loop of mutual adoration, a call and response from stage to audience and back, completed in their performances again and again and again.

Some voices are storytelling voices – David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Tom Waits, Tori Amos, Bjork. Each tells stories in their songs. Madonna reports on her state of mind, her soul talks when she sings.

We experience these songs as things, as products. They are made by people. No matter how processed, no matter the autotune, there is a soul behind each song. The demand to control the result – the demand for sales, I think, is what has sunk the music ‘industry’. The recipe-distilling, the formatting, the predicting, they’ve distilled out the passion, the soul, the selfhood that great music is steeped in.

Songbirds make music that resonate. M.I.A.’s insouciant mixtapes put a spring in your step. So do Wiz Khalifa or Kellee Maize, those crazies from Pittsburgh who give it away. Lady GaGa’s rich, deep-throated, flaunting, Lilith-evoking, vaguely-rejected strange and crazy artist lady. There’s soul in those voices, there are selves singing.

That’s why they catch on. We need true muses. Those souls speaks substantial companion energy, music, for our daily blahblah.

thoughts on art and healing from satish kumar

From the Indian point of view, soul is inside you, and you are inside the soul of the world. It is not one or the other; it is not either-or.

When you are healing yourself, you are also healing anima mundi, because the anima mundi and the soul inside you are not two separate entities. You are part of the anima mundi and anima mundi is part of you.

I totally agree with Hillman’s proposition that psychotherapy has been too much engaged, almost obsessed, with the inner psyche, rather than seeing that you cannot heal the individual psyche unless you have a healing world outside you. So you can go on not only for a hundred years of psychotherapy, but you can have the next five hundred years of psychotherapy, and people will still be sick and ill, because the individual psyche cannot be separated from the communal, social, and universal psyche. That’s why art in India is also a healing of society … when we contribute something, it is not for our own ego-satisfaction, not for our ego-boost, but it is so that this great flow of art and architecture and poetry and music and paintings continues. Our contribution is in the flow of art started by many, many great artists …

~

Mr. Kumar was interviewed by Suzi Gablik. The interview was published in her collection, Conversations Before the End of Time : Thames & Hudson, 1995. Excerpted from pages 142 and 143.