Monday, April 11, 2016

lohba vlog 18: a creative attitude

Before beginning a creative session, it's helpful to cultivate an attitude of infinite possibility, playfulness, imagination and intelligence. The first step is to give oneself permission to have fun.

People often get frustrated or blocked because of preconceived notions, or internalized authoritarian messages about how things should be. If one surrenders to internalized commands, it keeps one stuck within the horizon of one's opinions or beliefs. One could fall into a routine of endlessly repeating the familiar, presenting the same old thing in new costumes, which is fine. But sometimes when one enters a creative space with an open mind and surrenders to the activity, the activity could open possibilities which go beyond one's hopes and fears, or set of preferences. Something could happen, you never know what... that's how tradition evolves in all the disciplines, the discovery of new scientific theories, new cures for diseases, new technology and in the arts, new types of music, painting, video and so on.

These reflections were stimulated when Lohbado was musing about the reaction to the first performance of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in 1913, Paris. The police had to intervene to break up the riot that occurred in the theatre because spectators were angry at being presented with something they hadn't heard or seen before, something which challenged their notions of what constituted nice ballet and nice music.

Curiosity, a desire for knowledge, to go further, to go beyond boundaries is part of the human experience. It sometimes produces results which place demands on the connoisseur. James Joyce's Finnegans Wake is another example. This book pushed literature to the threshold of the comprehensible. However, it can be understood, with effort. In order to appreciate challenging works, one has to give oneself permission to enjoy it. It's easy to react, to say: "Oh, that's just nonsense!" One could leave the room in moralistic indignation.

This is not a dualistic either/or situation. It's not an argument that one should be this as opposed to that. It's merely advocating openness. Don't limit yourself. Explore. See what happens. A well crafted movie designed to reach a wide audience is a powerful experience and could be very enjoyable. It's also exciting to be challenged with something beyond one's expectations, for example, a Bela Tarr or Andrei Tarkovsky movie. One is not better than the other. They're aspects of human experience. There's room for everything.

Planet earth has a population of over 7 billion. Imagine the creativity of 7 billion people. There's bound to be something you don't like, or which you find hard to understand. The first step, if you wish to enjoy such work, is to give yourself permission to understand. Drop the authoritarian attitude. Instead of reaction, pause a moment and take a closer look, do a little investigation, become informed. If you don't like it, no problem. Your like or dislike has no effect on the quality of the work. If you don't like something, it means you don't like it. It doesn't mean the thing is no good.

Lohbado after nearly 6 decades of making art heard just about every insult or form of verbal abuse in the book. It's not even worth repeating. Instead of reacting to the abuse, Lohbado often tried to understand where the abuse was coming from. Why do people sometimes get so angry when presented with something unfamiliar? Is it because they're intellectually lazy; or maybe it's the thought that most of existence is beyond one's control?

Knowledge and experience aren't like private property. Life is not a thing one could possess and lock away in a box. One is a grain of sand in an infinite cosmos. One's knowledge or understanding is quite limited in comparison with the vast extent of the universe. There's plenty of room out there in the cosmos to explore and have fun. All you have to do is give yourself permission.

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